‘I am in Ecdysis…’

No, I haven’t become ‘too big for my boots’ since becoming an Open University student.  I discovered the word ‘ecdysis’ today and thought how accurately that process describes how I’m feeling right now.  For those of you who are unaware of the word, it is of Greek origin and describes the process of shedding the old skin to allow for continued growth.  Who knew…!

When I decided to study with the O.U, one of my big concerns was whether I would be able to remember/retain the material I was studying.   I was good at forgetting things – I had to be to survive – but not ‘remembering’.  Well, since the beginning of February, I have been practising ‘how to remember’ and I have to say, its working.   I seem to be retaining much of my material and really enjoying the process of learning again.  I am also now working in a job I really enjoy, with an employer who provides fantastic training opportunities and recently I have had one of my poems (Mealtimes Together) published in Poetry Rivals Collection 2013 – Awakened Minds, which is such an honour and means so much to me.   I am really happy and thankful for my life as it is now.  I have a fabulous husband and two great kids.  Oh, and a dog as well as two cats.

I could try and forget my old life that no longer exists and just get on with my new life, my adult life, the one that I’m happy with.  But those of you who have survived child abuse, will know that it is not as simple as that.  Recovery is an ongoing process and never really ends.  So, as part of my on-going healing, growing and recovery,  I have set myself a very personal, challenge.  I want to write a book.  I want to write  a Memoir of my childhood with no holes barred and I want to put my name to it, my real name.  Even if the book never gets published, writing publicly about my experiences means I don’t ‘own’ them anymore.   I should never have owned them in the first place and I understand that now.  I have made a start, 9000 words to be precise and to say it has been emotionally challenging is a gross understatement.

What I’m doing is exciting, challenging, painful and uncomfortable.  I’m feeling very raw  at the moment, raw and exposed.  I’m in Ecdysis.

‘Feel the fear and do it anyway…’

So I have…I’ve  joined the Open University and will be studying an Access course with them.  I have to say, they were very prompt in sending me my course materials!  Three days later and still thinking ‘what the hell have I done…’, my course materials were delivered to my door.

Just to update you all on how I feel now;  terrified.  To the point of not being able to  make a start on anything – not even filling in my student paperwork.  I have this overwhelming sense of ‘fear’.  Fear to the point of my brain freezing.  I can look at the words, content, books etc, yet see nothing and digest even less.  Its almost like I have gone into ‘freeze’ mode.

Yet, there is hope at the end of the tunnel.  You see, I know why I’m feeling like this and I know that, in order to move on from being ‘stuck’, I have to ‘stick with it’.  I have to not give in to my fear and just take baby steps forward.   I need to keep reminding myself that the fear I felt when previously studying, was not really due to the studying, but due to the abuse that was going  on at home and the poor results I obtained was a consequence of what was going on in my personal life.

For now, I will again unpack and probably repack my OU bag and wait with dread for the phone call from my Tutor, which should be some time this coming week.  My personal challenge between now and then is to at least fill in my paperwork.  Maybe when I can ‘see’ my name on the forms, I will start to really believe that with lots of hard work and commitment, as well as a home life that is positive and supportive, I can achieve this.

‘Here’s to 2014…’

I thought it might be too late to say Happy New Year!  I hope you had an enjoyable Christmas break.  Mine was fairly uneventful, but in a good way.  Time chilling with the kids and planning what personal challenges I’m intending to achieve this coming year.  So let me fill you in…

Firstly, I am applying to the Open University for a place on their Access course ‘People, Work Society’, with the intention of, in the near future, completing a BA degree in ‘Combined Social Sciences’.  You many think that my plan sounds great!  You may feel that its an achievable thing to do and if I really want to do it,  I have a fairly good chance of succeeding?  But, its not that simple…

You see, when I think of studying, my experiences of growing up and school life floods my brain with fear.   When I was growing up, school was my place of safety and I was one of the few children who actually looked forward to going to school every day.  However…  because of the abuse that was going on at home, I couldn’t concentrate very well, and due to the anxiety I felt – constantly –  I couldn’t remember information very well, even if I’d spent hours revising in the school library – which I often had.    Ultimately, my final exam results were very poor and consequently, I was left feeling utterly stupid and a failure.

So, here is my dilemma…I’m now 43yrs old and I want a career in a field I’m passionate about and therefore happy to work beyond the ‘9-5’ if and when required.  I want to carry on working with children but also have involvement with their families and I want to be paid a decent wage (for self-satisfaction and my husband is self-employed…).   For all of this to happen, I would need to go back to studying, but I’m terrified.  What if I am stupid?  What if I have something wrong with my brain and I just ‘can’t’ remember things?  After all, my step-father did slam my head against a few walls over the years – maybe it has damaged my brain?  Affected my memory?  What if I spend hundreds, or thousands of pounds trying to achieve the unachievable – how guilty would I feel?  After all, as i said before – my husband is self-employed.

O.K I’m now feeling really anxious.  I need to take another Propanalol and think about this some more.  The dead-line for the Access course is Jan 16th… I will let you know what the outcome is.

PS:  My Constant ‘Doris’ has recommended Mindfulness training – but I’m scared of failing that too – that it won’t work on me! aaahhhhhhhh