What I Would Tell Anyone With a Mental Illness Who Needs to Take a Break From School

Posted on October 11, 2017

This story was originally published on The Mighty, a digital health community created to empower and connect people facing health challenges and disabilities.

By Jackie N.

I stopped going to school in the fall of 2012. It was too much. I was busy with classes and had two jobs. But really, I stopped because my symptoms were too debilitating and I had more and more incompletes. Finally, I dropped out so I could get treatment for my schizoaffective disorder – bipolar type.

Yet even when I was in treatment and seeing a psychiatrist regularly, I wasn't really doing anything. I was just home watching television all day. I didn't want to get out of bed in the morning and it was hard for me to get up at a certain time, get dressed, have breakfast and make it out the door.

My psychiatrist finally suggested I try volunteer work and she told me about a website I should check out. As I looked at all the entries, one jumped out at me. There was an organization looking for people to mentor students who were going back to college. I said, let me look at it. I didn't think I could be a mentor, but maybe I could be one of the mentees. That's how I found the program that helped me go back to school. I am so grateful I did.

At first, I worried that I wouldn't be able to get out of bed and get to College Re-Entry on time. That first morning I woke up at 5 a.m. and said to myself, "I have to make it. This is a great opportunity and I can't mess up." I think I treated it as a class. I told myself I had to make it happen. Early on I missed one or two days because I was going to bible study, which ended around 10 p.m. I was getting to bed too late. Because I wanted to make College Re-Entry a priority, I stopped going to bible class for a little while so I could go to bed earlier. That helped. I learned to go to bed early so I could get up early. It's a lot easier now that I learned how to do it.


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