Diary of a late night meltdown

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BY CLINTON LITTLE

Student life can be a cavalcade of frat parties, social experimentation and the exploration of the possibilities of life. At times it can also be a little overwhelming. When deadlines are looming and assignments are piling up it’s easy to forget that it’s not the end of the world if you don’t hand something in on time.

Failing an assignment or even a unit doesn’t have to mean you’re failing at life. In fact failure can be the greatest teacher of all. Allowing your mistakes to teach you is an important lesson. Balancing your Uni workload along with a personal life as well paying the rent can be a tricky business.

As Tom Cruise said in the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire, “Sometimes you have to break down to break through.” On a particularly stressful moment this semester I experienced the perfect storm of stress triggers when I was staring down the barrel of an overdue assignment; I had broken up with the person I’d been dating and had gotten smacked over the back of the headby some hefty unexpected financial expenses.

THE STRUGGLE WAS REAL

I saw my life circling the drain and I thought my chances of pulling a rabbit out of the hat and saying hey presto to my problems were slim. I was backed against a wall and in the face of such seemingly shitty odds, I reached for an ill-advised coping mechanism. Yes, it was a case of hello vodka my old friend, I’ve come to lean on you again.

Suffice to say that no such rabbit appeared and the only thing that was leant on was the arm of my couch as I sobbed alone watching Bridget Jones’ Diary and thinking my life was over. As it has an annoying habit of doing the sun went and came up the next day and the previous night’s drunken debris lay scattered around my apartment.

The pounding reality of a hangover made its presence known and my assignment continued to be selfishly incomplete. My Facebook relationship status still read as “it’s complicated” and my credit card was not returning my calls. My booze band-aid was ripped off by the get out of bed you lazy bastard alarm on my mobile and the day that lay ahead seemed too much to face.

I NEEDED HELP

It took the words of a kind friend who bore witness to my lowly condition that maybe it would be a good idea to seek help from a counsellor. These were welcome words and though I was cynical about the navel-gazing art of therapy, I conceded that he may, in fact, be right. The next day I had an appointment with a counsellor at the Murdoch counselling service. The woman sat patiently across from me as I unleashed a long overdue monologue of my worries. She listened carefully and asked insightful questions. As I externalised all of my bullshit to a total stranger I started to realise that I was feeling better. It was an unexpected revelation that you don’t have to believe in a process for it to work.

A tiny crack of light allowed itself into the doom and gloom and perspective was attained. One session with a mental health professional gave me some of the tools to deal with a situation I had perceived as unconquerable.

I’d like to tell you that everything was bright and shiny and my world became filled with rainbows and unicorns, but life just isn’t like that. Needing regular mental health check-in is nothing to be ashamed of. As a student, you can get six free sessions a year with a person who deals with crazy on a daily basis. They can help you put your life onto the right track and help you realise that maybe your crazy isn’t so crazy after all.

Aaron AngelComment