Are you trying to function in college with a mental illness? Then you’re not alone.
I’ve been in college for about six years now and truthfully, I’ve always felt alone in my struggles with anxiety and bipolar disorder. Mental health is a taboo topic to bring up on college campuses in general. This past school year, I decided it would be a fantastic idea to take on seven classes in addition to working 18 hours on weekends. Sounds like the life of a college student, right? It turned out to be a recipe for a disaster
This is the case for many college students dealing with mental illness — the “normal” student lifestyle can just be too much.
Even though I was spending every waking moment studying, I was nearly failing all of my classes. I ended up dropping two of them just so I could function. I was always in and out of my advisor’s office, which would often leave me feeling ashamed for needing the extra support. I often thought to myself, “’normal’ people can take on this class load, why can’t I?”
That’s where I had to stop myself. I had to draw a line down the middle of this black and white thinking. There’s no such thing as a “normal” student.
In my six years of college, I have come to meet so many people from so many walks of life. I have been surprised to find out that a majority of the people also deal with a mental illness in one form or another. It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one on the campus that or feels this way sometimes. If you are dealing with a mental illness, too, then know that you are not alone.
To anyone going through college and feeling like things will never get better: You should reach out for help.
Reach out for assistance from a therapist, a guidance counselor, a friend, a professor, your advisor, etc. All of these people are here to help you succeed. You don’t even have to have a face-to-face interaction! It could be through email. I have found that more often than not, professors are willing to work with you to get make-up work done or even give extra credit to catch up. You’ll find this kind of support by reaching out too.
This past semester, I was in an intensive outpatient program while still fully enrolled in a college. I reached out to my advisor and my professors and explained the situation, and they were more than willing to work with me.
I promise you that you’re not alone in this fight. So many people care about you and want you to succeed both academically and mentally. Getting through college while dealing with mental illness is hard — trust me, I know it. But I also know that I’ve been able to do it, and you can too.