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I took a medical leave of absence in the Fall of 2012 so I could get treatment for bipolar disorder.Fountain House College Re-Entry helped me get back on track.
Returning to college after a summer away can be exciting, and it can also be nerve-wracking, particularly if you are going away for the first time. Being on campus comes with social and academic stress, so it is especially important if you have a struggle with mental health to know what resources are available and to make plans about how to connect with them before you arrive on campus.
College students, especially those who are dealing with mental health challenges, find final exams stressful. Here are some tips for college preparation for college students who are recovering from a mental illness.
While it can be difficult to assess a negative situation for oneself, in my experience, there are some notable signs that it might be better to take a medical leave and get support than it would be to struggle through another academic semester. What are those signs?
College can be exhilarating, but it can also be a vulnerable time for students with mental health challenges. Most college students I work with who are diagnosed with major depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar or schizophrenia, first experienced symptoms in their late teens or early 20s, while they were in college. Since this often coincides with the first time many college students are living on their own without a proper support system, it is all too easy for these students to quickly lose their ability to maintain “normal” or appropriate psychological defenses.
Once I realized I had to take time off school because of my mental illness, bipolar disorder, I was adamant about going back right away. Fortunately, I found a Fountain House College Re-Entry to help me get back to school and to support me when I got there.
"Normally, it’s little things like that that usually get me on edge and make me nervous. That first day of school, the first day of classes, those mindfulness exercises helped me so much. I was patting myself on the back."
College Re-Entry Student Awa shares how change doesn't happen overnight, and how you’ll still have moments where you ask, “what am I doing?” Then overtime she says, you’ll start to slowly see things change, much like her move of leaving for China.
As a person who has major depressive disorder, I’ve noticed almost everyone around me seems to believe they’re very insightful when the topic of my depression arises. Most have not lived with depression, nor any mental illness, yet they are incredibly vocal about ways I can get better. From the bare basics, such as the clutter [...]
I want people to hear my story so they know they are not alone.

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