Donuts heal broken hearts

This time last week, I was preparing to have a conversation I didn’t think I’d be having so soon, with a person I did not want to have that conversation with. I was so drained of energy and emotion, that I did not think it was possible to cry anymore; I was wrong. I didn’t think it was possible to feel any more crushed than I already did. Again, after that conversation, I learned that I was wrong. I was wrong about a lot of things.

Break ups are difficult, and no matter how hard you search, you won’t always get the answers to your questions. It can make getting closure a never ending task, because without those answers you always wonder where it went wrong. We’re always seeking closure.

That night I went out, and in true post break up fashion, I got drunk. And I cried, hysterically. I cried so hard that I had a physical pain in my chest. I balled my eyes out to the point where I couldn’t keep my upper body upright. This wasn’t because I was drunk though, I was just tired. So tired. This had happened a few times in the week beforehand, where I was so drained that my body just collapsed into my lap as I sobbed. I didn’t have the strength for this.

My friends brought me home. They hugged me and they listened to me, and they reassured me that I’d be okay. They took care of me. All my friends had been taking such good care of me. I realised the next day that while they were doing this, I needed to take care of myself. You can have twenty people picking you up when you fall down, but you have to be willing to pick up the extra pieces yourself. You have to be willing to get on with your life.

When you’re going through a break up, it can be easy to just wallow in your own self-pity. To stay in bed for three days straight and listen to sad songs and think that the world is ending and your life is over and you’ll never be happy again. Maybe the last bit is an over-exaggeration, but you get what I mean. It’s okay to feel shitty to a certain extent and we all need time to cry, but you have to stop at some point. The world keeps spinning and life doesn’t stop for anyone.

That same evening I was sitting on the cold, dirty floor on a wet evening, waiting on my bus to the airport. The rain was hitting off my skin and I hoped that every sudden drop would shock me and jolt some kind of energy into me. It didn’t happen, but it made me realise something.

I wasn’t going to feel better by sitting around and waiting for happiness to be handed to me on a silver platter. There was only so much moping around I could do before I was going to get used to it, to get comfortable with it, to think that I didn’t deserve to be happy. I made a conscious decision that day that I was going to try, to really, really try, to feel better.

Going home and visiting my friends was the first step, but I knew I wasn’t going to feel on top of the world again overnight. The next day, I didn’t cry. Or the day after that, or the day after that, or the day after that. I’ll admit it, yesterday I did get a little upset. But I cried for a few minutes, and I pulled myself together and I felt a little better. This is what it’s about, feeling that tiny bit better every day and knowing that you can get through this.

I went to visit one of my best friends in London. I went to a job interview. I ate donuts, plenty of donuts, because donuts heal broken hearts. I surrounded myself with positive people, and I left the house; even when I didn’t want to. I haven’t drank any rosé yet but I’m planning on it. I started to read a new book. I made myself healthy dinners. I wrote more. I bought a new purple, glittery lipstick. I started watching a new TV series. I made an attempt at my assignments, and I didn’t get much done, but I tried and that’s the main thing.

As each day goes by, I’m feeling that small bit better. My life has changed a lot in the last year, and now I’m free to be the person that I’ve always wanted to be. Yes, this is an ending, and endings are always horrible. But it’s also a chapter with a new beginning.

I was wrong about a lot of things, in that a week ago I said I couldn’t do this.

Keep doing the little things that make you happy, and you’re going to be okay.

And remember; donuts heal broken hearts.

pinkdonut

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Getting over him, when he wasn’t even yours in the first place

Getting over someone can be a pain in the ass. We don’t want to do it, but we know that we have to. We can’t just sit around and be sad about some guy for the rest of our lives/semester – time is ticking and those 12 weeks of college fly by pretty quickly. It’s pretty commonplace in college, you’ve been “casually” seeing someone (see what this entails here) for a little while and then it all goes downhill, rapidly, sort of like a landslide. Maybe he went off with someone else, maybe he told you he didn’t like you, or maybe he just flat out ghosted you. I’m going to put my passive aggression away for this post, I promise.  get3

Whatever happened, you need to realise that it’s over now, life goes on and there’s no point sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself. Ask yourself, will it matter in ten years? The answer will probably be no, and if that’s the case, here’s a guide to getting over a guy that was never really yours in the first place.

