When I asked for help on placement

Since starting this blog I have had many students contact me, sharing their mental health struggles.

Firstly, thank you for reaching out to me and sharing your stories, you are truly incredible warriors. You will all make fabulous clinicians. Your messages have made me reflect on my own experiences as a student and my journey.

I was not diagnosed with BPD until after finishing my studies. Oblivious to me, I had suffered for a very long time. I had no self-awareness into how destructive my behaviours were.

Therefore, I think it is incredible that you are completing the course with a self-awareness into your health conditions. However, you do not need to suffer in silence.

On my final placement in a mental health setting, the reality of the patient’s narratives hit too close to home and I had a mental break down. This began my therapeutic journey.

I was so blessed to be amongst OTs that were incredibly supportive. Within about an hour of reaching out to a teacher at uni, supports were beginning to be put in place. Within 24 hours I had gone from feeling the world imploding around me with no space to breathe, to completing placement on a part time basis and having additional time to complete my final assignments towards becoming an OT.

In my mind I thought, if I couldn’t continue my HD student status there was no point finishing the course. Years later I now appreciate how strong I was in asking for help and how amazing my teachers were in tailoring the workload to my needs. These incredible teachers and supervisors encouraged me to continue the course and be realistic in my appraisal of my self.

If you are struggling, I encourage you to think about reaching out and finding a teacher that you know who cares about the wellbeing of students. If you don’t have a teacher you feel comfortable sharing with, reach out to the disability support unit.

Teachers truly care about their students, after all, they are human. Yes, they want you to finish the course because we need more fabulous OTs, but more importantly, they want you to do so whilst looking after yourself first.

Laura xx

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