Fourth-year student Sabrina Collins was struggling with her worsening mental health until she stumbled upon “The Case for Personal Responsibility,” an op-ed published in The Mediumthat calls for unwell students to just deal with their mental health problems. That’s when Collins decided to take her chemical imbalances into her own hands.
“Just not being mentally ill never crossed my mind,” Collins said on a Facebook status published over the weekend.
“My chemical imbalance and trauma make it almost impossible to leave my bed most mornings,” the student explained of her new mindset, “but today I was able to muster enough self-initiative to make it all the way to my kitchen before I started violently sobbing and had to lie down on the floor for an hour. I called the HCC for a same-day appointment, because my depression was worsening, but they said they didn’t have any appointments for a few days, so I have to wait until then to be suicidal.”
When she finally met with a counsellor, Collins was delighted to discover a self-help group for self-compassion, only to be disappointed that it would be cancelled due to low attendance. Not left completely empty-handed, Collins was given the number for Kids Help Phone.
Students at the University of Toronto frequently note their academics as a point of stress and something that makes it difficult for them to cope with mental illness. Still, Collins recognized the importance of self-care.
“I decided to give myself a self-care day yesterday, and I only fell behind on three assignments and missed two tests,” said Collins.
When it came to the sound nutritional advice espoused in “The Case for Personal Responsibility,” Collins faced some trouble. “My eating disorder makes everything taste like mush and makes me hate myself for eating at all. I thought about making a home-cooked meal, but I couldn’t read the cookbook through all the tears in my eyes. Instead I went to the Davis food court to get a stir fry. I was able to take three bites before throwing it out, but I think I’m starting to feel less depressed!”
When asked how she was planning on incorporating fitness into her mental health recovery, Collins explained, “I’m going to run seven miles to punish myself for eating, but at least exercise is good for my depression, right?”
Now a perfect vision of sound body and mind, Collins is able to reflect on all the progress she has made. “I may feel ten times worse than I did when I woke up this morning, but it’s all about the effort, right? Right? Please tell me I’m right.”