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Mental Health Use this forum to share your mental health concerns and to seek advice.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Celyn Offline
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Counselling and teaching degree - January 6th 2013, 11:22 AM

I was sexually abused as a child, and believed to have had some form of "depression" and "anxiety" when I was 12-14. Nobody knows I was sexually abused, but I had told my parents that I felt "depressed" (I was always crying, never happy, couldn't sleep, ill). This went on for about 2 or 3 years, but each year it got better. However, I think I had anxiety, perhaps social anxiety. I used to run and hide in my room if we had visitors, I felt sick every morning before school, I hated shopping, talking to people, using public transport. I think I might've had panic attacks. I remember being in school, just standing there, and I felt really weird, like I was more sensitive to my senses and my breathing was faster and my heart rate was faster and I felt shaky. I described this to my parents at the time, but they laughed at me. So basically, I don't know if I was depressed and had anxiety, and I was not taken to the doctors and not diagnosed.

Currently, I am not depressed, as I am nothing like how I used to be. But, I don't know if this is PMS (I'm trying to figure it out), but I get overly sensitive around that time (which is normal, apparently), but the other day I got yelled at by my mum, and I went to my room, cried, linked it back to my past, went through my entire life story and googling things about abuse, neglect, depression etc, and then after a while I was ok. But this has happened before, and it can be for hours or days, that I will be stuck going through my past, and then I waste time and find I can't concentrate well on work. Social anxiety is improving, but I still get nervous in social situations.

I was looking into counselling, I want to get my problems sorted before I start my teaching degree. But half the time, I feel that I'm being stupid and don't need counselling. My mum does not believe that teenages/young adults can get depressed or anxiety, so if I had counselling, I KNOW she would not support me. She laughed at my brother 2 months ago, because he said he got nervous going out. A diagnosis/more information is not going to change her mind.

Then I found out there is a "Fitness to teach" medical form/check up, for the teaching degree (I'm not applying right now, but I will be in September). I have no idea what to do about that. I can't say there is a history of depression, as I never was diagnosed, and the first thing they do is talk to your GP. But I don't know if I will be able to cope because the degree is really stressful, and I will be afraid of things getting worse and not being able to give the degree my full attention. If I get counselling soon, then they might not let me on the course as it will look like I am having problems now. If I don't get counselling and need it when I do the degree, what would happen if they found out I might've been depressed before, but didn't say anything due to lack of evidence? I'm also worried about the fact that because I was sexually abused as a child, if people find out, would they stop me from doing a teaching degree?

I was thinking of self help first, and then, if I really can't manage it, counselling and I will simply have to include it on the form, and if they don't let me on the teaching degree, I will have to have a gap year. I wish things weren't so mess up. I am trying.
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Re: Counselling and teaching degree - January 6th 2013, 12:16 PM

Hello. First of all, depression is a very real thing for teenagers and young adults, so don't go doubting yourself or think you're being stupid, some people just don't understand it unless they've gone through it themselves. This does sound like PMS, but if problems from your past are coming back due to it, then it may be best to get help with these so that they don't have as much control over you.
As for your degree, if you don't have the diagnosis then they don't have any evidence of your issues and can't do anything. But if you did choose to go for counselling (which I highly recommend) then I'm sure they can't discriminate against you, especially as you would be getting help for it too. I don't know the legislation for teaching degrees, but I'm going through a lot of stuff while doing a psychology degree (ironic, I know) and the uni is actually supporting me.
Sorry if I haven't answered your questions properly, feel free to message me
Good luck!
Sophie xx
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Re: Counselling and teaching degree - January 10th 2013, 09:18 PM

Is there an organization or department you can call, in order to find out what happens if someone has a history of depression? You could use a pseudonym when calling, so regardless of what they say, it won't be held against you as a prospective applicant.

I am a marriage and family therapist trainee, and believe me when I say that psychological professionals have mental health issues, just like everyone else. Many of my colleagues see therapists of their own - they have a responsibility to themselves, and their clients, to be mentally "fit." Some of my colleagues were also diagnosed with mental illnesses prior to enrolling in the program - one had even been in a residential treatment program. These histories did not hinder my colleagues from being accepted into the program; however, one colleague did eventually drop out of the program, as she was beginning to relapse and needed to focus entirely on herself.

Basically, I feel it's worth seeking help, even if it could set you back career-wise. Yes, you may be able to "hold out" for nine more months... but what if you can't? You have a responsibility to yourself, and your future clients, to be mentally "fit" whenever you begin to function as a psychological professional. If the people who offer this degree can't understand that... well, then I'm concerned about the state of mental health care in your country! It is estimated that 1 in 4 individuals suffer from a mental illness at some point in their lives (and it's probably higher than that, since many people never seek help). There is no shame in dealing with your issues, whether they be minor or major.

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Re: Counselling and teaching degree - January 10th 2013, 10:41 PM

Hmm. In my opinion 12-14 is way too far back in your history for anyone to care. Personally, I disclose as little as possible about health matters, physical or mental.

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  (#5 (permalink)) Old
Celyn Offline
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Re: Counselling and teaching degree - January 12th 2013, 04:21 PM

Thanks for replying, guys!

Psy- I don't know if there is a department I could call- I'll have to look into that! Some have said they included depression and weren't allowed on the course, others have said they were allowed, so I don't know

I've decided to try to manage things on my own, and am starting self help in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. I'll see how it goes, and if I can't manage I'll get professional help
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