Question of the day.

An extremely interesting question I have for you guys today…

What’s the longest time you have gone without pooping?

My answer:

Can’t say how long exactly, I guess it could be about a week or so. Generally I don’t have a lot of poo problems in normal life circumstances, which I’m extremely grateful for ’cause only when I do sometimes I see how uncomfortable they must be for people who deal with some major issues of this nature chronically or regularly. But what definitely sets them off for me is a lot of stress and change. I mean mostly change of location for some significant amount of time, more than just a couple of hours, especially if it’s just a temporary change but involves sleeping there etc. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone with this, I guess in a way it makes sense because pooping is obviously a very private thing and it feels normal that you may not feel comfortable doing it everywhere even if it’s only on the subconscious level. My Mum is the same if not worse, but the reason why it’s worse for her is probably that she does actually have digestive issues and hates public toilets more than I do. Once I get used to that new place, I can poop normally again, but more often I just either have to help myself with something that works for constipation or wait until I can go home and then the problem solves itself. I have the same thing with social gatherings that are long and involve eating, and I guess that’s less common and definitely to do with my social anxiety. I generally am not a fan of eating out or eating with a lot of people like huge family meals, there are many reasons for that. I totally don’t get why people always need to eat during such gatherings, and if they really have to, why so much and almost all the time, and particularly as it seems when it’s mostly middle-aged people. ๐Ÿ˜€ Let’s say it’s someone’s birthday and they decided on such a stiff family party with sitting at the table, talking about nothing and LOTS of food, mostly cakes and the like. Or, more realistically, their family decided for them because they came uninvited but luckily the person in question was prepared for such a possibility. ๐Ÿ˜€ So, you’re sitting on your butt for two hours at least, continuously eating all those carbs, and, if you’re like me, feeling anxious/stressed/uncomfortable, or a bit tense at least. Perfect recipe for a shit problem. If it’s a bit more dynamic you can perhaps go out for a while or something, you can go to the loo but if you’re like me it won’t change anything ’cause it’s someone else’s loo. ๐Ÿ˜€ So this is one of many reasons why I generally eat very little in social situations, especially lengthy ones.

So yeah, I think on average the longest for me must have been around a week, when going somewhere for holidays or school trips or the like. After about a week I’m usually adjusted enough that things get better, or physiology takes the upper hand over my brain. ๐Ÿ˜€ Now I can also take the advantage of the fact that these days I always travel with my Mum and that she has been more aware of her own various digestive problems including constipation over the last couple years, which means she always takes a whole bag of things that help her when travelling or staying away from home, so we always have something helpful at hand.

How about you? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day.

What’s the strangest/scariest thing you’ve seen in the middle of the night?

My answer:

Not really seen it but heard it, and not just in the middle of the night but for a good few months, but it started in the middle of the night. We still lived in our previous house in the countryside where I had a room in the attic. One night in summer I woke up, I think it wasn’t that scary strange thing that woke me up initially, if I remember correctly I was feeling unwell physically or something like that. In any case, I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. Suddenly I heard a weird, faint but clear noise. I still sort of remember what it sounded like but can’t even describe it in a good way, yet I remember that the first time I heard it it reminded me of something like the noise that a sheep or a goat would make, only a lot fainter and shorter and kinda raspy. There was no way there were any such animals in our area so I found this really bizarre and a little creepy because it quite clearly sounded like it came from somewhere in my room. Since it didn’t repeat for some time and I couldn’t come up with a good idea for what it could be, I decided I must have imagined it, but I couldn’t settle back to sleep. And then I heard it again. And again, after a while. And again. And a few more times. Sometimes hearing a sound to which I can’t attribute a source can really trigger my sensory anxiety, and I think it can be potentially scary for a lot of people even when they don’t have the sensory anxiety problem. In order to be able to fall back to sleep and not freak out completely I tried to think that there certainly must be some normal, prosaic reason for why I was hearing this, I just simply didn’t know what it was. I finally managed to fall asleep, but to my fear and frustration I could still hear it. I asked my Mum what could it be, perhaps there’s something in my room, but she had no idea. She came up there, but couldn’t hear anything, so she said I must’ve been imagining it at night like I thought. Only I could still hear it at regular intervals throughout the day. And the next day, and for the rest of the summer. Eventually I sort of got used to my invisible, creepy roommate, invading my little Bibiel haven, but it was really annoying, and when I was home alone, when it was really quiet or the night time, it would still creep me out, even just the idea that no one else hears it. So what does that mean? Am I going crazy? My Mum tried hearing out for it multiple times ’cause I kept complaining about it but the malicious thing never made the noise when she was in the room, or if it did, she wouldn’t hear it because we were talking or some other noises were masking it. When I mentioned it she laughed that I must be smoking something and that it’s not fair that I won’t share with the rest of the family. ๐Ÿ˜€ Dad often had a habit of taking a nap in my room, ’cause it was the quietest, which I utterly hated because he snores, as Sofi once said, like a million of dinosaurs. Still, I was hoping that one time when he comes, before he falls asleep, or after he wakes up, he’ll hear it. Thing is, my Dad falls asleep immediately, doesn’t even need five minutes.

The summer holidays had finished and the new school year had started, so I went to school and wasn’t home for the next at least two weeks. I hoped that by the time I come back, my roommate would get bored not having anyone in there to creep out and would magically disappear just as he appeared, or maybe Mum would find him. No such luck. I remember that when I came home I guess just for a weekend, I went upstairs to go to sleep, and when I was already falling asleep, I heard it again. And that was the case for the next few months, I don’t know how long. Finally, at some point Mum did hear it. She was relaxing in my room, and I was there too, and at some point we both heard it and she was all like: “Gosh, what was that?!” Then she kept looking around the room to locate the thing, which wasn’t easy, because it wasn’t very loud and only made the noise once in a while. Finally, she found it. Under a bean bag, there lay Sofi’s old toy phone, and right when she discovered it, it pleaded guilty by making that noise again. Its battery was dying, so that was why it sounded so weird. Sofi was no longer interested in it, so the phone went to trash, which I felt evil satisfaction about. ๐Ÿ˜€

And how about you? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day (15th June).

What makes you nervous no matter how many times you do it?

My answer:

There are loads of such things, but one that comes to my mind is definitely peopling in general. That is, sometimes I’m less nervous than other times, and there are times when I’m almost not anxious at all, but if we assume that the longer/more often you do something, the less nervous you become over time when doing it, here it just doesn’t apply. As for how much I’m nervous during a social interaction, I feel like a lot of the time it’s pretty random, which baffled me for a long time because I’d hear people with “normal” social anxiety always say how they’re always anxious or nervous with strangers, or in some specific kinds of situations, while for me there are times when I feel nervous talking to my own Mum, even though we generally have a very good relationship, or I can have trouble writing to someone online whom I like and know well, and there can be times when I can hold a fairly normal conversation with someone I barely know or even a total stranger, and even enjoy it, and the person mmight even end up commenting how very outgoing I am. ๐Ÿ˜€ I used to explain to them that I don’t, or even when I was a child my Mum would explain that it’s not like that, but now I no longer do as it’s not their business really, and they usually wouldn’t believe me anyway when I’d say that actually I’m normally very anxious around people and they’d say things like that everyone is a bit anxious sometimes, like my last therapist, for example, haha. The next day, my anxiety may work completely inversely, or I’ll be scared of all people equally. It used to really confuse me, well, still does in a way, but I used to think that because it’s not really like I have very clear social anxiety triggers beyond a few, I can’t have valid social anxiety and either it’s something else or I’m somehow making it up or whatever. I still haven’t fully figured out what may be the reasons behind such a weird, changing pattern, although I have some theories and think there may be multiple factors involved, but a lot has been cleared up for me when I learned that in fact I don’t have the classic social anxiety, but instead I have AVPD, in which the anxiety doesn’t have to necessarily be triggered by any specific situation, it’s just some general people phobia with some other, additional gimmicks to make things more interesting.

Another such thing for me is definitely horse riding. I haven’t done that in quite some time now, but I used to for many years, and despite that, I would always be more or less anxious beforehand, and as much as I absolutely love it, the anxiety could seriously get in the way or even spoil things completely sometimes. I’ve written here many times before how my fear started out mostly due to my balance problems and having obligatory hippotherapy at nursery, but then later on, after a few years’ break, my Mum got me back into it at our local stud where I grew to love it and also really bonded not just with my horse but also my instructor. I still experienced all the same issues that I did before, but since I learned that horse riding can be enjoyable and started doing it not just in a therapeutic but also more properly sporty way, I was able to overcome my fears enough that my love of riding and for my horse was stronger than the anxiety and most of the time I was able to motivate myself to do it, even if it took me some 15 minutes on horseback to relax and feel it properly. After those fifteen minutes I would usually start feeling way better, euphoric even. I always found it really annoying that it took me so long to get into it and that I was so shaky beforehand and for the first few minutes while riding, which also affected the way I rode since all my muscles were tense and of course my horse picked up on it too. My main horse was really phlegmatic and hardly moved by anything, which I found very reassuring, so he didn’t catch the anxiety from me like some horses do, but it was definitely an obstacle in our communication. So when I was put on the anti-anxiety medication I always took half of the pill before the riding to calm me down a bit. Sometimes it worked, sometimes I didn’t feel it at all. Then I guess at some point my brain started protesting louder and my anxiety became almost as strong as my love for riding and it was harder and harder to motivate myself to actually do it and I didn’t see much point if I was feeling horrid hours in advance. So that was one of the reasons why I stopped doing it, although I still don’t know yet if it’ll be permanently or not.

And yet another thing which very often makes me nervous is change. We all deal with changes in our lives a lot, but some of us I guess just never get used to it. Not all changes freak me out, but major or sudden ones or such that involve leaving behind something that I was emotionally connected to tend to be difficult. New things I have to get used to are also difficult, they may not always scare me but the stress related to getting used to the new thing can be rather exhausting, even if it’s sometimes exciting at the same time.

What is such a thing(s) for you? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day.

How are you today? Is there anything you need to do, or are you taking it easy?

My answer:

Meh. Nothing exciting in Bibielland. Instead it’s going to be a rather ranty post, because honestly, this whole month has been pretty shitty for me mental health-wise, with bad depression, a lot of AVPD yuckiness, messed up sleep and a fair bit of anxiety of all sorts. And yesterday Jack the Ripper/Butcher has come for a visit (period), absolutely unusually timely for his standards. He’s also in a real ripper mood this time as it seems. I’m hoping that once he calms down, so will my brain, as much as it’s realistically possible. We’ll see. Anyways, today isn’t terrible brain-wise compared with the average over the last few weeks, and taking into account that I have only slept two hours last night I guess it’s actually pretty decent. I’ve been very Jack-achy, which is part of why I had trouble sleeping despite the painkillers, but partly it’s simply that, like I said, my sleep is generally all over the place right now and I haven’t been able to hard reset it. So I’m quite tired and my thinking is a bit sluggish, but thankfully I don’t have anything pressing to do today so I can do nothing, just chill with Misha. The Jack did me actually a bit of a favour, ’cause it was my cousin’s baby’s christening yesterday (Sofi’s the Godmother) and we originally weren’t supposed to go because my cousin and her hubby wanted to keep the amount of people invited to the minimum I think due to the pandemic, but then changed their mind the night before the event and decided that there won’t be just the Godparents and the grandparents but invited the rest of my family too. Now that was way too short notice for me for such a huge peopling situation, but then I’d feel awful if I wouldn’t go, so I am sincerely thankful for Jack that he extricated me out of this and gave me a more than good enough reason not to go, even though as a result I spent most of the day in bed, but I can handle physical pain better than people pain.

Like I said I have nothing super important to do that would necessarily need to be done today, although I’ve been working on some longer, two-part post about emetophobia as I see on Google Console a lot of people come to my blog looking for some tips about it, which I haven’t ever shared, but I like when people can find what they’re looking for when they happen to stumble upon my blog, and I have quite an extensive experience with emetophobia so thought I could do this. I am writing something that I want to both show my experience of it fully so that people can perhaps relate if they need it, and then I want to write about strategies that work or have worked for me, so that hopefully they’ll be useful. I’ve been writing this for over a month because I’ve had to take a lot of breaks throughout the process as I didn’t want to trigger myself too badly in the meantime which would be easy to do now that I haven’t been doing too well. So, today I’m having a lot of free time and I’m a bit miffed that I could theoretically do it and maybe even finish the whole thing today, but I have too little cognitive energy, and I have a feeling that it would be taking the word self-destructive to the next level – digging in your own phobias on two hours of sleep while having a period. – ๐Ÿ˜€ Probably wouldn’t be the best quality either, even if I have a big chunk written already.

