I've started and postponed three different posts now, all reaching a mental dead end. I seem to be suffering from a diagnosis of blogger writers block, and I apologise to all of my readers for not being as consistent as I would like. So, to ease myself back into the swing of things, here is an update!
As you all know I finished my second year of University with a pretty horrific exam season. I fell ill with a vomiting virus and severe anxiety (both working in conjunction with each other) during the week of my exams and it thus resulted in what I considered to be my worst performance in an exam to date. Despite this, I still managed to achieve a mid and a high 2:1 in both exams, meaning that overall for the year I managed to (just about) achieve a first. Still a first class, but still not quite where I wanted to be at this point in my degree.
I have recently returned from a weeks trip to Italy with Nathan which was a huge tick off the bucket list. We stayed in Nago, Torbole - just on Lake Garda and visited Venice, Verona and the Dolomites mountains on our trip which were simply wonderful. Our hotel was perfect and I quite simply fell in love with Italy and already am very excited to go back (of which I hope to go to Rome!)
Therapy is going extremely well, to the point where my therapist has decided to reduce our sessions to fortnightly up until Christmas, to which we can then take a look at how things are going and see whether we feel the need to continue or potentially stop treatment for the foreseeable future. We decided that it was for the best to continue with therapy during the first half of my final University year, as the months of September-December are those where my mental health tends to deteriorate more, so thus therapy will act as a security blanket and a way of monitoring my progress more than anything else. However, the way in which my therapist seems particularly pleased with my progress makes me extremely happy and optimistic.
Currently I'm also working out where I want to be in terms of a career and life after University. I've always said on this blog that I've never been someone who has ever been 100% sure of what they've wanted to do with their lives, and spending the last few years working hard at University and taking life each day at a time has actually been a huge blessing. Trying to panic less about the fact that I 'don't know what I want to do with my life' has actually led to some future plans cropping up and after a lot of hard work and applications I have three great summer placements lined up that will take me right up until the 28th of September and my first day back as a final year student.
I've just begun my second week of a two week work experience placement with the charity YouthNet, working alongside their Engagement and Support Team. I've so far been part of a lovely and friendly team who have given me so much support since my first day! YouthNet are a great organisation who help and guide young people to make the right decisions today for a brighter tomorrow. They run a website called thesite.org which facilitates discussions boards and live chats for young people on a variety of issues including sex and relationships, mental health, housing, travel and lifestyle, and much more, including their blogs and articles which provide young people aged 16-25 with essential support and advice through difficult points in their lives.
One week after I finish with YouthNet and I'll be completing another two week placement with the book publishing company W.W.Norton. This placement may sound a little dissimilar from the work I'll be doing with YouthNet but is all extremely relevant as editorial and publishing work alongside working within the charity sector is another interest and possible career path following University that I have been driven towards in the last year.
Finally, on Thursday I was selected as a successful candidate to work with Macmillan Cancer Support for two months as their Cancer Information Development Intern - working in their editorial department aiding their editing team with the production of their leaflets, booklets, newsletters, articles and much more. This combines working with a successful national charity with developing my editorial and publishing skills, and will be a three day a week role so I can also concentrate on final year reading and dissertation work during the other three days (bearing in mind I also work in retail on Saturdays!)
So as you can see, a lot has happened since I last posted! It's been an eventful few months to say the very least, but I've worked hard and I'm happy that my hard work appears to be paying off. I'm overall really happy with how life is going and how life seems to be progressing, but am fully aware that I need to be careful and ensure that it doesn't all get a little too much at times. The last few days have felt a little emotionally fragile due to exhaustion and tiredness but as long as I can recognise these symptoms and get in there early I can help myself to prevent a crisis point and keep on top of things.
I tweeted the other day that I feel happier now than I've ever been in my life, and that's true. But I guess recognising that means recognising that it's also okay to feel low at times and have it not be a catastrophe but recognise it instead as being part of life and emotions. You never reach a point in mental health recovery where you reach your peak and there's no further mountain to climb. That can often be the disillusionment with not just mental health recovery, but life itself, this perfection in life that we all attain for. The perfection simply just doesn't exist but our ability to cope with emotional fluctuation can and will improve with time and for me, I'm noticing the improvements each and every day.
I'm very tempted to make a full blog post about the idealisations of mental health recovery in due course, and would love requests for blog posts if you guys have any. I'm currently on a mission (although I think I've said this for a while) to re brand my blog, give it a new image and get posts rolling on a regular schedule, and I can't do that without your input. So please let me know!
Have a great week!