I'm an undergraduate mathematics major and I also struggle with PTSD and depression. A lot of the trauma is triggered by being in a close-spaced classroom environment which makes attending classes very difficult. Basically I sit in the classroom understanding nothing because my anxious I am unable to concentrate.

What this has done is cause me or forced me to drop two classes and receive a W grade. Even though two isn't bad, I was looking forward to transferring to a better school, Stony Brook but now I'm afraid that the second W is going to look bad especially because I only have 19 credits.

Also I want to go to a good mathematics school and the dream is to be able to get a Phd. one day. Academically I have been doing great in the classes I have stuck out in, all 3 A's and two A-s. I love mathematics and usually enjoy doing it in solitude. I am able to do some proofs(although the easier ones) which my peers seem to be uninterested in. Applying to a grad school or even undergrad, is it advisable to disclose a mental illness? Usually if you do this at a job interview they will look for some other excuse not to hire you. Do universities see this as a red flag that student is unreliable so shouldn't be accpeted as readily? Hopefully, going forward these will be my only two Ws.

  • It is always advisable to disclose all relevant circumstances (many schools have separate Personal Statements (or similar) which invite you to); and PTSD in particular (considering that there is a triggering event - based on your profile pic it could be war trauma) certainly is. More importantly, however, I hope that you are working with a specialist on your issues. Anxiety can be treated fairly successfully (even though it might take time), and simply receiving the proper medication might absolutely change your life. – gnometorule Nov 9 '15 at 18:00
  • @gnometorule Yes I am receiving treatment (drug and therapy) and it is going well. I am to function a lot more better than I was a few years ago. Also thank you for your reply – Barinder Singh Nov 9 '15 at 18:05
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    While not exactly an identical situation, I believe the answers to the marked duplicate address your situation as well. – ff524 Nov 9 '15 at 18:50
  • Students with severe Tourette Syndrome sometimes get set up with a Skype connection to a classroom from a room in the same building, where they can mute and unmute themselves as needed. Now that would be a useful accommodation for you, I think, as long as you set up your Skype location to be a place where you're comfortable. – aparente001 Nov 10 '15 at 2:55

You don't say where you're located, but assuming that it's in the US, the real question isn't "should you disclose these issues to a graduate school", but rather, "Have you disclosed these issues to your current school and asked for the accommodations to which you are entitled?"

If you're legitimately having problems with anxiety and PTSD and have a diagnosis, the school must make accommodations to help you succeed, per Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, since you're an adult student, you have to self advocate. That means going to the school, telling them that you have these problems and working out a plan together.

  • Yes I am located in the United States, in New York. I went to the disability department and I was told that all I would be offered was extra time during exams and a private room to take them. No leeway for attendance. So I should look into this Act and make my own case? Thank you that was very helpful – Barinder Singh Nov 9 '15 at 18:59
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    If it's not working for you, then you need to go back and explain they you're having issues during classes. They should work with you, not just give you a one size fits all accommodation. If they don't play nice, you might want to talk to a lawyer. – DLS3141 Nov 9 '15 at 19:02
  • It's not always that easy, DLS! Red, look at sample 504 plans online, and catalogs of accommodations, e.g. teacherweb.com/NY/ValleyStream13/howellroadpbis/…. Brainstorm accommodations you think could be useful for you. Take your list to a doctor and/or therapist, preferably someone who knows you well, and ask for a supportive letter. It's even better if the expert who has written such a letter attends a disability services meeting with you. Also, please take a supportive friend with you to advocate and take notes. Perhaps you can find an advocate in NAMI. – aparente001 Nov 10 '15 at 3:01
  • I know it's not easy from experience. The point is that as an adult student the OP has to self advocate. And as you say, that means working with the university, the caregivers and so on to work out a solution. Hopefully the university is cooperative to that end. I have also seen cases where the university is lax in their offerings and are unwilling to tailor accommodations to the individual student and simply offer a one size fits all option that's suited to students with ADHD or similar conditions. Getting lawyers involved should be the absolute last resort. – DLS3141 Nov 10 '15 at 3:10
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    What it means to "self advocate" is that the initiative is on the individual to be the one who says, "I need some help" instead of a parent or guardian saying, "my child needs help" as is the case with minor student. "Self advocate" is the term used on the HHS and other government websites to differentiate between how the process works differently when the student is an adult. It downtown mean they are totally on their own, it means they just are responsible to initiate the process. – DLS3141 Nov 11 '15 at 13:38

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