It was probably around the time I left my first university when I decided that I needed to follow some sort of plan in life. I’d flitted between aspirations and ‘what-ifs’ up until then, wanting to be a vet, actress, artist, writer, make-up artist, teacher… I didn’t exactly work towards any of those goals, unless my fleeting dips into hobbies around those areas counted. They didn’t. So I took up a degree in Media and English in the hope of training as a teacher at the end of it. Manipulative Ex wanted to be a teacher but his daddy issues got in the way, The Ex wanted to be a teacher, and my dad had wanted to be a teacher so it made sense. I had shop jobs along the way, life remained less-than-extraordinary but I got by. Because that was my plan, and it was the best I could do so it had to be done.
Then, during my resit second year at my next university before my breakdown, I had a moment where I realised that the idea of teaching a group of kids anything was terrifying. Media made me angry, and outside of Creative Writing I found English really fucking dull. I found a lot of inspiration in my teen years at secondary school from my mentor Miss K in how she helped me through the most difficult times I had, and I felt that I could do the same for other young people. Suddenly, the half-arsed plan that wasn’t really mine was thrown in the air when I fell ill with severe depression and anxiety. My only plan at that point was to survive. And when I was half-successful with that, I could only focus on getting back to earning money and keeping my dying relationship afloat.
…well, I earned peanuts each week and I left The Ex. I did find some comfort in initially writing a blog about what I was going through, until my ex-manager decided that my openness was a hindrance to her. Somehow. Anyway, eventually I got in touch with Miss K and we explored my options in the future as a mentor, I looked into volunteering at a local school, even the Husband got on board with helping out. Then Mom died. And all plans were thrown out of the window, half-arsed or not.
After my BPD diagnosis and I started to find my feet again, I looked into volunteering and found that my own mental health was a good foundation to start again. It brought me back to my original desire to support young people after my own experiences had been so detrimental – and with my eventual BPD diagnosis, I had proof in my head that early intervention might have benefited me! I don’t want that for anyone else. So, I decided to go back to university to get a degree in Psychology because that’s the correct way to do it right?
Recently I’ve been very upside down about my plan for life. I still have a huge passion for mental health advocacy, especially in young people, and I’m enjoying a lot of the freelance work I’ve been doing in that regard. But my Access course has been… well, my grades have been really good – the equivalent of a First in both! Along with the freelance meetings, writing, life in general, studying as well became far too much. I’m currently writing a letter to my tutor to drop from the course after a conversation with the Husband, a decision I’ve struggled with. Dropping from another commitment? Again, Claire? You suck. You really do. Another plan you’ve wobbled on, at age 26 you still have no solid footing in whichever path you’ve landed on. Awesome. That uncertainty has thrown everything else into disarray as well, a list of article and posts that have gone ignored, Slimming World, even personal projects have fallen by the wayside. For goodness’ sake this blog post has taken over an hour to write because my brain is scrambled!
Do I need a plan? Do I really need a plan? My disordered brain seems to demand one and yet it does nothing to help me stay on track. It’s all well and good making me doubt everything in life, but at least help me sort my life out!
Plan. No plan. Lots of plans. Change of plans.
Recently, an old friend of mine has reappeared on the scene. We were best friends for five years along with The Ex, had many misadventures together and fell out nearly two years ago after my BPD diagnosis when our collective poor mental health caused one hell of a blowout. I reached out to him a few times but no avail. I had thought about reaching out again, but I think I’m still too angry and upset with everything that happened that I’m not sure how I’d react to him. I want to hug him and ask how he’s been doing, if he’s been looking after himself. I also want to punch him and scream at him for leaving me when I needed him the most – fuck that, when we needed each other the most. When he was in despair I gave him the last of my meds, only for him to go off with some of the people that had hurt me the most at the time.
By the time I’ve worked that out, he’ll have left Birmingham again.
In much lighter, happier news, my beautiful cousin Rox (who has been a rock to me over my lifetime) is due to give birth to her baby girl any day now. I can’t wait to meet her… when she finally decides to get a wiggle on! Two days overdue, she’s far too comfy to meet the world – that’s my girl.