University was never really an option for me, it was a given.
I had always been ambitious, driven to reach my goals. From the minute I started school I was set on getting good grades and doing well, I was never one to play up and getting in trouble terrified me. In year Seven I discovered the theatre, I wasn’t particularly good at acting or singing, but I loved the buzz it gave, even if I did tremble before going on stage. As I progressed through school and I found my way a little bit more, I discovered that I loved to direct. I would dream up musical numbers to songs whilst walking down the street and was obsessed with productions, films and theatre. I was so driven, I mapped my life out.
At college, I studied Film, Media and Theatre and found a true passion for editing as well as theatre. A day would just zip by whilst I edited seconds together, and I thought I had found my calling. I did well in school and college, not amazingly but enough to secure entry into my first choice university, University of Leeds. I had always wondered how I would cope without my Mum and my home comforts, but dreams of a new life and fun at University made me hopeful.
The only thing I hadn’t planned for was Anxiety to make an appearance. After the holiday and the summer, I spent days fighting myself, feeling completely alone, isolated from everyone by an invisible wall. I visited the doctors a week or so before I was due to leave to have a chat about how I was feeling, never expecting to leave with a diagnosis of Depression. I was placed on medication, that I was told could make me feel worse before it got better and asked to refrain from drinking….
I don’t believe I truly suffer from depression, but that at that time in my life, the shock of the onslaught of anxiety drove me into a depression. In spite of everything I like to think i’m a fairly optimistic happy go lucky girl who tries her hardest to enjoy herself. However I took the medication obligingly, hoping that it would be the answer to my problems.
I was dropped off at my new flat by my Mum and Dad as late as possible the day before I was due to enroll. I had been up the week before to drop off a few bits to make it feel homely when I arrived. I popped my head round and said Hi to my new flatmates then went into my room, after my parents left I remember taking a huge breath, and then the fat hot tears starting rolling down my face. There was nothing I could do but let them come. I rang my Mum to beg her to pick me up, but they couldn’t I knew that. So I thought I would face up to my new housemates. Splashing my face with cold water and trying to paste a smile on my face I went out to meet them. As I was chatting to them, the familiar prickling in my eyes started again, and I started sobbing. Right there. In front of everyone. After a few minutes of them attempting to comfort me I retreated back into my room and to bed, hoping I was just overtired.
I remember being woken up by them all getting in from a night out around 4am, and thinking how much I hated it. I wasn’t well, my life had been torn apart and now I now only felt completely alone, I was the odd crying girl!
My First Lecture
I met a friend from college outside the first lecture, huddled together with a hundred or so people around me, I knew what was going to happen. My breath left me, the tears rolled, and my mind went into overdrive. The unfamiliarity, combined with the humiliation I was constantly feeling from fighting my panic attacks, made it even harder to control them. So I just stood there, silently crying, hating myself completely, scared that this was now who I was. Eventually I got over it and our lecture began, luckily I sat next to a really friendly girl who had already been there a year, and I remember feeling like, maybe it would all be OK. That lecture came and went, something thoroughly boring about how TV’s were built, and I quicky made my way home to the sanctuary of my bedroom.
I had already been home once in the ten days I had been at Uni, but I woke up on the Wednesday of my second week, and everything hit me. I was lost, depressed, anxious and I hated every second of my life. I rang my Mum hyperventilating down the phone to her, telling her I couldn’t do it, expecting the usual pep talk. However she simply said ‘Come Home.’ Hearing someone give me a simple option to quit made it suddenly sink into place. I didn’t have to be there, I could go home and get myself together, start again when I was healthier. So I did, I grabbed a few things and got in my car making the two hour journey home. When I got home I officially quit University. Eleven days after starting.
So there I was jobless, dreamless and drifting. The ambitious, driven girl of a few months ago had disappeared and been replaced by a little depressed shell. Things could only get better right?