Rage v. despair

Somewhere on the spectrum between rage and despair, there’s a point where you can direct your energy to actually getting things done. At least I hope there is.

A good friend of mine has been trying to better himself. He was recently in the depths. But now he’s recovered. One of the benefits of his repeated dark times over the years, has been the building of an extensive experience of tough living. In the past he has used this experience and empathy to help others. But now he wants to get some proper paper qualifications.

For someone conditioned to expect disappointment, knock backs and general instability – applying for and commiting to a long term academic course is daunting. Not just financially (that’s a whole other issue), but also psychologically. Not a step to be taken lightly.

So the route goes via the Job Centre – then the Shaw Trust (which is contracted to help people like my mate) – who then direct him towards an appropriate course and help with the application. Great. It’s a course in counselling other people. Perfect.

So he applies. He completes an assessment test. He writes an excellent assignment. He waits. This morning he receives a response from the person in charge of adult learning for the area.

Rejected.  Not because his application failed. Not because he failed the assessment test. Not because of his written assignment.

It turns out the course was already full. And had been for months. Even better, it had already begun before he was directed to apply.

Maddening. It’s almost as if cunningly planned by the “advisor” to dredge up any remaining hopes from an individual just so they can be crushed.

Sure, you may think it’s up to people to sort themselves out. Don’t go looking for help in the first place. Rely on yourself so you can be sure of what you’re getting into.

Many of us can and do. Some of us, however, can achieve wonderful things and overcome great challenges with just a little help at the right time. But that little bit of help at the right time can be vital – especially if your life, from the earliest days, has been troubled. (No need for details on that just now.)

I’m angry. Angry at the blythe insouciance of those who toy with people’s lives in such a casual way. They hook on a smile, bounce you off, tick the box marked “job well done”, and are heedless as to the outcome.

Overreaction? Not the end of the world? Maybe and yes. It’s certainly not the first time. Far from it.

So now we’re looking for that place on the spectrum between rage and despair, to hook up  again our own smiles, to try again, to keep the head up, to perservere, all those sorts of things – and not sink back down to the depths.

Luckily my friend has something excellent going for him. His character. So I’m optimistic. As usual.

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1 Comment

Filed under friends

One response to “Rage v. despair

  1. Basil Dajani

    Well said. Not like you to be cross but this is definitely a justified cause. Good luck to your friend. A simple call at the first stage would have saved your friend a significant amount of grief. But do they care? They do tend to care if a well-constructed letter of complaint is delivered to them…

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