How about you? How is your day going? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day.

What do you do for exercise/recreation?

My answer:

I used to do a lot of horse riding, which was my main, if not only, form of exercise for many years. I’m not really into any other sports, nor am I good at them. I started with it in primary school only in the form of hippotherapy, because that’s what is mainly done at the stud where I go to, as it mostly serves disabled people, most of them quite severely disabled with severe forms of cerebral palsy and severe things. However, my hippotherapist is also a riding instructor and at some point she suggested to me that we could do more of riding as a sport, since I don’t have a severe movement-related disability, and do just elements of hippotherapy in it, which I was very happy to do. I also participated in some local competitions for disabled youth. Now though, things with my horse riding have been suspended for a looong time and I don’t really even know when/if they’ll go back to normal, for several reasons. First there’s the pandemic now. Even if it perhaps is an option for some people to do sports while wearing a mask (I have no idea how they do it) it is definitely not an option for me, because despite I’ve been riding for years, I’m at the same time allergic to horses and while this allergy is mild enough that it can be super easily managed with anti-allergy meds before and after the ride, I still do experience some mild respiratory symptoms of it, and having to additionally wear a mask would make breathing rather tricky. Social distancing wouldn’t work either because my riding instructor assists me a lot of the time especially when we’re somewhere that I’m not familiar with or when I’m learning some new technique or something or sometimes she holds me when I do some exercises on horseback that I feel insecure about because of balance stuff.

Besides that, even before the pandemic my instructor has had a crazy life. She had a breast cancer two years ago, which thankfully is a thing of the past now, but as she says it made her change her life and realise that she wasn’t prioritising the right things before. Besides being a horse riding instructor and hippotherapist, as well as a keen equestrian herself, she is also a very busy neurologist by profession, and a mum of a primary school-aged boy on top of all that. Before the cancer, I remember her as being always super busy and in a hurry and she kept saying that she wished a day would have more hours so she could squeeze more things in it that she had to do, yet she was also always very positive and energetic and rarely seemed very tired or worn out with all the comotion going on in her life. Yet when she got the cancer and several other things started going wrong in her life at the same time, it made her realise that she really needs to prioritise her mum role over her professional life, and maybe focus some more on her own riding for pleasure, which she had very little time and opportunity to pursue because she was constantly teaching other people and she had no time for riding just for the sake of it. That meant that she decided to slow down with work a bit and also with the stud, so I was seeing her less often. Then there was also some financial trouble they were having with the stud, and then my horse – ลoล› (or Elk in English) – the one on which I rode primarily, died. All the horses at the stud where I go are older, often have some diseases and stuff or have had difficult or traumatic experiences before. ลoล› was no exception, he was in his 20’s and had several illnesses, but ultimately died of bronchitis. Because my horse riding was very irregular already then, I only learned about the fact a lot later and it was a huge shock, because we’ve known each other for like ten years and we were a really good team, even though he would often fall asleep or get lost in his daydreams while I was riding him. ๐Ÿ˜€ After that, when I did go riding, I would usually ride on another horse – Rudy (or Redhead in English) – a very cute fjord horse whom I used to ride already before whenever ลoล› had a day off or something and we knew each other well, and I really do like him very much as well, in fact, in a lot of ways, Rudy is easier to ride because he’s a lot smaller, lighter and a lot more sensorily perceptive so riding him requires a lot less strength and muscle effort, and he’s also a LOT shorter so I feel less insecure in terms of balance. But at the same time I never felt like we get along sort of emotionally as well as we always did with ลoล›, we’re on quite different wavelengths while with ลoล› we clicked instantly, so much so that even though I used to be scared of riding before, it miraculously changed the first time I rode him, or at least got alleviated enough that, despite the anxiety, I was able to fall in love with riding enough that I wanted to continue it even though I’d always be very nervous beforehand. He always was extremely sensitive to my feelings and especially when I was anxious. Often, even just his presence made me feel more at ease, perhaps because he was absolutely, unbelievably phlegmatic, like you’dthink absolutely nothing can phase him as if he was half-asleep all the time. ๐Ÿ˜€ Rudy is a lot more lively, which is super cool because you can have more fun with him and generally do more spontaneous things, but we just don’t have as much of the emotional connection and he’s quite anxious himself so my anxiety makes him more anxious and vice versa.

Then during winter before the pandemic has started, I got that weird, recurrent thing on my calf that I sometimes get during winter, apparently it’s similar to eczema but I don’t know really what it is or what’s the actual cause, anyways, it takes ages to heal and it hurts when walking and stuff or when something rubs on it which is quite hard to avoid when you’re riding and have riding boots on. So during winter I stopped riding completely. I’m always massively frustrated when that leg thing happens to me because as you can figure out I do love riding very much, but that year, my frustration was accompanied by a hint of relief that I won’t feel obliged to ride. Because the last few months of my riding, I found it more difficult than before. I wrote here many times before about my first experiences with riding in nursery and how I didn’t really like them and found horse riding super scary because of my balance problems, but how I then got into it later at our local stud because Mum read that hippotherapy would be beneficial to me. Even though I ended up loving horse riding, partly because of my very competent instructor and her being able to understand my issues around it, and partly due to ลoล› magic, I never fully got rid of the anxiety and always felt quite anxious before riding and it took me some time to relax. Some times were worse than others. And I guess after ลoล›’s death things got a bit worse generally and it became more difficult for me to feel at ease when riding, so that finally at some point it started to become more and more of a struggle for me to actually motivate myself to do it, and was no longer as much of a pleasure as it used to be.

So now, having not ridden since before the start of the pandemic, I don’t know if I’ll get back into it. I’d love to, I miss being in the saddle, I miss that feeling when I am finally able to relax my brain and my muscles while riding and I miss how freeing riding can be once you relax, I miss Rudy and I miss my instructor, with whom I really enjoy talking. But on the other hand I’m not sure, I just have super mixed feelings about it. Also I know that, while I’ve experienced a lot of benefits from horse riding, at the same time it’s very paradoxical that that’s the sport I’ve been doing, because I lack pretty much all the skills that are said to be required to be a good rider. My balance, coordination and sensory integration are all fairly rubbish, and I’m allergic to horses on top of that. Still, I’ve been told that I’m a pretty good rider despite that, given my possibilities, and I do feel I’ve achieved a lot and am quite proud of myself in this department. Being an equestrian is definitely a part of my identity since I’ve been doing it for years, and it would feel weird to decide that I’m no longer going to do it. And I don’t have as much interest in any other sport or physical activity, so I don’t know what I’d do instead. Yet at the same time I think it’s not really something for me because of my difficulties. I just don’t know.

But because I don’t do horse riding for now and I haven’t yet made up my mind on whether I will or not, I think I still need to do something so that if I decide to go back to it, I won’t realise that I’ve regressed physically. Therefore, I regularly go for walks with my Mum when we both can, often quite long ones, which I like as it can be a good way to clear your mind, although not as effective and cathartic as horse riding can be. I also do some low-key core exercises at home that my instructor recommended to me and that I also used to do in between my riding days, which I consider fairly boring as any form of workout so I’m not always as systematic with it as I should, these days, but it’s just to keep my muscles in some kind of shape.

How about you? ๐Ÿ™‚

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? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day (4th April).

Hey people! ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s the question I meant to ask you yesterday:

Do you feel like you have a special connection with animals?

My answer:

I don’t feel this way at all, but, judging from how a lot of animals are extremely clingy with me, you could draw exactly the opposite conclusion. I do like most animals in general, I grew up in the countryside where we’d always have a dog or two in the backyard, some wild cats running around, and fishes at home, I even had a hamster for a short while as a kid, then I started horse riding, and now have Misha and Jocky, but I couldn’t describe myself as a typical animal person, who would take some great interest in animals in general, or even a particular species, or anything like that. The only animal which I truly love in a way that goes beyond just liking it because it’s cute is Misha. Since I love Misha very passionately or obsessively as some say, a lot of people automatically assume I must be some crazy cat lady in general. And I don’t usually tell them that it’s otherwise because, of course I do like cats, but it’s not like I have some special interest or extreme love for felines as a whole. I feel I also had a very strong bond with a horse I used to ride for many years, that was absolutely amazing, but he died two years ago or so. I guess the fact that I’m madly in love with one cat and used to have an extraordinary bond with one horse doesn’t really make me an animal person overall or doesn’t mean I could have a connection with all of them.

For some reason though, a lot of animals seem to like me a lot. Often when I’m just walking somewhere and a cat passes by, it will come close to me and let me stroke it. Same about people’s dogs. We even have one dog in the neighbourhood who will always get so agitated whenever she sees me and will not calm down until her mummy lets her come over to me and I stroke her. It’s hilarious, although a bit weird. ๐Ÿ˜€ In my family, when we visit someone who has a cat or a dog, the pet will often come to me first thing, even though it’s my Mum or Sofi trying to coax it with some food to come to her and I don’t do anything. It’s especially remarkable with my aunt’s dog – Daisy – who is always literally all over me whenever I visit her. And I visit this particular aunt extremely rarely. In a way, getting so much attention from animals in social situations is fun, because it often rescues me from having to be social with people, or gives me something to do on family gatherings where I’d otherwise be bored to death (I think I talked about that when sharing Leah Nobel’s song Talking To The Dog At The Party, which I think should be introverts’ anthem ๐Ÿ˜€ ). In this regard, credit goes especially to my gran’s cat, Feluล›, and one of my maternal grandparents’ backyard cats whom I called Michelle, who always keep me sane during social gatherings, as long as they are home. But on the other hand it often ends up drawing even more human attention to me and I don’t like that one bit. Also, especially with dogs, it can be quite awkward. I feel about dogs very much like I feel about children. They’re cute, but, in direct contact, I don’t really know how I should relate to them, what I’m supposed to do with them, and they can be a bit overbearing long-term. I even feel this way about our Jocky, as much as I like him at the same time. With Jocky it’s also funny because of course he’s mostly Sofi’s pet, just like Misha’s mostly mine, and Sofi and Jocky have very similar characters and love each other so much and play a lot. Still, it always bothers Sofi very much that Jocky always seems a lot more affectionate withh me than with her, even though I am not nearly as affectionate with him as Sofi is. I do play with him regularly and it’s fun, but I don’t do it not nearly as much as Sofi and don’t give him as much attention. Yet when we come back home from somewhere and he sees me and Sofi, he’ll be all over me first and only then scamper off to play with Sofi. I really feel for Sofi, I’d hate to have a similar situation with Misha where I’d love him as much as I do but he’d be more affectionate with Sofi. So while in a way I feel honoured that Jocky likes me so much, even though I don’t get it, I think for Sofi’s sake I’d rather like it more if he was more like that with her.

I guess it’s kind of similar to what my Dad experiences with children. He makes a rather rough impression and can be authoritarian and not necessarily your ideal candidate for a nanny, but, for some weird reason, he’s very popular with all toddlers with our family. They are often a bit shy around him initially when they come to us or when we come to their parents’ houses, but after some time, it’ll be my Dad on whose lap they’ll be sitting or running to him to tell him about some game they’ve been playing or give him a half-eaten lollipop or something, even though I would think my Mum is far more engaging with children than he is. Maybe it’s about his sense of humour and that, unlike my Mum, he hardly actually asks them any questions, and I suppose not all kids like being asked a lot of questions even if it’s in a very friendly way as is the case with my Mum, who is genuinely interested and doesn’t just automatically ask about how school is going.

Weird how such things work sometimes.

How is it with you? ๐Ÿ™‚

If We Were Having Coffee… #WeekendCoffeeShare

Welcome to another

#WeekendCoffeeShare! ๐Ÿ™‚

Our host is Natalie, so if you’d like to join in with your own coffee share, you can go over to her blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

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…? ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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? ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Question of the day.

If you wake up at 3 AM and can’t fall back asleep, what do you do?

My answer:

As someone with quite erratic sleep-wake cycle which shifts a lot, mostly due to the fact that I have no light perception, I end up in such a situation quite often. Unlike a lot of people who struggle with sleep problems and disorders though, it’s not a huge source of frustration for me. Largely because it’s always been like this, and now I’m in a very comfortable life situation where I am in charge of my own time so everything is very flexible, I can sleep in if I need to, I can go to sleep very early if I was up all night, or I can have a more low-key day if I’m a zombie running on no sleep. Having lived in an exactly opposite way most of my life, where I did have to live a very structured life and having to fit in my constantly more or less “jet-lagged” into it, I appreciate this luxury all the more. So it’s not a big deal for me usually if I can’t sleep at 3 AM or wake up at that time.

