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    I have Bipolar Disorder and in January I had an episode of mania that lasted the majority of the month and then in early February I went into a depressive episode. The depressive episode got so severe that I developed psychotic depression and as a result have failed my first year of university.

    I have come to the decision that, especially with how university is set-up, it just isn't for me in that respect. I need a place that is more flexible and where I can choose to spread the work out so its less rushed and packed together. I'm thinking about starting at OU part-time, this way the work is spread out and I can live at home where my support network is.

    However I know that long distance learning has its own challenges and I just want to know (especially from people who are mentally ill) how you find managing your studies? and if you have a mental illness do you find the OU to be supportive and something that works well with dealing with your illness? And what are the challenges?

    Please keep in mind that I'm kinda looking for people who are mentally ill and I just need a neurodivergent perspective however I appreciate anyone who replies!
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    I find it as annoying as hell
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    Having bad anxiety never makes exam season pleasant but with a support network, you get through it.
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    (Original post by purple_hair_girl)
    I find it as annoying as hell
    Why is that?
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    (Original post by seiriol)
    Why is that?
    I suffer with bad social anxiety and panic disorder so being around loads of people ( I got to secondary school ) is a major distraction
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    I dropped out of US high school at the age of 16 following a severe social anxiety and S.A.D. related depression episode. I later went back for my GED (Graduation Equivalency Diploma, an alternative qualification to a traditional high school diploma) via distance learning. Keep in mind that this was before the World Wide Web, and distance learning meant nothing but printed materials and no communication with anybody.

    It was absolutely miserable. A lack of motivation was a major negative factor, but by far not the worst. The worst was that there was no structure to the course or materials, and there was no resource provided for helping me develop my own structure. Or really any warnings that a lack of structure might be a problem so I should look out for that.

    And that's okay. Really, it was all on me. I got the GED (with all subjects between 92% and 100%), so in final analysis it didn't matter. (It ended up getting me accepted to university a year earlier than my peers, but I had the same problems as in high school with three hours of commute time to boot.) But I should have been prepared. I should have gone looking ahead of time for what problems there might be, and found solutions. I just wasn't mature enough at the time to do anything but slog through it.

    That said, it wasn't all bad. There was zero social anxiety aside from when I would have to complain about course materials and I knew I'd have to start by finding out who I had to complain to. (Back then, uncertainty in contact situations was my worst trigger.) And I did have enough of a plan to know to avoid modules during the late winter months.

    Technology has allowed me to work around a lot of my issues since then. It's much easier to contact people through texts, emails, and social media than cold calls back then, and online research makes it less necessary.

    I can't talk about the Open University, since I haven't started there, yet. But I'm definitely preparing for distance learning ahead of time. I'm calling my preparation Stage 0, but has literally nothing to do with the Open University's Stage 0 creditless modules. I've set aside roughly half the study time that I'm planning to use during the modules, and studying preparation for the course itself. (One hour every night, with two to four extra hours as needed on weekends.) I started by going through The Good Study Guide (which the OU no longer sells, but can be found on Amazon or other places), and using it as study material, not just a book to read. Other preparations include OpenLearn modules (starting with a few badged modules, then others for fun, whatever strikes my fancy), and free training materials I've found online for course-relevant subjects. (For me, that means things like CCNA network certification tutorials and such.)

    It's done two things for me. First, it has really helped me plan my time and my distance learning better. Second, it's given me boatloads of confidence, as I've been testing the methods that I've learned ... on learning those methods. So the more I'm absorbing, the more I know it's working AND the easier it is to absorb.

    I know that's not entirely what you were asking for, but I hope it helps.
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    I suffer from anxiety and depression, and am starting the OU in October. I rang up my student support team because I wanted to make my mental illnesses known, and the people I've spoken to from the OU have been very helpful.
    They said they'd be able to offer me extra time on my assignments, so if I go into hospital or something I have a few extra days to ensure my essay is ready and sent in on time so I don't get a 0.
    My module (AA100) has some online and face-to-face tutorials. For the online tutorials, they asked me if I wanted to be called on and asked questions, or if I'd prefer to just be left alone to answer and read what I wished, which I appreciated. For the face-to-face tutorials, they said I was allowed to bring a friend/family member with me, and that I could sit by the door and leave if I got anxious/panicky. They also stressed the fact that the tutorials are optional; that I didn't have to go if I didn't want to.
    My module doesn't have any exams, but the topic of future exams did come up, and the lady I spoke to said that there were options to help with that. There are specific private study rooms so I wouldn't have to be around people, and I'm pretty sure (don't quote me on this) she said I could sit my exam at home, though I didn't go into that too much as I won't have an exam for quite some time.

    I think that if you are just honest with the OU about the problems you face they will be very lenient and helpful! I have had no problems whatsoever, I feel like all of my questions have been answered perfectly. Everyone I've spoken to has made sure I have all the information I need before ending my call, which I appreciate wholly.

    There are also booklets and information sheets available on the OU website specifically for studying with a mental illness, which I'd give a read if I were you as I found them very helpful!You could also apply for DSA (disabled students allowance) which may provide you with a sort of counsellor type figure to help talk you through managing stress and study, or you could speak to your tutor/ a member of your student support team.

    I feel very confident about starting my studies with the OU in October, and am very happy with how my mental illnesses have been handled and treated by the staff so far A lot of people studying with the OU do have mental health problems, so don't feel alone! You can always message me if you get really stuck and have any more questions, but I'd definitely recommend being open and honest with the support around you, and speaking up if you feel something isn't right! Don't suffer in silence <3
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    I suffer from anxiety and have just finished my first year at OU. One thing I'd point out is that whilst it is more flexible in terms of no lectures to attend etc, and tutorials being purely optional, there's only so much flexibility with assignments.

    With the course I've just completed (AA100), the tutors emphasised that they could only grant an extension of up to two weeks (I believe) and that for anything above that you would need to contact the university. That's not to say that longer extensions are not possible, just that you have to go through he right channels, and in the right time. Similarly, there was one assignment that was compulsory for completion of the module, and an extension for the EMA (examined essay) was supposedly hard to get.

    That being said, having dropped out of brick unis twice before, the OU is loads better for me - it teaches independence , and you don't have to give up your 'real life'. Heck, you don't even have to see anyone in person unless your module has an exam!

    One thing to also remember is despite. The above, there are still support network in place - you can ring or email your tutor or student support, and there are Student Association reps who can help you with stuff as well
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    I have PTSD, dissociative disorder, depression etc. Open uni were _fab_ they were really understanding and supportive.

    They registered me as a disabled student and this gives info to tutors. You can get loads of help from the ou without needing to be on DSA. I got sent a dictaphone for tutorials. I got audiobook copies of all the main texts and they sent me transcripts of the audio and visual materials to help me to learn. I had multiple extensions over my time with them and I had an exam deferred when my mental health was really low. They really want you to succeed. My experience at a local college recently made me realise to not take that as a given - I was accused of lying about having mental health problems when I fell behind in my work! - despite being registered as disabled
 
 
 
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