I remember leaving school. I remember preparing for leaving school. I remember waiting for my exam results. Visiting colleges. The dreaded fear as I counted down the final days.
My aim, was to be a Veterinary Nurse, as I wanted to help animals. I tried so hard. But whilst I was studying in Glasgow, I started to develop anxiety. Whilst I had an issue with depression at school, college is where it smashed me in the face. It got harder and harder to continue on. Eventually I failed an exam to get on the next year, and had to get a job in a shop. Which was okay, but I didn't get on with my manager. My anxiety lead to a fear of standing still. If I stood still, then the fact that I failed as a Vet Nurse would catch up.
So I thought about what I wanted to do, as a life. And even as a kid, I either wanted to do art or something with animals. So, I tried animals, so i thought I'd try something more arty. This time I went to a local college to try Art and then Graphic Design. To support this, I left the shop and went to work in a call centre in the evenings. The ambition was there, but at this stage (my 20s) I still hadn't got any help with my mental heal issues. I speak about them, because I can see they were there, when I am looking back. It was whilst I was at college and the call centre that i eventually sought out help. I struggled with college, so I eventually ended up just going full time at the call centre. But I struggled.
Eventually, I was paid off from the call centre for underperforming. Which was hard. But I was so anxious, that I felt I was a burden to everyone around me. I couldn't sleep before work, and I would frequently end up in tears during the shift. Although I was in despair at the time, I didn't realise how much I hated the job till I never had to go back. I spent about 6 months, whilst looking for jobs, learning how to look after myself. I was in the worst mental state I had been in through my whole life. I was self-harming and didn't want to live. I only saw what I had failed at, and wanted to give up.
I spent time with friends and family, made effort, found the things that made me happy again. And about 4 years ago, I applied for a job at a local warehouse. A job I was permanent in after 12 weeks, and that I am still at. I work long shifts, but short weeks, and this has enabled me the time I needed to continue to work on myself. And it helped. I like my job, I like the people I work with, but I still feel I could do more. So I applied to the Open University to do an IT course. I have always been interested in computers, so it would be interesting. And because I have healthier ways of dealing with any mental health issues, I think I am more prepared than before, to work on a course.
I guess that is my message of this post. What you may have in mind for your career might not pan out. But it is no reason to give up. There are so many pathways available to you, so try not to lose awareness of that. Not everyone gets lucky at their first career choice, but something is there for you. I mean, IT might hot be the thing for me, but life is too short to not try.