How do I feel about my age?

   Thought I’d do some journal prompt-based post again, ‘cause, well, why not? 😀 

   I chose a prompt from Hannah Braime’s book The Year of You, which is the following: 

   How do you feel about your age? 

   Well, I think I’ve written on here before about how I feel there’s a kind of dissonance or something between my emotional vs intellectual maturity. There are people who get such an impression of me that I’m an old soul, and it makes sense in a way because ever since I was a child I always tended to prefer to hang out with people at least slightly older than me, I always found that a lot more interesting. Actually, as a very young child, I very much preferred hanging out with adults than other children, and especially being in adults’ centre of attention, like show off my singing abilities and stuff. 😀 I didn’t really do how to relate to other children back then, I guess. There are people, including, as I often share on here, my own Mother, who come for advice or opinions to me and seem to treat what I say very seriously, which in a way is cool because at least I guess I can be helpful for people, and it’s quite an honour, but also kind of fun and weird because, well, I have very little actual life experience, if not for any other reason then at least because I’m just 25, and sometimes it feels like a lot of responsibility to try to help people with their life experiences when they are not something that I have ever experienced. I guess part of why people see me the way they do is that I have a keen interest in analysing the characters and behaviours of my fellow humans and seem to have a very useful ability to often draw fairly accurate conclusions, and it gives others the idea that if you can judge someone’s character more or less accurately, you must be a very wise person as a whole. I am also considered intelligent by those who know me well like my immediate family, and I guess a lot of people see (verbal) intelligence as synonymous with wisdom. 

   But while I may well be a good judge of character and like to have deep or intellectual convos with people, I don’t actually consider myself very emotionally mature. Most of the time I feel very childish and clueless about life and most things really, apart from all the niche stuff that I’m into, to the point that it actually often feels pretty ridiculous. And most people, even those who simultaneously think of me as an old soul, especially those who actually know me in person, also see me as very child-like, if not infantile at times, in a lot of ways. I look pretty child-like and often react to things in child-like ways or have a lot of child-like behaviours in general. All my regular readers know that I like, especially in Polish, to talk about myself as Bibiel, as in “Bibiel likes this” or “Bibiel did that”. I used to do that all the time as a kid and teen, I wrote on one of my blogs like that all the time, now I usually do it when I’m really excited about something or stuff like that, but also when it simply kind of feels more adequate than just say I or me. Sometimes Bibiel feels just the only right thing to say. As I’ve written before, people have had all sorts of reactions to that – some think it’s cute, others think it’s eccentric and creative, others yet think it’s annoying or just plain childish or kind of sick. – And some like my Dad actually call me Bibiel pretty much all the time and think it’s kind of funny and really weird at the same time (btw just when I’ve been writing this post he yelled Bibiel outside my window so loud  that I almost shitted myself, not to mention Misha 😀 😀 😀 at least I know from whom I inherited my immaturity). In English I generally say Bibiel less, I’m kind of worried that since I’m not a native people might sometimes have a problem understanding me even without my throwing neologisms and weird constructions in, but recently I’ve been saying Bibiel more especially on here ‘cause it feels more genuine to just say “I” all the time, especially that it’s used so much more in English than it’s Polish equivalent, ‘cause in Polish everyone knows that you’re talking about yourself from the verb form. And unlike in Polish, I’ve also started to say Bibiels or Bibielz in English, even though there’s obviously only one Bibiel – well okay there are apparently some people in Brazil called Bibiel because years after we made up this word with Sofi I learned that it’s a (masculine) name in Brazil though it’s pronounced differently, but Bibielz in this sense as me, there aren’t any more  Bibielz in this sense I suppose so that’s just why it’s so funny to say Bibielz and make it seem like the whole universe must be bursting with Bibielz and literally creaking and cracking and moaning under the weight of all the billions of Bibielz and then some more and then their offspring, even though it’s not. 🙃 Does that even make sense what I’m saying to non-Bibielz? 😀 Aside from just calling myself Bibiel simply because I like that, I imagine Bibiel to be like the more child-like, spontaneous and carefree and crazy, but at the same time more mentally healthy, part of me. One who has a horribly childish sense of humour and likes to laugh a lot and is almost constantly either excited or obsessed in a positive way with one thing or another and can’t stop talking when she gets a chance to start. And while being kind of older and kind of younger than you actually are at the same time  can be tricky, I would never like to get rid of Bibiel, because also at the same time Bibiel makes everything easier. 

