When I finished university I had a bout of anxiety and depression. Don’t fear – this is not all doom and gloom! Part of it was due to personal reasons however another big part of it was the come-down after finishing university. I was so used to being busy all the time and having my brain space taken up by my priorities! When I was out of the loop of it all, my brain was still in overload but didn’t have a real focus. For years I had been in the education system striving for a good grade. I was always involved with something that concerned my commitment and approval from people above me.
Do you relate to this, or know people who do?
I can’t stress enough how much effort I put into my degree towards the end. It literally became my life. I felt it had to because having learning difficulties meant that I had to work extra hard. (As mentioned in previous blogs I have dyspraxia & dyslexia)
I was used to having a mentor at university to organise me a bit but I had to stand on my own two feet afterwards and it wasn’t always easy.
I had been to the doctors and was on anti-depressants for over a month. I knew that I could stay on these and that they would help my brain produce more serotonin to make me feel better…..But something inside me was telling me to stop taking them. In my heart I wanted to get myself out of this frame of mind and not rely on tablets to do it for me. This was one of the best decisions I ever made.
I started two hobbies that I still continue to do today: meditation and journaling. Journaling was a very big contributor to managing my depression. I used it very often when I was struggling and it really helped me to work out why I felt the way I did. I looked at the problem and journalled ways of managing it. I actually looked back on my journal entries recently and I was so grateful to see how far I have come. I have set goals and I have achieved them. It was journaling that got me into writing for pleasure and as I learnt about myself I started to love myself.
I literally typed ‘guided meditation’ in on YouTube and there were so many to choose from. TRY IT! I picked one and it was so easy to follow – I felt so elevated after it. I continued to make this a habit and it really taught me to let go of the negative things that won’t serve me. It also taught me how to calm myself down through breathing when I felt an anxiety attack coming. I believe meditation can benefit everybody. We all suffer from our own anxieties, learning how to manage them can free up more space for personal growth. Journaling and meditation are great ways to come back down to earth and reflect on your current situation.
It is so important to know yourself from a young age and loving yourself is more than essential. When you’re in education, be it school, college or university, you are always involved in something. When you leave education, if you don’t know yourself well and love yourself, it can be very easy to feel low and lost.
What I want to say to young people who are in education is to always be proud of what you achieve. Remind yourself of it! Journal about it or meditate on it – or both! Tell your families about what you learn and why it matters to your life. I want to see young people standing proud with something to say about what they learn because it has made them think about the world. If they have done well in a piece of work, remember how it has boosted their confidence and let it guide them into the next challenge they have to face.
Another thing that makes me love to be me is how I am literally the only one of me – ever. How wonderful is that. When I learned that we have to love ourselves because of this, my view of myself totally changed. I am the only one with my mind and body. Due to my learning difficulties, I think the way I do and that is special. I see the world in such an amazing way; I would never want to be anybody else. I think about things in a different way and I am okay with that now. I look at our world and I am so grateful to be part of it that I just strive to be the best I can. I look at the birds and I am in awe of how they fly. I look at trees and I am amazed how they stand so strong through all weathers, cleaning our air so we can breathe. Before I go to sleep at night I like to thank the world for every part of me. I go from the tip of my head to the tip of my toes. I’m thankful for my ability to swallow food and water, my beating heart, my working organs, everything that keeps my body alive.
We are all unique and even if we have learning difficulties, it doesn’t mean we cannot learn or achieve things. In some ways we can achieve more because of our special way of thinking.
I still have times where I struggle. But I suppose acknowledging what I am grateful for helps a lot. Maybe you can do that too?
How did you cope with this? Please get in touch!