Books For Bad Days

Hello! With grey rainy days and the mixed feelings that come with lockdown easing, I’ve seen lots of people on my timelines feeling a bit down or struggling at the minute. With this in mind, I thought that I’d quickly share a few reads that I’d recommend for those days when you need a pick-me-up, some perspective or an escape from whatever is going on in your head. Whilst they’re three quite different books, they’re all ones you can dip in and out of and (along with a sugary cup of tea) help me to feel a lot calmer on those days when your mind feels like an overwhelming place to be.

First up is Liv Purvis’ The Insecure Girls Handbook. I truly can’t recommend this book enough for those days when you’re feeling a bit shit about yourself, whether it’s to do with your career, body image or the FOMO that comes from too much time scrolling on Instagram. Liv chats with women who are doing amazing things to empower women across the globe and these varied perspectives and insights mean we can all find a bit of ourselves within this book’s pages. With a relaxed and friendly tone that never veers towards preachy, this book is one you’ll be grateful to have on your shelf on those days when you need something other than your inner critic in your head.

Next is Charlie Mackesy’s The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. You’ve probably seen Charlie’s beautiful illustrations over on Instagram and it’s not surprising at all that this book won Waterstones Book of the Year in 2019. I can’t quite convey how lovely this book is to own – its’ pages are filled with the most beautiful drawings and it’s just so soothing to flick through and to read. The messages inside are hopeful and keep a childlike feeling of curiosity. On a difficult day, it can be just the kind of thing you need to be reminded that there are gentle and wonderful things in the world.

Finally, I’m finishing up with Emma Mitchell’s The Wild Remedy. Emma talks openly about her struggles with her mental health and beautifully conveys the ways in which nature helps to ground her and keep her going on the difficult days. Her drawings and photographs are the perfect antidote to city living, if you’re craving a bit of green space, and the little details of life on her daily walks or drives through the countryside always give me a brief but lovely escape from whatever’s going on in my own world.

If you end up picking up any/all of these books I really hope they make the rough days a little softer for you. And remember to support independent bookshops as much as possible with your purchases, as they need our support now more than ever.

How to support someone you care about with their mental health.

It’s far too frequently that we all feel that horrible, desperate sadness at the news that someone has died by suicide. If you’ve suffered with your mental health it can bring up difficult memories or emphasise feelings of frustration and isolation and if you haven’t it can leave you feeling helpless or unsure as to how to best be there for the people around you. Today I thought I’d write a post with some advice (based on personal experiences rather than any professional insight) for those who, given recent news, worry that they don’t know how best to be there for the people they care about, who worry about getting things right or who just don’t always have the mental energy to be checking in with the people they love as much as they feel they should do.

Ask people what they need – everyone’s needs are different and everyone needs support in different ways. You don’t have to go into a conversation prepared to bring up all sorts of uncomfortable or messy emotions, but asking people if there’s anything they need or that you can be doing for them can be a really good starter – whether it’s just arranging to go for a coffee to check in with them or acknowledging that you know a certain time of year is difficult for them etc. It reminds people that you’re there for them and care about them but it doesn’t force conversations.

Be Patient – mental health problems can seem irrational, illogical and incredibly frustrating. People’s behaviour might make you feel exasperated or like you can’t get through to them. Whilst it’s ok to feel this frustration, prioritise being patient with the person you’re supporting – they likely know their behaviour isn’t helpful/doesn’t make sense, but anger or shame won’t help them get out of the cycle. Be kind, empathetic and encouraging.

Take care of your own emotions too – it can be so easy to put pressure on yourself to be checking in with everyone you love and looking for signs that they’re struggling with their mental health, but it’s important to recognise that supporting someone takes a lot of mental energy and can leave you feeling hurt or sad or anxious. You can still be there for people whilst making sure that you remember to be there for yourself. If you’re having a stressful week but know someone else is going through a bit of a rough time, let them know you’re having a bit of a crap time but that you want to check in with them and arrange to meet up/have a catch up for the next week.

