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Forums / Young people / Flashbacks re being unwell at Uni

Topic: Flashbacks re being unwell at Uni

8 posts, 0 answered
  1. pinktulip
    pinktulip avatar
    33 posts
    7 June 2020

    Hi there,

    I'm wondering how people at University have coped when they have got mentally unwell and had to pull out of a course.... When they redo a course, how do they cope with flashbacks... - memories of being unwell trying to cope

    I've been in the situation for example, when I was on an antidepressant and it was upped was like a zombie so I pulled out all courses but one but still couldn't do it so I had to drop out of it...

    I've been in the situation when I was put on an antidepressant and got antidepressant induced hypomania and then had to pull out...

    I've also been in the situation where I was having sleep issues and affecting my concentration I was told that intelligent people need less sleep by my mother and tried to continue

    I've also been in the situation where I've made an appointment with a psychiatrist waited 2 months for the appointment and had my referral rejected and had to wait another two months for an appointment when during this time I felt intermittently suicidal and sleep and concentration issues and the semester's started and put on a medication but I didn't feel better from it.... so I tried to hang on and had to drop out but my mother suggested I still sit in the lectures... but the next time I did the courses I get flashbacks of not being able to concentrate and remembering feeling suicidal

    With this COVID-19 situation, I'm at home which has made me depressed (because when I've been depressed or mentally unwell I've been at home) so I've had to pull out.. (I can't have antidepressant medication)

    Basically, it's making my life hell... No one seems to understand the impact...

    Problem is I'm feeling isolated at Uni due to this... Because I've been doing a reduced course load anyway... so yeah, it's not something you can talk about... And I don't think any of psychologists I have been to have had this... I did have one psychologist mentioned that her practical arrangements in Uni got mucked up so she had to do it the next year but that's not exactly the same thing...

    I also get the association of being unwell with Uni sometimes with places and courses and stuff... The thing is I don't have any friends at Uni (like I tried making connections with people this semester but COVID-19 struck and then I got contacted for help with assessment items). Sometimes I wonder when I have seeing people in groups whether it also makes me feel isolated being at Uni...

    Do people get well re depression and hence haven't had this problem multiple times?

  2. white knight
    Community Champion
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    white knight avatar
    9377 posts
    8 June 2020 in reply to pinktulip

    Hi, welcome

    Im sorry you’ve had to wait so long for a reply.

    With great respect for your mum unless she has strong mental health knowledge her advice may not be what is best for you. Sometimes your own gut feeling is better. It is good that you have her support though.

    Medication needs a certain approach. It took me 12 types before one agreed with me. Some meds made me into a zombie also.

    Depression can be life long or temporary. With mental health issues your life is more controlled by it rather than your ability to control it.

    Intelligent people might well need less sleep but all people with mental illness need more and better quality sleep- fact.

    use the search bar for

    A good nights deep sleep

    Mefication is a whirlpool

    Depression, a ship on the high seas

    Reply anytime


  3. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    2308 posts
    8 June 2020 in reply to pinktulip

    Hi pinktulip

    I feel for you so very much as you face the challenge of seeing what works for you and what doesn't. From experience, I believe what doesn't work isn't always well managed by professionals. Some professionals in the way of mental well-being are legends, others can just keep us cycling around through the same challenges, without a lot of constructive guidance for managing. Sometimes you can be left trying to manage largely on your own. The down side of this can involve that torturous question, 'What's wrong with me?!' A far more constructive question might be 'What's wrong with the lack of effective management from people who are meant to be helping me get better?' Dealing with a long line of meds that don't work and/or cause significant upset to life can be potentially depressing, which is why it's so important to thoughtfully manage such a process. You mention, 'Basically, it's making my life hell... No one seems to understand the impact...' (aka 'No one seems to be guiding me through effectively managing the impact). In other words, it's not you, it's them.

    Mentioning you had to wait a couple of months and then a couple of months more indicates another form of mismanagement. Personally, I don't think the Australian government health system is keeping up with the demand for people seeking greater mental well-being.

