journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

Surviving University with Mental Health Problems

Mental health difficulties are quite common among students at university. Family and friends usually play an important role in supporting you at university. I’ve been at uni for nearly 7 months now, 2 hours away from home, so I thought it would be helpful to provide you guys with some information on surviving uni when you’re battling a mental illness.

University is a new and exciting experience that opens up so many possibilities. However, it can be pretty challenging. When you’ve got mental illness, you face challenges every day. Remember that although you’re going to university, and you might be away from home, you are NEVER ever alone. Remember that.

Having a mental illness does not mean that you have a lack of ability, but your illness may mean that you require some adjustments at university, including with your academic work. Keep in mind the course workload and stress of deadlines. Are you able to manage them, or do you need some adjustments? Remember there are people on campus available to talk to about any issues you may have.

A good thing about university is that they are usually always ready to help you. There are usually special offices or members of staff assigned to students who have disabilities. Tell people around you what strategies work best for you – be your own advocate, and if not, find someone who will be an advocate for you. If onsite facilities are not meeting your mental health needs, do not be afraid to seek other help. There will be local doctors available to make appointments with. Do not give up looking until you find someone who is able and willing to help you.

Remember that having a mental illness is not shameful. If it makes it easier, tell others around you about your mental illnesses. Having someone to open up to about your struggles can help improve your mental well-being. Also remember your medication, therapy and mental health needs. Do you need to take medication at a certain time? If so, create a little reminder on a whiteboard or pin-board in your room to help remind you. In stressful situations or hardships, find something that meets your needs and eases your anxiety. A special educational need toy called a Tangle is what I use in daily life, especially in lectures, to help ease anxieties or low mood.

One of the most important things about surviving university is remembering that you are worthy. Meet lots of new people, smile, hang out, relax, pay attention in lectures, go for a walk and get some fresh air if it gets too much, talk to people who will help you with your mental illnesses, and never be afraid to admit you’re struggling. University is an amazing opportunity to start a new life and provides many new possibilities.

Good luck to everyone leaving for university in the coming September, or some time in the future, and for those of you already at uni – I’m proud of you.

Do not let your mental illnesses define your outcome. EVER.

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journey to recovery · mental health · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

Who am I?

Hello smilers!

My name is Savannah Lloyd. I am 18 years old and from a small village in South Wales. I am currently living life in Oxford thanks to being at Oxford Brookes university!

I have set up this blog to share my personal experiences with mental health, to educate others on all types of mental health problems, to be a mental health advocate and campaigner as well as a youtuber, blogger and author (Smiling Through Recovery is available via Amazon)

I was born on May the 31st 1997, one of the hottest days of the year. I grew up in a loving family with lots of pets and loved exploring outdoors. I loved building tree houses, clambering through the woods and streams as well as paying a close attention to the environment around me and the animals that inhabited it.

Unfortunately, when I was 8 years old, I become very aware of the situations and people around me. I become very shy and reserved, never spoke up in class and had few friends. I got on with everyone around me but found it difficult in social interactions. I began to get bullied for being different in my final year of primary school and this continued through comprehensive school.

At 12 years, I made my first suicide attempt after weeks of physical and emotional bullying. I kept these suicidal feelings to myself and didn’t open up about it for years. I began self harming, developed depression and anxiety (unknown to me at the time) and completely went down hill in school. I began getting distracted in lessons and school didn’t feel like a safe place to be. At 13 years old, I started counselling for self-harming but found that the sessions did no help.

During my time at comprehensive school I suffered with several undiagnosed mental health issues and eventually took a turn for the worse at 15 years old (August 2013). I was fed up of getting bullied, struggled to accept myself, had a very low self-esteem and lack of confidence and could barely look at myself in the mirror. I self-harmed on a weekly basis and often had suicidal thoughts.

10 months later in June 2014, I was diagnosed with an eating disorder. I had lost  over 25.4 kg (4 stone) in a 10 month period, had black outs and dizzy spells, bruised easy, had pale skin and could barely stand. I hated eating and barely drank. In November 2014, I was also diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder and Endogenous Depression. It is still unknown (though I have many traits) whether or not I have a diagnosis of Avoidant Personality Disorder.

Since my diagnoses, I have come so far yet so little. I have recovered, I have relapsed, I have struggled, I have lived. Mental Illness is not easy. Recovery is so hard, and relapse is always so tempting. However, my mental health problems have given me a great deal of knowledge, a great deal of empathy and passion to fix stigma associated to mental health. Therefore, I am a mental health campaigner, blogger and author and continue every day to end stigma associated to mental health.

Through this blog, I hope to share both my positive and negative experiences in order to highlight the realism of mental health problems and the impact it has on people’s lives.

Smile through recovery, always.

I love you

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