Tomorrow marks the first week of lectures starting at university, and my first day back into full-time student mode after almost a whole year out.
I have transferred to another university since taking an Interruption of Studies due to my mental ill health last year, so it really is a brand new start for me. Luckily, because I have already completed my first year, I am going straight into year two.
I will be continuing to study Psychology, and the modules include:
- Social Psychology
- Developmental Psychology
- Research Methods and Statistics
- Cognitive Psychology
- Personality and Individual Differences
- Brain and Behaviour
I am thinking of using my blog space to document any relevant or interesting concepts and research I come across as I am studying. I am excited (despite being scared) to be going back into an educational institution where I can exercise my brain in a healthy and productive way, have structure, purpose and (hopefully!) a sense of achievement. Thank goodness I am passionate about what I am studying. I can not imagine taking a course in which I have absolutely zero interest!
Although I feel anxious about going back to university, I recognise that it will probably be very helpful for me. I haven’t had the most typical or enjoyable experience of educational institutions – having moved schools a lot, taken a lot of time out, and struggling socially for years, it has not been easy for me. However, I have also realised over the years not just how important structure is for my sanity, but also how much I genuinely enjoy learning, and so being back studying full-time for my degree will provide me with lots to keep myself preoccupied.
I am also applying for some volunteering positions and hope to participate in at least a few hours of this per week whilst studying. Some options include working in research collecting and analysing data, volunteering at a charity for people with learning disabilities, co-facilitating a support group for vulnerable students at my university, joining a crisis-line team, etc. I am waiting to hear back from a lot of the organisations I have emailed, and have my fingers crossed; I know how hard it is to find and gain experience in the field of mental health these days!
Overall, since Thursday 24th September (see this post here), I have been feeling infinitely better than I had been before that date. It is scary how clearly I can pin-point the moment things started to feel more manageable again; I literally remember waking up on that Thursday morning feeling as though a large bulk of the black fog had lifted and like I could see the light again.
Over the last ten days, I have of course still had my ups and downs, but overall I am in much less emotional and mental pain, experiencing far fewer urges, feeling mostly non-suicidal, and even my anxiety has greatly reduced. I have been doing pretty much nothing differently, which is the ironic thing! It is scary to think that these changes in longer-term mood may be largely physiological in origin for me. Heck, having BPD or any psychiatric diagnosis is scary as f*ck. Specifically for me, it’s the not knowing what to expect from one day to another; the waiting in fear for the fog to descend upon me once again…
I am trying to take things one day at a time for now, treading slowly, allowing myself to be okay in each moment of okay-ness, and trying to perpetuate this relative state of calm whilst I am in a position to do so.