Currently, my twitter seems to exist for the purpose of pushing my books. However, it is this way for a reason. So, if I can forgo the humour and the dryness for a short while - I shall expose my life with some sincerity.
Before I did all this writing and blogging and everything - I was stable, it might even be said I was happy. I was living with a partner, she and I were quite happy. I had a part-time job and I was studying full-time to be a zoologist. I had always wanted to study biology, and it had been a fight to get there.
It started out around…Christ, nearly 5 or 6 years ago now. I was working full-time then as an insurance customer service rep (hence the inspiration for Gordon in Easy as a Bee, See?) …and it caused me a lot of problems. I was deeply unhappy and unfulfilled and decided that since I was still young I had a chance to change it. I got a place at a college to study A-levels (I had AS levels but no complete A-levels - which were rather required for a place at uni) but had to drop out after I ran out of money. My family were not rich and I became rather a burden on them with my ambitions not really bringing anything into the house money-wise.
So I moved to live with my then partner and, a few months later, one of the universities I had applied for got in touch with me about whether or not I still wanted to study. They told me that I could do a foundation year to make up for my lack of A-levels and that I could then study with them. I could not afford to move and by this time I had my part-time job also - so I had to travel in, daily. The journey took a couple of hours each morning, and I had to wake up at 4:40am in order to catch the train to get there. I could not afford a car. (These details are being put in for the doubting bastards who claim I want something for nothing and am not willing to work hard!)
This foundation year went very well, and I achieved well and - on account of my good results and my other friends from the course moving on to different places I decided to chance my arm with a new uni application. It worked. I got a place at a very good university - one of the best in the world for science courses - and what is more it was cheaper, easier and quicker to travel to. It would have all been perfect had it not been for Student Finance fucking up my application, not providing me with money for six months and thus me and my then partner getting into a fair bit of debt. That year at university was also blighted by my losing my Grandmother, my mother developing breast cancer - and me, through all this, continuing to study well and achieve and work part time. On top of visiting sick and/or dying relatives and struggling with a lack of funds working all the hours I could get. (Again, to the doubters - I kept working, I kept going. I didn’t give up, or give in.)
I had a major breakdown in the Easter of that year…two years or so ago now. I’m not talking a breakdown like I was a bit miserable or upset. My brain was, and still is to some extent, very broken. I have to this day General Anxiety Disorder, or GAD. Imagine feeling permanently nervous, like you’re about to take an exam or go on a date - but permanently, and over nothing. That is how I feel many days. At the time, however, I was much worse. I had a panic disorder too. I was in a near-permanent state of panic for about nine months of my life. Imagine that. Consider for a second the kind of panic you might have, for example, if you were to see your child - or a friend or relative - about to be run down by a lorry…And imagine having that permanently for three quarters of a year!!! I do not exaggerate this and I could refer you to my old doctor who saw me in such condition, as to how bad I truly was. If I wasn’t in a state of panic I was in a state of shock that comes after a panic - which is often no better. I was broken.
My relationship broke down as a result of the fallout of this. I tried to find a place where I was so I could keep my job but there was nowhere that would take me. Not with a part-time contract at work and the meagre salary I was on. So I had to move back into the council rented accommodation I had grown up in…A place I had always desperately wanted to escape. I had to leave my job, my life, my friends, my pets, my life…I had to discard it and take a huge backwards step. This led me to the most severe depressed and anxious state I have ever been in - and I tried to kill myself. With utmost seriousness in the attempt. I wanted to die. I saw no future, I saw no hope and I did not want such a life for myself.
It didn’t work…Obviously. And since then I have been working hard to build myself back up and to claim back the life that I had previously lost through illness. Around two and half years this has taken. The last year or so has been focused solely on my writing work and getting me back to university. I want to work hard, I want to study hard. My intention when i went to university was to work hard enough and carve out the opportunities so I could go on to a doctorate. I want to be that scientist. I want the phD and I am willing to work hard for it.
I got back in touch with the university. They are happy to have me back. My place is there, I have sorted my accommodation, I have sorted my student loans. I have done this all whilst keeping up a writing presence and developing a new social life for myself. I have worked hard to get back on my feet. But sadly it could all turn sour through circumstance.
In a chaotic fashion of sensitive dependence on initial conditions, it is going to be much more difficult for me to return no - on account of my mental health and issues that have arisen because of it. I am currently facing a huge shortfall. The student loan I shall receive would just about cover half my accommodation costs but beyond that I have nothing. I owe grant monies back to student finance on account of my having to withdraw within a year - these were used up to keep a roof over the heads of myself and my then partner. I have additional needs, so my accommodation shall cost significantly more than usual - and I have no family members who can provide any sort of financial support. I do not come from a rich family - some may call it humble - and as a result my mother barely has enough to cover her own needs at home, let alone to provide for a son away at university. My father is much the same. I don’t have any family capable of supporting me, and I have few friends also. Many of the friends who could have helped me are graduating this year and moving on…But for circumstance I could be graduating with them.
So I am, for possibly the first time ever, rather firmly asking for help. I refuse to be a slave to circumstance. I have seen what losing hope and accepting defeat has done to people - when my mother limps home from work on her bad ankle, nurses her bad back and talks about how tired she is - I vow to learn from these lessons such that if I am to come home just as aching and decrepit it is from doing something I love. I vowed to achieve, and hopefully earn such that I might provide for others as well as myself. So that my mother and father would be taken care of and many more besides and you can ask many - I am nothing if not a charitable person and hurts me to have to beg, rather than to give. I worked hard to get my place at that university, and I worked hard to keep it. And I have worked damn hard to get myself into a mental state where I can go back. And I have worked damn hard to get all the preparations done so that my place, accommodation and loan is sorted. While doing all this I continued to read, to study, to learn. I also wrote, a lot - the fruits of such efforts are visible here.
Chance dictates that we do not know what shall happen. But when we do know what we need, we can make things happen. I need financial support. Truly, sincerely and desperately. I am a proud person who would not ask for such things were it not my last chance. But this is my last chance. I don’t know what could happen from studying for my Natural Sciences degree - But there are many possibilities - most of them positive. Without the chance to do so that positivity evaporates and I am left languishing where I am - a jobless mental patient living with his mother…
So I am asking, begging even, for help. I need support. I need financial support. A small amount from what is, population wise, a small group of people could help me. And you could be safe knowing that I’m not a slouch and I am working hard to help myself too - so you don’t have to in the future. But I don’t think I should be priced out of what I worked hard for because having a mental disability is expensive.
Please help. In any way you can.
WePay is active - Donate here https://www.wepay.com/donations/get-mercer-to-uni-fundraiser-campaign
I shall also be trying to sort out some fundraising materials and things that - if you cannot give anything yourself - I would be grateful if you could spread in any way you can and is convenient.
Peace and Love.