   I guess while in a way so far I’ve never grown up properly, in another way, I sort of had to grow up faster than most kids my age when I went to boarding school when I was five. And my little theory is that part of why I’m still so childish now is because Bibiel wants to make up for all that time. And there’s Sofi around, oh yeah, and Misha, and Jocky (and then my Dad, if all else fails) so there’s always someone to play, laugh and goof around with. Thankfully, even now that Sofi is 15, she’s also still pretty child-like herself, although sometimes I already start to feel that she’s becoming more mature than myself. 😀 Am I concerned? A part of me thinks that I probably should be, but mostly I’m not really. Sometimes I wonder whether some part of why I feel a lot younger than I am most of the time could be due to AVPD, because it seems to be a common experience of people with this disorder, so I’m curious if there’s really some link and how it works. 

   When Misha joined our family, Sofi and me felt it was such a pity that he can’t actually talk and tell us what he thinks and just chat with us. I still think it’s a pity, but one day I came up with an idea that we could play that Misha can have a connection with either of us, a brain connection, something kind of like Bluetooth or Internet or phone connection or stuff like that. He can connect to either of us, whoever is willing, and use this person to communicate through them. So we started playing like that and Misha would connect either to me or to Sofi and we could talk with him like that and incorporate him in our plays even more. But Sofi, while she liked the idea, felt awkward when lending her brain to Misha, because when she talked to Misha it could sound to an outsider like she was having a dialogue with herself and part of it in a child-like voice ‘cause of course we imagine that Misha would be rather child-like if he could talk, he might be middle-aged by cat standards but he’s so small and has only lived for six years, after all. I had no such inhibitions since I talk to myself anyway, so since then Misha talks mostly via me. It’s a very useful psychological tool, because even now when Sofi’s fair bit older than when we started doing this, she’s still more willing to share some of her more personal or deeper thoughts or problems with Misha than with Mum or just me, and it’s kind of easier and more fun for both of us, when she hears something from Misha who often points things out to her indirectly or asks her funny questions to make her think herself, rather than Mum or me directly lecturing her. I often come to Sofi with Misha when she’s in bed so that she can have a chat with him or we three can play together. Sometimes we even have distance chats, that is when Misha isn’t physically present in the same room as we are, but that doesn’t usually feel quite as genuine. Now the only thing we need is for someone to find a way to phone pets whenever  humans are away from home so that we could check on them. Over time, Sofi herself came up with an idea that it would also be cool if Misha could do other things through us, and for that he sometimes connects to me, and sometimes to Sofi, so like he can try peep food through us, do crafty stuff (or plast plast, as we call it) through Sofi, and write emails to Sofi through me. I wonder how many people my age or older do stuff like that. 😀 

   When I was a child, I never actually even wanted to be an adult, it always seemed insanely scary to me and I didn’t like how lots of kids seemed to look forward to it ‘cause I totally didn’t share the enthusiasm. I think I’ve shared with you how once when I was in nursery/preschool and laying in bed, I had that weird dream or other sort of vision or whatever (because I didn’t feel like I was really sleeping when it happened so I’m not sure how to call it) of myself as an adult, it was absolutely ridiculous and back then a bit scary for me because it felt so realistic. I saw myself standing in the middle of a huge but very crammed, messy kitchen, something was frying and it seemed like I was in the midst of or about to prepare a meal or something like that, the whole place was super hot, and I was wearing some sort of huge, wide apron which made me feel like an old lady, and I was apparently an adult, though I totally didn’t feel like I was. The worst thing was that there were small children literally all around, clinging to me and wanting something from me, and I felt utterly confused and didn’t know what to do with all that. I suppose my idea of adulthood then – so as a 5-year-old – must have been based on my Mum – that you have a family and kids and make them meals and you have to have everything together even if you don’t (although my Mum actually does, and she doesn’t have a messy kitchen, nor does she wear aprons usually 😀 ) and I didn’t think like I could ever be able to do that. After that dream thing, whenever someone would ask me what I wanted to do when I grow up, for a long time I responded that I wouldn’t have a baby, because if women want to, they can have a baby, but if they don’t, they don’t have to. 😀 Adulting is still something that I find scary, so while I indeed don’t have children and don’t even make my own food beyond the most basic like sandwiches or cereal, my premonition was kind of correct. 