I do lots of different things if I can’t sleep at night, I just take it as an extra amount of time that I can do something interesting with. Sometimes, when I’m in a phase when I don’t need a lot of sleep and can go on four hours or so and feel quite rested for a few days, I’m feeling quite energised at night and put my energy into something creative. Generally, regardless of my energy levels, I feel that I’m often a lot more creative and deep-thinking at night and come up with a lot of interesting ideas. ๐Ÿ˜€ So I’ll do some journaling, sometimes write a short story or try to write something more in my huge, neverending Jack Hamilton novel which I’ve been writing since like fourth grade and Jack Hamilton has been a great friend of mine and especially on sleepless nights, my Mum says that he’s like an old dog who’s barely alive but you’re too attached to him to put him down. I rarely add something more to that these days because I don’t need Jack as much as I used to as a teenager and we both have changed a lot, but I do not want to put a clear end to this whole thing, so these days if I write something more to it it’s usually just a little bit. He’s going to be celebrating his 100th birthday quite soon, I believe. Other times, I’ll just listen to some music and daydream (wait, nightdream) or go into my Brainworld, as I’ve always been an avid paracosmist (I’ve been a paracosmist my entire life and only recently learned about the existence of this word ๐Ÿ˜€ ).

If I’m less creatively inclined, I’ll just read or listen to music, often without even getting out of bed, although if I can’t fall back asleep for longer than an hour I usually get up because if I fall back asleep after such longer but still not very long time, I have almost guaranteed sleep paralysis and while people have varying attitudes towards it, for me it’s always been extremely scary because it features stuff I’m scared of in real life and sometimes one relatively short episode of sleep paralysis can affect me for a few days and make me super anxious.

Since we’ve got Misha, I’m often not the only one who isn’t asleep at 3 AM in this house. Misha’s sleep cycle is also totally different than the cycles of the peeps in here, so he’ll also often have loads of energy in the middle of the night, running wildly around the living room or playing with his glass balls. If that is the case, I’ll often bring him up to my room, as here his play won’t wake up anyone else, and we’ll play together.

Other times, I just go online and write with people or something, or play BitLife, ever since I’ve got my iPhone, because yes, I still play it quite a lot. Or just start my day properly, get dressed, eat something and do whatever I was going to do in the day anyway.

How about you? Does such a scenario often take place in your life? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day.

How do you like your eggs? ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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. ๐Ÿ˜€

How about you? ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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, ๐Ÿ˜€ 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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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 ๐Ÿ˜€ ), 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. ๐Ÿ˜€

How about you. ๐Ÿ™‚

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? ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

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 ๐Ÿ˜€ ). 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. ๐Ÿ˜€ Wow, I feel honoured, wonder what makes me so cool! ๐Ÿ˜€ 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…? ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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? ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Question of the day.

What was the last text you sent?

My answer:

Um, lemme have a look, I don’t text people all that often. I use WhatsApp more often normally, but recently I haven’t been messaging a lot with anyone on there either… Oh my, that was ages ago! At least for some people’s standards, I believe. ๐Ÿ˜€ The last text I sent was to Sofi, on Christmas Eve. And it says: “No, it’s not meant to be I guess, anyway”. It was after the Christmas Eve supper (for those who don’t know here in Poland it’s the supper on Christmas Eve which is the central Christmas meal and the most festive one), and Sofi was watching A Christmas Carol on TV and I went up to my room. After a while I had an impression like Sofi stopped watching it and went to her room as well, so I wanted to invite her over to me to play a bit of BitLife because I was sure she must be bored. So I texted her to come but she was still watching, although indeed she was bored nevertheless so we kept texting each other back and forth as I had nothing else to do at the moment either and she said that she thinks this film is scary. I said it’s weird, because the book isn’t, so I don’t think the film should be scary either. But Sofi said the book is also scary. So that’s why I wrote that it’s not meant to be scary, or so I think. I asked her if it’s because of the ghosts but she said that just generally the feel of it is scary. While I don’t see it this way, and I didn’t watch the film version, I get her, because we both tend to perceive a lot of normal things to be weirdly creepy. Curiously, I was in the theatre as a kid about Sofi’s age on A Christmas Carol, and it did trigger my sensory anxiety, but that was more due to some stuff about the performance rather than the plotline itself being scary. And Sofi generally doesn’t have any major anxiety issues, I guess it’s something to do with some sort of over-perceptiveness if it makes any sense, I don’t know.

So how about you? Oh, and do you think A Christmas Carol is scary? ๐Ÿ™‚

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? ๐Ÿ™‚

(Do) I have people I trust.

I thought I’d use some journal prompt for some longer writing today, and I found one in The Goddess Journaling Workbook by Beatrice Minerva Linden which got me thinking, so I chose it.

“I have people I trust. Who are they? If they haven’t appeared in your life yet, imagine that person from your future vividly. Imagine the feeling of talking to a true friend. Imagine what they look like, their gestures and how they look at you as you talk to them.

Rather than strictly following the prompt, my post will be more like raw (more or less) ramblings about the whole trust thing in my life, just based on this prompt.

Because I am disabled, and so can’t be as self-sufficient in all areas of life as are people who do not have the disability and difficulties that I do, and because I am not very autonomous in what I believe is neatly called independent living skills in the Anglophone disabled community, I’ve naturally had to learn to trust people in a strictly practical sense. I mean in everyday situations in which I may need another person’s assistance or help. And I have, although obviously I also do have my guard on in case I need any help from people I don’t know all that well or have some sort of doubts about, whatever their nature might be. If I didn’t take the potential risk and didn’t assume that all people are trustworthy in this sense, my day to day life would be much more difficult to manage, having only myself to rely on all of the time. Luckily for me, I’ve never had any particularly adverse experiences from taking this potential risk, largely because I try to, and have such a possibility, to rely on people I know well, like my Mum, for example.

I’d never really dwelled on this topic much, simply because there’s just no other way so I never thought there’s even much to think about, until my last therapist (for my regular readers/those who know me off blog, the one who was so obsessed with my blindness), made an interesting observation right after our first session, when she was guiding me out of the building, that I must be a very trustful person because I have to rely on others in daily life situations like that one. So that got me thinking because, aside from that practical stuff where I’m basically forced to trust people a lot of the time, I’m not really all that trustful at all. Although I didn’t tell her that, which perhaps also tells something about my degree of trust towards people whom I met for the first time a little more than an hour before. ๐Ÿ˜€

As I’ve already mentioned before, the person I definitely feel the most comfortable trusting with daily life stuff is my Mum, since we know each other very well. I also know that I can trust her with more private stuff than just guiding or describing something or other such stuff you could potentially ask a random stranger on the street for. Recent example – the MIMRAs (My Inner Mishmash Readership Awards). She had been helping me a lot with these, this year, and the year before. And I had no problem trusting her with the MIMRA cards, for which she did some initial designs so that the company who were making them would know what I wanted exactly, that she did them the way she told me she would and more or less how I explained to her I’d like them to look like. When the cards were ready, I trusted her that they look just like she said they do, and even trusted in her opinion that they are really nice and better than last year. I didn’t even think about not trusting her. I could be more wary of her intentions, get my iPhone, open one of the AI apps for the blind and see what colour it is, recognise the text on the cards with it to see whether there is really what I wanted to be written on them, but trusting her takes much less hassle, plus the app could get confused and say the wrong colours or misread something and then I’d be in a real conundrum as for who to trust. Then I even trusted her with addressing the parcels and sending them while I was writing the MIMRA post myself, without double checking if she didn’t mix the recipients up, on purpose, of course. ๐Ÿ˜€

So, yeah, with daily life stuff, I think there isn’t really any other way being disabled, so that it isn’t even a personality or character trait, but simply a coping/survival strategy you have to use.

Let’s talk now about this other type of trust. There are people in my life with whom I openly share a fair bit of personal stuff, including this blog, and really like doing so. For that reason, some people even think I’m open or outgoing or some other things like that. I like to think I have a rich and varied brain life, so even when I do not share a lot, there is still a lot I can and do share about myself and my life. ๐Ÿ˜€ Also what I share with people is always, well, usually, carefully filtered beforehand. If it’s not, it either means something unusual was going on either with my brain and state of mind, or in my life, at the time of sharing, or that I felt reasonably comfortable sharing it. Online, the third option can be that I somehow forgot to edit something out but if I’m writing something personal or deeply emotional I spend ages editing it, which minimises the chances of it happening. ๐Ÿ˜€ I still sometimes regret things I shared with people intendedly though if I come to a conclusion that I “exhibited” myself too much, especially in person. I kind of envy people who can just spontaneously pour out their brains “live” to someone but on the other hand I’d never actually want to do this I guess, there is something creepy about it. That’s probably why therapy has always been a difficult thing for me, you’re supposed to be an open book there, I just can’t do it, it creeps me out. When I was a kid, one of my weirdest fears was that I’d be sleep talking and say something that I think about or just have in my mind but would never ever want anyone to know. I didn’t have anything specific in mind that I wouldn’t want people to know, no dark secrets, just not having a filter while dreaming was a scary prospect. It still is although I’m not quite as concerned with it because as far as I know I’ve never sleep talked and I sleep on my own these days, as opposed to having roommates in boarding school and sharing one big bedroom with my family until the age of 10 when we moved. And now I dream a lot in other languages so chances are even if I sleep talked and someone heard it they wouldn’t have a clue whatever I was saying. ๐Ÿ˜€ Another handy advantage to being multilingual that I never thought of before, especially when living with monoglots. ๐Ÿ˜€

So, as you can figure out from that, there aren’t many people I could say I actually trust, and even if I do, it’s not like what some people say about their friends, that they could tell them just about anything and confide in without any worries or self-consciousness or anything.

Out of all these people, I trust my Mum the most. I know she also trusts me too, maybe even more than I do her because she shares a whole lot with me and always asks me for advice with really personal stuff. So I really value the bond we have. Since we are family we naturally have a lot of similar experiences or traits so that also makes it easier to trust her. But I never feel like I can be open with her regarding my mental health issues, and all the related stuff. Because these are not things she has any personal experience with, and she seems to find it very difficult to relate to/understand, and often reacts very emotionally to what I share with her about that, which typically doesn’t make me feel any better. She is very supportive in a practical sense, but she just simply often can’t understand what I’m dealing with. Combined with the fact that I have trouble sharing such personal stuff and even when I want to share something, it takes some effort from me, which means it might not always be the easiest to absorb for the other person or might make them feel somehow uncomfortable as well, it doesn’t make her a go-to person for me when I need some support because I’m particularly depressed or something. Such convos are tricky so we both prefer to avoid them if possible, which doesn’t mean she is in denial of my difficulties. But we can talk our faith, interests, though we have very different ones but still having deep interests overall is something that brings us closer, relationships with people and people in general, like neither of us can do with anyone else. That’s really nice. I also know I can ask her all sorts of awkward questions about life, be it its social side and how to handle a specific social situation, or to do with adulting etc. I often feel like I’m clueless about a lot of things that are obvious to people and I really value having someone who can explain it speaking my language, so to say. ๐Ÿ˜€ Only because we do share a lot, I often feel the pressure from her to share everything, especially when she realises that I don’t, and that drives me mad and has the opposite effect.

I can also be quite trustful with Sofi and like to confide a lot of low key stuff in her, and I like how it always seems to make her feel older than she is. Being a teenager, Sofi likes feeling older than she is and when someone treats her in such a way, y’know. ๐Ÿ™‚ I like talking fazas with her, for example now that I am desperately seeking for a new faza and looking for faza candidates, whenever there is a more serious one, I always let Sofi in on that and seek her opinion on the potential new faza subject, what she thinks about their music, and how they look like. The more disapproving of their music she is, the more happy I am because that means they might finally end up being good enough for my brain as a faza subject. Because Sofi’s and my tastes in music differ diametrically. I also like to know what my faza subjects look like, just for the sake of knowing, and I feel more comfortable asking Sofi who is in the age of crushes, which are a similar phenomenon to fazas in some ways, and additionally is a very visual and perceptive person, rather than bother my Mum with it. We just generally talk a lot with Sofi, mostly very casual stuff but I think we both feel quite comfortable sharing a lot of little things with each other, although with more complex things we don’t really understand each other that well as we’re very different and there’s quite a significant age difference between us. I also wouldn’t tell Sofi anything too serious as she is only a child and very sensitive, plus keeping secrets isn’t her strongest point. I can also trust her to help me with a lot of things like now with MIMRa pictures.

