On Feeling Down





I spend the majority of my time at university feeling sad, sometimes even the slightest thing will prevent me from being able to get out of bed. Being at university has pushed my mental health to its limits. Being alone, 300 miles from home, with no quick way of visiting your parents or friends, it sneakily takes its toll on your mental health.

I knew that university would be an independent experience, but I didn’t realise I would feel so alone. Yes, I’m responsible for my bills and general upkeep, that was expected. But why, when surrounded by people, do I feel like I have no one? This loneliness feeds into my sadness, oh god: I’m a mess.

Don’t let anyone tell you that university is easy. Those who do are lying. I admire my friends who seem to take it in their stride. Maybe they just don’t publicise the darker aspects of their lives. Maybe university really is the best days of their lives. I’ve come to accept that my days at university will be among some of the worst, but I’m here for a reason, and I try not to lose sight of that.

For the past month, the only motivation for me getting out of bed has been listening to The Beatles ‘Here Comes the Sun’. Although there is no hint of the sun on the horizon, with each mediocre summative mark that is handed back to me, reminding me of my inferiority, there is still a part of me that hopes something will go right, in the end. I’ve taken to writing these moments of hope down, so when I am at my unhappiest, I can read something written from when I could feel something. I hope that makes sense, I’m not sure if it does. It makes sense to me, and but maybe that’s because I’m unreasonably sad.

University must be difficult for everyone. I’m not sure why Durham has such an effect on me. I understand that going to such a prestigious university would be difficult, but I didn’t think that all aspects of my life would simultaneously become impossible. It’s easy to isolate oneself, and quite frankly, that makes me happy, or so I think. In keeping things to myself, going to the occasional lecture, and telling my friends about my drunken escapades, I can stay afloat. Everyone gets sad, there’s no need to worry about it, right? 

Why am I paying for this? Everyone gets sad, so maybe sad isn’t the best way to describe it. Depressed; yes. Maybe. That goes halfway to describe how I feel. Is this uni culture? If it is, I’m not sure I want to be a part of it. Your twenties shouldn’t consist of being sad.

It’s easy to focus on the negative, not a single thing has gone my way since I started my degree. What a self-indulgent line. I don’t think things should necessarily go my way, but someone can only be so unlucky before they start thinking that maybe this is all they deserve. Subconsciously, I know I deserve better. Why do I keep expecting the worst? Why is everything so fatalistic? I’ve gone past hoping for a mark higher than a mid 2:1. I’ve gone past hoping for an enjoyable university experience. Whenever I venture out of my comfort zone, it goes wrong. Am I just unlucky, or do other people just take these setbacks in their stride? Am I pathetic? Potentially. Or I’m spiralling. Either way, I know I’m not happy.

I just want to go home now. I’m sorry if you thought this article would have a happy ending. It doesn’t. Life goes on, I’m still sad: that’s the nature of my university life. I’ll keep going, but I can’t guarantee I’ll persevere willingly. I have to keep going, out of obligation. Those summatives keep me going, just about. Isn’t that sad? Shouldn’t I have more motivation to keep going aside from assignments? I don’t. That’s the sad reality. 

I’m holding on to those moments of happiness that I have written down. I read them as motivation to get out of bed. They do exist. I can’t feel them right now, but just reading them helps. They can exist, somehow: through the darkness. And I guess this glimmer of hope is the most important thing I can hold on to. But that’s as optimistic as I can be, for now.



If you feel like you are suffering from any mental health issues, or feel that you need some help, there are a variety of different services you can turn to which can be found at:


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