My decision to take a year off.

Hey guys,

I’ll be honest, it has been a rough year.

I have learned a lot about myself. Something that I have learned for sure, is that I’m still not healthy. My brain is still out of balance, and I’m still struggling to get everything evened out. Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Medicine helps balance out those chemicals, but finding the right combinations is a long process. I have been trying to find the right combination for many years now, and it does get frustrating. I have had so many ups and downs. Some days are better than others, but everyday is a new battle.

College has been a whole different ball game. Being pushed out into the real world, and it’s pretty much sink or swim. To say the least, I am not swimming. I need some floaties, and some days a lifeguard to help me get through the deep end. (Wow, that was a good analogy I’ll have to remember that).

To put it in most simple terms, I cannot wait for it to be over. If there is one thing I know now, it’s that I suck at school. Like honestly, I’m just not good at school. I’m not stupid, but my grades are crap. There are days I literally can’t drag my ass to class– a lot of days to be honest. When you have a mental illness, even the everyday things can become a chore. Most people don’t think twice about getting up and taking a shower, but there are some days that I just can’t do it. But that’s okay, because it’s just how I am. I’m just different.

So, since it’s been a rough year, I’m going to take a year off. I already signed a lease for a house so I’ll still be living an hour and a half away from home, but that’s fine. I have a great job here, and home is just a hop and a skip (or two) away. I love my job and my co-workers. I am truly so lucky to look forward to going to work everyday. But also with the living in an apartment, and many other bills that will come this next year– that is an entire stress itself. (Side note- One of the bigger stressors for many people in college, including myself, is money. “Poor college student” is no joke.)

Look, some people will hear that I’m taking a year off from school and they will say, “I knew she couldn’t do” “I can’t believe she’s doing this” “Just get over it” … and so on and so forth. Well I do not want it to be this way more than the next person. Of course I want to be able to go to college like a normal kid my age, but that’s just not what’s best for me. I need to take care of myself. I have to fix myself before I can focus on anything else. I didn’t think I could do this either, and I wish I could just get over it. That’s not how this works. I’m glad it’s me, and no one else. I would rather go through this than watch someone else go through it and me not be able to do anything about it. I’d rather it be me, than you.

I’m disappointed, because I thought I could do it. I thought I could do this, but alas I cannot. I am trying to be okay with that, and it will be okay. You can be disappointed in me too, that’s okay, but I have to do this– for me. School is a lot to handle. There is very high expectations going in, and I feel as though I am not living up to it. But I can fix that later. College is hard, I won’t lie. Trying to juggle everything gets tricky. I honestly envy those who breeze through college and get good grades. And as of now, I have to put my goal of being a teacher on the back burner because my GPA isn’t high enough to get into the college of education. That is a thing to worry about later. Grades can always be raised, it may take some work, but someday I may be able to teach.

School is not my priority right now, and many people may not agree with that. I have my whole life to go to school, but it means nothing if I won’t be here to use the education. Unfortunately, there are some people who didn’t think this way– and didn’t make it here. It hurts my heart to think about suicide, but it’s so real. It happens everywhere, all the time. It happened twice this school year, just on my campus.

If there is one thing I want to do in my life, it is to help people like me. I don’t want people to suffer through this illness like I have. I want to help them get on top of it, and make sure they make their mind as healthy as possible. No one should feel as though they have no option but to kill themselves. Yes– I said it. “Kill themselves” “Suicide” Those words should not be seen as curse words. People become very uncomfortable when you use those terms or words. I want to make it an open topic. Something that everyone talks about openly, and does not feel afraid to talk to someone about it. These feelings are real. Your emotions are valid. It’s okay to not be okay. Don’t ever let someone tell you that you shouldn’t feel the way you do– your brain has a mind of it’s own. (HAHA;)

I am SO lucky to have so many people in my corner. It’s more than a corner because all the people can’t fit. It’s a whole room of people, and I am more than thankful for that. I would not be here if it wasn’t for you. I say that all the time, but it’s true. I truly am so thankful to have people who will support me no matter what.

I want everyone to help me out.

Parents– talk to your kids. Tell them if they ever have depressing feelings, it’s okay and important to talk to someone about it. Here’s something you could say to your child; “If you ever feel really sad, I want you to tell me. I don’t want you to cry alone. I will just sit there and listen anytime you need me. I am here for you, and I always will be.”  Friends– if you see your friend suffering, tell someone. They may be too afraid to talk to someone themselves. Something you could say to an adult, “Alyssa has been acting different recently. She says she’s okay but I know she isn’t. I just want someone to truly make sure she’s okay. I’m worried about her.”  Teachers– make your classroom a safe place. Make students feel comfortable talking to you. You won’t connect with every student, but those that you do will make a huge difference. Something you could say to your students; “School affects everyone differently, and if you are struggling with anything please come and talk to me. I will make accommodations– but I can’t do that if you don’t tell me what’s going on. This is a safe place.” Bystander– You are just as important. You may not be friends with the person, or see them very often but if you suspect something is wrong it is better to be safe than sorry. Something you could say to an adult; “I have noticed that Alyssa has been acting a little reclusive recently, and I’m worried about her. I just wanted to tell someone so they could talk to her and make sure she’s okay.” You– talk to someone. Anyone. Doesn’t matter who. Ask for help. Reach out. Do something. It may be a parent, a friend, a teacher, ANYONE. I will say it until I’m blue in the face– get help. The conversation doesn’t have to be hard. It can be as simple as, “Mom, I need to see a therapist.” or “Dad, can we talk? I’ve just been feeling really shitty recently and I don’t know what to do.” or “Hey I just need someone to listen to me for a little bit.” It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Yes, it’s hard to reach out, but it’s the best decision you will make.


So please, friends, help me out. Make this known this is a problem. This is real. This is here. I am a living, breathing example. Some people don’t get this lucky.

Until next time,