Quick update! Hiya!

Hello, here I am to bore you once more with a quick, self obsessed update. My sell-out self because I actually received an email criticising me for not representing the true experience of people with mental illness because I am trying to do things and be well after ten years of instability, misery and failure! I hope you’ve all got time to read this in between rocking back and forth.

Snipped for the disinterested!

I’ve had an interesting week, which I won’t go into because I need to get OFF THE INTERNET. Things with college are moving so fast that I’m chasing dust. On Saturday we had to, “pitch” to the class, pretending it was a university interview. I had forgotten about this and wrote it an hour before I left the house, then finished it on the cigarette break. I can’t keep winging it like that, but I did well anyway. I’m good at bluffing confidence. (I must be very good at it: when I said I was nervous, my tutor expressed visible surprise, as did the girl sitting next to me!)

I’d been worried about it because I feel like I haven’t done much in my life. I spend the large majority of my time in my flat, on my own. Everybody else doing their pitch had been in jobs for years, or travelled, or had other education. Someone was doing social work and has been working in the prison service for eight years and was the head of her team. Her pitch was mad interesting. I had to rack my brains. I reeled off some random things, and I was surprised by the reaction they got. Someone even offered me a sweet! (Dolly Mixture. Excellent sweets). I mentioned i had health problems- this is the career and personal development class, where things are confidential. I didn’t say what they were but I used it as a springboard to explain why I respected nurses, why I had been unemployed for three years and had to leave my job and why I don’t have practical experience, instead doings thing like writing about disability (BBC Ouch and One in Four) and work with Rethink. I have, so far, successfully avoided mentioning that I’m unemployed and why I have no education, but I did feel it was relevant. Given what I was discussing, I think it might have been somewhat obvious my problems were mental health related but if anyone felt ill-disposed towards it, they certainly didn’t show it.

I realise I am pretty much going to have to mention my health problems somewhere along the way (to staff, for purposes of DSA and occupational health, not to students, because most nurses I have met so far are not at all tolerant of “teh mentals”), so I had better get comfortable with it. I think my, “I have never had any mental health problems, EVAR” post the other day was vaguely grandstanding- when I remember, for about three seconds, I know that’s untrue and that there have been times in my life in which I’ve been very ill. As much as I want to close my eyes to that, if I go into university with that attitude, if I become ill again, I am buggered. SEE, SENSIBLENESS! I am scared, though, that I wouldn’t even be accepted if I’m honest. But my problems have not been the most severe so who knows? In the pitch thing I said that I felt adult nursing would benefit from some people who understood the social issues facing people with disabilities and mental health problems, which people seemed to agree with.

My tutor called me a, “character”, which I took as a compliment, mainly because she said it just before I started, asking if I had holes in my dress and I explained it was because I’d torn off the lace as it was annoying me. In fairness, I did look like a tramp as none of my clothes fit me (thanks, medication). I also had water down my front; well done me and well done the taps on the second floor for only turning on when you apply Herculean force coupled with calling it a fucking bastard twat.

I talked about nursing being a privileged job, which is something I truly believe. My first experience with caring for someone was when I was nine. I looked after my granny’s neighbour, Isobel- just did little things, like tidied, did the garden, helped her wash, made food and chatted to her. I felt honoured to do that, even though she could be rather cantankerous!- and was with her until the day before she died. It’s something at the most intimate level, and I want to be involved.


I got my second essay (and my first real one) mark back, which was 72%, a first! I did a happy little jig about that- my course is a level 4 course (the equivalent of the first year of a degree, which may explain the surprisingly big workload for something that is three hours a week), so if I keep my marks up, hopefully universities will think, “Well, if she can do a first year there, she can do a first year here, let her come to us, so we may stroke her tenderly”. This also depends on my tutor giving me a good reference. I shall send her some helpful phrases- “a credit to her kin and country”, for one, “the most intelligent midget I have ever patted” for two, and maybe if I’m feeling modest, “I was an atheist until I met her”. I just hope she doesn’t include, “opinionated” and, “has had to leave two classes early” (one being due to flu, the other because I locked myself off and had to get keys from Robert before work: NOW ISN’T THAT FASCINATING).

