Many years ago when I was in my early 20’s I decided that I would like a career as we had two children and I was a young mum so I left highschool and went straight to being mummy. So, I went back to college and resat my GCSE’s. I then moved on to an Access to Higher Education course which is the equivalent to A-levels. After that I gained a place on a Social work degree and passed the first year. In the second year I became unwell and ended up having to withdraw in January 2007.
I did not know at the time but this was when I first became unwell with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). It was a difficult time and struggling financially added to the problems. In early 2014 I felt well enough to start putting my life back together so I contacted the university. They said that if I returned to the degree I would have to start again as so much had changed.
Here we go again!
So, I started again in year one of the social work degree in September 2014. The problem was that not only had social work changed over those years that I was away, I had also changed too. My mental health had been through the ringer and even though I was through the other side of the CFS, I still have lasting effects from the illness. Academically I was sailing through, but the actual placements, working with other social workers was where I was really struggling.
As nothing is ever plain sailing, I had a placement breakdown in year two so I had to start year three in a different year group. Then when I returned to year three I was not allowed to do my social work placement as I had been ill with whooping cough for the three months before I went back. The university decided that I was not mentally strong enough, so I did all of the academic work including my dissertation which I passed with a ‘first’. I then had to return to another year three group the year after to complete my 100 day social work placement for the last 40 credits to complete my degree.
Something was not right
As time went on I knew that this was not right for me but at the same time I wanted to be able to provide for my family. I wanted my family to be proud that I had finished what I had started. However, when I started the last placement I was so unhappy and I started to feel unwell again but I kept pushing on.
In January 2019, with just 50 days to go to be awarded a social work degree, I left. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. I kept thinking about all of the work that I had done and how I have nothing to show for it. Not forgetting the student loan debts I have collected as well! I was also extremely worried about what on earth I was going to do instead! I was terrified to tell my husband that I did not want to be a social worker anymore, as he had been such a support over all of the years and I felt like such a failure and that I was letting him down.
I am blessed as he said that although we would struggle with money, he just wanted me to be happy. Being at home every day in the January I learned how unhappy Faith was at school and how she was being bullied. After much discussion with Darren and Faith in the February we decided to homeschool Faith. Something that I would not have been able to do if I had still been working my social work placement.
We decided to put both mine and Faiths mental health before wealth. As I had been blogging on and off over the years we decided that I would put more energy into that, along with homeschooling Faith.
Living with health before wealth
15 months later and I am not going to lie, it has been a battle trying to survive on one income. However, I have never ever felt as good as I do now. I wake up excited to start the day and the voices in the back of my mind that were always so loud, are rarely loud enough to notice. The voices that use to tell me how I was ugly, stupid, lazy, a bad parent, worthless etc. have faded.
Instead I have developed a new found confidence and it feels fantastic. For the first time in my life, I am not hiding away. I have even started my own YouTube channel! Faith is also doing much better, she is loving homeschool and it has brought us closer together as well. Faith’s confidence has also improved ten fold.
It can be difficult at times and as much as I love social media, it can be hard seeing people with beautiful homes, going on lots of holidays and buying lots of nice things. Especially when you are struggling to just keep the electric meter going. However, when I think about how things would of been much easier financially if I had qualified, I also remember how awful I would feel on a daily basis and no amount of clothes or holidays will ever beat the feeling of being truly happy in my own skin.
Another thing to remember is that if I had of qualified as a social worker I would of been on the front line during covid-19. So my health would of been even more at risk, especially as it was more than likely that I would have been working in our local hospital.
Are you happy?
Now, I know that not everyone can just stop doing a job that makes them unhappy and I am lucky that my husband supports me but, we are also making many adjustments by putting health before wealth.
I think that if you are struggling like I was in a job or maybe a relationship or anything which makes you so unhappy and unwell then it is important that you think about how you can get out of it. Even if it means that you lose your current lifestyle. In my opinion. people should choose health before wealth every time.