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University with depression - decisions? Watch

    • Thread Starter

    I've reached a point where I'm really, really at a loss regarding what I actually want to do. I've almost finished my first year at uni (I have about three weeks left, seeing as my course doesn't have exams), but things are going from bad to worse.

    I took two years out prior to applying, due to bad depression and anxiety. Things were by no means perfect by the time I actually got packed up to start at uni, but I definitely felt more ready than I would have done straight out of college. For the first few weeks, things were fine. I really made an effort over Freshers week, and felt like I actually had 'friends' for those first few weeks. However, it was short lived, and all of those freshers friends were just that. I've pretty much been a loner ever since. I've visited my doctor multiple times since I started uni; I've switched from celexa to fluoxotine, and had my dose upped from 20mg a day to 40mg a day...but apparently, nothing helps.

    I was at home for almost four weeks over Easter, and I was actually feeling quite positive. I was seeing friends back home, spending time with my family, and even on days where I stayed in the house, I felt comfortable. Sunday, I went back to uni, and it was incredibly short lived. On Monday I actually felt quite positive; we didn't have classes this week, but I went for a meeting with some of my lecturers, and then I got my friend to come up so we could go out. It was a short lived night out because I got a migraine, but I really felt like I was alright with being back. Tuesday and Wednesday, I swear I spent most of my time crying, and mulling over every decision I possibly could. Wednesday night, I ended up getting the train back to my parents' house, and the more I consider my options, the more confused I am.

    Whenever I'm up at uni, I'm depressed. Plain and simple. I get anxious about going into the kitchen if I know my flatmates are in, I dread the days I have classes, and I spend the majority of my time alone in my room. At this point, I know I'm definitely going to finish up first year, with there only being a few weeks left, but from there, my brain is fried. My lecturers are all well aware of what's going on with me; I have a doctors note, due to having been seeing her for depression for almost three years now, and they've been willing to help me as best we can. Our last presentation is meant to be this big group presentation in front of everybody, but one of my tutors suggested I do a solo presentation, sans audience, to elevate a bit of the pressure.

    When it comes to my course, I like the tutors. They're really nice and supportive, but the course itself is not what I ever expected it to be. With the two years out, I spent a lot of time thinking about my choices, and ended up only applying to one university. The course description was what I wanted, but the reality isn't the same at all. I've always been interested in drama, but after 9 months on this course, we haven't actually acted. The practical side of my course is very...bizarre. I wanted to do some form of acting course that involved both an academic side and actually plays, but whereas the academic side has been there (kind of), it's less about acting, and more about movement and dance techniques. The content is definitely not something I've enjoyed, thus far, and I don't know if I want to wait it out and see if second year is better.

    My closest friends are all at my local uni, and living back home. I already have a deposit down on a studio flat for next year, in my uni city, which makes me feel like I sort of HAVE to be there, but I know that's not the case. However, with my shoddy mental health at the moment, I really don't know what my best path is. I don't want to talk ANOTHER year out, when I already had two prior to starting. I'm 21, and I know a lot of people start university later in life, but the longer I put it off, the less confident I'll be about it all. I feel like I'm at a point where I need to either to either stay at the university I'm at and do a different course; switch universities and do a similar course, perhaps at one closer to home; switch to a closer uni & find another course that interests me, or wait it out and see what second year is like.

    I've already sorted student finance and accommodation for next year, which is something I'm mildly anxious about, if I end up swapping or changing anything...but I know I shouldn't let that influence my decision. My parents reckon my doubled up medication might have screwed with how I'm feeling about everything, but I honestly think it's a case of being lonely and so uncertain about the course I'm on. When asked previously, I've said I was 'fine' with the course, but saying that I'm enjoying it would probably be a stretch. I'm interested in acting and creative writing, so I know there are a slew of drama and English courses I could look into, both at the uni I'm at now, and the one in my home town.

    Basically...I just needed to get all my thoughts into one place, and any kind of advice would be amazing. I wasn't sure if this would be better in uni life or mental health, but I opted for mental health seeing as the majority of it is about my depression and anxiety holding me back. I do sort of wonder if I'd be better doing some kind of English course, and doing Drama as a sort of side thing, what with my mental health acting up so much...but I don't know if it'd take any sort of 'pressure' off, or what. My brain is just all over the place trying to figure out where I'd be best. At the end of the day, I know it's my own decision to make - I just wondered if anybody had been in any similar situations, regarding wanting to drop out of the course/uni?
    • TSR Support Team
    • Clearing and Applications Advisor

    TSR Support Team
    Clearing and Applications Advisor
    (Original post by victoriahope)
    I'm struggling a bit to read all that but this sounds like a really difficult decision. It does sound like you might be happier at home and/or on a different course and your mental (or physical) health are always more important than study do that's definitely worth a thought. You might be able to get second year entry at your local uni too- you could always email and ask if they might consider that depending what the course is just to see what options you have? Your current tutors and uni support services are worth talking to too, they'll have seen plenty of people in a similar situation before and you definitely won't be the last.

    With the depression side it takes a lot of people several types of medication before they find one that works for them- the two you've mentioned are both of the same category (SSRI) and there are others so it doesn't mean another one wont work! That doesn't help with how you're feeling at the moment though I know. I don't know if you've tried CBT or other therapy/counselling etc but this could help too.

    Sorry if that's not a lot of help! I can move this to uni life if you want me too and there might be people who've been in a similar situation there, or someone else will hopefully reply here who has as well

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    • Very Important Poster

    Very Important Poster
    Ok that was really well written and paragraphed. I might come back later and edit my advice, but my gut instinct is you just need to consider your options and make a choice.

    1. Stay, then you need to talk to your lecturers about concern for the course. they should give you an idea of year 2 and 3, but you arent enjoying it and you could end up paying £50k for that experience. I tend to think (not knowing you from anyone) that if you really were acting and taking part, then you would feel happier and be making friends, because its more involved. If you cant do that, then imo look for another course and find someone who will take a transfer opr alternativelt take you from year one, but with the assurance the course is what you want. It could also give you confidence.

    The only thing keeping you is the idea you have already paid for one year, whatever friends you have and your deposit. The deposit is say £500?, for one months rent? weight that against where you will spend the next £30,000 + and its not important.. you will need to consider seeing if you can cancel the agreement, but normally that involves finding someone else. Its an incobvenience but it shouldnt hold you back.

    To leave you will need to clear it with tutors and then know the procedures for admissions. You will also need to think about notifying SFE, but it might be better if you know your new place. If you come back here im happy to guide you through that, but its just formalities.

    2. Do some research on other unis and courses and find out who does what you want. Visit and then for the rest of the time try and look after yourself. look on the epxerience as a positive thing and trying to make a choice as brining positive chances of change. 40mg is a lot, if its not working then go back and maybe try something else. You will also find the traditional good diet, laughing with friends and exercise cna really lift your mood.

    It doesnt have to be home and imo i would go where the course is rather thna where your friends are, but find out. Feel free to post back here and will probably edit this after reading your post again. Busy at mo. hang in there, youve really identified a lot of what the issues are and now you just need to make a few decisions, then follow through to bring change. Youll be fine .
    • Thread Starter

    Thank you both so much!

    I know I babbled on a lot in the first post, so I wasn't really expecting anyone to read it -- but you've both been incredibly helpful. I still have some decisions to make, but I've emailed my personal tutor to arrange a meeting, and I'm looking into various options, so I think I should be in a more stable place fairly soon. But thank you for taking the time to read and respond!
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Updated: April 17, 2016
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