A few weeks ago I had a timed assessment at university. Everyone had 40 minutes, except me – I had 5o minutes.
I had an extra ten minutes as I’m allowed 25% extra time in most exams and timed assessments because of my anxiety.
When I told people this, some people said I was “lucky”, others said it was unfair and that I was using my mind as an excuse for being a perfectionist and wanting more time to get better marks.
If I can put it out there – just because I have more time than someone else, it does not mean that I will get a higher grade.
I can also get extensions on my assignment deadlines, if I want to. But I won’t ever take the “advantage”. It isn’t fair after all and I don’t need it.
I was told by someone that I was glamourising mental health problems and “showing off” that I had extra time and showing the “benefits of having a mental health problem”.
The benefits of having a mental health problem? There are none.
Having a mental health problem does not bring you opportunities. Their argument was that if I didn’t have my mental health problems then I wouldn’t have had the opportunities I have had in the past year. While they are right in that respect, I didn’t get those opportunities just because of my mental health problems.
According to the person, I also use my mental health problems as an excuse for doing things wrong. I’m using my mental health problems to get out of me doing things wrong.
My mental health problems aren’t some literal being, so when I do something wrong it is me, but it has a cause that I can’t help sometimes.
It isn’t an excuse, if it is the actual reason. I get things wrong all of the time – be it my mind causing it or not.
My mind gets confused sometimes and I get muddled up. Sometimes it’s because I have other thoughts whizzing around my head, sometimes it may be my OCD tendencies or my anxieties, other times it is me not paying attention – hey, it happens!
Having a mental health problem and a difficulty with timing in exams may not always be a bad thing – they said.
I agree but it does cause unwanted attention when you’re still sitting there typing away and when everyone else has to be quiet and can’t leave the room until your time is up.
It’s for attention then, apparently. I want to draw attention to the fact that I have mental health problems.
Trust me, it’s the opposite. I want to draw attention to mental health problems and the difficulties they cause people. I am not the only person with mental health problems and I don’t want to shout to the rooftops that I suffer from OCD and anxiety on a daily basis.
Trust me, it’s not pretty battling with your mind everyday love!
They then told me if it’s not for attention, it’s for pity.
I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. I want people to see me as a strong person because I’m trying to push away the thoughts that my mind is automatically conjuring up for me. I can be triggered by anything and everything. It isn’t easy but I’m still a normal person, despite my omnipresent and negative thoughts.
People with mental health problems aren’t weak.
I don’t want someone to feel sorry for me because my mental health is part of my life and I deal with it.
The last thing they told me before walking off was that my mental health problems are fake if I’m not using them for anything.
Well…I can do a whole post on that, so we’ll leave it there.
What do you think? Do you think mental health problems are being glamorised? Are we seeing more people with mental health problems being given “amazing” opportunities only because they have mental health problems? (My answer is no!).
Let me know below!