Hi everyone - I have realised I have not done a blog post for ages so I thought I would get typing today and share a few updates and thoughts with you all.
I have now finished Yr 1 of my Counselling MA and am beyond pleased to have had Passes, Merits, and Distinctions in my assignments. I really doubted my academic ability at the start of the course and a poor mark on a trial / unmarked assignment really knocked my confidence. However I worked hard with my tutors and my study skills mentor and feel like the last marks have really shown I did not need to doubt my ability - I just needed to work out how they wanted me to write to meet the criteria.
I am lucky that I have a brilliant study support mentor and also a mental health / autism mentor as part of my Disabled Student's Allowance who have supported me through Yr 1 and I have seen their support not as a negative but a real positive to allow me to be the best version of me that I can be at Uni. I am really looking forward to working with them both next year as well.
As many of you will know, I was diagnosed as Autistic in 2020 and this in itself was life changing, I am much kinder to myself and have realised that lots of the things I have struggled with have been due to being Autistic. I know that lots of people have perceptions about Autism and have said to me "you don't look Autistic" but there are lots of things I struggle with but have learned to mask or deal with which I am pleased about but have realised what a toll that has taken on me both physically and mentally. I am now 12 months into my diagnosis and am settling into the new version of me and embracing being Autistic, I am reaching out for support and learning things about myself everyday. My partner has been so supportive and I can't thank her enough for helping me explore the new me.
When I got my Autism diagnosis I talked to them about potentially being assessed for ADHD and they sent me the initial forms to fill in. I talked to my GP and was referred to the Priory in Altrincham and had my assessment 2 weeks ago - it was a resounding yes for ADHD, more the inattentive type but also just scraped into the hyperactive type as well. I have always known that I struggled to focus and concentrate but I think starting back at Uni has really brought these things to light so it is quite reassuring to know it was not just me being lazy or easily distracted. I started on meds today so it is Day 1 of the new me - I don't know what effect the meds will have to start with but people I have talked to have said they help them focus and concentrate so if I can get even a slight improvement on those things I will be really happy.
You may wonder why I asked to be assessed for Autism and ADHD and what possible benefit those diagnoses may have for me as an adult. I did not seek answers to wear those labels as a medal of honour or a reason not to do things - I wanted to know more about me, and find the real me that I had been searching for. There were just some things growing up and into adulthood that did not make sense, I could not let some things go and some things almost destroyed me. I am not taking away from some of those traumatic events but I now have a clearer understanding of why I dealt with them the way I did and why there are things I struggle with that other people seem to find easy !
I think starting Counselling training has enabled me to look at myself in a completely different way and to have the courage to explore who I really am. When I look back at the person who started that training in 2018 I feel like I have more insight, more understanding and more confidence in who I am and I thank everyone who has been part of that journey. I have worked incredibly hard with my amazing counsellor for the last 15 months and have made massive progress there as well which has really altered my view of myself and my life story.
So combining Counselling training, private counselling, Autism and ADHD diagnoses is resulting in new discoveries every day. I am proud of who I am and onwards and upwards into Yr2 of Uni and placement which I can't wait to start later in the year.
My biggest bit of advice I can give to anyone reading this blog post is to 'just be you', learn about yourself and what makes you tick, and really listen to yourself and trust how you feel and think. Remember, we are all different and that's what makes the world such an amazing place.