Is my glass half full or half empty? Or, Bibiel’s take on defensive pessimism.

   Let’s do another journal prompt-inspired post, shall we?! For today, I chose the following prompt from Hannah Braime’s collection of journal prompts called The Year of You: 

   Would you describe your glass as half full or half empty? 

   I figured that with so much toxic, overrated, farting sweet, bright red and just ewwww yuck positivity floating around the world, it won’t hurt if I share my perspective on the glass dilemma, which, based solely on how often people seem to misunderstand it, must be not a very common perspective to have. Besides, I already wrote about it briefly quite recently in this post, so why not expand it further. 

   Like I wrote in that post, people who know me a bit, even some who know me a lot like my Mum, often tend to think of me as an extreme, incurable, even “hopeless” pessimist. And that’s kind of true except it’s not, and not just because I am not hopeless. My brain is definitely  on the gloomy side, and I am indeed a fan of thoroughly thinking through all possible worst case scenarios of a situation, which sometimes ends up spinning into proper catastrophising. Also if I happen to be very anxious, especially for a prolonged time or over a lot of stuff at once or one thing that feels really difficult to deal with, it’s extremely easy for me to slip into ruminating and overthinking, which as far as I know are all classic pessimistic traits. Yet, I don’t think I’m a real, pure pessimist. Many people I know who declare to be or are seen as pessimists don’t seem to get anything good out of the mindset that they have. It only stresses them out, makes it difficult to enjoy the good things in life while they are lasting, and often is very toxic, creating a really unpleasant and tense atmosphere in their surroundings that affects other people around them. For me, ruminating and overthinking can naturally be very stressful too and I’d much rather not deal with them, depression is also really shitty, but I tend to consider these more like brain malfunctions, even if deeply ingrained ones and ones which have been with me for a large part of my life, rather than a  mindset, definitely not a fixed one anyway. Those brain malfunctions can surely affect my mindset, especially when I feel particularly mentally unwell and have very low mood, but they can’t fully replace it because they’re entirely different things. I hope that makes sense.

   My pessimism is not about constant complaining (not that I think there’s anything wrong with complaining as such, as long as there isn’t too much of it and something constructive comes out of it, like yourself feeling better after getting something off your chest), constant/excessive grumpiness, finding faults with everything/everyone or never being satisfied with the good things that you have or that happen to you. 

   So what is it? My pessimism is defensive, so aside from being a way of thinking, it’s also a coping strategy for me. I firmly believe that it’s a lot better to always prepare yourself for the absolute worst possible thing and keep your expectations rather low, rather than hope for the best. Hoping for the best might be easier during the waiting  for whatever is supposed to happen, but if something positive that you’ve been waiting for doesn’t end up happening, or isn’t nearly as good as you imagined, the crash down from so high up will most often be  a really unpleasant experience, and you’re ultimately left with nothing other than your disappointment, and possibly other difficult feelings, depending on a particular situation. Whereas if you don’t expect much, you can only go higher. You won’t end up dramatically and painfully crashing down from anywhere, but you can end up feeling very pleasantly surprised. And, as a defensive pessimist rather than a plain grumpy pessimist, if something does exceed my expectations, I try to appreciate it as much as I can, rather than be like: “Oh well, it’s just an exception from the rule, something will surely go wrong”. It may or may not be an exception from the rule, and something else may or may not go wrong very soon, but I try to be very appreciative and grateful for the things that do go well, and enjoy them nevertheless. In fact, perhaps a little paradoxically, despite being an anxious melancholic with dysthymia, I am also blessed with the ability of finding even small things in life enjoyable and pleasurable, and if my mood is somewhere around what I consider my baseline, I don’t have to try very hard to make myself feel these feelings or focus on it very much. 

   Similarly, when you’re awaiting something that you consider stressful or otherwise difficult, for example an exam like Sofi does tomorrow, I personally don’t think it’s a good idea to try to convince yourself for all means that everything will be fine. I think it’s worth considering things that might go wrong, so that when something does go wrong, you can handle it better emotionally at worst, because you’ve sort of already been through it in your brain, and prevent it from happening altogether at best. You sure can’t always think of every possible thing that could go wrong in a given situation and prepare yourself for everything, but still, going through a few different difficult scenarios in your brain before a situation takes place, even if the actual situation won’t look exactly like any of the things you imagined, can be helpful in handling things in my opinion. 

   I guess though that while this works for me, it doesn’t necessarily have to work for everyone. I guess if so many people promote positivity, positive affirmations and stuff, it must work for them. I only know that my approach works well for me. I’d tried being more optimistic, because everyone, and especially my Mum, says that when you think of good things, then good things happen to you, and when you think about bad things, then you get bad things. And I have no reason to believe that this is not the case for people who say so. But for me, most of the time it just doesn’t work this way. I can seriously count on my fingers all the times when my very positive thinking led to a very positive outcomes, not counting all the situations when I just had a very strong gut feeling bordering on certainty that everything will go well and didn’t feel like I needed to either think of worst case scenarios or force myself to optimism, because when I have very strong gut feelings like that, they’re usually right. Most of the time when I tried hard to think positively about something, the actual outcome made me feel really anxious and overwhelmed because I totally didn’t see that thing coming. Meanwhile, very often, if I think of all the possible awful outcomes of something, and think that one of them is probably more likely than a positive outcome, the thing ends up very positively for me. Not always, but very often. This is part of why I’ve always considered myself an almost ridiculously lucky person, ‘cause apparently I do everything to attract all the bad things yet so many good things happen to me and, more importantly, so many bad things that could happen to me, just don’t. 😀 Admittedly, I’m perhaps not as insanely, , incessantly, provocatively, in-your-face lucky as my optimistic Mum, but still extremely, miraculously lucky. So if my defensive pessimism gives me very similar results to those that optimists get from optimism, I really don’t feel like changing my  brain and re-learning optimism just because optimism is more well-seen by society. It’s also rather boring. 

   I’ve actually been using the term defensive pessimism to describe this before I even learned that there actually is such a term in psychology, which has been coined by Nancy Cantor. I guess mine is a bit different though because it seems like that official definition of defensive pessimism is a little more narrow, only viewing it as a cognitive strategy, whereas I’d say mine is a mix of that plus just a more general way of thinking that is quite stable, I guess like a personality trait, or an attitude or something…? Not sure how to describe it well. Anyway, when I read that defensive pessimists perform worse in experimental tasks when encouraged to use a more positive cognitive strategy, it made me think that perhaps that’s just how it’s supposed to be, not only with cognitive strategies but also the more stable attitudes – that is, whether you’re an optimist, realist, pessimist or whatever else there is, you should just follow your brain and think the way you’re made to think, or the way you’ve learnt to think, in order to make things go well for you and be successful, rather than twist your brain wires at uncomfortable angles to tweak your thinking to what most people consider best and risk electrocuting yourself in the meantime. – What do you think? 

   Interestingly, I guess I haven’t always been a defensive pessimist. Similarly to how I wasn’t always quite as introverted as I am now. I’m pretty sure that the little Bibiel, like below age 8 or so, must’ve been an optimist, and the defensive pessimism thing has developed later on as I was gaining  new life experiences. When I wrote a post about defensive pessimism on one of my old Polish blogs as a teenager (which I remember I called “A Recipe for Luck” 😀 ) I said in there that I thought the main reason for why I ended up being a defensive pessimist was that I often experienced disappointment when expecting to go home from school, or my Mum to visit me in there during a weekend, which often ended up being cancelled or delayed multiple times for all sorts of reasons, which was an absolute catastrophe for me every single time, and that this way of coping became even more strengthened during my recovery from the Achilles tendons surgery, about which everyone kept reassuring me that it will  be okay, and which I also really wanted to believe, but didn’t really have much of an idea at all what to expect, and the whole recovery thing was a lot more difficult than I expected and I was totally unprepared mentally to handle that sort of thing. Even though I remember writing all that with a lot of certainty, I’m not sure it’s truly the direct cause of my defensive pessimism, and I don’t think it matters very much what exactly had caused it, but it sure is possible. My Mum is a bit impulsive and she would often get my hopes up telling me that she’d take me home next weekend, so then that was what kept me going all week long, until when it was almost Friday I’d learn that it won’t be happening just yet.  And so I guess over time my brain could have learned that the more frantically and desperately it’s hoping for something positive to be true, the more likely it is that it will be the opposite. If I didn’t expect to go home next weekend and lived as if it wasn’t supposed to happen, it was a lot easier to deal with such disappointments when they came, because they weren’t really actual disappointments anymore, and when I was able to go home, in a way it felt even better because I wasn’t really expecting it so it had a bit of a surprise factor to it. Generally I’ve never liked surprises very much ‘cause they’re really awkward, but a surprise weekend at home or visit from Mum was always more than cool. By the time I had the surgery I guess I was already quite an experienced  pessimist, and ruminator for sure, but it could have indeed been the ultimate thing that has cemented it into my brain for good. Regardless whatever it was that made me a defensive pessimist, in the end I can say I actually feel grateful for that, because it works for me, so why not. 

   So to answer the prompt question, is my glass half full or half empty, I’ll say the same thing that I said in the post linked above, that Bibielz expect an empty glass, and when Bibielz get a glass that’s half full, Bibielz go “Yayyyyyy! There’s water in it!” This is such a cool feeling, when you don’t expect to be able to find a single metaphorical drop of water to drink all day long, and then someone gives you a whopping HALF a glass. Who cares if it’s half empty or half full? There’s actually something in it, that’s what matters! And you relish every single metaphorical drop of it, because you don’t know when the next time will be that you’ll be granted such a luxury, and it tastes a lot better than if you were expecting it to begin with, because then it would be just normal water and you’d likely take it for granted. And it’s even better when you get half a glass of metaphorical kefir… 😉 

   Now, you tell me about your glass. 🙂 Oh yeah, and what is it actually filled with? 😀 Also if you have a mental illness, I’m curious if/how it affects the way you see your glass. 

Question of the day.

   Which part of the stereotypical teenager experience did you not relate to? 

   My answer: 

   Probably more than what I did relate to, and more than what I can think of right now. I guess most people think of teenagers as being rebellious, loud, having an attitude (this is such a weird, vague-sounding expression, everyone has some sort of attitude) and stuff like that. I wouldn’t say I was those things. I never really felt the need to rebel in some ostentatious way. Well, I guess you may say that I sort of did in my late teens when I turned away from Christianity and pretended mostly for my own sake that I was an atheist or agnostic, then later tried playing with Wicca, because my school was Catholic and I wanted to reject everything to do with it. I also identified and liked to present myself as a Goth, and I think there was also a sort of rebellious element to it because it doesn’t really get along very well with Christian values. I would also do stuff like I-dosing (using such binaural beats which work sort of like drugs and simulate various mental states) or lucid dreaming, which was primarily a way of escapism for me, but in a way I think a sort of rebellion as well. But while I really regret all of that now and have not only got a chance from God to re-convert but also found my place in the traditional Catholic community and now attend exclusively traditional Latin Mass, which is kind of funny when I think of it more, I don’t think people around me perceived me as particularly rebellious in a typical teenager way. 

   I definitely wasn’t impulsive or into risk. I certainly was emotional like a proper teenager, but I was a huge fan of bottling things up and apparently very good at it so I came across as the opposite of that to many people.

