Dealing With Mental Illness In College

Dealing With Mental Illness In College

Mental illness is something many struggle with, the struggle can get even harder when going to college, but there are a few tips and tricks to help deal with it.
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Dealing with a mental illness is hard enough, but once you go to college it makes the battle that much tougher. For most, college is a complete change of sceneary, living in a new place, with a bunch of new people, sharing a room with a complete stranger, and possibly even living in a different state. College is nothing like high school and certainly serves as a shock to the system, especially in the beginning. For those who are dealing with mental illness, all of these changes seem so much more overwhelming. It is important to understand that everyone deals with things differently, however, there are a few general tips which I have discovered to help make handling a mental illness while also dealing with the transition college presents that have helped me and I hope might help you as well.

The first and most important tip is accepting your mental illness. Nothing good will come from denying that you are struggling. This is not a decision, it is a disease. You are not able to choose whether you will get cancer or break a leg, and the same goes for a mental disease such as anxiety or depression. It is not something to be ashamed of, but rather something that must be dealt with like any other ailment. Pretending as if you don't have a broken leg and continuing to walk on it is only going to make matters worse. Acceptance is the first step of many recovery processes, and this is no exception.

Like stated earlier, it is not something in which to be ashamed of. Do not be embarrassed to tell someone that your mental struggle may affect how you react in certain situations. This is particularly important for roommates or those whom you will be spending a lot of time with such as teammates or sorority sisters. If the people around you are able to understant what you're going through, it will avoid them misinterpreting your actions for something vindictive against them. This will also help you, because you will be able to ask for help without having to hide your true feelings. Asking for help or talking to someone when you are struggling is the one of the most helpful things. Fighting alone is going to make everything so much harder. It is extremely important to have a support system in general, however it is that much more important to maintain a strong support system when you are struggling with a mental illness. Knowing that there is someone whom you can fall back and rely on will offer a strong sense of comfort always.

Asking for help is hard sometimes. Some feel as though it will make them weak if they need someone to help them handle anything. However, if the people around you know that you might be struggling, they will be able to notice warning signs and help us without even having to ask. The important thing about this is to accept the help. If someone is going out of their way to make assist you, without having to be asked, they are obviously concerned about you and want what's best for you. Accepting a helping hand might be hard at first, especially to those who are stubborn, but in the end it will be the right decision for you.

Another important decision to make is listening to your illness. Mental illnesses are very loud and will make themselves very clear, particularly in harder times. If you feel as though you need to be alone, do so. If you think you need to talk to someone, do it. Don't fight against what your mind is trying to tell you. Listening to your body is so important and will make the process so much easier and less overwhelming. Pushing against your inner instincts will create even more stress on top of everything else. Missing one party to be alone and work through your feelings will not murder your social life, I promise you; take care of your mental health first.

The final tip is to find your set of activities which help you to relax. For some, they exercise, others craft, and personally I like to do crosswords. Something simple which you enjoy to take your mind off whatever might be bothering you. Having some "me time" will boost your spirits and clear your mind, this will help you go into difficult situations with a stronger sense of optimism. It's always nice to have something small to look forward to at the end of your day. Knowing that after a day of crazy customers at work and a hard test in your economy class you'll be able to hit the gym and let all your frustrations out can have such a positive effect on your whole day. Find that little thing that relaxes you and gives you joy, and try to incorporate that into your life as much as possible.

Mental illness is no joke, and can certainly alter one's way of living. Fortunately there are many resources available to those struggling. In fact, most colleges offer services to those who need them. In addition to the tips above, I would certainly recommend looking into the resources your school community offers. I hope this article served as helpful to some. Times may get hard, but you can get through anything. Stay strong, and don't be afraid to ask for help

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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I Went From Losing Weight To Lifting Weights, And Now I'm In The Best Shape Of My Life

How a change in my fitness goals changed my life.

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I am in the best shape of my life...or at least I think so, and that's what truly matters.

I look in the mirror and feel confident.

I finally feel comfortable wearing crop tops, and I'm even starting to show visible abs. But getting here has been such a difficult journey filled with eating disorders, body dysmorphia, and other physical and mental struggles that hindered my ability to achieve my goals.

I have been on this health and fitness journey for many, many years now. I've been a size 00, a size 12, and every size in between.

Through it all, I have learned so much about myself, as well as fitness and nutrition in general. My biggest takeaway that led me to overcome all these obstacles was learning to let go of my perfectionism. When I'm old, I don't want to look back on my life and realize that I spent it all trying to lose weight. So, I changed my mindset.

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1. EAT MORE

I know, it sounds crazy. As women, we are constantly told about diets and cutting calories. If you just want to be skinny, you can do that. But if you want to be strong, you need to eat to be able to put on the muscle.

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If you have struggled with eating disorders like me, satisfying your cravings will prevent you from having major setbacks.

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Get your butt off that elliptical and into the weight room.

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Again, especially if you want to build muscle, you need rest days. These are the days where your muscles are "actually" growing.

5. DON'T RUSH IT

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I hope these tips are helpful. With positivity and patience, you can achieve anything.

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