My Mental Health: How Am I Doing?
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My Mental Health: How Am I Doing?

In a university culture
we tend to really talk about the idea of normalization, and we think of normalization
as a really good thing and it would be
a really good thing if we were able to normalize
things like depression, like anxiety, and really treat those
like health issues the way we do
other health issues that just require
intervention and support and that they’re
okay to talk about. But culturally we’ve kind of failed to normalize
things like that and instead we’ve normalized
the experience of suffering. We’ve normalized this idea
that, you know, it’s normal to not sleep
for the two weeks that you’re
writing final exams, it’s normal to need
six cups of coffee a day to kind of function, it’s normal to go a month
without seeing your friends. We normalize that
experience of suffering more than we normalize
mental health issues. And, so, when it comes to
checking in with yourself, it’s really important to
really step outside of that cultural message
that suffering is normal and to really ask yourself,
“Is what I’m experiencing, is this my normal?” You can also
assess things for yourself, like how much sleep
you’re getting, how much exercise
you’re getting, what you’re eating, how much social contact
you’re having. If you’re having a hard time kind of assessing that
for yourself it can be helpful
to talk to loved ones, friends, partners,
people who know you quite well. And if a student determines that maybe what they’re
experiencing isn’t their normal, that it’s okay to kind of stop
and get help for that and to really understand
that wellness is as high of a priority,
and as important of a priority, as academic success.

About Bill McCormick

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