Step one is to realise that there’s nothing wrong with you. Even if he didn’t hit you up with the age old “It’s not you, it’s me” thing, take it into your own hands to apply it to the situation. Maybe he just didn’t want a relationship, or maybe you just weren’t his cup of tea. That can be a hard one to swallow, but do you fall in love with every guy you come into contact with? Yeah, it’s probably the same for him. We all have our preferences, and you should never change yourself for anybody.

Step two is to avoid being a hermit. Stop lurking around your room all alone for the dget4ay, it’s not helping anyone. You should probably change out of your pyjamas too. Get out there and do something, even putting on a bit of makeup is going to help you feel better about yourself. Personally, I like to head to the gym to blow off steam. Nothing like sweating out your frustrations on a treadmill while listening to Taylor Swift remixes. No, I’m not crying, I’m just sweating I swear.

Step three is to get back in the game. Whatever was going on between you two wasn’t serious, so you can thank God that you don’t have to endure the guessing game of when is considered appropriate to move on. Go out with your friends, drink tequila, throw some eyes across the dancefloor to guys that look attractive now but won’t the next day. “Why did you let me shift him?” is always a nice distraction topic with the housemates…

And step four is for when you’re out and about and have overindulged in the three Jagerbombs for a tenner deal. Delete his number, block him on snapchat, break your phone, cut off your hands, whatever. Just please God, do not contact him when you’re drunk. You’re only going to get a bad response, or even worse, no response at alget5l. Before you know it you’re stumbling home, reply-less phone in hand and banging down your door because you’ve lost your keys. When the door is eventually opened by your sleepy housemate you’ll be roaring “I HATE ALL MALES!” and storming up the stairs to ball your eyes out crying. All because he didn’t reply, because it’s 3am and he was probably asleep. Avoid the hassle, don’t text him.

Step five is to apply an inspirational quote to the situation. I’m a big fan of this one, and I like to use “What will be, will be” on the regular, an example being when I’ve ordered pizza for the third time in one week. Anyways, never a failure, always a lesson is a firm favourite of mine when it comes to this shit. Everything happens for a reason, learn from what went wrong this time. You’ll probably realise exactly what you don’t want from a guy in the future.

And finally, step six is to stick to your guns. It could be smugweeks or it could be months, but you never know when they might chance their luck with you again. If it didn’t work out the first time, there’s a reason. And I promise you, waking up feeling smug because you turned them down is better than the sea of regret you’ll be swimming in if you go back to them. Even if you change your mind by the end of the night, when you mutter “I think I want to shift John” under your breath and your housemate has to drag you home by your hair, you still managed to keep away and that’s the main thing. Go you!

So buck up and move on Princess, you’re going to have to go through a lot of frogs before you find your Prince. Why waste your college years crying about boys that don’t like you?

The Secret Life of a Commitmentphobe / Why Do I Need a Boyfriend?

I’m the girl who runs a mile at the very mention of the word feelings. I’m the girl who gets asked, “What happened with you and Jack?” and the response is always the same, “Well he told me he liked me”. I’m the girl who frunningreezes at the thought of settling down with someone. I, Michaela Deane, am a commitmentphobe.

But what’s so bad about that for now? I’m 19 years old, it’s hardly time for me to be thinking up baby names just yet. I was told going into my first year of college that I’d want, and probably need, to be free and single. So I broke up with my boyfriend, and there I had it, the single life. But it all takes a U-turn in second year when suddenly everyone’s like come on, settle down now, it’s time to find a boyfriend.

dontlikeBut why do I need to have a boyfriend so badly? And why is it so wrong for me not to want one at this current moment in time? I spent a good three years of my teenage years in relationships, so I think I’m entitled to a little alone time. People are shocked and appalled when I sigh at the mention of a potential relationship, but why is it such a big deal? This isn’t 1940, I don’t need a man hanging off my shoulder 24/7.

I’ve been lectured many a time about my unwillingness to get into a relationship. “You’re missing out on so many great opportunities” is always a popular argument. But if I’m willing to let these opportunities slide, then they can’t have been that great in the first place. If I’m letting things run their course and seeing where they go, perfect. If I find someone worth staying with, then I’ll stay with them. If my Prince Charming comes sauntering up to me in Crush some night, then that’s just fabulous, but I’m not on the lookout just yet.sigh

I’ve also been informed that people usually find their future husband in college. It’s a valid point, but I don’t think people realise that when I finish my degree I’ll only be 21. I have no plans of running off and getting married at 22, thanks very much. Maybe I’ll run off and travel to Australia, and find my future husband there instead. Who knows?

