Question of the day.

Do you prefer pizza or spaghetti?

My answer:

Definitely spaghetti. I like most pasta dishes actually. Pizza, on the other hand, has been on my emetophobic so called no-no foods list for a long time. It never made me vomit, but I often feel awful after it. I have no general problem with gluten or anything like that, I don’t have a weak or easily upset digestive system by any means,either, but pizza I guess just doesn’t agree with me and I suppose it depends what kind of dough it has and how good it is in terms of quality or something like that. These days it’s not like I won’t eat pizza at all, I will if I have to or am very hungry or something, but usually I’d rather avoid it. It’s also not that I don’t like pizza, but I’m not very crazy about it either. The only exception I make is whenever I get to eat home-made pizza somewhere or at a place that I know has good quality pizza. But I still prefer spaghetti.

You? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Would you ever send your kids to boarding school?

My answer:

In strictly practical terms, no, because it’s highly unlikely I’m ever going to have kids, for several different reasons (the fact that I’m blind isn’t one of them, despite what a lot of people think πŸ˜€ ).

Hypothetically, it’s… complicated. As someone who spent 10 years in a boarding school and mostly didn’t like it to put it very concisely, I’m normally inclined to say NO WAY. It’s not that I think boarding schools are bad in general or that my school was bad, I feel like you really have to have a valid reason to do so, unless your kid is like in high school and actually wants it herself because she thinks it’s very cool. Then she has a more or less developed character so you can figure out whether it’s actually a good solution for her. With younger children, unless they have some special needs, disability or severe behavioural problems and there really is no other option, or you’re from some family where education is a priority and you want your child to have the best education possible in the fanciest school in the country because otherwise they’ll be a black sheep in their circle; I can’t think of a rational reason why anyone would want to send a younger child to a boarding school.

In my experience, when I mention someone about my being in a boarding school and not having the best time there, people often jump to a conclusion right away that it’s my parents who are to blame because they should know better and get me out of there earlier if I was struggling. Even my Mum used to think like this and I think she still has some guilt even though I don’t blame her at all. But I really don’t think my parents had a better choice. We had tried one alternative and it didn’t work out for me. And, as I think I’ve already written on here before, boarding school can have a fantastic influence on a child, or it can fuck them up, and you just cannot predict it in an easy way when the child is very young.

I always feel for any child when I hear about them going to a boarding school, even if they don’t feel for themselves at all. That’s just how my brain works now I guess. πŸ˜€ So, based on my previous experience that was mostly negative, it would be only natural that I wouldn’t want the same to happen to my child. Often I even wonder how I’d cope with sending a child to a normal school, and whether I wouldn’t transfer my anxieties around that and my less than enthusiastic attitude towards the education system onto the poor kid before they’d get to form their own opinions and figure out how much they like/don’t like school. I’d probably prefer to do homeschooling/flexi schooling or something like that (I always wanted to be homeschooled as a kid, like that was my biggest dream) only I’d surely have no patience for it and I dislike teaching other people.

On the other hand, I have such a weird tendency though. My Mum said half-jokingly that I should count this as yet another reason not to have kids, and yes, I sort of do. πŸ˜€ I feel like I’d probably be a very extreme parent. Either, like I just said, over-protective, shielding and molly-coddling or sometimes I feel that I would actually do just the opposite thing. I would send my kid to a boarding school, to make someone feel the way I did. I don’t know if it makes sense. I do know though that it sounds very immature and cruel, but I’m not gonna have kids anyway so I don’t think it really matters. Ever since I was a child, I had a weird sense of pleasure of reading books about kids who were sent away from home or had no family or something like that, firstly because I found that more or less relatable, and secondly because it made me see that there is someone who has it worse than myself and it made me feel better. There was one such Polish series I read as a child, (“Ania Z Lechickich PΓ³l” (Anne of Lechite Fields) by Maria Dunin-Kozicka, in case it tells you anything), it wasn’t really for children but it followed the main character – Ania’s – life from her childhood until young adulthood and it’s title was rather suggestive that it was for children, like Anne of Green Gables or something, so I guess that’s how I ended up reading it. Ania, after living a few happy years in a very loving family is sent off to something like an orphanage, because her father died and her mother married her rich childhood friend, who didn’t like Ania, so he arranged it so that her mother would think it’s just for a short while. Then WWII came, and the orphanage relocated to Ukraine, without the family knowing, because of course no one knew she had a family who would be interested in knowing that. She does eventually find a very loving adoptive family and then reunites with her biological siblings as an adult, but the first part of the series describing her childhood is quite harrowing given her personal situation and how painful it is for her as well as the war in the background. And, while I felt for her a lot, in a way it also made me feel good that this girl, even if fictional, had it so much worse and I enjoyed reading about all the difficult stuff in her life.

So, yeah, I don’t really know. Maybe I’d be a very bad mummy and send all my kids to different boarding schools all over the country, or maybe I’d be a good-bad, nurturing and obsessive mummy who would dote on their children all the time like I do on Misha and keep them locked at home like I do with Misha as well. πŸ˜€

You? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

What was the last time you were in a bad mood?

My answer:

Bad mood is quite a relative thing with mental illness I think. πŸ˜€ But I guess I could say I was in a bad mood yesterday evening, when I was feeling quite blue for no apparent reason really, or at least it’s not known to me, and also Stinky Maggie – my inner critic – had a lot to say and was super snarky. Today things are okay and pretty normal.

You? Also, for those of you who struggle with any mental health issues, is it easy/possible for you to distinguish between your symptoms and a simple bad mood? πŸ™‚ I’m curious because for me, while I can definitely say when I’m in a good mood, it really is difficult to differentiate between what’s the illness and what’s a bad mood. I guess it’s bound to be tricky when you have a mood disorder like depression for example.

Question of the day.

Do you ever use dry shampoo?

My answer:

I’ve started using it more often perhaps a year ago, and I believe it was after Niki from Take A Ride on my Moodswing commented on one of my questions where I was asking people something about their hair washing routine, and she mentioned that she finds it difficult due to her mental illness and often uses dry shampoo instead. I only used it before occasionally when travelling or something, but though it was a good way to make life easier sometimes, so the next time I saw it somewhere I got it. These days, most of the time I’m doing well enough that I can do basic self-care stuff and I try to wash my hair twice a week, luckily it doesn’t need more at this point. But when there are times when, either because of feeling very depressed, or being in an AVPD black hole where Maggie – my inner critic – takes things over and I feel a lot of self-loathing and stuff, the last thing I’ll think of is self-care, even as basic as that, ’cause why would I care? The only reason I can think of then is other people and so that it doesn’t feel quite so awful for them to be around me, so I’ll just use the dry shampoo as a bit of a substitute for a proper hair wash. Also when I have a migraine but my hair is really greasy, I find washing my hair a really obnoxious thing, so I’d rather use dry shampoo instead then as well.

How about you? In what circumstances do you use it, if you do? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Are you an early riser?

My answer:

Yes and no. I think I wrote about my crazy weird sleep a lot on here. I don’t like the morning lark/night owl classification of people, well I don’t mind it in general but it just doesn’t really work for me personally because I could say I’m sort of both and neither. πŸ˜€ And I’m sure I’m not alone with this. So in this post, I’ll go beyond just answering the question and try to explain in more detail why this labelling doesn’t work for me and what’s the deal with my sleep exactly, especially for those who don’t know me outside of the blog.

Basically, if you don’t know about it yet, I’ve been totally blind since birth, and totally also includes no light perception, so, quite naturally, my brain has always been more or less confused what time of day, or night, it is, so instead it decides on its own. There were times in my life when I was quite frustrated about this but generally I’m used to it and it’s just how it is.

Whenever my Mum talks about what my siblings and me were as babies and toddlers, she always says that she had no big problems with me in terms of behaviour then, except for sleep, and she learned quickly that mid-day naps were not for me ’cause then I’d be full of beans for most of the night, and that would of course affect my parents as well. I now know that there is something called non-24-hour sleep/wake disorder, which is a circadian rhythm disorder affecting mostly totally blind people, but I only learned about it as an adult and I’ve never found any resources about it in Polish so I don’t think anyone in my surroundings as a child even had an idea about it existing, plus even though a lot of problems that people experience with it sound familiar to me, I’m not sure that that is exactly what is the problem with my sleep, because it’s a bit different for me. I’d say it’s kind of more irregular, but at the same time I guess I seem to struggle with the whole thing less than most people with the condition and it’s easier to manage by things like avoiding naps, while many people who actually have non-24 diagnosed or are very sure of having it don’t seem to be able to resist the urge of napping as easily as I can, and no, I’m not particularly self-disciplined at all, although I do hate naps because they turn my clock upside down, but there are times when you just can’t fight it. I guess in my case, it must be quite a mixture of things causing the circadian rhythm situation that I’m in. I was born with hypopituitarism, and of course pituitary regulates a lot of things, and according to my Mum it’s circadian rhythm as well. I was taking growth hormone injections as a child as I had a deficiency of it and I remember reading somewhere that this hormone plays some kind of a role in regulating the circadian rhythm. And then of course there’s all the mental health stuff on top of it and it definitely has a strong impact on one’s sleep.

