I have been accepted into a graduate program. As part of the program, I have to complete an internship. That meant that I had to write a current resume and two pieces about myself and why I wanted to go into the field of my choice. I wrote from my heart and I gave an honest answer. I would not have been interested in this field prior to my diagnosis and hospitalizations in the early 2000’s. That changed the course of my life. I struggled to find myself as I slowly lost my family.
For me, coming through that horrible time and wanting to assist others in getting better is why I want to go into this field. Apparently, writing that was big mistake. People do not want to know about adversity or overcoming the worst parts of life to find something good. The real motivation of my own abuse and trauma and my experiences with the system were not accepted by those who controlled my fate.
As I write this this morning, I do not have an internship. No-one wants to take a chance on a person with a mental illness who admits to having that as a inspiration to learn how to treat others with the same struggles. I am not going to tell my story to those that I am helping. yet I feel that I bring a unique perspective to the situation. One that makes me just a little different from those who have only read about these experiences in a textbook.
I was asked to rewrite my essays to include less personal details of my experiences. I know that I may have to extend the original program because no one at this time is interested in having me intern. At least not the person that has been through the experiences that I have. I am left feeling like I have to hide who I am. That I cannot be genuine about why I want to go into this field and why I choose this field out of all others. I have to struggle not to say to much and to keep my past locked up.
If asked even three months ago I would have said that I was nervous, yet apprehensive regarding graduate school. Today, I sit her pondering if it is going to even work out for me.
One large issue seems to be my status as someone with a mental illness. Where the school is attempting to place me feels that it is a hinderance to getting tasks accomplished. I am still in shock that this could be happening.
I was accepted like everyone else and filled out the same forms as everyone else. To me, by accepting me they made a contract with me to assist in finding a field placement.
On one interview I was actually told that “I wear my mental illness as a badge.” Maybe that is somewhat true. I have been through a lot and have taken classes and learned techniques on how to assist others. I know I have a different perspective. I did not think that would prevent me from finding a field placement.
I know that this is what I want to do. I know that I would be decent at the task and maybe help to change the paths of a couple of people along the way. I am looking at where I need to take this. I am not going to stop fighting to try and get a field placement. Having a mental illness should not be a reason to be turned away or treated differently.
I have now been told so many things about my mental illness that I am not sure if anyone will ever understand. The fact that I volunteer for a mental health organization and have spoken apparently makes me to outspoken for people.
Today I was told that in my writing it comes across as a badge. In some ways maybe it is a badge. A way to know that all that I went through did not stop me. A way to know that there was something to look forward to and would have missed had I taken my life. What I have been through with my mental health has made me stronger.
I feel that people think that it is to much. That in order to get an internship I am going to have to rework things to not show my views on how the system has helped me. I hope that I will get a field placement and that someone will accept me.
I thought that things were finalized. Then, out of the blue they were ripped out from underneath me. One placement was not possible because I am a non-custodial parent. The other is not going to work because of my PTSD.
I am going to fight to get a field placement. There has to be a place that will be able to see my history as an asset not a hinderance. Today, I have to start what I believe will be many phone calls to make sure that everything works out. I do not want to go above anyone else, yet that seems to be the only course of action right now.
I cannot let anyone define me or tell me what I can or cannot do because I have experienced trauma. I am aware that the field that I want to go into is challenging. I just cannot believed that someone called me out on my illness and took a potential field placement away due to a diagnosis.
I was relieved and excited when I was accepted to graduate school this year. Now that I am trying to schedule my field placement my life is turning into a black hole. There seems to be a storm cloud that is just following me around.
First because I do not have full physical custody of my kids, it was determined that I was unable to work with a specific group of people. Now, I am being told that I cannot work with another group of people because of the stress.
Now, is where things get complicated. According to the school, I cannot decline an interview or an acceptance. I had both, yet now there is another person that has come into the mix and is really not supposed to be involved. I just want a placement for next year.
I have asked to have this field placement dropped, yet the school cannot do that. They can only drop it if the placement if the site does not want me. I cannot hang out there waiting for a placement. Something’s is going to have to change in order for me to be able to be placed for field. I am working on the next steps. I am trying to be as patient as possible, yet it is hard to sit back and watch potential opportunities go by.
I thought that the effects of my abuse were becoming manageable. I had learned coping skills for moments of anxiety or periods of darkness. I had my little pile that I could pull from.
Yesterday seemed to open up a black hole in me. One that I did not realize that was there. One that made me realize just how far the abuse went and would go.
A conversation happened yesterday that put all of the cards on the table. That stated in pure terms how because of my trauma, I could not handle the stresses of a field placement. Not even a job.
Is this how I am seen by others? Do those closest to me see me as nothing more than my illness? Have they given up hope of me one day moving on?
