Too much too long


“Yes, I carry out quite a few activities alongside my studies, it can be rather difficult to balance, but I’ve managed so far,” I told a student psychologist three years ago with a positive feeling. I had made an appointment with the psychologist because I sometimes felt less energetic than I would have liked. She talked to me about some of the possible causes, and I stubbornly decided to ignore her…

Whenever I think back on that meeting, I come up against my naivety again, because I didn’t manage to balance my extracurricular activities with my studies after all as it turned out. In the end, it was too much for too long. I spent the past six month at home with a burn-out.

No reason to be sad though, because after rain comes sunshine. I’m going to try to make a new start with my master’s program, which is why I took part in the Master Kick-Off last week. There, I came up against that naivety again. This time, however, I saw it in my fellow students.

During a busy week like the previous one, I still get plagued by the symptoms I experienced during the past year, such as stress, melancholy, anxiety, and a confusingly bad memory. That’s why I sometimes leave early or seclude myself for a while. In fact, this has become my daily routine.

Nevertheless, people still look at me confused sometimes when I explain this to them, albeit with much sympathy. Just like three years ago, a significant number of students seem to be unaware of what it means to suffer from a burn-out. And that’s problematic.

Because our university is exactly the place where you’ll find the kind of ambitious young people who are most at risk of experiencing mental health issues. That’s where that nativity plays a role again. Every time I hear someone complain about an upcoming exam or deadline, I think about the person I was three years ago and memories of the crying fits and panic attacks that had become a permanent feature of my life come flooding back. That’s when my inner voice starts to scream: ‘Look after yourself!’

If you’re at risk of falling into the same trap, or one just like it, and if you would like to talk about it, don’t hesitate to contact one of the many fellow students, so-called peer listeners, who would be glad to listen and share their thoughts with you. You can reach them via this website.

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