I also have a special sort of trust for my grandad. He has always supported me, no matter in what sort of situation. Even in situations when he doesn’t really know what it’s all about, he’ll always support me as if it was some sort of a rule he never breaks. Even when my Mum isn’t in my corner, he silently is. We don’t really talk together all that much though. We like being together in silence. When I was a kid, I always knew that he wouldn’t judge me if I cried openly in his presence or was super angry. And he always makes me feel safer. I mean physically, sensorily, I don’t know… But we no longer live close and so our relationship is more distanced now. Either way we never had as much time for just the two of us as I’d like, because I was in the boarding school a lot, he worked a lot, and there was always grandma. My grandma is a sweet, virtuous, charming and lovable person but I don’t feel quite as comfortable around her.

I also trust with some deeper things some of my online friends and am really glad I have them since I’ve started penpalling and blogging and like the connection we have. I like how I’ve found a lot of like-minded people on the internet in the recent few years, which means I can talk to them a lot of things we both like/have experienced that I can’t talk to with all the people above. I can talk about my interests or fazas with them more indepth, or the mental health stuff, or whatever else that we both get. This is so cool. Again though, I always feel the need to filter things a lot. I feel like I should mention my late friend Jacek from Helsinki in particular, with whom we had a very strong bond over our interests, which contributed to a level of closeness I don’t think I ever had with anyone else, though our relationship was nowhere near ideal as we both clashed a lot in terms of personality.

So there isn’t anyone I would be able to trust without any reservations. I don’t know if I should see this as a problem, or just as a fact, so I prefer the latter, but generally I just don’t think about it too much on a regular basis cus actually why think about it too much. I don’t lose sleep over it. Only sometimes when I really feel like I could reach out to someone but find myself unable to, even though there are a lot of potentially trustworthy people around me, then it bothers me a bit, but typically not for too long, because then in turn the idea of having such a close relationship scares me.

If it is a problem, I think it’s not because potentially trustworthy people or a potential “true friend” hasn’t appeared in my life or because I have never met anyone I could feel totally safe with and comfortable just being myself, feeling sure that they’ll accept me anyway. Or this may be a secondary problem only.

I know a lot of people who seem trustworthy, a lot of awesome, supportive and like-minded people, online in particular. So, what I think the actual problem could be, if it is a real problem, I just don’t feel safe opening up to people for real, or don’t want to overwhelm them, or maybe I somehow don’t know how to form such close relationships. Oh yeah, and what’s for sure, closeness is a nice concept but it also scares me shitless in practice. I just struggle with reaching out to people I guess, which means the real, strong trust can’t form on my end of the relationship.

But I see yet another option here. Maybe the problem is that there is a fair bit of pressure in our gregarious society to have a lot of friends, and for all of them to be true, eternal friends, with whom you can talk anything under the sun and share absolutely all ups and downs and everything in between of each other, and then maybe even a true soulmate for good measure. As I like to be different, if this is indeed the case, I am pretty happy to be the other way around and stay freely individualistic, not needing to feel obliged to share all the ins and outs of my life with another human being, or even a larger number of them. ๐Ÿ˜€

That’s why I sorta feel unable to address the other part of the prompt and (realistically) imagine such a person vividly, and especially my very trusting interaction with them.

How is it with you? Do you trust people easily? Do you have a lot of people you trust? Or do you have no one? If so, are you able to imagine someone whom you could trust and what they’d be like? Does it bother you that you have no one like this at present? And, do you have someone in your life that you trust totally, whom you can tell anything or ask for anything? Do you think it’s good/necessary/to have such a person? Or maybe you don’t like the idea for some reason and prefer to rely solely on yourself? Loooads of questions today. But I think this is a wide topic, so just tell me whatever your thoughts are about the whole thing or just the prompt. ๐Ÿ™‚

How I’ve been feeling lately.

Today, I’d like to write some a bit longer post inspired by a journaling prompt again, as I haven’t done that in a while. It probably won’t be too long or indepth, but I think it’ll be nice to do and also fill y’all in a bit on what’s going on for me. The prompt I chose to inspire myself with is from Listify by Marina Greenway and goes like this:

ย ย  Lately, I’ve been feeling… Your state of mind changes over time and through the seasons. Record how you are feeling right now. What is going through your mind? Are you responding emotionally to something that has happened earlier in the week? Are you anticipating your day in a positive or negative way? What does your general state of being feel like? Do this every so often to chronicle your journey.

I typically write in my journal and/or on here about how I’m feeling in a more prosaic form, and I don’t think doing a list will become my typical way of doing it, but I think it could be fun once in a while. So here is my list.

  • ย ย  Super anxious. I started feeling a bit anxious last Saturday (in this particular case when I say anxious I mean the sensory anxiety thing, but also generally I was super jumpy and hyper alert) and all that for no clear reason. I have some ideas now as for what could cause it, but given the intensity of the anxiety it seems very inadequate and this sensory anxiety episode has been one of the worst I’ve had in the last couple years. Last weekend and the beginning of the week was particularly awful, now I’m slowly recovering and it’s much better but still far from my baseline.
  • ย ย  Excited about MIMRAs (My Inner Mishmash Readership Award) and relieved that I’ve finally sent them out. This is a really happy and exciting process for me and I love the idea so much and that I came up with this, though all the preparations can get a bit exhausting. I am also hopeful that the winners will enjoy their MIMRAs as that’s the whole point of it. I am also happy that Sofi likes her new iPhone which she got from me earlier this week. It was meant to be a Christmas present, but since she chose the colour of it and the accessories anyway I figured I could just as well give it to her right away. Her old iPhone was in an awful state (our parents bought her a used one and it was in a pitiful condition already when she got it, but they refused to get her a new one even though the old one is now barely usable, because Mum says she doesn’t deserve it and needs to have higher grades. I don’t see it as a prize for anything, I think she should have a functioning phone to be able to do her schoolwork from home and not be lagging too far behind her peers with her knowledge and abilities regarding technology. Plus now that she has a functioning, brand new phone which will be supported for a few more years to come, unlike the old one, it should definitely serve her well at least until she’s 18, and then she can buy a new phone for herself, so no one of us will need to bother with buying her another phone any time soon. If she breaks it earlier, I emphasised it to her that it’s entirely her problem, although she does have coverage). She is really enjoying having a functional phone, and Mum now says that it was a good idea.
  • ย ย  A bit frustrated and tired. Frustrated with the fact that I’ve really been having a lot of migraines lately. Like, the last few months or so. It was the same last year about this time, autumn-winter, and then it got better, so I’m wondering if it’s some sort of a seasonal thing and if so why that is. It’s really getting in the way of things. The migraines themselves aren’t even all that painful, I’ve had worse and I know people have worse, but they’re really energy draining and make me feel kind of generally sick, so I’m effectively unable to do much of anything while having a migraine, especially that it often gets worse when I try to force myself to do something more ambitious that requires getting out of bed, and they’re more difficult to get rid of than they used to be. The combination of migraine medication and good sleep, or sometimes even just a usual NSAID if I’d take it early enough, used to be enough to get rid of the problem in one day, occasionally it would linger for some longer time but that was rare, while now the meds help rather rarely and it’s a bit like a lottery, at least I haven’t found any connections as to when and why they work or don’t work, and I need much more rest and sleep to make myself feel any better, I also don’t want to take the meds too often. I know it’s like this or even worse for many people who have migraines, but mine were generally easier to handle before so the situation is new to me and I’m feeling a bit clueless, and like I said frustrated because they often get in the way just when I want to do something productive. And as for the tired part, well I had a migraine yesterday until about noon today, and I’m still feeling a bit tired and sluggish afterwards.
  • A little stressed/worried, and a little looking forward to Christmas. Christmas is typically a stressful period for me, as it is for many of us. I don’t really know yet what it will be like for us this year, as we don’t have any specific plans, so typically I’m feeling rather apprehensive. But it’s also generally a nice occasion and I hope it’ll be at least a bit fun and not just stressful like it was last year.
  • ย ย  Desperate for a new faza. But that’s been the case for quite some time now and you probably all know about it, I don’t have anything to add to this really.

And I think that’s it. My day, apart from the migraine earlier, has been okayish, and it’s now coming to an end, so I’m not really anticipating anything today except for hoping for a decent night’s sleep. And my state of being feels a bit sluggish, a bit jumpy, but overall rather neutral at the moment.

How are you feeling? Do let me know. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

The challenging life lessons.

I don’t have anything more constructive to do for the time being, so thought I’d write another list inspired by Listify by Marina Greenway. Here goes the prompt:

ย ย  Difficult challenges that I pushed through (and what I learned). You have been through a lot. Pushed yourself, faced difficult situations, overcome challenges – all of it. List those moments and look back every now and then to acknowledge your journey and appreciate how far you’ve come.

The following list is not going to be exhaustive, we all have too many challenges to list and I’m too lazy to do that, that would be endlessly pathetic and also too intimate, and I’m probably going to overshare massively anyway. I’ll write about major things. Because I’m supposed to include both the challenges/events and what I learned from them, and I want you to know the context and also just write more about it so it’s not just a dry list, it may not be your typical list with short elements. Actually, on second thoughts, I decided to make it a bit unconventional and will simply put each point under a separate heading because sometimes it may get lengthy and I don’t want to be limited to one paragraph which will be hellish to read. ๐Ÿ˜€ Now it’s actually no longer a list, but oh well. Does it matter a lot?

Also, before I begin, I feel like some minor, just-in-case trigger warnings are due. Brief mention of suicidal thoughts from the past, mention of accused suicidal thoughts (however absurd that may sound), brief mention of self-harm, in-depth discussion on false accusations of child sexual abuse, and generally challenging topics so if you feel like anything may be difficult be careful and don’t feel obliged to anything. Another disclaimer is for the length – it did turn out huge haha, and I was writing it for ages. Again, don’t feel any obligations to read everything or if you don’t feel like reading a lengthy post don’t pressure yourself at all and do something more relaxing.

ย ย  I was born blind

Not that I remember any of it, haha, but blindness, even when it’s congenital thing and you can’t imagine your life any other way, is still more or less of a challenge. I don’t know if I learned anything specific from this… I mean, being blind you definitely learn things that you wouldn’t otherwise, but I never knew anything else so I can’t really compare it with anything I’d know before. Someone who lost their sight later on could have said that they have learnt to accept their blindness over the years – I was saved the problem as that has always been the only reality for me so I didn’t have to adjust to it in such a dramatic way. – It certainly was a difficult lesson for my parents though. Speaking of my parents, perhaps what I can say could be that I learned from quite an early age that I have a really loving and accepting family and not every disabled or non-disabled child is as lucky as I was.

