I’m barely re-surfacing after an exhausting 6 weeks applying to school for social work. Yep, I’m taking the plunge again … Last time I was in grad school studying anthropology. That was when fibromyalgia hit and I had to withdraw. I’ve spent the last 18 months trying to figure out what could come next. It has to be something part time, that primarily involves sitting and talking. I can only do computer work with voice to text software, as my shoulder trigger points get all achy if I type. I can only read with a fancy book stand. I can hand write and text some, but not enough for extensive paperwork. I’ve thought of things like being a nutritionist, acupuncturist, English teacher and therapist/counselor.
The last one ended up making the most amount of sense. When I was a teenager I wanted to be a psychologist, and it’s something I’ve always been interested in. Generally I’ve always wanted to be in a ‘helping’ career and been fascinated by people. Before fibromyalgia that translated into international development (think organizations like UNICEF, Oxfam, Save the Children) and studying anthropology (society and culture).
Studying social work qualifies me to be a counselor/ psychotherapist/ mental health worker where I live. It also would let me continue with international development or a lot of other interesting things like immigration settlement work if I regain my health. I like not shutting doors. I found some flexible fast track bachelor of social work degrees online and one class based one at home.
It was incredibly stressful to get in touch with profs from my previous university for references. I had a terrible experience with the onset of fibromyalgia and trying to stay in school. My supervisor told me I didn’t have enough of a ‘go-getter’ attitude when I asked for accommodation! No one wrote me after I withdrew to see if I was ok. I was so miserable day after day trying to wring as much work out of myself as I could, even as I lost abilities like typing, reading paperwork without a book stand, sleeping, sitting for long periods etc. I have been looking ahead ever since I left to the future, and it was really hard to look back.
It was tough trying to organize the logistics of assembling all the documents and sending them to the different schools through brain fog. Writing a ‘personal statement’ was not as bad, but I noticed the differences in my energy and ability to think clearly and it was frustrating. I also didn’t pace myself like I should have because I wanted to get it over with!
I actually missed my ‘normal’ fibro life. I missed my weekly qi gong, stretching, strengthening, meditation. I felt the difference of not doing it too! I missed blogging, library talks, coursera courses, coffee with friends etc. But it felt good to have a challenge that would move me forward in life. I’m looking forward to taking classes online (part time of course), practicum/internships and maybe one day being a fully fledged counselor!
Wish me luck! I’m already planning my back-up for “when I don’t get in” (I’m a glass half empty type). Need to think positive!