Don’t feel like you have to support someone in isolation – there are so many resources out there to help you understand a person’s mental illness and there’s also so many services you can suggest to people. You don’t and definitely shouldn’t have to be the sole person someone relies on and you don’t have to figure out how to be there for them on your own. Mind provide free, online resources explaining how different illnesses manifest themselves, as well as providing personal accounts and advice for self help/support.

Remember that mental illness and accountability shouldn’t be two mutually exclusive things – it can be difficult to support someone with their mental health if sometimes what they’re going through manifests itself in ways that leave you feeling hurt. Your feelings are just as important and you should be able to hold people to account and ensure they respect your boundaries without them feeling attacked or hurt. Having a mental illness doesn’t make someone hard to love but it can be tough for those supporting at times and that’s not a reflection on either person. Make sure you let people know your boundaries in a non confrontational way and try to prioritise being empathetic and understanding with each other.

It’s ok to get things wrong – communicating, especially over things that you might usually not speak about, can be difficult and everyone’s coming at life from different perspectives/with different experiences. Try not to be too hard on yourself if you think you maybe didn’t do the right thing or weren’t as supportive as you could’ve been. Just try your best to be there for the people you care about in the ways you can.

Self-care for the sake of kindness.

Yesterday I found myself in a situation where my anxiety, which had been building up for a long time, became unmanageable at the worst possible moment. One of my initial reactions was to be frustrated with myself for not having taken time out during the day to mentally prep, for not having been able to focus much on self care over the past few days so that I could be in a positive state of mind for the evening. And as I wrote yesterday’s blogpost, it got me thinking about all the ways in which we see self care and whether we perceive it in a positive, helpful way.

Plenty of people have talked about how self care isn’t all face masks and bubble baths and it’s definitely true – self care isn’t always pretty. It can be tedious and exhausting and hard work. But last night I ended up thinking about how even when self care isn’t just about things like skin care and candles, there’s still some underlying issues in a lot of what I see online.

A lot of people talk about self care as doing what makes you happy and quitting things that no longer serve you. There’s the obvious limitations that crop up when confronted with these ideas – having to pay rent or bills or look after your family etc. But there’s also this idea that self care is always about maintaining “happiness” and “positive energy” which I think can be unhealthy – we can’t self care ourselves to happiness and constant happiness isn’t sustainable. This idea of using self care as a way to achieve a life devoid of negative people and thoughts and feelings is toxic in itself. Self care shouldn’t just be a fix for the bad stuff, it should be a tool to help you through it.

Sometimes that means self care works in more subtle ways – accepting that you didn’t have time to be mindful or go for a walk during the day and that maybe things didn’t go as planned, but learning from it and being kind to yourself rather than critical and frustrated. Taking the stairs rather than the lift because you don’t need to anxiously stare at the same ‘flaw’ that you’ve already checked several times that morning in your bedroom mirror. On a day to day basis, these aren’t necessarily ways in which I feel like I’m practicing self care. But they stack up and they’re important. And in many ways they’re more successful than the times that I go for a walk with the sole aim of feeling better – I’m looking out for myself without trying to self care away my feelings.

The ideas I’ve talked about are often expressed in lovely Instagram posts and quotes that we see on a daily basis. I get that, for the most part, they’re about making sure you prioritise your self and your wellbeing in a world that can be cruel and exhausting. But seeing these quotes day after day can slowly, in my experience, make you feel like the goal in taking care of yourself is to be constantly happy and in the past it’s left me feeling frustrated when I’ve not been able to fix my sadness with the right self care.

When it comes down to it, I think I’ve realised self care isn’t about happiness. It’s about kindness. It’s about making the world a little softer for yourself, especially on the days when you feel like crap. It’s not about doing what makes you happy, it’s about loving yourself enough so that when the happiness comes around, you’re able to let it in.

