Allison Barrett

I wish could say I had a better freshman experience than I did. I was living in on-campus housing and was taking more credits than I should have. At first, I could handle the challenge. Then my anxiety started to creep in. I would have depressive episodes that lasted for days, skipping classes, sleeping in, not being able to eat. It was terrible! My grades and my mental health suffered greatly.

I noticed a shift in my roommate's attitudes towards me around this same time.  I couldn't handle the mess our apartment was in and was tired of cleaning up after them. I took my kitchen utilities back into my bedroom so they would stay clean. I tried to take control of everything that I could, because I felt like my life was so out of control.

My roommates lashed out at me for "not serving them" and "taking everything so personally". They told me I was “psycho” and “crazy” and that they didn't respect me. They were upset that I wore earplugs to bed because my anxiety kept me awake and any small noise would disturb my sleep. They bullied me, and I couldn't escape it. I reached out to our RA to see if she could move me to another room after I had done everything to be nice to them and try to mend our friendships that took a terrible turn for reasons unknown.

My RA recommended a roommate mediation which did NOT work. My RA basically told me to suck it up, stop taking things so personally, and try not to assume that my roommates are thinking poorly of me. I was treated like the problem. My RA neglected to refer me to CAPS or help in any other way. She was terribly unqualified to mediate the situation. I was blamed for being bullied. I moved home with my parents shortly after, almost a week before finals even started.

My parents finally accepted that I was dealing with something much more than just freshman adjustment. We discussed going to therapy but I pushed back. It took a year and a half for me to realize that this was something that would continue to be a problem unless I saw someone. I filled out paperwork to meet with a counselor at CAPS, only to discover that there would be over a month's wait to be seen. I couldn't wait that long. I literally felt like I wouldn't survive for that long if I didn't get immediate help.

I went to the Student Health Center and was prescribed an antidepressant that changed my life. I still haven't been able to get into CAPS, and probably never will. I still have hard days, and sometimes wish I had more resources to help me. The long process of applying for accommodations from the UAC is extremely intimidating for someone suffering from similar things as I am. I wish that BYU would be more accessible, vocal, and transparent about those accommodations, host exclusive therapy groups, offer mental health classes, better train RA's to recognize the signs of mental illness and not to victimize those who are suffering, but really get them help before it's too late.