I have heard a lot of horror stories from people struggling with their mental health regarding how they have been treated (appallingly) by their universities when struggling. Living with BPD and aware of all the stigma around it, I expected that my experience of this would mirror those common stories of others.
However, I have been lucky enough to have an entirely different experience of mental health support at university to so many people I know. Numerous members of staff at both my current and previous universities have been so generous with their time, support and compassion throughout all my difficulties. It is so important and yet so often not something that people receive.
I have been struggling with dissociation recently and when in a dissociative state at university, it becomes near impossible to function. A number of my tutors have asked me if I am okay, because the disparity between how I have been recently compared to how I can be when present, enthusiastic and keen, is huge. This week (and I know it’s only Tuesday), I have been conversing with three lecturers separately about their current concerns, and my current needs.
I would like to share some of their email responses here. We hear so much about the negative side of mental health treatment, but rarely do we hear about it when it is experienced positively.
Here are a couple of extracts I have received from the staff members who are supporting me at university, who are genuinely helping make things a little more manageable for me:
“These things take time. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help support you further.”
“Thanks for sending this over, it’s given me a bit of a better idea of what you must be going through.”
“No need to thank me for the chat, I’m pleased we spoke.”
“Please don’t feel embarrassed, I completely understand that people go through difficult times and our conversation will go no further, unless you want it to.”
“If there are any small changes that we can make to support you then please do let us know.”
I feel very appreciative and validated, and it really makes a difference during the difficult moments.