Question of the day (29th August).

Which colours make up most of your wardrobe?

My answer:

It’s mostly my Mum who gets clothes for me, or as I say, is my stylist, which is easy and comfy because we both have mostly very similar styles, and also like similar colours. It’s also convenient because sometimes when I just need one or two clothing items I don’t have to go to a shop, but when my Mum is going somewhere else she can easily choose the right things for me, it matters because I loathe clothes shopping, it’s sooo overwhelming and soooo boring. So, because of this, I don’t always remember what colour all my things are, and I probably wouldn’t remember all of them anyway, and some that I wear less often I just don’t know what colour they are. Generally though, in terms of colour, it’s very similar to how my Mum’s wardrobe looks like – you open it and see blackness! – I love black, I feel good in it, I think it fits me and I hate stupid folks who assume I’ve lost someone and daftly ask me “Did something happen in your family?”. Even if so, I’d tell you first if I’d want. So that’s the only downside of wearing black. But it’s really such a practical colour and people say I look good in it. I wear a lot of grey which I love too, especially when I stay at home, then if I can I wear as many grey things as possible so that me and Misha look very similar. Grey is just so homely and cosy. I would like to wear more white, which is also one of my favourite stuff, but it’s not practical and Mum says it doesn’t look to well on me usually as my skin is very pale, Zofijka apparently looks gorgeous in white, she’s quite a Nordic type but has a darker (and way more tanned most of the time) complexion than me. But I have lots of blues, especially the turquoise shade or similar, and I love blue too. I also have quite a few purple things, purple is okay though I’m not very crazy on it, but apparently it fits me very much. As you can see, it’s mostly cooler colours, from the warmer ones I have two fuchsia skirts and some pink-ish stuff, I hate red and I would never put it on myself (consciously, of course), apart from one T-shirt I have that is red and has “Purrr” written on it in tactile letters on some sort of a velvety material, this one I love. So, in short, that’s it.

How about your wardrobe? And which colours, in your view, fit you best? πŸ™‚

Working On Us – self care.

It’s week #12 of Working On Us, a mental health prompts series hosted by Beckie of

Beckie’s Mental MessΒ 

and the topic of this week is self care. Gonna be tricky, but let’s try. I’m going to participate in prompt #1. Here goes.

 

