Month: November 2022

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend – By: Earl

So, when you are excitedly packing your bags to not only move to a new country, but a new continent, nay a new hemisphere, you well up with joy at the thought of all the things you are going to be able to do, everything you will be able to experience. The excitement is resounding. The thought of the flight experience, what is going to happen when you land, how you will get to where you’re staying, what you will eat. Will you miss home? Of course, you think, but definitely not those first few weeks, because that is your time to take it all in.

Your first fall, your introduction to autumn. That’s something that grips you unexpectedly especially when you are used to two seasons, hot and cold. Everything else is almost hot or almost cold. That’s what life is like in the tropics, I guess. The weather starts turning towards a chill, you start thinking about shopping up for winter, a bit prematurely you realise when you dash to a store to buy winter jackets in the middle of October. Everyone is walking around in light jackets and shorts and you are tempted to convert your sleeping back into a walking ‘nu-age’ blanket taken from the runway of some fashion-esque show somewhere in Europe. I mean you could do that and no one would question you or your sanity at all. Back home? You’d be laughed and ridiculed off, before being dragged to the nearest asylum for an “assessment.” Oh, the freedom of the global north!

When the leaves are all but done falling off and dying on the cyclist infested pavements and as they collect together with the mud and muck that is produced by the unannounced rains, you realise that the beauty of a falling leaf also quickly disappears into the mulch of some random Uppsala street. You think of that other random girl.

With no warning, no announcement, no sign post, no bureaucratic informercial or notification, somebody switches the lights off! Just like that. Day turns to night and night turns to nightier night. You awaken and the sun is not familiar with where you are until later in the day when you have been up for what seems like months. And don’t think it will come and be with you for a while? The sun will not tarry. As soon as you rush outside to catch a few rays of sun, it retreats into the gloomy clouds and in no time, the light fades. With 4 – 5 hours of sun during winter, your sun burnt days are but over, but also your days of enjoying the warm that came with the sun gently kissing your cheeks at sunset. You now wish you spent more time outside when you were back home, because when you were home, you had 350/365 days of sunglight. You can forget it for the next two years.

‘The night is dark and full of terrors.’ Those writers were on to something. A lack of Vitamin D in your system will leave you feeling like half a human. Seeing everything dark all the time literally eats away at your soul, and if you’re not careful, will find yourself falling into the winter “slump” were everyone retreats into themselves and become a depressed, anti-social (I laugh as I write this) members of society. You will leave home whilst it is dark, walk into a lecture and buy the time you decide to do a quick pass through the library before you head home, it will be dark outside. It won’t be that the sun did not come, but it came and went back, before you had a chance to experience it.

Would I call this a solution-based blog post? Not really. I won’t spoil you that much. I want you to discover it on your own (wink wink). Or maybe I’ll shed a few pointers here and there. Just do what everyone else does. Take supplements everyday like a junkie; start a month earlier. Go to the gym like you on something. 2 hours every two days works more wonders than you would expect. The university has a sun room (or light room, or star room) somewhere. Go there and get some fake sun. It is better the fake stuff than no stuff at all. This is the time when people should be more social and not the opposite. Hang out more with friends, party, do sleepovers or whatever you do for fun. Just make sure the activities are not sun-based, because, well…

So, embrace the dark side. It will be over…eventually.

Great job, you got out of bed today! – By: Sam

Warning: this post will not be a happy one and deals with depression.

Hej hej, so we all know posts where many people give tips and tricks on how to battle (winter) depression. You get tips like, take vitamin D pills, enjoy the sun while its out, or talk to friends or family. But sometimes, life is harder than that. Some days, you don’t want to get out of bed, you don’t have the energy to go outside or talk to anyone. What then?