   Im very much a daydreamer and a bit of an escapist, and generally the idea of some major responsibility freaks me out. I’m terrible with stuff like money, for example, it feels very confusing and kind of abstractive to me. I generally don’t have a problem with abstract thinking, but thinking about stuff that has to do with counting, amounts of things etc. Takes a lot of brain CPU for me and I feel much better having someone assist me in making major purchase decisions, not because I cannot make my own decisions but to kind of make sense of things. Not to mention that I don’t do socialising. Socialising in general is pretty stressful for me as y’all probably know but sometimes an equally difficult thing is that I cannot make sense of social stuff, like when to do what, and need to ask my Mum for advice whether doing/saying, or not doing/saying something is appropriate, or what people usually do in such and such situation. I usually learn such things from books, stuff like body language for example, but I still don’t know loads of things. 

   I usually don’t think much about people’s ages unless it’s relevant for some reason, and so I normally don’t think a whole lot about mine either, but I usually totally donn’t feel my age. Usually I  feel a lot younger, especially when it’s my birthday I’m internally always like: “Really?! Am I this old already?! No way!” 😀 Or other times I feel like a total granny – cynical, weary of life, lacking brainergy after a migraine,   shaking my head at what kids do these days and what awful slang they use and what crap music they listen to and how people no longer do emails and can’t write properly but beatbox instead. 😀 Like, I remember once being part of a Polish forum for introverts, and they had a whole section with stuff like personality tests and such, including some sort of mental age test, and when I did that test (I must have been around 17 then) it said my mental age was 40. I wasn’t sure whether it was saying something more along the lines of: “Awww Bibiel, you’re so mature beyond your years, that’s amazing!” Or more like: “Your brain is rotting prematurely, do something!” 😀 

   But now that I’m 25, I do care a bit more about being this particular age, though for a very silly reason. 

   When I was in primary, I made up a really weird game together with one of my groupmates at  boarding school, that was supposed to predict your more or less distant future, or give you insight in whatever you wanted to know. When it was very quiet, so especially at night before falling asleep, you had to really focus and listen to your mind, until some random words, preferably a more or less coherent sentence, would pop into your mind, and that would be your prediction. Sometimes these ended up, at least for me, not to be sentences, but more complex imaginings, you know what sort of things can pop into your mind when you’re about to fall asleep, and I guess it’s all the stronger when you’re blind because when it’s quiet and your brain doesn’t get even auditory input, it likes to make things up. At least I am very prone to this. Sometimes the results we got from that were really hilarious, like my friend hear something like: “You’ll be bouncing on the waves of dynamite” and we were wondering whatever that might mean, or I once heard that I will be queen of Egypt, and then another time that my Dad will die by stoning in Sweden. It was all for fun and very hilarious. But one night, as I was falling asleep and trying to “predict” something, I ended up having an absolutely eerie half-dream or whatever it was. Inn it, I was aware that I was a lot older than I was at the time, I was climbing up the stairs of the old building of our boarding school (the building itself is pretty creepy for many newbies who come there, it’s pre-WWI, with a lot of corridors that go on and on, rooms within rooms that you can quite easily get lost in, and even some bathtubs with taps with black water running from them when you try to use them, and after all the groups were moved to the new building, that old building has become a lot quieter and one of its purposes was providing guest rooms for any family members staying for weekends, so for example my aunt whenever she visited me she was really creeped out by the place. For me it definitely wasn’t creepy because we were still living there when I had that dream so it was just normal and perhaps a bit atmospheric, but in this dream, it definitely added to the overall creepiness, and after having that dream I always got the creeps whenever walking those stairs. Then I opened what would normally be the door to our then-group, but as soon as I opened it, I heard an absolute cacophony of sounds, and the place I found myself in wasn’t anything like our group, it was like a small house within that huge building. That cacophony of sounds were all sorts of sounds that have given me sensory heebiejeebies in the past, and on top of them was certain evil British song with a Jamaican Patois chorus from 2005 which for some evil reason was topping the charts in Poland around that time and even still gives me the heebiejeebies whenever I hear it (probably because I never get to recover from it because Olek likes it and thinks it’s funny that I don’t and likes to tease me by playing it, at least I suppose in his mind it’s just supposed to be teasing, but the result is Bibiel z freezing 😀 ). It was my biggest sensory anxiety trigger at the time, so I got really scared. And as is often the case with my dreams, all these sensory anxiety triggers had like their personifications, and the one that personified that song came up to me and told me that they’ll be waiting for me here, and when I’ll be 25, I’ll die and I’ll come to them and we will spend the eternity together. Then it all disappeared, and that was the end of my playing the predictions game, because I was absolutely convinced that since I was expecting to have a prediction and ended up having this weird dream thing, then that was what I wanted – a prediction of what is going to happen to me. – Except that I would probably die some time before turning 25, of fear of what was going to happen to me. Over time, of course I started thinking that it must have been just a dream, things like that don’t come true, ‘cause how would it even be supposed to happen, is it like a form of hell or something? 😀 But still, for a long time I had that niggling feeling, what if, maybe it won’t happen exactly like in the dream, but what if something really creepy was to happen to me when I was 25? I’d never shared this with anyone, because for a long time it felt too scary and I couldn’t even articulate it I guess, and then it felt too silly. I only told my Mum about it shortly before my last birthday, when I was actually able to have more distance to it. And even though I no longer believe that this is what is going to happen to me and am able to laugh at this dream and that whole game thing, I guess the original impression was so strong that deep within my brain I still have a very small niggling feeling, what if something real creepy will happen to me soon? Other than that though, as I said, age is usually not a very important thing for me, whether it’s my age or someone else’s. 

