So You Know.

Hi guys! πŸ™‚

Candace over at Revenge Of Eve

does a series on her blog called So You Know, in which she asks us some personal questions. I’m going to answer her questions for this week. πŸ™‚

 

  1. Do you feel confident in expressing how you feel about particular things? Example: sharing your opinion or protecting your boundaries – Opinions? Yes, I usually have no problem expressing my opinion, unless there is really some sort of a tricky situation, either tricky socially for me, or in that the topic is tricky or my opinion on it is very unconventional or controversial. I don’t want to hurt people so I might be more cautious and not as direct as I would be in other circumstances, but if they ask for my opinion I will share it honestly. I guess it works, because I’ve had quite a few people who badly wanted to discuss politics and religion or such with me and some of them were like “Well it sucks you don’t agree with me but I appreciate your sensitivity/tolerance” or something like that. πŸ˜€ So yeah, when things get stressful, I try to be possibly diplomatic, unless they totally piss me off, and I don’t come out first with my opinions or don’t initiate a conversation about them if I feel that theirs are largely different and the conversation would probably not be very constructive. I don’t have any trouble with sharing my likes or dislikes or tastes even those very quirky ones, though I did for a long long time, I am very open about it, even if people look at me as if I’m crazy haha. Unless I’m around really extremely narrow-minded folks. . As for boundaries – well, that’s another thing. I do struggle with it. To a varying degree, depending with whom, and probably also depending on some other things, and things have improved over the last couple of years, but it is a struggle. I struggle with protecting my boundaries, as well as sort of defining them, I often feel confused about it and like I can’t evaluate fairly where they should be, so that I wouldn’t allow them for too much or get too paranoid or distant and push them away. It’s a bit complicated. I guess I could blame the AVPD thing for a lot of my boundaries problems as well.
  2. Do you have someone who holds all of your life’s secrets or do you keep everything to yourself? – A bit hard to say. I don’t have such a person who would hold literally all my secrets, I have quite a bunch of things that I would never tell anyone, or not all of it, but I think my Mum knows a lot of stuff about me that other people don’t. I’m also very open and honest on my blog and write about some things that I wouldn’t tell, or don’t normally talk about with people I know in real life. At the same time though, I still keep a lot to myself.
  3. What is the one quality you look for in a friend? – Hm… I guess the one I consciously look for is usually having some common ground – usually interests, but also experiences – I think it can make people feel closer to each other in some way. And I do have it with a lot of my online friends, but not all of them, and those who don’t have much in common with me in terms of interests or such are still my good friends. All of my friends though are very empathetic people, so I guess ultimately it could be empathy.
  4. What is the one quality you possess that you are most fond of in others? – Hm, how do I put it… An interesting brain… πŸ˜€ You know what I mean, don’t you?… Well I guess it doesn’t have to be obvious and sounds pretty odd, so if you don’t, what I mean is, I like intelligent, imaginative people, who have rich inner lives, who might be a bit quirky or at least able to think outside the box and be themselves… There’s way more that I could say about a person that I would classify as having an interesting brain, but that’s just the basics. It’s actually a group of qualities, but I see it kinda collectively.
    1. List five words you would use to describe yourself. Only five words. – Melancholic, individualistic, solitary, humourous, anxious (M. I. S. H. A. just needed some inspiration πŸ˜‰ ).
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Working On Us.

It’s week #4 of Working On Us at

Beckie’s Mental Mess

and I’m very happy to participate in this prompts series for the second time. Last week, I was answering the questions for prompt #1, but this time, I found prompt #2 really relatable. It’s a photo prompt, so I couldn’t actually see it, but Beckie described it and the image of a brain inside of a bird cage really spoke to me. I suppose I should include the photo in my post somehow, but since I have no clue how to do it, and am blind, so don’t need to have a clue about pics haha, I’ll just leave it as it is.

I was thinking about that prompt a lot last evening and thought I would make some piece of creative writing but since I don’t feel very creative at the moment it’ll just be a bit of a ramble.

I’ve been fascinated by brain for years, and it’s one of my main interests. But it’s not only that why I found this prompt so relatable. I could say I often feel as if my brain was locked in a bird cage, and unable to get out, just never thought about such a metaphor before. What does it feel like when your brain is locked in a brain cage? For me, among other things, it means difficulty in releasing emotions, there’s no way to get them out, whether you want it or not. Your brain fills up until it’s all full and all the feelings are one big mishmash, so that sometimes you don’t even know what you feel any longer. Things get mixed up, until finally the brain can’t contain anymore, and things start to leak out. But instead of leaking outside in a proper way, instead of being expressed, they spill all over the cage. It’s flooded with stuff that can’t be released otherwise, and the brain is swimming in all the intense feelings. That’s when overload happens, and I start feeling a lot of intense anger that gets turned inwards, so I feel like self-harming. Sometimes, when the flood is really strong, something will spill outside through the grating, but the cage is tall and thick so it’s really hard. The only way for me to get my brain out of that cage is writing. Then, the bird cage opens and it can fly out and feel more free.