Well, honestly, some days are as they seem; they’re going to be bad. You’re going to want to stay in and just not deal with any issues that day and that is totally ok. We are all led to believe that being sad or depressed is a weakness, and something we must combat and get rid of as soon as we can. But it truly isn’t that easy and some days it’s best to just feel awful and embrace those feelings you’re facing. So, this post won’t be tips on how to get rid of the blues or combat them, but a post on how to deal with awful days and embrace these feelings so you can make the best out of an awful day. Let’s begin…

I have days where I do not want to come out of bed or even exist. How can I possibly go outside and enjoy the sun if getting out of bed is already my biggest struggle? I don’t. These days I just stay inside and take my time with every step I take during the day. I take my time to get out of bed, make the simplest breakfast I can, and on days that I don’t even want to eat, I at least drink water to get something in my body. Instead of going to the university or forcing myself outside and getting dressed, I rinse my face with water and give myself one compliment to start the day. Even if the compliment is simply “great job, you got out of bed today!”. Rinsing my face wakes me up a little bit and the compliment shifts my mood a tiny bit so I can at least continue with my day. But trust me, even rinsing my face or giving myself a compliment can be hard, but I force myself to do this because I know it does help me, even if it’s a tiny bit.

On “good” bad days, I also put on my comfiest clothes to feel cosy inside. If I have time, I also put on my favourite song and try to dance or sing a bit to get some happiness and energy for the day. I then get myself back in bed and try to understand what could be making me feel the way I am today. But honestly, most days there isn’t an answer to this, and I have to learn to accept that my mood today just isn’t the best. The rest of the day, I try to put on comfort tv shows or movies, play videogames, write in my journal to get my feelings off my chest, or just cry it out. I feel like getting my emotions out helps me feel better and at least gets it off my chest instead of cropping it all in. If I have energy, I also try to do something fun and creative, like draw, paint or even play my piano. It also helps to get my feelings off my chest and just be free and truly feel what I’m feeling. One day, I simply coloured a blank page completely black and while it might not be the most creative or pretty thing, it really did help me and made me focus on something other than my awful day.

But on really bad days, I just try to rinse my face, give myself a compliment and then get back in bed and do completely nothing. Of course, I still bring a bottle of water with me to bed because if I’m going to be sad, at least I can be hydrated while doing so. But I don’t force myself to do more than I can and just allow myself to lay in bed and gather my feelings. It sounds sad, but some days that’s all one can do and that is ok.

Of course, as a student sometimes you cannot afford to just lay in bed and do nothing. But instead of pressuring myself to get everything done as I usually would, I set some small goals for the day. Last time, I had to read sources and write paragraphs for my essay. Instead, I chose to only read my sources or at least read the introduction and conclusions of my sources and make short notes on topics or sentences I think would be important for my essay. This way, I at least made a start and the next day I had an idea on what I can write about. One other time, I needed to just write my essay and that day I had no energy to come up with academic sentences. So, instead I wrote down my thoughts and what I wanted to say in different paragraphs. I wrote down things like “I really want to write about Bourdieu and his concept of Habitus and field. I need to explain the educational field since my topic is about xxxx”. These were very vague comments, but it helped me the next day when writing, since I at least had something on paper and knew what I wanted to do. So, my tip for bad days where you still need to do something is to not force yourself to do too much when you know you simply cannot. Do what you can, even if its “bad”. Because trust me, doing something, even if its “bad”, is better than doing nothing.

Ending this blog post, I want to remind you that these bad days do pass but shouldn’t be ignored. It is okay to not be okay and it is okay to do less. Don’t overexert yourself and just do as much as you can to go through those days! Even if its just drinking some water and crying it out. Trust me, we have all been there and there is no shame in it!

And if you have trouble getting out of those bad days, the student health services are always here to help you. And trust me, you might not want to talk to anyone, and you might feel ashamed for how you’re feeling, but they truly do want to help and sometimes simply talking to them can help. You can also tell them you do not feel like going outside, and they can possibly arrange something for you via zoom. This way you can still stay in bed but still have someone to help you through this. It is also very important to tell your student coordinator that you are feeling this way if it is affecting your schoolwork. They are also here to help and can help you find solutions to this.

Stay safe, please be kind to yourself and you can get through this!

Xoxo, Sam