I had a small (big) “what am I doing with my life?” crisis. Such fun.

I feel like getting back into the whole studying mindset should be difficult, but I’m not going to lie, I find it rather easy. I mean not the work, but motivating myself into it. I just love what I am doing, and where I hope my future is going.

I am looking into doing a masters by research, and I’ve been asked if I need to do it for my future career, to which the answer is no, not at all. But it’ll help, and for some crazy reason I am just passionate about studying, and research. I know who my first and second supervisors would hypothetically be (I’ve spoken to both) and I have a very rough idea of my topic, and I’m working on how I will research it. I want to look at the representation of mental health services in the media, and then research into how health PR/NHS Communication teams can respond to this to improve public perception. Something like that any way.

I’ve spoken to the principal lecturer for one half of my course, and we discussed the isolation of it being self-directed, and getting a job seems like the way forward with that. I could possibly look to stay here over the summer. I’ll definitely be self-motivated to do the work so that is not an issue for me. I am worried I am not capable of doing this. I’m worried that people will hear my idea and be like “is this girl even good enough for undergrad?” because I’ve looked at other peoples masters at my university, and they all sound really complex, and mine doesn’t.

I’m also struggling with being ok about getting a 2:1. A first is unlikely.

I’ve had a few days of freaking the hell out. Do I want to do an MA? Which MA? Which university? What topic? How would I fund it? Would I prefer to go straight into work? Oh god, maybe I should do social work? I want to make a difference. But can I do that without working with patients? Can I do that in my free time, really trying to kick off my new blog?

When I spoke to my lecturer he made me calm the hell down. He said I seem to have a pretty clear idea of what I want. Keep social work in the back of my mind. Do my NHS communications placement, see how it goes. I feel so much clearer. I mean I am pretty sure I answered my own questions and worries but there really is something about talking it out. An MA will take 6 months. 6 months is nothing. And maybe I need just that little bit more time to figure myself out. Since the start of Summer I’ve totally taken myself away from the constant self-destructive, chaotic mess of a lifestyle I was leading, but I did have a two week “blip” about two weeks ago, and this just isn’t compatible with my career. I can’t have a couple of weeks off every couple of months while I see how quick I can destroy myself before being re-motivated to get on with my life. I just can’t. I need to make sure I maintain the improvements I’ve made over summer for life.

I have also decided to spend most of Christmas at university. The first week I am going to volunteer with a homeless charity because it’s something I really want to do, and have done for a good few years. I mean it’s rare I feel so passionate about something that isn’t health related! This is new! And I can’t think of a better way of spending my holidays than giving gifts to the homeless, helping with a baking day, film day, going on a Christmas walk and helping at a pop-up shop.

I’ll go home late on the 23rd of December, then come back on the 27th or 28th, volunteer a bit more, and then I’ll fingers crossed do my work experience.

I feel like I don’t have my life together, but maybe I’m being too hard on myself.

Pro’s to mental illness. Be more self-confident!!

I was SO glad when summer came, and I had a fairly good summer in comparison to previous ones. My sister managed to stay out of hospital for all but 4 weeks, so we got to spend a lot of time together – now we are closer than ever. But..I WAS SO SO glad to come back to uni and even more happy to start lectures today. I’m worried people are questioning my ability to be at university, but as my mentor said, the ultimate decision was and is mine.

I had my public relations lecture and seminar, and I tried so hard to be more confident and speak up (I go bright red which is fabulous). This year there seems to be, across most of my modules, a lot of group work and presentations. I’m not a fan of group work, but that’s because I’m a pushover, which I need to learn to be a bit more confident in getting other people to do some of the work. Presentations…who likes them, really? But I reckon I can get myself to the point where they don’t cause me significant stress. First year I didn’t do any presentations bar one and so got zero for them, second year I managed to do them, and this year I am going to do them, and well. I am.

I think one of the “pro’s” of having a mental illness, and the consequent treatment, is that you become much more self-aware. I know my weaknesses, and a big one is social situations/anything in front of people. I’ve spent years and years pushing myself out of my comfort zone doing social things, and now I can transfer that to challenging myself at university with presentations and speaking up in class, whereas some of my friends hate it, and don’t really want to challenge it. Also, years of being the “quiet one” and disliking who I was has enabled me to now realise that who I am is perfectly good enough, and that I can be myself, so I feel much more self-confident now, and self-assured (well, more than I ever have been!).

If there is one good thing to come from everything (and there’s actually a lot of good things), it’s that I’ve learnt the skills to push myself out of my comfort zone and I no longer feel satisfied with blending in, or remaining the quiet one. Life is too short, and putting yourself down or limiting yourself isn’t something to be proud of. It’s not good for you, nor anyone else.

We live in a society where putting yourself down appears to be much more acceptable than liking yourself. Fair play, there’s a line between self-confidence and arrogance, but if you’re not an arrogant person, you’re extremely unlikely to cross that line – and to be honest, I think putting yourself down should be seen as a bigger issue than bigging yourself up.

So laugh out loud, be funny, talk as much as you want, and “act” as yourself (so long as it’s appropriate!). We’re taught not to build ourselves up while simultaneously being told not to put ourselves down.┬áBeing yourself is the most attractive thing you can be. Having a low opinion of yourself is not modesty, it’s self-destruction.