It’s safe to say that in the last 4 months I have been through what can only be described as a massive breakdown and completely losing myself.
A series of events over summer lead to me feeling completely unstable, lost and grasping at any opportunity to find some purpose and validation. All of which is completely understandable – however my way of dealing with this was very misguided and detrimental to my wellbeing.
I’m someone quite prone to phases – I had my fitness phase, my academic phase, my vegan phase, my basic white girl phase – but all in all I’ve consistently been someone who is very clued up on how to maintain a good and good mental health.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been conscious and interested in how to improve my physical and mental state; whether that be through eating properly, reading books to expand my knowledge, listening to podcasts, getting a good amount of sleep etc.
In February 2019, I had therapy for 3 weeks, until I was discharged as my therapist told me that I had one of the healthiest lifestyles she had seen in a while. I still went on nights out and enjoyed myself, but it never got in the way of my life.
For the first 6-8 months of this year, I was on top of my university work, I trained for and ran a half marathon, I recorded podcasts with the BBC and would read for 1 hour every night before bed. I didn’t really care about social media and had notifications turned off on every app on my phone; except for text messages. I would still go on nights out and make mistakes, I would still spend my money on stupid things occasionally, and I would still panic over minor things – but overall I was in a very good lifestyle position. I had clear defined goals, which I was aiming for and achieving at a good pace.
Contrasting to this, September 2019 started potentially one of the most unhealthiest lifestyle patterns I’ve been in. After a highly unstable relationship, unstable living situation, unstable finances and a very stressful summer; I threw myself into the binge drinking culture of university. This seemed like the only way to hide from and avoid all the problems that had eaten me up over summer.
I was a freshers rep for my university, which led me to meet some amazing people and have some of the funniest and strangest experiences of my life. However, the constant drinking, disjointed routine, hangovers and spending lots of money caused me to spiral even further. I dropped out of fresher’s repping after 6 nights, as I knew that my experiences being constantly drunk/hungover was causing me to feel very badly about myself.
I still continued to go out 3-4 times per week. I would drink until I couldn’t understand what I was saying. I would take anything that anyone offered me, and I would refuse to go home when the lights came on. Whilst the nights out themselves were (mostly) enjoyable, and I met some lovely people – I never felt like I was on the night out with everyone; I felt like I was there, getting drunk, getting off my face – for myself, surrounded by other people.
I never really thought that what I was doing was problematic, because everyone around me was doing the same thing. Some people were in much worst states than me, so I thought I was fine. I convinced myself that because I still had a job, money in my bank, still attended some university content and had lots of friends – that everything was fine. University culture actively encourages and promotes this sort of lifestyle – I was just being a student?
As months of the same behaviours carried on, I realised that I wasn’t having any time to myself. Not only was I always going out, but I was also getting too invested in people who really aren’t worth the stress. I turned down plans and barely interacted to the people who are closest with me, and ignored their suggestions that I was spiralling. When my best friends voiced their concerns, I just brushed it off.
At the start of December, I hit a wall. I forgot who I was without being drunk, and I hated how I felt hungover. I had absolutely no goals or ambitions. I floated along and could no longer see the point in anything. I completely ran into a dead end, after going down the wrong path – and things hit an all time low.
Through experiencing this (and also getting a terrible 1st term grade), I knew something had to change. I pushed myself through the final two weeks of university – and the day I finished for term I knew things needed to change.
In the last 10 days, I have had so much time to think about where I am in life, and what I am doing wrong. Having a job has kept me accountable and productive, and allowed me to use my free time in a positive way. I’ve started to take my life seriously again. Food is a massive thing that slipped over the last few months; so ensuring I am eating proper healthy meals has helped me.
Regularly going to the gym, reading, meditating and getting back to the headspace that I was prior to all of this – it’s happening slowly but surely.
In the 10 days where I haven’t been black out drunk; I’ve been healing from and overcoming the problems from summer in a much more productive way.
I know university is a big trigger for all of this, and my intentions for the next year are to treat my life and my degree seriously. I don’t want to be the girl who’s at every party, at every night out – I want to be the girl who is successful and puts her energy into the right things.