Mental Illness caused me to do horribly in college! PLEASE HELP.

Im bipolar. I’ve been diagnosed by two doctor in two different cities. When I was in college however, I did not know this. I was a scholarship student AT said college. When I first went to college everything thing was great. I had good grades, attended class, did community service. Everything was truly great. Well around my sophomore year things changed. I got extremely depressed, started pulling my hair out, literally. I stopped going to class bc I did not have the energy to get out of bed and I couldn’t make myself no matter how hard I tried. I could only sleep for 2 hours a night, no matter how hard I tried. I even lost 20lbs in a month. I spend my days in my dorm room fantisizing about dying and googling different suicide stories and that’s all I wanted to do. Fast forward, I lost my scholarship and financial aid.

Now for this next part, you really have to understand how the bipolar mind thinks. When manic it sort of gives you a God complex or this you can do anything mindset. Instead of going home, which at the time I’d rather have died then went back home to tell my parents that I failed horribly, I attended school another semester. This is probably the worse thing I’ve ever done in my life. I was more manic this semester so my mind was like “You can just pay that $20,000 off by the time the next semester comes around.” Looking back now, with a medicated mind, I hate who I use to be and how I thought. Anyway so I couldn’t pay all that tuition, but surprisingly I actually did good that semester. I had like a 2.8 which for me at the time with my mental issues was great. However, bc I owed the school that semester’s tuition. I couldn’t make my schedule for the next semester.

Fast forward, I started working to pay back the school by working at a call center. I met a friend who I use to talk to all the time and he told that the that I act wasn’t normal. He said that I act so much like his sister (who at the time I didn’t know was bipolar) that it’s scary. He advised that I should go see a psychiatrist. Of course I ignored him until one day, I started preparing to kill myself. This even scared me so I went to seek help. Found that I’m bipolar and have OCD. Over a year later of being medicating, and I’m back to what I identify as being normal. I still have mood swings and I’m still a work in progress but I feel like I’m ready to go back to college and that I’ll actually prosper.

Does anyone know if there are exceptions for the mentally ill and getting back into college. Is easily be able to show proof of my illness and my progress. I don’t expect a handout but I think that it is unfair for me to be held accountable when I really wasn’t in my right mind. My therapist and I are working on me moving forward but it’s hard when my past decisions are keeping the better me from what I want most, to go to college. I would prefer to go back to my old college but I’ll settle for them just giving me my transcript.

Basically what I nwant to know is, are there exceptions for the mentally ill? Is there some way I can get the money I owe deferred or even erased? What should I do period bc the more I sit at home, the more I start to feel worthless and like I’m a failure at life. Please help. My dad (an engineer and alcoholic) has already written off as a failure. Btw, I have no one and I mean no one that can cosign a loan for me.

Also, I owe the school this money directly to the school. And if I file bankruptcy, since I owe the money to the school, will it go away?

First, don’t accumulate any more debt. There are many ways to go to college, including one or two classes at a time while working.

Some people manage to get a retroactive medical withdrawal (and even get grades expunged). I am assuming you were not registered with the Office for Disabilities and did not have tuition refund insurance, is that correct?

You could make an appointment with a dean at the school. You could seek legal advice- paying for one hour might be worth it. You might call NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) for advice.

Otherwise, you just need to move forward and make a plan for paying off that loan. Will your parents help with that at all?

@bipolarmess -

First of all, you should think about changing your user name to something more positive. Second, being bipolar doesn’t mean that you can’t be successful in life or happy. My first boyfriend had bipolar and once his illness was under control, he became a successful attorney. We broke up not because of his bipolar but because he didn’t want to have children.

I second compmom’s advice to contact NAMI or a similar organization. Reach out to the school that you owe money to and explain your situation - you don’t say how much time has passed. You should have your doctor assist you with a letter or the like. I would surmise that you are not the first patient to have financial issues due to mental illness.

I would be hesitant to advise a young person to declare bankruptcy without fully exploring other options because of the bang to your credit rating. In addition, other colleges might see that you didn’t pay back money to the first school. Perhaps you can work out a repayment agreement that lessens the amount of money, but remember that a forgiven debt is considered taxable income in the year that it is forgiven. If your parents can help you pay it off and you then enter into an agreement to pay them back, you could keep your credit rating and not have income tax repercussions.

For now, concentrate on getting your health steady. PLEASE take your medications as directed and see your doctor regularly. One of the insidious aspects of bipolar and other mental illnesses is that as you feel better, you think you can do without the meds. My bf had two major breakdowns when he refused to continue on meds. After the second time, he realized that he needs the meds every day, just like a diabetic needs insulin.

Start out slowly again, maybe at a CC or a local pressure college. See where your credits will take you. If you are old enough, consider one of the programs that gives you life experience credit, like SUNY Empire State College.

Good luck to you.