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To tell school or not about this conditon?


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well... i was advised by a friend to go to the disabled students program services and fill out the forms to get disabled.. services.. for me it was getting extra time on test and first  dibs at registration enrollment time.

while i was gung ho about getting this done, my pdoc asked if i felt comfortable about disclosing my psychiatric information? i told him on the phone that i was but once i picked up the filled out form, i kind of took a second to think about it and... i don't think i do feel comfortable about telling teachers and i know classmates would find out as well.. about my MI. i'm kind of torn on what i should do.

 

i think it might work against me if teachers knew i was medicated when it comes time to grade my papers.  especially since i'm taking a psychology class this semester. they might think that my view would be skewed and biased in a way. 

 

what do u guys think?  have any of you gone through this dilemma.

 

i work hard to blend in and i think if teachers knew they might grade me differently. 

 

hmmm.... 

 

 

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Hey - 

 

If you are in university, most likely the information you share with disability services will be private.  Your professors won't know - they will just get an email saying that you are entitled to have XYZ accommodation.  They won't tell them why.

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It depends - there is rarely a list of what accommodations you will get with a mood disorder.  You can tell your doctor what you think you need, and bring that letter, and they will decide.

 

In my experience if your doctor supports something, you can often get it, if you have a decent reason.

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How old are you?  What do your grades look like thusfar?  And symptoms?

 

i'm in my 30s.  my symptoms are basically that i am medicated with stuff for panic attacks along with an antipsychotic and nuvigil, which affects me heavily doing normal school things. my memory is heavily affected. i get disoriented and confused and i have a super hard time writing and doing math.  it wasn't always this way.  thank god i got math out of the way.

Will having am mi get you extra time on tests? I work at a high school and the kids who get extra time are the ones with learning disabilities, not the ones with MIs.

my friend said because of his condition... he gets to take a test in a testing center at the school. the room is quiet, less crowded, and he gets 2 hours to take a test instead of 1.

this is college services i'm referring to.  depending on what you have they make accommodations. you also get perks like getting first dibs when enrolling for classes.

veterans and disabled students get priority registration.  then it's some other programs that get second dibs.. and regular metriculating students get like 3rd i think. either way, i had to wait almost a full month until i could sign up. 

as a result i'm on waiting lists, and have had to majorly sift through classes to get a good schedule. which of course is the way that other students i'm sure are doing... but it would be nice to get that extra help on trying to complete school.. which is a huge task for me considering i couldn't even remember my own birthday to some degree because of being so heavily medicated. 

 

my husband is a teacher .. so i talked to him and he said to some degree he does look at disabled students a little differently.

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Having taught at a university and having had various students with disability accommodations over the years, I can say that I've never judged anyone unfairly for having a disability accommodation. At my university I would wager that there are a fairly large number of students with accommodations. I almost always have one person in each class I teach, and I generally don't have a lot of information about them beyond what their accommodations are (such as taking the test in the disability center for quiet and extra time) unless they choose to tell me themselves. Even if a professor knew what your specific issue were, it's unlikely that they'd think your views would be "skewed or biased" towards psychology. The disability office is there to help you get the most out of your education. I deeply regret that I did not register with my school disability office when I started grad school, as it might have been extremely useful when I began to have trouble completing the program due to my MI. I understand your hesitation to register though. If nothing else it feels like sharing your own personal business with strangers. But it is probably in your best interest to register just in case you hit some bumps in the road, and in order to help prevent those bumps from coming up to begin with.

 

 

ETA: My initial post said I regretted I did register when I meant I regretted that I did *not* register.

Edited by Unstrung Harp
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When I was in college, I registered with the college's DSS.  What they did for me was send a notice to my professors that I am in the DSS program and listed the services I would need for that particular class.

 

I was a psychology major (even though I didn't finish).  Since my college didn't disclose my disability (just the fact that I needed services), I made the choice as to which professors I told that I have a MI.  The only professors I felt comfortable sharing this fact were the psychology professors.  I figured since my psychology professors have a better understanding of MI (since it's a part of their field), I wasn't afraid to tell them that I have a mental illness.

 

To be honest, some of the professors I told were actually glad I had told them what my disability was.

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Had I had this option when I was in college, I would have taken it.  I did ok in college, but it was stressful getting things done and the registering process for classes was anxiety-provoking for me.   I wish I'd been able to not have to worry about that as much.

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i'm signed up with my school's disability centre and its not legal for the disability office to disclose to my professors what illnesses i have unless i personally want to tell them. if a teacher has treated me differently because of my disability status then i haven't noticed and that's grounds for reporting them if they do. my main accommodations are laptop-use in class, more time and the use of a computer for non-multiple choice exams. besides that i have some room to ask my advisers to intervene if i need an extension or something modified for mental health related issues and i can have them send requests for me to do projects instead of oral presentations, etc. they can reject my requests but that's never happened before. i can also take fewer classes per semester and still be labeled a full-time student.

 

imo it's very worth it and it can be a lot of help.

 

because of the nature of my disabilities my adviser is a clinical psychologist - so that is a bonus. i also have priority access to the school's mental health/counselling services because i'll go through my adviser instead of signing up independently.

