No money, a rickety old bike for transport, weekends of working in a café and surviving on a pittance. I chose this new life and I had to get on with it.
The great thing about being in college every day was that I felt as if I was no longer connected to the world as I knew it. Nothing touched me, nothing hurt me, I was OK and I felt really happy. I loved being there, the hard work, the challenges and all that it offered, was exciting.
However, the nights were hard. Wave after wave of despair would sweep over me. I had told a friend I would never harm myself but there were occasions when I wish I just did not wake up. She was so concerned she rang me every single day for a year at 7.30 a.m. just to make sure I was OK, only stopping when she knew I was coping better.
One day I thought enough was enough. I bought myself a book, and called it my Angry Book. Instead of crying I wrote down everything that hurt me and made me angry. It really worked. Words fell on the pages and the tears fell away.
Friends at college were incredibly kind and supportive. Students who had little to share, brought in extra sandwiches for my lunch. Washing powder for one wash, a small piece of chocolate left on my desk. I was touched to the core of my very being to receive such acts of kindness.
One student on learning that I had to ride a bike to college, went out of her way to collect me and bring me home each day. On one of the worst days I had encountered, she had driven home, and unbeknown to me told her husband and children she was going back to collect a friend who was very sad. When I got there, they had made up a bed on a settee. The oldest boy took me to the bed, patted the pillows and said that they had made it to make me feel happy again. I was overwhelmed.
Life went on. The divorce dragged on and as painful and unbearable as it was I knew it was the right decision.
College life consumed me, the staff and students lifted my spirits and my friends at home held hands to protect me until I could cope better.
I had finally turned the corner and the second year of my Course was about to begin. There was a bright light at the end of the tunnel. I felt good.