Schizophrenia.com

University difficulties


#1

Hello everyone. I think I need some advise.

Currently, I’m a second-year History and Celtic Studies student at University. Though this is my second-year, this is actually my third year at University because I repeated my first year due to a worsening of my schizophrenia. I love my course academically. I love learning new things, and I really do enjoy History and Celtic Studies. My lecturers are aware of my diagnosis with schizophrenia, and are very helpful to me because of it. It all seems pretty good.

However, because of my schizophrenia, I simply can’t complete the course work involved. My mind is so busy running around in circles that actually sitting down and finishing an essay is beyond me. My parents don’t understand. They are hard-working people, and they can’t understand why working at something is hard for me. Socially, I’m struggling too. I find it extremely difficult to connect with people, and I have this unsettling paranoia that everyone is out to get me. Also, I have this fear that History and Celtic Studies aren’t what I’d like to make a career out of, despite the fact that I enjoy them. I mean, people can love something without wanting to make a living out of it, right?

But then what can I do? My parents would never allow me to drop out of University or switch courses. I feel I’m locked in a box, and that my mental health is getting worse because of it. To be completely honest, I hate University outside of the learning part of it. I said this to my parents and they just say that I must stick it out.

I’m not sure if I’d like to drop out of University; I think I’m confused about everything. But one thing I know, while I’m getting confused, the hallucinations are coming back due to stress. I’m already seeing things - they are indistinct, but I know they are there.

So I’d appreciate any sort of advise. I think I need it. Has anyone here been to college? How did you handle it? Is there any recommendations you can give me?

Thanks.


#2

You didn’t say anything about medications. Maybe you could be put on an anti-anxiety drug. Some of the SSRI’s can lessen anxiety. I haven’t been at college for a long time. I self medicated with alcohol, and that made things worse. I know it is harder for you to meet the demands of college, but you need to tell yourself that you have to pull through to get what you want out of life. If you want a degree you have to make yourself cope. If you don’t think it is worth it, and you don’t mind hunting for a job with no degree, then go ahead and blow off your studies.


#3

I won’t force it.

Take a break and think things out.


#4

Thank you for the replies.

I am on medication - prozac abilify, and lamictal (which is for epilepsy and mood swings). I’m not sure if any of these are SSRI’s though. I don’t drink any alcohol. Or take anything else either.

I’m just very unhappy at college. I wish I had done another course (in Ireland we have these pre-college courses) rather than jumping straight into college. But I do want a job. And there isn’t much prospect of jobs in Ireland at the moment - with or without a degree. I think, if I could do things over again, I’d like to work with animals (like dog grooming). But my parents would see this as a downgrade from a college course.

Yes, PositivePsychia, I think I should try to think about it before rushing a big decision.


#5

Is there a counseling office on campus that you could go to? I went to the one at my college at the beginning of the semester for help and spoke with a social worker.


#6

sounds like you are trying your best,

idk what to say except maybe talk to your p/doc if you have one or maybe up the med a little, i sometimes up my med as a last resort and it usually works fine.

other things i do as a last resort are phoning an advice line bc sometimes they know just what to say and that really helps me settle, some of them are even 24hrs a day helplines etc so even at night or early morning.

idk what to say about course work needing to hand in only that i have a small piece of work to hand in for my first assessment and if i don’t hand it in soon it kind of ruins the first 12 weeks of my counselling course and i really need to do it but i just can’t seem to get around to it, the lecturer has given me a bit of time to finish though (i think) she seems flexible anyway so there is no pressure and i like that but i really want to finish it, its no way near university level though but my written work is very poor and this is my third attempt lol,

i had to drop out of my last course last year and one of the reasons was bc i couldn’t understand something in a volunteering workbook that i had to fill in, i got stuck even though she had been trying to explain it to me and i tried it multiple times but i couldn’t get it and there was no support either which sucked, the college i go to now has better support though.


#7

Talk to your guidance counselor, and see if you can take your classes online. I had the same problems, and it sounds like it’s really taking a toll on your Psyche. Social environments are triggers for a lot of people, and in school that makes it very challenging to focus on your study when you’re constantly battling your symptoms. Online classes are great, and besides a lab or two you can learn wherever you’re most comfortable.


#8

@SurprisedJ on this forum is studying i’m sure you could talk to him he would be a good sounding board…hopefully he does not mind me saying that.
there are many others on here who are in the same boat as you balancing study and sz.
do you have a coucillor you can talk to ?
perhaps give your parents some written info about your illness, so they have a deeper understanding…
remember muggles/normal people feel the pressure of uni/college so it is perfectly normal for you to feel this way.
know someone cares
take care :alien:
p.s i love celtic history…i am watching ’ the vikings ’ series at the moment…awesome


#9

Well medications are how I do it well. I am very pro psychiatry and pro psychotherapy. I suggest getting both treatments. I am a psychology major focusing in clinical pathology and happen to have the illness. I rely on medication to make it, in all honesty. I would like to answer specific questions other than just list off what I do and don’t do, that list in long and gets silly.

If you want to know how I do it, or why I do it, private message me and feel free to ask absolutely anything. I would be glad to share my strategies and coping mechanisms.


#10

I see a therapist regularly. I organize my time very well so that I have a set schedule to follow every day. I try to do work immediately as I get it to keep my stress levels from building up. I make sure to give myself periodic breaks from studying which also prevents stress from building up. (Stress and anxiety triggers my episodes, outside of the episodes my psychosis is pretty tame compared to others, so if I keep on top of my stress levels, I also keep on top of my psychosis, but I’m not sure if you have the same situation. Either way stress management doesn’t hurt!)

