I’ve noticed that most (i.e. all) of my posts have been humour-centric, and that’s perfectly fine because that’s who I am!
This week, though, I want to talk about a topic that affects a lot of students – including myself. Mental health. More specifically, balancing your mental health with university.
Because most people consider me the happy-go-luckiest person they know, they are almost always surprised to learn that I struggle with clinical depression. With that being said, I want to make it clear that mental illnesses can affect anyone.
I remember being STRESSED (Wowza! Capitalized, bolded, italicized, and underlined!) in first year. Now that I think about it, I wasn’t stressed from the work itself. Most of my anxiety came from the stress of procrastinating during my bouts of depression. I was physically and mentally unable to do anything productive. I didn’t even take the time to do anything fun – like Facebook stalk middle school pictures of friends. I would just lie down and try to sleep for hours on end, until I was too awake to sleep. Even then, I still felt too drained to pull the “all-nighters” that people wouldn’t stop raving about.
Consequently, my grades weren’t nearly as stellar as they could’ve been, partly because of what I was dealing with, but mostly because I didn’t make an effort to ask for help. Until late into first year, I never asked for extensions, I never explained my problems – I never actively sought help.
That was the problem.
So many students think that their mental illness is inconsequential. Mental illness is not a synonym for lazy. It’s not. Just like diabetes is an illness, just like addiction is an illness – mental disorders are an illness.
Eventually, I sought help, although it took a lot of encouragement from the caring people in my life.
I want to assure you that it’s perfectly okay to not be okay 100% of the time. There are so many individuals who feel the same way you do, and the university knows that.
Professors aren’t robots, if you tell them what’s going on, they will listen. It’s not their mission to ruin your grades – they want to help you. If you’re going through distress, don’t be afraid to contact them. Whether it is through email or in-person, they will almost always understand, and together, you can decide on a mutually appropriate solution regarding an academic matter.
It doesn’t stop there. Never forget that in each college and faculty, there are wonderful registrars who can help guide you. They can help you with talking to your professors, and they can even aid you if you feel that you would benefit from CAPS (Counselling and Psychological Services) or Accessibility Services.
Never forget that you’re not alone, and there are people that care. Don’t lose out on your university experience because you think your problems aren’t real. I abandoned that mindset, and I think my life’s pretty rad right now.
And when in doubt, listen to Des’ree.