Reason #29 that I don’t want a relationship right now is quite simple – I want to focus on myself. It might sound stupid but my education is really important to me, and right now I have one aim and that’s doing the best that I can in college. Nothing wrong with being a bit of a nerd, for the time being anyways. I’m sure this phase won’t last very long.

feelzAnd as strange as it may seem, I do have feelings of some sort and like any girl, I don’t want them to get hurt. I spent a lot of my early teenage years being a dramatic, hormonal mess about boys and listening to lots of Taylor Swift. I do not want a repeat of that, especially now that I’m having the time of my life in college. I don’t want any boy related drama or disruptions, so it’s easier to steer clear. I’m a very sensitive creature deep down, I swear.

And to conclude, I swear I’m not a man hating extreme feminist. I have lots of friends who are lads, and I don’t see anything wrong with having a bit of fun. But a relationship would be too much for me right now, and it’s okay to want to be single.

I’ve definitely jinxed myself now and will end up getting in a relationship. But sure look, what will be will be.

Feelings – I’m Not Doing It

He loves me, he loves me not. He loves me, he loves me not. It all seems like a bit of an ongoing struggle, doesn’t it? We’re constantly wondering if the boy we like, likes us back. It can be a head wrecking few weeks of “Why won’t he tfeelings2ext me back?” and “Why did he like her photo on Facebook?” and frankly, I find it a bit exhausting. Which is why I don’t bother with it anymore. I’ve developed a bit of an ice queen aura, and for the time being it’s working quite well for me.

Your first year of college (or your second year of college, as I have found) isn’t exactly an ideal time to let your feelings for people flourish. College is all about being young and wild and free, and the last thing you want is a relationship tying you down. When you get into a relationship with someone, you end up either breaking up with them or marrying them, and the possibility of either of these options are equally as scary to me. When you catch the feels, it’s usually pretty hard to get them to piss off. But as the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure, and avoiding this whole “feeling” craic in the first place can actually be pretty simple.

“I’m not going to get fefeelings4elings for him”
Go into it with your walls up and stick to your guns, just keep telling yourself that you’re not going to get feelings for this person. If you have this set in your mind from the start it’s easier to stick to, rather than deciding half way through when you’re already pretty fond of this guy or girl. If you feel yourself slipping up, take a little time to remind yourself of all the reasons that you don’t want to be with this person. A personal favourite of mine is, “I could definitely see myself throwing something at him in a nightclub”.

“I’m not coming over”feelings3

Avoid spending too much time with this person. Space it out, and do other things you enjoy before meeting up with them. The more time you spend with someone, the more you begin to like them, and that’s not our aim here. Leaving gaps between meeting up gives you the opportunity to meet other people to focus your attention on, which is a win-win situation really. It’s all about balance… Balancing your feelings between multiple people and having each one wonder why you’re so heartless and cold. No, I’m joking. Just don’t get attached. feelings5

“I’m not gonna text him”

This is just as bad, if not worse, than spending too much time together. When we’re hiding behind a phone screen we feel ballsy and brave, and we’re not afraid to say what we really think. Hence the “I actually really like you” text, followed by some seriously disheartening I-don’t-want-to-complicate-things type reply. So why botfeelings6her? Over the phone you can easily wear your heart on your sleeve and feelings are poured out here, there and everywhere. So just don’t bother with it in the first place.

“I’m not looking at his Facebook page”
We all do it, I know, but try not to. It may seem like a harmless bit of nosing around but next thing you know, you’re on the page of Joanna from Louth who’s studying English and History in UCD and wondering why the hell he keeps liking all her profile pictures. Who IS she? Where did he FIND her? And his ex-girlfriend… You’ll be sending your bestie screenshots of her for reassurance that you’re prettier than her, mark my words.

“I’m not telling him anything about me”

He does not need to know your life story. He doesn’t need to know why feelings7you and your ex broke up, or your parents’ names, or that you’re allergic to mustard. If you start telling him everything that’s happened to you since the age of five, you’ll find more and more things that you have in common. This leads to more communication, which leads to the “F” word. It’s nice to know their interests, but don’t get into it too much. Work on that mysterious streak.feelings8

“I’m not cuddling him”
Probably the most vital rule of all, this one is a must. Affection is wrong in so many ways when it comes to avoiding feelings. Getting close to someone physically means getting close to them emotionally, which is exactly what you don’t want. Don’t do it, it’s not worth it.

I’ll finish this post with a quote from the original ice queen, the one and only Effy Stonem – “The best way to not get your heart broken, is to pretend you don’t have one.” Have fun feeling absolutely nothing towards anyone little chickens.

