A mental health sick day?

Don't you find it weird that you can phone into work and say that you can't come in for a broken leg and it will be accepted and yet you can phone up about your medically diagnosed depression and it could be brushed under the carpet even though the outcome is the same; that you can't get out of bed? 

In my previous job I did phone in sick because of my mental illness (that wasn't before I had a massive panic attack about opening up about my illness!) But I thought that if I didn't explain it then I wouldn't be able let them know if I was ill at any point in the future and so I did. After this explanation of mine, my past employers were very good and I felt less pressure which provided less triggers and meant I didn't take another sick day. But, it was my employer that told my colleagues that it was a cold when in fact it was crippling anxiety and depression and from that point, I put my colleagues straight and explained to them exactly what was going on and in turn, they reached out to me. I thought to myself that if I was to live a healthy life I am to tell those whom I work for the truth, and if they don't want to know, either I don't need that in my life or in some circumstances, it could be breaking the law and with a law degree, it is certainty a passion of mine to uphold the rights of people. 

In my latest job, my employers have also been very good and understanding.

The problem still remains is that even though I have told people of my illness and have no issue of it being known, I still have concerns about phoning in sick due to my mental health. I still feel this shame that people don't see it in the same light and I won't be believed or that it's not a real reason, when we all know that it really is. I am totally all for having sick days for mental health and in fact, it is a legitimate reason but there is a stigma which makes it appear that it's not right. What must be understood is that there are laws, there is happiness and there is health. There are laws to protect us, our understanding that our happiness must come first and our health, that we must not compromise just because another person doesn't understand. You have every right to take a sick day for your mental health and there is nothing to be ashamed of. I have done it before and I am willing to do it again. Nothing should stop you from living a healthy and happy life, regardless of the stigma that surrounds it and this is something I am campaigning for and allowing myself to be more comfortable with. Without mental health, there is no physical health.

Amy X

The bubble

University is real life, but it's also only exposing you to a certain side of it. Although you can experience the darkness that life has to offer, it just doesn't have the same tinge to it as it does outside of the university bubble; I guess this is the post university blues. At university if you're lucky, you have three years of studying a subject you love, meeting new people, trying new things and not having to worry too much about money or finding a job. The real world is another three years away and it's not something that you need to concern yourself with. You know that in one way or another, your parents, friends or the university itself will have your back. Whether that be problems with rent, exams or friends, there's always an immediate fallback. Although it doesn't feel like this at the time and you do feel solely independent, the university was always involved in some way or another, whether that be grants, exams, events or renting out the house you were staying in, unless you went private. Even so there would be a university service to help you with that. This isn't to say without a university that there is no organisation out there to help, because there is. But perhaps it's not as immediately accessible and you didn't always have them watching over you.

Now that I've finished university, I am beginning to realise that I am not in a bubble anymore and it's a pretty hard lesson to learn when you've acclimatised to something for three years. I no longer get grants from the government, live with my friends, or only have to worry about my upcoming exam. I  now have to get a job to pay the bills, am back living with my parents away from all of my university friends and worrying about what I am to do next in my life. University almost felt like a euphoric side of life in which I would still have extremely bad moments, but it's nothing that couldn't be solved and now it almost seems like I'm on my own again. I know I have my family and friends to rely on, but I don't have a big organisation to protect my back. I no longer have a three year break to figure out my future, but am now thrusted into the middle of it, working to buy more time to figure out which direction I'm going in.

I guess I feel like this as intensely as I do because I have almost been ripped away from everything I've known for three years and have almost lost my independence because I'm back living at home in the place where everything went wrong. But, I know I haven't gone backwards because I have still achieved everything I have and that can't be taken away from me. But, what I do feel is young and trapped because I feel I am not developing and that is only something that I can change, and am changing over the next few months; to moving and becoming independent again and to applying to my dream job. It will just take time. There is nothing to say that I can't feel the way I did at university ever again, I just need to set the wheels in motion to make it happen, and with time and being as determined as I am, I'm sure I can. University will always be a fond memory, but there is nothing to say that I can't experience the feelings that university gave me, ever again.

Amy Xx

I graduated!

After finding out a few weeks ago that I would be graduating with first class honours in Law, I knew that it wouldn't be long until graduation weekend came around. The strange thing is that it has all happened in a blink of an eye. Literally, blink and you'll miss it. I remember my first day of university and feeling like a small fish in a big pond and that the thought of graduation was so long away. Right now though, it almost feels as if my university experience has been blurred into one big momentous memory. It was the time of my life and I don't regret it all, I'm just sad that it's over and that it seemed to last merely seconds. 

When graduation came around, I couldn't quite believe that the day was finally here. I registered and ran into all of my course mates, friends and lecturers that I had spent time with one way or another over the years. I proceeded to collect my robes and had endless photos. In those moments though, it all felt surreal. It was the weirdest feeling because I was feeling a mix of emotions; both happy and sad, excited and nervous. But what scared me the most was the fact that I knew this day would never come again and I was finally living the dream that I had always wanted to achieve. I attended the ceremony which was very formal and full of university tradition. We had the head of our Law school, a high court judge read out our names with all of our family, friends and fellow graduates onlooking and to whom we gave huge applause for the support they had given us over the years. As quickly as the lecturers, sheriffs, chancellors and students went up on the stage, it was the end of the ceremony. I even combatted one of my biggest fears of being on stage which soon became a moment of happiness. It's definitely a day I won't be forgetting. 

I am no longer a student but an alumni of the university, which is weird to say because I still feel 17 years old. I can't really put into words how it felt, but for all of you who have graduated, you will know what I mean! An amazing three years, with amazing people. It has changed me as a person and I will miss it dearly. I am extremely proud of what I have achieved and I will hold on to the bundle of emotions of graduation day for the rest of my days. I will always be fond of those and hold it close to my heart. 

You are stronger than you think and can 
achieve anything you put your mind to.