Mental Health Awareness Week: Guest blog by a UCEM staff member

Posted on: 2019-05-17

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and we have been getting behind the initiative with posts designed to raise awareness of mental health. We also had the pleasure of welcoming Kev Waite, the founder of Move Mind & Body, to our office in Reading earlier this week to talk about his mental health experiences, including being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

As the week draws to a close, here is a blog from a UCEM staff member who describes their experience of depression and what they do to improve their wellbeing…

A few years ago, I suffered from depression which was linked to ill health and me struggling to come to terms with the death of my best friend. When people think of depression, they simply think it’s a case of being sad. It’s far more than this, and just watching your favourite comedy is not going to cheer you up. It’s far more complex than that. What people don’t always understand is that depression affects you in many ways. It saps your energy, you feel constantly tired and your motivation to do anything just dries up. You end up sat on the sofa, watching garbage TV, sleeping most of the day as you feel tired and being awake all night as you’ve slept so much during the day. This then makes you even more tired during the day and it ends up as a vicious circle.

What exacerbated the situation was the fact that I was stuck home all day by myself and I didn’t feel that there was anybody I could talk to about this. I was in quite a high-pressure position so I found myself simply going through the motions and pretending that everything was okay when it was far from the case.

When I finally admitted to myself that this was a problem, it was a huge weight off my shoulders. I was then fortunate enough to be in a situation where I could take some time off here and there to get help, where I was surrounded with people who were in a similar situation. Talking through everything made all the difference and I then began to get better.

Having gone through this, I am now far more aware of mental health issues. I try not to sweat the small stuff, focus on small achievable goals, talk to my spouse if I am feeling overwhelmed and try to pick out the positives in everything. I will always make myself available to anybody if they need to talk because often, a friendly voice and a chat goes a huge way to helping that individual out.

If you wish to speak to someone, please either speak to our Student Engagement Team if you are a student or visit Samaritans or London Nightline.