Friday 5 April 2024

A leap of faith: starting a masters with a mental health condition

Madeleine describes how it feels to make the decision to start a masters with a mental health condition and how she reached this choice.

- Madeleine

I recently made the decision to go back to university in September and start a masters. This was not a decision I took lightly, as someone whose mental health illness is triggered by stress, I was worried I would be unable to face the pressure a masters would entail. 

I came to the conclusion that, with the right support, I should aspire to do anything someone without a mental illness can do. I previously worked in the laboratory after graduating from a degree in biology. I eventually felt that I was not suited to this kind of work and took some time away from the lab to decide what to do next. The logical next step was to go back to studying to create a more niche skill outside of the laboratory. 

However, I struggled to know whether I could do a masters. Some people’s reaction to my debate was a face of surprise that I was considering further study. Although I had many supporters of the idea, the doubters clouded my vision, along with my own flurry of self-doubt. 

Deciding whether I’m up to the task of doing a masters is a bit of a leap of faith in myself. I won’t know until I’m doing it if it’s the right step for me. But I think that’s what this stage of life is about- trying new things and testing out my theories on what I’d like to do. After all, you don’t know until you try! Having a mental health problem can really chip away at your sense of self-ability. Especially with everyone’s own interpretations of what mental illness is floating around. I hear people’s opinions on others who struggle with their mental health and wonder what that says about me. But the truth is it affects everyone differently, and no two people are the same, even with the same diagnosis. What one person thrives at may be another person’s version of hell. 

Finding what makes you tick and what gets you out of bed in the morning is the key to believing in your self-ability. The more you test out what works for you, the more confident you feel. It’s this mindset that I am going to bring with me into my masters. I’m testing out what’s right for me, and if it’s my path, I’ll thrive. 

Whether you are looking for support for your own mental health at university or supporting a friend, help is available.

I'm Madeleine, a Sub-Editor of the blog. I am trying to change career whilst navigating how this affects my mental health as someone with a diagnosis of bipolar. I hope to reassure anyone in similar situations that they're not alone and there are steps forward to get to where they want to be. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your courage! I can relate. You are so right how the same diagnosis' affect people differently. Keep spreading awareness. We need to continue to educate and bring awareness, and let others know they are not alone. Great job!