Debunking myths about wellbeing: our student panel speaks up

By Edwina Jackson (student)

A panel of students from Trinity’s Wellbeing Committee debunk two of the most common myths that often surface when the topic of wellbeing comes up.

Debunking wellbeing myths

Myth #1: Wellbeing is only for people who experience mental illnesses/tough times

Celia: Speaking from personal experience, through my time growing up, pretty much until I got into first year uni, I just didn’t really understand the concept of mental health or wellbeing. I felt quite exempt from it, I didn’t really feel, or at least wasn’t aware that I was feeling the effects of it. And then it all sort of came to a big climax in my first year of uni. I mean, you may never experience that climax, or it may be in 20 years’ time, but I think mental health should always be on each individual’s agenda, because when it does all come crashing in, you need to be equipped to deal with it, otherwise you will be so unprepared.  

Seraphina: Also, wellbeing is very much a maintenance thing. You are maintaining yourself so that you don’t get to a low point. You are reinforcing positive values within yourself, in order to thrive – and who wouldn’t want that anyway? So it’s really the best trade off, because by ensuring and maintaining your wellbeing, you are helping your future self.

Eleanor: On that, I once went to a psychologist who told me that mental health or wellbeing is like being on a ladder, and that you are always on different levelled rungs on the ladder. And the problem with this ladder is that some people don’t realise they are on the ladder until they fall off it. So, I think, for me, wellbeing and mindfulness is about being aware first that you are on this ladder, and what level you are at, and where you want to be. I think too often you don’t realise that you are slowly stepping down those rungs until you do fall off. And it’s much easier to catch yourself before you fall if you are attentive to your wellbeing.

Myth #2: My problems aren’t big enough for therapy/professional support

Seraphina: Yep. I agree, and I think that getting a therapist is one of the best things you can do, even if you are not in poor mental health. It’s just someone who is on your team and has professional experience in dealing with situations that you can’t quite comprehend because you are trying to deal with them yourself. And so, it’s a really good way first of all to get a reflection upon your behaviours and emotions, as well as get advice about how you can improve.

Eleanor: And going on from that, I think picturing professional help as a last resort is quite dangerous. I know personally, with anxiety and depression, there are those little voices in your head that are saying ‘oh, you’re not worthy and your problems aren’t that important, and you’re not that important’. And so, part of that is almost the self-fulfilling prophecy that you think you’re not worthy of help and you think that you’re a burden on other people. So yeah, I think if anyone ever has that on the back of their minds, just know that there are a million people who would rather hear your tiny problem, than when it all blows up. These problems are worth listening to. You absolutely always are worthy.

Hugo: Just on that, and in reflection of myself, it is really challenging to admit that you are struggling. I mean, when you are at school in your teenage years, you just naturally assume that everyone’s lives are fine, so you want that, and assume that for yourself. So, I think it’s just as much about admitting to yourself that you need help, as well as actually taking the step to go to a counselling session.

Seraphina: It’s like giving yourself permission to be vulnerable, which is so important.

As told to Eddie Jackson

27 Apr 2021