Faces of Mental Health - Jamie's Story
Mental illness is not anonymous. Those who struggle have names and faces, lives and families, passions and challenges. To help break the stigma, the Outrun the Stigma Edmonton planning committee reached out to the University of Alberta community to share stories on mental health.
Hear their stories and their experiences.
In my second and third years of university, my mental health was at an all-time low. I was in my honours physiology program and was not prepared for how hard of a program it was going to be. I was freshly 18 in my second year, taking on way too many responsibilities by volunteering for every club and association you could think of. I had too much on my plate and struggled to maintain the GPA minimum for staying in the honours program. I would spend every spare moment I had making notes and studying, and realized that I was in over my head when I sat at a computer desk in Cameron library crying while I typed out my notes. Once my second year was over, I decided to drop out of the honours program and move into general sciences and complete the research certificate in biological sciences. This was a lot of fun and very interesting, but again, I started to overload my plate with too many volunteer positions. My research projects were very demanding and took up more time than I expected. My mental health stayed at this low (despite switching out of honours) and finally I had to discuss with my professors the option of deferring exams due to my mental health.
I think I felt insignificant in the university because it is such a huge place and so I tried to fill the void by helping people. It was great, because I love helping others, but I forgot to look out for myself in the process. After my third year and leading up to now, I have learned that it is important and necessary to prioritize your mental and physical health. You may want to help everyone and do every activity/event, but if you can't take care of yourself first, you won't be able to take care of others. I've learned to lighten my volunteer load, only doing what I feel is maintainable and I've altered the way I study so that I actually a get good nights sleep each night. I make sure that I talk out my worries and concerns with friends and family because I used to bottle in my emotions which led to more unnecessary stress. Being open with others and making time to take care of myself has greatly improved my self-confidence, mental health, and physical health. I'm so thankful I took these steps to look out for myself.
Want to join the Faces of Mental Health campaign?
We would like to thank the brave individuals featured in this campaign for their openness and resiliency in the face of struggle. Thank you for opening up and sharing your stories!
Do you need support?
If you in immediate danger of hurting yourself or someone else phone 911. For other support please call:
Calgary: Distress Centre Calgary - (403) 266 HELP (4357)
Edmonton: The Support Network Distress Line - (780) 482 - HELP (4357)
Are you somewhere else in Canada? Find a crisis line near you.
International? Find a crisis line near you.
To chat with someone live online go to 7cups.com.