It took me five months, four failed courses at university and three study program changes to accept that my mental health has a significant impact on my life.
I tried to fight it for so long, thinking I was just a little more stressed than usual. I was taking a lot of classes, I was living alone for the first time, and I didn’t really see any of my friends .... but really, it wasn’t that bad, right?
In February, two people told me that I needed to go to the Counselling Services at UBC because they were concerned for my mental well-being and didn’t know what else to do. And when I finally saw a counselor, she suggested that I take the next year off to reconsider if university was what I wanted to do. As someone who prides themselves on the quality of their work, being told that I should essentially drop out of school shook me to my core.
What I couldn’t see what that there were dozens of issues that had been building up and affecting not only my ability realize how much they were affecting me, but also my grades and my personal relationships.
It felt very uncomfortable at first, admitting that I needed help and then realizing I was one of those people who went to therapy. I couldn’t even call it that to myself, instead writing “Doctor’s Appointment” in the calendar on my phone. I also stopped wearing makeup on a daily basis because I would inevitably cry it into a dark smear under my eyes. It’s hard to summarize months of constant confusion and shame and anxiety, but I promise you that going through all of that has changed my life for the better. I feel more genuine now, more like myself, and I am able to talk openly about the process I went through. What’s most important to me now is doing whatever I can to make sure no one has to go through what I did.
So that’s why I’m here. I’m getting better, learning how my brain works and how to keep going when it decides it doesn’t want to. It’s a work in progress, and I don’t think it will ever be simple - but if it was, that wouldn’t be real life, would it?