I’m Afraid my Mental Illness will Hold Me Back…
I can’t stress enough how crippling it is to have a mental illness. The stigma surrounding it doesn’t help either, especially with admitting you have one or even seeking help to get better.
When it came to my first year of university, I did not acknowledge that I had a mental illness. I went through the motions and got terrible grades, convincing myself it was all in my head and that I would make it on my own, which made things worse. I never told anyone why I needed to stay at home sometimes and couldn’t speak to anyone and I felt ashamed because I stayed at home to begin with.
Second and third year hit and that was when things really started to get bad for me. I had to take a leave of absence, for reasons unknown to me at the time. When I finally got into therapy I realized that it was because I was depressed. Coupled with anxiety and OCD, I had to leave school and work through the rest of my year feeling like I had let everyone down.
But everyone was very supportive. My professors told me there was nothing wrong with taking some time off, and some of them even told me that they had gone through depression themselves and understood completely my need to leave. My friends stood by my side and not one of them told me what I had feared they would: that I was a failure.
Your mental illness will, if it hasn’t already, keep you from doing the things you want to do once in a while. You won’t feel like leaving the house or you’ll get very emotional or you’ll just feel like the pressures of keeping good grades and a social life going is too much to handle.
I think something no one told me was that it was okay to leave school. So many of my friends told me how they wished they had taken a year off rather than continue and let their grades suffer or feel like their mental health was suffering.
But, if your mental illness precludes you from doing certain things, that’s okay. If you can’t give a presentation because of your anxiety or you can’t write essays on time or you need someone to take notes for you, it’s okay. There are places on campus to help with accommodations for you and there’s nothing wrong with cashing them in.
If you ever feel like your mental illness has stopped you from doing anything then you need to speak to someone so you can have someone to talk to, to dispel all the negativity that you’ve failed. If you need to take time off, do it. If you need more time to finish something, ask your professors. It’s normal to need some time for ourselves, especially if you have a mental illness, and there are so many people who are willing to accept that and help you with what you need; don’t be afraid.