The #PrettyHealthyProject has always been, in part, an effort to regain my mental health following my difficult first year at university. This summer, and the project, has largely been a recovery and strengthening process to support me for my return to York this weekend(!). A number of things have aided me in this process, most notably spending so much time with my family, G, and friends, taking the pressure off, and working on my body image and confidence through this project – but I’ve realised that there has been one thing which has helped more than any other. This summer I was given the opportunity to part-loan a horse called Sooty, and the effect has been profound.

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My first year at university is now over. Originally, I planned this post as a ‘highlights reel’ – listing off some of my favourite moments from what promised to be an extraordinary year. That isn’t what you’ll find below. Instead, following on from my recent comment piece about student mental health, I want to be entirely honest about my difficult university experience. This piece was written on the 8th May 2016, a little over a month before the end of the academic year.

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It’s been a while since I’ve written, but don’t take it personally. Things this term didn’t quite go to plan, and although I’m not in any way obligated to explain myself I feel like it’s in some way necessary in order for me to draw a line and move on, because things are going to change around here.

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I’ve been cagey about how I was feeling about coming back to university and planned to talk a bit about why in Wednesday’s post, but it was such an awful day I couldn’t bring myself to write the scheduled goals and plans post – mostly because, I realised, my only goal at the moment is to make it to the end of term in one piece. Over the Easter holiday I became more and more anxious about returning to York this term, to the point of suffering panic attacks when I thought about it too much. But the holidays ended, and all of a sudden I had no choice but to pack up all my things and come back last Sunday, where I sat on my bed for a full hour wishing I’d never got in the car that morning. I’m not going to lie: it’s been a hard week.

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