At this particular point in my life though, I’m happy to say that it doesn’t really matter whatever the name of my sleep problem is, because I can adjust my life to my brain’s whims if need be, having a very flexible schedule and being in charge of my own time for the most part, not having to work at strictly set times or anything like that, which is a great luxury after having had lived a very structured life earlier at the boarding school, where I felt quite sleep deprived a lot of the time, not just because of the schedule but also because I would often stay awake at night willfully when I could, to be able to do something more than the usual school stuff, like write the Jack Hamilton novel, journal, listen to music or just plain be with myself and my own thoughts, which I felt was essential to my mental wellbeing and for which I didn’t have a lot of space during the day but which also made me a zombie the next morning. I don’t think that, even if I had a diagnosis and a label for it, someone would actually be able to offer me a lot more help. I have an impression that accepting it as something that is a part of me (which of course wouldn’t be as easy if my life right now looked differently) and not fighting this all the time has actually improved my sleep situation over the last five years.

Usually what people say to me when I tell them more about my sleep problem, regardless whether they’re just casual people or some professionals, is that I should try melatonin. Since it’s such an obvious thing to try, I did and a few times. It would always make me feel drowsy during the day even at low doses, and, very bizarrely, I had the weirdest, scariest nightmares on it. Even more bizarrely, I’ve heard I’m not the only one in the blind community who had this experience, even though I also know a bunch of blind people who take it with no problem and it really makes a change for them.

I’d say the way my circadian rhythm works right now is that, most of the time I have a bit of a compromise with my brain, where both of us are having our requirements that need to be met but also try to be flexible as much as possible in regards to one another. I guess people with classic non-24 can’t afford that on a regular basis as their brain are less inclined to make a compromise.

I sometimes say that my brain is in something like a constant mild jet lag, travelling between different time zones. The times when I’m asleep or awake, or at least sleepy and alert, shift in a bit of a cycle. I still haven’t fully figured out how exactly it works, what kind of rules are there at play or maybe how many hours it typically shifts per what amount of time, because time involves too much math for me. And there must be many factors at play which can influence the way this cycle evolves, but there definitely is some sort of a pattern, even if it’s a subtle or a complex one perhaps. I’ve had my iPhone for over half a year now and I’ve been logging my sleep since then, but that hasn’t really given me much more of an idea so far either.

I’d say that one specific trend in my circadian rhythm will usually remain more or less of a thing for about a week, but it also depends on my lifestyle and loads of other things. So my brain may think one week that it’s really cool to wake up at 7:30 AM and go to sleep by 12 AM, which is okay with me too and this is always the sleep schedule I’m trying to aim for, because even if it doesn’t work out, I think it’s better when you have some sort of a reference of when you should/want to sleep and be awake. And then, gradually, I may be waking up later and later and falling asleep later and later, until at some point I won’t be feeling sleepy at night at all and will end up having a zombie day, which is, as you probably know already, what I call a day after a sleepless night. I typically have one zombie day a month, more if I’m stressed or something weird is going on. Zombie days are obviously quite horrid, I don’t think I have to convince anyone as I guess most people have enough first-hand experience of that, but I’m quite used to that and they seriously can have their upsides sometimes. The biggest upside to a zombie day, however, is that it resets my brain clock. It hardly ever happens that I’d have more than one zombie day in a row unless I’m having a lot of anxiety or something else is seriously off. Usually, after a zombie day, I’ll have a fabulous night of restful sleep and, if I go to sleep early enough – that is I think something between 7-9 PM –
chances are high that I’ll wake up feeling very refreshed in the morning and wake up at a decent time similar to when most human beings in my time zone wake up. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be able to fall asleep just as smoothly and decently, but a reset has happened, so I have a chance to try and do everything I can to continue a normal or near-normal sleep-wake cycle for as long as possible.

It doesn’t have to always look this way though, because I can just as well wake up early and go to sleep early, or wake up late and go to sleep early, any combination is possible. What particularly seems to disagree in my case with what I know about non-24 is that for me the amount of time I spend awake or asleep also shifts over time, whereas, at least from what I know, for non-24 folks it’s only the times. It can also change whether the amount of sleep I’m getting feels enough for me, for example I may be sleeping like four hours and wake up refreshed and bursting with creativity, or another time I may be sleeping just as much and feel like I could use some sleep. That’s also been the case lately, since about last Thursday, as I keep finding it difficult to fall asleep at night and usually do about 1 AM, and then wake up about 4-6 AM and would love to sleep more but it just doesn’t work. I still prefer that than over-sleeping which usually makes me feel awful even when it’s actually what I need and is refreshing.

So because of all that, as you can see, I can’t really say whether I am an early riser or not, it really depends. Like I said though, I do try to stick to some kind of sleep-wake routine, by having an alarm set to 7:30 every day and falling asleep by midnight. I do think 7:30 is pretty early. That does help with having a bit of a reference for my brain to what’s relatively normal, or getting back on track faster when things get messed up. I don’t know if that makes me more of an early riser, because even though that’s what I aim for and I manage to succeed sometimes more often and sometimes less, I don’t push myself for all means to get up at 7:30. If I wake up at that time and my brain says “No way, I want to sleep at least three hours more!” that’s what we’re doing, as long as there is nothing I have to do urgently in the morning and nowhere to go. Same about going to sleep. If it’s 11 Pm and my brain clearly doesn’t want to go to sleep, I’m not going to force it unless I really have to do something important the next day in the morning, but even so, I probably won’t be able to fall asleep anyway and will only get stressed about it more when lying in bed than if I were doing something more productive instead until I’ll feel sleepy. And feeling stressed makes me only less likely to fall asleep. I also won’t typically lay in bed if I wake up at 3 AM until my alarm goes off, unless I truly feel I may fall asleep again soon. If I don’t fall back asleep in about 15 minutes, and don’t feel any more sleepy than I did when I woke up, I’ll usually get up, unless I really have no idea what I could be doing this early and don’t feel like getting up. Usually I regret it though, because if I stay awake in bed for too long after having slept earlier, at some point I’ll often start feeling groggy and then drift off straight into sleep paralysis. It’s not the case every single time though, which is why I sometimes fall into this trap, thinking that maybe this time it won’t happen and not wanting to get up at such an insanely early hour, and then it starts happening so quickly that I can rarely pull out of it. Sleep paralysis is one sleep-related thing that I do find very difficult to live with.

I normally try to restrain my brain from sleeping after noon as that hardly ends well and is rarely actually properly restorative, but sometimes is very difficult if not impossible to resist if I had a bad night’s sleep. And like I said I really hate naps and avoid them at all costs. Sometimes when my sleep cycle is really messed up and it bugs me, and I can afford having a super low key, lazy day of doing nothing and possibly being a mental mess, I’ll go as far as to force a zombie day to reset my brain clock. I’ll get as much sleep as possible one night and day, and then won’t go to bed at all the next night. Sometimes that works, but sometimes I have to give up and go to bed early in the morning and sleep through most of the day, other times I just have to have a nap and then end up right where I started off. These days, ever since I’ve started having more frequent migraines, I don’t really do that because it’s a sure thing to give me a migraine, and migraines always make me sleep more so it just no longer works and is generally rather unpleasant and radical.

Other than that, my anti-anxiety medication also works for sleep and it really helps me immensely in crisis situations, but I try to only take it when I absolutely have to, plus I often only know that I’m going to have trouble sleeping when it’s already night, and no point taking anything for sleep at night as that will surely make me properly hungover tomorrow and I hate the feeling with a passion.

And of course I also have a lot of other ways of dealing with all the sleep stuff, which a lot of people typically use when they struggle with it. I have my sleep habits like how many pillows I sleep with, the fact that I listen to music quietly while sleeping or read before falling asleep, etc. and cultivating such habits helps me fall asleep and create a sort of sleepy atmosphere. I love to listen to Misha purring before sleep, even though he never purrs loud. I like having a hot bath before sleep when I can, or a mug of cocoa or something else that would make me feel cosy in a sleepy way. Or I like to imagine something calm and friendly before going to sleep. That doesn’t always work, because I’m a professional ruminator, but when I can focus on all things Bibiel-friendly, the results are often very good.

Okay, now over to you. πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

What was the last thing that made you feel misunderstood?