Edited by radicalfeminist
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wow.. i'm really glad i brought this up here.  taking "meds" has such a stigma attached to it that i've become fearful in a way of being talkative about my condition. i'm always fearful in situations now where i have to disclose this stuff. you like have to go around hiding .. well.. i guess of late that's what i've been going through.  i can't even develop normal relationships with people and be truthful and honest about the fact that i struggle so much with illness. it's ended a lot of my friendships with people because they can't understand that i have chronig fatigue.... and can't keep plans to be active and stuff.  i can't predict my days so i've had to compensate by some kind of isolation. it's my coping mechanism. and it's now making me reluctant about disclosing it at school. i've never brought it up because in the past i've just basically dropped all my classes when i went through a severe episode and my transcript shows it. it looks bad and how would i even begin to tell someone that was looking at my classes that it was out of my control. i'm walking thin line now because it's the last time that i can attempt to take some courses. and they don't ever erase this from your record. i looked into it and have asked.. if anyone knows a way.. for sure let me know.  

 

i would never really apply for this program if i was under normal circumstances.. but as of late my mental health and physical health are not what it use to be... when i was younger i was able to bounce back.  now it's just ongoing symptoms of panic, anxiety, depression, and complete exhaustion. so that's why i feel the need to reach out and see what is out there to help me complete school.  there is just no way to make it if i don't have some sort of paper to show that i'm capable of doing what i'm trying to do. my profession has been drafting but that's even hard to get a position as drafter now. everyone is seeking an engineer that knows how to draft. =(  engineering is out of my reach.. at least i feel that way. i struggle hard with doing math at school and have to work 10 times as hard to pass a math class.

Edited by grasshopper
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Having taught at a university and having had various students with disability accommodations over the years, I can say that I've never judged anyone unfairly for having a disability accommodation. At my university I would wager that there are a fairly large number of students with accommodations. I almost always have one person in each class I teach, and I generally don't have a lot of information about them beyond what their accommodations are (such as taking the test in the disability center for quiet and extra time) unless they choose to tell me themselves. Even if a professor knew what your specific issue were, it's unlikely that they'd think your views would be "skewed or biased" towards psychology. The disability office is there to help you get the most out of your education. I deeply regret that I did not register with my school disability office when I started grad school, as it might have been extremely useful when I began to have trouble completing the program due to my MI. I understand your hesitation to register though. If nothing else it feels like sharing your own personal business with strangers. But it is probably in your best interest to register just in case you hit some bumps in the road, and in order to help prevent those bumps from coming up to begin with.

 

 

ETA: My initial post said I regretted I did register when I meant I regretted that I did *not* register.

thank you for your info and input.  i guess it would be my imagination that teachers would look at me differently.  while it's hard for me, i have come to terms that my MI is affecting my school eppicly at this point. it's good to know that teachers wont know what i have exactly.  and i know i'm going to hit bumps in the road... i've already hit them and have had to drop a lot of courses at times. sucks big time. i was hoping to be more successful but it is what it is. i can't change stuff on a whim. i can't just think my illness away. i have to manage it and have to manage whatever each day brings. 

Edited by grasshopper
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I finished college when I was in my 30's, and registering with disability services was a great idea for me. It enabled me to qualify as a full-time student at a lower credit level, and it gave me peace of mind knowing that if something went wrong with my brain i wouldn't be expelled while i got it sorted out.

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Gonna do it.  I'll be turning my forms in this week.  Thanks!!  It's a good thing I asked. If I stayed watching tv on the couch I wouldn't have been able to think this through. It will be a huge helping tool for me in school I think. Like a safety net that I have knowing that I'm gonna hit those "bumps".  I'm attempting a pretty hefty schedule. I'll have to really be careful to watch out and see if I can manage to take all the classes I'm signed up for.

 

Thanks again!!!  

Edited by grasshopper
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I'm in university and I wondered about this dilemma, myself. If you are going through your school's disability services, your professors and fellow students won't know any details about why you need particular accommodations. With that being said, if you feel that you need accommodations, I would definitely encourage you to apply for them. I haven't applied at my school because it is a huge process, but instead I am going to go through my professors if I feel the need for some sort of accommodation. They are usually pretty understanding of the situation and at the most would probably ask for a doctor's note. Of course, that varies, and I have no idea how professors at your school would respond to any type of requests like that. I was able to take an exam last semester a few days late and in a room with just a few other people and it helped A LOT. I think I'm rambling now, but I was very hesitant about letting professors know about my MI for a really long time, but they kind of found out anyway when I took a medical leave. I had similar concerns as yours, but I found that my professors are not biased at all with my work. They treat my work and myself just as they would any other student's.

 

SUPER jealous of the dibs on enrollment registration though...yeah, we definitely don't have that. Actually, I'd for sure apply for disability services if we had that options, haha. :P

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In law school, I used the disability services a lot. Especially because I had trouble getting up in time for the first class-time, someone took notes for me (they didn't know it was for me, they were just paid by the disabilities office to take notes for a lot of disabled students). They also helped me drop a course, which in law school, is almost impossible. Although that came back to bite me on the ass. But not because of my disability. None of my professors ever knew, even though I was out to a lot of my friends.

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I've been waking up at 6:30 in the morning since late August to help my husband get ready for work, which helps me now that I will have to get up for my classes. In all reality I didn't think I would be able to do this kind of schedule, but things have been better in some ways regarding my ability to wake up in the morning. I still have hellish days, and I know I'll have them while school, but I just got to get through it and at least show up and not have any absences. Those hurt a lot. I don't have to look good or be active, I just have to show up and do my work. So I'm majorly prioritizing in my head how this new schedule will have to work out. I just hope the house doesn't fall apart too much while I'll be at school. I've been at home for a while now, so this will be a shift in how I manage to do things.  I just know that it has to be done.  And I have to try as hard as I can to memorize things again. That will be my biggest hurdle. 

 

I'm honestly glad I got input, I just couldn't think about it rationally.  an open mind is key when deciding stuff like this.

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