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Full text of "The Gateway (2011-03-31)"

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Lhursdiv mnvh.'tl. 2011 • ft^vw.Uie^aU'vvayonlinexa 


Contemplating 


Written by Alexandria Eldridge, Simon Yackulic, 

The Gateway's mental health series and ^ ^o” 

Illustrated by Anthony Goertz 


B eth is like any other student on 
campus, going to class and hang¬ 
ing out with her friends. She’s in her 
fifth year of her Secondary Education degree, 
specializing in English. But Beth (whose name 
has been changed to protect her identity) has 
struggled with bipolar disorder — something 
she’s had to deal with throughout her entire uni¬ 
versity career. She’s also attempted suicide when 
she was a teenager. 


”1 think the biggest thing I've come across "I get really focused on a project, and il isn't 
at university 1 is that it’s really hard to explain necessarily schoolwork, and so I can’l concen- 

my disorder in such a way that I'm not stig- trate. I think the biggest thing is in university, 

realized," she says. “And the stigma that goes there's been more pressure, and there isn’t as 
along with mental illness and with suicide is much leeway. And if I need to get that assign- 

huge. And people feel as tltough they’re less of ment done, it has to get done no matter how 

a person for admitting that they need help" I’m feeling," she says. 

Bipolar disorder, formerly known as But Beth is up front with her professors 
manic-depressive disorder, describes a mental about her mental illness, and although she 
condition where the chemicals in the brain doesn't usually open up to her fellow sttt- 

that regulate emotion and feelings become dents, she believes suicide and mental til- 

imbalanced, causing significant changes in ness is something we have to talk alxtmt 

mood and energy. Sometimes Beth's attitude as a society. 

is elevated, and she lias hypomania, where “In order for me to be open about my 
she becomes extremely focused on one tiling, mental illness. I need to have a community 

while others get neglected At other times, that understands what it really is and not the 

Beth's mood will drop, putting her in a media stereotype version," she says. "When 
depressive state, which is when she’s most at people think of suicide attempts, they think 

risk for suicidal thoughts. about somebody with a gun against their