Just Keep Swimming | Joanna's Update

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An Update from Joanna: Just Keep Swimming

*Discuses mental health*

Hi everyone! I thought I would give you all a little update as we near the end of November and our second lockdown.

Firstly, I want to say how proud I am of all you students! You have handled this lockdown tremendously and although it has been difficult, we are nearly at the end. Well done for staying safe, following the rules and being awesome.

On the note of how difficult this last month has been I would like my update to be around a topic that is very close my heart and I know probably a lot of yours too. Since starting the ‘Are you Okay?’ campaign we have heard from a lot of you about your mental health and how you are finding studying during this time. You are all coping so well but you should know it is okay if you are struggling. I am too.

I know sometimes it can be hard to believe but we are all in the same boat right now. This leads to my mental health update. Mine has not been the best and since lockdown started, I have been suffering with anxiety and OCD. It makes everyday life so difficult and simple tasks for one person become the hardest, just getting out of bed to work at my desk is hard some days. But I decided a few months ago I needed support, this was the hardest decision I have had to make in a long time. Admitting I needed help was the first big step and now I feel so much better. I am getting the support I need and each day I feel braver talking about my mental health.

I wanted to make this my update because I feel it is important for everyone to know, we all struggle. Everyone has mental health but for some people it can be better or worse. The important part to remember is you are not alone and never be hard on yourself. I have learnt that if I have lapse it is okay, I just need to be nice to myself – which is so hard, but getting angry about a difficult day, week or month will not help. Go through the motions of it and when you are ready, talk to somebody.

I understand how personal this update is and I apologise if it is triggering for anyone. But I feel it is essential that everyone understands the topic of mental health is important to talk about, but only when you feel you are ready. For me, it is also important to share this update with you so students, staff, and everyone else can understand this is a journey we all take. It affects us all and that is okay. You are okay.

The most important message I want everyone to take away from my update is we are always here for you at De Montfort Students Union (DSU). But remember, we may also be going through our own pain, stresses and worries. It is okay to not be okay and I am proud of myself and anyone of you who is brave enough to share a story or admit that you are trying to get better.

We are all in this together and in the words of Dory from Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming”.

You will make it through in the end.

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