About a month back I described my psychotic break down and its gradual impact on my life in a previous post. What I forgot to mention was that this occurred while I was away at school, and I think it’s important to discuss how these experiences related to my life as a student.
I often wonder if it was my habits as a student that may have contributed to my development of psychosis. I spent the majority of my time working on my thesis — at least 5 hours a day — in addition to other class commitments. I rarely had time to enjoy just being a regular kid and being social. I took my academic pursuits far too seriously and I did not achieve that healthy balance necessary to sustain prolonged diligence in any endeavour.
First, there were sleepless nights and bouts of panic. Then there was the loss of appetite, and then the development of a pervasive negative outlook. These are all telltale signs of the formation of mental illness, all of which I was aware of but strangely oblivious to at the time. Looking back, it was clear as day that I was becoming increasingly sicker, but when you are living in that moment your judgment is affected and you don’t have the self-awareness necessary to recognize the problem. Perhaps that’s the nature of the illness itself.
I continued with my studies despite all of the symptoms, but I reached the breaking point and ended up in psychiatric care. I think the pressures of being a student can have that effect on some people. Looking back, I wish I had taken the time to relish the journey more than being strictly concerned with academic performance, and had I done so maybe I would have never become sick.
Was my lifestyle the cause of the chemical imbalance in my brain or was it going to happen regardless? I don’t think anyone can truly answer this question but what I do know now is that it is important to have balance in all areas of your life; something I learned the hard way.
Mental Vagabond is a 24 year old who suffered from psychosis and delusional disorder. He is currently receiving mental health treatment and is on the road to a full recovery. He hopes to share his experiences to help those who may be going through similar problems to learn that they are not alone and that there is hope. Follow his story on HMC's Supportive Minds Blog.