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Want to take a Break from College - September 13th 2017, 07:08 AM

This thread has been labeled as triggering by the original poster or by a Moderator. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

So just to get the gist of this out quickly, I have PTSD and a form of bipolar disorder that get in the way of nearly everything I plan. I had to be hospitalized for safety reasons last week which means I've missed an entire week of college classes. I'm so overwhemned it's making me suicidal again. So I've been thinking about taking a bridge semester to help but I'm not sure yet.

Has anyone else done that and found that your mental health improved, or was it a bad experience?


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Re: Want to take a Break from College - September 14th 2017, 12:07 AM

Hey there, Jade.

I wholeheartedly believe that mental health needs to come first. I don't think life ever really goes according to plan, but that's okay! You have your entire life to attain your college degree(s) and get to where you want to be, but you have to be alive and well to do that. If you feel this may continue to contribute to you feeling unsafe and suicidal then it would be wise to reevaluate your situation and options. There is no shame in taking a bridge semester if you decide that is what's best for you. You need to be realistic and honest with yourself in making this decision. You know how your bipolar and PTSD symptoms affect you, so it's important to consider what you are like when you are doing well and not so well. Also take into account how often you change from well to unwell.

I'm not sure how education works where you live, but in the US there's the option of online courses and there are some colleges that function entirely online aside from exams. I know there is at least one similar option in the UK and I'm almost positive most places would have one or more options. I'm mentioning this because online courses can often be easier to manage compared to courses that you attend on campus. The college you currently attend may have the option of online courses, too.

Personally, I can relate to this. I decided that I needed a break when I lost my funding during a very bad semester. The break was significantly beneficial for me and I plan to return once I sort out the funding issues, but please remember that we are entirely different people. My experiences and circumstances are different than yours. You know yourself best and how much you can handle.

You ultimately need to do what is best for you and your mental health. If you don't already and it's an option, then I suggest seeking help from a professional. They would be able to help you create a plan for what you are experiencing. If your college has counselors you should utilize that option, too.

I wish you the best in making this decision and staying safe.



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Re: Want to take a Break from College - September 14th 2017, 02:47 AM

Hey,

So, I agree with everything that was said. I struggled a lot with college due to my mental health but I was really stubborn and didn't want to admit to my struggles and I ended up staying in classes longer than I should have. This ended up impacting my grades and my ability to get certain types of funding. So, if you feel like you need a break it is better to do so before it gets out of hand and impacts your grades and any funding that you might have.

One thing that I suggest though is that if you take a break that you have some types of activities planned with your free time. If you are currently working then work would probably be enough of an activity. However, if you are not working and are just going to school you might want to look into volunteering. The reason I suggest this is because sitting at home and not doing a lot can impact your mental health even more which can end up making it harder for you to recover.

I know when I took breaks from school my counselor emphasized that I do what I could to get out of the house. She mentioned volunteering but I wasn't ready to take that on so I would go to the library or the coffee shop and read.

Also, it is definitely important that you try and go to therapy as much as you can because therapy can help you process everything.

I also agree with the suggestion about online schooling. I think that, for some individuals, online schooling can actually help with college. I know my boyfriend has taken a number of online courses and he has enjoyed them and it has made the semesters more manageable while he was also dealing with his own mental health issues.

Best of luck.



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Re: Want to take a Break from College - September 14th 2017, 07:53 AM

I took less than a full load in college. I knew how much I could handle, and I did that, and it worked out well.

I liked having college classes to go to. It helped structure my days and I think that helped overall.

Especially not being overworked!

Take what you feel you can handle. Usually professors will work with you. Look into the possibility of taking an "Incomplete" for a class, if that's an option. Means you couldn't complete the class due to whatever, and you'll finish it later.

All I needed was a note from my doctor to hand the Dean. Where I live a note from a doctor is like having a stone tablet carved by God himself. Everyone bows to it! If a doctor says you can only handle X classes, then they do that.

(I think politically, bureaucratically, as long as the Dean has a note from a doctor he can point to if anyone asks why is this student not taking a full load, then the Dean is happy. Actually the Dean sealed the note in an envelope so no one could look at it. He just had a sealed envelope he could point to if anyone asked. No one ever read the note because it was in a sealed envelope. Not that I care, as I'm an open book when it comes to my depression.)

Definitely do only what you feel comfortable doing. College went OK for me because I didn't push it.

(Actually I was really depressed, so I wasn't OK, but college went OK. I varied how much I took on depending on how I was. Took slightly longer to graduate but that was OK!)
   
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