I had a breakdown two weeks into uni, and here’s why that’s okay
Why does nobody ever talk about this?
When I arrived in Edinburgh on September 9th I was convinced I was about to have the best four years of my life. A new city, new mates, and an overdraft to fund my new lifestyle – what could possibly go wrong?
Well, at first, absolutely nothing. I was fine. I was more than fine, I finally had my freedom. Then, September the 22nd came along and changed everything.
I don't really know what set it off. Maybe it was the fact that it was the weekend and everything slows down, or maybe it was the string of mediocre and tragic club nights that came before. To be honest I don't know. All I know is that I woke up on the 22nd in a state of sheer panic.
You know that feeling when you tap your pocket and think your phone isn't there? That gut wrenching, all consuming, moment of fear? Well it was like that, except constant and forever.
I freaked out. If uni was a WWE match I was tapping out. Overnight everything I thought I knew about myself had been turned on its head. I completely lost my independence – the idea of going out to buy bin bags was enough to reduce me to tears.
After several tearful phone calls to my parents I was convinced that I was doomed to remain friendless and miserable forever. So, I did what any reasonable person would do – I decorated my room, and although things are getting better, there comes a time when fairy lights just wont cut it.
The truth is university is a bit of a catfish. It's portrayed as a non-stop, party filled, dream, and that's just not realistic. There will be days, or even weeks, when it's a struggle to get out of bed. But, when you think about it that's actually pretty normal. It's a massive change, but that doesn't mean you have to suffer in silence. Here's what to do next:
Find somebody to talk to
Sounds basic but this genuinely helped me so much. Keeping all of your problems to yourself is never a good idea. In Edinburgh you can pop into the advice place at 50 George square, or counselling on the third floor of the library.
Stop obsessing over all your mates snapchat stories
They might look like they're having the time of their lives, but I guarantee they've cried into their pasta too.
Go home for the weekend
Just pop down to Waverley train station and have a good cup of tea with your mum.
Invest in a calendar
It's all a bit less overwhelming when you can cross off each day.
Get out of your flat
Join a society, go clubbing, or just go out for lunch with some mates. Filling each day keeps the panic away.
Our generation wants everything to happen instantly. We want to fit in, have a lifelong group of friends, and feel perfectly content from the word go. It's a nice idea, but it's as far from reality as you can get.
Honestly, you're going to have to struggle for a while. There will be days when you feel like heading up to the admin office and dropping out, or getting on a train and never coming back. All I can say is don't give in to that.
Because one day you're not going to feel like that anymore, and all of this will be worth it. It's not normal now, but it will be. In the end, university is a temporary moment in your life. Make the most of it.
And know that you're not alone.