Self-loathing is increasing among students: here’s how to recognise it

While uni is a place for growing, finding yourself, embarking on new experiences, moving away from petty high-school bitchiness and making friends for life, it can also affect your mental health. In such a huge environment, it is easy to become overwhelmed and lose yourself; university’s fast-paced lifestyle, consisting of an intense workload and partying, and wanting to fit in with particular groups, can be draining. This is where self-loathing can start to set in.

When constantly being surrounded by people and meeting so many new people, unwanted, negative thoughts are notorious for invading our minds. It’s important to know that you’re not alone and if you find that you’re constantly doubting yourself and worried whether people like you, it might be that you’re experiencing self-loathing. As a person who’s endured this; I have compiled some ways of coping with it. 

Notice what you’re experiencing 

With social media now being an emblem of society and creating an ideal of who we should be, particularly for students and teens, self-loathing is unfortunately quite common; it’s important to recognise that this is a mental health problem and not an outlook on you. According to this site, self-loathing often derives from early life experiences; for me, it’s past relationships with both friends and men. If you’re constantly having negative thoughts about yourself, feelings of hopelessness, not feeling good enough or deserving, and have a fear of being around people due to thoughts of everybody hating you then it is likely you’re suffering from self-loathing.

Recognise These are Just Thoughts and your Conscious 

This isn’t as easy as it seems. Everybody has negative thoughts every now and then and gets annoyed at themselves, but self-loathing is more as it consists of constant battles from your critical inner voice, making you doubt and loathe yourself. But remember, it’s just a voice in your head and can be ignored. My counsellor told me to think of it as your thoughts in a balloon, sometimes they come unexpectedly and it’s ok to acknowledge them, but keep it to the side and think, ‘I don’t need you today.’

Seek Professional Help

Not something that is desirable for everyone but important. Just by talking to someone who’s not on your list of people you believe to hate you, like your GP, can help you to realise why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling and give you some good techniques to bring your thoughts back to the room. Likewise, talk to a close friend about it – having light validation will help show you that it’s all in your head.

Spend Time with yourself 

I don’t mean curled up in your bed or in the library doing work. Give yourself a break from uni life and go on a walk or explore a new place or eat at a restaurant. Knowing that you can be alone can help you become friends with yourself. 

Self-Love 

Spend an evening doing something that relaxes you. I have a pamper night; a hot bath, candles, a face mask, lots of chocolate (guilt-free) and watch my favourite movie.

Tilly’OBrien

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