They say that society has changed and developed in a way where having mental health difficulties doesn’t mean you are treated different. Biggest crap I have ever heard! Schools, colleges, and universities are the worst for discrimination against students with mental health difficulties.
The amount of times I have had to prove myself to do the things I want to do is unreal. If you ever have had any type of discrimination regarding mental health, let me know, I wanna help you raise your voice and concern…
In a community where mental health stigma is supposedly declining, people are hella judgemental about mental health. Because I can guarantee you that if you have ever opened up to people about your struggles you have seen the look of judgement. It is not good enough! We need to do more and let our concerns about this be known.
I have met so many counsellors, wellbeing professionals and tutors that have no idea how it feels to have these difficulties. I am not saying they don’t do their job properly, or not to open up. What I am saying is to those professionals, please don’t treat us any differently. We are putting our trust in you because we cant hold it in anymore, the least you can do is not be all over us, ask loads of questions or rush us.
I really hope that some professionals read my blog to understand how I feel and how people Ive spoke to feel.
During my time at school, I really struggled mentally. But me being me put my studies before anything. It wasn’t until I got some bad news that my bucket over flowed and I couldn’t control my emotions. Because trust me, if you are constantly keeping things in, your mental wellbeing becomes a ticking time bomb. You end up in a place you really don’t want to be.
At school this caused a massive problem. My teachers began to realise I wasn’t okay, I stop performing in tests and eventually stopped putting as much effort into my work. resulting in dip in grades. My teachers realised that I wasn’t my normal self, acting distant in class, not interacting in lessons and being late. I didn’t enjoy school anymore.
One day my geography teacher kept me behind to speak to me. He didn’t even have to ask before I started to cry. I had a complete meltdown because I was exhausted. Over time I began to open up to him about a few small things going on in my life at the time. It was a massive relief for me, because I thought I found a person I can trust. And a positive thing being I could tell he wasn’t judging me. After one talk to him I was late for my next lesson with my Spanish teacher who was also my house tutor (yano the one your actually supposed to talk to) (oops…) and because I was still upset and crying she took me outside and raised her concerns. She was worried about me but at the time I thought she was judging me. I off loaded a little to her and continued my day.
Later in term, I realised that my other teachers began looking at me different. And my head of house asked me to see her. She could tell my mental health was continuing to decline. She said I needed help and I couldn’t speak to my geography teacher anymore because he wasn’t a councillor. It broke me, I couldn’t cope with all school knowing about my mental health difficulties, and not being able to talk to the person I trusted, so I actually persuaded my parents to move schools.
This being the true reason I left my first secondary school, for those I never told.
I knew that there were people in that school judging me, and I couldn’t take it. I thought I could trust teachers with the small things. Evidently not! I could see them seeing me as this girl who stays behind for attention, not actually a girl who found the only person they can trust and offloading stress and negative emotion. A girl in mental distress, as I was.
I got scared because the process of the teachers ‘trying to get me help’ happened way to quick. The fact they took the one person I could talk to out of the decision and situation was unfair. I wish one of them sat me down and just said ‘we are gonna help you but in your own time’. ‘Tell us what you can but there is no rush’. But they rushed me into doing things I couldn’t cope with, so I quit.
This is only one experience I’ve had where professionals have treated me in a manner they are taught is right. Tutors and teachers don’t put themselves in the perspective of the student.
It is the same at uni, after everything Ive been through and accomplished, they only see my mental illness diagnosis on paper. I understand it is their job to worry, but some of the stuff I have been told isn’t right. Saying I cant do my dream job of a mental health nurse because it would trigger me, isn’t okay. Don’t you think I know what Im getting into after being on the other end of treatment for years.
I feel like there are so many people out there that don’t understand how the person they are speaking to, treating and helping is feeling or understand their needs in any way.
With my complex mental health difficulties, it is almost certain I will have blips; because of the amount of diagnoses I have had over the years. You cant expect me to be okay and 100% because in your eyes I have recovered because I’m not in the mental health system anymore. You cant expect me to be open, when the one time I was, you turned around and said that I shouldn’t be on the course. Its not fair.
Its really hard as a uni student. New atmosphere, new people, new city, new surroundings. It takes time to process and become normalised with the new everything. And I find it hard being around my friends at uni because I have uni breathing down my neck about a blip. Because in my universities’ eyes if you have a down day where you don’t have the motivation to go to a lecture or day on placement, you aren’t capable. Its discrimination! And I say actually get to know me and earn my trust before you decide what I can do in life.
I have been through a lot of sh*t in my life. And so have many other students at uni, we struggle, like any other person, sometimes we have blips, sometimes we go back to bad coping strategies. But it is unfair for the education system and the people around you to judge you based on one day of your uni adventure, or your diagnosis or your struggles. Because I bet someone who isn’t diagnosed with a mental health illness, gets a different type of treatment…. in fact I know it.
To anyone out there who is a professional working in education. I hope you can understand that if a student is struggling, we need an open space, time and no pressure and most of all we need you! more than you will understand… even if that means being late for class. Please make time for us individuals and don’t force it! And to the people struggling, reach out, do find that one teacher, tutor, friend, colleague and talk. Because trust me when you first open up, you’ve made the biggest step into feeling better!
My inbox is always open to you to talk….. thanks for your support