I started university in September 2013, excited to begin a new chapter in life. Unfortunately within the first few weeks, something changed. I wasn’t myself. I’d started to retract from myself and others completely.
My friends and family were just keeping me afloat of the river of anguish I constantly felt. Depression had completely taken me prisoner, the anxiety and panic attacks kicked in. If I made out of bed, it was a good day. If I made it to a lecture that day, it was a very, very good day.
I plucked up the courage to speak to my lecturer, Nigel, about how I was struggling. He was wonderfully understanding and with the help of him and student support services, I put my studies on hold and I got better. It was still a fight every day, but I felt better.
Come Christmas in 2014 after I came back to begin my course, I started to struggle. I just couldn’t figure out why. I felt so sick and unlike myself and was worried I was becoming unwell again. Instead, I found out I was expecting a baby with my boyfriend. It wasn’t the happy moment I'd wanted my first pregnancy to be. I cried for three days. Do I continue with my pregnancy, even though I was still recovering? Could I even raise a baby if I suffer with mental health problems? Would I have to give up university?
I decided, with much disapproval from others, to continue the pregnancy and have my baby. After a year of being a new mum, which is all kinds of difficult and wonderful, I restarted university in September 2016 on a part-time basis and I am now back to full-time hours. I’m feeling better than ever (but admittedly a bit more tired).
I think my story just goes to show, it doesn’t matter how much ‘life happens’ - if you want something, no matter what the set backs are, you can do anything if you want it enough.