  1. Were their signs of your self-care routine lacking before you were officially diagnosed with a mental illness/disorders? – Yes, definitely, especially that all my official mental health diagnoses are relatively recent. I think I’ve struggled with self care my entire life, and not only due to mental illnesses. For a long time I wasn’t concerned about my appearance at all, which had surely to do with my blindness. Since I didn’t look at people and care about their appearance, why the heck would they look at me and care about mine? And I just wasn’t interested in that. I am still not, and I’m still not particularly caring about my appearance, when I feel OK I just do the minimum to look OK, I never do makeup at all, I hate clothes shopping, I don’t even do this myself, my Mum likes similar things to me in terms of clothing and she knows what I like and look OK in so she is my stylist as I say. Then when things with my mental health started slipping down fast, which I can’t even tell now when exactly it started happening, my self care routine slipped down too. It’s all very complex and layered and not even fully understandable to me why I experience all the difficulties with self care that I experience. As I said in a way it’s that I don’t care, then I’ve never had healthy self-esteem so on the other hand I feel sort of like even if I did care how I look like, I don’t deserve such things as self care, my inner critic cringes even at the sound of this word. I’ve got a deeply ingrained conviction in my brain that I am very emotionally weak because of what happened to me and how I reacted to all that, and also I hate feeling vulnerable and showing my vulnerability both because it makes me feel weak and even more insecure around other people. And then there is depression, which sometimes just makes my self-esteem even worse, sometimes it gives me so many other things to care/worry about that I just don’t find the time and space for self care and it feels very unimportant, or I don’t have the energy for it. And on top of that, there is the fact that I am not very independent, I need relatively much assistance with a lot of things, well it’s hard to make comparisons especially that I hate comparisons but what I mean is that I often need at least some help with certain self care activities that a fair few blind people I know can do on their own, and there are probably other things involved too that I either can’t think of right now or don’t fully realise. So when my mental health started slipping down, I started doing things like not eating on purpose when I felt hungry, not for weight related reasons but I’d say as a way of punishing myself but also distracting from what I felt, my emetophobia which was very bad at that time played also a role in it. It wasn’t like I wouldn’t eat at all and I tried not to make it obvious but at some point one of the staff at the boarding school noticed some things and was worried I am anorectic though I wasn’t. I often deliberately didn’t do things that were bringing me pleasure when I could do them, and I started self-harming, though in fact I was doing mild self-harm a lot of the time since I can remember. Pain has often been comforting for me or at least distracting, or my inner critic whom I call Maggie in English would just punish me this way. Or I would do things like when I felt cold I deliberately didn’t put warmer clothes on either to distract from my feelings or to feel that weird and crazy satisfaction that I am doing something against myself and that I could manifest how I hated myself. A lot of those things have gotten milder now or disappeared because my life circumstances are now different and my self-awareness is a little bit better.
  2. Did you (or) do you suffer from low self-esteem? – Yes. One of the things I’ve been diagnosed with is AVPD (avoidant personality disorder) which is very tightly related to having very low self-esteem. I really don’t like to talk about my self-esteem because it makes me so much more vulnerable and it’s not fun when people know such things about you, the more that deep down I have a feeling that they already know it because it’s obvious, but also because it’s hard to talk about it honestly in an open and raw way and not sound whiney and I hate sounding whiney. I try to change it on my blog where it’s much easier, but still difficult, hence this post is a little bit tricky for me. My inner critic Maggie is very good at her role and I have that niggling, snarky feeling about myself always there in the back of my mind. I do have times when my self-esteem goes higher, sometimes for a while it goes veeery high if there is something that makes me feel really good about myself or accomplished but then it doesn’t take much to crash in a big way and I end up self-loathing. When I feel more depressed or overwhelmed with all sorts of feelings I loathe myself for days or weeks very intensely and then self care is more challenging and it’s hard not to self harm.
  3. Is there (or) have there been stages of guilt when not properly taking care of your self-care routine? – Hm, well, I deal with guilt a lot while depressed and then it doesn’t need a specific reason for me to feel guilty, but I guess I never or very rarely feel seriously guilty specifically because of lack of self care, unless I look really horrific or something happens because of it that affects other people in a bad way.
  4. (You can refrain from answering the next question if you wish to).Β  What was the longest period of time between taking a shower, and/or brushing your teeth? – I try to always shower or take a bath, I’d have to be suuuper unstable not to do it or extremely wiped out and my energy rarely goes that low solely because of mental health as I only have dysthymia and not major depression so it’s not normal for me to feel so very drained. Taking a shower actually often helps me to feel better and calmer. Sometimes when I’m really depressed/overwhelmed/self-hating I only have a very quick shower just to get it over with as quickly as possible, or in turn I can sometimes stand in the shower for ages with my brain either running a mile a minute so I’m too absorbed in my own anxious/dark thoughts to do anything else in the meantime, or frozen because of the depression, and I go out of the shower and realise that: “Aha, cool, I didn’t even wash myself. Oh well, who cares. Let’s better go off to sleep”. πŸ˜€ So, completely without showering, I remember a time when I was 15 and didn’t shower for 3 days, and that’s the only single incident with not showering for a few days because of mental health stuff that I can think of. Brushing teeth is tricky. I hated doing it as a child for a while because of the sensory feel of it, then when my emetophobia got bad when I was a teen there was a situation when I saw my Dad brushing his teeth, and he was brushing his tongue so very energetically that he gagged and I was like “Oh no, no teeth brushing for me anymore, I don’t want this to happen to me!”. And it was really tough for me to brush my teeth until my emetophobia calmed down a little bit and I was able to talk some sense into myself that people don’t normally just gag when brushing their teeth. πŸ˜€ On the other hand, because I hate having things other than food in my mouth, also because of that same fear, I am also scared of the dentist visits and such, so I try to take care of my teeth. But still, when I feel shitty, I don’t care and I don’t brush my teeth or I do it very superficially. I can’t remember for how long it was when I was so scared of brushing teeth because of that gagging thing, but I can sometimes go without brushing teeth for 3 weeks or so. Then when I don’t do it for so long, I easily plain forget to do it sometimes, as I can be very scatterbrained. I am one of those lucky folks though because I’ve never even had a single cavity or any such things.
  5. If you are supposed to be going out for whatever occasion, are you concerned with your over-all appearance?Β  (Or) Do you take care of your self-care needs before leaving the house? – It depends whether I am concerned or not and how much on how I’m feeling, if I am concerned then usually because I feel so self-conscious than because I want to look well. I do basic self care things before going out though even if I’m not concerned, just for the peace of mind, because I should. πŸ˜€
  6. What advice can you give to someone who is having difficulty with their self-care routine?Β  (Note: If someone was to ask for your advice, what would you share with them?) – Oh gosh! That if they need a good self care advice, they shouldn’t come for it to me, because I’m anything but a self care guru. πŸ˜€ No, I’m kidding of course, but it’s really hard to advise people on something you struggle with yourself, it feels hypocritical. Wait a moment, I have to think… I think what I can say is that you are certainly not alone with it, most people with mental illness struggle with self care, and it is OK to admit that you are struggling, that you don’t feel like focusing on your appearance, that you are not into it at this moment, it’s OK and it is valid, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed or guilty about it if you do, because it just happens, it’s not something you chose to happen, did you? It’s important how you look, but it’s not the most important thing in the world, not the most important thing about you either, and you don’t always have to look glamourous, especially that it is such a subjective thing, and, let’s be objective for a second, most people care and worry too much about how they look to judge everyone else’s appearance and whether it is appropriate. And that everything in life is transient, so there are big chances that you won’t always struggle with it as much as you do right now. Uhhh what a lengthy post haha!

