A letter from Sophie

Dear Louise & readers,

I am honoured to write on your blog as a guest and hope that it’s what you’d like it to be –

I am writing openly and honestly about my experience with my mental health, mindfulness and university.

I have recently graduated Aberystwyth University after studying there for three years. In 2015, at eighteen years old I moved out of my family home for the first time and drove 110 miles to walk into my dorm room. I was about to meet seven other people I’ve never met before and live with them for a whole year.

When meeting my other flatmates, I got on with them extremely well. I am aware this is not the case for everyone; a lot of people find themselves having to move because of the people they got chosen to live with. I lived with four boys and three other girls, and to a certain extent they were the reason my mental health stayed mostly stable. However, with good unfortunately comes bad. Moving out of my family house wasn’t too difficult to me as I enjoy adventure, but suffering with anxiety caused me to have several moments where I was not okay, even with the help of my flatmates.

My first struggle in Aberystwyth with my mental health came from my first night out. Even though I had a lovely bunch of people around me, I still am not the biggest fan of drinking and being around others when they are intoxicated. I believe the attack happened after the night out, when I got home. I sat on my bed attempting to breathe and calm myself down – this is where mindfulness came in handy to me. I have found that starry skies and the sound of rain help calm me down; this technique connects to mindfulness and meditation. Listening
to something or focusing on one specific thing is what links my technique to meditation. (I will link my favourite rain video at the end of this post). It took me a little longer to get my mental health back to a state of normality; I assume this is because of the getting used to being in a whole new environment.

If I were to give any advice to anyone reading who is thinking of going to university or wants to go and you suffer with a mental health issue, different universities have different options, but most will have a night line number – someone you can ring if you’re not feeling safe or unwell mentally.  It is also super important to inform at least one person that you’re living with and or a trusted friend that you suffer with a mental health issue, because if you do find yourself in a situation where you are worse than normal, they can help you and or get someone else who can.

Overall, it is important to note your mental health is super important, but it should not stop you from going where you need to go or doing what you want to do! Mindfulness is a great way of helping control yourself when not feeling 100%, my technique may not work for you but there are thousands of other mindfulness techniques that will.

Speak soon,

Sophie x

P.S. my favourite rain video link is – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q76bMs-NwRk

You can find Sophie here.

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