Living 10 years in a boarding school

That was a huge challenge for me. It’s always difficult for any child to separate from their parents at the age of 5 and see them every two weeks at the very best, often much less frequently. If the environment where they live is friendly and there are other kids, as is the case with boarding schools (I want to be an optimist in this case and do hope most boarding schools are child-friendly and mine generally was, though I realise it’s not always the case), most kids grow to like it over time and bond with people there, though obviously they still miss their parents and, given the choice, would much prefer to live with them. But when they do go home, they’re often so used to being with their peers and the boarding school staff all the time that, while they’re happy to be at home, they may even miss their school and then be happy when going back there, to hang out with people they know well and have things in common with. That was not the case with me. I never fully adapted to living in such a way. Not because my school was scary or awful, though there were many things that I strongly believe shouldn’t take place. I guess I just wasn’t the type of kid to thrive in such conditions. Often when I’m close enough with someone to tell them about my experiences with this more in-depth, people will readily assume that my, or any other child’s in a similar situation, parents are to blame here. I don’t think so. There’s no way you can tell at such a young age whether this will be a good choice for your child or not. You can have a very extroverted, outgoing kid who loves spending time with their peers all the time, going to sleepovers, being in charge maybe, but stay in a boarding school and separation from family or any other subjectively negative experiences they may encounter there might make them much less self-confident and unhappy. An introverted child who hates leaving home even for family holidays and can’t find their place in a group may discover their true self in a good boarding school and make longer-lasting relationships because they can get to know their peers more deeply. And as for my personal case, my parents didn’t have another viable choice, or didn’t know about any. It had quite a destabilising effect on me that I had to change places so often. The result was that I didn’t feel at home anywhere and I didn’t have any sense of belonging. Because I hated the boarding school and didn’t want to have anything to do with it and that I felt like it smothered my sense of individuality (though I only fully realised what that feeling was exactly and the extend to which it happened after I left), I felt repulsed by what people were saying there a lot of the time that we should think of it as our second home. I didn’t understand those who actually treated it as such. I hated whenever someone would say about themselves, or moreover about me, that I “lived” there (we have two separate words in Polish for living, one for living as in being alive and another for living as in dwelling somewhere long-term, and I’m obviously talking about the latter). I wasn’t living there, I just was staying there at the time. I was scared thinking of girls in like their 20’s who were still there (most of them because of doing some high school/college (before uni) (most people there started proper schooling later than in mainstream school so it wasn’t that unusual for someone in their early 20’s to still be in high school that was actually the case with me too, only not in there) or studying at a mainstream university which was located nearby so it was easier for them to still reside in the same place that they’ve known for years and which was adapted to blind people in every possible way) or even older blind people who lived in this whole centre permanently (either because they worked somewhere there or just felt safest there and didn’t want/weren’t able for some reason to face the big wild sighted world) and I was wondering when I was little whether that was going to happen to me too, and then even later too but in a more cynical way rather than because I just didn’t know. I always waited when I’d be able to go home but I never felt truly at home either. It was like a holiday both for me and for my family, the more that often I’d come for summer holidays, or Christmas, or Easter, winter breaks or other. I loved it there but always felt more like a guest. I never was up to date with whatever was happening in our community or in the family. I felt like some very dignified stranger in some ways and didn’t like it. My relationship with my brother – which was never strong and kind of ambivalent, was particularly affected by it. I could never truly enjoy my stay at home because I was constantly thinking about how I needed to go back there soon and stressing over it. I hated being sort of on the move all the time. Yes, I did get used to living there, like you get used to living with one arm when you have it amputated at some point as an adult, but I was never comfortable with it and never fully accepted it. I did have kinda sorta friendships in there, liked many people, many people liked me, but these didn’t feel like true friendships, often felt either not really satisfying to me or sort of forced on the other end. I never had anyone there that I would miss when at home or think about what we’d be doing after the holidays/weekend/school break. I felt awfully inadequate and moreover awfully guilty for being so inadequate and not being able to feel good there. I tried to pretend and I think I was quite good at it or at least at stifling negative emotions (though sometimes in my first years of mastering this skill things would get really wild when there was no space left and it all popped out at once, until I learned that you can also implode and not just explode) but ultimately at least the staff knew that I didn’t feel good there, though it’s possible they knew it mainly from my Mum who couldn’t get over it naturally and her way of trying to get over something is talking and talking and talking and crying, they surely learned from my Mum that I was cutting myself, for example, which my Mum was suspecting. During my whole long stay there, I only met one girl much younger than me who had very similar issues to me. Sometimes I thought everyone must feel exactly the same as me and they must be just acting, but why would we even be acting in front of each other so much that absolutely nothing would show. Some of the girls in my group that I was closer with knew that I didn’t feel exactly great there, but they never mentioned feeling the same. Yes, of course, everyone misses their parents, I often asked some of them about whether they do and most naturally they always did, and school work is always boring for most kids, no matter where you are, right? But no one seemed to feel the same desperate kind of thing and instead enjoyed being able to be around other people with whom they shared so much in common because of living together for so long, being blind and often some common interests. People bonded with the staff a lot, some girls sometimes jokingly called some staff members their another mum or something. Many happily went on summer camps with the group despite spending with these people all year. Or devote one holiday weekend to spend it doing some fun things with the group as well, like going for a trip or something. my parents strongly encouraged me to take part in these things as they thought that would integrate me with them more but it was always quite nightmarish for me. There was only that one primary school girl, whom I happened to get to know more closely because she was from the same region as me so we would often go home together – like I would go with her parents and she with mine so that made it more possible for us to be at home more often. – I know she was self-harming and also finding it difficult to adapt there. She’s a teenager now though and a few years ago I saw her on Twitter where she wrote a lot about her school life – still in the same school – and very positively. So I’m very happy for her that she did eventually found her place there, even though after I got out of there me and my Mum were strongly encouraging her mum to take her out as well. Only now I have even bigger problem with myself, as that just confirms my… ahem! uniqueness. ๐Ÿ˜€

What have I learnt from that? First I have to say I learned some independent living skills there. Not as many as a lot of other people there and not always as well as them, I think due to a whole mix of factors, but I definitely did learn things that I likely would not have learnt otherwise at all, and so for that I am grateful. As well as for learning to read, I’m so flippin happy to be able to read Braille. I know there are screen readers, audiobooks etc. and many blind people live happy lives without using Braille at all or say it’s impractical but for me, being able to read something vs hear makes a world of difference.

Not to invalidate other people’s negative or traumatic experiences, no matter how minor they may seem to me. I hate the word trigger or trauma in context of myself about which I wrote here a few times earlier, because it feels like trivialising people’s serious traumatic experiences, but at the same time, paradoxically, I’d say if I do have any actual triggers it’s when someone else invalidates someone’s negative experience in any way, for example tell them that it’s impossible for them to be traumatised by something. I only recently discovered how much it can upset me and drive me absolutely nuts, much more than when someone does that to me.

It taught me to appreciate the good things while they last. To cherish my private space and time I can spend alone. To appreciate music that I love and that I can listen to it any time as I couldn’t do that for many years of my stay there. To appreciate my family, my roots, anything or anyone that I feel a close connection to. In hintsight, it made me appreciate my individuality, quirkiness and realise that I am not, can’t be and don’t have to be like other people. It works both in a negative and positive way because while I love being different and quirky and don’t have any interest in being normal and average, at the same time I have strong feelings of inadequacy and strongly feel all the downsides of not being normal. I try to have a distance to it though. It made me understanding and more aware of the differences of other people and more interested in them and in what they’re actually feeling. Because what they’re showing or saying or doing or not doesn’t always have to mean it’s in line with what they’re feeling. Just in case you didn’t know. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Also in hintsight as well, I learned to accept my mental illnesses to which that experience had largely contributed, but I was only able to do that after I left, despite I knew deep down much earlier that things weren’t okay. It took me a long time to accept what was going on and put my finger on what it was exactly, and obviously I needed the help of other people. And oh yeah, I learned how to be a defensive pessimist, which skill serves me very well to this day, yay! But I can assure you that the learning process was quite shitty haha. I’ve learnt that different people may see one situation entirely differently. I’ve also learnt not so positive things, like have gotten quite an ingrained belief of being extremely not resilient and mentally weak, or the bottling up stuff I mentioned before.

I experienced two years in an integration school

If you don’t know what I mean by integration school, it’s like a cross between a special school and mainstream school, where disabled children learn with able-bodied children, but it’s meant to be more inclusive and generally supposed to be better prepared for the needs of disabled children or children with any special needs, like there may be teaching assistants more readily available as teaching assistants are not something you’ll encounter in every normal mainstream school in Poland (not necessarily even in an integration school either). As you can imagine from what I wrote earlier, my Mum was also quite desperate and not happy with the boarding school situation and wanted to help me. So when I was 10, when my parents left me at the boarding school at the beginning of a school year and I was doing quite visibly unwell emotionally, my Mum started to look for some alternatives and she asked in a nearby integration school kind of specialising in teaching visually impaired students or in any case most of their disabled students were visually impaired, whether they perhaps could admit me, without huge hopes as she’d already asked before. Miraculously, this time round there was a different headmistress and she agreed. When I learned about this from my Dad I was absolutely euphoric. To fully understand my euphoria, you have to realise that my idea about what an integration school is was rather peculiar. My absolute biggest, secret unrealistic dream was to be homeschooled. Or if not homeschooled, then I wanted at least to be in an integration school. Probably because most kids who left the special blind school I was in while still being in education, went to an integration school (naturally closer to home), I thought an integration school is any school that is not a boarding school, from which you go home straight away. When I was in nursery, there was one girl in my group who lived close enough to the blind school to be able to go home every day. One day as I witnessed when someone was coming for this girl, I said: “Wow, she has such an integration!” I couldn’t understand why all the teachers burst out with laughter. ๐Ÿ˜€

I don’t think I thought much about what it was going to be like, in practice, except for what I knew from Mum that the classes there were similarly small as in my school and that some kids there were blind and some were not and some were in between. And, of course, that I’d be at home every day.

The experience wasn’t bad in itself. It was just that a lot of nasty things happened in the meantime, that my brain state at the time was really awful and I was one super neurotic and constantly ruminating mess and got my first major depressive episode diagnosis around that time, as well as that I simply wasn’t a fit for that place either. My Mum says now that integration schools might be good for children who use wheelchairs or such but that they aren’t good for most if any blind children. I’m not sure I agree with that, it may not be the perfect idea but nothing is perfect and I know a bunch of blind people who thrived in integration schools or even completed their whole education until high school/college in such a way and are all for integration and it’s great. It’s just not a fit for everyone. For me, perhaps the more with the other issues that I mentioned that started surfacing big time, it was quite challenging. Practically – because I wasn’t independent enough – socially – because I couldn’t find my place in there and get along with people at all – and to a lesser extent academically. My Mum struggled with the idea that, rather than having the school books provided by the school as was the case previously, she’d have to get them printed in Braille and pay for them herself (which is not a cheap business), so I only got the most necessary books. My Mum was expected to help me with more complex/less easily adaptable school work or the things I struggled with the most, aka math, which is typical and mostly understandable practice in integration schools but my Mum wasn’t ready for it nor used to it, and hardly able to do it with baby Zofijka, the more that she isn’t particularly good at math either. I wasn’t used to needing this much help with school work either, before that I usually wanted to deal with it as fast as possible to be able to do other, more interesting things, had no time and patience for waiting for someone to come and help me, even if I sometimes needed it, so it was frustrating for us both. Eventually, after the two years, I left it. The final reason was not my not coping there though, but something more major. And, as there weren’t any more options, I went back to the boarding school for another five years.

From this experience, I learned more about the sighted people’s world. It’s a commonly mentioned disadvantage of blind schools that people in there are in their own, blind environment and, if they don’t have other, sighted friends or some other circle they would spend time with it’s easy to lose touch with what it’s like to live in the sighted world, and connect and relate to sighted people, especially with people who really spent there years and had few chances to really engage with sighted folks more. My primary source of such knowledge were books, just as books taught me about any other things that average people do, not just related to sight but socialising for example, haha, but that was an interesting early experience too.

I’ve learnt that integration school is another place where I don’t fit in, which instilled in me the conviction that there are real many places, situations and groups of people where I don’t fit in. Today I’m more okay with that than I was then. I got to learn some Swedish and generally my knowledge about a whole lot of things increased a lot.

I learned the same thing that I previously learned at the boarding school and also later on in all the other schools I went to, that the education system is evil and I still think very much the same and delight in ranting about it with whoever has similar views – which at this point is most often Sofi. – ๐Ÿ˜€ –

During my time in the integration, I had an Achilles tendons lengthening surgery, after which I was recovering in casts for 6 weeks and then getting back to life for a few months

2007 was a horrific year for me. At least it was balanced with only two but both great things – Sofi was born, and I received First Communion, although the significance of the latter didn’t fully sink in until much later even though my family was very religious. This horrific thing happened at the very start of my integration adventure – I started out in there in the middle of September and had the surgery in early October. – It was a possibility that was talked about previously a lot, I visited a few orthopaedists who all said I’d need it at some point. Finally I had even some very distant date for it in some huge faraway clinic and a hazy idea of what this surgery would entail, and just one day after coming back from that clinic, my orthopaedist said that he can fit me in for the surgery right away, here, in 5 days’ time. So obviously my parents jumped at the chance to have it dealt with and not have to think about it longer than necessary. I was quite stressed about it but I was also stressed out about a billion other things and didn’t really know what it would be like so tried to believe what everyone was saying that it would be okay, and by that possibly minimise the amount of stressful things, you can’t ruminate about everything at once. And it actually was okay. Except for that the surgery didn’t really work long-term at all, and for some reason the whole experience was really creepy for me. Again, perhaps it was just that I was generally in a rather bad emotional condition so anything would crush me. Or what I’m more inclined to think, my overall mental capabilities and the level of resilience are such that it would crush me any time. Or maybe, as my therapist later said, it was a shock for me because no one really took the time to explain to me the details of it. Maybe it were the accompanying circumstances – my Mum being chronically busy with Sofi and the building of our new house, me not having much to do and being chronically bored etc. – I only know it was super creepy and still when someone has something broken and is in a cast, and I happen to touch it, I get nausea and chills, and sometimes I still have dreams about the damn thing.