Question of the day.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

A quirky name related question for you today:

Has anyone ever told you that you don’t look like your name? Like: “You’re Mary? You don’t look like a Mary!” and if so, did they suggest what name you did look like?

My answer:

Don’t know if it was more about looks, or character/personality/behaviour, or perhaps both, but yes, my own mother, who gave me my birth name, told me that. πŸ˜€ Isn’t it a bit ironic?! When I told my Mum for the first time that I really liked the name Emilia, she told me that actually, she doesn’t feel like my birth name suits me, and if she was to make that decision again, she wouldn’t give it to me, and that Emilia did feel kind of better though she didn’t know what she’d rename me if she could and had to make her own choice. She said a strange thing, that when she mentions me or talks about me with someone and uses my name, it feels like she’s talking and thinking about two different people. πŸ˜€ That sounded weird, but felt even more weird for me because it corresponded with my feeling when people talked to me using my birth name. It felt as if they thought I am someone different, like I need to change my behaviour and the way I act to suit their expectations and their view of me. And there are still people who call me my birth name, and in most cases I get it because it’s family and if you’d always known someone by a certain name it’s hard to suddenly change it, and I still get this feeling when they call me my birth name, I didn’t know why it is so but I always felt a kind of annoyance when someone called me by my birth name, and there was some weird dissonance or something, I guess. Another weird thing here was that apparently when I was born, my gran asked Mum if she’d already picked a name for me. Mum said that she was hesitating, and she suggested Emilia. My gran! I was really surprised when I heard that because, well, my gran has five children, and looking at their names, her naming taste appears to be completely different and I can’t imagine her liking the name Emilia. Of course it was a different time when her children were born, late 50’s-early 70’s, and the name Emilia would be a bit more unusual then, but still… quite unbelievable for me even after a couple years since I learnt about that. Also I’ve never had a particularly close relationship with her, if any at all. That doesn’t mean we don’t like each other or anything, just can’t connect on any deeper level, we’re pretty glaringly different kinds of people, other than that we both seem to like the name Emilia. πŸ˜€ She didn’t comment though, or at least not to me directly and not so that I would know, about my name change.

And then there is my aunt, after whom I was named, who says I absolutely don’t fit the name Emilia. And I guess I know why she thinks so. Simply because most of my extended family, who knew me by my birth name, and don’t see me often enough and don’t know me well enough to feel familiar with the change even after about four years, still call me my birth name. And, among them, I don’t feel like an Emilia or not fully. I still feel like I have to play that other girl they want, don’t know why really because I’m not that desperate for their acceptance, maybe it’s just something that I can’t get rid of, or maybe it’s some coping/defensive strategy or whatever. I only feel fully like an Emilia when I’m with people I’m feeling at least a bit of a closer connection and like we get each other, or when I’m on my own, or doing what I love, or with people who don’t know me at all so don’t have any rooted assumptions/prejudices/expectations towards me.

