February 9, 2016

GUEST ROOM | When CAPS Gave Me Medication I Didn’t Need

Print More

Editor’s Note: This story is being published anonymously for the safety and protection of the author and those involved. 

I didn’t plan to spend finals week in the mental ward of Cayuga Medical Center.

Was it traumatic? That would be an understatement.

Was it worth it? Yes.

How was it worth it? I found out I was misdiagnosed with a mental illness I did not have and was given sedatives and mood stabilizers from Cornell’s Counseling and Psychological Services that I didn’t need.

I came to Cornell from a university that had a traumatic experience with gun violence many years ago. As a result, there were many taboos and stipulations at my former university on talking about mental illness. At my previous university, people didn’t necessarily want to help you out of love, but out of fear that you would take their life — a recurring theme in debates on gun violence. I remember once having an administrator insist on holding my hand, as if I were a child, to go to the counseling office. I am not here to speak about gun violence, but rather my experience with mental health at Cornell and to shed light into how the field of mental health needs an overhaul.

Similar to Cornell, the ebb and flow of students having emotional and mental turmoil considerably outpaced the supply of counselors and psychiatrists at my previous university. Appointments were hardly guaranteed, the wait list was long and unless there was something seriously wrong, you had to wait. After snagging a few spots with a counselor, I was told I might have a bipolar disorder, depression, some personality disorder traits or just senior year angst and that I should see a specialist. Time went by, I stopped going and soon after, I came to Cornell.

In contrast to my former university where one would have to lobby for medication, Cornell gave me medication my first visit. I didn’t need to send medical records from my old university — all I said was “a counselor once told me ‘I might be bipolar.’”  In a day, I was given Seroquel and lithium, a psychiatrist and a therapy group.

For those of you not familiar with the various flavors of mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics or antidepressants, like any medication, they can have side effects. However, it’s hard to tell if they are effective or not because they are affecting your brain. You can tell after taking medication for acne if your face clears up, for your throat if the mucus starts to drain, but with mental illness medication — it is a waiting game. Often I heard things like “you have to reach the right level before they work — be patient” or “the side effects wear off.”

I started to slip in classes, I couldn’t remember, I couldn’t concentrate and, in essence, I developed a learning disorder. Why were my scores so low compared to others? My insecurities started to build — I was told I needed this medication, but the ramifications on my academics were horrendous.

My cohort was worried. My best friend told me “I had no more feelings,” for she observed when I would struggle to have any expression besides a straight line. I was going through the motions like a vegetable, but CAPS told me that it was necessary, because I had a mental illness.

When I discussed my reluctance to take these medications after how they were affecting my personal life, I was asked, “Do you think men will like you when you’re not on these?” I felt helpless, trapped and accepted I was weak. I was projected the reality of a mental illness.  I was getting more “help” than my previous university so I tried to be grateful.

In my therapy group I felt like a stranger. I was never hospitalized, I never had tried a list of medications and I never experienced psychosis. Although I enjoyed the safe space of sharing my insecurities in graduate school, I was encouraged by my peers to accept “bipolar is different for everyone.” My reality could be different from theirs, but we were all “bipolar” in solidarity.

“Anyone with a mental illness feels helpless at times.”

“You have to be patient with the meds.”

“Try harder to change your lifestyle, don’t drink, don’t stay up too late, make sure to take your meds, eat better, etc.”

No one thought I was misdiagnosed or needed to be tested. I was bipolar, and that was that. I believed CAPS, for they were professionals, and I take credit for that being partially my mistake. However, I find there must be some malpractice going on, not only for me, when students are shoved pills they don’t need.

So what happened? I stopped taking the medication and soon after found myself in the Behavioral Unit. I felt sad, discouraged my grades were so poor and that I couldn’t concentrate. My exams were soon and I told a friend. I called CAPS asking them about what to do. My friend called CAPS and told them I was a danger to myself — again, I was trapped. Soon I was dropped off at Cayuga Medical Center where I would spend the next few days trapped and disconnected from humanity besides a small window of three hours of visitation. Thank god for my friends.

At the unit, we were told to eat at certain times. We had to ask to get a puzzle from the cupboard. There were no locks on the doors and every 15 minutes someone checked up on you to make sure you were still around. Everything is round and soft and the windows are plexi glass. People listened while you used the restroom sometimes. There, I met middle-aged men struggling with addiction. I met just turned 18 year old children from broken homes. I met fellow Cornellians trapped in abusive relationships seeking a safe haven. I met one Cornellian from China who had no idea why she was there.

I cried a lot, I prayed a lot and I ended up coloring a lot.

While there I missed my final exams. But also while I was there I found out I actually had no mental illness. I shouldn’t have been given any medication at all. In essence, if you hear about people taking anti-depressants who don’t need them and get more depressed on them — that was me.