Next up we have to do a presentation on anything relating to health, and an essay with it. I think most people in my class will be doing physical stuff. Despite the fact I’m studying adult nursing, I am doing auditory hallucinations. People with mental illness get ill, too, and hallucinations are not at all limited to mental illness, and I want to stress that in my presentation. Before I get up to do it, I’d been thinking of setting off some radio very quietly on my phone, in the knowledge that some people would hear it. Because I would be speaking and it would be rude for them to interrupt or not pay attention (and because it’s peer reviewed as well as judged by the tutor, they have to), then they would be sitting there wondering if they were hearing things, which might help prove…some point or other. But I think it might be ethically dodgy. Ah well. As well as proving (INSERT POINT HERE), it would have made me laugh.

I’m applying to university fairly soon. I like how studying something makes me feel, that I am not a loser, that I can do something. I want to go to Kings, oh so very much. I don’t know if I will get onto any course next year- it’s ferociously competitive. I wonder if my background will be a hinderance? Who knows.

Financially, I have absolutely no idea how I will cope- I barely do as it is. My funding for my course still hasn’t come through- I’m not even sure I’m getting it! Obviously, I won’t have benefits or anything then, and I’m going to have to gather my panties and get a job next year. I need to find out where I’ll be studying so I will know where I need to live. Leaving my little home behind, which saddens me. I’m not entirely sure I’m ready for work yet (stress really does make me go a little doolally. I function better under stress than most people, but tend to take on too much or get obsessive) but by next year, hopefully I will be. I desperately want to avoid being absolutely fucked on benefits. Even though I’m still under the community mental health team (four years, I had my anniversary last month), if I am transfered to the ESA, I am screwed and if I also fuck up in work, at least it’s on my own terms. Getting a job is going to be hellishly difficult, though, so I have no idea what I am going to do. I can’t work part time on a nursing course so god knows what will happen then. Sort something out, I usually do. Go on the game and hope someone wants to leave an imprint of their sweaty face in my memoryfoam buttocks.

As well as this, I’ve sent a few emails to some papers and magazines asking if they’d allow me to pitch to them, keen as I am not to abandon my first, most tempestuous love.

In summary, aside from still being behind in some things, and utter uncertainty over the next year, I am mentally feeling okay, and things are good. Hooray!

11 Responses

  1. Pleased for you and I’m sure you will get a place. Just don’t expect your fellow student to be tolerant or there to help people if SW is anything to go by.

  2. good, as always to read your news, that life is good – stay in the day and worry about your next academic year sometime next calendar year good luck with auditory hallucinations – for what it’s worth, I don’t think that the use of some hidden technology would be unethical and it would help make the point 🙂

  3. Congratulations on everything.

    When you go to univeristy, you can apply for ALF as well as loans and bursaries. You’d probably be eligible for quite a lot under it.

  4. I loved this post – you are, despite difficulties, sounding positive and I loved the descriptions of you, the talk and your lecturer. Agree with Warriet re the technology trick – I think it would make the point well. Am so fucking pleased for you I could cry xxx

  5. It’s fascinating hearing about your studies. Well done on your marks.

  6. oh you sound happy (despite all the huge choices your making) you are so damn brave! Doing the snoopy dance for u. 🙂

  7. I cannot believe someone emailed you to criticise you for reporting honestly about changes you are making to your life, one thing springs to mind and that is jealousy on their part.
    I’d like to say how pleased I am for you. There are plenty of things i’d like to say to the person who sent you that email too; however, they are not quite so nice….

  8. Very happy for you, you deserve it.

  9. I too am really pleased for you, it’s so great to read your post. Nursing needs people like you x

  10. “My sell-out self because I actually received an email criticising me for not representing the true experience of people with mental illness because I am trying to do things and be well after ten years of instability, misery and failure”

    My goodness, whoever wrote that is just being a jerk. Yes – some people are never going to be well enough to work or study, but you have been REALLY ill and you’re getting better.

  11. Glad to hear the course is going well, and I hope that the funding comes through soon – it’s always a bit of a worry.

    With regards finances, if you are getting DLA, then you should be entitled to both Housing Benefit, I’m unsure of the rules surrounding IB, but I know that as far as ESA is concerned (I know you’re not on that one, but the rules should be similarish) income-related is still paid, again if you’re on DLA (or should be, one day I’ll be able to say for sure), and contributions-based continues either way.

    Just thought you should know, since it might be helpful and personally working and doing a nursing course is damn hard – it’s already a 37.5 hour week, with essays etc. on top of that, which doesn’t leave much time. The Uni’s tend to frown upon working alongside it, although people do. I guess it’s what you feel able and want to do, but it’s worth talking to Welfare Rights to find out just exactly what you are entitled to.

    Take care,

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