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Sixth Form and Mental Health, My Story By Anonymous

Just like most 16 year olds I still had a lot to learn about the real world and going into A levels wasn’t as simple as I had anticipated. First of all, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and chose the subjects I believed would be the easiest. I had to go to a different school for maths and it was there that I first experienced mental health problems. I found it strange to meet new people and make new friends because it was the first time in five years that I would have to interact with individuals other than my typical friends. I knew I was in the wrong place the moment I stepped foot inside the building. I was not greeted, given instructions to the classroom, or given any opportunity to feel at ease by anyone.

I had to persuade the head of sixth form to change my studies after just two lessons because I couldn’t cope with the feeling of being alone. I struggled to make up for the work I missed because I was already behind and found myself not understanding the subject as well as I had in the past. I could be studying for hours upon hours and the next day it would all just disappear. My teachers were concerned and had to arrange extra classes for me to attend, but still the same outcome. In through one ear and out the other - nothing was making sense and so I asked to get extra lessons during my lunch time.

Having this much pressure on me, with exams lurking round the corner, I was losing myself mentally and found myself being depressed. Initially I tried to open up to my mom, but was told I’m overthinking it and that depression doesn’t exist. Even though I disagree with what she said, I recognise that my parents' generation was taught to stigmatise mental illness since it was thought to be a sign of "weakness," which is of course total nonsense. I turned to my assistant head of sixth form and this was honestly one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. She worked with me to create a schedule, constantly checked up on me (even outside of school) and actually showed emotion towards me which is something I lacked throughout my life. With exams coming up, I was much more calm and also was given the opportunity to revise in the school building, as I was living in a toxic household, which would stop me from being able to focus.

Eventually, I managed to pass all of my subjects and none of it could have been possible if I didn’t reach out for help, when I did. As a whole, opening up to others about mental health only has a positive outcome. Although it seemed scary at the time, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and by telling other people I actually realised that I’m not alone in all of this, because the opening up was reciprocated. It was encouraging to learn that my teachers have gone through similar experiences and are now enjoying life because it was the last thing I expected to hear from them.

Tips for Dealing with Depression:

1. Open up to someone close

Whether it’s a friend, relative or teacher, it’s always good to speak to someone about your struggles, because they can give some great advice and help you become healthier.

2. Create a routine.

Without a routine, you’re freestyling your life, which leads to poor organisation and an inability to make use of your time.

3. Exercising

Keeping your body fit and healthy will give you the platform to relate that back to your mental health. Even a simple walk around the park helps clear your mind and can give you the platform to start your day off on a positive note.

4. Eat healthily

Linking to the tip above, a healthy body can lead to a healthy mind!

Written by: Anonymous

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1 Comment

Esther Alonge
Esther Alonge
Jul 29, 2022

Love this

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