If you enjoyed this post, you can vote for me as “Best Youth Blog” in the Irish Blog Awards here

I’ll Be Okay

September has finally hit us, and it’s back to college for everyone. Excited? Of course you are, sure we all are. Most of us have spent the whole summer working, half way across the country from the people we can now call our second family. The thought of getting back to the craziness of college life is something that puts a smile on all of our faces. But for me, college life brings other things with it. It should feel like it’s all fun and games, but it doesn’t.

The last few nights, I’ve ended up crying myself to sleep. Why? The “A” word of course. Back with a bang is my anxiety, riled up and ready to try and ruin college for me again. What am I worried about? Pretty much everything, if I’m honest. But I’ve decided that I’m not going to let one little thing ruin college for me again. Last semester, I let myself get so bad that I was barely leaving my room. But this time, I’ll be okay.

I was going to write a blog post about why anxiety is ruining my life, and whine and complain and cry and whatever else. But I’ve decided to make this into a more positive post, on why things are going to be so much better this year. I’m putting pen to paper here about why my worries are irrational, which will be a big help in just getting it all out of my head. It’s a new semester, a different semester, and I have the power to make the most of it.

Last semester, I felt really, mh1really alone. I spent a lot of time in my room by myself, and it was hard to find the energy to go out and see my friends. This year, I’m living with my friends, and with the constant laughter and music blaring, there’s no possible way I could feel alone. When I feel like shit, all I have to do is take a couple of steps and I’m in one of their rooms, and things will immediately feel a little better. And my other friends? Conveniently we’re all in the same neighbourhood, so nobody’s more than a five minute walk away.

My major worry for this semester is that I’ll gain back all the weight that I’ve lost. It took absolutely ages and it’s only now that I’m starting to feel okay again, and I don’t want to mess it all up. But now that I live in a house where the kitchen isn’t covered in mould, I can actually cook. That means no more takeaways, and with the gym less than a ten minute walk away, I’d be an idiot to give up my exercising routine. Also the fact that college is a trek of a walk from my house probably won’t allow for much weight gain either. The Chinese across from our house could be a bit of a problem though.

Because I’ve made some really good friends, I don’t have to worry about having panic attacks when I go out. They’re not the kind of people that would leave me outside, alone, in the rain.. And although I feel like such an inconvenience when I have to go home, I know they won’t end up hating me for it. They know it’s not something I can control, and just knowing that makes me a little less anxious when I go out, because I know that they understand.

Failing was a big fear for me last semester. It was hard to motivate myself to do anything, and I felt like there was nothing that I enjoyed anymore. Making myself go to lectures was tough, but if I passed last semester with flying colours, I’m pretty sure I can do anything. My interest in writing is back, and the fact that three out of four of my housemates are in the same course as me means we can drag each other along to lectures. Or convince each other not to go, depends on the day I guess.

I’m not letting my mental health prevent me from enjoying college this year, and acknowledging my fears and realising that they’re irrational was the first step in doing that. This year is different in so many ways, and now is my chance to change things. I’m going to focus on the positives rather than the negatives, and make the best out of my time in UL. I’ll be okay.

If you liked this blog post, make sure you vote for me as “Best Youth Blog” in the Irish Blog Awards here

“I Wish I’d Been Told” – A Fresher’s Guide To College

So the CAO offers came out today, and I hope you’re all happy and not sobbing in a corner, hungover and tired from waiting up until 6am like I was. When I headed off to college, I’d just turned eighteen. I was the first in my family to go to college, and because I didn’t do transition year I had no older friends to advise me on the do’s and don’ts. So here’s a little guide for you fresher’s, on what I wish I’d been told when I was moving away to college.

I wish I’d been told to “Start as you mean to go on”. During fresher’s week I missed one sociology lecture, I’m not sure why, but after that it was a no go. If you miss lectures at the beginning, you’ll get into the habit of it and slowly but surely you’ll find yourself not going to college at all. And if you’re not really interested in your course, or you can’t motivate yourself to do the work at home, it can be really hard to catch up.

I wish I’d been told that the fresher’s fifteen is not a myth. I know what you’re all thinking, “I’m going to lose SO much weight in college because I’ll eat healthily when I’m cooking for myself” or “I won’t be able to afford food when I’m going out all the time”.. Wrong, so wrong. It’s hard to eat healthily when your college timetable is full of splits and the easiest thing to make and eat in ten minutes is microwavable pasta. And you can afford to eat, you can afford the 20c noodles from Aldi and not the €3 punnet of strawberries. Take it from the girl who gained two stone in three months, I know what I’m talking about. Learn to cook some healthy meals, limit the amount of takeaways you eat, and don’t go to the chipper after a night out.

