My name is Oli and I have depression and anxiety, but don’t worry, this blog isn’t going to be all doom and gloom. I’m going to try, try being the keyword, talk through my own experiences at University where I didn’t look after my mental health and explain why it’s so important to look after yours.

Oli Welham

University was a big change for me. Moving from a small village to a big city, leaving my friends from college behind and for the first time being away from my family. I was so desperate to make friends and fit in that I kind of forgot who I was. I was going out every night to house parties or club nights when really, I was much happier with a quiet film night or “Karaoke Thursdays”. I was burning the candle at both ends trying to fit in and keep on top of my work and deadlines. The biggest hit was the missed sleep and bad, overindulging diet making me tired and irritable and underperforming in my assignments. Already the stress of this lifestyle was having negative effects in nearly every aspect of my life.

In my second year, I knew something had to change so I stopped trying to fit in and started being the un-edited version of myself. I stopped going out all the time, although Karaoke Thursdays stayed obviously, and got involved in a society through the Students’ Union. I was loving life, getting involved in many activities with people who shared the same interests as me. Only I over-corrected, I focused too much on this and still forgot to look after myself. I stopped going out, instead spending every night in my room eating. Not only was this lonely and isolating, it was very expensive leading to all sorts of money worries. Once again, this added stress built up and after two years of not looking after my mental health, I reached a crisis point. It was only then that I confided in close friends about what was going on in my head. I didn’t speak to a professional, but I should have.

My third year was very much a year of healing. I found a balance and allowed myself to not be okay – in a healthy way. I was open about my experiences and found a good life balance, but once again never spoke to a professional. It was another year before I spoke to a counsellor and began my journey to recovery.

This all sounds bleak, but honestly, University was the best years of my life and forged me into the man I am today. I just wish that instead of burying my head in the sand and just coping, I’d walked into student support and asked for the support on offer. If I had, then maybe I wouldn’t have coped, I’d have thrived.

If you need to reach out, then please head to The team are here to help.

By Oli.