Lockdown part 3….Week 16

This week has felt almost as if lockdown is over…doing school runs, seeing friends, going in shops, seeing beer gardens full and the return to college. I’ve been doing my counselling course remotely since October and when we did go in during September, we were split into groups, so I had only met some of my fellow students. I am surprised that I wasn’t nervous due to Covid and meeting people for the first time but having seen everyone virtually for the past 6 months it felt like I knew everybody already. We had to keep our masks on for the full 4 hours which was rather unpleasant particularly as it was so hot inside, I should have turned up in my bikini!! (Not that I ever would, let alone be seen in one!) I feel a little safer being out and about having had one of my vaccines, but I am aware that people can still carry the virus even if they don’t get it themselves. I have been taking lateral flow tests now that my girls are back in pre-school which I am now used to but still find myself sneezing like a trooper afterwards as it tickles! It is interesting how it doesn’t phase my girls when they see people in masks or taking lateral flow tests, it’s something that I think they associate as a normal part of life and are more likely to find it odd if they see people without masks on, but I imagine it will be along time before this happens when generally out and about.

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I managed to submit my case study and final assignment and with time to spare! I don’t know if I have passed yet, but fingers crossed! Now all that is left is the presentation, where we have to talk about ourselves for 10 minutes with reference to our own philosophy and beliefs and our journey so far. No where does it say that we can’t play a song for 10 minutes as long as it fulfils these objectives!!!! (Wishful thinking!) I have never felt comfortable talking about myself or talking in front of a group of people, so this is going to be a challenge for me. It’s almost as if I have barriers that go up at the thought which prevent me from even thinking about what I could say about myself. I was asked to write a bio about myself to go on the website of the provider that I will be completing my counselling placement at and I drew a blank. Despite reading what other people had written about themselves I didn’t know where to start. So, I called on my Mum for ideas and she did an amazing job, so I got out of that one!!

We’ve got at least a month before we’ll be released into the big wide world on placement so aside from the presentation, we have finished our first year of the course! It has flown by and I can’t believe that in a years’ time I will (hopefully) be finished and therefore be a fully qualified counsellor. I realised that next weekend I can actually have a weekend off from studying and don’t know what to do with myself!

I had a wobble this week when someone said something that knocked me down, inside I was fighting crumbling and telling myself that I am a failure and should give up my course. I know it wouldn’t have been long ago that I would have fallen apart, felt very down and lost sight of everything I have worked so hard for. However, thanks to this course and my own counselling and inner strength I am trying to fight against these thoughts and feelings and reflect upon why the words of one person can affect me so much. Why do the words and opinions of so many other people suddenly no longer matter but instead I am only thinking about and valuing the words of this one person? Admittedly I have them on a pedestal which may be why I value their words so much but equally I have learnt on my course that we do not need to value what other people say, instead it’s our choice to accept what other people say and it’s down to us what we do and how we react.

Do I allow one person to have such an impact on me? I know that I have worked incredibly hard to get where I am, battling through despite everything else that has been going on with my life. I have secured a placement at a fantastic independent organisation working with children, young people and their families and I have a lot of people that believe in me and have encouraged me to do this. I need to reflect on where it stems from this feeling of failure based on what one person says. Does it come from when my ‘father’ walked out when I was 8 or is it when I was at school and teachers humiliated me when I was having panic attacks? It could be something that has become internalised as I remember from an early age wanting to give up when something happened that either upset me or make me feel uncomfortable and because my Mum didn’t want me to be upset I often ended up giving up rather than carrying on and I have realised that what I wanted and needed was to be encouraged to carry on but as a young child I either wasn’t aware of this or couldn’t verbalise this and so it has carried on throughout my life.

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I saw someone who hasn’t seen me in a long time, and they commented on how well I looked, and I said it’s because I am finally free! It does feel like a huge weight has been lifted and that finally I can rediscover myself – at times it feels as though I am having a 30 something life crisis or rebelling!!! Talking of which…. look out for next week’s blog!