Aside from that, when I was a kid in nursery, I met a woman who constantly called me Anna, and I didn’t correct her, but at some point someone else did, and she was like: “Oh really?! I’m sorry, I must have forgotten. But you look so much like an Anna!”. πŸ˜€ I also had a teacher who once renamed me, I assume either on purpose and jokingly or because he forgot my real name but still wanted to call me something, and he called me Maryla. πŸ˜€ I am 100% sure he didn’t think that was my real name, because… I don’t know how to explain it really haha… well I guess because it’s one of those names with a really kind of dusty, outdated feel, that aren’t bad or that don’t have any common bad associations but that most people just don’t like. So the likelihood of me or my equal being called Maryla is like if your average kid in an American school was called Muriel for example (I love Muriel but I’ve heard there are also many people in the US who hate it). πŸ˜€ A girl standing next to me immediately said in a very serious voice that I am not Maryla, but he was laughing and like: “No? What a pity. But from now on she’ll be. She looks so to me”. That was kinda funny, although, trying to be objective, I couldn’t and still can’t think of anything in myself that could make me seem like an average Maryla. πŸ˜€ And the girl beside me was even more confused than me. πŸ˜€ The guy was generally quite bizarre though.

Also a girl from our neighbourhood whom I used to play for some time when we were children once said a similar thing, though not exactly that I don’t look like my name. We were playing some make-believe game and I picked the name Helena for myself in it, and she was like: “Oh Helena, you’re really like a Helena!”. I do love Helena to pieces, but I’d go mad if someone called me Hela, if it was my name, and that would be highly likely. And I’m not really convinced Helena would fully suit me, I think you need to be a bit more expressive than I am to be a good example of a Helena and in harmony with this name, not extroverted, but just a bit more expressive, more engaging with other people I’d say, and maybe a bit impulsive too which I’m normally not at all.

OK, so how about you? Have you ever been renamed like that? πŸ˜€

Question of the day.

Hi people. πŸ™‚

Here’s another question for you in this little series about people we know.

Have you ever known anyone who had a birthmark in a place people could see?

My answer:

My Mum has quite a big mole on her decolletage so it maybe isn’t visible all the time but when it’s summer so you’re not completely covered up in clothes it is visible, but it’s not like particularly gross or anything or at least she doesn’t make a lot of fuss around it or isn’t uncomfortable with it so I don’t think it makes any difference for her. I have a lot of small moles all over my face, I guess it’s because my skin is like very light, which aren’t very nasty but I don’t really like it, and as far as I know my uncle on Mum’s side, who is also actually my Mum’s uncle so I don’t know whether that’s still called uncle in English, or some sort of grand uncle or whatever, anyway Olek, who is always making fun of people and seeing some embarrassing details about them, he says that that uncle has like an extremely visible and unappealing birthmark next to his lip. Well I don’t know if that’s true that it is really so so bad, but it definitely doesn’t sound cool. I also believe some people on my Dad’s side have some freckles or stuff as they are Kashubians with German descent and some even say Nordic however I don’t know where they got it from, anyway they’re still generally rather light-skinned.

How about you? πŸ™‚


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Question of the day.

Do you like taking pictures? Do you like having your picture taken?

My answer:

Well, being blind, I definitely don’t have much experience with taking pictures. πŸ˜€ NOnetheless I still have some. If you don’t know yet, I am totally blind and since birth and don’t have light perception, I don’t know many individuals like me, because most blind people I know have at least light perception or some partial vision, or if they don’t see the light they usually have eye prostheses or some mechanical eye damage, while my condition is more neurological than ophtalmological and more brain- than eye-related. I mention this because while partially sighted people or even those having just light perception have it a little bit easier to take pictures, in my case it can be actually only guessing if I’m doing it right or not, usually it’s not. πŸ˜€

After two years when I was going to the integration school, I came back to the boarding school where I started my education, but although my Mum has been very conservative and didn’t like the idea of children having their own phones as early as possible, this time she bought me a phone so maybe it would be easier for me to cope if I’ll be able to contact her more often and not just wait for her to call our group phone. And as it was my first phone I started to learn how it works overall and one of things i discovered was that it has pretty good camera and that technically it’s easy to take photos with it. It kind of fascinated me, I somehow wouldn’t thought it’s that easy – you know, apart of that you need to first see the object you want to take a picture of πŸ˜€ – and I was experimenting with it a lot. I was taking pictures of random stuff and asking people to review them. And, actually, some of them were apparently pretty good and clear. πŸ˜€ Like I did Zofijka’s picture(she was about 3 then) and it wasn’t that bad, and some more photos. Then at school I also experimented a bit just for fun and those more clear and good pictures I did were of my roommate’s guitar, my figurines on the cupboard and my roommate’s head and people were making laugh of them. πŸ˜€ I even think I still have them somewhere πŸ˜€ but I don’t storage them for purpose, I just never cared to remove them. But I got bored rather quickly of it, as I couldn’t see the results of my creativeness so it started to be a bit pointless.

