Academic Success, Events / Workshops, Zen

Introducing Mental Wellness Month @ U of T

I started my degree in September 2010. By February 2011, I was experiencing symptoms of depression. I managed to complete my first year and a few courses in the summer, but in November 2011 I had dropped out after two full months of neglecting school because I was too depressed to go. It was only in July 2012 that I was sought treatment for and was diagnosed with depression. I wouldn’t return to school until May 2013, and it’s only been until relatively recently that I’ve actually felt comfortable and competent in my classes.

At Eternity's Gate by Van Gogh. The painting depicts a sorrowing old man.
Me: circa 2011-2013. My hair has since grown back.

On that note, October is Mental Wellness Month @ U of T! Searching for “Mental Wellness Month” on Google reveals that several months are considered to be Mental Wellness Month by various institutions, which is confusing at first, but it’s really for the best. Sanity should not be seasonal.

There are a wide variety of events happening @ U of T promoting Mental Wellness that explore techniques for working towards Mental Wellness. Some events, like Meditation or Tai Chi, will not only be occurring regularly this month but also regularly this year, because the last thing Mental Wellness Month is about is losing control of your sanity midnight on November 1st.

As I recovered from depression, I found that relapse was dishearteningly common. Therapy was powerful at the time I was in session, but slowly as the week went on I found myself forgetting what I was supposed to be learning in therapy. It took a long time for me to develop skills out of the therapy I received. The idea behind Mental Wellness Month is similar. It’s not about the miracles wrought by a one-time meditation session. It’s about improving well-being through lifestyle changes.

A last word: if you feel that your mental health is suffering and that you might be experiencing symptoms of mental illness, U of T runs a great service called Counselling and Psychological Services a.k.a. CAPS. For even more resources on how to cultivate wellness here at U of T, check out the following.  

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