Sun Is Gonna Shine Again (My struggle with depression at university)

Hello, old-timey friends. Am I back? Who knows.

I want to talk about depression at university today. At the end of my first year – probably just about two years ago – a counsellor told me she suspected I had depression, and should talk to a GP about getting an official diagnosis. I had at this point spent quite a few hours crying in her office (well, I guess that’s what it’s there for …). The whole crying-in-her-office-thing was somewhat out of character – at least at the time … different story – but surprisingly nice. Probably the nicest cry I had at uni.

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How To Switch Your Course (or Courtesy Wars)

So, I abandoned this in February. Oh wow… A lot of things have happened since February. Interestingly enough, the highest page views I got happened in August. At a point when I hadn’t logged in here for what? 5 months? How strange! I almost feel like this could be an excavation of it’s own kind!

I made a very scrappy scrapbook over the summer on my year, and once I’m back home for Christmas, I’ll put up some pictures and stories from that as well.

Life has also been strange. But it’s getting better. I ended up changing my degree after first year!

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Drunk decisions

I don’t drink. Well, I haven’t since coming to university.

But yesterday, I felt extremely out of place, because the one friend that doesn’t drink either was home over the weekend. That means that for the first time since being at university, everyone around me was drunk.

Some drunk people analyze everything and basically just seem to be a bit high. I like that sort of drunk! I think they’re usually lightweights, but I don’t know enough of them to be sure about that. I think if I ever get drunk, I’d start behaving like that too. Sometimes  behave that way while sober!

Then there’s the people drinking within their  limits. They are usually okay. They behave normally, but it’s just a bit off, which makes it very odd. I don’t really know how I feel about them.

There’s the party drunks, who get very loud and go a bit crazy. I find them hard to differentiate from the lout, violent-ish drunks though.

There are several stages of violent-ish variants of drunken people. There’s the cursing drunk: not particularly exciting, but any manners they might have had before left them and every other word is one I’d rather no hear. The cursing drunk is sometimes a stage: it’s like half drunk-capacity.

When they get more drunk, they may turn very loud, a bit violent and irresponsible, but are able to be rational should an emergency arise. I only know one of those, so I guess they’re rare.

The other way a cursy drunk can go is completely out of it. They are similar to the first option, but generally incapable of recognizing emergencies or the need to calm down. THey are the ones that worry me the most – what if something happens and no one can get them to notice it? I’m also scared of them. Which is odd, I think, because they are my friends. But at the same time, they’re completely out of control. And then the next day I’m scared that inside, they are actually just like the way they behave when they’re drunk, but they’re hiding it. And then I’m very awkward around them and try to avoid them.

Maybe that’s just me drawing conclusions from my own feelings, though. I have never gotten that drunk, so I don’t know if it changes what you feel inside.

At university, it is more accepted not to drink than to actually just have half a pint of cider. Please don’t ask me why, I don’t know. I have heard enough people say „I’m not drinking to get drunk.“ and later seen them stumbling around held up only by peer pressure. So I left all casual ciders and beers behind: I don’t want to risk people pressuring me into downing more and more alcohol.

Why I don’t want to get drunk? It’s a bit of a personal question, isn’t it? My standard answer is that I just don’t like the feeling of getting drunk. People accept that. It’s a half-truth, I guess. However, the point of this article is telling you the truth. It’s not the taste of it – kale smoothies taste a lot worse to me. It’s not religion. To be honest, every once in a while I wish it was because it seems like the easier answer. It’s an accepted reason not to drink.

The reason I actually don’t want to get drunk is that I’ve seen what people are like when they’ve lost control. When they’ve slipped off a chair and stayed on the floor because everything else seemed like too much effort. When they’ve pretended to be an animal. When they suddenly started hugging strangers. When they’ve thrown up. When they’ve thrown up and immediately forgot about it, even though there was still some on their face.

I don’t want to end up like that. It’s not just that, though, I could live with the embarrasment. The scariest thing about getting drunk for me is that I might let out any of my worries, or problems, or fears, or thoughts I don’t feel comfortable sharing. Because who knows how much self-control and brain-to-mouth control I have left when I get drunk?

It may sound ridiculous to you, but it scares me enough to completely abandon alcohol.

See you soon,

Mary

How to Survive Valetines Day as a Single

First of all, you don’t.

1) Don’t say it. If you don’t say it, if you don’t acknowledge it, it’s not happening.

It’s just another day, just a regular Sunday. Just like any other day of the week, but you get to sleep in! And have a nice breakfast.

…on your own…

2) You might not be able to completely avoid V-Day – I’m not saying its name – you can’t completely ignore V-Day though. (seriously, every single store is obsessed with it) That means you need a survival strategy (well, i don’t know if you need one, but I definitely do!)

Seriously, why are all my friends in functional relationships???

Where was I? Oh, right, survival strategies. So, you have 2 options now: 

a) kidnap someone and force them to be your valentine: „Ey, you, you’re my valentine now. No discussion.“ I wouldn’t advise it though – that’s illegal … in most places in this world.

b) Get some DVDs or a laptop with an internet connection and some chocolate. You now also have the choice to either treat yourself or to treat yourself and your bank account. Shoutout to discounted Christmas chocolate leftovers! (Seriously, I stocked up on the cheapest sweets I could find – still sugar, but less money spent!)

