How to Better Survive the Semester While Living With Mental Illness
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Health and Wellness

How to Better Survive the Semester While Living With Mental Illness

For those of us who are mentally ill, surviving college can be harder than it is for most. Here are some tips for your next semester.

How to Better Survive the Semester While Living With Mental Illness

All college students live semester to semester. You begin a semester and it all looks good, then slowly but surely the work and the stress piles on until you are counting the days before your next break. This is the college experience. However, for those of us who are mentally ill, this gradually building stress can quickly become unbearable. Last semester, I was diagnosed with a mental illness. It hit me really hard toward the end of the semester and my academic life was falling apart. In the end, I took a couple of incompletes so I could better regroup. Now, I'm finally starting to feel ready for the oncoming semester and wanted to share with my mentally ill brethren what I've learned and how I'm planning on surviving. Many of these tips would probably serve well for the average college student as well.

1. Build Free Time Into Your Schedule

Breaks are really important for everyone. But when you're mentally ill, breaks are a necessity. Working too hard too quickly becomes a cycle of stress, procrastination, anxiety, and guilt. So, the best way to make sure you are staying healthy and taking breaks is by building them right into your schedule! This is great because they become a part of your life in the same way doing work does, and because you planned for them they come with less guilt. I know your trying to do your best work all the time, but make sure to have some fun too!

2. Find an Outlet

Going right along with number one, it's really important to find something to do with your newly scheduled free time. Having something you love to do in your free time is really important. This allows you to avoid the dreaded Facebook scroll (or maybe more seriously, the stare at a wall and have an existential crisis). Having fun and doing something that makes you feel like a productive human being during your study break is another awesome way to lessen stress and guilt.

3. Find Someone to Talk To

Let's face it, no matter what you do, as a mentally ill person you are going to have some moments of crisis. Having someone that you can immediately go to during this is extremely helpful. Ideally this is a person who you are so close with that you never have to doubt they will be there. Also from personal experience, having another mentally ill person to talk to is really amazing. As we know, the only people who 100% understand what being mentally ill is like are other mentally ill people.

4. Don't Hesitate To Contact Your Advisor

If things do start to get a little hairy during the semester, it is always best to contact your advisor immediately. They really are here to help. Your advisor can mediate any anxiety you may have about talking to your professors and best figure out a plan of action.

5. Take Care of Yourself!

Of course, taking care of yourself means eating well (or at least trying to), drinking plenty of water, staying active, etc., etc. However, for mentally ill people this usually entails a few more things. If you take medication, please take it! Don't stop taking a medication without talking to your doctor. If you see a therapist, talk to them! If you don't like your therapist, maybe consider getting a new one. Let people know how you are doing.

I know college is hard. it's even harder when you are mentally ill. But if you can maintain just a tiny bit of optimism things will get better. Again, I can't stress the importance of reaching out to people. Good luck out there! I believe in you!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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