I have had a few opportunities knock on my door recently but I have been unable to answer. I was offered a couple of different part time retail jobs from people who have worked with me in the past who don’t know about my bipolar disorder and while I was thinking “YES, YES, YES!! I can start immediately!” The reality was I was in the middle of a mixed manic episode, I was fluctuating rapidly between grandiose euphoria and suicidal depression and my mind was swimming with the ‘voices that aren’t voices’. I simply was not in a position to take on anything new or make commitments.
Over the last week the noise in my head has lessened, I have been more down than anything but at the same time I am thinking more clearly again. Suddenly an opportunity of a different nature presented itself by way of an email titled “Check this out!” from my best friend T.
T had just finished her 2yr Certificate IV in community mental health and had been telling me the whole time she was studying how much I would LOVE the course and how interesting it was. I didn’t doubt that I would love it, I mean I have a vested interest in the subject, but I wasn’t able to apply due to finances, logistics and the fact that my mental health has been anything but stable.
Fear had also held me back, I was a high school drop-out, I didn’t even finish year 10 so what if I simply didn’t have the intellectual capacity to successfully ‘go back to school’?
T’s email contained information and an application form for a scholarship for the same course she did, only they are specifically targeting people with “lived mental health experience” and people who have fewer qualifications are a preference.
The course is in Canberra but they are only requiring 6-8hrs of class time per week so that is easy enough as I travel in fairly regularly anyway and the information highlights that there is plenty of extra help available and deferring is an option if you become unwell during the course period. It was perfect.
So, this time I have answered opportunities knock and since I fit all of their criteria, this morning I filled in the application form and sent it off. It makes me nervous, I probably won’t get selected anyway, but if I do I will have a chance to prove to myself that I have the ability to finish something I start and despite being a high school drop out with a mental illness maybe, just maybe I will be able to rise from the ashes and do something productive with my life.
After all, you can’t succeed if you never try.