ANother experience with taking pictures I’ve had was with scanning books with OCR. And omg this is a nightmare! I bought myself a scanner a few years ago, to scan books that I can’t get anywhere in an accessible form. But it turned out that its efficiency is much more dependent on things like lighting in the room. Of course I can’t control it on my own, plus the room I lived in then was rather dark and there wasn’t much space in it, so even for a sighted person I guess it would be a little bit of a deal. To scan a book with this thing you need to place it on a piece of paper under the scanner, it can’t go outside of it, otherwise you’d have plenty of mistakes in the text and the scan would be shitty, which would be the more crappy if you were – like me – scanning books in foreign languages in which you aren’t that much fluent, guessing what should be written in it isn’t that easy when your vocabulary is rather limited. That was also sometimes an issue for me, the more if a book was bigger, especially that you couldn’t move it almost at all while scanning, which seemed a bit impossible for me, because well you need to turn pages somehow. Then there was another issue – you had to turn the page at a certain time, if you wouldn’t fit in it, it would go badly in the scan. Considering the fact how often pages of a book tend to stick to each other, sometimes you would not manage on time, especially if you have coordination issues and shouldn’t move the book. I had to stand or kneel in front of the scanner and scan one page after another, and it was impossible to pause it once you started to scan the book, ’cause then you wouldn’t be able to put it as a whole. Because I tend to have very low blood pressure all the time, I get dizzy and faint easily while standing or kneeling for a long time, so usually I just couldn’t resist and had to sit somewhere near it. But it changed the lighting, actually any move you’d make could change the lighting, I guess, and it influenced the quality of the text. Sometimes my Mum would help me but she was saying it’s too laborious for her and that I actually would do better if I’d rewrite the book for myself. πŸ˜€

So yeah that made me hate taking pictures. I still have that scanner, and still have lots of books, especially in Swedish, that I need to scan, and I live in another house and in different room, and my Dad promises me he’ll make a tripod for me so the book will be more stable and easier to operate for me, plus the lighting here is better, but I still haven’t dare to take it out and scan something, it was so horrid. πŸ˜€ But I’ll have to, maybe after my finals.

As for having my picture taken… grrrrrr!!! I hate it, it annoys me so much, I don’t know why. Well, at least usually. Dunno, people say I’m photogenic bla bla bla, so I don’t think it’s about how I look, I just feel so… weird, well I don’t know how to put it, but I simply don’t like it when people take my picture. When I was very little I was on some silly casting and I had a whole session, guys, I thought they’ll drive me crazy. Of course I didn’t tell anyone about how I was feeling, and my Mum was saying afterwards that I was actually too calm and that I should be more expressive on those pictures, but I remember it clearLy that I felt like I’m going to start to scream any minute if they won’t let me go soon and if I’d try to be expressive, it all would surely burst out of me. Plus it was just boring, standing there like some damn figurine and smiling at God knows what and why. That’s my opinion about having my pictures taken, sorry people, I’m not Misha, he is a real model. It’s probably related to my “sky-high” self-esteem, although like I said my looks aren’t a thing I’m really very concerned about, there are many other things I don’t like about myself much more.

SO how is it with you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

What’s something that people think makes them look impressive/attractive but actually has the opposite effect?

My answer:

In my opinion, it is very hard to answer this question, if not impossible. Everyone has different taste as for fashion, different views and opinions. Some people like tattoos and think they’re a great expression of their style, thoughts, feelings, personality or whatever else, others think tattoos are only for prisoners or other socially condemned, marginalised people. Some people may think a plus size girl in tight clothes looks beautiful and feminine and she shouldn’t be ashamed of her body any less than conventional, slim models if she feels OK with her weight and looks, others will say she looks yucky.

So, although fashion styles, stereotypes and majority opinions are changing, I think people’s opinion always were, are and will always be very diverse and, at least if you won’t to answer this objectively, you actually can’t.

How do you think? Is it possible to answer this question objectively in your opinion? How about your own likes and dislikes? What do you find not attractive or impressive, but feel like others think it makes them attractive? I was focusing only on appearance, but since attractiveness isn’t absolutely only about that, how about your thoughts about other things that can be attractive or not attractive in a person.