I wish I’d been told that living facilities for students aren’t the best. Especially in first year, when it’s everyone’s first time away from home without their mother to clean up after them. Even when you’re in top class student accommodation, your floor will be constantly sticky from vodka and there’ll probably be mould growing in at least three places. Hope for the best, expect the worst. Someone will probably pee in the sink at one point too.

I wish I’d listened to the people who told me “Don’t shit where you eat”. Don’t get with someone from your course, and don’t get with someone that you’re living with. The awkwardness if it ends on bad or awkward terms is real. It’s probably not advisable to get with anyone living in your best friend’s house either. Or living next to your best friend’s house. Or anyone. Just don’t get with anyone. Stay away from them all.

I wish I’d been told not to get sick in a taxi. Now this has never happened to me, but I felt it was worthy of a mention. Living in the back end of nowhere, if you get sick in the back of a van you usually just hear “Ah for God’s sake!” and it’s done. Do that in the city, and you’ll have to pay a hefty fine of around €140. Ridiculous I know, but yeah, don’t get sick in a taxi. Oh and if you refuse to pay, they’ll probably call the guards.

I wish I’d been told not to buy books straight away. When we were given the list of books we needed, I went out and bought them immediately. Do you know how many I actually ended up reading? Zero. Only buy the essentials, you can always borrow the rest from friends, split the price between ye or find them in the library.

I wish I’d been told how great the support for students with mental health problems is in college. I was so worried when I’d miss tutorials over panic attacks, or needed an extension after getting myself up in a heap. Lecturers (at UL anyways) are very understanding and sympathetic towards the fact that you have a mental illness, and do all that they can to help. Whether it’s giving you an alternative assignment, or helping you out when you’ve fallen behind, the system is a lot better than the one in place in secondary school.

And finally, I wish I’d been told to make the most of my first year of college. Like everything, college is 100% what you make of it and it’s not all about the books. Meet new friends, go out, join clubs and societies, and don’t be afraid to be yourself. I had a wonderful first semester studying in UL, and I’m sure there’ll be many more to come. Good luck to you guys on this new chapter of your life, and make sure you enjoy it!

Dropping Out – When Mental Illness Becomes Too Much

A couple of weeks ago, the results of the National Student Survey were published, and there was one statistic that really stood out to me. Out of the 41.7% of students surveyed who thought about dropping out of college, the top reason for this was mental health concerns. I can’t say that this shocked me, but I thought it was something that needed to be talked about more. More often than not when we hear of somebody dropping out, we can roll our eyes and label them as “lazy”. But 99.9% of the time, this just isn’t the case.mh1

In my second semester of college, I had serious thoughts about dropping out. My anxiety was at an all-time high, to the point where I was barely leaving my bedroom. I’d lost interest in everything, going out was no longer fun and I was struggling to enjoy my lectures the way that I used to. I missed the comfort of my own home and all I wanted to do was go back to Mayo, for my mum to comfort me and remind me that things would be okay. After speaking to a counsellor in UL, I decided I’d take a leave of absence from college. But I was too afraid to say it to my parents, to my friends in college, to my friends back home, and soon the closing date for leave of absence submissions had passed.

mh4I stayed in college, and although it was a very tough semester I managed to get through it. Now my mental health is a lot better, I’m finally enjoying going out again and I’m writing more than ever, plus I can’t wait to go back to Limerick in September. But having experienced the turmoil that comes with making the decision on whether or not to drop out, I know just how hard it can be. Out of the 41.7% of students surveyed, the top reason for thinking about dropping out was mental health concerns. So I spoke to two students, one who dropped out of college, and one who dropped out of school, due to their mental health.

Hannah Murphy is an 18-year-old from Swords, in Co. Dublin. Last year, she started a History course in Trinity College, and ended up dropping out in February, which was ultimately the best decision for her health. Speaking about her mental health, Hannah says that there were concerns from a young age:

“I had a brief history of pyschosomatic illness when I was about ten or eleven, but I had ‘recovered’ fine. Despite being quite extroverted as a kid, it became the opposite at fifteen and I started getting pretty bad anxiety around most social situations, including school.” mh3

Having experienced panic during her leaving cert exams, Hannah didn’t do as well as she thought she would, and felt that this had a huge impact on her mindset going into college. She was disappointed that she didn’t get her dream course, and felt as though she had failed.