Mental illness has a stigma where people wish to overmedicate rather than undermedicate. I know my story is not unique to CAPS. I do not wish to discourage anyone from using their services, but please get a second opinion — they are understaffed and (I hypothesize due to historical and legal issues) pressured to medicate.  I now have an unnecessary hospital bill to pay, exams to take and explanations to give for my grades.

I ask my friends to generously be patient with me as I swing back into this semester from last and to relearn who I am — for they met a false medicated version. This semester is going well only because at the mental ward they realized I did not need to be medicated. If I had continued going to CAPS, I don’t know where I would be now.

Comments may be sent to associate-editor@cornellsun.com. Guest Room appears periodically this semester.

47 thoughts on “GUEST ROOM | When CAPS Gave Me Medication I Didn’t Need

  1. ==== Mental illness has a stigma, Mental illness has a stigma, Mental illness has a stigma, Mental illness has a stigma, Mental illness has a stigma, Mental illness has a stigma, Mental illness has a stigma, Mental illness has a stigma …

    Could you please repeat that a thousand times, that no student at Cornell be able to escape it. It is a bully’s message, it appears you are that.

  2. You seem to be resistant to addressing your problems. There is no shame to mental illness but the one that you bring upon yourself.

  3. I blog frequently and I seriously thank you for your information. This great article
    has really peaked my interest. I’m going to bookmark your blog and
    keep checking for new details about once a week.
    I subscribed to your RSS feed as well.

  4. If you own a mutual fund, chances are your fund is un-hedged.
    Be ready to accxept and implement cange immediately and constantly as “Change” is the only factor
    that’s constant in the world – everything else keeps changing
    and its meaning is all thee more true in these highly volatile and
    ever-changing market scenarios. So, the arrival
    of this trading in India is nothing new from them.

  5. After looking into a few of the articles on your web page, I seriously appreciate your technique of writing a blog.
    I book marked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking
    back in the near future. Take a look at my web site as well and tell me what you think.

  6. We absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post’s to be precisely what I’m looking for.
    Do you offer guest writers to write content in your case?
    I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or elaborating on some of the subjects you write regarding here.
    Again, awesome weblog!

  7. The actual perpetrators of this criminal offense regarding harming young heads might debate that they don’t force their ware and so they fee their item depending on the policies of
    Entertainment Software Rating Panel (ESRB).
    Compromising can go a long way, all it takes is a little effort.

    You must be 18 years of age (mainly for tax purposes).

  8. Well, if you like the idea of a bag with some cool accessories, you may
    consider having one made from dyed leather in different colors,
    all put together harmoniously to style a decorative bag.
    Grace Kelly even sported a custom “Flora” foulard designed especially for her by
    Rodolfo Gucci. With easy to open options the bags are a must have for all outgoing customers.

  9. I think this is one of the most vital info for me.
    And i’m glad reading your article. But want to remark on few general things, The
    site style is ideal, the articles is really great : D.
    Good job, cheers

  10. I think what you said was actually very logical. But, what about this?
    suppose you were to write a killer headline? I mean, I don’t want to tell you how to
    run your website, but suppose you added a post title that makes people desire
    more? I mean GUEST ROOM | When CAPS Gave Me Medication I Didnt Need | The Cornell
    Daily Sun is a little boring. You might peek at Yahoo’s home page and see how they create article titles to get people to open the links.
    You might add a video or a related pic or two to
    grab readers interested about everything’ve got to say.
    Just my opinion, it might make your blog a little livelier.

  11. Thanks for your marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed reading it, yyou could be a
    greast author. I will make certain to bookmark your blog and may come back in the future.
    I want to encouyrage you to ultimately continue
    your great writing, have a nice weekend!

  12. Go to and you can see how to join to my e-zine, and
    get all kinds of other free resources it is possible to use to create your business.

    If you’ve got a Macbook, or perhaps an i – Mac, an i – Phone
    or i – Pad, you’ve got likely done so with the feeling of exclusivity as well as
    the cool factor. New information technology news In addition on the hobby
    of geocaching, GPS can be used in surveying, exploration, mapping
    and other location and transportation systems, among a great many other uses.

    This feature of normal update is check marked automatic right inside the settings configuration itself.
    Biological waste for instance paper, yard trimmings or
    wood can produce ethanol.

  13. Can I just say what a relief to uncover an individual
    who genuinely understands what they are talking about
    over the internet. You definitely realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important.

    More people should check this out and understand this side of the story.
    I was surprised you are not more popular given that you most certainly possess
    the gift.