   I’ve always felt that most fictional teenagers – and most of the real ones that I knew while being a teenager myself, for that matter – seem to have a lot of friends, or at the very least one best friend that they share stuff with and are really close to each other. This is also not really an experience I had. As I wrote on here before, I think I was liked at school and unlike your stereotypical friendless teenager I didn’t have any enemies either and was never bullied or anything like that. I got along well with most people and had some common ground with a handful, I even called some of them friends, but wasn’t particularly close with anyone. The girls I particularly enjoyed hanging out with were already a very tightly-knit circle of friends to each other, and while I think they liked me and my company and we had a lot of common ground, they clearly didn’t see me as part of that circle and were most happy to spend time without additional people, as they had their insider things that they liked to do together and that they weren’t keen on introducing to anyone else, so I spent most of the time alone. I mostly didn’t mind that, though I often felt that life would be a lot easier in a lot of ways for me at school if I had someone that I could be closer with and with whom we could be best friends for each other, and while I wasn’t desperate for a friendship, the lack thereof contributed to my already strong feelings of inadequacy. There were also two girls that I met online about whom I really liked to think as my best friends, we met in a blind online network that was a thing back then. We had a lot of fun times and one of them introduced me to my first two faza people which she also had fazas on. But we only talked online, and I only had access to the Internet when I was at home, which was only either when there was some school break, or on an occasional weekend, or when I was sick or something so not too often, which doesn’t help with maintaining a relationship. Later on, when I was still deep in my teens, I met my now late friend Jacek from Helsinki which was quite a close yet also very turbulent friendship, but I don’t think it fits in with your stereotypical teenage friendships because I didn’t meet him at school, except on a forum for translators where I shared my Vreeswijk’s translations. 

   As regulars ón here know, I didn’t fall in love, date, or have sex either. Still, for some reason, some girls really liked to come to me for relationship advice. It sometimes felt a little awkward being practically the only one not going out with someone, except for those girls who had some mild intellectual deficits, but I didn’t really have any desire to that just because that was what everyone else was doing, and, more importantly, there was just absolutely no one sufficiently interesting that I could go out with, and just the mere idea felt slightly intimidating. 

   I didn’t go to parties. Well, I did, if I had to, but these were mostly stuff like school balls/proms or people’s birthday parties also held at school, and obviously parties within my family. No teen house parties, discos or clubbing or whatever else people might do. I never had any desire to do that sort of thing either. I hated even the school balls and always dreaded them and did whatever I could to avoid them. 

   I didn’t have much of an interest in make-up, doing my nails and stuff like that. Which I suppose is the typical teenage girl thing because it is very much Sofi’s thing and Sofi is, for the most, very typical of her age group. It just seemed like a lot of hassle to deal with being blind, and I had very little motivation. I became more interested in it once I became a Goth, but it was still rather half-hearted. 

   I was lucky enough that I almost didn’t have acne. I did get some occasional  pimple, especially before Jack the Ripper’s visits whenn he started coming, but for the most part I don’t seem to have a particularly oily skin. My Mum says that it also could be because I usually didn’t pop the pimples unless the more gross-looking or painful ones in more visible locations. 

   I didn’t try to desperately follow my peers in what I did or was interested in. Sometimes like I’ve already said it contributed to me feeling more inadequate, but even so I wasn’t interested in fitting in more. On the other hand though, I also liked not being into everything that happened to be trendy at the moment either worldwide or in my immediate surroundings and having my own taste in things and thinking a bit more independently rather than blending in with the crowd for all costs. Sure, there were things that the majority did that I did as well, it wasn’t like I would reject something just because everyone else did it so I wanted to be different for all means. I just took what I liked from what they did. 

   I didn’t look up to my peers more than my parents and I didn’t have any major generational issues with my parents. If I did, they never led to any huge conflicts or arguments or anything like that. A huge part of that was definitely the fact that I spent most of the time in the boarding school and I really didn’t like it and didn’t want it to have any influence on me, I also missed my Mum a lot so she was the strongest authority figure for me. But also my Mum is a very flexible-minded person so it’s easy to get along with her and make a compromise if needed even if we have different ideas about something, she’s also very loyal so even if my siblings or I did something wrong at school or anywhere else outside of home or were in trouble or something, she would always be on our side rather than, say, the teacher’s or whoever was accusing us, while at the same time acknowledging that what we did was wrong and not being happy about it, but she just thinks that if you’re a parent, you should be in your child’s corner so that they’re not alone even if they did something bad or stupid. She was also always very interested in our lives and we knew we could talkk to her about anything freely if we wanted, unlike what seems to be the case with many teenagers and their parents. In fact, as a teenager, often when I was witnessing a class- or groupmate having some trouble I’d be surprised when they didn’t think of talking about it with their parents first so that they could help, but instead tried to unsuccessfully deal with it on their own or talked to the staff who were often rather biased, or other kids who could often comiserate but not necessarily always help in a real way. I also didn’t understand regular teenagers living with their parents on a daily basis how they could be often so rude to their parents or argue with them all the time or almost not talk with them at all. So whenever I needed some advice, had some questions of vital importance, or decided to let a little bit of that bottled up stuff out, I would most often call my Mum. And I think I must have achieved some school record in calling my family , as from what I could observe, no one did it as often as I did, which was often multiple times during the day. 

   I guess it’s also a common stereotype among people that teenagers really want to become adults so that they can finally do what they want. Well, I didn’t. I always dreaded adulthood, even at preschool age, which I’m pretty sure I’ve already written about here how I had some sort of dream or vision or whatever that was of myself being an adult surrounded by little kids and having totally no idea what I’m supposed to do. If anything, when I was a teenager, I often felt a very strong sense of a sort of emotional/mental weariness, probably due to depression, and I sometimes thought how cool it would be to be a baby again and not have much of an idea about anything. That probably says something about my emotional maturity. 😀 I also often felt really confused when facing various life responsibilities. 

   How about you? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   What’s the worst part about puberty? 

   My answer: 

   Neither of these things are directly related to puberty, and they’re problems that I still experience, but I think they fully developed for me when I was around puberty. I think for me that would have to either be the neverending social pressure that I felt, or my constant emotional swings, which were probably all the worse that I kept bottling everything up. Regarding social pressure, I’m talking about all the socialising that you’re expected to do at school, in my case also at the boarding school ‘cause obviously after you go back from school you’re still surrounded by people pretty much all the time, in particular your peers, and you’re expected to act at least more or less like them. Also you’re supposed to make friends with people, which I didn’t really know how exactly it works. I guess I was mostly liked by people in my class and boarding school group and I liked most people as well and got on well with them, I also called a few of them friends if I got along with them better than with the rest, but these were never particularly close or deep friendships. Generally all those people that I considered friends, they were of course friendly with me and all, we’d talk a lot, even have our insider language or stuff like that, but they actually had a wider friends circle that they mostly spent their time with, and I wasn’t really part of that and they clearly didn’t want more people in that circle or at least not full-time, so I was alone most of the time. I generally didn’t mind as I really like being alone and not having to deal with people, I didn’t necessarily feel like I needed someone to be happy or anything like that, I was also used to it by then, but sometimes I did wish I had one proper friend and wondered what that would feel like and whether it would make my life at the boarding school any easier, because people who said they liked it there usually said so because they had friends there and they missed them while being at home on school breaks, which to me was unthinkable. I also had a strong feeling that it really made me stick out in the eyes of our group staff or teachers, and my Mum sometimes said that she was worried about me and that she’d like me to have a “real” friend there. While I could deal with the casual interactions with my peers, anything even slightly beyond that, and especially if involving more than three people at once, felt really straining for my brain, I was never sure what I was actually supposed to do or say and felt totally out of place and really stressed out. Just thinking about it in depth now makes me feel mentally weary and like phew, I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with that anymore, I’ve no clue how I did for so long and it’s little wonder that I ended up being a freak. 😀 

   Where swings are concerned, like I said I think that was something more due to my way of handling emotions and feelings rather than being so extremely hormonal. I remember it was really challenging for me that when I was an adolescent, I could feel quite a lot of really intense emotions in a very short time. The intensity could be quite crushing. On one hand, these were interesting experiences, but on the other, it was difficult to live with, especially if you’re determined to keep everything inside like I was, and I didn’t really have much in terms of a space where I could let some of that out safely and privately. I did keep a diary, but our days at the boarding school were busy, and I was rarely completely alone, so if I wrote in it, it was usually at night, which came at a high cost for my already messed up circadian rhythm and daily functioning, but I felt it was necessary for my sanity to have some time just for myself and I treasured every such minute. 

   Like I said, I still experience both of these things, I still struggle with that kind of peopling and I’m still very moodswingy if a lot is going oon for me, so I don’t really think these challenges were directly to do with puberty, but I don’t think that any of the typical puberty issues was really a significant issue for me. 

   What was the worst part for you? 🙂 

My most cherished childhood memory.

   I thought that I would write another journal prompt-inspired post, this time based on a prompt from a book called 412 Journaling Exercises and Prompts for Personal Growth by Meredith Lane. I’ve actually already sort of used this prompt in my private diary in the past, but thought I’d also write about it on here, and the prompt goes as follows: 

   Describe your most cherished childhood memory. 

   When I was writing about this prompt in my diary, I found it more difficult than I would have thought it could be to think about the one, MOST cherished memory from my childhood. I could think of a lot of happy and pleasant and all sorts of positive moments from my childhood, but it wasn’t like right when I saw this question something would spring to my mind as being the MOST. I of course eventually did come up with something that felt like it could come up this criterion, but I assumed that the fact it took me so long was due to my brain being at fault, because apparently our brains are a lot better at retaining and remembering the yucky stuff that happened to us – provided it’s not so very yucky that the brain would rather get rid of it and suppress it – rather than the good stuff. Before I wrote this post, I decided to ask my Mum about her happy childhood memories. Partly because that’s what I very often do before or during writing posts like this, because we usually end up having long discussions on the topics of my posts and I end up seeing it from an additional angle, but also because I was just curious. My Mum has often told me that she feels like she doesn’t remember a whole lot out of her childhood and has a lot of gaps, and while I don’t think she would call her childhood unhappy and I don’t think one could call it so objectively, most of what she has shared with me about it sounds just a little bit unpleasant to me. The times in which her childhood happened to be – communism – her extreme timidity and anxiousness as a child, and her dad, who in all her stories, especially the ones she told me when I was a child, sounded extremely stern and even a bit scary to me – an ever-looming presence of someone who is physically present most of the time yet hardly speaking to his children at all, and if so, usually to scold or punish them. – It was all the more scary for me that he is so different now as a grandfather, and a better father to his adult children as well, and that extreme difference was unfathomable for me. So when I asked her this, she ended up having the same problem and couldn’t come up with anything specific for a long time. So I asked her whether she thinks it’s because she doesn’t have a lot of happy memories from her childhood. She said that no, it’s probably just that she doesn’t really dwell on her memories so much and has always lived in the moment for the most part, and also that while she has many nice memories from her childhood and remembers it fondly as a whole, she couldn’t really think of anything that would particularly stand out. So I told her that I had the same problem when trying to answer that question in my diary and that it took me a long time to come up with something, to which she reacted with: “Oh, but what sort of childhood you had, it was a nightmare!” Well, I don’t think so at all. I definitely couldn’t call it happy if I were to be truthful, but I think a nightmare would be not only a huge overstatement and taking all the good things for granted. And that was when it dawned on me that the reason why we find it so difficult to think about the best memories from our childhoods is exactly this – that our childhoods weren’t a nightmare. – If they were, it would be easier to think of the few situations that stood out as a lot better than what we’d be used to our life being like as a whole. From what I’ve noticed, people who have gone through extreme poverty, extreme trauma or other major adverse experiences in childhood, often tend to have a handful or even just one memory from their childhood that stands out in their minds as being a lot better than everything else what they’ve been used to. Having a full, warm meal, or someone treating them better than what they’re used to at home, or having a fun outing at school etc. For us, most people these are normal things! Still much appreciated, but absolutely normal. So even though we have many experiences of happy times in our childhood, they naturally don’t stand out so much, because it was normal to have a lot of yummy food, presents for every birthday, playing silly games etc. Etc. Whatever an average kid does. My Mum agreed with me and said that rather than having any particular memories that would stand out very much, when she looks back at her childhood she just collectively remembers all the fun she had with her siblings, the constant presence of her mum at home and how cosy it was, spending time with her best friend etc. Nothing spectacular. It’s quite similar for me, and I wonder how it is for you. 

