I can do this on my own, right?

Midterm season can be a tough time of the semester for everyone, especially for those of us who don’t have exactly perfect mental health.

This is a tough and delicate topic for many people, myself included, which is why I felt the need to write about it.

I’d be lying if I said I was in perfect condition and, even with UVic’s mental health awareness campaign last term and other initiatives, there still exists both real and STUA_03803_MentalHealthStrategy_LOGO_OUT_vperceived stigma around talking and opening up about these issues.

Now, before I continue, I should say that it hasn’t all been doom and gloom for me, I’ve made many wonderful friends and learned a lot about the world and myself, but being a rather introverted person, opening up beyond the normal levels of stress and anxiety associated with balancing school, work and other stuff, was never something that I did. Of course, that just made my problems far worse than if I had actually gone to counselling.

With all that I just said, let’s talk about balancing mental health with midterm season (papers, midterm exams and reading responses, oh my!). Not too many people know about what the counselling office offers at UVic, so I figure I should start there. Their services include: individual bookings, group sessions (peer to peer) and emergency sessions. It is an invaluable resource. That’s not to say that you can’t talk to someone to vent, get advice or learn about de-stressing. What I’m trying to say is that it is especially valuable if your mental health is getting in the way of excelling at school and following your passions. While this is certainly useful, what does this have to do with midterm season?

In my own experience, nothing makes poor mental health worse than extra stress and having little time to accomplish everything you need done and, of course, knowing what needs to be done doesn’t do you any good if you can’t even get out of bed in the morning. So what do I do? I go to counselling as often as I can. I go the doctor’s office when I can. I (somehow) made a calendar of all my assignments that are due this term, as well as my daily schedule (with mandated study breaks) and have (very slowly) started exercising again. This looks daunting. Looking back, I sometimes ask, how did I get the courage to admit that I need help? Well, it wasn’t easy. It’s been almost four months now, but you have to start somewhere. As hard as it can be to remember, you aren’t alone here.

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