Another thing that a bird cage makes me think of in the context of my brain, is the feeling of alienation, or feeling disconnected, or loneliness in the crowd, inadequacy, or however you want to call it. I like being different, and individualistic, and I like being on my own more than around other people most of the time and feel more comfy with it. But when it becomes a bird cage for my brain is when I do need to be with someone, but for whatever reason can’t make a connection with people. Sometimes it’s like you can see other people from there, but there’s no way of communicating effectively. You can only bang on the cage and hope that they will hear you, but even if they will, they usually won’t be able to help you out, or open the cage, or get close enough that you could communicate, or feel the way you feel. Even if they do get to you, you’ve been living in this cage for so long that you can’t even explain to them what it’s like, and what you need, and they won’t understand, because they live out there in the world which is so very different. So after a couple trials, you just sit in the corner of your cage and look out, watching people come and go. Sometimes they’ll glance in your direction in confusion, not understanding why you are the way you are and live in a bird cage, what’s wrong with your brain that you constantly keep it in there. As if it was your choice. Sometimes you might feel desperate, and try to jump over the cage, but that hardly ever ends up well and is risky, you can easily get hurt. Even if you do get out of there in one piece, you quickly realise that you don’t fit in, and lots of consequences come with it. And after so many years of living in a cage your brain just doesn’t know otherwise and has it hard to adjust and be just like any other brain living in the outside world. So after all, you put your brain back into the cage, voluntarily this time, ’cause a familiar enemy is worse than the one you don’t know anything about and don’t know how to deal with.

That’s the way my brain feels sometimes. Well, regularly. Again, writing, for myself or with/to others, is something that helps, to some degree, especially blogging and penpalling is what I’m thinking of.

Also, I think the bird cage analogy works very well in regards to my sleep paralysis experiences too. It feels like my brain and me are locked up in a bird cage with all my dream monsters. I can see the outside world but they don’t see me, and I can’t run away because my dream “friends” are all over me. The only thing I can do is wait for the dream cage to open and flee as soon as possible.

What’s a bird cage of your brain? How does it look like and what does it represent? πŸ™‚

Working On Us – Mental Health Prompt.

Beckie over at

Beckie’s Mental Mess

has a weekly series on her blog called Working On Us – Mental Health Prompt, and now is week #3 of it, and I thought I’d join in! Here’s the prompt for this week and my answers. If you haven’t participated yet, I encourage you to check out her blog and to do so. πŸ™‚

 

Here are a few coping statements, do you agree or disagree?Β  Even if your answer is yes or no, please explain:

  1. This situation of sitting on a fully packed train either makes you feel uncomfortable or unpleasant, but I can accept it? – Yes, I can accept it if it’s just the crowd. It will make me feel a bit uncomfortable and anxious and I simply don’t like crowds too but as long as I don’t feel overwhelmed by other stimuli, am generally doing well and don’t have to interact with those people I will deal with it.
  2. Can I ride out the wave of anxiety, or do I feel like I need professional help now? -I suppose I could benefit from the right professional help, as some things can be very difficult for me to deal with and figure out on my own, I’d been in therapy for many years but had to change therapists a year ago and stopped working with a therapist with whom I worked for many years and whom I really trusted. Since then I had two therapists and didn’t have the best experience with either, I’ve also had some experience before I started to work with that therapist whom I trusted so much and it also wasn’t particularly positive. So I feel a bit conflicted here. Part of me wants to reach out and figure out things and get professional help, but part of me is scared of trying once again and feels very sceptical, and there are other things that complicate it slightly. So I’m trying my best to deal with it on my own, with the help of my family, friends and some medication which I take on an as needed basis most of the time.
        1. Do you practice coping skills? If so, what works best for you? – I do. The coping skill that is most important for me is being around my Russian blue cat Misha, cuddling with him and spending time with him, he really helps me. Listening to music always works for me. Distracting myself with a good book. Good quality sleep if I can get it. Comfort food. Writing is the easiest way for me to express myself, so it helps too. Talking to my Mum or reaching out to friends, I think I’m gradually getting better at it, reaching out for support used to be incredibly difficult for me and still oftentimes is, I’ve always felt pretty uncomfortable reaching out to people or telling them about my problems because everyone already has plenty ofthings going on for themselves so I didn’t want to bother them, and I used to strongly disagree that talking about your problems makes things better and easier as many people say and thought that it can actually make things worse, now I can see it does help sometimes although it’s still a challenge for me to talk to people. Doing something funny that makes me laugh helps too, or listening to sounds that soothe me.

Answering Carol Anne’s question.

Today, on her blog, Carol Anne of

Therapy Bits

asked the following question: “If you could pick one characteristic to change about yourself, what would it be?”.

Well, since I have AVPD my Monkey Maggie the Inner Critic is very active most of the time, coming up with lots of things about myself that I should change, so for her it definitely feels like almost everything, I can hear her snorting and saying that. πŸ˜€ So it seems like the best change for me would be to get rid of her. But that’s probably not possible by now, although I’m trying to control her, with varying results, and I guess it actually is necessary to have an inner critic, just maybe not so overactive.

But, more realistically, one thing I can think of immediately is to be less anxious, or not as easily, or not about so many things. ‘Cause being constantly anxious to some degree can be pretty exhausting obviously. And somehow limitating at times too.

So, that’s my answer, and one thing I can come up with.

What would you change in yourself. Let me, or Carol Anne, know. πŸ™‚

 

Question of the day (17th April).