   Nevertheless, as I said, I did manage to come up with a memory, well, a few memories, that I guess kind of do stand out, or at least based on some things I’ve later experienced and little cues I’ve had in relation to them I believe that they must really stand out for my subconscious for some reason, and in this post, I’ll reminisce a bit about them. 

   They are memories of  the few times when I got to ride home from school in my Dad’s tanker lorry. That was not something that happened often or regularly,  because  generally tanker drivers are not supposed to have passengers, unless it’s a fellow driver and they work shifts. Or at least that’s the case with delivering fuel which is what my Dad does. Officially, anyone who is to ride a tanker has to go through some kind of training so that they’ll know what to do should there be an explosion or something. However, the hours and days of my Dad’s work were always rather unpredictable, and he couldn’t always organise it so that he’d be off work to pick me up from school together with Mum the, hm, conventional way. Especially if something unexpected came up like I was sick or whatever. And Mum was back then too chicken to drive four hours to my school and back on her own. So what they’d sometimes do was they’d take me from school a bit earlier when it fit Dad. Or other times Mum would ask someone from our extended family to go with her and drive, and people often very kindly did it. But there were a couple times when the most viable option was for Dad to take me in the lorry, when he happened to be working somewhere in the area or driving nearby anyway and could logistically squeeze in picking me up. I also think that the restrictions around that must have been a bit different when I was a young child, or perhaps for some reason there was a difference between how different companies where he worked handled it, because when Olek and me were little it would happen slightly more often that he would take us and/or Mum for rides when he had to go somewhere nearby and one time he even took Mum and Olek for quite a long trip. 

   I don’t remember now how many times exactly I rode with him from school in the lorry, maybe three or four, but each time it happened I remember being extremely excited and euphoric about it. In my mind, it had a whole lot of pros to it, though I’m pretty sure that if I had to ride back to school with him in the lorry, I wouldn’t have quite so exciting memories from it, as that would likely mean that we wouldn’t even be able to say goodbye to each other properly and he wouldn’t be able to stay there at all and would have to leave right away. As it was, it was absolutely thrilling. It was usually something that was organised last minute so was a total surprise for me, and while I generally am not a fan of surprises, I was always happy to hear about one like this. Most of the time, particularly if you left school for some official holiday break rather than for a weekend or some personal reasons, the whole procedure of leaving could take really long and I really didn’t like it. Sometimes there were parent-teacher meetings, or parent-group staff meetings or other stuff like that, sometimes if it was something like the end of school year or Christmas break or something like that there would be a school play, and loads of talking and peopling and what not. Especially that my Mum often did feel the need to talk with my staff or teachers a lot, even without a special opportunity, and it was very much mutual because most people really like my Mum and could talk for hours with her. But if I left with my Dad in his lorry, it didn’t matter if it was the end of a school year or whatever, my Dad had a schedule that he had to stick to, so I had to pack in advance, he would usually inform everyone, including myself, at very short notice that he’s going to pick me up and I was to be waiting for him and as soon as he arrived we’d leave. Even if he didn’t have to count his minutes at work, he values his time very much and is a rather impatient person, and he doesn’t have the gift of the gab like my Mum does, nor the gift to listen. And it was just so unusual. No other kid, at least of those that I knew, had a dad who would pick them up in a lorry. So I felt super proud. 

   The first time it happened, I was in the nursery/preschool/whatever you’d call it, so I could have been around six or seven (yes, that blind nursery worked a bit differently and children there were older than you’d normally expect in a nursery, otherwise you’d have to send three-year-olds to a boarding school 😀 ). I believe I had to have an endocrinologist’s appointment and the easier way for my parents to organise transportation home for me was for Dad to pick me up in the lorry on his way back from work, so he didn’t have any fuel in there anymore, as he was meant to go through Warsaw anyway and my school was near Warsaw. He was only able to do this at night though, so I was to wait for him to come. I was usually excited at the mere thought of going home, but being able to stay up very late (which was something I was very much used to doing at home but not really able to do at preschool) and then drive through half of the country in the middle of the night had me properly thrilled. As a kid, I really loved riding long distances, learning about names of different towns and villages, the funnier the better, and, most of all, finding out what different radio stations were out there in different parts of the country. I remember that it all felt very unusual, when I was allowed to stay up, even after our regular staff left and the nightshift lady came  and all the other children fell asleep. I was quietly playing on my bed, with all my bags already packed, and listening to something on headphones and the wait felt really long, but at some point the nightshift lady came in and told me that my Dad had arrived. To my surprise, there was also some other guy there who turned out to be his colleague whom I didn’t know before, and I got a feeling that he ended up really liking me. I also remember that he gave me loads of oranges along the way and kept asking me if I wasn’t sleepy, as I suppose he found that weird that a kid my age wouldn’t be at such time. My Dad was driving, his colleague was sitting in the passenger seat, and I was on the bed. I kept chatting to them about all sorts of things that happened to me at school and whatever my weird Bibiel brain made up and they were laughing. At some point Dad told me that he had a surprise for me and gave me a chocolate bar called Jacek, this is a Polish chocolate bar which I believe is no longer even produced, but as far as I remember it was a type of nougat-flavoured bar. That was the first time I had it and before that I didn’t even know that  such a chocolate bar called Jacek existed and after that I only had it twice. Anyway, those of you who know about my Jackophilia can probably imagine that my euphoria was sky high at that point. I was all like: “WOw, world, people, hear me! There’s a chocolate bar called Jacek, have you ever heard anything more interesting than this?!” At some point though I guess I did end up feeling sleepy ‘cause the next thing I remember my Dad’s colleague had magically disappeared and we were quite close to home. We arrived very early in the morning and Mum was still asleep. Dad told me that it’s a surprise for Mum and that she doesn’t know I’m coming, which I’m pretty sure wasn’t the case but he just wanted to make it fun or something. So he went to load our furnace and told me to ring the doorbell so that Mum would think I came home by myself, and initially she was indeed quite surprised to see me there. 

   The second time I don’t really remember much about, other than I rode with my Dad alone and I think I was in primary by then and I sat next to him for some part of the journey and we were listening to Radio Bis. One incident from that journey that I remember clearly was that at some point the police were checking Dad’s car and I had to hide under blankets and duvets so that they wouldn’t see me. I found that extremely exciting and fun, far more than my Dad for sure, and I remember that it reminded me of how my gran told me that her siblings hid her in some sort of a container full of potatoes during WWII when she was four so that a German soldier wouldn’t see her and when they ended up not seeing me I felt like some sort of great hero. 

   The third time happened much later, I think when I was in my early teens. I remember I was having a properly rotten time at school in all sorts of ways for several weeks as well as a lot of anxiety and when I was coming back to the boarding part, or  however it’s called in English, after classes, and was thinking how could it would be if my Mum could make me a surprise and visit me this weekend or something. Well, then I had lunch, went to my room and was about to start doing my homework but looked at my phone before that and saw that I had several missed calls from Mum. When I called back she said that she and Dad are in his lorry and that I should pack my most essential things because they’d be for me shortly and take me home for the weekend. For a while I really couldn’t believe it. But they did come and I went home with them, despite there wasn’t really such need as there weren’t any holidays approaching and I didn’t have any pressing reason to come home like a medical appointment or something. That trip home was a bit less unusual and surreal because there was Mum, but still, I really enjoyed it as a whole. 

   And the last time that I remember riding back from school in Dad’s lorry was almmost at the end of my stay in that school, I guess I could be around sixteen or something. I can’t remember what was exactly the reason for that, but it had to be something important because I stayed home for a really long time. It was March-April time so it could be Easter, but our Easter breaks weren’t normally particularly long so perhaps I got sick or something, but I don’t remember getting sick during that break and I certainly wasn’t sick with anything when going home. I just remember that, again, I was having a really shitty day at school, though I don’t remember why exactly. I only know that there was some goalball tournament going on  that day or other sport event (goalball is a team sport for the blind) which I didn’t take part in myself but everyone was watching it anyway, and I was quite bored and it was dragging on for ages, and I was making use of all that time by ruminating on whatever shitty stuff was going on. Then I come back and go with my life as normal and at some point when I was in my room talking to my roommate my Dad called me. It was rather unusual for him to call me on his own accord because it was me who had free unlimited calling time set up with him so me calling him paid off more, and we rarely talked in the middle of the day like that unless I was either really bored or had some difficult Geography assignment. So I answered, a little surprised, and he said he’s going to be here literally in five minutes so I better get ready. I was absolutely euphoric. I went to one of our group staff to share the good news and asked her to help me pack but she wouldn’t even believe me. 😀 But I somehow managed to convince her that I was not making it up so she helped me and as soon as I was packed, my Dad was waiting downstairs. AFter the boring and extremely understimulating morning at school, now I was all super giddy and jittery and extremely happy. I could sit next to my Dad high up in the lorry and we chatted about all sorts of stuff. It was already after our relationship has started gradually straining more and more so we weren’t getting along anymore as well as we did when I was younger, but we could still chat about a lot of stuff and still can despite the strain and stuff. I was at first a bit stressed when he told me that we’ll actually need to sleep in the lorry overnight, as I didn’t know how I’d manage with stuff like showering and the like, but in the end I decided, oh well, I don’t even have to do it, I’ll shower when I’ll get home. I would much rather go home straight away than sleep in the car and wait SO long to get to my beautiful little Bibiel room, but in a way sleeping there was also kind of exciting. Dad slept on the passenger’s seat and left his bed for me. But while his sleeping conditions were probably even less enviable, at least he was sleeping, because I guess my Dad can fall asleep anywhere if he’s sufficiently tired. I meanwhile, couldn’t sleep almost at all. I kept wondering how anyone can manage to sleep on such narrow, small bed, if I, being fairly small and thin myself, felt like I was being squeezed between the bed and the ceiling and could barely move comfortably. I wondered how my Dad’s current shift colleague, who is quite obese, can get in and out of here and doesn’t get stuck. All sorts of vehicles were either driving past us, or standing near us with their engines running and once in a while people would be yelling something to each other. And, of course, my Dad was snoring, as if he was competing with all those engines or something. I’ve always liked some background noise while sleeping, but perhaps not SO much. I was also stilll fulll of beans and excitement. So rather than sleeping, I was reading Emily of New Moon, or just thinking about all sorts of things and generally feeling quite happy about life at that very moment. I think I did eventually get some sleep but felt very zombified when Dad woke me up. Which, with help of a few coffees, didn’t last long. (Gosh, I wish I could still have a few coffees in the morning and feel normal afterwards, I miss coffee so much!) We had some quick breakfast and then drove homeward, but first Dad had to tank a barge (it’s entirely possible that I’m using wrong English words here in relation to the whole fuel delivery stuff btw, I’m clueless about it even in Polish). So once we got there, he took me inside of it, and I got to wait for him in a room while he was filling it up and what not. I had my Braille-Sense with me and was reading something on it, and one guy who was working on the barge came over and started chatting to me and wanted to know what this thing was and how it worked, so I kindly explained to him the workings of a Braille-Sense for like half an hour, surprised that he has so much time on his hands at work, and ever so slightly annoyed that he won’t leave me alone to read in peace. He seemed quite impressed though. And then when my Dad was done we drove to where Mum was supposed to pick us up and she picked us up and we rode home. 

