Confessions of the mentally ill.

We are in this together

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I just wanted to tell anyone and everyone reading this that regardless of what mental illness you have, you can succeed and move ahead in life. Even if there are people that tell you otherwise, remember that you are in charge of your own life and health and you have every right to have goals and accomplish them. 

help me pay for college!

my name is pria and i am raising money for college! after being unfairly expelled from fordham for being mentally ill (read below), i had to struggle to get into a college. now i am back on my feet entering ccny’s prestigious science program as a double neuroscience and philosophy major and i need help paying for college! after leaving school last yeah i founded a publication called monster advocating for mental illness rights, feminism and body positivity. i also run an arts initiative called city prompts which promotes creativity and collaboration amongst new yorkers. check them both out! your help is greatly appreciated! please share and donate! all i need 10,000 dollars and i can go to college! 

thank you! 

A civil Affair by Pria Islam 
When I entered Fordham University in August 2012, I had already been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder.  I was in therapy and taking a range of medications to control the issue and was doing fairly well. However, my schedule soon became extremely hectic and I had to balance pre-med courses, working two jobs, dealing with my ever-complicated family and attending therapy while commuting to school. I was extremely productive in all my classes and was keeping up my responsibilities. Unfortunately, depression can be unpredictable and sometimes after a good period, one event can hit you hard and everything comes spiraling down.

For me, Hurricane Sandy was that event.  In late October, the storm ripped through the unprepared city and Con-Edison’s transformer exploded across the street from my twenty-three-story apartment building. My apartment was completely uninhabitable and so Fordham called to offer me temporary housing. I accepted immediately. However, with my home in shambles, I did not have access to any of my medication for weeks. Anyone with a basic knowledge of antidepressants can attest how dangerous this is.


I went into severe withdrawal, and I stopped studying, took a leave from both my jobs, and stopped going outside, even for class. I would wake up every morning and tell myself, “Get the fuck up, you have things to do!” but my body refused to move. Like a case of horrific sleep paralysis, I was glued to my bed, unable to move an inch, an invisible force literally weighing me down. Even when I could get medication, I didn’t – I was completely crippled. I knew my absenteeism was a problem, but the most I could do was keep in touch with my professors and let them know that I wasn’t okay. By the time I finally got some medication, it was mid-December, finals week, and besides, the damage had been done.


I thought I had done as much as I could. Then I received my letter of expulsion.
I was being expelled for not being “up to academic standards.”  Without warning, I was out. I sent in an appeal letter- surely once I explained to them that I was severely depressed and recovering from withdrawal, they would let me back in, or at the very least, a medically excused for the first term – but that was not the case.

My psychiatrist sent over the proper documentation and I was called in for an interview. It was a civil affair, even to the extent that the Dean appeared to be sympathetic. “I don’t want to make it feel like we are punishing you for your depression,” he said. Not until later did I realize that that is exactly what Fordham is doing.


After the meeting, I received an update to my situation. It read like a form letter, with a few edits to “tailor” to my specific case. In condescending language, I was told that once I demonstrated “that the deficiencies that caused [my] suspension have been addressed and remedied,” I could apply for readmission. I was also given a long list of near-impossible requirements to fulfill before doing so, including taking classes at another institution – though I received the letter a week before the new semester began.


Of course, the “deficiency” that caused my suspension wasn’t starting a fire or doing anything criminal – it was that I was sick. I sent them medical documentation stating that I am fit for school but it was ignored.

Please be aware that the grades that you have earned for the fall 2012 semester will remain on your academic transcript. 

That would make my first term academic average a zero. As a pre-med student, it would be almost impossible to recover from that kind of damage. More importantly, I shouldn’t have to. I have been trying to battle my depression by doing my best to perform in an environment that can help me grow mentally and bring me happiness. Instead, I am shut out from what can help me and told that I have been punished. This is mental discrimination.

Depression is an illness, as legitimate as any medical illness is. If I had broken my arm, and could not physically take an exam, I would not be penalized for being physically crippled. Depression is mentally crippling. It turns intelligent, hard working people into zombies.  Although mental and physical illnesses are not the same, mental diseases can cripple a person just as effectively. Depression is not something you can just will away.

I am not trying to divert blame from myself. Ultimately, I was the one that followed through with the actions I did, and no matter what circumstances there were, I have to take responsibility. And I am. Although, I am here to say that I have been discriminated against because I am misfortunate enough to have an invisible illness.  A broken arm is an obvious obstruction to learning – mental illness is less so. Fordham University has failed to see this distinction.


Depression does not discriminate against race, class or intelligence. It doesn’t matter if you’re strong willed or intelligent; depression grows in your head and crushes you from the inside. My education is important to me. I know that I am sick and I know that I am recovering; I am well aware of my capabilities. In jeopardizing my future, Fordham has discriminated not only against me, but against people struggling with mental illness everywhere.  I am determined to conquer this invisible illness and be successful, regardless of what a misguided administration can ever say to me.


prizes and rewards for social justice

if you donate 5 dollars i’ll send you a personalized thank you card. it will be full of gratitude. 

if you donate 10 dollars i’ll send you a signed special copy of my social justice zine- monster!

if you donate 15 dollars i’ll make a special drawing or painting of a nice flower or a kitty kat. 

if you donate 20 dollars i’ll send you a box of japanese candy and chocolate.

if you donate 25 dollars i’ll send you a jar of 3d stars with nice messages on them.

if you donate 30 dollars i’ll write you a poem of a topic of your choice.

if you donate 50 dollars i’ll bake and send you a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies. 

if you donate 60 dollars i’ll bake you delicious blueberry muffins.

if you donate 75 dollars i’ll draw you as a special adventure time character (or powerpuff girls- your choice)

if you donate 100 dollars i’ll bake you a cake and send it to you with 100 candles.

if you donate 150 dollars i’ll make you an artsy hipster thank you video

if you donate 10000 dollars you. are. a. winner.  


Filed under mental illness depression submission

7 notes

I’m pretty cool myself and my bipolar is a fundamental part of who I am. It makes me empathetic and resilient and creative and brave. Yes, I’ve faced very dire consequences as a result of my condition, but I would never wish it away. It is part of who I am. And I love myself.

Filed under mental illness bipolar psychosis submission