Advantages A lot has happened in my life so this is interesting to read
Disadvantages Having to face so many obstacles
This is a brief outline of my complex life so far. So much has happened in my life that I stuggled to get it down to just under 3000 words. I could easily write a book on this.Every school day I dreaded right from primary school until the day I left secondary school, and yet I had a 100% attendance record right the way through. My mum had terrible trouble getting me to school, she literally had to drag me there every day. She found this quite wearing over time and used to get very stressed out. She couldn't understand why I was so unhappy. I would come home and ask her things like: 'How do you make friends,' or 'What do you say to friends.' My mum would say to me I was to just say the first thing that came into my head. But no words came into my head when I faced people - I just felt terrified. I couldn't make eye contact with anyone. The teachers terrified me as well because I seemed very good at misunderstanding simple instructions and I would always get told off.
My mum always read me a bedtime stories when I was young but she was very aware that I didn't understand them. She would be laughing away at the stories and I would just feel really confused. I liked looking at all the colourful pictures though.My mum was often called into school to have meetings with the teachers, as they were worried about me. Some of the teachers used to be in tears because it upset them to see me so unhappy everyday. They thought there were problems at home, which always used to annoy my mum. She felt they were blaming her. This made her more determined to look into the problems I was having and see if there was anything causing it. This was back in the days when she believed in me. I kept telling her there was something inside me that kept telling me I was capable of being so much more of a better person but I just didn't know how to express that person. The general outcome from my mum taking me to see various people was that I was slow, lazy, should try harder, painfully shy and not very bright. With repeated meetings with teachers following this and them having similar views my mum and dad began to give up on any hope they had for me. On top of this at school I was getting very badly bullied and suffered from all the 3 forms of abuse and it was getting worse by the day. I soon found I had no safe place. Deep down I had a lot of confidence in myself and I knew I wasn't stupid, but as the abuse got worse I couldn't hold onto those positive thoughts anymore. Not one person believed in me so how could I believe in myself.
However there was one subject at school that I was very good at and that was Art. I got 80%-90% for all my paintings and drawings. When it came to the exam which was 100% coursework I put all my exam work into a cupboard in the art room for checking. However one of the bullies decided they would rip all my coursework up and the following day I found it scattered in pieces over the school grounds. I was devastated. My one hope of something I was good at was ruined. I failed the one exam I could of passed in flying colours. On top of that I got E and F grades for all my other GCSE exams.When I left school I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I always knew I really liked art but what with my exam work getting ripped up and my mum saying that I would never find a job in this line of work I gave up on the idea. I worked at Barclays Bank for 1 month and was struggling so much I was told to leave. I wasn't fast enough at processing the cheques and struggled following there instructions. The boss I had there called my mum in and told her she felt I should see a psychiatrist. Her advice wasn't taken at the time, so I then got a job as a Dental Nurse. This only lasted 3 weeks. I had the same problems and on top of that I was feeling so bad about myself I was starting to drink and self-harm. I felt I was a failure and I deserved to be punished and once I had self-harmed I felt better.
My mum was nearly at breaking point now with stress. She knew that I just couldn't hold down a job and she knew I was so desperately lonely as I had no friends to turn to, so decided I could see a psychiatrist on one condition - that nobody knew about it. No neighbours or other family members were to know that I was going to a psychiatric unit at the hospital. She would keep saying what would they think of you if they find out. I personally didn't see it as being a really bad thing but my mum made me feel like it was bad. I was accessed by a psychiatrist and they told me I should see a counsellor and start attending the day groups in the psychiatric unit. So that's what I did. I remember my first counselling session very well. My counsellor asked me how I felt and I had absolutely no idea how to answer that question. I had so many different feeling and no words for them - she said do you feel angry, do you feel sad and I had absolutely no idea what I felt. I must have been so mixed up. I spent a year in counselling and a year in the day group classes before building up enough confidence to decide I wanted to do what I wanted and that was a creative job like graphic design. This didn't go down very well but I think my mum felt things couldn't get much worse so accepted.I went straight to my local college to enrol on a course to allow me to re-take some of my GCSE's as I needed at least 5 GCSE's at grade C to do a course in Graphics. To great disappointment however I went to enrol and they took one look at my E and F grades and told me there was very little chance of me gaining a couple of GCSE's at grade C let alone 5. They said very few students can go up by 2 or 3 grades, and so they refused to accept me. My mum said that I needed to accept that I just wasn't capable. But I was so angry and frustrated that I spent all my savings on seeing an educational psychologist - I wanted my problems looked into. I was fed up with being classed as stupid. She picked up on the fact that I had some sort of problem with reading and understanding but wasn't sure why and said because of my problems she would give me a letter stating I was to have 20% extra time in all exams. She also told me that my IQ was 100 - absolutely normal. This was a nice boost to my confidence and well worth the money. I went up to the college and explained to them very confidently that I would prove to them I could do this and begged them to enrol me. I think they admired my determination to do this and in the end accepted.
At college I had a lot of trouble reading the textbooks as I had a lot of problems with reading. I would read one line and I would have to read it over and over again before I could make any sense of what I had read. Most people in my situation would have probably given up but I spent hour upon hour every evening in my bedroom reading and reading line by line of text. Just one page of text which would take an average person about a couple of minutes to read would take me at least half an hour. I was determined I wasn't going to let it beat me. For the whole year I read and read and struggled with every word on the page but I did it. I took my exams and I got 3 C's and 2 D's. Ok so it wasn't enough to get into my course but it was more than I was told I could achieve. My mum and dad were very impressed and encouraged me to go back and do another year, which I did and the teachers said they had never seen such an improvement in grades before. I had now in total 1 A, 3 B's and 3 C's following my second year at college.I had always been told that I would never be capable of going to University or further education - that I just wasn't clever enough, but I had been told I couldn't get 5 GCSE's and I did, so I wasn't going to let anything stand in my way. My confidence was at an all time high.