Her mental health issues had a huge impact on her college attendance, and Hannah says she skipped at least half of her lectures, sometimes arriving outside the door and backing out at the last minute. She left work until the very last minute, so that she was almost forced to do it. She says that this got even worse by the second semester, adding “By then I really just didn’t care anymore”.

mh2Hannah had contemplated dropping out from the very start, but it took her until February to come to her final decision. With the support of her parents, who knew just how much she was struggling, Hannah decided to leave college for the sake of her mental wellbeing.

Talking about the stigma attached to mental illness, Hannah acknowledges that it’s still there, although it’s now a different type of stigma to before: “I think it’s a case where most people will acknowledge mental illness and sympathize with it, but when actually directly confronted with it from a friend/family member it becomes something they don’t want to really face.”

Hannah isn’t surprised by the statistic from the NSS, and adds that the system kids and teenagers go through right before college isn’t one that breeds mindfulness and self-care very well.

Since dropping out, Hannah says that she’s doing a whole lot better. She’s now being medicated, and is still in therapy but is realising more and more that college wasn’t and still is not for her at the moment. She adds, “I’m not even sure what I want to do, so maybe when I’m a little older and stronger mentally I’ll go back.”

Amy Golden is a 19-year-old from Bonniconlon, Co. Mayo. She attended Gortnor Abbey secondary school, where she dropped out in the September of her leaving cert year due to the toll it was taking on her mental health. mh5

For as long as she can remember, Amy has suffered from depression and has been sent to child psychologists from the age of five. It was triggered again when she was in second year, after the sudden death of somebody she knew, and what continued was a downward spiral for Amy’s mental health. It got to the point where she had to be hospitalised for two months at the end of 2014, after being admitted with self-harm injuries and suicidal thoughts. During her stay, Amy was finally diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Dropping out of school was a difficult decision for Amy, but the mere thought of her leaving cert created stress and led to her self-harming. She reflects back on her final day of school, when she’d hit a breaking point: “The bus had just started, and I could feel this pain in my stomach. I could feel the tears coming, and my arms started to pulse and itch for me to harm myself again. I didn’t take any heed, and when I got to school I went straight to the toilet and bawled my eyes out, and then I self-harmed.”

Although she knew deep down that she needed to drop out, it was hard to come to that final decision. Amy knew it was the best thing she could do for herself, and adds, “if I did stay in school, I would have definitely have been dead By October.”

mh6Like many people who drop out, Amy was petrified about what her friends and family would think, “All I could hear in my head was people saying, ‘She’s only going to go on the dole and do nothing with her life,’ or think that I was a complete waster.” Luckily for Amy, her family were very supportive, and did all they could to learn about her mental illness. However her ordeal also separated the true friends from the fake ones, and many chose not to stick around.

Amy agrees that there’s still a stigma attached to mental illness, and recalls on one particular incident where a family member wasn’t exactly supportive, “I’ve had a family member of mine tell her friends that I was in hospital for a bad tummy bug, because she didn’t want to put up with the ‘shame’ of being related to someone who was ‘mental’.”

Amy feels that there’s nowhere near enough support for students with a mental illness in schools, and says that on a scale of one to ten, she’d give it a three. She adds that a talk about mental health in SPHE for a day or two is not substantial.mh7

Since making the tough but necessary decision to leave school, Amy’s mental health is stable. She’s currently on a high dose of anti-depressants, and sees a clinical psychologist every few months. But it’s still an uphill battle for Amy, who was supposed to receive Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) months ago, which was put on hold when her psychologist went on maternity leave. Her psychologist is the only one in Mayo who specialises in Borderline Personality Disorder, and Amy says the wait has held her back in more ways than one, “I cannot do anything until I start DBT, as it basically gives me life skills, which I need to continue in education or work. There isn’t enough resources for me to even meet someone once a week to speak to while I wait.”

However, Amy recognises that she’s come a long way since September 2014, and adds, “It gets better. Not quickly, but step by step.”

Next time you hear of somebody dropping out of school or college, don’t be so quick to judge. There are many reasons that people leave education early, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t return to it. When you could potentially lose a grant, or even a scholarship, dropping out is no easy decision, but sometimes it’s one that just has to be made. If someone dropped out of college due to a physical illness, there’d be no questions asked. Your mental health is more important than anything, and if you need to take a year out to look after it, then that’s what you need to do.