I didn’t hit rock bottom, but I came pretty close.
The past few weeks I’ve been struggling to stay afloat in a humongous wave of schoolwork, extracurriculars, and life outside of U of T. Earlier this semester I wrote a blog post encouraging you all to get involved in school outside of academia even though it might seem overwhelming. I started the semester with a high degree of optimism in being able to balance it all, but I would be lying if I said I was able to fully take my own advice. The difficulty rose subtly like a growing tree; I didn’t quite notice it until suddenly it was obstructing my ability to walk and cast my route in shadows. And on top of that? The tree was starting to tip over and fall.
Suddenly, I had three essays due all at once. I had a family situation and had to rush home to help out which deeply affected my mental health. I had said yes to too many things and I wanted to retract my yes but I felt bad. Writing anything wasn’t an option; sometimes I could hardly get out of bed. My newsfeed on Facebook was stressing me out but was being some kind of a masochist because I kept on checking it. I handed in 2 assignments late. I was worried to no end about my ability to do well in everything I wanted to accomplish this year and my confidence in myself was wavering. I started to retract from people I care about.
However, the combination of my loved ones checking up on me and my friend telling me of the great services U of T offers me helped me build a ladder out of the hole I found myself in. I went to the Health and Wellness Centre and got an illness verification form for extensions on my papers. I took time to take care of myself. After my friend told me about the late withdrawal service my college registrar offers, I made an appointment immediately so I could drop a course that I knew I would not do well in at the end of the term. I slowly remembered my value outside of academia and my GPA.
When you wake up, count your blessings — the good parts. Reconcile with yourself and tell yourself you are a pretty amazing person and that your health matters above everything. And then get to work with that in mind. It might be a little difficult and it’ll take time — you might not want to get out of bed, your brain might not be working the way it’s supposed to, you might lose confidence in yourself. Believe in yourself and work in your fullest capacity at the moment, don’t push yourself too hard until you’re back in good health. Working hard is important and always doing better is even more significant. But sometimes you need to work on yourself first, and remember that this is a continuous process. And then you’ll start getting out of that pit you’re in.
I know I have.