My answer:

Since I have that thing called AVPD, I feel misunderstood a lot of the time. I don’t really even like admitting that because to me it sounds kind of as if I were so entitled in a way and expecting people to understand me and/or considering myself so exceptional that no one can even begin to get me if they try and how I’m oh so devastated because no one understands me. It’s not really like that, because on the other hand, like I wrote in a post about being understood by people perhaps a month or so ago, I don’t think I even want everyone to understand me because it would be creepy. Still, when you have more of a relationship with someone and you feel like they don’t understand you on a lot of, often quite crucial to you, things, it’s quite an alienating experience. I felt quite strongly disconnected from my family during the Easter holidays, but what currently happens to be bothering me the most in the misunderstanding department is my earlier exchange with someone, and I just keep ruminating about how I surely must have said something that wasn’t what I meant exactly and how, because of that, our friendship is already ruined beyond repair before it even had a chance to start developing.

You? πŸ™‚

Happiness.

I thought I would do some journaling prompt-inspired post today, and I picked this prompt from Hannah Braime’s book called The Year of You:

“What does happiness mean to you?”

Thought it would be quite in-line with today’s question of the day.

They say happiness is easy to not notice, and you can find out that you had it only when it leaves you. It’s very true. Happiness is very quiet, makes hardly any sounds and walks very quietly, and is very small. It also often easily blends in with its surroundings because of its colour, so you don’t necessarily have to be blind to not notice it. It is also very easy to scare it away, even with just one unnecessary movement or sound. And then it may be very difficult to get it back to you. Happiness doesn’t like everyone, even if almost everyone likes it. Generally I’d say that a good rule to follow is that the less desperately you try to make Happiness come to you, the more successful you may be at it. Happiness doesn’t like unnecessary attention being drawn to it. If you call it and are lucky enough that it comes to you, don’t overuse its trust and don’t call it all the time. Also when it comes, make sure to provide it with the best food and sleeping accommodations possible. It’s not always the best idea to come very close to it. It always knows best what should the distance be between it and you, and if you will accept it calmly, it will be more likely to come closer than if you try to force it. When you hear Happiness at your door, it is not wise to wait with opening it, you should do it right away, or it will go somewhere else.

Happiness is very gentle and never intrusive. It is warm, soft and very smooth. It likes soft, quiet places, which is where you can usuallyy find it. There is only one Happiness in the world, which is probably just exactly why so many people are unhappy, and it often likes to hide. It is very clever, playful, but also a real scaredy cat. Almost everyone who sees it for the first time gasps in awe and wants to hold it, but it’s rare that you would be granted such a luxury right away. It has relatively big ears, so that it always can hear when unhappy people call it, but it doesn’t mean it’ll always come. It knows better than you when you actually need it most.

Unlike what many people may think, Happiness is grey. Not pink, rainbow-y, not even green, but grey. Perhaps this is another reason for why people often don’t notice it, since, ironically, the colour grey is associated with all things gloomy. Another fact about Happiness which may seem strange to many people is that it originates from Russia –
which seems to be feared as a whole by many people these days. – Perhaps the devil’s not so black… (if happiness can be grey, everything’s possible). It also has some Czech ancestry. Originally, Happiness cost $500, more or less (obviously because people, as always, didn’t even know what it actually was and what its value was, just that it looked kinda cute). I’m sure though that, if it ever had to be sold again (although I’m having a difficult time coming up with any legit reason why one would want to sell Happiness) its price would be much higher, and not even Bill Gates or Elon Musk could afford it. It only exists since 2016 (how did we manage to live prior to that excedes my understanding at this point).

Happiness can often be found curled up in a little ball. Although I said it doesn’t like too much attention, it also doesn’t feel well when you don’t pay any attention to it whatsoever and can feel hurt. Happiness loves flowers, leaves, feathers, birds, and especially the sunshine. It also loves routine, warmth and safety.

Happiness is actually male. He has the brightest green eyes. He poops every day and never flushes the toilet after himself. He has lots of facial hair, and he never shaves. Same about his armpits. Despite that, he always smells heavenly, and never sweats. He seems to enjoy, jazz, classical, baroque, and relaxing piano music, but secretly delights in Russian D&B.

The whole drama with Happiness – why so many people are unhappy, or pretending to be happy, or searching for Happiness, or racing after it, or find it so difficult to define Happiness, and all the other troubles that are caused by lack of Happiness – it has one very simple reason. Right now, Happiness is in my kitchen, happily eating sausage, and I’m not going to give him away any time soon. πŸ˜‰ What a bad, selfish Bibiel, keeping all the 4 kg of Happiness to herself, when so many people die without having ever felt a warm touch of Happiness. But hey, not all is lost, I can always sell you a bag of Happy Poop (if only you can afford it πŸ˜‰ Maybe it would work to some extend).

And maybe there’s also another reason for all the trouble with Happiness. If you want Happiness, affirmations, meditations, manifestations – they won’t work. – It’s best to be straightforward with Happiness and call him by his name, just like you would everyone else. Happiness is called Misha. Or better even, if you want to manifest Happiness in your life, say “Mish Mish Mish!”. Or make some other hissing, rustling sounds, and, who knows… maybe his ears will be big enough to hear you, too…? Maybe he already did, but the front door is locked, so he can’t get out to help you. Don’t blame me, it’s my Mum who locked it and watches Misha like Cerberus. πŸ˜›

Okay, so that’s my definition of happiness for you. If you’d rather have a more abstractive/serious one:

Happiness, for me, is any state of mind when I’m not unhappy.

Generally, I don’t really know if I know what happiness is. I hate it when people sometimes ask me if I’m happy, or unhappy. I know what unhappiness is and I know full well that I’ve experienced it, and I also know that I am not unhappy now. I also know what it’s like to feel joyful or euphoric, but I guess happiness isn’t really a feeling but more like a state so I don’t think you necessarily have to be happy when you’re feeling joyful, just like you don’t have to feel sad all the time when you’re unhappy. I’ve had depressive tendencies ever since I remember and had my first major depressive episode diagnosis when I was 8, but at the same time I laugh a lot and can be very enthusiastic about things. Sometimes it comes more genuinely, sometimes I need to fake it a bit, or a lot, but even so, I think it’s a natural part of me. Still, the depression is always there and I guess I’ve never felt happy the way people do when they don’t have stuff like this glued to their brains. Therefore, when someone, typically my Mum, asks me “Are you happy?”, I’ll always answer yes if I’m not unhappy. I try to keep myy expectations low in this department and be, well, happy, with what I get, if it’s something good. This strategy has served me well, as it’s a lot nicer to have your expectations exceded than unfulfilled, right?

I hope the way I explained it makes sense to people. πŸ˜€

So, how is it with you? Is there someone/something that embodies happiness for you? What is your definition of happiness, whether abstractive or more specific? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

What is something that is making you happy?

My answer:

Part of me is very happy that Easter is coming very soon, since this is such a joyful holiday filled with hope and how couldn’t I be happy about it, as a Christian! πŸ™‚ On the other hand, I’m not so happy about it because for me holidays like that and often some time leading up to them are always very stressful and just so uncomfortable overall for all sorts of reasons and it’s getting to me a bit already.

Misha always makes me happy, although lately I’ve been worried about him because he doesn’t seem to be feeling well.

Oh, and my Welsh progress is making me extremely happy. It’s not huge, but at least it’s visible, and during this month I’ve gotten some real confidence boost and a proof that, while I may not be fluent just yet, I can already use the language fairly efficiently in writing, even if it requires a lot of effort and brain power.

You? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

What is a scary or horrifying fact that shouldn’t be true, but is?

My answer:

That people vomit! Most of them once a year or more often, and almost everyone at least once in their lifetime. Cats also vomit twice as often as people I guess, insanely frequently anyway! Even Misha, as special as he is, throws up like once a month, he even did last week. For me, this is all scary.

You? πŸ™‚

Question of the day (15th March).

What only exists to fuck with all of us?

My answer:

It’s quite late here and I’m about to go to sleep, so to not have to think too much and not make this post very long, I’m going with quite an obvious thing which is mental illness. Those who have it know it well, so I don’t need to explain it I guess, and those who don’t can still develop it at any point, or are affected by someone else’s mental illness or something, so no one can be totally free from it.

