Mental health of a mature student.
I wrote this piece as a guest blogger for abbeysChronicles.com this is just a short piece showing how much having something like my studies to focus on has helped me. I am now holding myself accountable for my own recovery. Please check our Abbey’s blog, she is an amazing lady who spreads awareness on mental health issues! I hope you all enjoy this one and if you are considering becoming a student I’d say go for it!!
Referring to myself as a mature student makes me feel a little strange. I think it is maybe because I am still a big kid at heart, but there is no denying that I am a mature student. I am a mother of two amazing, boisterous and fun loving kids, a wife to an incredible husband and a psychology student. I started studying this degree in 2017 at the age of 33. Prior to commencement of my studies I never envisaged myself having my own struggles with my mental health.
My first year couldn’t have gone better. I was working and taking care of my family while studying. I felt on top of the world. I was Wonder Woman! Yes I thought of myself as a superhero because this mum not only gave birth in her kitchen, she successfully completed her first year of studies with great results and her family survived fit and well! So I was on cloud 9! Summer 2018 was when it all hit me like a ton of bricks. So many things transpired that left me physically and emotionally exhausted. My life was in turmoil and I no longer had the drive or motivation to continue on with my studies. My mental wellbeing was in tatters and non existent. Panic attacks became my new normal. Life as I knew it changed for good and I couldn’t see a way out of my mental state. Anxiety was all consuming and by hiding from the world I found myself in an intentional state of isolation. Hiding away from the world was two fold. One, I didn’t want people to see me in that state and two, I wanted to see people and have a laugh but my isolation left me feeling more and more depressed and petrified to socialise. My life was in disarray. My studies took a back seat and I fell further and further behind.
For days I sat contemplating whether I should just give up or not. I came very close to giving up, but my husband wouldn’t let me. He knew just how much I’ve always wanted to do a psychology degree and he knew better than me how disappointed I would have been had I quit. The day I decided to pick my books up again it just so happened to be on a chapter covering anxiety and depression and how it affects the brain. It covered so much on the treatment thereof as well as the pharmaceutical treatment I am on. It spurred me on. From out of nowhere I felt motivated again. My studies and especially my course has been such a blessing because I have learnt so much about my own mental health and it is enabling me to in a way take the view of a counsellor towards myself. This may not make sense, but thinking about myself as both counsellor and patient has helped tremendously. I now look at my studies as another form of therapy. It has helped pull me out of the dark abyss of chaos and confusion I found myself in. I am by no means “cured” but it is teaching me chapter by chapter how to embrace and deal with my own struggles.
It has given me a whole new outlook on mental health as such a complex condition but importantly my own mental health. Through this course I am learning to stop fighting my mental illness and instead to embrace it as it is and will forever be a part of who I am. I’ve said this before but allow me to say it again. My mental health does not define me, it is an extension of me and by embracing it I am healing each day. My journey has not been without setbacks, but studying and learning about mental health has helped me rebuild the pieces. I may be broken, but I am not defeated. Buildings can be demolished and rebuilt so why can’t I rebuild myself into a better version of me. As strangely as this might sound, life with anxiety and depression has changed me and I am so much happier than I have been in a very long time. I believe the lessons am I learning was meant for me. My journey continues and so will my studies for at least another two years, but I am motivated and well on my way to being super woman again!