Making my mind a kinder place to be.

Today I had an interview, not for a job, but for something else that I really cared about. I also had a day where waves of anxiety made me feel lightheaded and nauseous. And those waves got worse and worse whilst I waited to enter the room, heart pounding and slightly shaking and wishing I could think a little clearer. It didn’t go well – I felt like I rambled aimlessly, struggled to answer questions and didn’t get my points across well or ask any of the questions I’d been hoping to ask. I left and felt embarrassed and frustrated with my anxiety and sad that it constantly impacts my life, even when the rational part of my brain is telling me that I’m safe. If I’d just been able to slow my brain down a little, things probably would’ve been okay.

I arrived back home and felt defeated and sad and very much done with the week. And I tried to accept that it’s not the only opportunity out there to do the things I care about, that I’m still capable and will get there eventually. But it can be really hard to struggle so much with a mental health issue that sometimes feels impossible to control. I think I find it particularly difficult because up until recently I didn’t realise how much of an impact anxiety had on my life, how much it’s snatched away from me and tainted. Whilst I’ve made so much progress with other areas of my mental health, I’m suddenly hyper-aware of how much anxiety is deeply rooted into how I approach and experience life…

Hopefully I’ll be starting more therapy soon – I’m nervous to have a different therapist and to begin to tackle some of the work that I so desperately need to do. But I’m hoping that it’ll feel good to start being more proactive with my mental health again. And until then I just need to learn to accept that I’m living with something that makes things harder but that doesn’t mean I’m a failure or wrong in any way – I just need to prepare for it, learn from it and continue to prioritise looking after myself and my mind as much as is possible. And I’m also going to try and balance every negative thought I have about myself with another, more positive one (or at least more neutral) in the hopes of making my mind a kinder place to be.

Tomorrow’s post will lead on from this one a little – it’s going to be about approaching self care in a realistic and healthy way, rather than adhering to mantras that don’t take into account the obligations, limitations and nuances of people’s lives.

January Blues

It’s Sunday evening and I’ve had the whole day to relax and read and write and relish in the quiet of January. And yet, as often happens whenever I have no plans or obligations for the day, the day has stretched on in a fog of not feeling able to think clearly, of restlessness and a constantly overwhelming sense of anxiety. I think it’s felt worse recently – the new year and decade stretches ahead, lacking shape and certainty. I try to see this unknowingness as some kind of magic space – a future I can go ahead and create and do anything with. But with my mental health and with the constant onslaught of news stories that make me ache for the state of the world, it can be hard to not just feel scared at the thought of the future.

It’s not that things are bad right now – there’s so much to be grateful for at the moment, so much of my life which leaves me overwhelmed with surprise and love. I’m still learning that I can have space in my heart for all of that and still be scared, still struggle. Still learning that it doesn’t make me ungrateful or unappreciative or incapable of seizing all that life has to offer. I think it’s important to recognise these feelings and try and work my way through them, make space for them and treat myself with kindness when they’re heavy in my chest.

I’ve been thinking on ways that I can feel better – planning for days in the future so I have plenty to look forward to, savouring a good cup of tea or the view from my living room window as traffic snakes into the city, rearranging my bookshelves and relishing in the fact that I have a space to call home and so many wonderful things to read. But sometimes even trying to pick out a book that won’t have content that makes me feel worse seems hard and sometimes I think I just need a healthy distraction. And so after a think about what I could do to try and combat these January blues, I’ve decided to give blogging every day for the rest of the month a go. One of my ongoing anxieties is whether I’m good enough to write, to create content, to share it with the world. To do this feels like a good way to try and combat that whilst giving me the soothing promise of time to reflect as each day passes. In the same way that my weekly therapy sessions used to be a time to breathe and let everything out (pls can the NHS hurry up and give me more therapy sometime soon), I’m hoping these posts can do something similar – recently I’ve been struggling to write poetry or even just the journal entries that I used to do so much of (scrawled in various notebooks that are now stacked up at the opposite side of the room) and so I’m hoping a slightly different format will do me some good. We’ll see.

