A+ or F- It’s a risk I have to take….

So it’s really happening, I’m about to start studying….again.

Good Enough

Thinking positively….this time, despite my bipolar, I intend to finish it!  The only qualifications I have are in floristry, but I have begun study in other areas more than once this lifetime.  It’s getting tiring, but I am determined that this time is going to be different.  What am I doing differently this time?

I’m biting off a smaller goal, something more manageable, more achievable, more realistic.  Instead of starting a degree, I’m starting a certificate 3 course, if I finish this, then I may bite off some more, but I have to finish this first.  And the best thing….it is costing me NOTHING.  The course is fully government funded because I am an unemployed woman with a mental health issue.  Which also means that they know about my mental illness before I am even starting and consequently they are far more likely to be understanding if I get sick.  I also get 18 months to finish a course that should take less than a year, which means that if I get sick for a few months, I should still be able to finish the course in time; which takes the pressure off as well.

The course is a business and financial services course which means I will have qualifications to reflect my prior experience in these areas and a good stepping stone into employment or further study depending on how I feel when I complete.  I feel confident that I can pass this course, I have studied at a university before and received distinctions and high distinctions regularly, as long as I was well.  So I have to keep tracking my mental health and ensure that I look after myself and stay well for the duration of the course, as much as is in my control.

So that’s what I tell most people when they ask…..the reality of what is going through my mind now that I have signed up, is very different…..


Thinking negatively….Am I ever really ‘well’ anymore?  How can I study when I can’t even focus enough to read a book or comprehend what I have read.  I get to page three and I’ve forgotten page one.  And this is a book I am supposedly reading for pleasure, not even a text book!  And then there are the classes I have to attend, which means meeting new people, interacting with them and trying to be an active member of a group discussion.  How I am going to do this with my agoraphobia, social anxiety, anthropophobia and reclusiveness all breathing down my neck?  And that is just me when I am fairly well, if I go manic or depressive I have no hope of continuing.  I have to pray that I am only unwell for a short time, so I can pick it back up where I left off, but what happens if I can’t.

Social Anxiety 2

So that’s the paranoia running through my head, but as my husband said, in reality if I don’t finish I don’t lose anything….except pride.  The course is free, even if I can’t finish.  I may even manage to make a friend or two along the way; which in itself would make it worth while.  Best case scenario I finish and I am one (big) step closer to being able to find employment or continue studying.  Either way I’ll be more confident.

Please don't look at me

If I don’t finish, I’ll lose even more confidence; but that’s a risk I have to take.  This is less risky that attempting a degree again, it is less risky than taking on employment when I haven’t been well for very long.  I need to do something, take some risk, but I’m choosing to limit my risk this time to make my chances of success greater.  Wish me luck!

Wish me luck

6 thoughts on “A+ or F- It’s a risk I have to take….

  1. bethtimms April 5, 2015 / 10:21 pm

    I really wish you the best! I’m an accountant…numbers are good…they are what they are and there’s no second guessing. If I can help just ask!

    • emilyjtelfer April 6, 2015 / 4:53 pm

      Thank you so much Beth, I will save your email address in case I need some help, really appreciated. Kind regards, Emily Jane

  2. aldersonmary April 6, 2015 / 7:48 pm

    Emily, I found that returning to study, in my case an additional diploma to add to the BA, Dip Ed I got years before being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, was easy enough APART from withdrawing from social contact with fellow students and having great difficulty in writing exam answers. I had to use my white-out pen quite a bit in the exams. I think I passed. I can’t remember because my bipolar disorder undermined my confidence in seeking a job in the ESL field.

    BUT, years later, I’ve gone in a different direction and am happy with it. ELTRA http://earlychildhoodreading.wordpress.com/eltra-the-everyone-learns-to-read-approach-part-1/ is my baby, my pride and joy at the moment.

    So, do what you can now but don’t feel you have failed if you don’t achieve what you hope to. There’s time down the track to achieve other things.

    • emilyjtelfer April 8, 2015 / 8:24 pm

      Thank you so much for writing me Mary, I feel so much better having read your message. I am going to do my best but not be too hard on myself if I don’t succeed, you are right, there is still plenty of time. Kind regards, Emily Jane

  3. John April 8, 2015 / 9:12 pm

    Hi Emily,
    Really glad you made this positive choice. Routine is good, purpose is good, and nothing worthwhile is easy. I really hope it works out for you. You’re a Bipolar hero. If there is any statistics involved I can help.
    Take care,

    • emilyjtelfer April 8, 2015 / 9:15 pm

      Thanks John, really appreciate your support! I will contact you if I have to tackle statistics! Kind regards, Emily Jane

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