Jill's Story - Mental Health Matters

I feel the pain thudding against my right temple. The pressure builds slowly, with no signs of slowing. I have to confine myself to darkness. The light hurts too much. My thoughts are even darker than the room.

I feel broken. Lonely. It’s really hard to fall asleep at night, and even harder to get up in the morning. How did I get here?

The pills aren’t strong enough anymore. I’ve got to go back to the doctor, try something new. Meditate a little longer today. Eyes closed. Breathe. In. Out.

I feel like I did this to myself. I boxed myself in, knowing it would make me feel suffocated. I hate feeling small.

I feel that thickness in my throat that makes it hard to speak. Tears constantly well up. Even when I will them back down. I’m fighting with my body to keep it at bay. Staying sharp or focused is too arduous a task for me right now. The best I can do is keep breathing. In. Out. Just keep breathing.

The nausea is overpowering. I did this to myself again, didn’t I? I caused myself this stress. I know stress is my biggest trigger. I know better. Am I doing this to myself on purpose? Does part of me want to suffer? The pain is overtaking me. My vision is sliding away.

I forget what ‘okay’ feels like. It’s been so long. I know I’m not alone, but i still feel so lonely. When is it going to get better?


These are some of my darkest thoughts. They crept in as my migraines worsened over time. They intertwined themselves into the fabric of my life. At times, these thoughts felt like weakness. Instead, I try to see them as courageous. Thoughts are fluid. When they appear, I acknowledge them. I challenge them. I try not to let them linger. I don’t pretend to be okay when I’m suffering. I let myself feel deeply. Sometimes unbearably. I am well accustomed to pain, both physical and emotional. But I do not let them rob me of my capabilities. I am strong. I am fierce. My journey is far from over.

I don't have a mental illness. That doesn't mean I have an easy time caring for my mental health. The stress of university has worsened my migraines to a chronic condition. With the help of my family, good friends, and an amazing health practitioner, I have been given the tools to manage my condition.

I find so many students have this delusion that people with mental illness are the only ones who struggle with their mental health. My strongest support is my sister, who suffers from G.A.D. Her mental health is far better than mine. In her struggle to tackle her mental illness, she learned how to be there for others. She understands how to be there for me.

I know my migraines will not dissipate, but I have the upper hand on them now because I care about my mental health. I want to be the best version of myself that I can possibly be. That girl does everything in her power to care for her health, both mental and physical. She looks out for her friends, family, classmates, and colleagues. She is strong. She is fierce.

Did you know 1 in 5 university students struggle with their mental health? That number is far too high for me to grasp. I knew I had to do something. To everyone who glorifies their weak mental health strategies, it’s time to stop. It’s not glamorous to stay up all night working on a paper. Go to sleep when you’re tired. Make room for family time in your week. Text your friends to check in, even on a busy weekday. We should nurture our minds, instead of treating them like battlefields. We should support one another.

We have a lot of work to do, with ourselves and as a community.

It’s time to join the conversation.

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