I am an undergraduate in my fourth and final year of getting a bachelor's degree. Next year I am thinking about applying to Phd programs in math (in any case I want to take a year between undergrad and grad school). However, I have a very questionable academic record in some respects.
My first year of college, I attended a liberal arts college known for its academic excellence. I did reasonably well the first semester, but the second semester I began to fall into a hole of depression and anxiety brought on what I will call a collision of being overwhelmed with coursework that I had never really been challenged by before and untreated brain stuff. I stopped going to class, stopped getting out of bed, and eventually ended up failing all of my classes that semester (like F fail).
I went back home and went to community college for the next year, and I got on medication for my brain stuff which, and this is not true in general but was and is true for me, was essentially a silver bullet that cured everything that was wrong with me and also unlocked a level of academic focus and ambition that I had literally never had before.
I was able to transfer to a state research university after one year of community college, and that is where I am now. I have a pretty/very good GPA, I have taken a lot of classes in the past two years because I keep on getting excited about things and I am on a very limited schedule (I have taken ~2 times the normal course load per quarter over the last few quarters). I have developed good relationships with faculty and have taken a couple of graduate classes, and I have taken or am taking pretty much the entire pure math undergraduate curriculum with more classes then required for the major. I haven't been able to take grad classes in math because I only have 2 years here though- the ones I have taken were in applied math and CS. I have the expectation that my GRE scores will be good enough, as I have taken a few practice tests and I am generally good at standardized testing.
Now to my actual question: how disqualifying is my first year of college, and do any of you have any suggestions as to how I would explain what happened, or even if I should attempt to explain?
I am willing to bite the bullet, but I will also say that I tend not to talk about that time in my life, or even really think about it. I am not the type of gal to dwell, and I thinking back to it is rather psychically painful. I have actually not mentioned the fact that I even went to the aforementioned liberal arts college to anyone at my current university as I have no interest in explicating the circumstances surrounding my exit from it. That is not to say that I feel that I am in danger of falling back into the same hole, just that I do not like to be reminded of my worst moments.