My Mum really wanted me to be admitted to the hospital for as short as possible and the doctor agreed, so I was only admitted one day before surgery and was discharged almost as soon as I woke up afterwards and they made sure everything was alright. That was scary too. Not just because I never was in an actual hospital by myself, but also one particular creepy thing comes to mind when I think about it, which may be as much important for the whole picture that it could have added significantly to my overall perception of the situation. In the hospital room with me, there was a girl my age after an awful car accident and another, much older one with something more complex. She needed a lot of assistance with everything, but one of her issues were also contracted Achilles tendons. I didn’t know what conditions she had or anything. I only knew she had some sort of a surgery a few days ago and accidentally learned about her Achilles tendons. The doctor was passing by our room while talking to someone and said: “There is a girl with contracted Achilles tendons here and we’ll be discharging her tomorrow”. This other girl thought he was talking about her and was overjoyed as she’d been in the hospital for a long time. I don’t know what sent my brain in such an irrational direction but I thought that OMG, she has the Achilles tendons too, so will that be how I’ll be after this surgery? She had to be fed and needed help with changing positions, a whole lot of other things that I’d always taken for granted.

So in the hours leading up to the surgery I was massively stressed. Finally, after I woke up from it, of course I was so foggy I could barely make sense of anything. The first thing I felt was that my legs were stuck in something, and I thought these were some sort of huge buckets, and I wondered why I can’t get out. Then my Dad said something like: “Wow, what fashionable winter boots you have! Aren’t they a bit too warm for autumn?” I laughed and then it sank in and I realised that I almost couldn’t move my legs. From what I know now, my doctor was really generous in covering me in casts, because they’re not normally quite as huge with this surgery as the ones I had. They went from slightly above my knees all the way to my feet, so that only my toes were sticking out. So essentially, I had my legs in pretty much one position all the time and couldn’t bend them even slightly. I absolutely didn’t realise that it would impact me so much. I think I wasn’t aware that it would change my life in any way beyond just the surgery itself. I often saw people – particularly my Dad – with broken limbs – which was the only comparison with that I could make – and for what I knew, he almost lived on as normal except for using crutches or having his hand in a splint/cast. He didn’t have his limb stuck in one place for weeks, didn’t need rehabilitation or anything, sometimes he’d even go to work or pick me up from school with Mum. I remember that my grandad, before I had the surgery, talked about it to me a little, and he said my legs would be in stagnation for a while. I didn’t know what stagnation was, so he explained to me that if I would spend all the time in one room, without seeing anyone, without ever going out, without being able to read anything, listen to music or radio, watch TV, talk to anyone, I would be in stagnation and that the same thing would be happening to my feet now. I thought that would be super scary if that happened to me, but didn’t really apply the allegory to my feet, or don’t think I did.

But it turned out my grandad had great intuition because, while it wasn’t as radical as what he described, my brain also went into some sort of a stagnation for all that time. As I said, my Mum was busy all the time with Sofi who was very demanding or at the building site of our new house or picking furniture for it etc. and all other people naturally also went on with their lives. I spent most of the time on my own, which I typically find absolutely fabulous, but not really when there isn’t much to do. My only regular company in those weeks was Polish Radio BIS, which I loved and listened to all the time and even called them and stuff. Sometimes Mum would get me talking books on tapes from the nearest library which had it, but I was done with them in no time as there was a limited amount of them you could borrow at once and I could listen to them all the time, while it wasn’t close enough that my Mum with her busy schedule could pop in there any time I wanted it. I had a lot of old children’s magazines in Braille, as well as a Dictionary of Foreign Words and Phrases which I got from a sort of organisation which printed it – I was always fascinated with words and wanted to have my own dictionary and that was the only one my Mum found out about that she could get me. – So I had that to read any time and I did, only I had a whole tall bookshelf of these children’s magazines and another one with all the volumes of the dictionary (Braille books are very clunky in case you don’t know so there are almost always multiple volumes even when it is a novel, let alone with something like a dictionary) and both of these shelves were quite a distance away from my bed. So I had to ask someone to give me something to read and as these things weren’t labelled in standard print, I’d often get the same thing to read multiple times because they’d just pick whatever was nearest randomly. A few times I attempted getting something myself, I slid off the bed and moved to the shelves on my butt so that I could get something specific from the lower shelves, but then I couldn’t make it back up on to the bed as my legs wouldn’t move almost at all and the casts were heavy enough that I couldn’t drag myself up on the arms. Eventually I managed it somehow one time I tried it and can’t remember how but that required a bit of inventiveness, haha, the more that at this time my Dad was back from work napping on my bed so I didn’t want to slog him with my leg accidentally, or with the book, lol. Sometimes Mum would bring Sofi to me and leave her with me but she was very small so that wasn’t often or for long. My class teacher visited me sometimes to help me catch up with what my class was doing, though that was rather rarely and more often when I was already out of the casts.

So I had rather little stimulation in general, not too much contact with people, and as I wasn’t very active either cognitively or physically, my circadian rhythm was crazy in that I slept very little so I often also had to figure out what to do with my stagnating brain at nights. All these things alone can contribute more or less to my sensory anxiety, and together they really made me feel like my nervous system was on fire all the time. My generalised anxiety and other mental health difficulties I was struggling with also got much worse, and I developed lots of weird specific phobias or the ones I already had to some small degree became much more of a problem, I still struggle some of these to a variable degree particularly the emetophobia but it’s much better most of the time. My thinking was generally super weird in a lot of ways, I can’t even describe it. And my imagination was extremely wild, which sometimes was very helpful, and other times very unhelpful. I didn’t have a computer yet, or any other technology really, my Mum had applied for funding for a computer and some specialised equipment for me earlier and it came right at the end of my cast stagnation, but it took a few more months until I had some training on how to use these things. I was suicidal for all sorts of reasons but also because I felt like an extreme burden for my family since they were so busy but also Mum had to help me with showering, and as we didn’t have any wheelchair for the occasion I also needed someone to transport me to the loo which sometimes was tricky when Dad wasn’t at home.

When the time came for me to have the casts taken off, and they actually got them off me, and the doctor who was on duty at the time was talking to my parents about me, I suddenly started crying and couldn’t stop. No one knew what was going on and my Dad was a bit annoyed as he didn’t understand why now that I’m no longer in the cast, I suddenly start crying. And I didn’t know either but I was just crying and crying and crying like I was going to do this forever. Also now that I didn’t have the casts I realised that my feet were hurting a fair bit whenever I moved them. A few days after that I started physiotherapy and that was really scary too. The first few weeks it hurt like shit, probably not just or not at all as a side effect of the surgery but more because of the muscles in my whole legs not being able to move for so long. My physiotherapist wanted me to do a few squats during our first session already, and I was very surprised how am I going to do a squat if I’m not even able to stand up. It scared me a little but I figured he’s a physiotherapist so he knows what he’s saying, so I stood up rather confidently with his assistance and totally wasn’t ready for all the sharp pain that was coming. So I was very resistant to doing anything with him but I was also scared of the prospect of not being able to walk so I did it anyway and it felt like a torture, and any time I was waiting for him I was shaking like a leaf.

Years later, another orthopaedist said that because that Achilles surgery wasn’t effective, I should have another one called Grice-Green’s. I was still a minor then so I didn’t really have a say, but for some reason it never happened. And as long as I get to decide, it won’t. I don’t know what would have to be going on with my legs for me to have another surgery, someone would really have to give me a very good reason.

But I learned loads of things from that experience! I learned loads new, weird words and useless things. Some of these useless things interested me enough that I developed shorter- or longer-lasting interests in the very narrow fields they were connected to. ๐Ÿ˜€ I learned a lot about myself and the murky side of my brain, and got to test the limits of my imagination. I learned what it feels like to be suicidal. I’ve had depressive tendencies ever since but that was the first time I was actively suicidal. I learned lots of internal strategies to cope with boredom, though still this is one of the things I despise the most, the good thing of it is just that I’m not very easily bored at all thanks to this experience. All these things were very difficult, but also very enriching for my personality and my inner world.

My Dad was falsely accused of abusing me sexually

I still don’t know how exactly that happened. There was a school psychologist I started seeing when I got back to school after I recovered from the surgery. She was weird. Made a very strange impression on me. She had a weird way of talking, both in terms of modulation and the words she used, there was something very serious and pompous about her, and she always seemed very sad and very sad about anything you’d tell her. I’d always loved to make my therapists/psychologists laugh to lighten up the atmosphere when needed and revert the attention from myself, and many of those I dealt with weren’t easy but I always succeeded and quite impressively, except for this one lady, I never heard her laughing not even a little bit. Perhaps also because, just like I said earlier, I myself was in a weird mental place at the time so not as capable of it. Sometimes when a class would behave badly she would come to the whole class and tell them how they should behave well, and one time she came to us – our class mostly consisted of boys and could be rather unruly sometimes. – The incident that she was called for included someone who had jabbed someone else with a pin. And, what stayed with me from that lesson, was how she addressed that person: “It’s not allowed to jab thy neighbour with a pin!” And no, I really don’t think she got “thy neighbour” or her general way of talking and acting directly from reading a lot of the Bible (she didn’t even say “Thou shalt not”), in fact my Mum said that to her she seemed like she had some strong preference for new age related things, which is possible, I was too young to see or not see that myself and that doesn’t matter, it was just funny and portrays her quite well.

Talking to her made me feel quite awkward as she herself would say very little and there was something very depressing about the whole experience. She asked me often about my relationships with my family and seemed to draw not the most favourable conclusions. At some point, I don’t know what led to it, but I was talking to her about how my Dad sometimes plays with me that he is a hamster and my fingers or toes are his food and bites them slightly and how I consider that funny. She didn’t seem to share my feelings about it. Either after this same appointment or the next one, she was also supposed to see my Mum to talk to her about my depression. And at the end of that appointment where she was supposed to see my Mum, she told me what she was going to tell my Mum. And among these things was one thing that made me feel sort of uneasy. She said that she’s going to tell my Mum about my Dad’s “erotic” behaviour towards me. I did very basically know what erotic was, and didn’t think it could have anything to do with my Dad and me. I suppose though I must have been thinking that she knows what she’s talking about and she wants to help me, or maybe after all I didn’t know exactly what the word erotic implied, anyway I said that okay, you can talk to my Mum about all this, and felt very happy that perhaps she’ll be able to help me somehow. Didn’t really know with what exactly, or the more how, but I definitely felt like I needed someone to help me so that was good that she wanted, right? I sat outside of her office as they were talking and I could hear that my Mum was crying and some broken sentences about something sexual, and how my Mum thinks it’s important to have physical contact with a child, especially when the child is blind and you can’t have eye contact or communicate things through body language. Mum cried afterwards too but I don’t think we talked about that much until later when my Dad learned about the accusations. It only sank in with me then, and I talked about that to Mum and told her that I didn’t say anything about such things, or nothing that I’d realise would be about it. I felt awfully guilty and sorry for Dad and couldn’t really understand the situation and how it happened. I still can’t fully. My Dad was mad and so I didn’t even talk much to him at the time but he wasn’t mad at me, only at the psychologist and the school. I apologised to him and things went back to normal.

One day during summer holidays I was at my grandma’s, when Mum came and called me to come quickly back home. When I came, there was some lawyer lady – I don’t know now what exactly her function was – who wanted to go into my room and chat with me. She asked me weird questions about my family and my Dad that seemed totally stupid to me and that I felt quite uncomfortable with – most of them weren’t even sexual I guess but just general about my home, but I can’t give you any examples. – Then she asked about me, how I was doing, if I was often sad or thought about death etc. I was all like: “Why???” I kept asking her directly why, but she wouldn’t say anything specific until finally she started asking me about some sexual things and Dad and then I had a lightbulb moment and remembered the situation with the psychologist. “Aha! Now I know why you came here!” So obviously I told her that no, my Dad is not an incestophile – well that wasn’t probably what I said but I got really quite mad – and told her a bit about my Dad and what he is and what he’s most certainly not. But then it turned out it wasn’t just that! Apparently, a girl I was closest with in the class – not really because I liked her so much but because as I joined this class she was the only other girl and was also visually impaired to a degree so she was most willing to help me get around, as she both was able to do it with the sight she had and could understand my situatioon better than the rest who were able-bodied. – I can’t say though that we got along well and I mostly hung out with her sort of out of duty and gratitude that she’s willing to help. But we didn’t have any common interests and clashed in terms of characters a lot. And I don’t know exactly what was the deal with her, were they asking her about an opinion on me, whether she saw something weird or what, anyway she apparently said to a teacher or someone else in school that I told her that I am going to hang myself! Really… If I wanted to kill myself I most definitely wouldn’t go this route. And I don’t think she’d be the first to know, haha. So I also gave the lawyer lady a piece of my mind about that (I wasn’t mad at her, obviously, but at the situation) and let her in on how I generally saw the situation between me and that girl. She seemed quite relieved and actually became more human after I told her that (I’m sorry to all the actual sexual abuse victims if it’s always the case with people who interview them that they appear so unfeeling and detached and difficult to connect to) and apologised for the fuss and made sure that I understood her motives which I did. Good thing that she actually decided to mention that to me, I’m curious how it would go otherwise.

