Friday 16th December 2016. A day I’ll never forget- for reasons good and bad. It was cold and dry with a slight breeze, an average winters day. After just three months, of which felt like a lifetime, I was leaving sixth form for the final time. While disappointment and feeling of failure overwhelmed me, I was also incredibly relieved. I could now move in a different direction and get my life back on track.
From that life-changing day at the back end of 2016 to Friday’s enrolment, 980 days have followed. Each of them eventful in their own different ways. Amongst the highest of highs, where I’ve felt like my life is really starting to improve, have been the lowest of lows. And times where I simply felt like I could continue. Like I was living a merely pointless existence- with no enjoyment nor happiness. My mind was numbingly empty and I had not a clue about what I should do.
The most important thing, however, is that I got through these moments. I’m not sure how but I did. Particularly with a mental health problem, the path to recovery isn’t linear. Not by a long stretch. As cliche as that sounds!
Throughout these peaks and troughs I’ve mentioned, despite my usual pessimism, I believe I’ve progressed huge amounts. More than I thought was possible. Certain things I can do now I never dreamed of doing a few years back. Often I get caught up in what I’m doing wrong or what I can’t do, rather than what I’m doing right and what I can do. And that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy!
By reflecting on the difficulties of recent years, I’m now aware of how far I’ve come and how big a step this really is. A part of my brain before enrolling was telling me that I couldn’t do it. That I wasn’t intelligent enough. That my mental health wouldn’t stand up to the challenge. That I should basically just forget it and try something else. My anxiety was also building as the room overflowed with people, but I didn’t give in to the horrible thoughts. I couldn’t let them win- even if it was very tempting and probably the easiest thing to do.
While chatting with a member of staff there, I was also pleased to know that the support available to students is second to none. Should I have a problem or perhaps need some help in any particular area, the college will be happy to listen or give any assistance. I’d be naive to think this course will be plain-sailing, therefore knowing the appropriate systems are in place is music to my ears. It’s more than I could’ve hoped for!
The key will be asking for help when it’s needed and not allowing my pride or stubbornness to get in the way. If I can do that, I’ll certainly be in a better position to achieve the grades I want!
Whatever happens, I continue to tell myself, I’m proud that I made the huge step to go back. Here’s to a new beginning and moving onto to the next chapter of my life. I’m excited and apprehensive in equal measure.
P.S A mental illness doesn’t define you, and it NEVER will!
Thanks for reading,