Medication can be really difficult for college students because it can zombify you if you’re on a high enough dosage. However, your well-being should come before your education…trust me kids who mix those priorities up do NOT have happy endings…so if you need medication TAKE it. I’m still flip-flopping over whether or not to do a small dose of seroquel. The psychiatrist told me it would be on a need to take basis, but I have such a strong distrust of antipsychotics…

Also don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. When I start panicking over everything that needs to be done I’ve learned to pause and just let it all go. Do what you can and with the stuff you can’t do right away don’t think about it, let it go.

So basically, stay organized, stay on top of stress, seek support, know when to give yourself a break, and don’t think too hard about what worries you. It’s really hard to do without meds…it’s like adding another full-time job onto my school and other job…I’m constantly mentally exhausted from the struggle…but if you have a passion, and you feel it’s worth it like I do, draw strength out of that to keep going.

What do you want to do for your career??


#11

A piece of advice that was given to me that really helped,

Student with disabilities office. I’ve gotten help with notes, tutors, I can take test in a different room… still proctored, but not as distracting.

I’ve had help organizing my notes… and lots of other small things that have made a big difference.

Are you able to lighten your class load a bit? Or maybe see if there are some of your classes you can take on-line and not have the pressure of being in the class?


#12

Again, thank you for the replies. They are much appreciated.

I do have an educational psychologist I visit within the college, and I booked an appointment with one of the college’s counsellors. However, that appointment won’t be had until two weeks time.

The thing is, when I can force myself to do some work, I do quite well. The last essay I received back, I somehow achieved a 1.1. This is why my parents are deeply against me dropping out. They say, ‘if you’re capable of this grade, then you’re clearly not schizophrenic’. My parents are reserved in judgement about my schizophrenic diagnosis. But working to get a 1.1 caused me a lot of stress. I don’t think I could handle it again.

I don’t believe online classes are available at my particular University. But I could be wrong - I never inquired before. The educational psychologist informed me that I could stagger the modules I’m taking. For instance, what would take one student one year to complete, I could do in two years. I said I could do this to my parents, and they weren’t keen.

Oh, and Celtic Studies is very interesting! I love it, really. I’m not sure if I’d like to make a career out of it, but it is a very varied and fascinating subject.


#13

If the worst comes to the worst, you could always get a medical cert off your shrink or doctor to say your not well, and thus defer your course. I did this myself before and deferred my course for two years. It’d be a piece of cake to do having a diagnosis of schizophrenia.


#14

Hi karl, I hope you don’t mind me asking, but do you plan on going back to college? And what do you do now in place of college?

I’m only asking because I’m afraid of the consequences of leaving college, and I’m wondering what would I do if I did leave.


#15

@poe…IM 38 now and actually do plan going back to college in September or the following year. The time I deferred my college course was 20 years ago when I was 18. I was suffering from depression then and got the course deferred.

I hope to go back to college to become a social worker. I’ll take some wasy course.


#16

At the moment I don’t do much but I plan to do some voluntary work after Christmas.


#17

Thank you, karl.


#18

I did this too when I was 18, years ago. I was depressed and stopped going to classes, could barely function it was so bad. It was really easy to do, my pdoc wrote a note and got everything squared away.


#19

I had to drop out of university when I first became psychotic.

I went back a year later and managed to get sectioned. As the team I was under where ■■■■, lowered meds so I could function and had no relapse plan new Dr and a forced meds change.

Anyway I found Mindfulness Meditation helped me a lot and looking back having MBCBT, could have helped me finish my last semester of my final year.

I’d see what support services your University offer, we had 3 psychologists on staff at the university, that could possibly implement a phycological intervention and get you some mindfulness and or CBT.


#20

It can be difficult to do all the reading when the psychosis starts. It was good 4 years before I could read chapter after chapter again…I had 10 years of good full time employment, college education + work at same time, but start of the psych out symptoms caused a lot of disruption to function.

You may need to just do part-time school on internet to get a piece of paper. Just take the classes as you can handle it…we are not the same after the symptoms start and takes a long while to get it back to normal.

This might help since it is end of semester, in most schools you can file for extension to complete the courses within a few weeks of end of semester. You probably need cooperation from the psychiatrist to fill out some paperwork. Psych doctor can fill out some paperwork so you can use disability support services at the school so you can do homework/tests in different place, get extra explanations on homework and maybe alternative assignments if you are placed in group assignments with someone who doesn’t act right toward mentally ill (social problems/gang stalking/thought broadcasting)…It helps to do this if you are having any of the school staff, instructors or students mistreating you or verbally harassing you, as you can go to school administration to get it to stop. Sometimes, social problems from living in close contact with so many different people, some who have problems, will just make college away impossibly expensive so just cheaper to finish a piece of paper from home or own housing elsewhere…Some schools tolerate more social problems/stigma/discrimination than others, even keeping instructors who have been sued for mistreating someone mentally ill…so, know your rights.

Assertiveness is very hard with some parents, very hard. If you have somewhere else to stay to sit out a semester & just finish up all the back work, you might consider it. I would also assess my choices – disability income, other housing options, government assistance, cheap/safe studio apartments to live independently…You should know, disclosing you are a student will get you barred from any govt aid in the US, so you need to keep this quiet which I don’t think matters the least if you are on disability imho. Voc Rehab will help pay for first degree for most people on disability payments so you do have some options for college later…