2019 and the end of the decade

As the year, and decade, draws to a close Instagram and Twitter is full of reflections, positivity and achievements as well as (if you follow the right people) reminders to be kind to yourself, to celebrate survival, to be at ease with anxiety about the future.  I don’t remember writing a post that wraps up my year since 2009, when I was 12 years old and still trying to navigate growing up and grief and countless other things. Looking back at what I wrote then I find myself in the same position I’ve wrote about countless times recently – wishing I could give her a glimpse of where I’m at now, to help her through. But writing about the whole decade would probably just emotionally drain me and I’m already teary enough (in a good way) thinking about the last 12 months alone…

This year has been challenging and at times the weight of everything has felt so unbearably overwhelming that I wasn’t sure I could get through it. But it’s also brought so much positive change and so much of what I’ve been dreaming of for years. I get back to my flat and feel relief as I unlock the front door, feel at home as I have dinner or a cup of tea or curl up with a book or even have a therapeutic cry. I have seen so many golden mornings and so many pink, bleeding skies. I’ve climbed up blustery hillsides and wandered across Millennium Bridge and by St Pauls on a beautiful, silent morning before the rest of London woke up. I’ve bought lots of flowers and had nights out that felt a bit like magic with the best people, spent far too much money on brunch, graduated (though not with the grade that I wanted, and that’s ok!), fallen in love with the view from a train window, worn pretty dresses and read poetry and novels that make me feel a little more at home in the world, explored new parts of the cities that I love so much and learned to like myself a little more, to be kinder to myself even when it feels like I don’t deserve it. I’ve pushed myself and encouraged myself and surrounded myself with people who support and love me. I’ve reached out for help when I’ve needed it (even if sometimes it isn’t easy. Mental health waiting lists are forever the worst). I got my first graduate job (!!), which is a particularly big achievement given that I used to be petrified that I’d never be able to hold one down because of my mental health. I’ve tried to be open about mental health and I’ve been a little braver about sharing the things that I write/create in the world, including two poetry collections (one of which was published by the wonderful Horsfall Gallery and 42nd Street). And, though it terrifies me to say it, I’m genuinely feeling content and happy at the moment. Life has been full of the kind of moments that I never believed I would get to see or feel. And I am so, so grateful for that.

 

Why we need to do more than just ‘talk’ about mental health.

I recently pushed myself massively out of my comfort zone and sat down in front of a camera to talk about my experiences with mental health support for an ITV report. It was daunting, but something that felt important to do – a few years ago the idea of even receiving adequate support for the problems I was experiencing seemed impossible, so the opportunity to actually have my perspective and experiences listened to and shared still feels like something I can’t quite wrap my head around. Today I thought I’d expand a lil upon what I talked about in the clips because I have a lot to rant about and, as writing has the benefit of an edit button, my sentences (unlike in real life) won’t be quite as littered with the word ‘like’. I guess this piece is partly an attempt to shed light on how difficult it can be to access support and partly a way for me to get a bit of anger out about it all – the impacts of not having your mental health taken seriously can be really damaging and it’s something I still struggle with massively, despite having received treatment and massively improved in managing my symptoms.

Throughout my attempts to access support for my mental health I’ve been described by a GP as “emotionally weak”, been told that cutting is a perfectly normal outlet but just to keep knives clean whilst in A&E, waited over a year to see a psychiatrist who (from seeing the notes taken afterwards) didn’t actually seem to listen to what I’d talked about (getting key details wrong) and seen plenty of people who, without further investigation, were quick to either diagnose or refer me to a long waiting list with no support in the interim. In part this is because toxic mentalities regarding mental health are still prevalent, however much people dismiss needing to continue to change the dialogue surrounding the issue. It’s also partly down to the fact that the NHS is severely underfunded and, unless you have the financial means to go private, support can be inaccessible even when you need it most. This isn’t to say that the NHS isn’t full of wonderful and empathetic people who genuinely want to/are capable of helping – I know those people exist and work ridiculously hard to improve things. But without the resources or the capacity to advocate for yourself, they can be incredibly hard to find. 

