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The Truth About How My Depression and Anxiety Affect My Studies


Dear Professor,

I have a confession to make. Actually, I have a few confessions to make.

I know I haven’t always been the perfect student. Often I’m late to class in the morning and, some days, I don’t show up at all. I hand in assignments a week after the due date. When these things happen, I tell you I overslept, am sick, or simply forgot about something. But that isn’t the truth. You may or may not know that I struggle with depression and anxiety, and that’s OK. What I haven’t been telling you is how much my mental illness affects my studies. It’s time for me to come clean. For everything I’m about to tell you, I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for every time I was late to your class in the morning. I apologized to you time and time again for oversleeping, but that was never the case. I was late to your class because I struggled to get out of bed every morning. Whether I was five or twenty minutes late, I felt like I was letting you down. I was worried if I told you the truth you wouldn’t believe me.

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I’m sorry for each time I told you I slept through class. I was never sleeping. I was lying awake, trying to convince myself there was a reason to get up that day. But I wasn’t there, and the world kept turning. There were even times where I would drive to class, but drive home if I knew I was going to be even two minutes late. I was afraid to walk in late, have my peers stare at me, and have you be disappointed in me. I wanted to tell you, but I didn’t want you to think I was making excuses.

I’m sorry for the times I wasn’t prepared for class or didn’t have my work done. For every time I handed in an assignment a week late or didn’t make progress on a project, I slept for 36 hours straight that weekend. When I told you I forgot my assignment at home even though I hadn’t started it, I went to bed at 5 p.m. because of how exhausted I was. I felt like if I told you the truth, you would think I was being lazy.

For all of these instances and more, I’m sorry. Being a full-time student has been the hardest part of living with my mental illness. But there is one thing I want you to know: I’m doing my best. I don’t need you to understand exactly what I’m going through, but I do need you to understand that my struggles are valid. I can’t guarantee I will always be able to give you 100 percent. Sometimes 60 percent will be the best I can do that day. I wish I could give you more. I hope you know, though, that I am trying.

Sincerely,
Your Student

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Thinkstock photo via AntonioGuillem