Mental Illness and Not Feeling Like A Failure

I'm not one for always putting my mental health before my education. Making the decision to take medical leave from my MA because of depression wasn't one I took lightly, and it didn't come without feeling like a failure.

The decision actually took around six months. I experienced the worst bout of depression I'd had in years, and had to take two months away from uni unexpectedly. When I returned, I was determined that I didn't need to take medical leave and that I'd be able to push through. To an extent I did, although this simply led to things only getting worse.

Eventually after many breakdowns, I made the decision to accept that I needed to take sometime for myself if I wanted to achieve my masters. I'm so thankful that my uni department were really supportive and helpful when it came to saying  that actually I did need to take some medical leave to get better. I managed to get myself really worried and worked up that I was going to let people down, but it turned out to be that the only person who felt let down was myself.

Of course, my friends and family were wanting me to do whatever was going to be best to help finally address my depression rather than just pushing it to the side as I have done for so many years. But that didn't stop me from feeling like a failure. I've wanted to do an MA since I was 14, and for some reason I'd got in my head that that had to be done as soon as I finished my undergrad. The thought of having to take a break felt like it meant that I wasn't good enough to be studying for a masters.

It's only now after a few months that I'm realising it doesn't make me a failure at all. I'll still get my MA, just in a slightly longer time. Which now doesn't phase me, as I get to spend another year in York. I saw a quote on Pinterest or Instagram saying 'if the plan doesn't work, change the plan. Never the goal.' I changed the plan, and generally things are going okay.

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