Give it time
Updated: Nov 18, 2019
1 month post graduation. I'm still so proud of myself of everything I have achieved, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't really change much for me.
The past four years have been, what you could describe as absolute hell, physically and mentally. All I wanted to do was do well and make my family proud. Struggling with depression and anxiety was already a big enough hurdle in the way of this. I've changed medication more times than I went into uni, I've had however many counsellors and therapists try to puzzle together my brain, but here I am still, stuck in a rut. I've met some incredible people throughout my time at Uni and had an amazing support system from my tutors, friends and family. I got through my degree and was fortunate enough to get offered my dream job before even graduating, which took off the pressure of being 'a graduate' immensely. I finally went to Ibiza for a girls holiday and soaked up the sun. I graduated with a First Class Honours and received an award from Forward Ladies for 'Most Aspirational Student'. I'm now preparing for adult life in my new house, surrounded by my incredible friends and boyfriend, with the support of my family also. I've just celebrated my Birthday, something I have to force myself to do every year. I don't know about you, I'm not feeling 22.
Yet everyday I wake up and that big black balloon is still hovering over my head. The feeling of getting everything you've worked for isn't always enough.
I'm lucky, grateful and proud to have achieved what I have whilst living away from home and struggling with my mental health. Honestly, I'm proud of everyone who graduated, it's not easy at all. The past year I got myself into an unhealthy routine of not leaving the house for anything other than the shop, to uni (barely just made it there) or the occasional visit to the doctors; if I felt like it. This isn't a pity party, but I'm just overwhelmed that I made it to the end. I didn't expect to wake up the morning after I graduated, mental illness free, happy as a bird, ready to take on the world, but I did expect to be a bit more positive. I know it's barely been a month and I need to give myself time to adjust but anxiety loves ruining my life.
Everyone's heard it before but it's so easy to get caught up in everything plastered all over social media. Don't take everything you see at face value. A little message of reassurance that not everyone has their shit together, even if it seems like they do. Giving yourself time is the best thing you can do, physically and mentally.
Pressuring yourself into thinking you should be doing something specific at a certain point in your life won't do you any favours. Do whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want. Mental health is so much more than a diagnosis, medicine or therapy. It's effectively a way of life that so many people have to learn to adapt to.
Not only is your mental state completely attacked, but the physical symptoms often creep up on you too, just to make things even more enjoyable. It's so important to educate each-other on how mental health effects everyone differently and that everyone has their own coping mechanisms to overcome these.
I think it's about giving things time. Give life time to figure itself out naturally, instead of pressuring yourself and other things to be at a certain point by a specific time. When everything gets overwhelming and it seems like things will never quieten down, just give it time. Life has a weird way of figuring things out for us, we just have to sit back (as patiently as we can) and trust the process.
Don't live your life dependant on societies expectations, just live for you.
** For my birthday this year I decided to set up a fundraiser for the Mental Health Foundation (here). I would appreciate any recognition or contribution you can give to this amazing cause. Let's end mental health stigma for good and learn how to support each other more. **