Your turn. πŸ™‚

If We Were Having Coffee… #WeekendCoffeeShare

Welcome to another

#WeekendCoffeeShare! πŸ™‚

Our host is Natalie, so if you’d like to join in with your own coffee share, you can go over to her blog. πŸ™‚

We’ve just had our lunch, and there’s still a lot of chicken breast left, so help yourself if you fancy, or if you’d rather have a lighter snack I can give you some salted peanuts, or feel free to bring something with yourself and share with other peeps if you want. Help yourself to coffee or tea or cocoa or or my Mum’s homemade black lilac juice, or I think we’ve got some kefir as well if you’d prefer that, or perhaps water. So, if you’re all sitting comfortably and have something to drink or munch on, let’s get started.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask each of you how you’ve been doing lately…? πŸ™‚

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, actually, this week hasn’t been very eventful, so I probably won’t have all that much to share with y’all, but I just wanted to have a coffee share, even if for a brief check-in, as I guess the last one we had was over a month ago.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that we’ve been having a fair bit of spring-like weather, interspersed with really chilly, windy and often rainy days. It was even hailing quite heavily earlier this week. Today is one of those chillier days and it’s raining all the time. As you may perhaps remember, we live by the river, it flows through our backyard, so we are at quite a high flood risk. We’ve already had a few minor floodings since we moved here which were scary, and now my Dad has been really stressed out that this year it will be more hardcore with the amount of rain we’re getting and are still supposed to get.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m really pleased with my linguistic development over the last few weeks, mainly when it comes to Welsh, as currently this is the language I’m learning most actively because I’m not fluent in it yet, but also Swedish to a lesser extend, because I’ve been reading a lot in the latter. Concerning the former, I catch myself more and more often on having random bits of thoughts in Welsh, and not right after learning or when I’m sleepy or tired, which is most often when my languages mix up, but just randomly. My subjective feeling is also that my listening comprehension must have improved a bit lately. That’s all very motivating.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, despite the usual ups and downs and myy anxiety being a bit up this weekend due to having quite an interesting and lengthy sleep paralysis session on Friday, mood-wise I’m still doing really well, most of the time with my mood being around what I consider my baseline, sometimes lower but not very low or not for long and usually in clear connection to something situational. Even Maggie, aka my inner self-critic, has been strangely quiet lately, not totally quiet but noticeably less active, she mostly just wakes up when I engage more with people or especially afterwards, but if she wouldn’t do that, she wouldn’t be alive. It has been like this for over three months now and it’s quite surprising. Yes, my amazing

faza peak

is still there, which certainly contributes to it, but despite being a really long peak compared with my previous experiences, it’s not an extremely intense one at all at this point, I’ve had much more intense faza peaks before, but I’m not sure the peak is solely responsible for this, especially not for Maggie’s unusual behaviour. Whatever the cause might be though, I’m quite happy with the results, I’m just a bit worried that after being up for so long, at least for my standards, at some point I will have a spectacular slide downhill, lower than I’ve had in a long time. I guess kind of like when there’s a draught for long, then you’ll have a storm and the longer it was dry, the stronger the storm will be.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, while I do still get migraines like once or twice weekly, they have really gotten better in terms of intensity, regardless of what medicine I take, or even if I don’t take anything. They are shorter and not so incapacitating, and often will go away or lessen very significantly when I just have a nap or will totally go away after a solid night’s sleep, so it’s really not such a problem anymore. In case you don’t know, I’ve had migraines on and off for years, but for most of that time, they really weren’t very problematic, and I considered myself lucky compared with a lot of other migraine folks. Then the year before last, in November, I suddenly started getting them a lot more often, and they were a lot more painful and difficult to get rid of, and extremely easily triggered by just about any stressful situation or anything that could possibly trigger a migraine. Admittedly, I did have quite a stressful time then and my brain was going bonkers with rumination and anxiety so my main theory was that it really must be the stress doing this. Then things got better again in January, last year which coincided with my stress levels going a bit down overall, until September when, again, I started having yucky migraines. This time, I wasn’t in a lot of stress or anxiety really, just my normal anxious brain but nothing beyond that and nothing turbulent going on in my life at that specific time of the year, so I couldn’t blame the stress anymore. That lasted again until about January this year. So, considering this, I’m fairly sure there must be some seasonal pattern, like a lot of people seem to have, and for a lot of people their migraines also seem to get worse around autumn-winter. I’m very curious why. That could perhaps also be responsible for why I always had more severe migraines right at the start of a school year, which everyone was thinking must be to do with stress – which surely was also an important factor but as it seems not the only one. – Well, I used to have recurrent allergic bronchitis almost every autumn-winter season, and now that it seems to be mostly cured finally, I’ll have seasonal migraines instead. Life’s never boring. πŸ˜€

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, with the exception of sleep paralysis I had on Friday, I’ve been having absolutely hilarious dreams lately, and extremely vivid. I love having vivid dreams after which, when you wake up, you just have to laugh out loud at the absurdity of them. And I met some interesting folks in Dreamland that I wish could exist in real life.

What would you share if we were having coffee? πŸ™‚

 

Question of the day.

How do you like your eggs? πŸ™‚

My answer:

I like them both soft-boiled and hard-boiled. They’re not my favourite thing in the world but I do like them and have them for breakfast sometimes. I really dislike fried eggs though, and scrambled as well, plus scrambled eggs are on my emetophobic no-no food list so even if I theoretically liked them, I wouldn’t eat them anyway. I used to eat scrambled eggs years ago before they made it on to my no-no list even though I didn’t really like them, because it’s a deeply ingrained habit of my Dad’s to eat scrambled eggs every Sunday and we all used to do that, also I had them sometimes at nursery. But then I got sick from them once at nursery and since then I don’t even pretend I like them and I don’t know what you’d have to do to make me eat scrambled eggs. πŸ˜€ For some time, as a teenager, when my emetophobia was at its worst, I had a huge problem with eggs and almost anything containing eggs because of salmonella and the like, and it was one of the products with which it really took me quite some time to get back to eating them normally, and I still feel wary in places like restaurants, but what helps is that my grandparents sell eggs – they used to have hens of their own for years but now they get their eggs from somewhere – and we also buy from them, they get them from one source and neither I nor anyone else in my family ever got sick from them. Then again, I’ve never had salmonellosis or a similar thing at all, except from that one short episode with scrambled eggs which I don’t think was due to any bacteria, but that might be just because I’m emetophobic so I’m always cautious. πŸ˜€

How about you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Have you ever been to another country? Which?

My answer:

I’m not very well-travelled, but I have been to some countries a few times, although with most of them these were just day trips, so as you can guess most of these were our neighbouring countries (Lithuania, Slovakia and Czech Republic). My Mum’s family – namely my grandad – has some Lithuanian heritage, but we also have some distant family – from his side – in eastern Poland, mainly in Masuria. That is also where my Mum was born. Masuria is an amazing place to go for holidays to, because there are a lot of lakes and beautiful views and a lot of yummy food, and a lot of rural areas and tourism is quite a big thing there. So we would often go there to see our family and would often stay at their place and travel in the area or something, during summer holidays. One such year we decided to go a bit further, to Lithuania. Partly because of that family connection, although this is not something we know a lot about or have a strong emotional bond with because it’s just too distant, and partly because I’ve had a devotion to Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn, whose chapel is there, and I wanted to visit it, so my Dad had always promised me that we’d go on a pilgrimage there or something, and that’s what we eventually did. Zofijka was only a toddler then. She was also quite little on our next trip – to Slovakia – and often when we were driving somewhere that felt very far to her, she would keep asking: “Are we still in Poland?” which always made us laugh because it sounded as if she was such a globetrotter or a cosmopolitan that she can’t keep track of which country she’s in anymore. πŸ˜€

As for Slovakia, one year my Mum persuaded me to go on a summer camp that was organised by my school, and as a way of coaxing me into it she said that they – my family – would go there as well on their own. The whole trip was to the Tatra mountains, here in Poland, because my school had like its quarters there – that is, sort of a closely affiliate school in a village close to the mountains which was for primary school-aged children with some additional learning difficulties other than just blindness, so we were using that school as our base. – I would sometimes do stuff with my school, and sometimes with my family. Sometimes my family would join the school in doing what they had planned to do, and at other times they’d do something different. And my Dad was really keen on the idea of us going to Slovakia, because back when he was going to school, he once went to a school camp in Czechoslovakia and then later even was briefly penpalling with one of the girls from there, which is interesting because while Polish and Czech/Slovak are obviously in the same family of languages and are relatively well mutually intelligible, it’s not like you’ll understand each other all the time if you don’t have some background in the other language, at least that’s my experience, there are a LOT of “false friends” and their spelling also differs a fair bit, so I would never have thought that my Dad would be up for such a challenge and at school age, I’d think that would require some language consciousness that people, let alone school children, don’t always have. Then later on our trip to Czech Republic, to both my and Mum’s great surprise, it was my Dad who was the most communicative and understood people the best, my English was of less use than his Polish and plain ability to understand what people were saying. πŸ˜€ We’d never suspected him of a hidden linguistic talent like this. Anyway, because of having such memories with Czechoslovakia, and because of us being close to the Slovak borders and all being into the idea, we felt like it would be fun to go there. And because my Mum always wanted to visit some thermal aquapark or something like this, we were happy to find out that there is one quite close to the border, in Oravice. And, for me personally, that was the most fun day of the whole trip, which overall was, I believe, more exciting to my parents than my siblings and me. πŸ˜€ But we had a lot of fun in that thermal aquapark and have been thinking about going there again ever since, but never have so far.

