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The first week of school is always the best. You get to see your friends, and classes are always very laid back to start with. As the year progresses, so does the stress. I have always struggled through school. I am not an academic student or into extracurriculars whatsoever. I also had a difficult time socially. I’ve always felt as though I don’t really fit in. I particularly struggled last year, during my final year of high school. My not-so-great senior year downfall had to do with slipping into a depression that I had and still have a hard time shaking. I had zero motivation to do anything. I missed so many days of school and basically gave up on trying.

Within the final weeks of my senior year I attempted to get my life together. I did my best, in all honesty. I had spent the year locked inside of my head, and looking back now, I’m pretty damn proud of myself for pulling through even if I could have done better. I was really hard on myself, as I typically am, and all I could think about was how everyone was off to college/university this upcoming year while I had failing marks and was short a credit. My original plan was to return for a “victory lap” so I could get my credit and be done, but things change.

This summer made a huge impact on my life. I am not sure what it was that happened, but I finally started to come to an acceptance with myself. I got my first job, which I enjoy, and I continued talking to a therapist. After letting myself relax from my hectic senior year, I decided that going back to school right away wasn’t in my best interest. Being seventeen, a question I get a lot is “What are your plans?” and let me tell you them: nothing. Okay, I shouldn’t say nothing – what I really mean is that my plans are to take time off school, and that’s okay. What I need is a break. I need the time to be able to breath and take care of myself.

School is important, but so is self care. I’m starting to learn that sometimes you have to put things on a shelf, and only take them off one at a time. My mental illness takes up its own shelf entirely, so finding the right balance of things to focus on holds great importance. School has been a trigger for me, because like I said, it just doesn’t come easily. I thought that seeing Facebook and other social media posts about going off to school would make me feel bad about my situation, but I have never felt so relieved. I am truly comfortable with my decision to take time off, get my credit online, and do my own thing. A huge weight has been lifted. So, my advice to those out there struggling: Do what is best for you. Whatever decision you make will be the right one.

School will always be there, it’s okay to press pause.

About Emma Holden

18, tea enthusiast, animal lover, word writer, and wants to change the stigma on mental health one blog post at a time.

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