A Young Wrexham contributor
For those who have a mental health issues, you’ll be able to relate to me on some kind of spiritual level when I say that having a mental illness as a student is incredibly difficult, right? For those who don’t, I invite you to come along on this wonderful learning journey with us! Maybe this article will help you to gain an understanding into the hardships we experience.
To begin, I’ll talk about myself for a moment – forgive me. I personally suffer with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression.
PTSD is a type of anxiety that is relatively rarely diagnosed in teenagers. Studies show that about 15% – 43% of girls and 14% – 43% of boys go through at least one trauma. Of those children and teens who have had a trauma, 3% – 15% of girls and 1% – 6% of boys develop PTSD. Studies also show that rates of PTSD are higher for certain types of survivors, as you’d expect.
As for depression, it is claimed that one in four British girls are hit by depression at 14. A large study found 24% of 14-year-old girls in the UK report symptoms of depression. That’s just a loose statistic for girls in the UK, omitting both boys and those who are afraid to be honest about their mental wellbeing for whatever reason. I completely understand because, trust me, I’ve been there.
I’m done giving you boring statistics now, don’t worry.
Having a mental illness, undiagnosed or diagnosed, while studying for any kind of qualification is extremely difficult – facts. Possibly the worst part of having a mental illness is the relationship between your teachers/lecturers. When they know about your mental illness, you typically get one of three faces to a teacher after that.
- The “How are you, pet?” – this teacher will not leave you alone. They want daily updates on your mental state and it’s nice to know they care but it’s honestly too much.
- The “Alright, but…” – this teacher believes this doesn’t make a difference and should be no excuse for you not getting any work completed on time or poor attendance.
- The “You do you,” – this teacher is pure bae to be honest. They accept and support you whenever you need it without hassling you, they have enough faith in you to let you do what you need to and when.
We all know a teacher who fits into each of these categories. No matter which category of teacher you get though, I don’t know about you but I nevertheless feel extremely guilty whenever my mental illness gets in the way of my education. I’m lucky enough to have a form tutor who is the “you do you” and actually three out of my four tutors are the same. I, personally, hate that my mental health needs to come first.
Having PTSD that was caused by a horrific person and their actions, I refuse to let this person and what they have done to me ruin my life. This is why, whenever I miss a lesson or struggle to meet a deadline, I ensure I catch up and do work when I’m not in the lesson and do everything I can to meet the deadline ASAP.
That might just be me.
But I know for sure we all hate using our mental health as an excuse, though a valid one. It feels horrid. It makes you feel… all kinds of bad.
But… you shouldn’t!
My therapist once told me that mental health comes before everything else because if you’re not mentally healthy, you can’t do much else. There is a common perception that mental health is not as important as physical health.
THIS IS NONSENSE!
Say it with me, chaps.
Being mentally ill can be just as detrimental to your performance as being physically ill. CAMHS is a part of the hospital and on the same campus (in Wrexham at least) because it has the same amount of importance as physical health. CAMHS has doctors and psychiatrists because it has the same importance as physical health and needs to be cured as much as possible in the same way as physical injuries.
Don’t let anybody tell you that your mental health is not important. It so is. Don’t let anybody tell you that you are not important.
You are important and valid and you have no reason to feel guilty or bad for having a mental illness. I promise you, it gets better. I’m alive, which the person I was this time last year would be surprised about. You can do this. You are brave, you are strong and you are a warrior and a survivor
I believe in you.
See you in the funny papers!
Young Wrexham contibutor