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Mental Illness and Education
By MaiaRose Comments: 13, member since Fri Jul 03, 2015
On Thu Jan 07, 2016 01:20 AM

To give you some background knowledge, I have been professionally diagnosed with OCD, depression, bipolar, and anxiety. I take antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and anxiety medications as needed. I regularly see a psychiatrist for evaluation and therapy. I was disagnosed about five years ago now. I'm in my junior year of high school, and while I've certainly improved since receiving regular treatment, I'm still struggling.

My question is about school. I frequently miss due to mentally not being able to get through the day. My concentration is often poor when I do attend due to anxiety and fatigue, and I have difficulty completing assignments on time.

What should I do? Is it worth talking to school administration about my illnesses? Can they provide me any accommodations? Does anyone have experience with a similar situation?

Thank you so much, I'm just really at a loss.

4 Replies to Mental Illness and Education

re: Mental Illness and Education (karma: 1)
By rosalinde Comments: 1981, member since Fri Jun 19, 2009
On Thu Jan 07, 2016 01:50 AM
This may be removed because I'm not a parent but I am in education.

Yes, talk to your school! If you are missing classes and missing deadlines, they will already have noticed, but until you tell them at least part of what is the matter with you, they will not know, nor be able to accommodate you. Teachers and staff are not mind-readers after all.

Talk to a counsellor or some other dedicated person. Seeing that you are professionally diagnosed, there are bound to be solutions or at least options, both in assistance to help you cope and financial (for the school) to get extra help. You need and deserve help, but the school will need to know what is going on so they can put together a plan.

Good luck!
re: Mental Illness and Education
By hummingbird Comments: 10441, member since Mon Apr 18, 2005
On Thu Jan 07, 2016 09:54 AM
Parent and dance teacher here, I'm also the parent of kids who coped with anxiety whilst at high school and I agree with rosalinde, you need to tell the school. My sons were given quite a bit of help in coming to terms with their schooling whilst coping with anxiety but if I hadn't told the school the wouldn't have been made available because they wouldn't have had the background information.

Your parents will also have to go and talk to the teachers you're under the age of 18 so they have to be part of this too. There's no big deal made about it by the school, there's no stigma or signs in class that you've done this. All that happens is you talk to the counsellor who will ask to talk to your doctor and based on the information given to them they'll start to put a strategy together for you and assign you a case worker if you're at a big school. You then just have meetings once or twice a semester to see if those strategies are helping you and if they're not to see what can be done to improve them.

Please go and talk to your school so that they can start to help you properly.
re: Mental Illness and Education
By MaiaRose Comments: 13, member since Fri Jul 03, 2015
On Fri Jan 08, 2016 11:37 PM
Thank you very much for your advice! It was really reassuring. I WAS worried that talking to the school would result in some adverse effects, but your kind words convinced me that the positives would outweigh any potential negatives.

My mother called the guidance counselor this morning. Over the phone, she made a few suggestions that should help a bit. She is going to contact my teachers and ask them to let me leave class at any time for any reason without question. I'd be allowed to go to guidance or the counseling center, and either talk to someone if I needed, or just sit alone quietly. I'm also allowed to just lay down in the nurse if I think that's what I need, or take a bathroom break. And then I can either go back to class when I'm ready, or decide to call my mom or doctor if I need to talk or want to go home. Having more choices should help me to not feel so trapped, and hopefully it'll reduce the amount of time spent out of school.

I might also ask if there's anyone that I can visit either before or after school (I have no free periods and no lunch, sadly) that can help me reorganize and prioritize assignments. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the work in front of me, and end up breaking down completely and getting nothing done. Having someone talk me through what I need to do and give me guidelines as to how to schedule the time spent on each assignment would be a great help. If there's no one like that at school, maybe I could look into some kind of tutor? I don't necessarily need help with the assignments themselves, but it's hard for me to put everything into perspective.

I wonder if there's someone like that for tests, or if I could maybe take tests in a separate, quieter room. I'm not sure if that's too much to ask, but I find it exceedingly difficult to focus on tests, and having other people around make it much, much worse. If I can't take tests in a different place, maybe I could ask for extended time? I'm not really sure what it's acceptable to ask for.

I'll probably discuss everything with my guidance counselor when I meet with her in person on Thursday. I'm hopeful that these changes will help, but only time will tell. Thanks once again!
re: Mental Illness and Education
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 34923, member since Wed May 22, 2002
On Sat Jan 09, 2016 01:45 PM
I do the same thing - I get so overwhelmed by how much work I feel like I have, that it basically ends up paralyzing me, and I get none of it done. It's awful.

When you meet with the guidance counselor, come prepared with some suggestions of your own - "I feel like when [this thing] happens, that I react [this way], and that it would be helpful to me if I could do [proposed solution]." But be open to their ideas too - they might offer a better solution than you would have thought of even, you never know, right?