Hi hi hi people. πŸ™‚

I hope you’re having a wonderful Easter. πŸ™‚ Let’s start with our overdue questions of the day, shall we? I might not manage to catch up on them all today as I’ve been up for ages and it’s late now so I’ll be soon going to sleep but maybe we can do the few of them. πŸ™‚

A bit of a philosophical one now, which I find very difficult, especially at the moment, even thought about changing it but decided that it can be interesting anyway so here goes.

Who do you think you are?

My answer:

That’s very difficult one for me. I think for all of us it can be difficult to figure it out, more or less. Recently, I guess I’ve been having a bit of an identity crisis, not a rare thing at my age I guess or any age when some things are changing for you. Although my identity was always a complex topic for me. First, because I am a complicated person and don’t even really fully get myself, I often feel very confused about things regarding myself even though I am a fairly introspective person and theoretically have a lot of knowledge about myself and other people around me, or so I guess. I know well what I like, what I dislike, I know what I feel most of the time unless I’m overloaded, yet most of the time I don’t feel like I truly know who I am. Other people don’t get me either because well how can they if I can’t figure out things myself, and most of those that I’m relatively close with seem to agree with me that I am pretty weird and complex, be it positive or negative, depends really, or as my Mum once put it very interestingly: “I guess God was trying out some new type of clay when He was making your brain”. πŸ˜€ In a way that sounds brutal, and explains why I feel inadequate a lot of the time or some other alien syndrome stuff, even though Mum meant it as something positive because she thinks I’m “remarkable” and somehow very outstanding etc. but in a way I indeed do like my different brain and, although I generally don’t like myself, I guess I wouldn’t change my quirkiness andcomplexity if I had a choice, or not much of it, perhaps just the more troublesome stuff. That’s also why, even though I am not autistic or anything like that that I’d know of, in some way I relate to that whole neurodiversity thing even though I’m not sure if I even can hahaha but that really speaks to me and explains the way I feel about myself, because I seem to think in a different way than most people do, and perceive things differently (in which also my blindness plays a huge role obviously so that changes a lot of things too and I wonder whether blindness itself, plus that other stuff like synaesthesia for example that I have, doesn’t make you neurodivergent in a way). As those of you who have stuck around here for some time probably already know, one of the mental illnesses I have is AVPD which stands for avoidant personality disorder, which also adds to the mess regarding my identity, as it makes me feel inadequate as well as having low self-esteem, bordering on self-loathing a lot of the time especially if I’m very depressed or something like that, even though I feel like with a change of environment and help of other people I’m already in a much better place than I was say 3-4 years ago or earlier. That prevents me, I suppose, from having a clearly objective and rational idea about who I am, even though I like to be objective about things as much as I can so I do try to be. There are things that I do like about myself more or less, and my self-esteem shifts slightly, as I guess it does for everyone, depending on what is going on and my mood and anxiety levels and some other things, but from what I can observe in other people, I have an impression that even what for me is feeling good/neutral with and about myself is different from how it is for others, ’cause I always have that Maggie the Inner Critic (you know I call her Maggie don’t you? I guess I wrote about it one day but can’t remember for sure, so, in any case, my inner critic’s English name is Maggie πŸ˜€ ) very active in the background. So if I’m feeling neutral/good about myself, for me it means that I’m not hating myself or am able to be more kind for myself in a more genuine way, or at least can pretend to be self-caring a bit more than it’s necessary to survive and appear normal and not too scary for other people to be around. πŸ˜€ If I do something real great I can be proud of myself, like recently I was all ecstatic because I finished my Welsh course, and since I can develop my languages I am feeling much better with myself, but Maggie is still there and even when I’m all happy with myself she won’t let me forget about herself, or will jump at me after a while. I hope it all makes some sense for you, I don’t really know how to explain my brain to someone else so that they can get it. I know I’m sort of walking around this topic all the time now and not really answering the question but I want you to see how it is for me. I guess that there are so many things that I think I am, some even quite contrary, and a lot of them shitty, and I’m still figuring it out and am not sure if I ever will, I guess lots of people don’t ever come to that point in their lives where they know who they are and have some clear idea about it even if they are less of a mess than me hahaha, I’m not even sure if it’s really so necessary to know that, anyway it’s a difficult topic. Also, if I was to tell you who I think I am, it wouldn’t look too appealing at the moment. I’ve had some yucky depressive mood lurking somewhere in the back of my brain for a couple of days and have been feeling it coming, guess without any specific external factor, and today, although I’ve had a very nice day, I’m feeling rather low and not getting along with my brain, so I don’t think you’d like to hear what I’m thinking at the moment. πŸ™ƒ I guess when you’re depressed you can’t be too happy with yourself anyway, AVPD or no AVPD. I’ll tell you what I think after I finish my advanced Welsh course that I’m doing right now, and will move on to Cornish, OK? πŸ˜‰ I actually rarely talk about such stuff with people because, well, that’s a very sensitive and a rather vulnerable topic, and I never talk about it in details because honestly I feel like many people could perceive it as not only overwhelming, but also attention-seeking, you know, like I want them to deny it and say that it’s not true what I think, some people are like that, that they self-deprecate in front of others just to hear how great they are. I don’t want to be like that because that would make me feel even more shitty. I just wanted to show you a little bit about what it’s like for me, as me and as a person with mental illnesses, and if you have a mental illness yourself I’m curious whether it has also impacted your self-image.