The result is people dying. And people being robbed of opportunities and happiness and quality of life. People are left feeling invalidated, unwanted and unsupported. I tried to do everything right to look after my mental health – I tried exercise, eating healthy, mindfulness. It wasn’t enough and until I received support from 42nd street I believed I was likely going to be incapable of living the kind of life that I wanted to live. At some points in my life suicide just felt like an inevitability. And it’s uncomfortable to talk about and it makes people feel awkward and nobody knows what to say. But I don’t think that’s a good enough reason to not talk about these things, not to get angry about them and not start pursuing change. Because it wasn’t my determination to get better alone that saved my life. It was support that took years and years to access, but that was life changing when I did.


Things are changing when it comes to mental health support – the University of Manchester are now running a pilot scheme alongside the NHS, they provide access to Big White Wall and wellbeing is talked about more and more. I’ve had positive experiences with the University Counselling Service (though they’re not there to/capable of supporting more complex mental health needs). But until there’s more money put into the NHS, allowing for people to receive adequate time and support when they need it, people will continue to suffer. There are lots of ways that you can help to improve things – consider how you vote in elections, donate to charities that pursue research/support people experiencing mental health problems (like 42nd street) and try to be as supportive as possible if someone you know is struggling. It can be difficult to know what to say and daunting to figure out how to get things right, but validating people’s emotions, offering to be there for them and asking what you can do to help is (in my opinion) invaluable. You can even find downloadable PDF files on the Mind website for different mental health conditions, explaining symptoms and causes and ways in which you can help to support someone. All of these things are so important to do, because sentiments like “it’s okay not to be okay” are useless without the support structures that people deserve.

ITV Report: https://www.itv.com/news/granada/2019-11-13/mental-health-support-centre-set-up-for-students-in-manchester/

5 tips for starting therapy

With most of my ideas surrounding therapists centering around tv depictions where they do little but say “and how did that make you feel?” to a character who doesn’t really want to be there, I wasn’t sure what to expect at my first session a couple of years ago. Since then, a lot of the people I’ve talked to about my experiences have been curious about what therapy is actually like – whether you can cry in sessions, whether your therapist gives you advice, whether it’s awkward or intense. But whilst everyone’s experiences of therapy will vary (depending on who your therapist is/how good they are, what you put into a session etc) I thought that World Mental Health day might be a good time to share some advice on how to approach therapy sessions to get the most out of them.