The thing eventually ended well although I had to go to a psychological assessment or something and another psychologist was supposed to judge based on my behaviour whether my Dad was a paedophile, or maybe not.

Is there a lot to learn from such an experience? I know I learned one thing which is not really very good, or at least it’s not good that I had to learn it but the goodness or badness of the thing itself probably depends on the context, namely I learned not to trust therapists easily and be really, really, extremely careful of whatever I tell them, if it’s anything of significant importance, and make sure that they understood exactly what I wanted to say. That means therapy was generally a bumpy road for me because therapists want you to be spontaneous.

ย ย  I was treated “like a piece of furniture” by the superior of the boarding school

And bless her for that, because otherwise I might have been in there still, or gone totally bonkers if I haven’t already. ๐Ÿ˜€ The inventive “piece of furniture” analogy is my Mum’s, I just didn’t know how to put it in short. The whole thing is even more complicated than the incest drama and very specific to the environment it took place in – not in that such stories happen there frequently (I hope) but in terms of dynamics and the way it all happened – so I’ll spare you the whole picture and just say that whenn I was 17, the superior sister (this place was founded and at least partly led by nuns) decided a major change about what would be going to happenn to me, without taking anyone’s opinion on that into account. The thing was of huge significance for me, as, from what you already know, I struggled there already without major changes like that, and a lot of people actually did try to speak up on my behalf and tell her it wasn’t the best idea. But she knew what was good for me better than me, my Mum, the group staff or I suppose anyone else, despite working in there for only a year and having to do with me perhaps once or twice for longer than 5 minutes, and she was going to do that no matter what. After some time, she decided that, actually, no, she won’t. So I breathed a half-hearted sigh of relief – as there were already other major changes coming for the next school year, but at least the biggest one and such that was affecting me personally was a thing of the past. – Then in the end it turned out not to be so because sister changed her mind yet again, a day before the start of the school year, and decided that after all she does think that that change would be the best for me. My Mum, and one staff member who worked with me for many years and knew me well still tried to talk her out of it and my Mum kindly didn’t even let me know about the whole comotion, thinking that I’m probably feeling sick about school already anyway and hoping that they will be able to talk her out of it so I won’t need to know about that. Well this time she didn’t change her mind, so my Mum had to tell me about it. I honestly said I really couldn’t imagine how I was going to deal in there, entirely practically. It was also a time where I perhaps wasn’t as neurotic as I was in the integration school but felt very depressed and the thing was just totally beyond me, I didn’t know how I was supposed to cope, also with other things on top of it. Actually, as time went on, over the years rather than feeling more part of that place I felt more and more weary of all that and like I had less and less energy for coping. I had a brief period of intense escapism into all things esoteric, because I felt very lost and pretended I was an atheist or Wiccan or something, I didn’t even know what. I did lucid dreaming and out of body experiences whenever I could and used the kind of binaural sounds that can work like drugs. That all helped me going, but then I re-converted to Christianity with the guidance and help of my Mum and some other events that occurred and helped me come to this, and while that made me feel more of a purpose in my life, I wasn’t mature in my faith enough to use it like I did those other things, to help me cope in any way. Also my fazas were of some help, but generally I felt gradually more and more like I was slowly, lethargically sinking.

We talked and talked about that with Mum but nothing was coming out of it. My Dad came in to the kitchen and we filled him in and he was all indignant but didn’t see any other option than that I’ll have to carry on with that. My Mum said it’s not an option. My grandad happened to visit and we filled him in, he was raging and said it’s time for me to leave that place or else I’ll go mad and that he’d rather have me sane than academically accomplished. Which was a huge thing for such an intellectual like him to say but he always stands by me and sometimes I think that whatever I’d decide to do, even if it was a mass shooting, he’d say that I absolutely should do it if I want and that he also thinks it’s a good idea. ๐Ÿ˜€ But if you have only one person like this in your life, it’s not yet very harmful, I think it’s actually highly recommended as long as you have other, more critically thinking people around you and some reasoning skills of your own. He couldn’t do anything, but he hugged me and from his words and presence I felt the confidence that things can get better and that perhaps indeed I don’t have to, or shouldn’t even, go there.

So my Mum started looking for a different school for me which was obviously a trick, but in the end one was found, but I wrote about this fascinating situation many times before. The point is that, thanks to that sister, I got my sanity back! In a way, I’d like her to know that and sometimes I regret I didn’t send her some thank you letter or something. But I try to remember to pray for her. Another thing that we regret even more, is that we didn’t notify the headmistress about the event, about why exactly I left, so that no one else would have a similar situation, which they may be not as intolerant to as I was or not have parents who would take such strong action, but it’s still something that absolutely shouldn’t happen. Making decisions about your subjects may be a common practice in religious orders, but we were not nuns in training.

I learned from it that even the most awful, scary, enraging things can lead to the most fabulous things that you wouldn’t expect. Perhaps not always immediately, and you have to go through some things first but sometimes it really does happen. And that sometimes situations where someone wants to be malicious can grotesquely turn around.

ย ย  My friend, Jacek from Helsinki, passed away

You all regular readers know about Jacek. He was a good friend of mine that I met online shortly after leaving the school and had a lot in common with in that we both loved Cornelis Vreeswijk, learned Swedish, loved Finnish, vikings, all things Norse and had some Gothic tendencies – Gothic as in referring to the subculture, not the historical Goths. – He was actually Jacek from Poland, but a large part of the time when we knew each other he spent studying in Helsinki. He was also not the easiest person to interact with and there was a lot of clashing, he was a very strong character just as quirky as me but in his own unique way. He introduced me to so many new, fascinating things and had his own part in pulling me out of the black reactive hole I was in still at the time when I first met him. We made lots of happy, strange and funny memories together. But after a few years since our friendship started Jacek was diagnosed with a malignant bone cancer and a few months after that he progressed quite rapidly and passed away. It was a huge shock for everyone who knew him and I only recently realised that I didn’t process it fully. I was just in such deep denial of his death, it didn’t even fully register. Yes, I knew he was dead but still couldn’t believe it, until earlier this year, and that was hard. He was so lively, fiery and spontaneous it felt like some physical law was broken when he died. But now it sort of makes sense that someone with such a huge personality wouldn’t live long, there can’t be too many suchh people on Earth at once, they wouldn’t fit.

His death taught me a very cliche thing that I knew but only then truly realised, because such a thing had never happened to me before – that yes, even people I am close to, they also die. – And it taught me even more about the importance of praying for the purgatory souls and how satisfying it can feel in making you feel useful for them.

I failed my maths final exam

I wrote about it quite recently so I won’t be going into much detail as you may know about it already. I was studying for it a lot, but knew from the beginning that I just may not pass it because I’ve always had huge difficulties with maths on a lot of levels. This wasn’t a big deal for me as I didn’t know what to do with my future yet anyway and I told everyone in my surroundings that I thought should know that in case I fail it, I won’t be trying to rewrite it until I clearly see the need for passing all my finals because I will want to do something that will require it and I will know what this something is. I failed indeed and quite spectacularly, which was sad but as I knew it could happen, I didn’t dwell much on it and as my score was so low, I was even more confident about doing, or not doing, what I intended. Turned out though that my family were less accepting about my decision than they seemed at first. They got over it quickly though, so that’s good, as while I was convinced I was not going to change my mind I don’t like when people feel bad because of me and it wouldn’t be fun to live in a conflict over such a thing for too long. I still haven’t passed it. Sometimes it contributes to making me feel like a failure but ultimately I try not to think to much about this.

It taught me that you doon’t always have to have a schematic life to have a good life. You don’t need a piece of paper to prove a skill you have if you can do something well. That’s something my Swedish teacher always said to me, as he knew I may not end up having a PHD. in linguistics or whatever else someone may have expected. And yeah, screw the education system. ๐Ÿ˜›

So that is, my lovely people, the conclusion of this very lengthy post! Well no, I’m just kidding a bit, I hope you don’t have a reason to agree with me and have only positive associations with your formal education. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you feel like this post needs a conclusion – which I guess I do after writing so much just about myself – let it be that it all really proves how our brains are extremely plastic – we’re learning something all the time, even from going crazy. –

And now, sleepy time for me, and in the meantime you tell me: how about your challenges, and in what ways did they improve the plasticity of your brain? How did they enrich you? I’m very curious. ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day.

What was the first book that scared you?

My answer:

Again, can’t think about the FIRST, but the one I remember most vividly is Himmelsdalen by Marie Hermansson (the English title is apparently The Devil’s Sanctuary). It was a thriller about a guy whose identical twin brother lived in a luxury facility for psychopaths, and who got invited there for a short visit by his brother and then tricked into changing identities with him and trapped in there for an indefinite time.

In hintsight, I guess it wasn’t even the book itself that has such a power over me but I was also reading it in sort of wrong circumstances, it was recommended to me by a friend and I didn’t have much of an idea what it’s about exactly, and not the most fortunately picked it up at night when I couldn’t sleep and also happened to have a fair bit of sensory anxiety which makes me jittery and overstimulated in a general sense as well. So it did make a huge impression on me, but while it did feel very scary at times, overall I really enjoyed reading this book despite the accompanying circumstances, luckily somehow it didn’t make me feel muchh worse, and read it whole in one night, and also later I recommended it to my Mum and she read it as well. She read it in much more relaxed settings and over a much longer period of time, typically in the kitchen while having her morning coffee, but found it rather chilling in some parts as well and we talked about it a lot.

How about you? ๐Ÿ™‚

I can deal with it.

I thought that I’d write another prompt-inspired, or at least partly inspired, post today. It’ll probably be long, so get yourself something yummy to drink and a snack and brace yourself.

The prompt I chose comes from one of my two books of journaling prompts – The Goddess Journaling Workbook by Beatrice Minerva Linden, and goes as follows:

“I can deal with it. You can. (…) Think about something which overwhelms you and imagine your life when that issue is resolved.”

I thought I’d twist it a little, or maybe a lot. Instead of writing about something currently overwhelming, I am going to write about something the perspective of which was always incredibly overwhelming for me, and I never thought I could deal with it, but, as it seems, better or worse, I can.

This thing is using my iPhone. As those of you who know me well or are regular readers know, I’d been loyal to my good old Nokia with Symbian OS for over 10 years, and I don’t even mean Nokia as a brand but one particular Nokia phone that I wasn’t changing as there was just no need for it. It was my first phone that I ever got and the only one until June this year. It was possible because, while in the past, my Nokia was through all sorts of things with me and survived a lot, in the last five years I used it very little. The people I usually text or call are my family, and now that I live with them there was little need for me to text or call them, and as I hate phone calls and always have the computer or Braille-Sense with me, I was always telling people that it’s easiest and fastest to reach me via email anyway. So it had very tranquil and idyllic retirement years with very little to do. I always joked that I stick to it because of my undying love for Finland (as Nokia is from Finland). But in fact I simply felt like, since Symbian had died, I had few alternatives.