Today, I am numb. I just want to be left alone and stay in the house. I want to attempt to deal with the reality of how many parts of me are broken and how severe the breaks are. The unseen wounds are there and run deep. They are the scars left behind from all that went on. Yesterday, just proved how others see them as weak when I see them as a strength.
For now, I just want to be able to see my doctors today and tomorrow and forget about school and all that comes with it. Maybe by the weekend I will have a better outlook and more hope.
Today, I realized that my trauma history could make it extremely difficult for me to find a position in the area that I have chosen to study. I was informed that due to my history, I may not be able to handle the stress of the position. That people who do not have any history sometimes cannot handle the stress.
Things went as I always thought that they would. People are always going to wonder if a person who has experienced trauma can handle other people with trauma. Can I move beyond my history? Can I be effective? Will I get burned out? all of those are very real possibilities that I have worked through when contemplating doing this field of study.
I just wish that people could look at what I would bring to their organization. That I could actually make things stronger and look at things from a different point of view. The worse part is that I may not be able to find a field placement. That no-one would want me after reading about me and why I want to do this work. Time will soon show what is going to happen. Maybe I was accepted to grad school, yet will not be able to even get past the first hurdle.
There was a time when I just thought that people could see. That by looking at me, they could tell that I had PTSD or depression. I dreaded going into someplace new because of the thoughts that others would just know by looking at me how messed up my life had been.
The reality is that those around me cannot see. Maybe that is a blessing in some ways. In other ways it is a curse. Hearing people talk about parents with mental illness should not be allowed to have their kids, people who self-harm are weak, and the worst is that my mental health diagnosis does not exist.
If that is case then why do I visit with my kids on a regular basis, how can I be sitting in class and they not know, and how do they know what is happening in my head. Most classes I actually forget. My memory was affected by the ECT and has not fully recovered. I can have a flashback sitting in the middle of class. Topics such as molestation and physical abuse trigger memories that I would rather forget, yet seem to be etched into my memory.
What if what I saw in my mind could be projected onto a screen. A mother yelling at her daughter that she wished that she were dead, a mother who broke one curtain rod while administering a beating going to get another curtain rod, a small child going as far as possible into the corner of her bed so that the beating only hurts in certain places, a child being molested by a family member, a father holding his child by the neck, a mother putting a pillow over her daughters face…. I could continue, yet I won’t. By this point many people would have walked out of the room. Either they feel uncomfortable, they cannot believe abuse exists like that shown to them, or they have experienced the abuse and cannot bear to see what is up on the screen.
Instead, I sit in class. Another student. Another number on another day. People are not aware of my past or the reason why I want to be a social worker. They do not see the struggles that I go through just to make it to class and look “normal.” Sometimes I want to say something, to be able to let it go, yet I have been told to keep most of it inside.
People like it better that way. To pretend that the world is ok and good. All have their reasons. Maybe, I would like people to be honest. Hurt sometimes strengthens us. Those who are going through it need to know that there is hope and a future on the other side of the nightmares. That sometimes for a few hours a week, they could have the opportunity to focus on something else.
I have already lost one of my children for reasons that I do not understand. Now, I feel like I am losing another. My ex and his wife tell my kids that I do not care, that I am not contributing enough money,’and that I am choosing a life that does not include them.
In reality, my ex is getting the child support ordered by the court. I am transporting them according to the agreement, and I see them as much as possible.
Sometimes I feel like it is a battle that is already lost. My ex has the money to put them in camps and go on vacations. He has them more and they tend to gravitate toward what he says.
I get blamed for the divorce. Yes, I will take credit for what I did, yet he seems to leave out what he was doing. My mental illness is said not to exist on one hand and then to be the cause of everything on the other. I am sure that is confusing.
Inevitably, it is leading to my kids not wanting to have anything to do with me. They have taken their father’s view that I am not good enough and do not do enough. Sometimes I think that the best that I can hope for is for them to look back and realize that I did what I could. I was not perfect, yet I did my best:
It is almost the end of the semester. I have one paper left to complete. I cannot seem to even get started on it. Not that I have not done the research, I have just not put any words down on the page. First, writing the paper is just plain overwhelming right now. I have had my fill of child abuse and neglect stories. This is just one more that I do not want to have to face. Second, my kids are coming this weekend and I really want to spend time with them, not writing another paper. Third, I am just tired and mentally drained.
I think that #3 is the worst. I just want to take a nap and wait for the kids to come tonight. Maybe do some laundry in order to have clean clothes. Do a paper, not so much. Just getting food prepared to eat seems like to much. I wish that I had someone to support me and be by my side this weekend to be a cheerleader to finish this paper. Maybe once my kids get here, I will be more motivated.