Here it is internet, here's how I actually feel about graduation season.
Not that I've been quiet about it on twitter.
Last week, the whole world graduated.
That might be a slight exaggeration, but not much. If the world is confined to my facebook friends, that is.
Honestly, I am not enjoying seeing 90% of my facebook friends who are the same age as me graduate. Believe me, I feel guilty as hell for saying that. I'm struggling to be happy for anyone even remotely close to me and this extends to people who weren't even at uni at the same time as me, or in the same place as me; I've just become green around anyone who is a bachelor of anything.
Mainly I'm annoyed. I'm cross because it came to this. Cross because of the complete lack of understanding. Cross because when my tutor said to me 'thank you for coming in here and talking about your mental health because by doing that you're creating an environment where other people will continue to talk about it', it was all too late. Cross because that environment hadn't ever been created for me. Cross because I was allowed to carry on. Cross because even though everyone thought it, I never felt like anyone validated the fact that I shouldn't ever have been doing exams. Cross because the only opinions I allowed myself to take on board were the ones coming from people who had no concept of the state I was in. Cross because I still have to validate to myself that it's okay that I failed my second year; that I should have been allowed to retake it, that the issue was not only with my mental health but also with the beurocracy of the system.
It's about more than graduation season. It's how I feel about myself and my degree and how I feel about last year and how many things I haven't let go yet. It's about how secure I am in my current decisions, how secure I am about what other people think of said decisions. That's not very secure. It's about what I'm doing now, and who I am, and whether I know the difference. It's about whether I'm always going to be a nurse jealous of doctors. It's about whether I feel like I've ever done what I'm capable of, academically. (I haven't).
I'm so certain that I can be a good nurse. But when you think your whole life has been leading up to something else, and you had your identity in it, it's hard to let it go. There's a lesson there kids; don't let your identity get wrapped up in what you do with your everyday. It's got nothing to do with it.
The alarming thing is, my parents asked me last week to tell me what was different this time to last time. They opened with 'you can't fail this one, Em.' I know, I'm the bottom of my heart, I know it's different. I know that depression has far less control over my life now than it did this time last year. What I don't know, is that I'm going to be okay. I don't know whether or not I am going to get through this degree depression free; in fact I'm fairly sure I won't. I still hate asking for help. I still hate 'playing the mental health card', even though I KNOW that's not what I did; there's still a tiny voice in me telling me that I should have just got on with it. Wait, 'getting on with it', or expecting myself to, was the whole problem. So no, I can't tell anyone with 100% certainty that I'm going to get through this next chapter in my life without depression, but I'm definitely not going to let anyone write me off because of that either. There is fight in me yet.
Friends, strangers, anyone, you've worked hard. You've done well. Degrees are hard to get; and don't ever let anyone take anything away from that. I'm just not going to let myself believe that anyone with a degree is a better person than me, because when you've been brought up relatively intelligent and in grammar schools, that's pretty much the widely held view, and it's so, so damaging.