After such an exciting first week on my Counselling Masters course, I found myself struggling at the beginning of my final week of the intensive fortnight. I have been unfocused in lectures, agitated and a little overwhelmed by all the information. Mix this with another long week of commuting and you find yourself with a case of intensified OCD!
A big part of my obsessive worrying towards the start of the week was about finding myself a placement in order to complete my compulsory 100 hours of “hands on” experience. I have spent my time in lectures endlessly googling organisations that might have me when I should have been practising the art of being present! I’ve been routinely sending emails advertising myself in the hope that somewhere might just think “We’ve found THE ONE!” (joking…). Now, I’m sure that researching and contacting places can be a very normal protocol for students looking for placements on educational courses, but the way in which it can affect someone with OCD, as it has me, is completely obsessing to the point where you are unable to think of anything else.
The best way to describe my experiences such as this is, I can’t just be. Every time I find a blank space amongst my thoughts (which isn’t very often I will add) I fill it with worry. I have been manically checking my emails to monitor any changes and it just becomes exhausting. I’ve also spent a lot of my week considering and dwelling on all the possible “what ifs?”. This is the most excruciating task of all because, and I hate to break this to you, you’re just never going to have all the answers! I am always completely guilty of this.
However, towards the end of the week, things did improve in terms of obsessively worrying about a placement. We had a whole day dedicated to exactly that where we received so much useful information and could ask all the questions we wanted. I even potentially have three different placement applications to get stuck into now whereas at the beginning of the week, I had none!
I do know deep down that everything will get sorted. I will find a placement somewhere and all the worrying will be wasted time. It’s like a default setting that I just can’t stop from activating from day to day. I’m always in a rush to get things done and I just put myself under way too much pressure! I want things sorted immediately and when I think about this rationally, that’s just unrealistic. After all, it is only my second week on a course that can last 2 years.
My mum always says to me: “you can’t eat an elephant in one sitting”. I hope this phrase helps some of you as much as it can help me.