Student View: A Few Things About Mental Health | Work of Arts
Student View: A Few Things About Mental Health | Work of Arts

Student View: A Few Things About Mental Health

Arts leadership cohort blogger takes an honest look at mental health

The world can seem like a very distorted, dark and dangerous place when you’re struggling with mental health problems. Even when the sun shines brightly at the top of the sky, that familiar black cloud always seems to swallow you up again and reduces everything around you to muffled voices and moving shadows. Crowded hallways and boisterous rooms can quickly become the loneliest and most isolated of places.

One of the most difficult aspects of having a mental health problem is that, often, it is something that can neither be seen nor identified by the people around us. When someone breaks their leg, for example, it’s obvious why they would suddenly be struggling with everyday tasks and be in need of treatment. However, when someone suffers from a mental health problem, it’s rather difficult to identify as we simply cannot read each other’s minds.

A battle with one’s own mind can be one of the most difficult battles of all, and it can be especially frustrating when it feels like we’re the only ones who know it exists. Nobody can see the agonizing thoughts that viciously pick away at our aimlessly wandering minds or understand why we didn’t complete that assignment or tell why it took such a colossal effort for us to step out of bed this morning. Unless, of course, we tell them about it.

It’s not a mood or a sign of weakness; it’s a medical condition.

Perhaps it’s a fear of people urging us to rise above our condition and pick ourselves up that makes us shut everyone out when we need to let them in the most. Perhaps it’s the possibility of being labeled as weak, being looked down upon as defeated or viewed as someone who couldn’t handle adversity that prevents us from admitting everything is not okay.

The truth is, a mental health problem is a medical condition and like other medical conditions: it may require extra time, extensive treatment and effective therapy to recover from it. Telling someone with depression to cheer up and snap out of it is just as absurd as telling someone who has a broken leg to toughen up and get back on the field.

It’s not a mood or a sign of weakness; it’s a medical condition.

Think of when you experienced some kind of injury or sickness. You likely told your parents, your friends and your doctor. It was okay to admit everything was not okay then… and it’s okay to admit everything’s not okay now. It was all right to take antibiotics then… and it’s fine to take antidepressants now. You went to physiotherapy then… and it’ll be just as beneficial to have cognitive therapy now.

Remember, this is not your choice and it is not your fault. Remember, you’re strong and you’re still standing. And remember, you’re not alone in this.

There is so much to be gained from the support of all the people who unconditionally love everything about you and so much to benefit from all the therapy and treatment options available. It all starts with talking about it. We all want to know and we all want to help.

Remember, you’re strong and you’re still standing. And remember, you’re not alone in this.

Like the climbers and belayers that work together and utilize their ropes and harnesses to reach the endpoints of their routes, it’s going to take ceaseless cooperation and some perseverance to recover. As we climb, we’ll need to learn when we need to push ourselves and also when we need to be gentle. We can do it day-by-day or minute-by-minute — there are no rules to recovery. Strive for progress, not perfection. And even if we fall again as we climb, our friends and family will be there as our ropes and harnesses to catch us. And when we feel we’re ready, our therapists and doctors will be there waiting to belay us as we start our climb once again.

Happiness can be hard to find and difficult to come across during these times, but we can always hold onto hope and we can always hope for a better future. One day, you will recover or learn to live with your condition. One day, you’ll be able to look back at all of this as a time where you worked together with all the people that loved you to overcome one of the most difficult times of your life. One day, all these moments will be memories.

Everything that ever happens to us shapes us into who we’re meant to be. Remember, beautiful mosaics can be created from pieces of broken glass. There is absolutely no beauty in this pain but there will always be beauty in you and even more beauty in the person you’ll become. Don’t give up and don’t give in; you are so much more than your disorder. There is so much more to life than what you’re feeling now.


If you, or someone you know, is struggling or would like to know more about campus support systems, please see:

Community Social Work Team

Counselling & Clinical Services

Peer Support (Students’ Union)

And if you are worried about a friend, a colleague or a student, please see: Helping Individuals at Risk (HIAR)


Student Voices is a WOA blog feature that presents the experiences and viewpoints of current Arts students. Through their posts, you’ll experience the creativity and passion of our students as they present glimpses into student life. The views and opinions expressed within these posts are solely those of the authors.

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About Jeremiah Ellis

Jeremiah Ellis

Jeremiah Ellis is a first year political science student with an English minor. Originally from Canmore, Alberta, he currently lives on the Arts Leadership Cohort floor in Lister Hall. He is a loyal Toronto Maple Leafs fan who enjoys reading, writing, films and hockey. He has a keen interest in literature and human rights and hopes to work in a field where he can be involved in social justice.