It’s OK to Not Be OK

Written by: Eileen Magill

Ever since I was a kid, I knew my brain functioned somewhat differently than others. I had strange obsessions my mind convinced me I had to adhere to. I was very accustomed to the average panic attack: heart racing, sweat pouring, stomach turning. They would come on before having to speak in front of a crowd, while venturing into unfamiliar environments, before moving houses or schools, etc. It wasn’t until my third year of university that I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and OCD.

Although I
have a specific “disorder”, anxiety comes in many shapes and sizes. Anxiety and
other mental health issues can be brought on by stress as well. And school
definitely causes stress in many students. So is it possible to have mental
health issues and still do well in school? The answer is yes.

Wellness in
school – both physically and mentally – is the key to success. Although it was
tough for me to handle the stresses of school while trying to tackle my
anxiety, I found a few coping mechanisms that helped.

First, I visited the gym that
we, as Trent Durham students, get a free membership to. For me, swimming was
the activity that calmed me when I was feeling anxious. Feeling my heart beat,
for healthy reasons as opposed to anxious ones, against the cool water brought
me back to reality. The body carries the mind, and a healthy body ultimately
means a healthy mind.

While staying
active is important, the greatest feeling when you are anxious, scared or
depressed is to know that you are not alone. It may not feel like it, but there
are many other students experiencing the same things you are.  Joining various clubs, programs, and study
groups made me realize that my situation was not entirely unique. I met a
multitude of other students going through similar problems – anxiety,
depression, mania, and many other issues regarding mental health. And what got
us all through it was being there for each other. It may sound cheesy, but the
support one can find in university, especially TrentU Durham, is wonderful, and
you WILL get through it.

One of the people who really helped me
with my anxiety and personal issues when I was attending TrentU Durham was
Corinn Phillips. She is a counsellor and is one of the most understanding and
kind people I have ever met. When you are sitting in her office, there is
absolutely no judgement. You can contact her at (905) 435-5102 ext. 5024 or
visit this website to book an appointment:

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