Sunday 7 March 2021

Dealing with depression

Vidura shares his top tips for battling with depression and managing student life.

- Vidura

I have suffered from psychological and mental health issues from early childhood. In particular, I have suffered with depression from my early teenage years to my third year of university. They were some of my worst years. However, I turned things around in my final two years at university as I begun to recover. I have gone on to become a successful graduate as an engineer, a dancer, and a motivational speaker. In this blog I'm going to share the things I did to get through the most troubled period of my life. I won't go too much into my story, but I will share some tips based on my personal experience. I know telling someone who is depressed to "get out of it", is not going to work, it's a journey. 

Ask for help or seek professional help.
Go to your GP and try counselling. Ask your workplace or university for additional assistance. I was given time off by the university due to my depression four months in to my third year. The university did not charge me tuition fees for the third year because of my health issues and allowed me to redo it from the beginning. I then took a gap year to dance, which helped my recovery. Had I not spoken to the university and sought assistance; I would not have passed my exams. Let your lecturers know that you are struggling and would like additional time/assistance. It is not shameful to seek help. We all need it. 

Getting support
Find someone who is supportive to talk through your goals. I turned to one of my dance teachers as a mentor who guided me to my goals during my difficult times. You may be able to find a careers advisor at university, someone you can speak to on a weekly or monthly basis. Finding support is important. 

Small victories 
If you are really struggling, set yourself some little tasks. These can be as small as cleaning your room, going out for a meal with friends at university, handing in an assignment or going down to the local shop. These little victories count. You will feel better with a sense of achievement. 

Activities and hobbies 
Hobbies can greatly help you deal with mental health issues by distracting your mind. Playing pool, lying down and reading a book or watching a film can help you feel better for a while. I also found doing things like calculations, studying, or coding completely shuts off any ill thoughts from my mind. Universities also have lots of clubs that you could join and try out. These clubs will allow you to meet new people and widen your social circle. 

Keeping notes 
Make a note of healthy things that makes you feel better and try repeating those tasks on a daily basis. I personally find drinking tea while relaxing settles my brain. You have to enjoy the little luxuries. 

Remember the good moments 
It can be easy to think about all the negative things when you are depressed. Instead, try to think about all the good times you had during your life. I personally think about all the fun I have dancing with my friends and the experiences I shared with people that are close to me. Ask yourself, were those moments worth it? They were! Those moments are worth living for. 

Making Sound Decisions 
When you are suffering from depression you can constantly fluctuate between feeling very high and very low. It's best to wait these periods out before making a crucial decision. Consult your friends or a professional, if you really need to decide on something that's important. I have trained my mind not to  make important decisions without having a clear mindset. 

Exercise was one of the most helpful things in helping me battle through my depression. If you don’t’ have the motivation for it, ask to join a friend. Ask them to let you know when they hit the gym or go for a walk. I always have more motivation to exercise when I do it with a friend. In particular, try leg exercise. Studies have revealed leg exercises are beneficial to a fit mind. 

Retreat to a Place of Comfort 
Find a place of comfort that you can retreat to. This could be going down for a short walk at a local park, chilling at a place in university (a bar or the library), or visiting a friend’s a friend’s place.

Visit Student Space  for further support. Explore online resources, access direct support via text, phone, web chat or email and find the support available at your place of study.

I'm an engineer and street-dancer. I battled through mental health issues and depression and have become successful at what I do. I wanted to share my top tips for dealing with depression and getting through student life.

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