Surviving College with Health Problems

Some people get into college with HEAR and DARE schemes but there are the few people who come into college or in mid college that develop health problems which impacts on their academic and social performance. Some end up in hospital for long periods of time and end up failing or having to repeat the year.

So here’s a guide of what one can do to survive and take care of number one priority: themselves.

Firstly, I’m talking out of personal experience. In January of this year I went into hospital with severe mental health problems and was diagnosed with chronic Addison’s disease mid-way through the month. As a girl struggling with long term clinical depression, anxiety and Borderline Personality Disorder, I didn’t need a disease on top of it. I learned that this disease was due to my adrenal gland not producing enough cortisol. It resulted in fatigue and low blood pressure as well as the life threatening event of a “crisis” that could occur and could cause me to die if I was not available to a cortisone injection right away.

With these chances of danger and sickness upon me, I felt incredibly bogged down with attending college and maintaining a healthy lifestyle that would make me pass my exams. I was in hospital for a whole month and missed my Christmas exams and assignments and later went in hospital again in August with an Addison’s flair up and missed most of the repeat assignments. No matter how hard I tried to pass the year, I knew I had one probable outcome. Failure.

As a college student with only one year left ahead of me, I took the failure very seriously and sadly. I was depending on SUSI to fund my college years and since I had to repeat, they refused to continue to fund me. Basically on top of health problems, I had acquired financial issues too.

So here’s how one can survive college with mental and physical health problems;

1. Go to your GP or the clinic on campus to maintain health check-ups to keep a health sound body.

2. Sleep as well as you can as sleep affects your mood drastically. Surprisingly, people with better sleep patterns do account for wellness and a healthier body and mind.

3. If you are feeling down for numerous of reasons be it family, financial and stress related etc. go to the councillor on campus. They are a short term facility that lends a listening ear to those in need. If your issues are more ongoing and long-term then the campus councillor cannot help as much and going to your GP and a mental health service is greatly recommended.

4. Don’t be afraid to open up: Friends are a great source to feel happier and to take part in activities. Even clubs and societies are a good way to take your burdened mind off things and not fret.

5. Don’t let assignments pile up. If you are feeling positive and productive one day, don’t bank on yourself feeling the same later. The mind is fluid and interchangeable. So get started on assignments as soon as possible to make sure if you’re feeling bad later, you have it started or finished and in the bag.

6. Go to the financial advisor if you miss out and end up repeating modules and SUSI or other maintenance grants do not support you. This is where I fell down and struggled. There is a free fees initiative you can apply to in the fees office if you supply a credible medical reason. This covers physical and mental reasons. There is also an Exceptional Circumstances branch off SUSI where you can apply to pay your fees if you qualify. There, all you need is to acquire the paperwork and tick off what forms need to be filled out and stamped.

7. Lastly DON’T BE ASHAMED. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Plenty of college students struggle with such problems in college and I’ll admit where it is difficult sometimes to get aid, aid is still always there. You are not the only oddball out there and you are not being awkward or difficult. These aids and avenues to go through are there to help. It’s their job. So never feel like a burden.