Then, quite a lot later, as an adult already, I went to the Czech Republic only with my parents, because Sofi was on a swimming camp and Olek was working. Again, we were on longer holidays, this time in Silesia, and my Dad really wanted to cross the border. We went to Prague but weren’t really doing anything specific there, just walking around, taking everything in, people watching, listening to the language, trying random foods that we’d never seen before in our own country etc. That was a lot of fun. Then the next day we travelled to Czechia yet again but this time round to some villages and again weren’t doing anything specific. My Dad was chatting to people, me and Mum too but like I said before he was actually the most effective at that and could both be quite well understood and understand the most of us all, I remember we also went to some cemetery there.

And last, but not least, my most adventurous trip abroad so far was to Sweden, but I think most of you know a fair bit about it already. I went to Stockholm and nearby areas, again just with my parents because Sofi was on another swimming camp. This was quite spontaneous, even though my Dad was promising me every year that we’d go. I never believed it because we never ended up going. But that year he also kept saying we’d go to Sweden and then, quite unexpectedly for everyone, we actually ended up doing it. I felt really ambivalent about this trip. It was absolutely awesome, and I loved being immersed in the language and how it improved so incredibly muchh for me in this single week, how I got some real experience of talking to natives, which I had almost none of in Swedish before, or at least certainly not in person. And I heard so much positive feedback about my Swedish, although at the same time whenever I let it show in any way that it’s not my first language people would instantly switch to English so I was often wondering whether my Swedish is really that bad, haha, but I guess people just do it like this in Sweden regardless of your fluency level. It is frustrating from a learner’s perspective, but in fact I’m only starting to understand this phenomenon now that I’ve been helping some people who are learning my language, and I’ve realised that it’s really tempting to just switch to English, which we both know well, because this way we could communicate more quickly and also a bit more clearly, and I wouldn’t have to be mindful all the time of what and how I’m saying so that they could understand me more easily if they’re a beginner, which in turn feels less free and natural. Plus for me it’s probably also that I write much more in English these days than I do in Polish. πŸ˜€ But there were even people in Sweden who were surprised when they eventually realised that I’m only learning Swedish, which felt really flattering because I didn’t, and still don’t, feel all that confident in it at all, not as much as in English, my Swedish still feels a little clunky to me and not as comfy to use. But I guess what may be making this initial impressioon on people is that I pick up the phonetics and language prosody easily and perhaps I do a really good job at this one thing in Swedish, that’s what I heard from my Swedish teacher but he wasn’t objective, πŸ˜€ which maybe is what to people makes me sound more like a Swede even if I make grammatical/syntax mistakes and use sometimes not the right vocabulary than if it was the other way around – if I were speaking perfectly grammatically but with a weird accent. – If it really works like this, it’s funny that an accent can create such illusions. I loved just listening to people on the streets and observing them. One of the highlights of that trip for me was when we went to the cemetery where there is Cornelis Vreeswijk’s (one of my fazas) grave. I had always dreamt of visiting him there and bringing him some flowers. We had the yummiest Swedish chocolate and ice-cream, there were so many beautiful views that my Mum was in love with, I got lots of children’s books to scan, and, on the last day of our trip, we found a minerals shop, where I got some lovely new gem stones to my collection. I loved the shop owner, who seemed to like me too or perhaps was impressed with my interest with stones or something because he was incredibly nice and talked to me a lot about his stones and how he got them, and showed me lots of them even though initially he wasn’t too happy to let me touch them. The whole trip was extremely exhausting for me though in a lot of ways, and on that last day, I was feeling totally knackered, and when I’m very tired or sleepy or have drank alcohol or something like that, I have a strong tendency for mixing languages, especially if I happened to switch them a lot or was learning one of them intensely earlier that day. My thoughts are a jumble of different languages and sometimes I won’t be able to filter things out and will say something in a different language than I wanted. That can be quite funny, if a bit embarrassing for me or confusing for the other side, although my family are used to it and just ask me what language that was, and my family are who I mostly interact with in person. πŸ˜€ Anyways, that was the state of my brain on that day, and at some point, in the middle of my conversation in Swedish with that guy (which was rather challenging in itself because he was speaking super fast and with a rather strong Scanian accent, and Scanian accent is not something I can understand very well, it’s almost like Danish πŸ˜€ ), my Mum told me – in Polish of course – that there’s also a huge sapphire there and that it’s soooo very expensive. Instead of replying her in Polish, I did it in English, and was all like oh my I love sapphires I wish I could have it!!! or something along these lines. My Mum, who can’t speak English, didn’t get it, but the shop owner did, and was quite amused. He said he can’t sell that sapphire to me at any significantly lower price, but instead could give me a smaller one for free. And that’s how I got a lovely mini sapphire ball. That’s always something to start with, and I was quite euphoric over getting a sapphire – even if very small – to my collection. But I also bought a lot of other beautiful stones there.

The worse part of the trip was that it was really quite challenging overall, it was absolutely exhausting! First we had to do all the travelling, and my vestibular system went crazy on the ferry, I was freakishly dizzy and it was scary. Most of the trip I was going on a lot higher doses of my anti-anxiety medication than what I normally take, which is probably why a lot of my memories of that time are rather foggy and feel more like a dream or something. My parents don’t speak either English or Swedish, which means I had to do the talking for three people, when I normally struggle doing it just for myself. While my linguistic curiosity was higher than my anxiety, it didn’t make it any less difficult and all the interactioons with people, even though mostly very positive, were really wearing me out. So I was just as super happy leaving as I was going there, and I have the same very ambivalent feelings when thinking about going there again. I’d love it, but when I start to think practically about going through all that socialising and travelling shit again, it makes me feel sick. πŸ˜€

How about you. πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Are you more likely to bite your nails or chew on your hair when you get nervous, or neither?

My answer:

I definitely am a nail-biter. And not only when I’m nervous, but also when I’m bored or thinking about something intensively, focusing on something a lot or experiencing some strong emotions whether positive or negative, or things like these. Not even getting paronychia was enough to stop me, even though I thought it would because getting any kind of finger-related condition can affect your daily life a fair bit when you are blind, and when I had it I was massively frustrated and then managed not to bite my nails for an impressive time of two weeks. My Mum used to put that bitter stuff on my and Olek’s nails because he also used to bite them, but it didn’t really work for either of us at all, we’d bite them anyway. Eventually Olek grew out of it naturally. Then later on I had braces so couldn’t bite my nails but started picking them, and after I had braces removed I didn’t even realise when I got back to biting and picking also stayed. Then I tried using nail polish as a sort of motivation not to bite my nails but at some point, usually sooner rather than later, I’d end up biting them anyway and realising what I was doing when some visible damage was already done, and obviously with nail polish bitten nails look absolutely gross and dreadful, way more than normal, so I no longer polish them. When I was self-harming particularly intensely as a teenager, I would often also do things like I would bite my nails so that they would be bleeding a lot and then put them in something like chilli or alcohol or other skin irritating things to make it hurt more. But that’s not something I do anymore. I also bite and pick my cuticles and lips as well. But I’ve never had a habit of chewing on my hair.

How about you? πŸ™‚

If We Were Having Coffee… #WeekendCoffee Share

Oh my, I haven’t done a Weekend Coffee Share in quite some time!

Since the last time I participated, we have a new host, who is

Natalie (thank you so much for hosting πŸ™‚ ).

If you would also like to join in on your own blog, go over to her post, where you’ll find the link-up.

So we can consider this coffee share a bit special, because it was Misha’s birthday on Saturday (he is 5 now and I’m still in a deep shock, especially that it’s apparently 36 in human years, is 36 middle age? :O ), and then it was my birthday on Monday (I’m 24 now in case you’re curious πŸ˜€ ). Also, this is my first coffee share ever since I’ve found my new

faza subject

which I was waiting for to happen for a long time, so I’m now in a nice faza peak, and I think a new faza does deserve a Weekend Coffee Share to be celebrated with, even though I probably won’t be talking much about my faza as such in this post. In case you don’t know but are curious, his name is Jacob Elwy and you can read more

here.

We don’t really have a huge variety of drinks right now, I’ve even run out of kefir, but we do have the usual black coffee and quite a lot of teas, so if you like some interesting teas, especially herbal, you’ll probably be able to find something cool for yourself, or you can bring your own drink and let us know what you’re having or contribute to the coffee share and share with people.

Because it was my birthday, I’ve got loads and loads of candies that I’m happy to share with you all, things like gummy bears or Toffifee or various chocolates. Just about an hour ago, I got some crisps from Olek, so perhaps I can share with you if you ask me very nicely. Sofi claims he must consider me very cool for some reason or something, because she didn’t get anything from him, nor did anyone else, he just bought himself an energy drink and crisps for me, according to her investigation. πŸ˜€ Wow, I feel honoured, wonder what makes me so cool! πŸ˜€ Or if you need something more substantial we have a lot of chicken. Or, again, you can bring something yourself and share with people if you feel like it.

So if everyone has some yummy food and drink and a comfy place, let’s start our coffee share properly, shall we?

