10 years ago, I beat hundreds of applicants to start training in what I thought was going to be the career of my dreams, the training was split 50% university, 50% mentored clinical placement, and I adored my time with my cohort at university, but the placement I just couldn't hack. The dread and anxiety leading up to placement days was so bad that I ended up with permanent nausea and diarrhea, even on non-placement days, because I was dreading the next placement day so much.
I made myself so ill with it, that I eventually gave up my training - it was heartbreaking to give up my dreams, but I didn't really have a choice, I couldn't carry on as I was.
The university sent me for counselling to come to terms with dropping my training, and very soon I had sessions with a therapist that I loathed with a passion - I know now that my loathing wasn't really about her, it was about not wanting to face up to things, I dreaded seeing her too, and after the session where she referred to me as having been abused by my parents, and I argued that i hadn't, and she argued back with me "do you think this is how everyone treats their children?" and I said that yes I did, I thought it was normal, and she looked at me and told me that I was a typical abused child, abused children always think that what they suffered was just okay and normal.... and I fled from her office that day, shouting "I was not, not, NOT abused"....I was in such denial, I didn't want to face it, but she planted a seed that helped me over the years to accept that maybe I had, and maybe I did need help.
With my most recent therapist, we did talk about my failed career attempt quite often, as it had left me scared to try anything new that I thought I wanted to do, and realised that behind most of the dread, lay the fear of being "judged", my background was so critical and judgemental, I spent most of my life living in fear of being judged even just walking down the street or answering the telephone,, but being mentored and having reams of skills assessments to complete, was inviting judgement, was knowing that my every move was being judged, not "might be judged".
The good news is, that 10 years later, I'm in training for a slightly different career, but I sit in a room every week, where I know I'm being assessed all day long on everything I say and do, and there is a particular part of the day where I'm being scrutinised by 2 peer observers and a tutor/assessor, who all sit round me in a circle, waiting for me to slip up, so that they can scribble it on their forms and give me constructive feedback on it later on.
But I am fine, I can handle it, I was a bit anxious the first few times, but I'm quite relaxed about it thesedays, I certainly don't give it any forethought prior to the event... and so I guess I am roof that therapy works, that self-worth can be imbued, and that we can change, as not to live a life of dread.
There is just one thing that I still haven't cracked, that I still dread, and that is driving on highways or unfamilar places at rush hour, the driving on highways is verging on phobic, and I avoid it at all costs, but just the feeling of dread if I know I have to drive somewhere unfamiliar - is awful, and starts days in advance.
I did do a little bit of work on it in therapy, but it was like once I proved that I could go on the highway, I never did it again... whereas really it needs a sustained effort until it seems "normal", and I am choosing of my own free will to take the highway to places.
But I will crack it, it is the one thing that still holds me back in life, so I have to!