Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The official end of the dream.

Well, the dream is officially dead. I won't be a nurse. After I had that letter from the doctor who recommended I'd not be fit to study (see last post!), they asked me to go to a meeting at the uni, which was yesterday. 6 weeks before I was due to start studying, they tell me that because my mental illness is 'severe and enduring' I'm def not about to start. I think I'd be able to cope if it was before of exam results, because then at least it would have been as a direct consequence of something I had some sort of control over. But my grades have always been good, far better than my mental health. And it's my mental health that everyone only ever focuses on.

Ahead of yesterday, everybody told me to think positively, even though I had a bad feeling about it. Everyone told me not to come up with a plan B, even though I knew I might have to. Everybody told me it would be fine, even though things just don't see to work out that simply for me.

I know this sounds really self-pitying and I swear, I'm only self-pitying a teeny bit, but honestly, things just never work out for me. I was forced to leave uni at the end of my second year and then sectioned for almost three years. Nothing, nothing, prepares you for things not quite working out like being forcibly detained. I had to fight for every second of leave from hospital I got. I had to fight for the right to choose to stay in hospital, rather than being forced to, which took months and months of negotiating. And trying to get out of hospital? That was the biggest fight ever.

But I got well, I got out, and here I am. Still, I'm not good enough. As ever.

Do you know what sucks the most about this whole shitty situation? As I was leaving the meeting I had yesterday, one of the people from the uni recommended I tried again in a few years, 'when [my] health is better.' My health right now is really good. Honestly, it's good. I eat. I don't self harm. Sometimes I smoke. I drink on weekends. My mood is stable. I'm in a healthy relationship etc etc etc. I'm actually pretty good, it's just that I have a history that apparently speaks louder than my achievements. If this isn't me in good health, I don't think good health is something that I'll ever reach.

I'm tired of having to fight for every single thing. I'm tired of working for small achievements. I'm tiredtiredtired of those achievements never being recognised.


  1. Rebecca, I am so, so, so sorry... I really had hoped that they uni would give you an opportunity, you could have been an amazing nurse... but you know what I believe, I believe there is something better for you. I do understand how you feel tired of having nothing work out your way... I feel the same way in different parts of my life too... just know that I think you are pretty amazing and I know many people feel the same way about you xox

  2. Sorry, I'm going to swear - but - WHAT TOTAL BULLSHIT!! I was on a locked ward with a lady who is now a successful CPN - she's a brilliant nurse. I'm not sure if there is an appeals process or way to get a second opinion, as it sounds like your Uni has made the decision... however... please don't lose hope- the dream is so not dead!

    Maybe what they were needing is a 'period of stability'? Even though you are okay now, it is possible that they needed to see a longer amount of time with things being on an even keel? I have had this explanation given to me by my CPN when I was in a similar predicament (though it wasn't nursing I was applying for). There's apparently a benchmark of some kind - they need a certain amount of time of you being 'well'... and it is longer when you have had 'severe and enduring' mental illness.

    What makes me sad and angry is that you are having to fight - AGAIN - when you have already had to fight so hard in your life. It seems so contradictory to say on one hand that you won't be accepted because you have enduring problems... but on the other, that next year these might not count as being enduring?! I think the explanation for that might well be that they just needed to see a longer period of 'stability' before accepting you.

    I'm not sure exactly what type of nursing you wanted to do, but there are other options in the meantime for similar ways of working with people. I have a friend who is a peer support worker - she works alongside CPNs in the NHS. She is well supported by the team - it's a difficult job - and despite many years of 'severe and enduring' mental illness, she is doing brilliantly. She is also employed running creative courses for people still struggling with mental health problems through the local 'Recovery College'. She is a qualified teacher, but not a nurse - yet her role as a mental health worker is very similar. The people she helps often trust her more as they know she has experience of mental health problems... and in struggling with the system on a personal level.

    The dream may have to shape-shift a little, but it is alive and well and singing! You will get there and you will be brilliant... You already are x