So, who do you think you are? Is it easy/possible for you to define it and if you have a mental illness how does it affect your self-image? πŸ™‚

My inner phobias…

When I started this blog over a year ago, and wondered what it should be like, also what I should be like in relation to my readers, one of the things I thought should be particularly important to me was responsiveness. And it still is very important to me. I appreciate it a lot in others too and I think it’s an important part of communication, and also if you want to have a natural-looking blog that will appeal to people, I think it’s good to be in touch with them. Take an interest in them, who they are, what they are like, what is interesting to them, etc. and be possibly approachable. One of the purposes of my blogging is that I want to express myself – I have a diary for this, because I feel I can express myself so much better in writing than speaking, and I can be far more open in my diary, but I felt the need to connect with people as well. – So another big reason for my blogging was to find some people that I could relate to, or who could relate to me, with whom we’d think similarly or like similar things, just be like-minded in any way. So I thought that although my blog would be primarily for me, my readers’ opinions and suggestions should also be important to me. And I stick to it, or think so anyway. I try to engage with people and also help when and if I can in any way.

Last month I was going through my stats, including the often very quirky phrases that people search for and come across my blog as a result. While as most of you probably know most of those search terms are unknown, sometimes you can make interesting conclusions out of them and see what people are looking for on your blog, and some time ago I’ve got an idea that to be more accomodating for my visitors, I can look at those things they look for, and if I think they weren’t able to find the answer on my blog, but I could help with it, I could write a post about it, so that in case they search for it again and stumble upon my blog, they can find something relevant. So far I haven’t checked that very regularly , but from what I’ve seen so far I think in most cases people could find on my blog what they were looking for. Last month though, one of the searches that led someone to my blog was “my inner phobia”. Very interesting, don’t you think?

At first it got me rather amused and thinking what other kind of phobia you can have, other than inner. Are there any outer/external phobias? ANd if so, what could be the difference between them? Or is an inner phobia something you simply don’t share with others, don’t expres verbally? Or something that doesn’t manifest outside of a person’s brain and no one can see it? Well I guess my Mum must be right that I philosophise too much. πŸ˜€

I don’t know what that person meant, other than that probably they’ve been struggling with some kind of a phobia themselves, but it inspired me to write a post about my (inner or not) phobias. Don’t know what kind of help it can be to anyone but maybe at least you can realise that you’re not alone if you’re going through something similar. And I’ve been thinking about it earlier too, to write the list of all my anxieties, fears and phobias, or anything that triggers anxiety of any kind for me. Anxiety of different kinds has been a very present part of my life as long as I can remember, and has many forms, as you’ll be able to see. This post was quite challenging for me to write, because I had to open up if I wanted you to understand it a bit, I wanted to be honest but also not too negative and overwhelming, as much as you can be not negative talking about anxiety. πŸ˜€ and hopefully it might be of some help for someone, or you can just see how freaky I am. πŸ˜€

The list is extensive, but written spontaneously, mostly in no specific order, so probably not fully complete. It’s not just a plain list but I want to also clarify it somehow for you what it’s like for me so you can have an idea. I included both the more general and specific ones, more and less intense, some are very bothering, some just more like quirks or something.