    Wondering if you want to continue with the uni studies for now, while you're working at regaining your well-being. Are there any other courses that have interested you for a while, such as more soulful ones? Could you invest yourself in them before returning to uni a little down the track, as a different person. By soulful ones, I mean things like art based courses, courses in meditation or photography or even spiritual based courses, where you get to know yourself on a more soulful level, rather than a psychological one? What naturally interests you? Could involve something a little quirky, outside the square. Doesn't necessarily matter when it comes to how 'crazy' it seems. Crazy might be exactly what you need to save your sanity a little at this point. You could see this as a gap year. How you fill in the gap, when it comes to knowing yourself better, is your choice. In the past, you may have seen yourself as having failed to complete certain studies, this time it could be a conscious break, based on choice. Might also give you the chance to connect with a new soulful circle of people.

    Just a bit of food for thought :)

    1 person found this helpful
  4. continuousventer
    continuousventer avatar
    63 posts
    17 June 2020 in reply to pinktulip
    Hello, I am currently at university studying occupational therapy. I also have depression and take an antidepressant. I don't exactly have your lived experience 100%, but I hope this answer will be helpful to you.

    I think our mind just reminds us of previous memories. Whenever I see someone from school, I'm reminded of my psychosis/manic episode where I was really in a bad state from 5 years ago. What I try to do is not think about it too much because it will make me feel unhappy to know that people saw me like that. I try to forgive myself and put it in the past.

    Is it completely necessary to have your dosage up? if it interferes with your concentration. What are you like without medication? Sounds like you really want to do university and it is important to you. I found for me that I needed to focus more on my psychological needs - what was making me sad was deeper than medication. I'm not saying that it is the same case for you. It's just that if it interferes so much with your other responsibilities, you might have to weigh the pros and cons of being on it with that amount or decreasing it.

    I also have sleep issues. Sleep gives us energy to do our responsibilities, not having enough sleep can make us burn out. Try to get more sleep if you can.

    I'm sorry to hear that you feel suicidal. I remember the spots I used to sit in where I was feeling really sad and thinking about not being here anymore. I avoid those spots and try to find other spots if I can.

    Depression is really mean. I know because today, I didn't want to get out of bed and would rather sleep all day. I wanted another mental health day but I've already had 3 mental health days.

    Yeah, honestly I feel like people don't really talk about dropping units. I've dropped down to 3 units and I didn't tell my OT friend that I dropped a unit. Mainly because I was ashamed. My depression got a bit worse this semester, I got extensions for all of my assessments and finished them weeks after the due date.

    I honestly do feel for you because I'm currently in second year and haven't really made friends to hang out with. Have you tried befriending your old school mates if they're okay with it?

    Try calling kidshelpline, they are really helpful. :) Just because you can't do university now, doesn't mean you are a failure. You have tried your best. I think for you, having a reduced work load would be helpful. Don't be too hard on yourself. Best of luck, I wanted to respond to this a week ago
  5. pinktulip
    pinktulip avatar
    33 posts
    20 June 2020 in reply to continuousventer

    It's been too long...

    So yeah my depression was triggered by a grief of a friend...

    So once I randomly googled people who knew the friend around the friend's birthday...

    And I found out that randomly the friend had gone back to Uni (the same Uni) and was studying music and was giving a concert 2 days after what would have been my dead friend's birthday.. This is like 6 years after I last was in contact... when she had been at Uni then also..

    So because once of a medical condition I was doing Distance Education and I had felt awful that day and hadn't gone to a concert she had mentioned...

    Anyway I decided to wait outside the hall beforehand so I wouldn't forget about it or something..

    Oh, when I had the antidepressant induced hypomania I had gotten unfairly annoyed...

    Anyway, I hadn't planned to interact at all but she went outside the hall... And she saw me... and I could still see hurt or something.. Like I had never contacted her again because I was never knew how much was the hypomania or how much was me re irritability but I was told I couldn't never antidepressants again and I didn't want to end up being dead and people having to experience grief again...

    So in hindsight, it would have been better if I had not gone to the concert or hadn't looked up people on Google...