If we were having coffee, I’d ask each of you how you’ve been doing…? πŸ™‚

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, despite I was having some situational stressors last week and at the beginning of this week (to do with my birthday, which is usually quite a stressor for me and even this year, with the pandemic, I couldn’t escape all the peopling), I’ve been feeling quite well lately mood- and mental health-wise. In fact, I had a lot of peopling to deal with, and yes, it was difficult and overwhelming, and I especially don’t like it around my birthday because then the attention is focused on me way more than normal and I just hate it, it usually makes me feel so overloaded that it happened a few times already that I would end up self-harming on my birthday after having had done it in months and being very proud of it, which was obviously quite disheartening, if nothing else. This time, I’m even more proud that it didn’t happen and despite all the yuckiness and even some really quite nasty situations with my family along the way that I perhaps better won’t be describing here in detail, it was manageable. Misha helped me a lot, and obviously the fact that I’m in a faza peak so everything feels easier, better and what not. Right now I’m having a period and while I’m feeling quite crappy physically, I haven’t have particularly bad PMS symptoms which I often do have. Oh and what some of you may already know, my migraines have mysteriously stopped like three weeks ago, where previously, for the last few months I’d been having at least one per week. I did have a slight tension headache the day before Jack the Ripper aka Jack the Butcher (which is how I affectionately call my period, in case you don’t know) came, but that’s normal and it didn’t make me non-functional. And my Welsh learning is going great. So, yay, good news from Bibiel land!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that it’s been frrrreezing this week! Which I’m happy with, except for the fact that it makes it very slippery which is annoying when your balance is shitty to begin with, but I don’t have to go out much now so it’s not a huge problem. It’s also been snowing so much that even Sofi’s fed up with it. I’ve heard that in some regions of Poland it could get as cold as -30 C (-22 F apparently), although I don’t know where exactly. Sounds exciting to me! Well, definitely way better than +30, so I won’t be complaining if it’ll be the case for us, although my Mum is missing spring. Spring is great, but summer not so much for me, so I’m appreciating it when it’s cooler. Misha is totally fascinated with the snow and likes to watch it longingly through the window. Sofi took him outside once and gave him a snow bath. I was worried that, because he doesn’t go out at all normally, he’d get sick or something. Physically he managed it really well (I guess he has this Russian fur for a reason after all), but he seemed not quite his own self and very jittery for the rest of the day and I think he had quite an emotional shock from being let out, even though it wasn’t much longer than a minute.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that yesterday, my parents finally bought a camper van. You may or may not know that it’s been my Dad’s life-long dream to have a camper van and he’s been entertaining these visions of himself being in retirement and driving through the world. We’d always taken it with a grain of salt, because he’s the type of dreamer who just gets stuck on the dreaming part, but for some reason doesn’t seem to want to accept it and at the same time will never admit it to himself that he won’t take it any further than dreaming and hoping. Or at least, so we thought. Also he is always very stressed and it just seemed very incongruent with his personality that suddenly he’d be wandering the world with no purpose, spontaneously and with no hurry. That’s something that perhaps my Mum could do – being very spontaneous, impulsive, living in the moment and following her dreams – but she wouldn’t either, because she feels better at home. Also it always made us laugh, because my Dad is a tanker driver, so he is driving all the time, and always whining about it when he has to travel somewhere far, and then he wants to spend even his retirement years driving even further. But, at some point it really came to that Dad started seriously looking for a camper van to buy. Something used and as cheap as possible, of course, but still. It was a huge step forward. We all observed it from a bit of a distance, with a lot of interest but no hopes or anything, because while it sure would be fun to travel in a camper van sometimes, neither of us is so crazy about it as he is, perhaps Sofi a bit.

Then he started actually contacting sellers, travelling to see various vehicles, but it seemed like he had some bad luck with it really and he had several situations where he’d arrange with a seller that he’d come see his camper van at such and such time, and then at the last minute he’d learn that it was sold, or he’d travell the whole country with the rain pouring all the way back and forth just to see something that looked way worse than on the pictures. Sometimes in turn he’d have some really good offers almost right in front of his nose, and would turn them down for no apparent reason, and continued to kill his free time by scrolling through camper vans for sale. We started thinking that he actually indeed does prefer dreaming, and may be afraid of achieving this dream or something. Sofi was a bit disappointed, Mum was a bit condescending, a bit amused but mostly neutral, and I could understand it a bit that now he was so close to achieving this, perhaps he was having second thoughts, for some reason, maybe because now he could also see that he is not suited for the life he was imagining.

And finally, he found some quite a bit more expensive camper van that he really liked, and earlier this week suddenly I hear that they – he and Mum of course – are going by train all the way to Silesia to see a new camper van. At this point, if they were going by train, and not by car or with someone else as another driver, I knew that things have developed seriously, because who would go see something to the other end of a country rising at half past 3 AM to do this, and then go back home with nothing. Even if it would be awful, they’d probably buy it anyway. πŸ˜€ Then I even heard that it was “almost bought”. And, yes, they went to see it yesterday, and bought it properly, and now we have a camper van, and they’re quite satisfied with it. This is quite nice, because with my vestibular problems, any kind of further travelling is a bit of a hassle, but while it’s doable by car with the right strategies, it is much more difficult on the sea and I haven’t even had the courage to try an aeroplane because the mere thought makes me floaty and dizzy, so that was also one of Dad’s crucial arguments when someone was asking him why he wants a camper van so badly – to be able to go abroad more, and to go abroad he thinks he has to go with Bibiel, because Bibiel can speak English and he can’t, and Bibiel won’t go anywhere by plane. – And whenever he’d drink a bit more he’d be giving me elaborate promises of how when he’ll have a camper van we’ll go to all my favourite countries etc. etc. etc. even though I’ve never pressured him for that. So, yeah, that could be fun, even if we don’t actually end up going to my favourite countries, it can still be nice to even go on holidays somewhere closer, and have your own place to sleep in.

Now, your turn. What would you tell me if we were having coffee? πŸ™‚

 

People and things I’m grateful for.

I’d like to write some journaling prompt-inspired post, so I picked a prompt from Listify by Marina Greenway again, and it is the following:

Β  Β People And Things I’m Grateful For

In addition to the wonderful people in your life, make room to be grateful for the other special things as well. The talents you were gifted with, your home that gives shelter and comfort, a text from your best friend. There are things that we unconsciously appreciate each day. Wrack your brain and list as many as you can think of. By the way, make sure you are on your list too.

Now, you may remember a post I wrote last year about

expressing gratitude and “self-gratitude”

which was also based on a prompt from Marina Greenway, and if you read it you know that I’m not buying the self-gratitude concept and don’t really understand it, or even if it is a thing I don’t understand what the difference would be between it and what’s commonly known as self-care/self-love. I also don’t get the being grateful for yourself notion, so I won’t be including myself on the list below. I could be grateful for my life, or my parents for giving it to me or towards God for creating me, but for myself, I just don’t see the logic in here.

Here’s the list, in semi-random order.Just so you know, it’ll of course be rather long, since it’s all about coming up with as many people and things as I can.

