I’ve had this overwhelming urge to write about my experiences of the last 3 years.
I will start back in January 2010 and go right through to the present day.
I am coming at it from a mental health point of view. It may be a long post, so please bear with me and be prepared for anything.
This is going to be a no holds barred, holding nothing back post.
Back in January 2010, I was working for a company called TeleTech. I was doing Tier 1 Technical Support outsourced to Sky Broadband. I was working from home the whole time I had the job.
I won’t lie, it was extremely tough at times. Tougher than I had thought. I thought working in a customer/tech support role would be easy. It might have been, had the targets not been somewhat out of reach. The bosses will tell you this was not the case though!
Working from home was lonely too. However, it was the only way that I could have a job and not have to deal with the anxieties that come from being outdoors. Having a job was the only way I could feel like I was contributing positively to life and society. It was the only way I could feel like a decent human being and a decent husband. Don’t get me wrong, Jamie has never inferred that I was less of a husband because I wasn’t working. These were my own thoughts.
I had some time off sick while I was working because of my mental health issues. It wasn’t fun in the slightest. Not at all! It was all I could do to cope with life. I think had I stayed working, I may not be here right now to tell the tale. That is how bad life had gotten for me. My mental health demons were haunting me. Making me acutely aware that I was a nobody, that I wasn’t worth worrying about. They really had a strong hold over EVERYTHING I did.
They had such a strong hold, that in February of 2010 they almost won. I had taken an overdose of pills because I was ready for everything to be over. Ready to stop being a scourge on society. Ready for my wife to have a better husband. I really felt ready to meet my maker. I know this sounds absurd, but this is how I really felt. I won’t write more about it as you can find it Just Some Musings (8th Paragraph)
Work was trying to push me into coming back and kept asking me for a date for my return. This was something that I couldn’t give them. I finally decided that enough was enough and I ended my job around August of 2010. I just couldn’t deal with them anymore. I was regressing back to my mood in February. It was something that I was determined wouldn’t happen again.
During this time, Jamie had surgery and was in hospital for 4 days and work weren’t happy that I was taking time off to be with my wife during her time of distress. I told them that she would come first and nothing would change that. Needless to say, I didn’t find any favour with them. Oh well, who cares!
It was during this time that I decided that I wanted to go back into education – after having a break from the OU due to my mental illness. I wanted to do some sort of counselling course. They weren’t willing to have me back because I signed up for a course, started it and then had to drop out due to my illness. They weren’t willing to look at my case and see that had it not been for the illness I would have been attending the course.
After I got rejected by the OU, I was quite unhappy about things and after a few weeks I looked into going to a university that was close by. I decided that I would go into IT, and commenced the search for an IT course close by me. I finally found one at Anglia Ruskin University in Peterborough. I spoke with one of the module leaders and got it all set up and I started in September 2010.
I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself in to. I thought I would still give it a shot though. I did exactly that, and found myself doing a 3 year degree course. Often times I couldn’t help but wonder what I had gotten myself in to. My mental health issues were still quite prevalent. I let the university know about them – and they offered no help. It surprised me at first, but after 3 years, I doesn’t anymore. Some of the admin staff are next to no good. I offer no apologies if that last sentence offends.
I found myself wanting to quit at least once a month. I found it hard to deal with getting out of bed, getting washed, getting ready, being amongst people. It was something that I didn’t want to do. If I had found I way out I would have and just stayed in my bed all the time.
Not every day was like this, and there were quite a few good days at uni. I quickly found out what I liked doing and what I didn’t. Uni was fun when I was doing the subjects that I liked and more of a chore on the other days.
Fast forward 2 years to the beginning of year 3. I was surprised that I had made it this far. I found myself wanting to quit uni because I just couldn’t cope with life anymore. My depression was getting to the point of February 2010 and I was actually quite happy that it was. I didn’t want to deal with life again and was ready for it all to be over.
I spoke with my project supervisor before christmas 2012 and let them know of my concerns. It was good to talk to them as it helped motivate me into carrying on with uni. Here I was, in week 10 of semester 1 of year 3 and they made me realise it would be silly to quit this close to the end. I could see what they were saying and it would have been a big mistake to drop out so far into it. Thankfully, I was getting support from uni – or rather, the college – too. It was good to have someone to speak to out of the situation who could come at it from an objective point of view. This support only took 2 years to get into place. ARU have a lot to answer for in how they treat students who have disabilities. They need to be brought to task on it and have some much needed training.
This now brings me to May 2013. I carried on with uni, got all my assignments in and feel quite good that I survived 3 years of higher education. If you don’t suffer with mental illness, you can’t appreciate how much of an achievement this is. I don’t allow myself to see this though and maybe I am wrong – who knows. I now only have a presentation to do for my Cisco course work (sitting at uni right now waiting for it), a poster session to display my dissertation artefact (tomorrow) and a networking exam (next Friday) and then I am totally done with uni. I still can’t believe that I have made it this far.
So far, these last couple of months have been stressful but i’ve been able to cope with them. I find myself not sitting in bed all hours with the curtains shut. I get up early, open the curtains, shower, and do things. I think my meds have played a big role in this – it’s only taken 6 different kinds in 3 years to get me to this point!
Several other things have happened over these last 3 years to help make life as difficult and unbearable as possible. I won’t go into them though as I don’t want to talk about them at this point in time.
I guess this post is to let all those know who have mental issues that things are possible with the right support and guidance. If I can do it, anyone can.