   I also rode many more times in my Dad’s various lorries for much shorter distances, but still long enough to feel thrilling. Now however I haven’t done it in years, despite he sometimes asks me, I guess just for the sake of asking, whether I’d like to, when it’s possible for him to do so. But I never do it, as we no longer really have the sort of relationship we had when I was a small kid. Things have changed a lot, and both of us have changed a lot, and the prospect of it no longer feels exciting at all. 

   When thinking about home rides from school with my Dad, however, one more thing always springs to my mind, despite it has nothing to do with lorries, but is a nearly equally pleasant memory. Namely, there was one such time in our family history when my Dad came to take me home from school by train. Unfortunately I no longer remember why exactly he had to do it by train, why not by car. Perhaps it was broken or something? What I do know is that my Mum had to have kidney stones removed and was in hospital, and that was why she, or they both, couldn’t take me home. That was a year before Sofi was born so I must have been nine years old. Ironically, it was Mother’s Day, and our boarding school group staff was planning some sort of meeting with parents and some sort of Mother’s Day celebration I suppose as well. I knew about it in advance that my Dad would come for me on his own and I found the whole idea hilarious that he would be sitting there in a chair, eating cake (he hates cakes and almost everything sweet), watching some sort of Mummy’s Day play and listening to ALL the stuff our boarding school staff had to say, when normally he could barely keep track of in which grades me and Olek were and how old we were and stuff. 😀 Also the idea of my Dad picking me up on his own by train and me coming back home with him by train felt absolutely weird and kind of funny, as I’d always only seen him as the driver, the one who is in charge of things, and you’re hardly in charge of things on a train. So he came, and I’m pretty sure that his patience was put to a great test, because, at least as far as I can tell, that whole meeting thing was really long. Until the last minute, I – who, as you already know, also don’t like such long-winded stuff – was hoping for his temper to break and for him to have a mini meltdown like he often does when Mum’s around and sulkily grumpily leave with me because he ain’t got all day or at least hastily explain to someone that he has to go to be in time for his train, but no. He sat there like a proper daddy, or should we rather say mummy, perfectly calm and collected. I was really relieved when we finally got to go, and I’m sure so was he. The journey wasn’t as very exciting as all the lorry ones, but it was really fun nonetheless. I just remember feeling very excited and happy about it and that I could travel by train with Dad, but no clearer details really. The only thing I remember more clearly was that at some point there was a guy going round selling light beer and I asked my Dad if light beer is anything different than just beer and if not than why call it light beer, and we ended up having a whole discussion about beers, not just light beer, and how different beers are called, and then for some weird reasons we went on to cheeses and their names, but I have no recollection of how the transition from beers to cheeses took place. 😀 Sadly, Dad was not able to provide me much information on what the differences between all them cheeses were in taste. 

   So that’s it, these are my most cherished childhood memories, at least those that I remember and that came to my mind first. 

   How about yours? Do you have any that stand out, or is it also difficult for you to come up with anything? Do you agree with my theory that people with more or less normal or at least not extremely traumatic childhoods have less of an ability or perhaps need to cherish good childhood memories because they have loads of them compared with people with very traumatising childhoods? Would love to hear thoughts, and memories. 🙂 

Question of the day.

   What food do you consider disgusting? 

   My answer: 

   Semolina, hands down! I hate, hate, hate the texture, it has always reminded me of yucky vomit, even before my emetophobia has exacerbated properly. Also it’s so insanely bland. You can add what you want to it, and it’ll always taste the same, semolin-y way, aka not taste at all. I remember when Olek was little and we still lived in our first house so all of our family shared one, huge room, and Olek wouldn’t fall asleep without a bottle of semolina with milk, and then he needed another one very early in the morning to keep him asleep for a couple more hours or otherwise he’d threaten that he’s gonna be “died of hunger” (I don’t know how to best put it in English to capture it but he said it in a very funny way grammatically and we laugh at it to this day whenever he’s hungry 😀 ). Once he’d have his bottle, he’d suck at it and guzzle clearly very happily. Sometimes, or especially when he was older, and occasionally even now though he’s 23 and having his own business and all that, Mum would make him semolina with milk and berries for breakfast, just like people have cereal or noodles with milk. I rarely hear about people, or babies, for that matter, in Anglophone countries eating semolina but in case it’s not a common or normal thing where you are, it definitely is here. Sofi also guzzled her semolina as a baby, and I loved feeding her with her bottle, but I hated whenever any of the semolina would accidentally spill out, I just have such strong aversion to it now that even just feeling it, without tasting it, is gross. As a kid I often had a problem going to sleep at the time when my parents would normally expect me to, and I’d keep Olek awake and make him laugh and do all sorts of mischief with him or argue with him, and sometimes Mum would threaten me, more jokingly than for real, that she’ll make me a bottle of semolina too to keep me quiet. 😀 Then I went to school and it turned out that semolina was a fairly regular thing there. I still vividly remember the first time I got chicken soup with semolina for lunch at nursery, which was a total novelty for me, I’d never have thought you could make chicken soup with semolina. I really like chicken soup, but that stuff was just… ewww! It didn’t even really taste all that much like chicken soup, just pretty flavourless broth full of this vomit thing and bits of vegetables that were so small that you could just think they didn’t get enough time to get digested properly. 😀 And I just couldn’t eat it, and the sister who was on a shift in our nursery group then had a very hard time understanding it. Probably because there were no other children, at least as far as I’m aware, who’d have a problem with foods like that. If anything, some were the opposite and preferred liquid or semi-liquid or very soft foods to anything more chewy or crispy because their parents hadn’t previously introduced solid foods to them, fearing that they won’t be able to teach a blind child, especially if with coexisting disabilities, how to bite and they might choke. So she insisted that I have to eat it all, no matter how long it takes me. I did sit with that bowl of vomit for hours, but eventually she just gave up, seeing that it wasn’t very likely that I’d ever eat it whole, and probably figured out that it’s really beyond the scope of my possibilities and she finally let me move on to the main course instead. When I later told my Mum about our amazing lunch on the phone, she was surprised too, to hear about chicken soup with semolina, and although she has no problem with semolina herself, she said that this combination really must have been yuck, so I felt kind of validated. This sister never forced me to eat semolina again, but this soup was a recurrent item in our menu throughout the nursery, and then later when I moved on to the actual school, because it was the girls’ boarding school kitchen that also cooked for the nursery so our lunch food stayed the same. And of course we had to do with a lot of different staff, and none of them could understand that I just had a problem with semolina. While they of course preferred if we ate everything, most were flexible enough to understand that some people might not like such controversial things like some specific vegetables, or liver, or a type of sausage that’s like a Polish version of black pudding, which would also sometimes appear and which many people didn’t like. But semolina?! In some cases, you could just say that you feel awful after eating something, but you can’t do that with semolina, after all, it’s given to people who have tummy problems, are after a stomach surgery or a stomach bug or whatever. Speaking of tummy problems, I had a stomach bug at school a couple times and ended up in the infirmary, or as they literally called it “little hospital”. ANd the first day or two they’d always give me semolina for lunch, except it wasn’t even a broth, just a watery sort of soup, and all the nurses were very upset that I wouldn’t eat it at all and wondered why I was still so sick. Finally at some point I asked them if I could have something, anything, other than that, but they said unfortunately not at this point. Also, one of the staff in my boarding school group introduced to us a cake made of digestive biscuits layered with semolina. She liked it because according to her it was tasty, plus very easy and quick to make and low budget, so we could often make it for our birthdays. I couldn’t understand why would someone want to have semolina even in a cake. Semolina tastes even worse when it’s cold. I did have to make it a few times for my birthday though, which felt a little weird since I guess normally you’re supposed to make what you like on your birthday, but I’ve never was one to make a big deal of birthdays anyway, so I didn’t care overly and just made it for others and didn’t eat it myself. My Mum was also surprised when I told her about it and said it must be quite bland. So yeah, I really like all the other grains that I’ve tried, but semolina’s absolutely disgusting. 

   What’s such a thing for you? 🙂 

Delyth Evans – “Gymnopedie III”.

Hey people! 🙂

Recently I shared with you one of the Gnossiennes composed by Eric Satie and played on the harp by Floraleda Sacchi, and today I’d like to share another, and I guess more commonly known, composition by Eric Satie – the last of his Gymnopedies. – Gymnopedies are three pieces of music that Satie composed for piano, all very melancholic pieces (the first is meant to be played painfully, the second sadly, and the third – the one we’ll listen to today – gravely) and I’ve heard quite a few different harp performances of them and I really like how they sound played on the harp. The name of these pieces comes from some ancient Greek festivity called gymnopaedia, during which young men were dancing naked/unarmed. I have a little bit of a personal connection with Gymnopedies because when I was in nursery, there was a documentary that was being filmed about our nursery (for the blind) and how we lived in there. Then all of our parents got a copy of this film. I now know that my Mum hated that film, but she watched it a lot anyways especially when I was away at school and then she always ended up crying. Once I grew up a bit I never liked watching it either or people mentioning it, something about it is very depressing to me though I’m pretty sure it’s just in my brain and all sorts of memories coming up rather than the documentary itself being objectively depressing. Anyways, gymnopedies were in the soundtrack of this film. I actually don’t remember now if it was all of the Gymnopedies or just one, and if one then which one, because I haven’t watched that in ages nor has my Mum, but I am sure that there was at least one Gymnopedie. I guess Gymnopedies are a sort of go-to soundtrack for all things that are meant to be tear-jerking because I’ve heard them used a lot in this way. This is actually a bit of a pity, because they’re great pieces of music, and while they’re melancholic, it’s not in a tear-jerking, maudlin way. But despite my Mum hated that film, she really liked this music and wanted to know what it is, and finally when she found out she bought some music album where Gymnopedies were included, I don’t know who played them. And she still really likes them despite they sometimes make her think about the times when I was at school and how it made her sad that I couldn’t be at home with my family. And that’s why, when it comes to me, what I primarily associate Gymnopedies and what they make me think of when I hear them is my Mum, rather than the time when I was in nursery, which I’m so glad about, because otherwise they’d probably be totally spoilt for me, and as it is, I really love them. Especially, like I said, played on harp. This third, grave Gymnopedie in A minor is played by the already well-known harpist on this blog, Delyth Evans (currently Jenkins) from Wales.

Question of the day.

Would you ever send your kids to boarding school?

My answer:

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

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

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

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

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

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

You? 🙂

The challenging life lessons.

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

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

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

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

   I was born blind

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

Living 10 years in a boarding school

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

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

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

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

I experienced two years in an integration school

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Dad was falsely accused of abusing me sexually

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   My friend, Jacek from Helsinki, passed away

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

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

I failed my maths final exam

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

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

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

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

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

Question of the day (17th September).

Hi people! 🙂

Have you ever had couscous, or do you like it?

My answer:

Yes, I have had it. But let me give you a bit of a backstory first as I guess it might be interesting. The first time I had couscous was around the time when I started primary or perhaps during nursery yet. I had an aunt back then, who wasn’t my real, biological aunt, but I always called her aunt anyway and will always think of her as such. And whenever I think about couscous, I immediately think of her. 😀 She lived very close to my boarding school, and at some point during nursery, when my Mum realised that I was struggling there and wanted to do something about it, she was looking for a flat or a room to rent there so that she could be closer to me and so that we could live there at least temporarily and some of the time during the year. The prices were really high though in that part of the country and there weren’t that many satisfying offers anyway, and so finally during her search my Mum phoned just another real estate agent, who didn’t have anything to offer for her but felt really moved by our situation as it seemed and offered that, since she lived so close to the boarding school, she could be like my aunt and visit me or I could visit her and perhaps having someone like this would make things easier for me even though it wouldn’t be my actual family. Mum was euphoric, though I remember being rather skeptical about the idea. But it actually turned out to be a great thing, we got along very easily and I grew very attached to her. It wasn’t quite like as if I lived with my family and it didn’t resolve all the problems, but it did make things easier. I absolutely adored spending time in her house which was very different from my ownn or from any houses I had been to so far. I visited her on weekends or we went out somewhere. When my Mum couldn’t be at stuff like different contests, Nativity plays or other such that I might have taken part in, she would often come and cheer me, despite she neither had to nor actually should as she was chronically ill and had something with her immune system so it was a bit risky. When my Mum came to me for the weekend or longer rather than took me home, she let us stay at her home upstairs so we didn’t have to continuously spend the time in the boarding school. She was extremely altruistic, to the point that you could consider it foolish or extremely naive. My family and her had a lot in common, though also at the same time she was very different from them which attracted me all the more to her, and also we both shared a passion for figurines, which I collected at the time, mostly porcelain figurines, and so did she, and we exchanged a lot of our figurines. Sadly though, this relationship didn’t last too long, because over time she felt worse and worse physically and had a lot of familial problems, so couldn’t see me as regularly as she used to, and finally, some two years or so since we first met, she moved out with her daughter to the city. I tried to keep in touch with her and called her infrequently but regularly when I was at home and could do it, as I felt very grateful for what she did to me and knew she was struggling with a lot of things and of course my family also encouraged me to show my gratitude towards her, and she continued to have more and more health issues of her own and also her two granddaughters were very ill. And then at some point we lost touch. Both me and Mum tried to find her, as it seemed like she changed her phone number, and we both wanted to show her our gratitude and perhaps help if possible, but from what we could find out it seemed like she might just as well have moved out somewhere else and we were unable to trace her. So it’s been very many years since we’ve last heard from her and this sucks a lot, as I’d like her to know how very helpful she had been to me, and I’d like to be able to reciprocate somehow. Since she was in her early fifties when we were in touch and as I said she was already struggling a lot with her health, I’m not even sure if she’s still alive.

Anyway, she was also a real foodie and quite sophisticated in general and, during my stays at hers, I got to try a lot of things that were totally new to me. Like the couscous, for example.

Interestingly, I found it absolutely delicious and I was a real fan of couscous. But when, years later, I asked my Mum to make it and she did, somehow it wasn’t quite as good, and my Mum found it even more unpleasant. My Mum is a fab cook and often makes various grains so I wonder was it just that it wasn’t so new and exciting anymore, or did my aunt make it in some special way that made it have a bit more character or have I just grown out of couscousmania. Whatever the reason, these days I find couscous incredibly bland, and so does everyone else here, so we don’t really eat it in our house. Perhaps we’re just not classy enough hahaha. I know that, because it’s so neutral, you can combine it with a lot of things, but either we haven’t combined it with the right things or it’s just not our thing because no matter the additions, spices and stuff the couscous itself always feels bland.

How about you? 🙂

A letter to my 13-year-old self.

Today starts

10-Day Letter Writing Challenge

and, as I mentioned in the original post that I reblogged earlier today, or rather yesterday as it’s past midnight, I really liked the idea. I have never participated in those kind of challenges where you write every day for a certain amount of time, so I don’t know how it will go and I don’t promise that I will stick to it on my blog, but I do plan to write those letters for sure in my diary because I like to expand it in such ways and not just plain write about my daily life.

Here’s a letter to my 13-year-old self:

Hi Bisbis [Bisbis/Bibiel was the way I used to mostly call myself as a child and teen]

I am your future self, however strange that may sound to you. You may wonder why I am writing to you in English then, and I am sure that it will take you a looong time to figure this letter out, but this will at least improve your English skills and occupy your mind with something interesting for a while. You will need it in the future – the English, I mean. – One day, when life will get better, you will have an English blog. You have heard from people that you have a talent for languages and you sometimes wonder if it is true and what you should do about it, if anything. And you have already learnt some Swedish. I know how painful it is for you that you cannot do it anymore. Please don’t suppress this one thing at least. I think it will be of some comfort to you if I’ll tell you that you will be able to return to your Swedish in future. It will bring you a lot of pleasure and you will also learn to love many other languages, which will make your life feel more purposeful. You will have to thank one of your faza objects for that. Soon after that, you will also find the greatest love of your life (so far at least), whom you will love with all your brain and soul, who will live with you and sleep with you and who will be your best friend. No, obviously I’m not talking about any guy, I’m sure you know it! Nor about a girl, if you’re wondering, or maybe being concerned, hehe. His name will be Misha, not Jacek, and that’s all I’m gonna tell you. Believe me, seriously, the things will not always be the way they are right now, even though it really looks like they will. Change will come sooner than you think, although you will have to get through a lot before it happens, and then learn a lot of things that you might find unpleasant or uncomfortable.

I know that you wrote a letter to me as well, like Emily of the New Moon did to herself, but unfortunately I am not able to read it now and look back at all those things you wanted to know and respond to you properly because you lost it. You do have to learn to be less chaotic. But so far it hasn’t happened. 😀 And I think we agree that being chaotic is more interesting, right? I still like Emily of the New Moon a lot, although not as frenziedly as you. I can assure you that your current dream will come true and that you will change your name to Emilia legally soon after you turn 18. It was a good idea so you don’t have to worry, you were right and I thank you for that.

At this point, I live in a different house than the one that is your family home, but not far away from there, just in a town nearby. It is also big, and you will move in it about 7 years from where you are at, if I’m counting correctly. You will like it here. As we’re talking about counting, I have some bad news for you too. Well, at least for you it will probably sound bad, I feel quite neutral about it and I don’t perceive it as a tragedy or even anything near it. You will not pass your math final exam after high school. Moreover, you will decide not to rewrite it.

There was that man who told you that you won’t fix yourself by studying psychology and becoming a therapist, and you felt offended because he was assuming and implying that something was wrong with you and that you were selfish, and I think you also felt very insecure because you knew he could be on to something. I know that your intentions weren’t selfish at all, but, as you’ll see for yourself later on, he was actually right, in a lot of ways. Because, you do know deep down that it is not normal to feel the way you feel, all the time, don’t you? And you do realise that many things in your life and functioning aren’t the way they should be? Well, you will need time to come to terms with this, and one day you will understand that it is yourself who needs help, before you can give it to others. But also, this is not your fault, as you think and as everyone is making you feel or even telling you, indirectly. I do not like you much more than you like yourself, if I’m being honest with you, but I want you to know that this is not your fault and that some people, even those you seriously wouldn’t suspect to be, are way more selfish than you think, others are clueless. You are clueless too. You will learn and discover some difficult things about yourself and your life circumstances, I am still doing that and in a way it’s getting overwhelming, and so confusing, but you will learn to live and cope with those things you learn about yourself, but also making those discoveries will be helpful, as life and your whole situation will become a bit clearer for yourself and others, and it is always easier to deal with something that you know at least a bit. As I said, life will really get better. Your brain will get better. The mere relief from having to pretend that everything is OK will make a difference. You will find a lot of friends online, not the same ones as you have right now, although I know many of them are cool, and don’t let anyone tell you that online friendships are any less valuable or real or something. You will find very supportive and understanding people with whom you will often have a lot of things in common, in one way or another. I know it feels awful right now but don’t give up just yet. And, while you will still have a deep interest in psychology, maybe even deeper in some ways, I think you will grow out of that idea, and instead you will decide to focus on your languages more. Well, that’s at least what I know now, who knows how things will get in the more distant future. As for more distant future, currently I have no idea how it will go, and it feels somewhat scary even to me, but I am trying to be hopeful because otherwise I would have no right to tell you not to give up, as my life is way easier than yours.

Zofijka is almost your age now and a lot of what you thought she’d be like has come true. She is very bubbly and energetic and talks all the time, and she loves sports and One Direction and currently has become enamoured with Japanese men, and yes, she loves clothes shopping and changes her clothes all the time, but she has a very distinctive style despite being a very average girl in a lot of ways, and you’d be surprised how very mature she is deep down. I think you would like her. Though she is very different from you, and thus very different from me, and so we not always get along.

I really don’t know what else to tell you, other than that there is hope, so I will be finishing, because it’s 2 AM and I feel like I should go to sleep. Yeah, I still tend to write at nights, but now it’s my choice, and not a necessity, and I realise it’s a luxury not only for people like you who feel they lack privacy but most people actually, who aren’t able to manage their time on their own. Ah, and I can tell you that you will live in times of a pandemic, which is happening right now, I guess you’d find that interesting, for example to observe how people are behaving. I find it interesting myself, but while it’s changed our lives all around the world very much, it doesn’t feel scary for myself so far. Maybe just because it is not a norovirus pandemic, haha.

Your future Bibiel self (I no longer call myself Bibiel all the time, only sometimes, you have to adjust to the society at some point, but I still am Bibiel and am loving it no less than you do)

Working On Us – rejection.

I haven’t participated in Working On Us by Beckie of

Beckie’s Mental Mess

for a while, so I thought I would this week. THe topic of this week’s mental health prompt is rejection.

1. Have you ever been rejected by family/friends because of your mental illness/disorder?

No. I think it’s mostly simply because I usually do not tell people about my mental illness or such things, or if I do it’s very briefly if necessary. I have experienced some negative or invalidating reactions, in particular from my Dad, which often felt very hurtful to me, but I wouldn’t call that rejection. Rather a lack of understanding and flexibility in thinking. My Mum is very supportive in all sorts of practical ways and I wouldn’t do without her, she is also more open-minded than my Dad, she tries to understand it but it’s often not easy for her as she’s never experienced things that I have, and often says hurtful things more or less unintentionally. I used to struggle much more with that but I’ve never thought that it could be their way of rejecting me. Other people are far more likely to reject me because of my blindness than mental illness.

2. Has anyone mistreated you to the point you felt like you were nothing?

Don’t know if it made me exactly feel “as if I were nothing” but I had experienced some emotional abuse at school, particularly from one of the boarding school staff, who was humiliating me in a veiled way and diminishing me and all I did, which caused me a lot of confusion and feelings of inadequacy, and made my self-esteem drop quite a bit, and it never was particularly high. It took me a lot of time, only as an adult, to figure all that out and make some sense of that situation, because for a long time I felt like it kind of wasn’t real and that I perhaps misunderstood her words or actions or something like that. There were also many other situations there where I felt like people were making me feel very shitty about myself but it wasn’t as bad and I think wouldn’t even affect me as much as it did if not my overall life situation – that I was miles away from my family and could never fully adapt there. – When I got older I frequently experienced quite spectacular reactions of people to my disability, like, I assume some people must be terribly afraid of catching optic nerve hypoplasia from me or something, I’ve had people treating me like I was a mass of air. That felt very unpleasant for sure and as if I was nothing to them, but I can’t say I cared very much or felt significantly hurt, it was frustrating and annoying, but more funny than seriously hurtful, it’s funny when people are so silly that they’re so scared of you that they can’t talk coherently when they see you. 😀 It’s paradoxical when people are scared of you and you’re a sociophobic.
3. Have you ever confronted the person/persons that have made you feel this way?

No. When it comes to that staff person, I was a child then, I didn’t really feel safe talking to her at all, let alone confronting her, also, I’m sure you guys know how it is with toxic people, emotional abuse and all that. I actually had no clear idea what was going on. I wouldn’t think it was abuse or that she was treating me wrong in any way. First because I was a child, even if fairly intelligent and enjoying observing and analysing people’s behaviours, and second because it’s all always so veiled and subtle, I wouldn’t know how to talk about it to her and not sound irrational or something. I think I would still have trouble in such a situation if it happened to me now, it’s just tricky. I tried talking to another staff member who was a really competent person and whom I quite liked, but she didn’t really get it, I honestly don’t think she believed it because that other woman was always so positive and everyone saw it, so how could she do such things? I only talked to her because my Mum told me to do so.

4. If the answer to #3 is “Yes”, was anything resolved?

When talking to that staff member didn’t help my Mum talked to her – that other staff member, not the one who was nasty to me – and things have changed a little for good, but not significantly.

5. Has rejection changed you in any way? ie… Self-Esteem, Depression, and/or changed your opinion the way you feel towards the human race as a whole?
Wellyes it did. I have avoidant personality disorder in which fear of being rejected is one of the features, and it often develops in people who have experienced it early in life. I had never thought about it this way, but some time ago my Mum wanted to talk about it and her theory is that when I went to that school (I was 5) I might have felt rejected by my family and confused about what was happening. I just never saw it this way, I always thought it was normal I must be there and that the problem is rather that I can’t adjust there and accept the situation. But perhaps when I was 5 I didn’t understand what it was all about, why I had to be away from home, and why people were coming and going, or taking me home for a few days and then leaving me there again. This theory makes sense to me now. But obviously I don’t blame my parents now or anything like that because I know they didn’t feel like they had a choice and their motive wasn’t that they wanted to get rid of me. But I think such an experience could successfully make me more sensitive to rejection. I wouldn’t say this is the strongest AVPD symptom in me, like that the primary reason why I avoid people, why I struggle with social situations, why I don’t do socialising is because I’m afraid of rejection. I don’t think that’s most important here, though at the same time it’s hard to say what is that core thing, I just think it’s a mixture of loads of things. I’ve heard about many people with this disorder struggling with this particular thing the most of all. For me, I’m not desperate for acceptance from everyone, I won’t typically tell you that I like something just so we would agree and be friends and would like me or I won’t tell you my opinion on something because yours may be different. I don’t go around in search of people who will accept me and if some relationship doesn’t go well or if I see that someone doesn’t really feel the connection I won’t desperately try to keep them. I do value my individuality even if at the same time I hate it because it makes me feel like such a flippin’ alien. I guess when I interact with people, they may see I’m anxious or depressed or such things, but I think I’m pretty good with hiding my AVPD related difficulties in daily life or in casual interactions with people, but perhaps that’s just what I think. I have no problem with, for example, people I know online for a little while when they suddenly stop writing back to me or something, unless there are some other things involved, but when it’s people I feel attached to that reject me or I feel that they reject me it’s crushing. For me, the fear of rejection manifests more in the way that I hate being clingy, for example, I just hate clinginess, both in myself and in other people. I don’t want to feel like a burden for people or someone needy, either emotionally or in any other way, yet I often strongly feel like I am. I often don’t let myself close enough to people I would like to be close with, and keep at least a bit of a distance, ’cause then they can’t reject me. Or if I have a possibility, first I do an in-depth observation and analysis of a person before I start talking to them. With people with whom I am more close with I always sort of have a radar on, which is in a way very yucky and a bit paranoid, I think I have this particular tendency from my Dad, but then again, I’ll do everything for them not to realise that. Often I’m just simply scared of closeness with people. I’ve realised some time ago that I often test people that I meet and that I feel we could be friends, or when I just feel very insecure, I do it often almost unconsciously, kind of automatically. I virtually only realised I’m doing it when I got diagnosed and was reading about it a lot, I had no clearer idea before that. It feels quite yucky too but you do have to protect your brain don’t you? You’ve got only one and when it’s already screwed up to begin with you have to be careful. I suppose they’re not aware of that testing thing, or maybe it’s just my wishful thinking. It feels rather gross when you think about yourself that you’re “testing people”, but that’s true, even if not always fully voluntary. If the test is negative, I have the possibility to retreat before they reject me, it makes me feel more in control of my own life and feelings. I’m often afraid though that I would become attached to someone so much that I won’t be able to notice it in case they would no longer accept me for whatever reason or never truly did, and then they would suddenly reject me without me even being able to prepare for it emotionally in advance and accept it.

6. Or, has rejection done the opposite and made your stronger and more resilient?
I don’t think so, but I do think my tolerance for it has increased over time.

Question of the day (25th August).

Hi guys. 🙂

I was feeling shitty all day yesterday so didn’t even write anything, so here’s the overdue question for you, another childhood related one.

Did you like school? Are there reasons that you liked/disliked it?

My answer:

Who likes school? Not me anyway. Okay, at the beginning of my education I liked school somewhat, just except having to stay at the boarding school and except all the stressful stuff. It was stressful and challenging but I guess I liked learning. But it didn’t last long. Things were becoming more and more stressful, and I realised that, at least most of the time, creativity isn’t very well seen, and that most of the time it’s just either boring or freakishly abstractive for my brain, and that it was becoming more and more rare that what I learned at school would be either interesting or significantly beneficial/useful to me and bring something new into my life. I much preferred to learn things myself, things that I found interesting, although that wasn’t always possible, or not to a big degree. I didn’t do socialising literally at all at the beginning, then with years I learned to engage with people a bit more but it was very superficial. At the beginning of primary I remember I loved learning Polish and especially English, with English I stopped loving it as a subject very quickly because we happened to have a teacher that no one of us really liked who wasn’t too approachable or likeable, and then for the next year or two we had in turn a very meek teacher who was a lovely person but couldn’t even have much control over the class, and wasn’t demanding at all so things were either boring or chaotic on her lessons. And most of the time I didn’t have luck with English teachers, no matter in which school I was, I had only a few pretty good ones, and I’ve had fair few of them haha. Polish I loved for longer, as long as I was allowed to write elaborate stuff on topics I liked or that I felt comfortable with and could read at least mostly what I liked or stuff that we were reading for school was interesting. I think I started to get seriously disheartened by Polish in 4th grade but still was fairly good at it, and still there were things I liked about it. But, as you hopefully know, at least if you’ve been here for a while, neither English or Polish as a subject has ever discouraged me from liking those languages as such, although it was very close to it with English at some point and I had to rediscover it for myself a bit and, in a way, relearn it in my own way. I never cared much for grades, neither good nor bad, and I was not a perfectionist at school matters whatsoever, though the bigger tests usually really scared me and with time I did started to feel slightly inferior because of my math dilemmas, but only a bit. I hated that they wanted me to be good at everything (thankfully my Mum didn’t and was pissed off with that approach when she found out there is such so I didn’t want to be good at everything either). I guess I must have some sort of ability to learn things reasonably quickly, which was a bit weird but which really saved me at school, because I didn’t like studying hard, I mean repeating what we had at school and just spending more time than necessary with school stuff, I only did homework and repeated things very superficially before tests if I felt like I could fail spectacularly or if I needed to do reasonably good. I just never like to spend too much time doing boring things that I don’t have much interest in. I had to change that approach when preparing to my finals and spend horrendous amounts of time preparing to my math exam, but, as it seems, even studying really hard can’t always save you. 😀 So, especially as time went by, there were less and less things I liked at school. I was constantly stressed and depressed, having trouble engaging with people and doing a lot of daily prosaic stuff because of various things that I was struggling with, I was awfully neurotic and just hated school with a passion. Somehow I guess though that most of the time I at least managed to keep the impression that I’m doing well, unless someone was a bit more perceptive but I didn’t want people to see, or see as little as possible. I’ve also always been scared of changes, and at school you get a whole lot of them sometimes.

When I was 17, I got out of the school for the blind permanently and for a year that I had left until starting college, or however else you’d call it in your country, I was having individual education at my local school, where my brother was going to. My dream was always to be homeschooled, but I knew that was hardly possible, so I was happy that the psychiatrist who saw me at the time agreed with my Mum and therapist and the headmaster of that school who felt I could benefit from doing that year in individual education. And my poor teachers would benefit too, they weren’t really prepared for me appearing suddenly and I know most of them were deadly scared of the prospect of teaching a blind student. So I think it was easier for them doing it just with me than in the class, if it felt so challenging for them. And that year was the best year at school for me. I am sure that had I been at that school all the time it wouldn’t be a good decision, but I sort of regretted I didn’t come there earlier. I discovered that – while I was reasonably good at most subjects before – I was doing much better when learning one to one, and also I liked that I could really get to know my teachers well and they could get to know me well. I had exams at the end of that year, before going to college, but I don’t remember being very stressed about them. I was, a bit, for sure, but not quite as much as I was before previous or later major exams. I only remember finishing the syllabus for most of the subjects ridiculously quickly and reading my Vreeswijk’s poems translations or my short stories to my Polish teacher during our lessons and such. They really liked me there and I liked them. Sometimes I came to Olek’s classroom and had had lessons with the class (we were in the same class even though he’s two years younger than me because I had two years delay) and I kinda got along with a few girls in there even though they didn’t even know where people speak Finnish but oh well, never mind. I had a whole big classroom just to myself where I had all the lessons, and I remember passionately reading “Outsider” by Colin Wilson during most breaks while listening to music on the headphones so, if you know me, you’d figure out I was pretty chilled there, as for my standards. 😀 So yeah, that school I did like.

Then I went to that weekend school for adults, which was just boring. I also found it hard to socialise with people, especially with most of the teachers, those who seemed to be plain scared of me or something like that. I was really struggling with math stuff, and the rest was usually quite boring. I had one good friend who was helping me with things like getting around which made it all much easier for me, and I had some other fun people in the class too though a lot of people were dropping out or coming as they pleased since it was a college for adults so no one could pressure them to do anything really, and many folks got some benefits at work or something like this when they were learning at the same time so they enrolled often just for the sake of it. It all felt a bit artificial for me but then school is generally one big faking in so many ways for me so I was just trying to get through that period as best I could. At some point my Mum got tired of driving me back and forth and I was tired of sitting in the class while they were looking at slideshows or doing something from a textbook that I didn’t have and we collaboratively decided to ask my teachers if I could do the learning at home and just come in for exams and such. They all agreed with great relief, and promised profusely to send me what they are doing in class and the topics of the assignments and dates of the exams, but then I had to send them countless emails asking for that and that was rather yucky and resulted in a couple situations where I knew just last minute that I had an exam coming up or wrote an assignment a day before the due date. I hated that and it annoyed me like shit but overall when I stopped having to go to school every weekend life became a bit easier practically, and even more so for my Mum.

So that’s it, my experience with school, quite eventful, but mostly miserable, and made me feel really spiteful towards the whole education system, so that if someone wants to rant about it, I am always open and happy to chime in, just for the sake of it. Though Mum claims I am intoxicating Zofijka with my spite when doing it with her. I’m not sure I even care, is that awful of me? Zofijka mostly thinks what I do anyway, and comes with her school troubles to me a lot of the time, and I have to get my shit out somewhere finally too.

How much did you hate school? 🙂

Ina Wroldsen – “Mother”.

Hi hi people! 🙂

So, this song, for me, is that kind of song which lyrics are just so ridiculously, creepily or comfortingly – depending from which angle you choose to look at it – relatable to you and describing you, your life and various situations you’ve been through, as if someone just broke into your flamin’ brain and wrote about your feelings. I hear so often that people say things like “Oh God, this song is just about me!” or such things, but to me it actually doesn’t happen very often, not to such an extent that I could literally sign myself with all my limbs under the lyrics, although I did have my personal song as a child and teen, which was “Evacuee” by Enya. This one is vastly different from Enya’s music, but no less relatable to me, maybe even more relatable to me in a way because, thankfully, I no longer have to relate to that child in “Evacuee”, and this song by Ina Wroldsen describes my feelings and my life and my relationships with people in so many more ways, not just a part of my life as it is with “Evacuee”.

Ina Wroldsen is a Norwegian singer, she is very popular in her country and in Scandinavia but also in other European countries, collaborating with many DJ’s and such, I am pretty sure that I must have heard her somewhere earlier before I discovered it for myself, as for example her song “Strongest” was a real hit. I discovered her for myself when I started to listen to more Norwegian music, largely by accident, but I never was very crazy on her, just another cool Norwegian artist out there, a bit too normal for me to like her really really much. 😀

Sometimes I focus on lyrics of my favourite songs, sometimes I don’t. Usually I focus more on those I like more, and when something is just cool but normal I tend to only focus on the music, since it rarely has very striking lyrics anyway. And so was when I first heard “Mother” last year. But at some point while listening to it I focused much more and thought: “Huh, these lyrics sound familiar”, as in, something I knew from my own experience and from my own brain. 😀 And, seriously, when I listened to the song thoroughly, just everything felt so so much like me. And not at all only in regards to the time where I was at the boarding school and struggling with a lot of stuff and wanted outa there, and not only even in relation to my own Mum. Some verses, that I’m sure were written more metaphorically, were about me in such an absurdly literal way that I just had to laugh, other were more metaphorical. I could find descriptions of my relationships with important people in my life in it and things I’ve been through, and pretty much my entire life in a way, but especially my childhood. It feels odd and crazy! And, as always when I find a song that is even somewhat relatable for me in any way, I am still so very curious what inspired Ina to write it, although I believe it was a piece written collaboratively with some other people. While it speaks to me in such an incredible, almost eerie way, I also think that most people are able to find something about themselves in it, as is the case with some songs. I hope you enjoy it anyway. 🙂

Carnival.

Anyone else here hates carnival?

Well anyway, I do. Or used to do, now I don’t have to bother. But yeah I hated it. Oh but how can anyone hate carnival, especially in such country as Poland? It’s such a colourful tradition! Well, maybe I don’t hate carnival in general, there are or used to be some pretty interesting traditions over here relating to it and I always like to read about traditions be them ours or someone else’s, I’m just overall into folklore as you know.

But in my own experience, carnivals had always been yuck. We always had so many parties and balls and proms and discos and dancings or however to call them. We had usuallly one such event at school, one at the girls’ boarding school and one at the boys’ and sometimes also one at the cafe which also was in that centre.

If I’m totally honest, I don’t know exactly what I hated so much about them. Yes it was socially engaging and so challenging for me, but there were way more challenging situations there for me. Dancing is not my element definitely, but I’m not the worst at it and I do dance if I have to when we have some family parties or stuff.It wasn’t that I was left alone and didn’t haveto dance with, if I wanted I’d surely find someone, therewas a time when I was the only girlin the class and my classmates rather liked me as a friend and I did like them.

I guess that just the general atmosphere overwhelmed me. All that crowd and noise, so that even if you came there with someone there were 99% chances you will lose each other in the crowd even if you’re not dancing. And I always hate that feeling of being lonely in the crowd, way more than just being lonely, even if I talk to someone I often feel this way among very many people. And it’s awful.

So I always tried to do everything to avoid those parties. Theoretically, it wasn’t something compulsory to go there, but it wasn’t well seen for someone to stay on their own in the group while everyone else is out, you know, safety and all. And no one actually wanted to avoid them as far as I know, other than me, so it was seen as odd if you did, and you could be more or less pressured to go anyway. At that time I wasn’t assertive enough to just say no, I still am not sure if I would say if it happened to me now, knowing how pressured I’d be anyway, so I rather preferred to find some excuses, which worked sometimes, most often not very creaive stuff like period. When I was very young, I took an advantage of the fuss when they were going out and hid in the shower lol. I was desperate to not go with them, and then I got out when they all went out. As I supposed, no one even noticed I didn’t go, neither the staff, nor any of my group mates. 😀

One year though I did something particular. We got to know there will be two parties, one at school and one at the cafe, as it was Saturday. It was also my birthday, and I got mad. Why do I have to go to some yucky trashy dancing parties on my birthday if I hate it? Why can’t I do something better? And I was determined to not go, and instead, do something very nice. Well, not going could be potentially possible if I tried, but the latter was quite a brave goal in such a place where you can’t decide much about yourself. But I did it.

Luckily for me, at that time I had a kind of English teacher, well she wasn’t my real English teacher, she was my aunt’s acquaintance and lived in the city nearby my school, and my Mum and aunt introduced us to each other and my aunt had an idea that she – her acquaintance – would come to me while I was at the boarding school, say once a week, so that I could go out of that environment for a while and talk to someone from the outside, normal world and just have fun. We made an excuse that she’ll be teaching me some extra English, and the staff agreed. We didn’t cheat on them, if you’re worried, she did teach me English, but the primary goal was for me to just get out of there and do whatever we liked. We both liked English, so we often did English.

I called my Mum to ask her if she could send me some money, we had them stored by the staff but if our parents wanted they could send some to us too. Luckily they came on time. So I called my aunt’s acquaintance, let’s call her K. and I asked her if she’s free next Saturday because I’d like to invite her to some restaurant in the city for a dinner because it’s my birthday. She said she is and that it is cool, so I told her about those deeper reasons for that so we scheduled our meeting so that I’d be out during both parties. My Mum obviously agreed so the staff couldn’t do anything but agree too.

We went to the Moroccan restaurant and, guys, I guess there was the best food I’ve ever eaten so far. Although it’s possible that my happiness spiced it up even more because I couldn’t believe my luck and that it worked out. 😀 Anyway, it was one of more happy days I spent there. Or not there actually, as I wasn’t at school practically. 😀 I hate that city but if I’m gonna be there ever again I’ll surely go to that restaurant again. We had so much fun and we also did other things, but, funnily enough, I don’t remember anything more from that day now, even though it was long and intense. 😀 I only remember I came back to the boarding school with a huge Toffifee, I don’t remember if I bought it or she got it for me, anyway I was sharing it with my roommates at night.

Sometimes I tried to get someone from my family at that time so we could spend time together and I remember one quite hilarious costume party on which my aunt came to me, she’s crazy and very funny so we, and others, had a lot of laugh.

But other than that, I always hated those parties and still when we have some family parties with dancing or in huge locals, my brain turns upside down. Dunno, maybe I’m just boring, but if not being boring =liking dancing parties, no thanks, I’d rather stay boring, it’s way more interesting. 😀

How about you? Do you like dancing? 🙂 Have you been to many huge parties with dancing? Do you like carnival?

Remembering… or how to tell your brain it’s over?

I’m remembering

a lot of stuff from the past lately. Lots and lots of memories which I try to ignore, and sometimes I succeed, sometimes not. So I thought maybe writing about it would help, if ignoring doesn’t work out too well. Those memories are mostly related to the beginning of the school year, which used to be an absolute nightmare for over a decade.

I see people from my family and others buying their kids things for school, I hear my Mum talking how she’s afraid of the next schol year for Zofijka, I notice time flying so quickly and September approaching, and each time I see any signs of the school year coming, I have to remind my brain, it’s not you now, it’s over. But it doesn’t listen for too long, and soon I get overflooded by another wave of memories.

I remember all those days and nights before I”d go back to the boarding school when I cut myself ’cause my pain and helplessness were too bad. I remember not being able to eat and sleep because of the anxiety. I remember the feelings of utter loneliness and not belonging anywhere, along with many other overwhelming feelings with which I couldn’t cope, but finally I always had to cope somehow, so I just bottled them up, feeling them rising inside of me with every second. I remember feeling very unsafe and rebelled that I had to leave everything that felt nice, familiar, everything and everyone that I loved, and how desperate I was to not do it. I felt guilty and weak because even though the situation was the same and obvious for so many years, that there was no alternative for me, I still couldn’t adjust to it. Well in a way I did, but the adjustment was only hiding what I felt so it wouldn’t bother anyone else, because well how long can it take you to accept something so obvious and inevitable that if you have special needs and need special education, you need to go to school where they can adjust things to you, and there aren’t many of such so most children have to be away from their families. For me that was an issue, and it looked like it was wrong.

Those feelings always accompanied me when I had to leave home and go to the boarding school, but when the school year was starting, they were particularly intense. Because the school year always meant changes. Changes that could often regard me more or less, but even if they were directly to do with me, it wasn’t a norm that I, or even any of my parents, were asked about our opinion, whether we agree on them or not, whether they’re acceptable. That was normal there. If you had a friend, who was also your roommate, with whom you lived for years, you got to know very well, you should be aware that when you come back to school next year, you may suddenly be informed that you two will no longer live together because… just because. And you could not only be moved to another room, but also to a completely different group. THis exact situation didn’t happen to me, only because I didn’t have real friends there, but it did to one of my classmates and she was just told to get over it, because it was necessary and such situations happen in life so she has to get used to it. I though changed my roommates very often too, and it was often very tough. And many other changes could await you there, hardly, if ever, nice.

So yeah, I was just sick of anxiety every year before the start of school year, and afterwards too.

But it’s now four years since I got out of there, and I am so happy about it, yet each time it’s close to September, my brain goes mad. Even this year, when I’m completely free of that freaky brain washing machine called education system. I even had a pretty yucky dream last night, I haven’t have this kind of memory dreams in a while, but that one was yucky and it took me quite a while to get back to the present after I woke up. Those dreams aren’t particularly scary, like creepy or something, but are just kinda made of my crappy memories so reliving them over and over definitely isn’t nice aND I wake up feeling nausious and stressed out.

As I wrote earlier today in Music Monday Care & Love post, I am trying to fill this week with various self care activities and other enjoyable things, and that helps me to stay in the present and focus on the positive, and there is much positive stuff going on in my life. Plus it helps me to not slip down again to that self-loathing hole, which is always very easy when I’m having memories. But it doesn’t stop my brain from going back to the past, often at least expected moments.

So I wonder, how do you make your brain know it’s over? It seems all so complicated.

 

Disappear.

Oftentimes, I feel the need to just disappear. Even just for a while. Just so that I can have time to set my messy brain in order, and start to function properly, or at least as well as I can, again, to recharge.

When I was living away from home at the boarding school for years, the only place I could go to to have a guarantee I’ll be absolutely alone was… the restroom. Sometimes I was just going there to calm down the chaos of my mind, or just to be alone for a while, but often I did it if I wanted to talk to someone on the phone privately. Of course, I could just wait until there will be a moment when there will be no one else in my bedroom than me, but it was a rare occasion and usually then, I was out too, or was busy, plus, when you really need to talk to someone, you need it just now. So, yeah, usually, when I talked to my Mum, or anyone else from my family, or my therapist, I did it in the loo. I hated it, because the sound echoed there so much and the privacy was minimal because anyone could hear you if they only wanted or if there was quieter outside for a while. But still you had more space than usually in our bedrooms, where there were at least three people living together if not more. Needless to say lots of people often wondered or even asked me what I do so often and for so long in the loo, but I didn’t care and if it was necessary, I was happy to satisfy them with some convincing enough excuses. Later on, I’ve found some other hideouts for myself, where I could just disapear, and feel better afterwards, or just demonstrate my rebellion or frustration by escaping there. I found LD and OOBE very entertaining. And some time later I started to use Doses (sound drugs). I was living half in my own world, made entirely of dreams, imaginings and hallucinations. I loved it there. Only that as it showed later on, there was also a much darker side to that beautiful world, which I tried to ignore. Without going into ethical stuff, as I talked a bit about it before, I can just say it messed up with my brain a little in a longer perspective.

When I got outa there, I was awfully depressed all the time, well I was before too, obviously, but when I got home I fuly realised it because before it happened, I simply didn’t have time to be depressed and I just had to live on. So when I got home and my depression set free, so to say, after so many years of being well hidden, it just struck me with its intensivity. And it was hard to cope with it. So again, I wanted to disappear, hide, run away from my freaky brain. And what I mostly did back then was sleep. Even my sleep paralysis nightmares were sometimes better than my depressed reality.

Now as I got relatively better, I still need to disappear at times. Not only when I’m depressed, but just to stay healthy and recharge my brain from time to time. Well actually I need it quite often, particularly after a lot of stuff happening or a lot of social interactions, doesn’t matter whether good or bad. Then I disappear into another world I’ve created for myself. I don’t always need to be long in there to feel better. Sometimes I just lay down with Misha, very close to him, and listen to all the sounds inside of him, cuddle into his silky fur, feel his little, warm and springy body under my hands. That feels very grounding and soothing. Other times I’ll lock my room, put the headphones on and flow away to Dreamland, a world constructed entirely of my favourite music, and my daydreams. Sometimes I just listen to the music and let my thoughts flow freely, sometimes I only focus on the music and other sensory stuff around me if I want to ground more, sometimes though I go deep into my dreams. I dream about very different things. From those very simple ones to some completely out of my reach, to very exciting ones, to ones that are actually fantastic. Sometimes I dream about stuff I really would like to happen some day, and sometimes about things that I’d rather prefer to stay in Dreamland, so that I can go away from them or come back to them whenever I want. daydreaming feels frustrating sometimes, if you feel like you’ll just never ever be able to make come true any of your dreams, you aren’t even sure if you want it, but most of the time, it feels gorgeous. As Enya sings: “Dreams are more precious than gold” so why not to cherish them? You can always emeerge from the waters of Dreamland if you want to, but you know it’s still there and you can float back there if you only want. And sometimes I listen to music and write something, be it my diary, a blog post, a short story, or just my lose thoughts. And then, I’m able to handle things more effectively. As there are no devices that would be a perpetum mobile, same applies to people. Everyone needs to recharge, and as it is with all kinds of devices, we also vary from each oter and so different rechargers fit us. 😀

Another time when I want to disapear, and that’s a rather common thing for all of us I guess, is when something triggers my anxiety suddenly. Be it social situations, crowds, some sounds, or speciffic things that always make me anxious and almost or completely freak out. Like yesterday. Since a few days, there was something stinking awfully on our backyard. We had a doghouse on our backyard, although we don’t have a dog nowadays, but the doghouse is still there just in case. And the smell seemed to come from there. Yesterday my Dad was doing stuff around the backyard and finally he just went there to see what it is stinking so horribly. It was just like a carrion smell. So he came closer and here’s what he saw – a dead cat lied wrapped in the cover that previously was our poor dog’s, Bobby’s. My Dad removed it and ran into the house. At the same time I was going downstairs to the kitchen, I wanted to pour myself a glass of orange juice that my Mum made. And I heard him falling in like a storm. I only managed to ask what’s up and then I heard some very scary and disquieting sounds from the bathroom. He was throwing up. I can imagine now how disgusting that view had to be. I wanted to disapear! Run away! Into the kitchen, back to my room, wherever. Wanted to scream so loud that I wouldn’t hear him doing it. But I just froze. And that was the worst thing I could do. I just couldn’t move. Just stood there on the stairs not able to do anything. I could only move when he was done with it. But luckily he was OK afterwards and it was just a single incident.

Are there times when you want to disappear? Do you do it then? Where do you go? What do you do there? 🙂

 

Question of the day.

Do you like picnics? If yes, what would you take on your picnic?

My answer:

Picnics… hmm, in theory, yeah, it sounds nice. But in practice… is it really so cool to have to keep all the possible bugs and insects off your food all the time? Plus I don’t have the best associations with picnics, because all of those in which I’ve taken part took place when I was at the boarding school and I never liked them. Either my group was going with the staff somewhere to have a picnic or a full bivouac and simply have fun, and as I’ve never felt truly like a part of them I never knew what to actually do with myself on such occasions, just didn’t feel well at all at those picnics and I felt like the atmosphere at them is so artificially joyful that it really bothered me and made me literally nauseous. Don’t know whether it really was artificial or not, anyway that was how I felt about it back then. Or there were large events organised for the whole school and called picnics, where lots of people, even famous people were coming and there were lots of things happening. I felt even more like not in the right place at the latter. I think if I could go on a picnic with the company I would really like and felt comfortable around, it could be real fun, but not the first activity I would think about when thinking how to spend time with someone I like. I think I have too much bad experience with picnics to be able to say I like them, and too little experience overall to say I don’t like them at all and that I would never take part in one again if I got a chance.

Question of the day.

Have you ever had to deal with any kind of pests, in your house?

My answer:

In the house we lived in previously, there was a while when we had to deal with mice. And no Misha wasn’t with us yet, and even if he would be, I really doubt he’d be able to hunt mice and do something about it. My room was in the attic and they particularly liked it. It was so that I’ve never had more than one at a time in my room, but after we managed to catch it and put it out of action, soon another mouse replaced it. I am not afraid of mice, but I was quite concerned about it, my Dad didn’t seem to be able to catch them easily, I didn’t know what to actually expect from them, I’ve had a lot of all kinds of wires in my room and was afraid what if they’d bite them or something. Plus they were extremely annoying. They were silent during the day, so that it made it more difficult to find them, and activated at night, maybe weren’t noisy, but still, those weird grates they made were annoying and sometimes wouldn’t let me fall asleep which pissed me off greatly. Sometimes – like when my anxiety was higher or when Dad had to get up for work at night – Mum would sleep in my room on the matress and we both were entertaining ourselves with imaginings what if that mouse would come out and decide to “make friends” with my Mum. She’s generally afraid of such little creatures, more of spiders than mice, but still. Luckily it wasn’t a long period, but it was rather pissing off.

When I was at the boarding school, there were some cockroaches there. I didn’t realise there were cockroaches until I was 8 and when I moved rooms for one of the multiple times I was moving rooms there. I just came back from home, a lot later than usual, it was after 10 PM so actually all the other girls that were already in were in beds and one of the staff had to open the building for me and my parents and she notified me that from now I am no longer in the room I was but in a different one. When I was making my bed in that new room, it was like 12 pm and I was quite surprised when I saw something small and hideous sauntering leisurely on the matress under the coverlet. I had no idea what it is, I just knew it was gross and that I have to get rid of it, so I just grasped it quickly and rushed to the bathroom, crumpled it and threw the stinkard into the loo. Yuck! I remember I washed my hands for about 5 minutes afterwards. No one else was around at that time so that was all I could do. I didn’t know it was a cockroach and I didn’t observe it or wonder what it could be, but so said my Mum when I told her about the situation. I’ve never had another direct meeting with a cockroach there, but lots of other people had and it was an issue. I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with it more, it was quite awful. 😀 Although my Mum said that if she was me she’d start to scream and wake up everyone, so I guess it could be much worse for some people.

How about your experiences? 😀

Question of the day.

How often did you play outside as a child?

My answer:

Not like very often. I’ve never had good orientation in open spaces plus I’ve learnt to walk pretty late in comparison to most children, and my interests were more indoor-oriented, I’d say. My brother played outside constantly with his cousin, but their things didn’t interest me at all and I never played with them. When I went to the nursery we were often going out to the playground

which was very near. As far as I can remember it was almost every day and it was always extremely boring for me. Children were usually playing on carousels or slides or other stuff like that, which I didn’t like at all because it usually messed up with my already messed up balance and made me dizzy and nauseous extremely easily and I’m still just allergic to such things, probably also because people from the staff were always so very astonished and like it’s not normal I don’t like these things, it made me hate them even more. 😀 So usually I was either vegetating on some milder swing and just waiting for them to finish, or just walking around aimlessly or talking with the staff. When I started going to school they still liked it a lot to go to the playground and we did it often, but then at least I could bring something to read with myself, although it was still boring to just sit there doing practically nothing. When Zofijka was born and grew up a bit, so I was like in my early teens, I liked to play with her outside and it was really fun, although we didn’t do it often.

A shitty, Zombie day.

Yeah, today I have another Zombie day, which means, if you’re unfamiliar, that I’m after a night of completely no sleep. I think the reason of my sleep being so poor recently is that I’m significantly anxious over many things. A bit more than a week ago my term exam session started, which is always some stress – almost none in comparison to final exams that I’ll have in May, but still, makes me quite tense. Besides, almost at the same time my brother picked up some tummy bug or something and was sick, with vomiting and all the attractions, which obviously triggered my emetophobia. It lasted for very long for him and then Dad got infected too and it lasted very long too, so I was freaking out literally, because they were sick and because I could get sick and anyone else could. I didn’t get it luckily, but still don’t fully know if it’s actually over for them. Moreover, my Mum had gastroscopy and colonoscopy on Tuesday before Easter. Well it didn’t regard me directly, but still it made me feel anxious for some reason, I almost felt like I myself was going to have gastroscopy, which would be just traumatic for me I guess and I was stressed for Mum. Don’t know why I reacted so strongly for it. And then Mum had also some not serious complications after that which contributed to my anxiety. It’s crazy. and my final exams are in a month now, which is the thing I’m most anxious about currently. It’s not only about the exams themselves and whether I’ll pass them, but also about the circumstances in which I’ll be writing them. I’m not sure whether I finally told you or not, I guess I did, but I won’t take them at my own school that I formally go to. My school is a normal, mainstream school and my Mum was kind of afraid I might not get all the adjustments I could get if I’d write at a special school for the blind, especially as for math, as this is the subject I particularly suck at and is very difficult for me. I agree with it and so my Mum came up with the idea she’ll ask the headmistress of one of the schools for the blind – not the one I was going to as a child, a completely different one – if it would be possible for me to write there. There was a lot of paperwork and other stuff involved, but it was possible and I got the permission finally. But this school, although is much closer than the one I was going to, is still quite far from where I live, in a different region. So we would have to stay in the boarding school. I know, I won’t be there on my own, there will be Mum and maybe Zofijka with me, I will live with them and the circumstances will be completely different, we’ll be out of there most of the time, I desperately try to think rationally about it, but the anxiety is still there. I know it’s so irrational and stupid and all, but it doesn’t seem like I could do much about it now. I’ll probably just have to face it and see if it was worth all that anxiety or not. Also, I’m having lots of nasty dreams recently, with sleep paralysis and without and they scare me so so much. Just last week I had sleep paralysis twice. It’s knackering and makes me feel just helpless. Often such dreams leave me anxious for hours after they pass away. So yeah plenty of issues that may contribute to that lack of sleep.

Luckily I didn’t have to do anything important today, apart from preparing to my History exam which I’ll have on Monday, but it wasn’t hard to do and I actually could do it tomorrow as well if I really needed. I feel absolutely crappy today, with no energy (despite three strong coffees), lots of anxiety and depression, but that’s normal I guess for everyone who didn’t sleep for an entire night, or at least it’s my normal when I don’t sleep properly, the more tat other things get in the way.

Recently I was writing that I plan on buying a new Braille-Sense, and it turned out that it’s time now for applying for funding, so I did some of that endless paperwork with Mum. Well I guess don’t have much more to say now. Just had to rant a bit.

How are you guys doing? 🙂