  • Β Β  I’m grateful that God loves me. Also that I was raised in Christian faith and knew about God since the very beginning, and even though I later lost touch with Him, I have reconverted, and for all the people who help me develop my faith.
  • Β Β  I’m grateful for my life. I rarely actually feel genuinely grateful for my life and the fact that I am alive, because I’m not all that strongly attached to life and passive suicidal thoughts are something that is pretty much always there in the background for me, nevertheless it is worth appreciating and all the good things that have happened to me during my life so far. Also that I’m still alive despite I used to be actively suicidal in the past and that I’ve learnt to live with the passive suicidal thoughts.
  • That I’m Polish and live in Poland. I just like being Polish and I love the Polish language, and while you could always think about all the places where the grass is greener, I’m quite happy where I am and that my country is doing relatively well in the grand scheme of things – we are free, doing pretty well economically given the world situation, developing very fast etc. –
  • My parents, that they are loving and caring and that I have reasonably good relationships with them, especially with Mum, and that they are still alive.
  • My siblings, and especially my good relationship with Sofi and all the fun times we have together and that we get along despite a lot of differences.
  • Misha, and all the emotional support he gives me, that he makes me feel happier, safe, loved, useful and that he makes my life worth living, for his friendship and for how beautiful he is. Also that now he’s lived 5 years with us.
  • My online friends and the support and sense of community I get from interacting with them, and how meeting people who are like-minded with me but all in different ways makes me develop.
  • Β Β  All of my fazas, especially the major ones. That is, both the phenomenon of faza and my faza subjects as individuals that they exist. All the happy feelings that I get thanks to my fazas, how it helps me to cope with life, grow, develop, feel inspired and motivated. How it helps me with my languages. Also my faza subjects’ music and how it resonates with me. And, most of all, my current faza peak on Jacob!
  • Jocky and his neverending, infectious, child-like enthusiasm and happiness.
  • My other family and that they care, sometimes way too much, and all the good things they did to me and everything they helped me with, like when I was at school a lot of my extended family members would go with Mum to take me from school when Dad couldn’t and Mum didn’t feel safe or able to drive herself so far from home for some reason.
  • My languages that they exist and that I’m able to learn them or just be in touch with them, and especially the minority ones that are still alive, that they are alive despite it being a struggle. And that I have some sort of a knack for picking up the phonetics as it makes it a lot easier to learn languages. And that there are accessible places online where you can learn languages being blind. All the speakers of the extincting languages that I love, that they also keep them alive, and especially those who consciously care about keeping them alive and are proactive about this.
  • All the technology I use, whether it is assistive/specialised or mainstream, as it all helps me to do almost everything in life. My computer, my phone and my screenreaders on both, all the assistive apps, my blog and all the other places where I can stay in touch with people, my PlexTalk and Braille-Sense thanks to which I can read, and listen to music, and also that I can use my Braille-Sense in conjunction with my phone which makes it a lot easier. That I can work thanks to technology, and develop my interests. That there are dedicated people who make these things. That there are so many accessible apps and websites even if a lot aren’t, and that there are people who care about accessibility.
  • Β Β  Speaking of both language and assistive technology – people who create speech synthesis in small languages, which helps them to thrive and helps people like me with learning them. –
  • That I’m secure financially at the moment and have a job, as well as flexible work hours and that it’s not too stressful or anything, also that I am able to get disability benefits.
  • That I’m generally healthy.
  • That I haven’t had a migraine in over two weeks (this is really noteworthy because for the last few months I’d been having them at least once a week, I wonder whether it also has anything to do with a peak because the start of my faza coincides with the break in my migraines.
  • My home, that I have a place to live and that I actually feel at home here. And my room and that it is so great. That I don’t have to move around all the time anymore and have more of a sense of belonging.
  • All the beautiful things in the world.
  • Good sleep whenever I get it, and all my interesting, long and vivid dreams, and that I have a very comfy bed. Also all the nights when I cannot sleep because then I’m usually more creative so it has its benefits too.
  • Good food.
  • My synaesthesias, and other weird but fun things like that in my brain that make my life more interesting.
  • Great books.
  • All the great music in the world.
  • That I can blog and journal.
  • My sense of humour.
  • My imagination.
  • My brains.
  • My empathy and sensitivity, although it can also be a pain sometimes, just like the imagination.
  • My anti-anxiety medication.
  • Warm, relaxing baths.
  • My fabulous B&O headphones.
  • That I was able to learn how to use the iPhone.
  • My additional Bluetooth keyboard that I use with my iPhone when i can’t use my Braille-Sense.
  • My gem stones.
  • All the caring people in the world in general.
  • And all the people in the world who are able to think critically and independently.
  • That I haven’t vomited in over 10 years (for those who don’t know I am emetophobic which means I’m scared of anything to do with vomit).
  • That I don’t have any neurodegenerative disease and my brain is working well.
  • My relationships with the purgatory souls that I pray for, and the help from them that I experience.
  • That I’ve been doing quite well mentally lately (in no small part due to the aforementioned peak).
  • BitLife, and that today I won almost three million pounds in jackpot in BitLife and found a 10-carat diamond in my BitLife attic (which is a heirloom) so now I’m living the dream. πŸ˜€ That just shows BitLife isn’t really a real life simulator, but oh well. The first time I inherited an heirloom worth over a million dollars out of nowhere (it surely weren’t my BitLife parents who owned it πŸ˜€ ) and told my Mum about it, she said we should move there permanently.
  • Β Β  That I’ve got lots of Toffifee for my birthday.
  • That my cousin is considering the name Jacek for the baby she’s expecting (thanks to ME, of course! πŸ˜€ ) I somehow doubt they’ll actually use it, but I can hope, right?

That’s all I could come up with, hopefully I didn’t forget anyone or anything important.

What would your list look like? Let me know, or write your own post if you feel like it, and pingback to my post or comment with the link so I can read it! πŸ™‚

 

Maria Mena – “Not OK”.

Hey people! πŸ™‚

I guess Maria Mena is quite a recognisable artist and not at all quite as obscure as a lot of the music I’m sharing on here, at least I know she’s known in Europe, not sure about the rest of the world, but to me, she’s quite new. I’ve heard her name years ago but never really had a chance to hear more of her music and I guess never thought it would be something for me. But recently I did start to listen to her music and I really like it. Also, because she has also bee dealing with mental illness, she has some songs that tackle this particular topic and I ‘m really glad about it because we need such music. I find this song particularly relatable and I think everyone who struggles with mental health-related issues will, as it’s so common for us to just automatically tell people that we are OK when we’re actually not.

Question of the day.

When was the last time you laughed, and why?

My answer:

Despite having dysthymia and feeling more or less depressed 99% of the time, I do laugh a lot, for all sorts of reasons. Because sometimes it’s the best way of masking that works for me, and because generally even when I feel anything but happy I don’t lose the ability to laugh or even the impulse/desire to laugh, unless when it’s like really reeeally shitty, in fact I think it’s a lot easier than smiling for me because while laughter conveys stronger emotions than a smile, at the same time it is kind of more diverse. Like, to be able to smile convincingly, I need to feel at least neutral moodwise, meanwhile I don’t need to feel neutral or above to be able to laugh genuinely, or even just convincingly, because for me laughter is not only about feeling happy. I can feel amused by something without needing to feel happy or even close to happy. It’s just not about happiness. I can have a super shitty day but still find something worth laughing at, even if just sarcastically. But a smile has to be happy. A sarcastic smile just doesn’t do, right? πŸ˜€ A sad smile makes you feel more miserable, well it does make me feel miserable and I guess look miserable too, so I don’t bother with smiling when I’m sad unless I think someone is really going to think I am rude because I didn’t smile at them. Also laughter is a coping skill for me some of the time, plus it’s the Bibiel part of me who just is this way that she always sees the funny or absurd side of a lot of situations. Considering that, regarding the latter, Sofi is exactly the same, well maybe not exactly but her way of seeing things is very similar and at the same time we complement each other so that makes that together we can find even more humour of different kinds in things, we have a lot of laughs together. And so, I think the last time I laughed must have been some time last night, as I was spending time withh Sofi, and yeah, we usually laugh together at this thing or another, at least a little bit. And yesterday we both were in a bit of a crazy mood so we were laughing a lot and with Misha too.

You? Also, just out of curiosity (well, this whole series is just out of curiosity but anyway) what do you find easier, smiling or laughing, especially if you have any kind of a mood disorder? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

If you could change three things about your country, what would you change?

My answer:

While I think that our current government (United Right) is way better than what we had for years with the previous party (Civic Platform) which was in power, it could still be a lot better and there is lots of room for improvement, and I feel quite sad that for now, there doesn’t seem to be any better option. Lately in particular, I’ve noticed that our foreign politics/diplomacy is totally crap and if only I could, I’d change that asap, somehow. I don’t know if it’s that we have no luck for ministers of foreign affairs or is this seriously intended but it’s really bad, if not ridiculous sometimes.

Another thing I would change is I’d improve the situation of disabled people, but in particular of those who are mentally ill or have some rare diseases. Not that other disabilities don’t need help or it’s less important or anything like that, as a blind person I know that there is a lot that could be done to the blind community, which I’m sure is true of any country, and other disabled communities also have their often more than fair share of problems, but also being mentally ill I feel like the mentally ill community has much less support, and there’s an awful lack of awareness. I’ve heard that there’s especially some huge problem with children with mental health issues and that they frequently don’t get the level of healthcare they need. I once had a conversation with someone – perhaps even here in the blogosphere, can’t remember –
about personality disorders and how they’re stigmatised. And I said that here in Poland they aren’t even stigmatised like they are in the US, because people don’t know enough about them to form some strong enough stereotypes or something. Yes, it is also a thing here that when doctors don’t know what to diagnose someone with, and a patient is somewhat “difficult”, they’ll happily go with BPD, it is overdiagnosed, but an average person who hasn’t had much to do with the field of mental health in their life won’t have much of an idea about what borderline personality disorder is in practice, unless they know someone with it and know they have such a diagnosis. People here don’t say they’re so “OCD”, because while OCD is certainly not unheard of, people aren’t familiar with it enough to just use the term casually like Americans do for example. Stigma is a huge problem, but I personally feel like lack of actual awareness is a bigger problem. Most people know something about mental health and mental illnesses in theory, but in practice not much. There aren’t a lot of resources for mentally ill people, online for example. Or communities, whether offline or online where people could receive some support, unless they’re in psychiatric institutions, or there’s also no support for their families. There are charities, or individuals who are trying to do something on their own, but their outreach is often limited so there’s only so much they can do. It would be great if there was more initiative higher up.