    1. Be prepared for the benefits of therapy to take time. Therapy is so effective in part because you work to build a relationship with your therapist in a space that feels non-judgemental and safe. But being able to challenge your thoughts and behaviours with someone requires a certain level of vulnerability that most likely won’t appear after just a single session. Give yourself time to connect with your therapist and to adjust to the dynamic of sessions before you decide that you’re not getting the benefits that you hoped for. **
    2. Try and schedule in some down-time after a session. Therapy is likely going to explore some difficult emotions/memories and you may struggle to just go straight back to whatever you’d usually be doing afterwards. I often felt really happy and productive after sessions because I felt heard and managed to make progress with how I was coping, but I also had sessions were I felt incredibly emotional/needed a good cry. Giving yourself a bit of time to go for a quick walk or have a coffee afterwards to clear your head can be really helpful, especially if you’ve got work/uni commitments. 
    3. Embrace the lack of social norms. Therapy is one of the only places where I’ve felt like it was okay to clarify what was meant by a question, where I felt like I could admit when I was worried I hadn’t articulated a response well enough or had said something that was making me feel anxious. Embrace the fact that therapy isn’t a normal conversation – you can come back to things you’ve already talked about or let the other person know if you’re worried about something they or yourself has said. When you feel able to do this, you can get a lot more out of your conversations. 
    4. Engage with the process. Therapy is about putting hard work in to understand yourself, your thoughts and your behaviours. A really helpful way to ensure you’re able to do that is to make sure you engage with the ideas behind the therapeutic approach being used – if your therapist doesn’t explain the ideas/theories behind their practice to you then ask for some insight. My therapist explained the different models incorporated into our sessions and I found that it really helped me to implement the ideas we discussed into my everyday life.
    5. Take a pen and paper.There were only a few times I used a notebook and pen in a session because the dynamic was conversational. But sometimes it can really help to be able to quickly jot down a certain pattern of behaviour, a certain idea or even an epiphany you’ve had about your thought process to look back over later. If you’re struggling without support between sessions those notes can be helpful to go back to and if you’re talking about some difficult stuff it’s always useful to have reminders so things don’t get swept up and forgotten by whatever emotions you’re dealing with during the session. If you can develop this a little in your own time you’ll have a handy resource to go back to when you’re struggling as well as a tangible reminder that you’re capable of prioritising yourself and your own mental health. 

 

*Sometimes, for whatever reason, you may not be able to develop the kind of relationship necessary to make progress with your therapist. If they invalidate you/your emotions, you feel there are huge differences in your values/beliefs or you really don’t click then make this clear and try another therapist – you deserve to work with someone who respects you and your boundaries and is capable of creating a safe space for you to grow🌱

A post about grief.

Grief is a funny thing. It’s something I thought I’d got to grips with when I was much smaller, but somewhere along the way I shoved and swallowed it down until it only manifested in quiet and subconscious ways within my life. I think I’d accepted that it’s intensity varied, coming back and surprising me every so often. But I hadn’t quite prepared for the fact that it can completely hit you in its entirety all over again.

My grandparents raised me, were the most wonderful and important people in my life and I lost them at 11 and 15. I think I was too young to even comprehend the significance of that when I was younger and I eventually found myself feeling disconnected from the grief that it makes sense to feel.

It wasn’t until years later, after around 9 months worth of therapy, that I began to feel that grief seeping back in to my life, quietly at first and then with a force I’d forgotten. It was as if a switch had been flicked and memories I’d somehow forgotten came flooding back – bacon buttys every morning and dinner ready when I dashed back across the road home from school, walks home from nursery and lifts home from high school, gifts and days out and snatches of memories from the home in which they all happened. I was devastated all over again. I think part of this came from a realisation of what I had lost – two of the most important people that would ever be in my life, a home where I felt safe and content and happy. And part of it was just the natural way in which grief lives within you once you’ve met.

But I also felt confused and guilty and like I wasn’t entitled to be feeling the loss so intensely – it had been years. I struggled to reach out, felt I couldn’t bring it up in conversation, worried I was just being over-dramatic or attention seeking.

Over the last year or so I’ve found myself feeling this grief more strongly than ever, when I’m homesick or lonely or something exciting happens and I wish they could know about it. But I’m beginning to accept it, to give myself permission to feel it. I still don’t know how to deal with it in some ways – wish I could visit places we used to go to or write to them or do something to celebrate their lives. But I’m allowing myself to miss them. And that’s a start.

How to look after your mental health at University.

This week I had my final ever University exam, which feels kind of surreal… I’m not quite sure it’s hit me that it’s all over, but given how much my mental health has impacted my experience of the last three years I thought it’d be good to write a bit of an advice post for navigating university life whilst looking after yourself – it’s been harder than I hoped, but wonderful in entirely unexpected ways and hopefully I’ve got some helpful advice to share!

