How Depression Affected Me – TW

Firstly, a message on behalf of everyone at Rebel…

We wanted to thank Yury for bravely coming forward and telling his story. He’s been a writer with us for over a year, and the telling of his story is there to help anyone tackling any kind of mental strain, it’s truly inspiring.

By Yury Karutin

TRIGGER WARNING – Mentions of suicide, disordered eating behaviour and self-harm

I don’t have a set day for when it started. In some way I feel like I’ve been like this all my life, in another it feels like it’s only gotten this bad in the past year. In some way it feels like it won’t get better, in some way I think it will. 

During the break between my first and second year, I began feeling empty and lonely. This is unsurprising, I had gotten up to a lot in my first year, so having to go home where there wasn’t much to do as I saw all my fellow students go on adventures and meet old friends wasn’t going to be pleasant. 

But this time was different to others.

I’ve never really had many friends, mostly because of poor social skills growing up, but it was something that I had come to terms with when I came to university. I’m a naturally outgoing person and had mustered enough self-esteem and healthy self-awareness to be able to have a nice time. Within a month I had already met three of my closest ever friends, Sarvajitt, Johann, and Jett, and had established myself in many extra-curricular activities.

It was anything I’d ever wanted, there was always something for me to do, the work from the Uni was interesting and manageable, and I even got to meet people who could empathise with me. I felt comfortable in this environment, something that was a new experience. 

Initially, I had been scared. What if it all falls apart? What if they find me unpleasant? What if they don’t want to hang out with me? Were often swirling around my head as I walked over to various society events or parties by myself, but they would vanish the moment I saw a familiar who’d give me a firm reassuring handshake and remind me I was welcome there. 

So eventually these feelings waned. I got more involved and settled in the campus, made friends at my own pace, and enjoyed it more and more. 

Using this newfound security, I had developed healthy eating habits, developed a disciplined gym routine, and was a model student.

My first year ended with barbecues, hanging out with friends, and fun trips (that wrecked bank accounts).

I got home a bit early, there was no reason to stick around on campus in my microwave of a South Courts room. I remember feeling great and meeting a couple of my friends for the summer. Everything seemed fantastic.

I woke up one morning to find that I had slept until 11, while that may not be shocking, to me it was, as I usually woke up at 7. 

Another day I just lay in bed all day looking at the ceiling thinking about nothing but how I won’t ever be able to achieve anything and that I was useless.

Another day, I began thinking of ways to conveniently end my life.

I began to develop new habits, a daily routine of waking up feeling ashamed of having slept too little or too much, calling my friends to check if they hated me or not, and vivid suicidal thoughts began to overwhelm me. 

Now, I have experienced this before when I was around 14-15. Although, that was different as I had now developed a sense of confidence as well as a supportive friend group. 

This was why I initially ignored all of these thoughts and feelings, misunderstanding them as being a symptom of being at home and not at university with all my friends, I missed them that’s all. 

I remember the day I arrived back at the university. After unpacking everything and setting up my accommodation, hugging and kissing my girlfriend who I had rarely gotten to see during the holiday, and meeting up with my friends, the feelings didn’t go away.

As I began to try and get back into my routine, I realised things became harder and harder. I didn’t feel like cleaning my room, I didn’t feel like doing laundry, I didn’t feel like working out. I had lost any and all of my good habits. 

I received my first assignment that term to write a quick 200-word analysis. It took me an entire week. 

At this point I didn’t know it was a problem, but soon enough the realisation would hit me.

What followed in the next few months was a consistent pattern of breakdowns, suicide attempts, emotional self-harm, and late nights binge eating to try and feel better. 

My friends noticed it after a couple of weeks, but despite all their efforts to help me, I was minimising it and pushing back, talking about deadlines and needing to finish this or that, but no one was fooled.

I began to decay in front of my friends, it felt like all the joy and ambition that had made me have so much fun at university was gone forever.

I remember it was after a night of hard assignment work and submission that I got the email. I had woken up extremely early and had just finished my breakfast of nothing to receive an email from Student Wellbeing. Someone had reported that they were concerned about me. 

I went to the Silberrad Centre and met a wellbeing adviser, who took one look at me and could tell I needed help. 

I was referred to therapy and sent to the medical centre on campus. 

While the therapist reached out to me, their email was sent to spam, and the health centre’s phone calls didn’t come through so I had to specifically request an in-person appointment.

This all sent me into the lowest point of the crisis when I began to think that I didn’t deserve help. I was in complete despair and lower than ever. 

But it was then that things began to improve. 

I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and now I knew it was a serious problem. While this was scary, it was also reassuring, it felt like I wasn’t just dealing with this by myself.

My friends understood the problem now too, as I could articulate what needed to happen to help me get out of it. 

I was able to finally contact the therapist after fixing the email issue and was able to understand my issues much better.

It’s not over for me, I’m still struggling, but compared to a few months ago, I am much better.

I know my friends don’t hate me, I know what to do when I panic, and I know how to take care of myself a bit better. 

It’ll take a while to get my habits back, but the road to recovery is much better than being at rock bottom. 

While it can feel that this is how you’ll feel forever, that isn’t true. Depression is like a wave, you need to understand it so you can be able to handle it. Don’t fight against it, find people who are able to help you. You will get better.

Resources for help and advice

The Wellbeing service offers a drop-in session to speak to a Wellbeing Assessor on the 1st floor of the Silberrad Student Centre from 10am – 4pm Monday to Friday.

If you would prefer a call or zoom meeting, email

24-Hour Student Wellbeing Support Line: 0800 970 5020 (outside UK: +44 141 271 7168) – open every day.

Short-term counselling is available through HealthHero, by either completing a form on MyEssex or contacting HealthHero directly on 0800 970 5020.

Alternatively, if you’re not a student, help is there through charities like Samaritans, who can be reached 24/7 on 116 123, or they can be looked up on the Samaritans website.

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