It is important to identify what exactly it is that is making you feel down. Sometimes it’s one thing or experience, sometimes it’s a range of things/experiences. O talks us through his experience with beating himself up and what he did to combat it

So my general feeling of sadness…at university last year was due to a persistent feeling of not fulfilling my self-worth. I felt like consistently not meeting the grades I wanted sunk me into that defeatist mentality. Of not thinking/feeling I’m good enough…maybe for university, maybe just to please myself let alone my Mother. I started having writer’s block from, I believe, Nov to like January/Feb? In hindsight, it may have been due to my mindset being at odds with itself. After beating myself & my innate ability down, perhaps my subconscious went into every assignment feeling it cannot live up to or meet a certain standard I once aspired. But then I snapped out of it. I remembered amazing accomplishments like getting an E at AS English & being told by my teachers I should change my course entirely, to retaking it and getting an A. Just seeing that smile on my mother’s face – the sacrifices she made to get me here. It reaffirmed to me I have something, a gift I can give back to her. Of course, for some, that gift is not education. And that’s perfectly fine. I feel some of us are forcefully persuaded to go to university bc of a certain dream within the family (e.g. “first son in the gen to go to uni”), and that could cause depression itself if some feel they cannot achieve that. But success comes from anything you’re passionate for. but maybe what I’m saying is if you feel like quitting uni because YOU feel it’s not for you, go with your decision. Just don’t ever lose your hope to win. There will always be something, someone (or a lack thereof) that will be that motivator that makes you click.- O

A. talks about his similar experience

I’ll say in my final year of uni I did to an extent, I wouldn’t say I was depressed but I had a lot of disbelief in myself. For a point of time I couldn’t do any work on the outside I was happy but on the inside I was stuck, I couldn’t help function, I just didn’t think I was good enough or smart enough to do anything, led me to actually failing my final year, i just couldn’t function properly anymore, also I was far from God at that time properly the only time where I kinda stopped believing or even caring. Going back to church and actually just talking about it to some close people and a pastor actually helped me. I think at the time i felt pressured i needed to do well and I was struggling. Didn’t wanna talk to anyone about it so I think that helped contribute towards it. Took me a while to be able to talk about it but I’m in a good place since then.

Perspective is everything. How we view things often dictates how we respond to them, this is not to say that the severity of whatever experience you go through becomes less severe but it definitely enables you to discern between rational responses to situations and irrational responses. It’s easy to forget everything you have achieved thus far when you’re suddenly confronted with something that triggers self-doubt, but your doubts often do not reflect your true capabilities. They’re more to do with fear than your ability and fears are most often irrational and exaggerated. So like someone once told me, you need to doubt your doubts. Whenever you doubt your ability, remind yourself of what you have achieved thus far and what you need to do to achieve what it is you want to achieve. Even if you had to put in ten times the work someone else did to get to the same place, you still got there. Getting back into things you love, be it spirituality or music can really help you back onto the right path. I cannot express how much my faith helped me during this time. I held onto it like never before and it gave me a renewed sense of hope that I could overcome what I was going through. However, it worked hand in hand with other forms of help.

We have reached the end of our How To Cope With Depression At Uni, I truly hope you have gained some insight into the various aspects of depression and how they may manifest in and out of a university setting. Be sure to let us know if there’s anything you have picked up during our series that you plan to implement or that has worked for you.

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