  • Β Β  People. By fear of people I mean mostly social anxiety. Socialising, small talking, all the social dynamics, crowds, interacting with a large group of people, initiating contacts with people, strangers. My social anxiety is very weird and sometimes it can even show up when I’m with people I know well, while on other times I may not be too anxious with a person I barely know. It’s usually humming somewhere in the background whenever I’m interacting with anyone though, just with very variable intensity.
  • Vomit. Anything to do with vomiting. Emetophobia is my most crippling specific phobia even though I’ve made huge progress with it over the last couple of years. I remember always being very sensitive and fearful about that but it got particularly bad very suddenly some 8-9 years ago, where just eating anything was dreadful and scary for me, or seeing people eating. I was quite good at hiding it but one of the staff at the boarding school was actually very suspicious that I had an eating disorder like anorexia or something, though I’ve never had problems of that nature with food, it just probably looked very much like that. Now food is not so much of a problem for me anymore, but is still to some degree, and there are things that i won’t ever eat, even if I like them in theory, because something bad happened either to me or someone in my surroundings after eating it. I am afraid of vomiting, feeling like it, other people doing it or feeling like it, people being sick, doesn’t matter contagiously or not, poisonous/expired food, graphic descriptions of people throwing up, the sounds, even similar sounds like choking, substances that are of a similar consistence, travelling, medicines, alcohol, migraines (even though it has NEVER happened to me that I’d vomit during a migraine), other conditions that might involve vomiting, even having things other than food in my mouth, like when I was going to the orthodontist on a regular basis as a kid it used to be very triggering, and I can’t stand even the simple medical throat examination with a spatula, I have to have it without it, otherwise it’s no go. It was even hard for me as a kid with brushing my teeth and while now it’s not as dreadful I still really dislike it. It’s not really because I am afraid that I can vomit while I have something in my mouth, or that it happens to me so easily, but it just makes me feel sick and anxious and I hate the sensation of having something in my mouth. Hell! even the words describing vomit sound scary! English vomit is probably the lightest, I don’t know why they have to sound so graphic or is it just me perceiving them this way. I particularly hate Swedish krΓ€kas, so disgusting. Lots of things can trigger it. It really depends on how I am feeling overall I guess what and when will trigger this fear for me, sometimes it can be just a brief not graphic mention of it and sometimes I can cope with it much better and even read a book with someone vomiting in it if it’s not too detailed. As I mentioned in some of my previous posts, whether it is because of my extreme cautiousness, sheer luck or that my anxiety is so extreme, it actually happens to me extremely rarely that I vomit.
  • Feeling dizzy. A closely related one, it’s a sort of fear that makes a vicious cycle for me. I have balance issues so it happens to me that I’m dizzy probably more often than to an average person, usually have low blood pressure and other such, and I believe in some circumstances blindness can also make you feel dizzy more easily than when you can see. It always makes me feel very insecure and out of control because my spatial orientation gets even worse than normally which makes me feel disoriented, as dizziness always does, also I’m afraid of falling or something dangerous happening as a result of my dizziness. Then also dizziness brings a risk of vomiting too. And the vicious circle is that dizziness is actually one of my physical symptom of anxiety, like when it gets very intense I’m usually feeling dizzy. And the more dizzy I am, the more anxious I am, and vice versa, which makes me freak out. Also heights and very big, open spaces make me feel dizzy so I’m afraid of them. I can be very anxious of travelling because of that, especially if the roads are bumpy or someone is driving very fast, amusement parks and such make me freak out, even seeing people swinging, on carousels, even just sliding, or rather hearing them doing it, especially if they’re talking at the same time so I know that their location is changing all the time, it also makes me dizzy.
  • Future. A less tangible thing. I’m anxious and worried about my own future, as well as more generally, just what will happen to the world, particular people… It’s not something that I think about like all the time but I have times when I really can’t stop overthinking on it and it’s crazy. I guess I take it after my grandma. πŸ˜€
  • Old age. I’m simply anxious about becoming old and what it will be like, I think it must be scary. Ideally I wouldn’t like to live longer than 45-50 years. Usually people freak out when they hear me say this and suppose that I am suicidal and going to kill myself by then, no, I’m not, and I doubt I will, that’s just how I feel, I simply don’t share the enthusiasm/desperation for longevity that is so common now. Maybe my way of seeing this will change with time though, who knows.
  • My brain not functioning properly. That’s a bit of my obsession. I’ve heard even from my last therapist that my intellect is my strongest weapon and defensivee mechanism which I use to protect myself and my vulnerability. And yes I think it’s very true. My intelligence is one of few good things that I don’t doubt I have and that I usually do like about myself somewhat, I guess I might be a little bit vain about it sometimes despite that overall my self-esteem is low. And my intelligence has helped me to cope with lots of different things and survive different circumstances, well it’s always more useful to be intelligent than not to be right? Also most of my passions are of more or less intellectual nature and often require at least some learning, so I really really want my brain to be as fit as possible. And I can do a lot to ensure that will never change. I think I can say I have a sort of phobia for all those neurodegenerative diseases, they scare the shit out of me, even though rationally I don’t think I need to worry a lot about that, if not because of my languages and all the food that is good for the brain that I eat then because there haven’t been anyone in my family that we’d know of so far struggling with stuff like that. I tend to be very scatterbrained in some circumstances though, and my memory seems to work a bit differently from most people I know because I tend to remember things they usually don’t or easily forget things that they do remember, sometimes such that are actually quite important, which sometimes make me seriously wonder what’s wrong with my brain, though I suppose I just have to have different ways of doing things, apparently I have some minor difficulties with some of the executive functions or so said some of the people more or less knowledgeable in psychology/educationΒ  that I’ve met. And there are also my almost non existent math skills hahaha, though I don’t really care about those now as I don’t have to care.
  • Being vulnerable and showing it to others, talking about feelings. Sooo awkward.
  • Being a burden for others. There is one side of me that is very dependent on other people, mainly because I have to and need to because of my disability and various other difficulties however they should be called, which simply make me need a lot of help or at least support from other people with a lot of things. THe other side of me though is very individualistic and doesn’t like to ask people for help or needing it, and generally needing anything from others and making them focused on myself. That can cause quite a lot of chaos, for me, but also in a way to my family too.
  • Anything that reminds me of the time when I was recovering from my Achilles tendons surgery as a kid. It was a very sudden and unexpected experience for me, despite I knew it would happen, but when it did I wasn’t at all prepared to what it would be like, and it was generally incredibly hard for me and I still haven’t fully recovered from how scary that experience was for me, or processed it well. My legs were all in plasters for six weeks then and I was bed-bound and mostly alone, and then had to learn to walk all over again and such, which together with other circumstances was rather devastating on my mental wellbeing. Our Zofijka has very fragile bones and she had broken a few of them, and that was always very unsettling for me, I couldn’t even touch her plaster without feeling dread.
