This is going to be quite a personal post, and not really what I intended this blog to be used for. I just hope that some of you guys who are reading this, will actually realise that there are other people in the world going through similar things, and their lives are not a perfect picture that they post on social media.
As many of you will know, 2016 has not been a very good year for me. I have really struggled with coping with caring for family members, keeping up with academic work at University, the passing of my Grandad and generally just balancing everyday life. It has been a very tough 8 months but with thanks to loving family and friends I am slowly but surely getting through.
Despite all of this going on, a few months ago, I continued with my last University placement, which was a week after my Grandad had passed away. In reality, I was in no emotional, mental or physical state to carry out this placement; however, I carried on and got to the end of it. Admittedly, I did not get a mark that I was truly happy with, but I passed. That was all that really mattered. Instead of being happy that I had achieved passing a placement that I really was not happy on, and that I really wanted to be out of, I found myself comparing my mark and myself to other people. I got myself very upset and began to spiral into a pit of depression. I had convinced myself that I was going to fail all of my exams (I did not have my results then), and that I would never actually graduate and become a Speech Therapist. This continued for weeks and weeks until I received my exam results.
I woke up in the morning, panicking that I had failed, panicking that I would have to re-sit the awful Phonetics Listening Exam again. With shaking hands, I logged into the University website to a glorious site that I had passed. Once again I was not happy with some of the results that I got, and found that I was comparing myself to my peers. This once again led me into the downward spiral of darkness, known as Depression and Sadness. After a few days, and a lot of cuddles, I thought it was about time that I started to get myself back on track and email my Tutor (Lets call her Alison) to organise a meeting to talk about resiting a few of my exams, just to prove that I could do better.
Moving forward in time a bit…
The day with the meeting with Alison arrived. I headed off to University, after having a busy day of unpacking and moving into my first home with Ben. I decided to walk on this rainy day for some reason, as I thought it would be a good idea. It was not. Anyway, I arrived at University soaked through, ready for a chat about moving forward. Instead of this, I ended up having a conversation with Alison, about how my Placement Tutor (Lets call her Jude) had said that she was concerned I had Auditory Processing Difficulties. For those of you who do not know, Auditory processing disorder is a hearing or listening problem caused by the brain not processing sounds in the normal way. This can affect peoples ability to
- pinpoint where a sound is coming from
- tell which sound comes before another
- distinguish similar sounds from one another – such as “seventy” and “seventeen”
- understand speech – particularly if there’s background noise, more than one person speaking, the person is speaking quickly, or the sound quality is poor
- remember instructions you’ve been told
- enjoy music
With Jude saying this, behind my back to Alison, I began doubting myself. Did I have a difficulty? What did this mean? However, Alison had previously known about all the difficult and troubling circumstances at home. I did try to explain to Alison, that due to grief, stress and not focusing on the placement, I was not interested in the placement. I did not want to be there, so why would I really focus. Reflecting on my time on placement, I realise it was all a blur… I do not really remember anything that happened whilst I was there. I was physically present, but mentally I was not. Despite all of my explanations to Alison, she agreed that it would be best to talk to my mum and see what she had to say on the matter.
So after many tears, worries and once again cuddles. We decided that this Auditory Processing Disorder was not true. How would I be able to pass my exams with very little, if any, revision? How would I be able to play any musical instrument that I touched? How would I be musically talented, and achieve so highly in that subject during my academic life? It made no sense… Despite all of these thoughts, I continually thought that there is something wrong with me. Honestly, I still think so now. This woman has tainted my opinion of myself. Jude had made a judgement about me, tried to diagnose me with something, and both of these factors have made me question myself, and my abilities.
If anything it has upset me more that people are so quick to judge people, without beginning to ask them how they are feeling, or if they think something else is wrong. People need to realise that all this judging and falsely diagnosing people is making people upset, reducing their self-worth and making all their confidence disappear.
Fortunately, I have a supportive family and friends who have made me realise that I do not have any difficulties. However, there are people both in the real world and online who are making people question themselves and their abilities. It is a disgusting world we live in where people feel that it is appropriate to say comments about people, without thinking how it would make them feel.
If anything it has made me realise that I am able to move on from my Grandads passing, move onto my next and final University year, and continue moving forward. Because, that is really all we can do…
Remember guys, you are you and that is all that matters.
CYA LATER ALLIGATORS