It's important to recognize how much our mental health impacts our overall well-being and quality of life. May 3rd-9th is the CMHA Mental Health Week campaign, where CMHA is encouraging individuals to express and understand their emotions, no matter how uncomfortable they may feel. During this pandemic, many of us have experienced low feelings of depression, anxiety, and isolation, making mental health more important than ever. Throughout my time in university, I struggled a lot with my own mental health due to the constant pressures of trying to balance school work, extracurriculars, social life, co-op jobs, relationships, and other external factors that made up my life during that period. I had many instances where my social anxiety blocked my efforts to improve my life, whether that would be personal or professional. I was constantly stressed and felt like I was underachieving in everything I did thanks to my own perception that others around me were always doing better, and that I was never going to catch up. That was a personal flaw I didn't realize I was doing at the time; instead of worrying about how others were doing, I could've chose to be more mindful and remind myself that I was just fine and how many things I could actually be grateful for.
Today I'm a lot more self aware of my emotions and how my past experiences shaped me as a person. Speaking with numerous mental health counsellors, during and after university, taught me how to understand and cope with my emotions in a healthier way. That was a big factor in how my mental health had the chance to progress over the years through the good and bad days. They didn't encourage me to ignore and filter out all the bad things in my life as I had been previously doing, but rather how to cope with the anxiety and impulsive thoughts when they occurred. This is not to say I don't have days where I experience regression. Your mental health journey isn't always going to be linear, and it's okay to take a couple of steps back. I am able to be more self aware of my actions and not let my emotions surpass a threshold where I do or say things I may regret later. Overall, I recommend reaching out to any mental health services your school offers if that is something you feel you can benefit from. I personally find that speaking with a professional can always offer you an unbiased perspective on certain issues, and the feeling of being in a place free of judgement makes me feel safe and more open to talking about things that people in my personal life, such as friends and family members, may not always understand or show compassion for. Not every counsellor is going to be a good fit with what you are looking for, so be open to finding someone else, or even something different if that's what you need. Take care and stay safe!