    1 person found this helpful
  6. ecomama
    Valued Contributor
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    ecomama avatar
    4567 posts
    20 June 2020 in reply to pinktulip

    Dear pinktulip

    I'm sorry you've had a rough time of everything. One of my adult children has changed Courses 3 times now because of awful events and changed again last week.

    I understand about not being able to take anti-depressants (I can't either).... has Anxiety been diagnosed?

    There seems to be alot of pressure on you to complete Courses in the midst of also trying to sort out your MH.
    Is this pressure only from your parents / mother or mainly you?

    It's a HUGE ask for anyone to complete Uni while MH is still a major issue.

    I'm glad you chose to reduce your Uni load. But if it is still an issue with unresolved stuff, could you defer and maybe even get a part time job while you get more steady and regular MH support?


  7. pinktulip
    pinktulip avatar
    33 posts
    20 June 2020 in reply to ecomama

    Well, let's see I don't know what to do with mental health at the moment. Like in November I saw that my Uni was advertising Careers with Disability stuff & I made an appointment but then it seemed to be a way for a Disability Employment Service to channel Uni students into their business. Because I got told you had to be doing 2 courses or less. Then I was told I had to fill out paperwork to get assessed by Centrelink to actually assess whether I had a disability. I asked for my mother to come with me & then guy told my mother that it would be unpaid work on the southside because that's where his agency was based. I live > 20 kms on the northside of town.

    So I go see the psychiatrist in December & he asked me how I went in Uni & then he was like your mother must be proud of you - not actually how I went day to day in semester. so he fills out the form for DES assessment.

    But I was wanting to do 3 courses so there's no point in getting assessed for a scheme that only for people studying 2 courses or less. In March before COVID-19 hit, I mentioned that I had tried to organise a social group for the interdisciplinary subject area to the Dr; mentioned that other people in the group have part time jobs. Anyway he said not to worry about part time jobs & concentrate on the study.

    Anyway, I haven't gone back to the psychiatrist since COVID-19 struck because he seemed to find the whole thing funny re social interactions and because I've had breaks in study etc and all this depressive stuff. I didn't feel like going back to be smiled at. Because initially he said something about a bipolar disorder medication & then subsequently said autism & then smiled on multiple occasions but I actually haven't had a proper diagnostic assessment to say I have autism - left previous doctor after he attempted to charge for time I didn't have.

    I was doing EMDR, which was supposedly meant to get rid of flashbacks.Then the psychologist seems to be telling me I'm too distressed to do the reprocessing stage.

    I haven't had a part-time job ever because I had another medical condition before the stupid depression hit & then. There was a time I applied for a part time job after I went back to Uni several years back which had some skills re learnt at Uni but person was interested in someone below 18 I think because they asked for my age before the interview.

    I feel hopeless because I feel like at times studying stuff means nothing & I'm just going to rack up a big HECS debt for nothing.

  8. continuousventer
    continuousventer avatar
    63 posts
    22 June 2020 in reply to pinktulip
    Hi pinktulip,

    I'm sorry to hear about your friend, you must miss them a lot. It sounds like your friend would have had a whole life ahead of them. I think people feel hurt - when you distance yourself from them. But sometimes, maybe it is for the best - I know I have definitely avoided people when they saw me when I was manic.

    I think pinktulip, you're trying the best you can with your mental health. And that's all you can do. I know you want to do 3 units, you want to get back to studying at university.

    I also think it's definitely hard to connect with health professionals who don't understand your
    lived experience. I remember seeing my doctor, all she did was sympathetically nod. Like to me, she seems healthy and me, I am unhealthy and I feel ashamed.

    I think try to reconnect with different psychiatrist. Seems like you don't like his smiling. But feeling lonely and not having a good support network can make you depressed, your experience is valid.

    I've never had a job. I'm currently 21. I get told all the time that they want younger people because they can get paid less. But today I got a phone call interview. There's hope.

    I think you should study when it is practical - if you know you can handle 2 units - study that amount. Don't try to overextend yourself. My friend who has bipolar, he is studying 2 units because of this pandemic. The problem is participating in university and going to the classes matters to you. And the less you participate in classes, you don't feel so good. It's ultimately up to you to decide what you can handle.

    I believe in you :)

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