Trigger warning: mental illness.
Editor's note: This column was submitted to the Texan by a member of the UT community.
In a society that values efficiency and accomplishments, how often are we able to pause and ask ourselves, “How are we actually doing?” This pandemic makes things a lot harder because we are forced to accept reality as is and to adjust to this new normal. A lot of people’s mental health has taken a toll, mine included.
As someone that struggles with preexisting mental health conditions, things just got even more challenging following the onset of the pandemic. The routines that I had in Austin were gone, having to move back home (readjusting the boundaries and freedom that I was used to having), leaving my friends, transitioning to online classes and much more. These changes were terrifying. With the pandemic, seeing friends is a lot harder and everyone has a different comfort level, so it takes a lot more adjusting. The first step of getting help is to acknowledge what you’re experiencing. It was challenging having to consciously think about how I feel in therapy, but it has given me a safe space to process emotions. I learned how to accept things and situations as is instead of pushing them away. It was really hard for the first couple of months, but with the help of therapy I was able to reestablish my routines, state my needs and learn different coping strategies on managing my symptoms.
As full-time college students, it’s hard to carve out time for ourselves, but think about it this way: If you don’t take care of yourself, who’s gonna take care of you? Things are way more challenging now — have more compassion and patience toward yourself.
One step at a time, one day at a time.
UT’s Counseling and Mental Health Center offers a variety of resources, includings individual counseling and group workshops, to help those struggling with their mental health.