However before I was about to start my art and design course my Nana died and my cat all in the same month. My cat was like my best friend, and I could always talk to my Nana about things. I suddenly felt more alone than ever. I became very depressed to the point that I had to be admitted as an in-patient to a psychiatric unit.On entering the psychiatric unit I saw a group all sitting in a circle starring into space and to my horror one of them was my worst bully I had at school - the one that ripped up all my artwork. I later found out she was in there because for years she had been abused by her dad. I guess that could explain some of her erratic behaviour towards me at school if she was having problems at home. Anyway I kept away from her as much as possible, and spent my first few days being watched every second of the day. I felt like a prisoner. I was terrified of everyone there. One minute someone would seem ok and the next they would be screaming the place down and would be dragged away to have an injection to calm them down. I was only 19yrs old. I felt I had already been through enough and here I felt like I was in prison being punished. I wasn't allowed out of sight, or out of the building. I was said to be suffering from severe depression and was prescribed a drug called Dothiepin. I hated taking tablets and just felt constantly tired and drained and couldn't bring myself to do anything.
I was told I could leave the psychiatric unit once I had been in there a month. What I didn't realise until one week before I was about to leave the psychiatric unit was that whilst I had been in the psychiatric unit my parents had organised for me to live elsewhere, they had taken all my clothes and belongings out of my parents home and put them into a flat I would be renting. They had completely disowned me at my lowest time of all. I kept asking them why they didn't want me to live with them anymore and they couldn't give me an answer. I knew it was because they felt embarrassed of me and ashamed of me. Whilst still in the psychiatric hospital as it was nearing the time I could leave the nurses there did now trust me to leave the building. I felt so bad I went straight out and brought a bottle of vodka and sneaked it back into the Psychiatric Unit under my coat. I remember drinking half the bottle before I collapsed on the floor and then I remember one of the in-patients coming over to me and violently kicking me repeatedly in the stomach and shouting and swearing at me and I don't remember anything after that. I think I must have completely passed out. This incident kept me in hospital for another week. I was told later that the in-patient had lost her mum recently and so seeing me lying on the floor probably freaked her out so I figured it wasn't her fault, as she was just confused.I spent one month in the flat before the silence drove me insane. I couldn't think of one reason I had to live. I had lost my nana my cat, my mum and dad didn't want to know me and I hadn't one single friend, so I took an overdose. Before I knew it I was back in the psychiatric hospital. I was told I had only just been found in time. I was terribly depressed, but my mum I think at this point realised they had done the wrong thing by moving me out as I was getting worse and worse so they accepted me back home, and surprisingly enough my mum made a real turn around. If it hadn't of been for her encouragement and making me do things when I really felt so depressed I don't think I could of survived it. It took me over a year to feel a lot better again in myself and to feel nearly depression free.
After having lots more counselling and group sessions I finally started college doing a National Diploma in General Art and Design. It was really hard work, but great fun. There was no bullying here but I was still having no luck making friends. I buried myself in my study though as a way of coping with that. I took a lot of the artwork home to do as I struggled to keep up in class, but was prepared to do as much as it took to pass. I did pass after 2 years which was a great achievement and then went onto University to do a Higher National Diploma in Graphic Design. Fortunately with these courses a lot of the work was practical so it didn't matter too much if I couldn't read all that well.I continued however to be puzzled by the problems I had and over the last few years I had resorted to reading through medical text books trying to see if I could find out if there was a name for what I had wrong with me other than stupid, which I was now realising was inappropriate now I was at Uni. The only problem with me looking in medical books was that my mum then labelled me as a hypochondriac so I couldn't win. The closest thing I came across was autism, that was very similar in some ways but I wasn't as bad as that so that didn't make sense either.
I then came across a programme called 'I'm not Stupid.' The title caught my eye as it was the one thing I had kept saying to people all the time, so I decided to watch it out of curiosity. To my astonishment it was about people who had a form of autism called Aspergers Syndrome. I hadn't heard of this before, but I just couldn't believe it when I watched it. I'd found the answer. These people with Aspergers were exactly the same as me. I called my mum and dad to have a look and they were so surprised and said I was right. Before long I sought advice and was in fact diagnosed as having Aspergers. Part of me was really pleased because this proved my intelligence, I had actually made a correct diagnosis of myself. There was also a part of me that was angry because I felt that if it had been discovered many years ago I might not of gone through quite so much. Anyway I sought help from a language therapist and she gave me lots of helpful tips but told me as I was late finding out what I had got, I may not improve to the extent that others might. But I fail to accept that. That just makes me more determined to try harder to improve.I did extremely well on my course at Uni and graduated with good grades. On top of that I was the only one that left the course straight away with a job. I went for an interview not thinking I would get it at all for a company called Freeman's in London. There were 200 applicants and they were asking for someone with a Degree and I only had an HND. Yet they liked my work so much I got the job. At the same time however I was also offered a job closer to home, which once travel expenses had been taken off, the wages were the same so I took the job closer to home. I stayed there for 4yrs before deciding to move on. I then worked for several other design companies all with fierce competition to get in but succeeded in getting every job I applied for.
Now my most recent ambition is to one day write a book and get it published. But how can I write a book if I have never read a fiction book from beginning to end before. This is what I am going to try really hard to do and this will help to improve my vocabulary skills and writing skills. It all seems impossible now to see myself being a professional writer one day, but I know one day I will be. I am confident of that, as to me it won't matter how many set backs I have, as that will just make me stronger and more determined and I know I will get there in the end.Thanks for reading
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