  • Institutions like schools or hospitals and such, that are aimed to help people and often do, but can make things worse for people as well. Can’t say that I have a full blown phobia around that, but I’ve been through a fair bit with different institutions, not always good things, and it has surely impacted my brain and the way I look at them, so I avoid them now if only I can.
  • Authoritarian, overly self-assured, egocentrical, obstinate and meddlesome kind of people who know best what’s best for everyone and always tell them what they should do, and have an aggressive way of being, sometimes unintentionally I guess. Well I doubt anyone could like such individuals, but I know a couple of such people and they are all terrifying!
  • Clinginess. I mean, I hate it when people cling to me like want constant attention, constantly being with them, helping them or doing something for them, invading my privacy, you know, I don’t know how to deal with it and feel disoriented, and because of this, I avoid being clingy myself and I often feel like I am in some way that might be annoying for someone. So I’d rather prefer to seem detached or uninterested than clingy, as it’s one of the traits in people that I dislike the most. I can’t judge it objectively if I am clingy or not, but I know that sometimes I can strongly attach to people, like them a lot, think about them a lot, want to be a lot with them, and if that happens, to me with someone, it can be a dilemma.
  • Rejection. Well I have the diagnosis of AVPD so that would be easy to deduce. I think my fear of being clingy is related to it. It’s not like I really desperately want everyone to accept me like for all means, like that I would be afraid to for example say my opinion on something in fear that someone might think differently and thus they will dislike me, or I don’t go frantically in search for people who will like me and then do everything to keep them, and I think I can hide well my AVPD issues in everyday life, to some extent of course. It’s more like that I often don’t let myself to be close enough to them so that they can’t reject me, or I don’t let them close enough to me even though I would like to, but am too scared. When I am close with someone, friends or something, and they are important to me, I tend to test people subtly, so that they wouldn’t be aware of it, or so I hope, well OK even I wasn’t fully aware of it before I started to explore that whole AVPD thing and the way my close relationships look like, I must say I feel very weird with this since I know it, testing people sounds scary, doesn’t it? πŸ˜€ I guess sometimes I do it almost involuntarily, though I don’t know if it justifies me. I just feel I have to do it though, to find out if they are able to accept me, what’s their opinion about me and relation to me really like, even if it means that I’ll make them reject me sooner because of that than if it happened later on, as it makes me feel more in control of things. Otherwise I’m afraid that they will reject me suddenly before I either manage to escape or make them do it myself. Ugh it’s hard to describe and sounds freaky, I don’t really know how to talk about it.
  • Criticism. I think I generally have distance to myself, often use autoirony and self-deprecating humour. I can take constructive criticism now, or so I think, I often een ask people for it to see some things from someone else’s point of view, especially if something is important to me, and I value honest opinions, and I at least try to appreciate it, but even constructive criticism can be very very hard for me to deal with. I actually hate to admit it.
  • Losing Misha or anything bad happening to Misha. Sometimes even small things can set me off, like when he gets badly stuck somewhere or closed somewhere for hours. I guess sometimes I care about it more than he does hahaha. And about losing Misha, well I guess I don’t have to say more.
  • Losing my Mum. My Mum is a very important person to me emotionally, but also helps me a lot with lots of things which otherwise would be impossible/very difficult for me to do.
  • Tech issues. My devices help me with things that other people can do without technology, everyday stuff like reading, shopping, learning etc. They also help me with communication with other people and expressing myself, and being less dependent on other people. It usually upsets me then to some extent when something’s not working as it should. Although I have an impression that those things started to worry me much more since last year when I had that long monthly hiatus from blogging in September, when my computer crashed so badly. I’d suppose it would make me deal better with it, but guess it worked the opposite way.
  • Change. Usually negative of course, but even positive but major changes can set me off for a while.
  • Silence, and speciffic sounds, or as I call it collectively my “sensory anxiety”. I don’t really know how to explain this, because it’s very complicated and hard to describe. I’m also not sure I want and should, I haven’t talked to anyone about this in detail and usually people just can’t get it, I don’t either. But basically, just about the silence and the sounds, it’s that when I’m in silence, on my own, it doesn’t even always have to be complete silence, my brain feels sort of understimulated or so I explain it to myself, since hearing is the sense that provides me the most information, so it would be probably some form of sensory deprivation, and when there are not many auditory stimuli, my brainΒ  tries to fill it in with something, and that’s when weird things can start. That’s how I’ve been told it apparently might work, though I don’t know anyone else with this type of thing other than a few blind people who had something slightly similar as little children and then grew out of it. Why it has to cause me so much anxiety, I don’t know. Maybe my brain is an adrenaline junkie. Well I am certainly not.I guess it could be compared a bit to how sighted people are afraid of darkness, and imagination starts working at night especially for kids. With sounds, it’s that some sounds, harmonies, just auditory stuff is scary for me. Not only the things most people would find scary, so loud noises or other intrusive, objectively aggressive sounds that we associate with something bad, not necessarily them, just things that I subjectively find frightening to some degree. Some could be just slightly disturbing, some very unsettling and feel like they’re seething with aggression towards me.
  • Sleep paralysis. Especially my sleep paralysis “friends”. I mean those people or creatures or whatever they are that regularly appear in my dreams. Therefore I’m generally anxious about sleep a lot of the time because I never know when it will happen for sure, and I have no way of freeing myself from them.
  • Releasing strong feelings, especially around other people, especially anger, or not being in control of my feelings.
  • Horse riding. yes, you read it right! I’m afraid of horse riding. I guess I’ve shared my story with horse riding somewhere on my blog before, and that there was a time in my life when I was deadly scared of it. Now I’m not deadly scared of it and I don’t hate it, quite the opposite, I love horse riding, as my loyal readers know. But at the same time I still do have some anxiety around it. I’m always anxious and tense before horse riding and it takes me a while to relax. I know it’s going to be great in the end, yet I can’t shake off the anxiety. Sometimes it’s stronger than normal and I once had a bad panic attack when riding. I hate it because it makes horse riding so much harder for me. I don’t even know what’s the source of it, I guess it could be my balance problems in part, sometimes I feel dizzy and out of control while riding, but I guess that’s just a part of it. My previous horse, Czardasz a.k.a. ŁoΕ›, was very good at detecting my anxiety, he was generally good at adjusting to the way the rider was feeling at any moment apparently, and I always felt like we had almost telepathic relationship haha. He was also so calm and phlegmatic and always making me feel safe that it helped me a lot with the anxiety to just be around him and feel him. But unfortunately ŁoΕ› died last year, so I no longer have him. I now ride another horse, when I have chance, whose name is Tarzan, aka. Rudy, and I love him to pieces as well, but we don’t have the connection like that, actually I feel that when I’m anxious, he becomes too, so it’s not helping.
  • That when people say something to me, they actually make allusions and mean something different, or when they say good things to me I’m afraid they say it ironically or sarcastically. Paranoid I know. πŸ˜€ Happens to me very regularly, but I try not to let it affect my relationships with people as much as I can, and pretend that I ignore it, until I’m alone and can think through their motives and my brain explodes with thousands of “what if’s”.