  14. Simply desire to say your article is as astonishing.
    The clearness to your publish is simply nice and i could assume you’re
    knowledgeable on this subject. Well with your permission let me to grasp your feed to stay up to date with approaching post.
    Thanks one million and please continue the enjoyable work.

  15. With the lead role in the hit film Transformers she gained worldwide recognition.
    However, if you join the Empire, you could build the factory
    immediately while you are require to wait for Headquarters to reach level 4
    for you to build Hero Command. You don’t have much effort to defend your empire when you play the Star Wars:
    Galaxy of Heroes Hack for the first time.

  16. La onu sauna infrarouge, de la onu Spa, de la onu espace repos avec sillones de masaje shiatsu, le bar à thés,
    terraza privada, prêt des pinzas, prêt du peignoir, et
    1 servilleta de bain par personne.

  17. Admiring the hard work you put into your site and in depth information you provide.

    It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same unwanted rehashed information.
    Fantastic read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  18. Thank you for every other informative site. The place else could
    I get that type of info written in such an ideal method? I have a venture that I’m
    just now working on, and I have been on the glance out for such info.

  19. It is very important to know which drivers would
    assist the current graphics card, without raising any compatibility issue.
    Stephanie Larkin is really a freelance writer who writes
    about products utilized on home electronics including Surge Protectors Power Surge Protectors.
    Best gaming laptop around 500 As you’re watching the playback quality attached to this short article, take note in the installed tools and applications with the Surface 2 that are
    portion of the Windows 8.

    Once you understand this, you’ll be able to think on the laptop screen that
    matches your must optimise your experience. As nice as these machines are, they’ve already both bad and good attributes that ought to be considered.

  20. Greetings I am so grateful I found your blog page, I really
    found you by mistake, while I was browsing on Aol for something
    else, Regardless I am here now and would just
    like to say thanks for a remarkable post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the
    theme/design), I don’t have time to look over it all at the minute but I have saved it
    and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be
    back to read a lot more, Please do keep up the awesome work.

  21. This charging mat is ideal for travel since it is often a very
    compact and highly portable device. The sleek and elegant design of
    the Powermat can make it perfect for usage anywhere in your home or office.
    Hitachi 18v drill review A half-hour charger, as opposed to
    a hour charger could make a real difference in case you are
    never stand still batteries.

    A vibrator may be the perfect gift for couples to transmit their lovemaking experience soaring
    with a whole new level. The corded mowers are lighter and more affordable, but you then must mow your lawn within reach of your extension cord.

  22. Baume & Mercier will be the primary watch making
    brand to file for an innovative website dedicated to capturing
    the action at SIHH and streaming content from Twitter updated in tangible time.
    Every watch with this collection features a
    combination of patterns and colors about the dial, that happen to be extended around the straps.
    Tudor With brand watches their replicas also entered market and very
    replica wristwatch and replica designer watches became favorites of the many fashion lovers.

    As a chronograph timepiece, the model features three subdials
    that measure amount of time in hours, minutes, and seconds.
    The company now supplies a wide variety of temporal accessories on his or her website.

  23. Businesses can make between fixed and pan tilt zoom (PTZ) dome cameras.
    If you’ve a Sony camcorder which has a LANC connection, you don’t possess to
    go with the hassle of modifying your camcorder’s firmware to produce it
    work as a security alarm camera. Security
    cameras geelong It means a person that’s installed an ip system
    in their residence, can signing in while on holiday within the other side on the world to check on that it is all totally
    okay.

    If the cheap home surveillance camera is put properly your vehicle they use might be captured at the same time around film.
    These solutions providers has to be experienced and knowledgeable, but must be capable of offer innovative services based within the latest advances inside
    industry.

  24. I’m literally needs to suppress my orgasms because now I’m afraid that I might
    squirt and he’ll literally stop right inside the middle of obtaining sex.
    Make certain you use a save ready or which you have a fantastic quicksave for that camp.
    How to squirt A Common variation in Deiodinase 1 gene DIO1 is associated with all the
    relative numbers of free thyroxine and triidothyronine.

    Make it your ultimate goal to ruin sex for virtually every girl he end up with inside
    future. Ask each child to seem around their houses and convey one item to school that may be purple.

  25. As I have previously blogged about, there is a strong correlation between a sluggish thyroid and Breast Cancer.
    In its wisdom, character founded a way that our activity level can effect our thyroid
    function. Your self moreover will need in direction of do the job
    out the fundamental motives why your thyroid is
    not functioning.

  26. This can be used to charge an enemy or to run away. For more help, read a good
    Lo – L guide written by someone who has played the game for a long
    time. If you’re Janna by way of example, you’ll wish to use your shield in your team’s carry throughout fight, and save your Whirlwind or slow skill
    when necessary to prevent anyone from focusing down in your team’s highest harm dealer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *