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?

 

Question of the day.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My answer:

Recently I’ve been dealing a lot with feeling inadequate, and that’s the first thing that comes to my mind now. It’s a bit of a paradox, because I generally like being different and feeling different, I never wanted to fit in perfectl ywell an dnever tried to, but at the same time I have those feelings of being inadequate very strong, and in some situations they can be a big struggle to deal with.

You? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

When were you last greatly relieved at being able to excuse yourself from something you were dreading?

My answer:

Well, for me avoidance is one of the main strategies to deal with life, I guess I wouldn’t be diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder if it wouldn’t be so πŸ˜€ ALthough in avoidant personality disorder avoidance seems to refer only or mostly to social situations, while for me it can be also in some other sorts of anxiety provoking situations too as I don’t have only social anxiety. and finding excuses for things I feel anxious about, or feel uncomfortable with generally, is always a very tempting thing to do, and one I do, or at least think about doing, very often. It’s also usually very relieving when I can excuse myself from something I’m very anxious about or don’t feel like doing for any reason, unless it’s something real important that I excuse myself of doing and then my conscience bites me. πŸ˜€ But, the last thing I was able to avoid…? God I guess there are so many of them I just don’t know when was the last time, sometimes I just don’t realise that the thing I’m doing at a certain moment is avoidance. It’s just so weird. Mmm… Ah, I don’t know if it was the last thing but it was pretty recent!

Last week on Friday Zofijka’s classmate came over to us for lunch, and then to play with her. We were home alone, I mean our parents were away. THis girl is new, she lives here since a couple months, and that was the first time I met her. I liked her, and I knew from Zofijka she likes her too and sort of admires her, because she’s lived in the US for a couple years and her English is very good. Zofijka doesn’t have very high aspirations as for her ENglish but it seemed to impress her. ANd she wanted us to talk in English to each other and she wanted to listen. So, although we were both rather confused as for what we can talk about, we did, and the discussion became pretty dynamic and funny, especially that Zofijka could understand hardly anything and we were telling her we’re talking about her which was driving her crazy.

At the weekend, her parents wanted to come to us – we wanted to give them our rabbit cage, as we didn’t have rabbits anymore while they did and didn’t have a proper cage – and because both my parents and hers have been quite interested in each other because of similar views and stuff they just wanted to meet. I didn’t particularly care about their visit. When they came, I was in my room, doing some Welsh, I knew they didn’t expect me to join them or anything. After some time though Zofijka knocked on my door and said that her friend told them about me, and about our English conversation, and that they’d like to meet me. For some reason that made me feel rather jittery, I do like to show off my language skills but I definitely don’t like people to make too much fuss about them and I felt like they definitely might, and I just had a very anxious day which I guess contributed to my maybe slightly inadequate reaction. I just told Zofijka I am doing my Welsh and I’ll come to them when I finish. ANd I was very glad I had that excuse. After they left and when we watched a film later on with Mum she told me they were so looking forward to meet me because of course Zofijka told Mum that I can’t come because I am doing Welsh and they heard it and they were like WHAT? Welsh?! And that they were still very interested in meeting me. It’s not like I don’t want to meet them or something, I think they are pretty nice people from what I know, but it just makes me feel soooo weird when people make so much fuss and overexcite about my languages, it’s embarrassing, annoying and scary.

How about you? πŸ™‚

If We Were Having Coffee… #WeekendCoffeeShare.

Weekend Coffee Share at Eclectic Alli’s.

 

Yup, there’s nothing better than a hot steaming strong coffee is there? But maybe not in this kinda weather.

So OK if you wanna have coffee here you are, but what I’d highly recommend in this awfully hot atmosphere would be definitely something cooler. I am sipping on orange juice with a whole lot of ice. Even the ice itself is yummy hahaha. Can anyone tell me why do I like ice so much? πŸ˜€ No not only to have it in a drink or suck on it or whatever, I just love ice. But why?! I’m pretty curious, but I’ve never got to know so far. But I guess I’ll never understand my freaky brain.

OK so I can pour you some coffee or ice coffee or tea or orange juice or water with lemon, that’s pretty much all we have at the moment, but weirdly enough I’m craving almond milk and I think I’ll need to buy myself some so that we could have some for the next coffee & almond milk share, if anyone else would fancy. I love almond milk, but I rarely have it. It sounds so sophisticated… Almond milk. Doesn’t it? As if you couldn’t drink normal milk like all the normal people out there. But no, I can’t. I don’t like cow milk, at least not on its own. And more importantly, I’m certainly not normal. But that’s another thing.

Ok so if we’re done with the drink thing, if we were having coffee, I’d ask everyone of you how are you doing…

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’ve had a rather uneventful week. My anxiety has finally lessened. It lasted very long, and it was hard to get out of that murky shitty place I was in, but it’s mostly over. Luckily I didn’t have any sleep paralysis episodes this week and I hope it will stay this way as long as possible, I’m really sick of this kind of anxiety for now, it was really debilitating and made me functioning very poorly.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you Zofijka is at our cousin’s. I think she’ll stay there until tomorrow, if not longer. She’s been out travelling or visiting people a lot this summer, and all of us are really happy about that, I don’t know how about Misha, his feelings seem to be mixed, but he also benefits from this situation.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you we went to the beach on Wednesday. My parents, Olek and me. It was really cool. We were much more lucky than last Sunday when it started to rain as we came to the sea. It did become stormy and cloudy but not until we were leaving. By the time we were by the sea it was very sunny and not too hot, really nice, and I spent most of the time in the water. Then we went for a lunch to a restaurant and it was absolutely delicious. Maybe we’ll also go to the beach tomorrow. My parents were also by the seaside on Thursday but I didn’t go with them, they were going with some Dad’s friends so I wouldn’t have much to do and would feel rather bored so I just stayed home, since my anxiety was more settled so I could, without freaking out, even though Misha didn’t want to keep me company and slept in one of his top secret hideouts. But that was OK with me and I had a great day.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you I’m thinking a lot about my therapy lately. Because I don’t really feel like me and my current therapist get along with each other. I mean I like her as a person, and I appreciate that she offered it herself to me that she would be willing to work with me when I got my diagnoses of AVPD and dysthymia in March, but I don’t click with her as a therapist, or so I feel. I feel like I haven’t made much progress with her. Like I feel somewhat relieved knowing finally my diagnoses and thought that from now on when I know what’s wrong with me I’d be able to handle it better with her help, but I don’t feel like a lot has happened since I saw her for the first time. On the other hand it’s only since March that she’s my therapist, so maybe it’s too short to make statements like that, maybe I should give us more time? And also my previous therapist, although we didn’t have regular sessions in like last five years, she knew me very well and I was quite significantly attached to her, we were working together for like 10 years or such, since I was at the integration school so it was really a long time. So maybe I’m expecting to much from this therapist or something? It’s hard to say I guess. Also this therapist I work with now works in CBT, while Monika, my previous one, was also primarily doing CBT but was mixing the various other models too, and I feel like she was more flexible and open-minded. Also the work I did with Monika was that much different that back then I indeed needed some speciffic, concrete coping skills, or very speciffic support from her, because my life situation was different, I was seeing her less regularly, most of the time when she was my therapist I was at the boarding school, so needed some clear and working strategies to cope and survive, and CBT is I suppose something that works well in such cases. We focused on ongoing issues that I needed to solve or things I didn’t cope well with or my ongoing fears etc. and there wasn’t much place at that moment for any deeper work because – at first due to me staying mostly at the boarding school and not being able to see her often and then due to her very busy schedule – we just couldn’t see each other very regularly and most often were just checking in on the phone/via email or having a session once in a while when it fit both of us. That just had to be enough and there weren’t many other options for me at that time to get any professional support and I feel very lucky that I had her at that time. I don’t think many other therapists would be so open and so very supportive for me at that situation, being available always then when I most needed her and was most distressed, and looking at my issues objectively.

But now, as my life situation has changed and is more stable, I’m wondering whether CBT is really for me. They say it works for both mood disorders and anxiety disorders and that AVPD is also usually treated with CBT, but, I’m just not sure if it is what I’m looking for. I feel like my issues, particularly those from which my AVPD seems to come from, are mostly deeply rooted in the past. And I wonder whether now wouldn’t be a good time to process some things to be able to move on. Also I don’t think I have one strict, concrete therapeutic goal right now that I want to go to and achieve. It’s much more like there are many things I want to grasp somehow, either proces or learn to live with or get rid of… I am kinda anxious about this whole digging in the roots of things but maybe that’s what would help me? So I’m wondering which therapeutic model would fit me more and maybe it should be something like psychoanalysis/psychodynamic therapy? That sounds like it could be really suitable, but then new doubts arise and I just don’t know where to go from there. I also thought maybe Gestalt therapy could be helpful with the AVPD thing, maybe not processing but things like my self esteem or anxiety, and that it looks into the future, which I always see as so very black and awful and depressing. And I am just confused as for what to do.

Another thing is that in my particular area I guess there wouldn’t be very many therapists. The easiest way to get to therapy is in our local psychological clinic, but from my previous experiences there and opinions from some other people I suppose that most therapists that work there are doing CBT. Because I can’t commute on my own, obviously I wouldn’t like my Mum to have to drive with me once or twice a week somewhere far away or that is hard to get to. So yeah, lots of confusion here. I am also considering some online therapy, if not as my main one then maybe as an addition to the sessions with my current therapist which I have fortnightly which sometimes feels not enough. So maybe that’s how it’s going to end up. I guess I have to think it through and give it more time or probably talk to my Mum about it. I haven’t so far. I often have an impression she seems significantly distressed when we are talking about my mental health issues so although overall we have a really good relationship nowadays, compared to how it used to be and compared to many other mother-daughter relationships out there, but in this particular topic it’s kinda tough. I guess she’s still blaming herself a lot.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you I’m having a good, quite chilled out day today. I woke up extremely early but just wasn’t sleepy anymore. We played a little with Misha. But the rest of the day he’s been actually sleeping through, and he looks so cute. It’s incredibly hot as I said and after we had dinner I realised it’s way too sultry for me, despite the fan going on almost 24/7 in my room. Usually when it’s so hot I don’t go far from home much unless like to the backyard to cool off or with my family to the sea, on such days my blood pressure is usually LOW and same is with my Mum so we just don’t want to overheat even more to not feel worse plusI am way too sluggish and lazy then to go somewhere very far. But today I thought if I won’t go out of this house right away… I don’t know, but nothing good will happen for sure. πŸ˜€ So I asked Mum if she would like to go for a walk, and she said she would, so we went. We also bought some cool drinks on our way, and I felt a bit better when we came back. We got some orange juice and went out again this time just on the backyard and sat by our river drinking the juice dipping feet in the water and Mum was watching some video but it was in English and without subtitles, and my Mum doesn’t know much English, so I was translating it to her. And so now it’s 7 PM so I guess I’ll have a cool shower now and maybe will do my Welsh challenge for today, I didn’t motivate myself to do it earlier, but I am not sure about it, I don’t want my poor brain to be mad at me. πŸ˜€

Ah, and as for the language stuff, if we were having coffee I’d tell you my inner linguistic freak is over the mon and very proud of herself today. As you could see earlier today, I’ve translated a children’s song from Norwegian to English. I wanted to share it with you – I mean the song, in the song of the day series – because I think it’s cool and funny, but I wanted it to be understandable. I could understand it well via my Swedish, but couldn’t find any English translation online to share. SO my inner linguistic freak decided to take on a challenge and translate it herself. Considering that I can’t speak Norwegian, and am not an English native, I feel like it’s quite an achievement. It was quite a piece of work, despite it’s just a children’s song.

I know it has probably lots of various errors still, but in this case I didn’t aim that much to perfection, I just wanted to show you what it is about, I wouldn’t think I could translate anything from Norwegian to ENglish perfectly, particularly if I haven’t ever translated anything from NOrwegian to any other language before, so didn’t expect it at all. However although it’s not made for the sake of perfectionism, if you have any feedback, comments or you think I could fix something, it would be greatly appreciated, particularly if you happen to speak Norwegian and could tell me if I translated all the words well. I am sure there are some stylistical or grammar errors in the translation too so if you see any, let me know as well.

If you haven’t seen the song and my translation yet and would like, it’s here:

Alexander Rybak ft. Superbarna – Dyrene I Afrika (Animals In Africa).

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

What has happened to you this week? HOw is your weekend going? Are you looking forward to something? πŸ™‚