  • Eating around other people. First because of emetophobia, that someone or me might feel suddenly sick, but I managed to deal quite well with this now as my emetophobia is milder and I know it’s unlikely for people to get sick suddenly like that, Second social anxiety and that when I’m anxious I don’t feel like eating, while I feel that I should, when there is for example a family gathering it looks weird that I’m not eating, so I try to eat but it can be a nightmare when I’m really stressed. And third is that I am so self-conscious and just afraid I’ll do something wrong or inappropriate, for example because I can’t see what others are doing. Or that I might do something accidentally like knock over or spill something, not a frequent occurence, as even though I’m rather clumsy I try to be careful in such circumstances, but you never know. As a little kid I once had a situation at my gran’s that I was eating something that was hard to eat for me and I ended up being a bit messy, not very badly but my Dad saw it, and was very concerned and sort of told me off rather loudly, so that had to turn all the others’ attention. Now I don’t even remember the episode very clearly and I don’t think it was that important, but my Mum says I took it very badly at that time and as ifΒ  he offended me in front of others. So I guess that might be why I’m so self-conscious with eating.
  • People staring at me. Yes if someone is staring at me long and persistently enough I can feel it. I hate it. I guess I more hate it than am anxious of it, but am anxious too. I also really dislike the consciousness of a lot of people looking at me at once. I am afraid of people looking me in the eyes and seeing something I don’t want them to see (though rationally it’s highly unlikely), so when I don’t feel confident I like to use that luxury that I can keep my eyes closed whenever I want. πŸ˜€ I am a characteristic person overall, don’t like to turn to much attention to myself but on the other hand I like being different, I also wouldn’t have much choice even if I wouldn’t like it because I am disabled and it’s usually visible in this or that way, so it happens that people are staring at me when I’m out somewhere and if there is some bigger distance between them and me I can’t always feel it. But I have Zofijka on whom I can rely with this as she often informs me that someone is staring at me. And, quite to the contrast with my social anxiety and all, sometimes I like to let them know that I see them – stick my tongue at them, show them my middle finger or wave at them, depending on the severity of their stare, my mood and additional circumstances.
  • Singing. I used to love singing as a little child, or maybe I just believed I did, don’t know really, but I guess I was quite a good singer, some people were moved, said I sing very well and liked it. When I was in the nursery and early school years I was singing publicly on different occasions. But something just changed with time. One thing was that I started to see, or maybe it was just my perception, that people only see me through my singing, some people were very kind to me and showing me lots of their attention but as it seemed only because they liked my singing. I didn’t want to be perceived like that. At the same time my anxiety which was always a part of my life started going higher, things in my life were changing making it gradually worse and finally I realised I hated singing for other people and making music. i then had two years break while being in the integration school, from where I had to go back to the boarding school, but never came back to singing. I’ve heard lots of people complaining about that and asking me why I don’t sing anymore, what a pity and such, one teacher even said that she wanted to be my class teacher because she loved my singing. Maybe I was hypersensitive but I felt relief that she wasn’t, if she liked my singing more than me. And I still feel this way. Maybe I was hypersensitive because when people made comments about that and what a pity it was I felt like if they can’t get over it so much they probably didn’t like anything else about me or didn’t think that I can do anything else well. I was forcing myself to stay in the music school for a couple years and play piano, and sang together with others in a sort of church choir, I also once sang solo which was incredibly difficult for me, and in the meantime I tried a bit guitar at home, but finally I realised creating music probably just isn’t for me, even if I have a talent. I was relieved to free myself of it all finally, and concentrate on listening to music more. I am terribly blocked from singing in front of other people, after I stopped doing it at school and left the school, I did it only once, singing with my friend Jacek from Helsinki, who loved music and always wanted to hear me singing, and, well, he could persuade the moon to shine in the middle of the day if he wanted, I suppose. πŸ˜€ Other than that, I never sing in front of others, unless fooling around or something, although I do like to sing when I’m on my own or for Misha to sleep hahaha or in the shower. I’ve heard it from someone that it’s very bad, a sin, to neglect a talent that you’ve been given and that you know of. But honestly I don’t care. And I suppose in a way I use it with my languages, as languages are also a form of music. A bit surprisingly, I could deal reasonably well when I had to read something publicly, or even say if I knew exactly what, or act in a play though I was horribly stiff with the last. No I didn’t like it and it was challenging, but manageable if necessary and I think still would be if I had to speak in public, although I’m happy that I hadn’t have to be on the stage for years now and have no desire for it anymore.
  • Travelling, getting out of the house. In a way I like it, in a way I hate it. I hate travelling because it correlates with my other anxieties a lot, and getting out of the house because it often involves being around people and sometimes just feels unsafe. But on the other hand I do like travelling, and appreciate it very much that sometimes going out of the house and being out in nature, or even with other human beings, can actually alleviate your anxiety. Just depends I guess.
  • Being touched. Sometimes it can be comforting and I actually want it, but at the same time it’s scary. Same as any other kind of closeness.
  • Wasps. I had three bad encounters with them and I hate them. I’m not so scared of bees though, i’ve never had to do with them personally, maybe that’s why. And they are useful hahahaha maybe that makes a difference.
  • Some tastes. It’s not that I just dislike them but they are somewhat disturbing for me. can’t say I’m anxious because of them, but just very uneasy. Guess it’s more of a sensory sensitivity stuff than anxiety though in fact.
  • That people will use things I say against me. Just have happened to me quite a few times in my life in important situations.
  • Public transport. It’s simply scary and overwhelming. How can you not see it? Well OK trains are bearable, but the rest is real scary.
  • Parties, especially proms, balls, discos, dancings. No, I’m not really scared of dancing. I dislike it and don’t feel it like some people do that it’s so cool and fun, but am not afraid of it. I don’t know why I hate dancing parties so much and dread them so much. It was always the case. Apparently when I was a little girl my parents took me for a ball organised for children and I felt sick and threw up there but I don’t even remember it. Maybe it was that. I just know that whenever there was some disco or prom or ball at school when I was a child I would do everything to avoid going there. i feel very lost at such places. Crowds and loud music are overwhelming, and so is socialising, but it’s something else that must be so dreadful for me. I do a bit better at such parties and can even have some fun if I am with someone safe to whom I can stick to and always know where they are and have them close to me, so maybe it’s just disorienting.
  • Flying on the plane or travelling on the sea. That’s ridiculous in a way because I’ve never been on a plane. But considering all my travelling issues, it must be scary, and I always dread it. Travelling on the sea is very challenging for my balance though I haven’t had much to do with it either, only to and from Sweden.
  • Splinters. Seeing someone removing it, having it removed, having it removed myself. I’m normally not very afraid of pain but for some reason it’s different here and it really scares me.
  • Children, other than Zofijka. Not always am I afraid of children, though I usually don’t know how to get on with them, which often results in feeling anxious if I have to or feel I should.