As many of you also may know, the reason why I didn’t have a smartphone unlike a lot of blind people do now was that I had rather poor experience with touch screens when playing around with phones of other people, whether Androids or iPhones, they seemed extremely abstractive to me as I have poor spatial orientation and a coompletely flat surface doesn’t help you feel more oriented, and my coordination/fine motor skills are also a challenge – it’s generally a very mild and apparently not even diagnoseable problem, yet at the same time challenging enough that it affects my functioning in some ways and is evident for those who know me closely in real life. At the same time I had a terrifying feeling, that after all, at some point my Nokia will eventually die, and I felt clueless what I’ll do then. I contemplated buying another, used Nokia online, the same model as mine, or perhaps, what I would truly hate to do, get myself one of a few smartphones that have been developed with the blind (especially older blind people in mind). Why was it such an awful thought for me? Well, because the target market of these products is pretty small, they’re very expensive compared to their actual abilities and specs. They’re Android phones and run some pretty outdated Android versions, have very few capacities so you can barely call it a smartphone really, can be very sluggish, but they do have a physical keyboard and typically come with a screenreader onboard and running from the start, as far as I know. Apart from the physical keyboard, such a thing wasn’t really what I’d need. If I have to have a smartphone, I’d rather have it actually smart rather than just pretending to be smart and cost more than an averagely smart phone. I also contemplated on and off purchasing the dreaded iPhone and just using it to an extend that it would be possible for me. Which still felt far from satisfying because I didn’t feel like I’d be able to do more with it and iPhones are not the cheapest, and I’d probably be a little frustrated having a premium phone and not really being able to use its full potential, just because there wasn’t a better alternative for me. Yes, I’d of course heard that you can use iPhone with a Bluetooth keyboard, but I’d also thought somehow that the things you can do with it this way are limited quite a lot. But at least, I figured, I could learn iPhone better than I could Android phone, as I’ve heard about a lot of blind people who were less tech savvy or perhaps had some coordination issues like me or other motor problems, and were scared of the big wild world of smartphones and it took them a lot of time to make the transition, and found it easier to find their way around iOS rather than Android as it’s more accessible and kind of friendlier for this group of people.

So I was happy while my Nokia was still alive and clinging to it for dear life and praying that it would last for as long as possible, as I couldn’t make up my mind for years and felt mortified of the after-Nokia life. Deep down I knew I should change my phone or at least attempt to change it already while Nokia was still alive so I could see if it’s actually doable for me or should I better stick to archaic Symbian phones but I couldn’t get over my anxiety and doubts and thus had no motivation.

Despite that, it wasn’t my trusty Nokia’s death which finally prompted me to make a decision, which was good as otherwise it would probably be a little traumatising. I can’t really pinpoint what exactly it was, perhaps I just matured enough and ruminated it through thoroughly enough to be ready to make the big jump, or, which I personally think is more likely, it was a combination of different things.

My Nokia was visibly (or rather audibly) doing much worse, or to be more exact it wasn’t really the Nokia itself but its charger deteriorating. Whenever I plugged it in, it constantly emitted a high-pitched, ultrasound but nevertheless audible peep, just like a lot of obsolete chargers do. It was annoying but, worse still, it wasn’t even me who was most annoyed by it, but Misha! What better motivation for me to change my phone than have Misha tell me that he doesn’t like it! ๐Ÿ˜€ Very unfortunately, the power strip with the charger was right next to my bed, and on its – the strip’s – other side was Misha’s snack bowl, so whenever he had a snack, or slept in my room (his bed is up on my bed) and I happened to have the charger plugged in, he was clearly upset or even avoided coming near, and it took some time to figure out what was the problem. Well I’m still not perfectly sure, he didn’t tell me, but he always calmed down a bit when I switched it off and after I ditched the charger the problem magically disappeared so…

All the cool kids in Sofi’s class have iPhones. Sofi doesn’t aspire to be cool, I mean she already is in a way but doesn’t meet all the requirements, the key one being that the cool kids don’t really like her and are jealous of something about her, I guess it must be her confidence and perhaps that she’s so tall and has her own fashion style, but nevertheless the appeal of iPhone was huge for her. So last school year my parents prommised her that if she’ll have a certificate with honours, they’ll buy her an iPhone. She didn’t really, because there was lockdown and she had remote schooling and she didn’t do really well with this grade-wise, but she said that she sort of did and my parents didn’t double check, and bought her an iPhone, although a used (very heavily, as it seems) one and not in the best condition (so typical of my Dad ๐Ÿ˜› ).

Sofi kindly let me play around with her phone and VoiceOver (the built-in screen-reader in most Apple products) a lot, and I asked her tons of questions while she was also figuring out how to use it so I could get a better idea what it’s like, though Sofi wasn’t really particularly knowledgeable or exhaustive at answering my questions nor was she a good teacher. The whole idea was scaring me big time but at the same time I was feeling more and more like I’d actually like to try it out for myself and have my own iPhone, at least for a while, to see how much I can get out of it, how much I could achieve.

Finally, some time later I read about the new iPhone SE and that it has a physical Home button, unlike most other newer models, and read a review of it written by a blind guy who actually has… er… apraxia? (I guess, or something similar) and so definitely has coordination and motor difficulties bigger than mine. He seemed a long-time iPhone user and really liked the new SE, and that made me think. ‘Cause if he has apraxia and can deal with it, why can’t I? I mean, yeah, it’s possible that I can’t, because even if my difficulties are milder than his we’re still different people and there may be things that I find more difficult than he does or just differently difficult, but isn’t it a huge miss not to try it if blind people with apraxia do? I would probably regret it my whole life if I didn’t, especially that for most blind smartphone users, their smartphones are more than just devices for communication and such but also help make things easier in daily life, like recognising bar codes, to give you an example off the top of my brain, or doing other things that otherwise may be only doable with some fancy specialised devices.

So, all jittery, on 12th June I went to the nearest Apple store and got an iPhone with all the necessary accessories plus a Logitech Bluetooth keyboard.

It was all very different than what I imagined it to be.

My Mum helped me set it up even though she didn’t have an iPhone in her hand for longer than a few seconds ever before, and it all went well. I remember my cousin was staying for the weekend at Sofi’s and I had a proper cheerleader team consisting of Mum, Sofi and Dominika – my cousin – supporting me morally and helping practically as I tried to familiarise myself with iPhoneland. The first few days were so hectic and all over the place and it was all so abstractive, but, and it was very much an uphill struggle all the time but at the same time a very rewarding one and I never had weird problems like you sometimes do when acquainting yourself with a new device/technology that something is not working and you have no clue why, whether it’s your ignorance or the thing itself being so buggy or glitchy. Here the only things that went wrong were only down to me not knowing something which made things less stressful and easier.

I hate any major changes and typically don’t deal well with them, and to add to it I had a fresh but really nerve-wracking experience of transitioning computers earlier this year – and that’s only a Windows 7 laptop to a Windows 10 desktop, and it was harrowing! I may be not a tech geek but I’m also not totally clueless, but found it difficult to adapt probably because the whole process was very much over-extended and there were a lot of major glitches and other stressful stuff going on with this new computer thing.

The leap from Nokia to iPhone felt much more intimidating, and the change in terms of how my whole life could change due to this felt infinitely more significant, and so I expected being just the same bundle of nerves this time, especially that the level of difficulty of this challenge was waaay higher, but perhaps because there weren’t any major problems that would be beyond my control, and I didn’t feel pressured that I needed to learn it quickly, I wasn’t a bundle of nerves. Yes, I was anxious, I couldn’t sleep, I bit my nails raw as I always do when things are a-changin’, but the dominating feeling I had was some sort of healthy excitement, rather than pure freak out mode which is typical of me with huge changes. What surely helped me was that, as I said, I didn’t feel the pressure. I told myself that there’s no rush with it and if I decide that iPhone is not for me, it’s okay, I can sell it, I can give it to Sofi, I can throw it in the loo, I don’t have to feel obliged to anything, no oone can make me like or use it other than myself. I gave myself a month for at least the initial figuring out whether it’s worth exploring further or whether I want to give up on it. Already after a week or so, even though I was still struggling a lot with learning to use it, I was sure that I was not going to sell it and that I’ll stick to it, even if my usage of it will be limited by my limitations. I quickly grew to like it, probably largely because it provided me with the possibility of finally being able to listen to my music at night on something else than my loudly humming computer and because learning new things about it was (and continues to be) quite rewarding.

My Mum helped me a lot in the first days and then later with various tests and experiments I was undertaking, as did Sofi (I really don’t think it’d go as smoothly as it did if I didn’t have Sofi nearby to consult with sometimes).

I struggled, and still do, with some gestures. Actually, to an extend, I struggle with all gestures, even basic flicking/swiping and can get lost on the screen, which can be frustrating, but not hugely because I use a physical keyboard most of the time anyway, and even if I don’t, with more basic activities it’s usually somehow manageable and I do try to use my iPhone just via the touch screen and not run for a keyboard in every single situation when I don’t have it at hand and I need to do something on my phone, or for Mummy when something is not doable from the keyboard, although it does take me significantly more time than with the keyboard, and even with the keyboard I still do things way faster on the computer so I don’t have the experience of many people that it’s more convenient and faster to do things on the phone, it’s just totally the opposite for me. Longer writing/editing is the prime example. I mean from the on-screen keyboard it’s a torture but I don’t really know why it’s such a pain in the brain for me to do it from keyboard, but it’s really a lot of hassle and a good patience training.

But I consider myself a fairly efficient iPhone user by now nevertheless, perhaps not necessarily advanced but I do know where everything is in it, how to use things properly, how it works in theory, dare I say better than some sighted users I know, what all the settings do and how to change them, how all gestures work in theory, how to do everything with VoiceOver etc. etc. Though it’s not a huge achievement in itself because, apart from learning the touchscreen for me, the system itself is very intuitive in my experience. A huge help and source of knowledge in this for me was AppleVis, which is a website with all sorts of information on accessibility of Apple products for visually impaired users.

One of the more difficult things for me at the beginning was the so called rotor in VoiceOver (this is a feature that makes it possible to change different settings of VoiceOver), and it seems like I wasn’t alone with it at all. To move between different rotor settings you have to move both your hands in a clockwise or counter-clockwise motion, people often explain it that it’s like turning a door knob. It felt very abstractive to me at first, then it made sense to my brain and imagination, but my hands responded with: “What the flip are you saying?!” I just couldn’t make it happen in the outside world for the life of me! But then I learned that you can change the gesture for rotor and that saved me. These days I can sort of make it with the original gesture but it’s too much thinking and trouble for me to put up with for such a vital thing because I do use the rotor a lot.

And I had to change a lot of other things as well to be more suitable for me because of what is not really doable for me and am so glad that these things actually are changeable.

My Mum says that she’s never seen it with me that I’d change my mind on something so radically in such a short time because from someone who thought smartphones are evil I suddenly magically changed into someone who claims that iPhones are the best and who likes Apple (even though I am not planning to equip myself with other Apple products any time soon but, as you can see from this post, you never know, right?…)

Despite I do have more or less touch screen trouble all the time, I use my iPhone extensively now, the more that I have set it up with my Braille-Sense, so these days more often than using the Logitech Bluetooth keyboard I use Braille-Sense to navigate on the screen and also to read what’s on the screen as I prefer to read things myself a lot of the time. And it’s easier to use it with the Braille-Sense as a physical keyboard. I only take the Logitech with me if I’m going out somewhere and really need keyboard because it’s very slim, dust-proof and not as valuable and flimsy as Braille-Sense.

I have got myself a great speaker and headphones just for the iPhone so that I can enjoy my music, especially overnight, even more. I have created Family Cloud for myself and Sofi, because my Mum is very wary of Sofi using the Internet and wants her to be safe and not overdose on screentime, and this is the only way which she agreed for Sofi to have any access to the Internet in her phone at all, so I monitor her screentime usage and do the bad guy job but also the good guy because otherwise she couldn’t really do much with her phone except for calling and texting.

I feel like I may need to start cutting down on my own iPhone screentime soon because I’ve become totally addicted to a game called BitLife lately (if you’ve ever played Alter Ego it’s something similar only more extensive and detailed). ๐Ÿ˜€ Just like Sofi is addicted to Brawl Stars.

So yeah, to sum up this elaborate post, my experience has shown that I can deal with it! And I feel really happy about it. I think I can even say proud and it won’t be a very big overstatement. I feel so especially because, except for the help of my Mum and Sofi’s, and referring a lot to AppleVis, I didn’t have any more external help, I mean, a lot of blind people have some training. I didn’t have that, and still, I figured it out. Perhaps if I did have someone who would come to me and show me things I could be better at it, but somehow I feel really sceptical.

Did I imagine that it could be this way if I managed to overcome the whole overwhelming touch screen hurdle? To a degree, yes. I knew that if I could make friends with iPhone it could potentially change my life in a good way and be very enriching. But I guess I didn’t imagine that it could be such a big change.

What’s something that you find very overwhelming and difficult to deal with, and how do you imagine your life if you could get rid of the problem? Or what was such a thing for you, and why/how did things change so that you now know you can deal with it? ๐Ÿ™‚