By Scarlet Connelly a 1st Year Childhood Psychology NTU student
As many of you will know, this week is Mental Health Awareness Week. A week that touches home for a lot of people, because so many of us struggle with our mental health. I am one of those people, and today, I aim to share my story of how I pulled myself out of the blackest hole.
I think this year’s mental health awareness week is one of the most important ones, as we’re still in a pandemic. This pandemic has affected a lot of people physically, as well as mentally. One thing someone once said to me is, mental health is different for everyone, every person deals with it differently, some people have more severe cases than others, but one thing remains constant – it is a daily struggle for so many of us, more now than ever.
I’m not going to tell you to have a bath and a cup of tea. I’m not going to tell you to ‘get over yourself.’ There isn’t such a thing as snap out of it, it isn’t and never will be that easy. When I asked if I could write this blog, I had some ideas in mind of what I could write, such as my own personal experience of mental health, some stress busting tips, some anxiety or depression self-care, there were so many topics I could cover. I think the biggest issue with mental health for me – and for so many others – was loneliness. I felt like I was fighting this silent battle in my mind, and I had no one to turn to. In my darkest moments, I would shut myself away, terrified of my mind, but also too nervous to go out into the world, see people I knew, and pretend everything was okay. The one thing that helped me cope slightly though, was getting outside. I didn’t want to see other people or talk to them, so sometimes I would just plug in my headphones and go for a walk on my own. Going for a walk was scary at times, but most of the times, it helped. It was an escape. I would hear the music faintly beating in my ears, my heart thumping in my chest, but the loudest noise, was often my mind.
However, being outside often drowns those noises out for me. I could look at the trees, hear the birds singing, run around with my dog in the field, lie down and have the sun on my face. Nothing is a miracle worker, there is no such thing as a magic wand, but nature is one of those things that can help some of us to a certain extent. I think the one tip I have for people struggling, is to find something that helps you even just a little bit. It could be anything, from doing your makeup, to journaling, to going for a drive, to talking to your loved ones. However, if talking to certain people is too hard for you, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about how you’re feeling. Here are some alternative contacts if talking to your loved ones seems too challenging:
- SHOUT – Text SHOUT to 85258
- The Samaritans – Call 116123
- Chat to a Student Mental Health Champion at NTU
Mental health awareness is so important, and if I can help at least one person have a better day, then it’s a step forward. The one thing to remember in times like these is, you are loved, your feelings are valid, and that we will get through this together. If this pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It will get easier, not overnight, but soon. If you are reading this and you struggle, remember it’s okay not to be okay. Take a breath. Reach out if you need to, asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of. If someone had told me a month ago that I’d be writing a blog for NTU, I wouldn’t have believed them. I was in the darkest pit of despair, I didn’t see a way out. But no matter how dark it may seem, there is always a light. You just have to find it, it may be hard to find, but I promise it exists.
To find out more about Mental Health Awareness and this year’s theme head to the Mental Health Foundation
For help and advice whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.
- Support from NTU
- Silvercloud: SilverCloud is our online system designed to help with a range of mental health issues.
- Health and Wellbeing resources
- NTSU Information and Advice service
- Wellness in Mind: Advice and support for anyone in Nottingham experiencing issues with their mental wellbeing
- Student Minds or Student Space
- 10 Keys to happiness