I have been reading a lot today, I should really go out in the beautiful sunshine but I haven’t psyched myself up for that yet.  One of the books I m reading at the moment is ‘Teach Yourself Happiness’, I have to say I really like the Teach Yourself series of books.

One of the exercises it suggests is to write a list of your failures and try to understand how they have been positive experiences for you.


So here goes, I might find this quite difficult.

  • I failed my driving theory test – this was the first test I ever failed (I was 17)and it was because I was too cocky.  I had heard the test was quite simple and so I never took it seriously, I didn’t even buy the official book or do any revision for it.  I failed by 1 mark and I was devastated.  However it did teach me an important lesson about being prepared, take things seriously and don’t be big-headed.
  • I failed medical school – when I was 18 I got the grades to get into medical school to become a doctor which was a huge achievement.  However, due to many difficulties there I ended up dropping out before I completed my training.  This was a huge source of embarrassment for me and I didn’t tell a lot of people, in fact I made up excuses about why I wasn’t there anymore.  The truth is that this was the time my bipolar really became evident and I was deeply unwell.  I took myself off travelling instead of attending placements and went on huge drinking binges instead of studying.  Sadly I didn’t learn from this as I should have done as these mistakes happen later in my life but looking back now I have learned from them, I now know to get help at the early stages of an episode.
  • I failed at my first teaching position – a similar picture to my medical school days.  I worked hard to get my teaching qualification but threw it away by letting the stress of teaching get to me.  Again I didn’t learn from this at the time as I repeated the mistake later on but hindsight allows me to realise I needed to ask for help sooner.
  • I failed at being a friend – this is perhaps the most difficult one to write about and I don’t think I’m ready to disclose fully on here what happened.  I failed a best friend and lost her from my life as a result.  Again alcohol was to blame and what I did learn from this was to carefully watch what I drink.  It has also made me very cautious of forming friendships again as I don’t want to let people down which is something I need to work on.
  • I failed at being married – the failure was on both of our parts and I think we were equally to blame for the marriage failing.  It has taught me a lot though and I now think my current relationship is much stronger as a result.  I am better at communicating what I want in a relationship, more open about my feelings and I feel more confident that this relationship will last.
  • I failed at being a support worker – another job I failed at because my bipolar flared up.  However my lesson learned is that I need to look after myself when I am working and find a job that isn’t as emotionally draining.
  • I failed at being a mother – I don’t think I have completely failed at this as I still have a very close and fantastic relationship with my daughter but there was definitely a period where my mental illness was too bad that I couldn’t be the mother I wanted to be.  However this taught me a very valuable life lesson and I now put NOTHING between me and her.
  • I failed at being a daughter – another hard one and something I struggle a lot with.  I do not cope with my mum’s illness and alcoholism and wonder if I have given up on her too quickly.  At the moment I can’t face forming a new relationship with her as she has hurt me too much.  It has taught me a very valuable lesson that people must want to change for themselves.

As expected, this exercise was very tough and it has taken me most of the day to do in small chunks.  I don’t know if I feel better or worse for doing it.  I don’t even know if I recommend anyone else does it but I suppose it has helped me get some of my thoughts sorted in my head.