 

  • Don’t pressure yourself to have ‘the best three years of your life’. University might well be a time that you look back on with nostalgia, filled with incredible memories. But three years is a long time and university is full of changes for a lot of people, especially when you’re first finding your feet. Take the pressure off of yourself and don’t feel bad if you’re not constantly having an amazing time/making memories/finding your ‘friends for life’. It’s normal to feel isolated, anxious and down at times – you’re not failing. And you’re much more likely to find yourself genuinely contented if you don’t expect your experience to be amazing 24/7.
  • Remember that there’s a billion different ways to experience University life. Particularly when you’re scrolling through endless photos of huge groups of people heading out clubbing, it can be easy to wonder if you’re doing university ‘right’. Are you going out enough? Making enough friends? Trying enough new things? But it’s important to remember that your own happiness and enjoyment comes before any preconceived expectations of how you should be spending your time. Push yourself and try things you might not initially think you’d be too keen on, but don’t stamp down your personality and interests in order to have a specific type of university experience.
  • Make sure you’re aware of what resources are on offer to you, if you need them. Whether you’ve experienced problems with your mental health before or not, it’s always a good idea to be aware of what help is available should you end up needing it. Have a quick search for your University’s counselling services and see if there’s other resources in your area to help look after your mental health – creative therapies, mindfulness events etc. If you’re Manchester based, I’ve provided a lil list of some great resources at the bottom of this post.  But this doesn’t just apply to directly mental health related services – find out what financial help/bursaries/loans your University offers; these things can be really useful, particularly if your mental health impacts your ability to work alongside your degree.
  • Try to open up and avoid isolating yourself. Whether it’s giving a friend from home a quick text, admitting you’re having a bit of a ‘down’ day to someone off of your course or forcing yourself to spend a little longer than you would usually socialising in a communal kitchen, try to make sure you don’t go from ‘making time for yourself’ to just isolating yourself – anxieties and emotions are often intensified after a few days avoiding the world in your room. And besides, those around you might appreciate your honesty if they too aren’t feeling great.
  • Find your happy places. This might take a little bit of time, but try and get out and explore your new city/campus. Stumbling across places where you can retreat for a little bit of quiet and calm can be so important when you’re in a University bubble. It might be a green bit of your campus, a coffee shop you really like or a bit of countryside you can get to easily enough – just find somewhere where you can be with your thoughts and relax.
  • Try and get outside of your University bubble. Especially if you’re feeling anxious or trapped, getting out of the bubble of university life can be really important. If going home is both an option and a safe space, try and schedule some trips back. Visit your friends at other universities. Or if you’re unable to do so, for whatever reason, try and find a way to engage with the local community outside of campus – find a volunteering opportunity or an event that you think you’d be interested in and go for it!
  • Be kind to yourself and accept your limitations. University can be full of expectations to excel academically, get work experience/internships and socialise. But if you’re struggling to do any/all of this, your worth does not change. It’s important to accept your limitations (which will fluctuate over time), be kind to yourself and focus on what you need, rather than what you feel you should be doing/what other people expect of you. If you’re not well enough to manage a part time job alongside your studies or you don’t have a huge group of friends that you see 24/7, don’t see this as a reflection on your capabilities/character. Be patient with yourself, ask for help when you need it and celebrate your victories, whether they’re big or small.

 

 

Manchester based resources:

42nd Street & The Horsfall42nd Street offer individual and group therapy as well as groups such as MORR which are great to get involved with. The Horsfall is a gallery/creative space that’s linked with 42nd st and offers lots of wonderful creative stuff – from an art/drawing session every Thursday to exhibitions.

Open Mind Manchester Open Mind are a University based society, with groups operating at both the University of Manchester and MMU. They share helpful resources and run an excellent range of events, from mental-health themed spoken word nights to ‘PositiviTEA’ and ‘Share your Story’.

WeAreAssifCheck out their website/instagram for lots of interesting blog posts/articles and events in Mcr – from a book club to walks in Heaton Park.