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