Sunday, 25 August 2013

Taking one step back in order to move forward.

There is a voice inside my head that says I can never be good enough. A very loud voice. It is a constant in my life, there at all times. It is there when I'm watching a movie. It's there when I go running in the park. It's there when I'm reading a book, brushing my teeth, doing my food shopping. And it is most certainly there when I try to be a student.

I struggle greatly with my university work. I have always had concentration issues, ever since I was little, but it is safe to say that those issues have been getting worse. This is no surprise, considering the fact that, when left untreated, bipolar disorder and all the lovely things that come with it will only keep getting worse. My cognitive abilities are quite poor at this point. In addition to my problems with concentration, I also have issues with memory and motivation. My brain sometimes just shuts down. Everything goes pitch black in there. It's not a great place to be.

I even find writing this blog entry difficult; keeping my focus on something for longer than ten minutes is actually quite a demanding task. It's already taken me over an hour to write the two paragraphs above. That's clearly not a brain that is fit to write 3000 word essays or extensive musical analyses. It's barely a brain that's fit to write a sentence without needing a break.

As a result of my malfunctioning brain, I have made the decision to spend another year in order to finish my BA degree. It's not ideal, but then having bipolar isn't really ideal, is it? I think by applying for mitigating circumstances, I am giving myself the opportunity to actually get a decent degree, and that feels quite important to me, especially considering how much money I've spent on tuition fees. To me it wouldn't make any sense to botch up my assignments and ultimately screw up my degree, because once you've done that there's no way back, and I need a decent BA to get into an MA course.

A part of me feels that I am holding myself back, somehow, because I won't be able to start my MA degree this autumn after all. However, the only way forward is accepting that I am limited. I need more time, and I am giving myself that time.

My therapist asked me an interesting question during this week's session. I was talking about how worried I am about calling my mum to tell her that I'm deferring my degree and that instead of finishing now I'm finishing next year. I said, "It's not going to make her happy." My therapist responded to this by asking, "Are you responsible for your mother's happiness?" I reluctantly said yes, because I knew she wanted me to say the opposite. I feel like it is my job as her daughter to not constantly disappoint and upset her, which is what I always do. It flat out sucks to be that person in someone's life. I just wish I could accomplish something, for once.

I suppose all I can do at this point in time is suck it up, and start looking ahead. At least as far ahead as my bipolar disorder-affected brain will let me.

A Norwegian Girl in London