Story by pseudonym Recovering

For a long time, I had felt like something wasn’t right. Something inside me was “broken”. In the mornings, my legs felt heavy as lead, and nearly all my muscles ached. I didn’t have the energy to stretch, I was so tight – both physically and mentally. I felt like curling under my blanket and hiding from the evil world.

“What could life offer me now that I haven’t even got the energy to go and do the things I did before?”

This is what I thought and asked myself. Many times, I had questioned the significance of my existence on this planet. “No one can know how bad this feels,” I mumbled. No one in this room would hear me.

I had assumed that I would cope with these thoughts and, in some mysterious way, gain some energy during the summer.

This didn’t happen, and sometimes I was overwhelmed by bad feelings because I was still living in the middle of this condition. Even small everyday chores felt incredibly insurmountable. I didn’t brush my hair or take good care of myself. My social life had started to fade away, and I didn’t want to go out.

I didn’t go on dates anymore. Dating in this shape was out of the question because I thought I looked so miserable when I looked in the mirror. “I’m bad company,” I grumbled to myself. I didn’t even see my friends, who would occasionally ask me to join them. Maybe they would forget me too if they knew what I was really like.

More than anything else, I was afraid that my inner self would be exposed to everyone, but I somehow managed to grab my phone, which was on the table next to me. I felt weak, but I opened up my phone.

Many times, I had stared at the icon of the Student Health Services’ chat. I had thought about pressing it but never had the courage.

I had hesitated too much and changed my mind. I was so afraid of telling someone something dark about myself.

I had also been thinking a lot about whether I even was worthy of help or sufficiently ill to be asking for help. Despite everything, I had progressed in my studies, so externally and performance-wise, it looked like I was doing well in my life. I was also excellent at hiding my bad feelings in the company of others. I smiled, even though there was turmoil inside me. I pretended that everything was better than in reality. I still had dark feelings. So dark that I sometimes wished I didn’t even exist.

I had been staring at the chat icon for a long time now, but finally, I pressed it.

I waited for a while and almost changed my mind in the midst of my distress. But I didn’t, and finally, someone answered. I told the nurse about how I felt. She promised to forward my information. I received an appointment with a psychiatric nurse. This led to me finally being referred to a doctor and receiving a more precise diagnosis for my symptoms.

I received appointments for a psychologist. I discussed my issues with the psychologist, but we also talked about the possibility of therapy. I had never been in therapy but was interested. One of my friends had been attending therapy for a long time, and I had heard good things about it.

Previously, I hadn’t sought therapy because I had thought that it wasn’t the right place for me. I had thought that I wasn’t sufficiently in need of help.

I had harboured an ideal of coping alone, but over the years, my symptoms had only gotten worse, which meant that I hadn’t been able to solve my issues. I saw new hope in the possibility of therapy. I hadn’t tried it before, and it could help me.

Some three months passed. My monitoring period at the Student Health Services was nearing its end. I had started to look for therapists. I knew that it would possibly require many contacts. The condition I was living in brought a sense of powerlessness in my life, but my friend who had attended therapy supported me and cheered me on.

Gradually I had started to feel that even I was helpworthy.

Finally, I received an answer to my e-mail from a therapist. This therapist offered me an introductory appointment. The immense pain inside of me was soothed at least a little. Someone wanted to be kind to me and help. After everything, it felt especially good. “There could be some hope in the middle of all this,” I thought at that time. I cried, but this time it was from relief.

I messaged my friend: “I got an appointment with a therapist.” “Yay, well done!” they answered.

Together we rejoiced in the idea that things would finally start to progress. The future might bring along something good. I was somewhat afraid of the change, but I felt more ready for it than ever before. I was helpworthy.

The background of the story

As a part of the #HelpWorthy campaign we collected students’ stories about seeking help and the challenges associated with it. We published the stories during the campaign period between 12 and 23 April 2021 to show how multifaceted experiences students have had when seeking help. This story was published as the third of a total of seven stories. You will find the other stories on the campaign page.

With the #HelpWorthy campaign around Students’ Mental Health Day, we wanted to encourage young people and students to share their own experiences. Above all, we want to encourage you to seek help whenever you feel the need.

When you need support, there is help available. The most important thing is not to be left alone with your worries. You will find various bodies, which offer help to students and young people in various challenges in life, by category on our website.

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