OK, that’s enough hahaha. All that I can think of at the moment. Do you struggle with anything similar? What are your “inner phobias”? πŸ˜€

Question of the day.

In general, ow do you feel about asking for help/reaching out for support?

My answer:

For me, it is a challenge to ask for help, and I’d better not do it if I really don’t have to, or if I do, I often feel either awful or just embarrassed about it. I think it’s mainly because of my lack of confidence and very low self-esteem. Same applies to reaching out or asking for support, though the thing here is more complicated also because of my trouble with expressing emotions as well as my sort of ingrained view that I have trouble looking outside of, that it’s wrong to do, or at least wrong for me, and that I should deal with things myself since other people have much more serious problems. So then even if I do reach out, I often feel like shit about it, or if I ask for help in situations that don’t feel serious enough or I thinnk I could somehow manage them I feel so crappy as if I was manipulative or something. It also happens that I even don’t like to admit that I’m not OK for example, or that something is not going well, as even when I can see that people care, I wonder why actually they would. I have the problem with asking for help/support both with people I know well and am relatively close to, and those whom I don’t know too well or are complete strangers. With the first it’s because of what I wrote earlier, plus I just don’t want to bother them, and with the latter it’s usually because of my anxiety. I absolutely hate people being condescending, like helping me out but making it clear that they’d rather not do it and just making a big deal out of it. Don’t know if you call such a thing condescendingness in English but it seems the closest word I can come up with hahaha. But then on the other hand I’m blind, and also have some other difficulties, which makes it pretty much impossible to live without other people helping you, and I think that in comparison to an average blind person I’m quite dependent on other people’s help, like I rely on my Mum quite hugely. This is quite a contradiction which sometimes can really really suck, and my dependence on other people oftentimes makes me feel even more rubbishy. In the recent few years, my views on this have changed a little bit, as I’ve been trying to figure out a lot of things and actually stared to focus more on my mental health, but it is still a significant problem for me, though I don’t like to talk about it usually.

So, how about you? Do you need a lot of help from other people, or are you a very independent person who doesn’t need it/avoids having to ask for it?