“I ended up intercalating to spend more time on myself”

Going into his third year this year, Biology student Kyle Spurr shares his story about intercalating and finding part-time work whilst battling depression.

Content warning: mention of self harm and suicide.

The start of my spiral into depression was when I lost my girlfriend at age 15 to suicide. This would obviously be terrible to anyone, but to a 15-year-old who thought they would spend the rest of their life with this person, it is one of the most traumatising experiences a teenager could face.

Over many years, I tried multiple medications. Some seemed to help for a short time whilst others made me feel much worse, so I decided to go it alone. With the help and support of some friends, it worked, and my mental health improved.

But this was at the end of my time at college, and all of my friends were going to different universities. This was hard for me, as I had made the mistake of relying solely on my friends for support, and was not getting any other form of help. This was when I began to self- harm.

My first year of university was okay for me. I had made new friends, had a girlfriend, and was overall in a generally happy mood.

In second year however, the stress of studying eventually got to me, and my mental health started to decline for a second time.

My grades began to plummet, my relationship with my girlfriend dissolved, and severe anxiety entered the fray, making me feel even worse. Multiple times I considered ending my life.

With the encouragement of a few friends, I eventually went to see a counsellor, and saw multiple GPs who prescribed me with medication, which didn’t help.

So I ended up intercalating to spend more time on myself, and to get better.

I got a part-time job and just decided to relax, and so far, it has worked out. There have been dips in my health and I have had depressive episodes, but I remain hopeful that eventually I will be able to fully control my depression.

My advice to anyone who thinks they may be suffering from any mental health problem: please know you are not alone and to seek help as soon as possible, whether that be help from a medical professional, or just talking to your friends.

If you are studying at university and are struggling with mental health, I would suggest taking a year out to focus on yourself and get help.

And remember, YOU ARE IMPORTANT!

For confidential support with mental health or suicidal feelings, call Samaritans on 116 123.

If you are experiencing problems that are affecting your studies or general wellbeing, get in touch with the University’s Counselling and Mental Health and Wellbeing services.