I urge anyone who feels a similar way to persevere to seek help and talk about these feelings because everything will be okay in the end; if it is not okay, then it is not the end.

Prior to coming to university, I was fully aware my mental health was poor, and it was something I had denied to myself since I was 12 years old. I refused support at school as I did not want to seem weak, but I also did not want to accept the help I needed. I told myself that when I leave home it was something I would ‘sort out’. At school and at home there was a negative stigma around mental health difficulties. No one needed to know I was seeking help when I had left home, they would not find out and I could complete this process of improving my mental health alone. What I’ve learned over these 4 years, that’s definitely not how it works. When I finally got to university, I did just this. I visited the GP, signed up for 6 weeks of counselling and contacted the Mental Health Support Team on campus for academic support. I was proud of myself; I had already put a plan in place to improve my mental health and begin a journey to live a full, happy life; something I had not yet truly experienced. Unfortunately, it was not as simple as this. Throughout my first year, I threw myself into extra-curricular activity, as I always did to mask my problems and I was selected for the AU Hockey squad, elected as Programme Rep for my course and Sport Sec for my hall.

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