If I Wish the Monsters Away
By M.L., BCG Administrative & Community Engagement Officer
“Remember, well over half of your worries will never happen. We can write down a list of your worries, and we’ll compare it to your experience when you come home.”
Three days and counting… I ate one apple and had 15 minutes of sleep in total. My body felt like a strand of poorly cooked spaghetti: limp yet tense and lumpy in all the wrong parts. My brain was going to turn into mashed potatoes any minute now, but it insisted on racing into overdrive.
Initially, I didn’t really think much of this situation.“I feel awful,” I thought, “but what am I dealing with that other students aren’t? Why am I worrying so much about everything? Stop ruminating. Just leave it alone. My body will eventually give up and rest, so I’ll be feeling better when I wake up. ”
Because anxious and depressive thoughts can be unpleasant to deal with, some students may be reluctant to seek help until their symptoms become more severe.
Time after time I was making excuses for myself : Once I settle down, have more income, manage my time better, exercise more, work harder, when I finish my exams, after I check my grades, etc. …, I'll be at my full capacity again.
Days became weeks, and weeks became months. My sleeplessness and rumination had evolved into a pattern. One night I recall sitting in my room while staring at the pile of manuscripts for hours. I asked myself the same sets of questions over and over again without developing any new insights. Suddenly, I found myself hyperventilating and everything began to blur.
In an attempt to wish away the monsters,
I was confronted with far bigger and uglier ones that were incapacitating.
Someone once said to me, "The idea having mental illness was just devastating. I was scared. I didn't want to get help and be confronted by the fact that I am mentally ill. When my life crashed down and unravelled in front of me, that's when I realized I desperately needed help."
Their statement had resonated with me. In an attempt to wish away the monsters, I was confronted with far bigger and uglier ones that were incapacitating. As it turns out, seeking help from professionals wasn't as terrifying as my anxious mind had anticipated it to be. Although I had to confront the fact that I was suffering from mood disorder, I have received ample guidance, tools and support to help me cope with my day to day struggles.
When I confided in a friend about my mood disorder, they surprised me by saying, "Too bad you weren't getting help earlier, and I don't deny that it sucks. On the bright side, I think it's a great thing [for you] to know that there's nothing inherently wrong with you. Now that you know you are suffering from a mood disorder, you can start doing the things that can help you heal."
Maffy is the Administrative & Community Engagement Officer of Burnaby Counselling Group. Having to overcome hurdles of her own, she had grown to become more aware of mental health struggles especially among young people. Maffy also enjoys learning about mental health topics as well as social & charitable programs in her spare time.