Fourth (fifth, sixth?) time lucky

Let me count the ways in which I have dropped out of university:
Cardiff – insomnia, depression and PTSD
Bournemouth – hospitalisation for suicidally low mood
Bournemouth round 2 – anorexia
York – anorexia

I also dropped out of my A levels the first time around (anorexia, self harm) and started but did not finish an Open University degree in natural sciences psychologyย physics – those courses were mostly time fillers during periods when I was too ill to leave the house much, but I did toy with the idea of doing my whole degree with the OU.

So I am equally excited and terrified to announce that I was accepted onto the counselling degree at a local college. Well, technically it’s a foundation degree and I’ll be qualified in two years – but there is the option of doing a third year at university to top it up to a full BA hons, so as long as everything goes well I will be taking that route. With any luck I will be both a qualified counsellor and a graduate by the time I’m 30. Just!

Wait. I GOT ON THE DEGREE. I AM A PROPER TRAINEE COUNSELLOR!!!

That’s better. The exciting bit nearly got lost amongst all that explanation for a minute ๐Ÿ˜›

I have to admit, part of me is saying “WTF are you doing, woman? Wasn’t York the Last Time to end all Last Times? What if you screw this up too?”. The rest of me would like to know what that part of me expects to DO with the rest of my life – give up hope and never aspire to anything again, just in case I fail? No thanks. And in any case, this course is pretty much perfect for me. It’s one full day a week for the first two years, which will fit right in with my new job. I’m already familiar with a lot of counselling theory and psychological research. I have an encyclopaedic knowledge of mental health conditions. I am becoming far more confident in my people skills, so the skills training aspect won’t daunt me as much as it would have done a few years ago. I know my mental health wobbles sometimes when various big things happen in my life, but I’ve settled down again after starting my new job SO much more quickly than was the case over the winter, when I moved house. For the most part – 90%? 99 for the eating disorder, but 90 for mental health in general – I am stable and centred and able to deal with problems quickly and easily. This might change, but I’m not going to stay indoors indefinitely while I worry about what might happen in the future!

I still get survivor’s guilt sometimes. It’s all very well to go around shouting my head off about how things are FINALLY going my way, two and a half years into recovery, and how it’s such a novelty to enjoy life rather than just survive from day to day, but I feel bad for all of my friends who are still struggling so much. I feel like I’m rubbing it in, or like it might come across as boasting. I don’t want to do that! It’s just such a nice change to have things to celebrate and feel proud of rather than endless lists of things to “cope with”. It’s not like life is perfect – my bones, digestive system and heart are still suffering the after effects of the ED (although less now than a couple of years ago), I am still finding my feet socially and in my job, and I still get anxious and overwhelmed quite a bit. It’s just so much easier to cope with now, against a backdrop of stability and health. It used to be the case that the smallest things could send me over the edge, because I was already so ill and exhausted.

So I’m happy. I’m excited. I’m proud. I’m scared. I feel like an imposter again. I am wary of the commitment of the next three years of my life. I am worried that I will be a shite counsellor and that the college will throw me out on my ass after week one. I am determined to finish this degree. I am paranoid that saying so will jinx me.

It’s complicated, this business of having emotions.

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10 responses to “Fourth (fifth, sixth?) time lucky

  1. Congratulations! I think that you are going to be a wonderful counsellor and you should be extremely proud of yourself for having the motivation and commitment to even apply. I think the number one thing to remember is – enjoy it. Reading your posts and comments has led me to believe that you are interested, passionate and exceedingly knowledgeable about counselling. You’ve done the hard bit, now you can (hopefully) enjoy the experience. Big congratulatory hugs!

  2. Congratulations!! This is so wonderful… I’m excited for you!! I think everyone probably feels like an impostor to some degree, but you definitely deserve this, and if it’s what will make you happy — who cares what other people think??

    โค โค

  3. Doesn’t come across as being boastful or rubbing it in from my perspective: shout your achievements from the rooftops, because it’s about time somebody did.

    And you already know I think you’ll be more clued-up than the people teaching the course anyway.

    Massive congratulations ๐Ÿ˜€

    xxx

  4. Charlotte Bevan

    SO pleased for you. So pleased. You are not boasting AT ALL. I will be sending you clients by the dozen…..xx

  5. No imposter and no potential to be a “shite counsellor”… You will be awwwwwwesome ๐Ÿ™‚

    Fantastic news; well deserved; well done! xx

  6. Congrats girl!!! scary as hell, but you’ve had enough practice now… go face those fears!
    i know you’ll be great ๐Ÿ™‚
    x

  7. Congrats Katie! So excited for you.

    I think you’re in a great place right now. Think about how much more you know now than you did. I think more than anything, this is a good example of how you can have a life after anorexia.

  8. Not boastful at all! I’m SO happy for you! You’ll be amazing! xx

  9. Shout it from the rooftops!!
    Well done on your good news – you have excellent insight which will make you an excellent counseller

  10. Congratulations!
    This is brilliant news :). You’ve worked so hard for this. I think it’s normal to feel insecurities and wariness – but those feelings aren’t a reflection on your actual abilities. Stamp your foot at them and tell them to bugger off :P.
    (I want to jump up and down and let out a mini squeal – I don’t jump up and down and squeal, but…*YEY!*)
    xx

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