Clinical Psychology — How it Changed My Life: My Story

What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up? Living in Poland in the early 2000’s was never easy. Till this day I can recall certain memories from my childhood as early as 3 years old like they happened yesterday. I lived with my parents, sister, grandmother, uncle, and aunt with her boyfriend in a small house.

At the time of my existence, my grandmother was undiagnosed, living with an awful condition, Paranoid Schizophrenia, along with her 7 siblings, whom I never met but only heard stories about, who were also living with this condition. Follow on for Clinical Psychology — How it Changed My Life: My Story…

I witnessed my grandmother do awful things to our family without ever understanding why she did what she did. Until my father packed our bags one day, and with almost no money to our name – moved our family to the United Kingdom, where we made home and have now lived for 16 years.

Growing up in the United Kingdom, I would experience a lot of trauma symptoms, affecting me and others around me – I had a lot of changing to do, I was a very self-aware child and every day I would sit in a window, and apologize to God – who I believed in at the time, and say “tomorrow I will be better, I promise”.

It wasn’t until I watched the series “Bones” with my parents every other weekend, where I learned about psychology from a character from the show, and when my parents would ask ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ I answered: ‘A psychologist, like Lance from Bones – because he can understand minds’.

From the tender age of 10, nothing changed – I was determined to be a psychologist. I wanted to better understand myself and others, so I could help whatever was happening on a mental level.

Enter Psychology

One of my first psychology research interests was always Schizophrenia, growing up my grandmother was undiagnosed – but that was because she did not want to see a doctor. Until she had no choice and while we were in England, she had a concussion where she was hospitalised, stayed hospitalised and then was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia – the worst type of Schizophrenia where patients experience delusions, auditory and visual hallucinations, unusual beliefs and debilitating thoughts – she was never thinking clearly.

Knowing this condition could be ‘genetic’ since her siblings displayed symptoms – I did not want the same to happen to me. Therefore, I made sure I would be as informed as possible ‘before it happens’.

I had very good grades throughout my education, being an immigrant who spoke some English, and achieving high grades. Education was always my priority, I was always pushed by my parents and reminded of the opportunity I have to live a new, and better life in the UK, and I did not want to take it for granted.

In my free time I would research therapy techniques, methods, and experiment with my high school friends whenever one of us had a problem. Whether it was with each other, or a home issue we’d go to a ‘Religious room’ intended for prayer on break time. I would be the ‘psychologist’ and attempt to ‘fix’ the problem. I do not recall what I did or if I was good, but I was always the psychologist, and my friends always saw me fit for the role.

Learning more about psychology made me a more compassionate person. I could talk to any type of person no matter how ‘bad’ or ‘strange’ they seemed to others because I understood they’re the way they are for a reason. Something happens to all of us, and we are who we are for a reason. I want to help as many people as I can. Even if I can help just one, it’s worth it.

A New Chapter

I began my psychology studies in 2019, at Staffordshire University, and I knew I had to do my best, and I did. I managed to achieve first class honours in both year one and two. Even though those years were remote due to the pandemic, I achieved the highest scores in every module, and I can finally say that I am proud of where I am today.

In 2022, I decided to take a placement year which extended my studies by a year. It was one of the best decisions I made for myself – going to New York to do an amazing internship for three months, and finishing the year as a Research Assistant along with some amazing Professors from my university.

Despite all the struggles, living with trauma, and depression which comes back from time to time – I have found ways to cope. I love journaling, taking a deep breath in stressful situations, and having real faith that everything bad will go away – because it will, it always does.

Accepting who we are, and what happens to us, is one of the greatest forms of self-help – being okay with the past, and making attempts toward a better future, are all great steps we can all take.

I wish to do research in the future that will help others, and provide therapy for people who struggle with their mental health – I want people to feel less alone and understand that nothing is totally their fault.

We humans; despite being so incredibly unique, make life really complicated, and people need support and guidance on how to navigate the mental morass. Everyone deserves help, and even though nothing worthwhile comes easy, there is no harm in trying either. Take a deep breath, be grateful and just look how far you’ve come.

If you’re into psychology, let us know what intrigues you most about it in the comments below and join in the conversation on FacebookTwitter & Instagram

Natalia Bednarz

Natalia Bednarz is a 23-year old first class honors student at Staffordshire University, studying Forensic Psychology. Invested in the human condition, she has a variety of psychology research interests into therapy methods, gender stereotypes, schizophrenia and major depression. She has a passion for delving into the human psyche. Her goal is to become a licensed psychologist and achieve a PhD in Clinical Psychology. She believes everyone deserves help and it is far more exciting to find the good in people rather than dwell on the bad in them.

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