The most hectic week of the year is finally over, and I finally have the time to sit down and write something again. My final psychology exams are done; the last piece of coursework has been handed in; all that remains for me to do is give a powerpoint presentation about my thesis on the 5th June. I’m not worried about that presentation in the slightest. After the tough week I’ve had, I’m sure I can cope with fifteen minutes of talking about a piece of work that I’ve already done.
The exams went as well as I’d hoped they would. Although most of the revision was left until the very last minute, I was able to answer all the questions with confidence, thanks to great memory skills. The final piece of coursework, due in yesterday, was all about psychotherapy, a subject close to my heart. I had to design a course of therapy for a client with high levels of anxiety, integrating person-centred and cognitive behavioural theories. I could have been designing a course of therapy for myself!
I’ve done a lot of reading on therapy this term, and so I know all about the techniques that a therapist would use to treat anxiety. I know that graduated exposure to feared situations is the best form of treatment for someone like me, who has spent his whole life avoiding those situations and allowing the fear to persist. I know that my anxiety is the result of a set of cognitive distortions, which have told me all my life that the world is out to get me. To achieve life change, an excessively anxious person needs to confront the fears and change their beliefs.
Now that I know the ‘secret’ of what therapy does, I’m once again left wondering whether a new course of therapy would really work for me. My doctor seems to think it would; she said that people who treat themselves by reading up on the theory tend to skip steps. I suppose it would be nice to try the therapy out in vivo again. I know that I still have changes to make in my life, and if I am to achieve my long term ambition of becoming a therapist, I will have to take a course of personal therapy eventually.
Now that University is just about over for me, it feels like the end of another era. Four years ago when I finished University the first time, I was heartbroken, because I didn’t want to leave that life behind. Of course, I didn’t leave that life behind in the end because I came back home and continued drinking in the way that I had been drinking for the past three years. A year later I returned to University and it was like starting all over again.
This time, I know that I really have to leave my student days behind me. I’m ready to move on; I really want and need to start working for a living. If at some point in the future I decide to pursue my dream of therapy, I will have to return to University to train, but at the moment I feel like that’s a very long way off. I need a break from education, if anything. I don’t know what job I’m going to do now. I’ve put off looking so far in order to be able to focus 100% on my studies.
I didn’t want to start looking until the 5th of June, after my final presentation. Right now I’m thinking it might be a good idea to start looking at options this week. I might as well prepare myself. This is like going back to 2001, back to the position I was in when I was about to leave home for the first time. I knew my life was about to change in the biggest way imagineable. I was scared, and unsure, and excited about the future. Today, I feel that way again, even though the circumstances are slightly different. Seven years ago I was about to leave home and discover the world for the very first time; today I know what the world is like, I’ve lived away from home and I’ve done all the wonderful social things that I’d missed out on prior to turning 18. The change that’s about to take place in my life this time is all about responsibility: that difficult and important thing that I wasn’t ready to acknowledge seven years ago. I’m a bit nervous right now, but somehow I know everything’s going to be all right, because it always is. Maybe this is the Prozac working, I don’t know. I think being sober and feeling all right about myself is a good position to be in as I take this, the biggest step of all.