Thrilled to share that I have just been accepted into postgraduate studies researching mental illness recovery education for children, teens & adults – including developing creative and innovating materials. (Inclusive Education)
I’ll also be extensively writing and publishing my personal experiences over five years with Bipolar and how learning, art and education has helped me to recover and continues to do so today, as an educator with a lived experience of mental illness.
This means it is going to be a 4.5 year full time, full on journey which will hopefully culminate in the completion of a PhD. (As Gracie said, this means you will be Dr. Mum! – “but not in the useful medical way” as my Mum used to say when I talked about a doctorate 18 years ago on a different topic. She always knew how to keep me honest and grounded. The irony of a person with a lived experience of mental illness becoming a doctor of any kind doesn’t escape me either. 😉
I’ll be doing this under the supervision of Dr. Ben Whitburn who will also be my co-researcher. Ben also has a disability and is recipient of the American Educational Research Association’s Disability Studies in Education Junior Scholar Award in 2014. He is also a postgraduate lecturer in Inclusive Education and has a witty, brilliant and wicked sense of humour.
To be honest, I don’t know if I will ever be ‘as good’ and ‘as sharp’ as I was BBD (before Bipolar Disorder) as per the letter above from Harvard University – a constant reminder. Its a completely different ballgame in a very familiar area and one I walked away from five years ago. Reconciling the old thinking capabilities with the new will raise demons, frustrations and throw grenades into places and ways I’ve ignored or have yet to come to terms.
I’m under no delusions of the task that lays ahead. My brain isn’t what it used to be, neither is my body, my moods and even Frank who, together with the kids is supportive and brilliant. But, if we can build – and I’ve got the right systems and tribe in place in combination with The Heartworks Creative then I’ll try. If I fail, I fail but I know I have given it a crack and will hopefully make a difference in any small way to the lives of others by giving back to community in gratitude, humility and through education. “You gotta risk it to get the biscuit”.
I’m also aware there will be naysayers as what am embarking on is Herculean, challenging and confronting. However, to quote Brene Brown, “If you are not in the arena getting your arse kicked too, I’m not interested in your feedback.”
Here’s to new beginnings and new ways of thinking, living and being. 😁❤