3) So you now have sweets and entertainment. All you need to do now is hide in your room all day. 

Just kidding, here’s a better idea: Go outside, find a fun event to go to! There are a bunch of Chinese New Year Celebrations still going on! Go there and have an amazing, exciting, ingenious, original, unbelievably fun day by yourself! 

At least that’s what I’m going to do.

See you soon, 

Mary

How to survive the search for housemates

So you’ve been at university for three months now. That means, basically everyone knows who they’re living with next year. Or do they?

I don’t. And I know a lot of people who don’t. I also know people who do, and I know people who are already unhappy with their choice of housemates, even though they’re not even living in the same house yet.

First of all, don’t panic. Or panic if you must. I’m not going to keep you from doing it. Just let it be said that there are always people without houses. If you don’t find anyone in your year, just move in with some ERASMUS students. I know a few people who did that, and they are incredibly happy with it.

Second of all, don’t hold it against someone if they don’t want to live with you. Yeah, your first instinct is to go all „You mean person! Don’t talk to me!“. Just because someone doesn’t want to live with you doesn’t mean you can’t be friends. Get over it.

Also, if someone asked you and you don’t want to live with them, that’s okay. But be honest and don’t leave them in the dark until it’s an hour before you’re supposed to sign the contract.

Thirdly, listen to some Panic! at the Disco. Or any other band that makes you feel calm and like you could take on the world. Or go jogging if that does the job for you.

Now that you’re a bit calmer, you have two options. No, wait, three options:

a. Ask around in your circle of friends – someone always knows someone who doesn’t have a house yet.

Of course, that’s a bit of a leap of faith and when all your friends already have housemates and a place to live, it seems quite daunting. But don’t worry, there are alternatives:

b. Look around on the pages of the Students Union. Regardless of whether you like them or not, they usually organise „Find a housemate“ events to go to. You’ll spend an entire evening surrounded by people looking for housemates.

Maybe you’re terrible with meeting people in real life though. Fear not, you can find housemates from the comfort of your college bedroom.

c. Facebook groups. For every university, there is a facebook group specifically for those searching for housemates. Also, if you don’t like whoever you start talking to, you can just block them and avoid all responsibilities for another day.

If you still haven’t been successful in your housemate search, wait for the incoming surge of Erasmus students. There will be someone you can live with.

 

And There Won’t Be Snow In London

After a mad dash over the last week of lectures to complete a project and an essay (I need to start managing my time – I knew that was coming for a few weeks. Did I do anything? No.), it was finally time for christmas break. I didn’t go home straight away and instead spend three days in christmassy London.

london 4
Someone had left chalk on the sidewalk in Camden so everyone walking past could write wishes (or other things) on the sidewalk.

I expected everything to be terribly, terribly crowded, but most places were actually alright.

Well, Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland was overflowing with people and Oxford Street wasn’t much better, but there were definitely some nice, less crowded places. Then, on the other hand, I might have just gotten used to the amount of people after the first day.

One of the places I didn’t expect to be empty (in „London at Christmas“ standards) was John Lewis‘ man on the moon roof garden. I discovered John Lewis more by chance than by planning, but when I saw the shop, I just decided to go inside. I didn’t buy anything (don’t know how I did that) and eventually found the entrance to the roof. It was full of trees and fake snow and blue lights and it made me feel really christmassy!

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Please note the TARDIS look-alike hut thingy on the right.

Doesn’t that look a lot like christmas?

london 5

Seeing as we already were in Oxford Street, we also took a look at Carnaby Street and the London Palladium.

To be honest, I found the Carnaby Street decorations a bit disappointing, but maybe that was just because I really don’t like pink? Maybe it looks better at night as well.

london 1

The next day, I didn’t have anything planned (How organized of me!), so I set out to explore the area between Picadilly Square and Covent Garden. Why? I genuinely don’t know.

It actually turned out to be a good idea, because I saw lots of fun stuff like the small Leicester Square christmas market (see picture above the title), got to sneak a look into the very, very colourful and very, very huge m&m world and explored the shops at the Seven Dials with their christmas lights.

In the end, I even made it from Picadilly Circus to Covent Garden! Who’d have thought?

On my last two-thirds of a day in London, I went to Camden Market, which, considering it was the Monday before Christmas, was ridiculously empty. There’s a hall with tons of clothing and souvenir stands on the other side of the river than Camdenlock, and I actually managed to walk down two corridors between stands without running into anyone. Camdenlock was a bit fuller, but still not the squished kind of full that is normal in shopping areas before christmas and that makes you feel claustrophobic after a while. I also found a new poster to decorate my dorm room with, which I then carried around in a plastic bag the entire day.

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You thought I was lying?

Last but not least, after picking my bags up at King’s Cross (they’ve got some kind of suitcase storage thing), I had one last sight to see before heading out to Stanstead airport:

A gigantic stuffed toy christmas tree in St. Pancras International Train Station.

(Well, if I had the time, there would have been so many more things to see, but I did have to get home.)

 

And that was my tiny little London vacation before Christmas!

Do you have any favourite Christmas attractions in London? Anywhere else?  Tell me in the comments!

See you soon!

Mary