Alex Kemp talks about his experience with mental health issues and gives advice on how to overcome them.
With the holidays coming up, I thought it was prudent of me to share what happened over my summer holidays this year where I suffered from depression and anxiety, and nearly didn’t make it through. It’s hard for me to share this story because it is still very fresh in my mind, but it is important that no one else has a similar experience to me unnecessarily.
To set the scene for you, it was during the writing of my master’s dissertation. At this time, I was living between my family home, and then later on in the holidays in Tawney Tower. I was suffering from depression from around June and I was not coping well. I remember very well having to go to work at graduation in July thinking that I should have ended it all that day – that I should overdose on my medication. And in truth, I very almost did.
Because of the holidays, I had only a few friends around. I kept these things hidden from my family and even from those few friends who were there. Because I felt like a burden, because I felt that no one would care. That’s how I felt on that day, and on many other days as well. The fact that I felt I was unable to share how I was feeling on any particular day only fed more into my poor mental health.
“The fact that I felt I was unable to share how I was feeling on any particular day only fed more into my poor mental health.”
And because of this my, at the time, rather poor relations with my family, no friends to distract me from my mental state and the stress of writing my master’s dissertation almost left me unable to write this article. I ended up in A&E several times over the summer because of my mental health.
But I’m simply here to say that you are not alone in how you are feeling. Things started to get better for me once I began to realise that I did have friends who cared and wanted to help me, even if they weren’t there in person. I made new friends that could help me focus on other things other than languishing by myself locked in my room. They pushed me to reach out and get help. And I am not ashamed to say that this is what truly saved my life over the summer.
“Things started to get better for me once I began to realise that I did have friends who cared and wanted to help me, even if they weren’t there in person.”
And so, as we approach the Christmas holidays, I have this to say to anyone who is feeling lonely or stressed: you are not alone. There are people just like you. And your friends, even if they aren’t physically there, are always there to support you. And whether it is your friends, your doctor or your family, there are people there for you.
Please see listed a group of agencies that are available for support:
Samaritans: 116 123
Papyrus: 0800 068 4141
NHS urgent medical advice: 111
The University of Essex also has support systems in place at the Student Services Hub open from 9-5 Monday to Friday. The Support Desk in the Silberrad Centre is available without an appointment if you just bring your student registration card.
Further services offered by the University are available on the official site.
If you or a friend is in need of an ambulance on campus, call campus security on 01206 872 222