There even seems to be some lack of awareness among professionals, or so it seems to me as a mentally ill person and as a keen observer of people. Since I’ve joined Carol Anne’s of Therapy Bits email support group for people with DID, as a supporter, I’ve been wondering and trying to do some, any, research about the situation of people with dissociative identity disorder here in Poland. There are some basically informative pages on health-related websites geared at patients, some a little more indepth but theoretical articles on psychology-related blogs, but other than that… nothing really. The term “split identity/self” is familiar to people and some people say they have a split self when they are of two minds or feel kind of internally conflicted. When I dug deeper I found some trauma specialists touching very briefly on DID in their works or during lectures but I couldn’t even find someone who would specialise in this. Later on, I remember I found some sort of a map or something if I remember correctly, I’m not good with maps and diagrams but generally it was about in which countries this disorder is diagnosed and I did manage to figure out that Poland wasn’t on there. Later yet, I briefly mentioned it to my last therapist that I am part of such a mailing list and trying to support people somehow, and she immediately was all like: “But you know it’s not a real thing, DID? It’s only a sort of psychosis?” I said that it doesn’t seem so to me, but it’s her who is the professional here after all so she should know better, but I didn’t want to get into a discussion on this during my therapy session which should be about me, not DID. That was really sad and kind of upsetting to hear to me though.

Our country isn’t free from traumatic events occurring to little children. And so I feel for all those Poles who do have or might have DID and either don’t know about it or no one really cares, and I’d like it to be different.

Speaking about mental health that would also include the autistic/other neurodivergent people and making things easier for them in our society, especially adults and more “high functioning” children. I’m not autistic myself as you probably know but as you may also know I do have some connection to the autism world, having been assessed for it twice and “accused” of having it many more times, and have a bit of an idea what it looks like here with it. Similarly I feel like we need more awareness of rare diseases, as much as possible given that they’re rare, as I know a lot of rare disease patients here struggle with access to their medications and funding for them.

And lastly, culture, yay! We have such great, Polish culture. So many Polish artists who are undiscovered and often very poor. I’m not talking celebrities, who often got famous because their mummies or daddies had just the right views during the communist period, which helped them reach the fame in some area, or just get enough money, and then their children inherited the fame along with the surname, even if they aren’t all that talented at anything in particular. I am talking actually talented people who don’t get to promote themselves anywhere significant enough. One thing our government really did wrong was with the public media. I’d like to believe their intentions were originally good indeed, as they wanted, and still do, to repolonise our media (because the majority of media in Poland are owned by foreign companies). They concentrated their efforts on the public media at first, pretty much right away after they won the Parliament Election, and changed people in charge of Polish Television and Polish Radio. That’s pretty much all they did really, only now they are kinda, sorta trying to do more and repolonise the press, and it’s been five years since that election if I’m counting right. Anyway, what they did back then wasn’t really a gamechanger at all, because the people they chose to manage the public media are very incompetent for their roles, as it seems. Especially the chairman of TVP (Polish Television) has earned himself a very bad reputation, both from those on the left, and on the right. He’s a real king of cringe to put it shortly, but what saddens me the most is that his name is Jacek, and I really like Jaceks, and he is making a bad reputation for all the cool Jaceks out there, I’m afriaid. 😦 Well no, I’m just kidding obviously, I’m sure a cool Jacek can defend himself, but it’s just sad to see such a cringey guy and know his name is Jacek… The King of Cringe is particularly well-known for supporting disco polo artists and their music (disco polo is essentialy Polish disco, very cringey and trashy). One disco polo artist who is quite well-liked there in TVP once tweeted that disco polo is like new folk music. That Polish composers like Chopin or Moniuszko were once strongly inspired by folk music, so maybe there will be a time when future Polish composers will be inspired by disco polo. You can imagine that really made me – as a folklorophile – go nuts. Anyway, you can hardly see any higher culture in TVP now.

Now that we have Covid and artists all around the world have financial problems, I’ve heard that for example our Polish painters, or independent musicians, have been struggling a lot more than before. Meanwhile, our Minister of Culture and National Heritage had magnanimously decided to help out the artists financially via a culture support programme. It was quite controversial, because some of the beneficiaries were meant to receive absolutely huge amounts of money, and all of them were the famous celebrities, who, totally in my own opinion, aren’t really all that talented in their area as their fame, and even more so the compensations they were meant to get, would suggest. (There were four millions Polish zlotys in total in the whole support programme). People got ragin’, one singer guy – Kazik – who is quite known for strong views even said that he doesn’t want their stolen money, and the Ministry decided to “verify” the list of the beneficiaries. Don’t you verify such things in the first place before anything else?

Aside from the unfairness of it all on average people, which another huge problem, does it really have to be so that it’s somehow decided at the top who should be famous/popular or not? Whose music we are supposed to like and listen to? Can’t it be just people who will choose what they like, rather than have shit shoved down their mouth and be told that they find it delicious? I think there should be more equal chances for artists to emerge, more support in times like these for those who are independent, either because they want to or because there isn’t any other option for them really. I want to hear more diverse Polish music, more young Polish musicians. I want to hear people talk about more ACTUALLY good Polish films. Or Polish visual artists who are actually alive and doing quality stuff. I want to hear about contemporary Polish composers, not because I had to hunt for their music myself, but in the media, or from other people (and for them not necessarily to be composers influenced by disco polo :D). I want a properly Polish talent show on the telly, I mean, we have The Voice (of Poland) and the like, but these are all practically foreign, which is not a bad thing in itself, but why can’t we have one of our own? It would be cool if the contestants, if they’d be making music, could share their own music rather than only cover what someone has already created which is the most common formula of such shows although I do realise there are exceptions, and then actually have some support, whether financial or in whatever way it’s needed for such newly emerged people, that would help them exist in their field in a substantial way, not just for a while after they release their debut album. It would also have to be something good quality, not necessarily somehow super sophisticated because it should be digestible for an average person but something where you could actually find some objectively aesthetically pleasing art of some sort. So yes, I would love to be able to promote Polish people who are talented in some way, but have some external obstacles which make it difficult for them to show it off in front of their nation more widely.

I know it’s all probably incredibly idealistic if not utopian, but oh well… why not?

So how about you? πŸ™‚ You can dream big if you want like I did. And, aside from the main question: besides those three things you’d like to change about your country, do you like it overall, or do you feel like you’d be better living somewhere else? I definitely do love Poland! πŸ™‚ Just felt like saying it because it was quite a negative post and I didn’t want anyone to think I’m dissatisfied with my country overall, there just always are things that could be better, some a lot better.

Question of the day (28th December).

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever been through?

My answer:

I think the most difficult thing for me was the recovery after my Achilles tendons lengthening surgery, which I had when I was 10. Basically I spent six weeks with my entire legs in casts in order for them to heal properly, although my surgeon was a bit overzealous apparently, because from what I know now my casts were way bigger than it was necessary, which meant I could barely move my legs at all, and had to have them pretty much in the same position all that time and then later throughout physiotherapy until my muscles got used to working all over again. That was of course a fair bit of discomfort and then later also pain but that wasn’t really why I found it so difficult, rather, it was because I was totally unprepared mentally for what was going to happen to me after surgery, I had totally no idea what it was going to look like. My family weren’t really prepared either, we didn’t even have a wheelchair for me or anything like that so my Dad had to carry me to the loo when I needed it, and people had to help me out with the most basic stuff which I found incredibly humiliating. But what was challenging even more than that was the sensory deprivation. I didn’t have a computer back then nor any other devices really, and my room wasn’t adapted to my temporary condition. Sofi was very little, had about six months maybe, and my Mum was very busy with her plus with the new house my parents were building, people were going on with their lives and I was really bored most of the time. Sometimes my Mum would get me some talking books from the nearest library for the blind, which wasn’t really all that near, and I had a lot of Braille magazines for children, but they were on the shelves so someone had to give them to me. There was a limited number of them to begin with, but they also weren’t really labelled in any way in normal print, so I would often get the same magazines all over again. I also had a radio and listened to my favourite radio station at the time – Polish Radio BIS. – My class teacher visited me a couple of times to somehow help me catch up on the school work but that was only at the beginning. And other than that, I didn’t really have much to do at the time. My brain was in an awful mental state already prior to that due to a few different things, I was really anxious all the time, and that only worsened then. And because I was so sensorily and cognitively understimulated, my sensory anxiety was sky high all the time and that was simply really difficult to live with. I was also really depressed and suicidal and my sleep was all over the place, because of the lack of stimulation of any kind, anxiety and because my calves were hurting a lot for some reason after surgery, not somehow extremely bad but bad enough that it would prevent me from sleeping well. I still sometimes have that pain even these days, although it’s lesser. And of course the lack of sleep didn’t help in making me feel any better and my brain any more rational. And then physiotherapy was also quite yucky, as at the beginning it was rather painful and quite unexpectedly again. Most ironically though the surgery didn’t have any lasting effects, although because I’ve never really seen my shortened Achilles tendons as a real problem that would hinder me in any significant way in life I can’t say I care about that a lot.

What is such a thing for you? πŸ™‚