Beyond the normal school anxieties surrounding grades and class loads, I have started this school year with financial strains, a miscarriage, and trying to make sure I am still being a great parent and wife.
Back to school, especially as a non-traditional college student, can be full of so many stresses and, this semester began with a lot of different emotionally tasking things hanging on my shoulders.
I have spent so much time trying to be strong for the people around me. I realized this year I have not been taking care of my own mental health.
Struggling with mental health can be so debilitating at times I feel frozen in time, like the world is spinning around me and I can not keep up anymore.
I know in order to have a successful school year and to overcome some of my emotional struggles, the first thing I need to do is acknowledge to myself that I am not doing OK.
I have also learned that not being mentally and emotionally fine is perfectly normal and that sometimes just talking about it can lift so many burdens.
I have spent a significant portion of my school career thinking the only way to be a successful student is to dive deep into school and push all my other problems aside.
Pushing my emotional needs aside has only made focusing on school and living my personal life 10 times harder than they need to be.
This year I have decided that I am going to focus more on my mental health by allowing myself to walk away, take breaks and talk to someone when I am struggling.
Taking a step back from my work when I am getting tunnel vision and too stressed about whether I am right or wrong has really helped my brain reset and refocus.
I have found that allowing myself to walk away and jump start my brain again has helped me feel more confident in what I am doing with school and has allowed me the time to really work on my other stressors.
Back to school may always come with stress, and life is never going to stop throwing dodgeballs but, if I focus on my mental health more I may just be able to start enjoying the new adventures that come with each semester.
My mental health may not heal overnight however, I am taking steps in the right direction and that is what matters the most.
This school year is the year I let myself become me again. This is the year I reach out when I am battling a mental health war and stop trying to just get by.
Fighting in a mental health tug-of-war is something I know I am not alone in.
If you find yourself struggling do not be afraid to reach out.
There are plenty of resources available to help.
MCCC has partnered with Monroe Community Mental Health Authority to offer free mental health services on campus where they can help you find the best fit for your needs.
If you are in need of more immediate help you can call Monroe Community Mental Health Authority 24 hours a day at 1-800-886-7340 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.