I suppose it’d be about time to make the post I alluded to the other day. Unfortunately, the subject matter this time is somewhat less happy.
I am the one out of the four: I am mentally ill. I have rapid cycling bipolar disorder.
This makes being a student very, very challenging. It’s hard writing up an essay when your moods have changed like quicksand underneath you, and you now either have no motivation – or alternatively, you can’t begin to focus, nor take in meaning from a page of text. Or maybe you just can’t work because your medications are scrambling your brain.
Thankfully, I get an awful lot of support from my university and the government. I’m able to claim Disabled Student’s Allowance (DSA). The main benefit of this is my lovely mental health advisor, who I jokingly refer to as ‘my Cardiff mummy’ when talking to my friends. I never expected to have someone who’d be able to talk to me for 2 minutes within the first week of term, go ‘you’re manic’ and have them call my old GP, my new GP and both CMHT’s in order to co-ordinate everything. Thanks to her, I got seen by my new CMHT only a month after starting university.
I also get extended library loans, a study skills adviser, extensions on work if needed, a voice recorder, software and a computer capable of running them. All of this is incredibly useful to me, and I’m very grateful that I have it.
Unfortunately, there’s only so much it can achieve. Very little helps when it’s hard just to get yourself to go and food shop. Daily functioning takes an awful lot of effort for me, and a lot of willpower.
My sleep has also been fairly ruined by my moods. Right now for example, I’ve spent the entire day exhausted but I now can’t sleep because I wake up at 8pmish. I’m hoping that tomorrow my psychiatrist can sort that one out.
In general though, being a student is so worthwhile for me, even with all of these problems. Absolutely no way any of this is going to stop me.