This is a topic that is close to me from my past, but also still relevant at the moment. A brief background on myself, I LOVE learning! I know it’s nerdy.. but I genuinely enjoy learning new things, so found the content side of education interesting and enjoyable. (I am referring to education including high school and college/university). I naturally excelled in school, and always planned for further education. I become unwell in high school, but (no idea how) still managed to complete my exams to graduate. I didn’t plan on further education/college/uni as I didn’t plan to be alive that long. Whilst everyone else around me was looking forward to graduating and planning they’re future, I didn’t do a thing..
As you probably know, I’m still here! (I’m aware my humor is poor…). Once graduating high school, I attempted a few weeks of education before having to leave due to becoming very mentally unwell. I was at the stage that I was very suicidal, self harming but I still could see a little glimpse of a future, which prevented me from my planned suicide. This is where I had a year out from all education. It was incredibly hard for me, considering I am education orientated. I felt stupid and worthless for not being in education. I understand I needed the year away, but was so glad to restart college/university.
I didn’t exactly choose to have a ‘gap yea’ but that’s what happened. I don’t regret it. I did need the space and time to focus more on my mental health. It did help, my suicidal ideation decreased , and I combated a whole range of anxiety’s. ( I think I wrote a blog post on how I significantly reduced my anxiety in a year). The year away prepared me for restarting school. I managed to recognize how to prevent becoming overwhelmed, dealing with the feeling of not being good enough and how to manage stress.
I have been at university for a couple of years now, and am thoroughly enjoying it. I am managing well considering my previous mental health decline whilst studying. It has given me a purpose in life. I still suffer with suicidal ideation, but no way near to the same extent. I now recognize they’re intrusive thoughts, and rarely want to act on them.
I took a year out of education for my mental health. I am not ‘behind’. I am alive, and happy, and that is my priority. I am not a failure for not being able to stay in education. I am smart, I will get my degree. But most importantly, I am looking after my mental health.