   Now you tell me. How do you feel about your age? Do you care about such things? 🙂 

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.

   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? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   You meet your thirteen-year-old self, but you can only tell them three words. What do you say and why? 

   My answer: 

   “Wait for Misha!” I think Misha is one of the best things that have happened to me in my life and I’d like to give my thirteen-year-old self something to look forward to in life. I was really depressed at that time (well when wasn’t i? 😀 ) I guess not in a suicidal way or anything like that anymore but I just felt really fed up with life and hated existing, and perhaps if I knew at that point that I’m gonna meet Misha in a couple years it would give me a little bit of motivation to keep going. If I told her “Wait for Misha” she still obviously wouldn’t know who that Misha is actually supposed to be and why wait for him, but I guess that would only make things feel more exciting. 

   How about you? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   What is something that drastically improved your mental health? 

   My answer: 

   Well, I could focus on several different things, as there have been many things that I’ve found helpful for my mental health over the years, some to a significant extent. But the most important one I think, it’s not something but someone. It’s Misha. Misha has helped me so much. In a way, I don’t think I’ve ever been able to form such a very strong bond with anyone as I have with Misha. This has been a very interesting experience, and also a very healing one, to feel so very strongly about someone and at the same time not experience any sort of anxiety or insecurity around such relationship, unlike what has been the case with all kinds of my closer human relationships. Well, I am scared of Misha dying and I suppose that’s quite out of proportion, but that’s an unavoidable part and risk of all relationships really. Other than that, I feel very safe in my relationship with Misha, and I want him to feel the same. I also feel kind of less lonely with Misha. I’ve never really been one to complain about loneliness, I know how to cope with your typical loneliness and it’s not much of a problem for me. But the sort of loneliness that I experience and struggle with more strongly isn’t something that being around others can help with a lot, in fact often it feels even stronger when I’m around other people because it can sometimes be fuelled by stuff like feelings of inadequacy. It’s a strong, gnawing feeling that’s really difficult to get rid of in any way, something that comes from within rather than from being alone and feeling sad or frustrated or bored in this situation. And, well, Misha hasn’t magically freed me from this, but when I look back at the time when I didn’t have him, it’s really clear that having him has made some difference in this aspect. I find Misha’s presence especially comforting at night when I’m struggling with this. He doesn’t sleep with me every night, but he will usually come of his own accord if I really really need him. His presence is also very comforting for me in dealing with these lonely feelings when I can have him close by when there are a lot of people. Perhaps because Misha doesn’t like peopling very much either, so I know he feels similarly and this makes me feel less alone and like I have someone who gets me, and someone who is, like me, though for totally different reasons, perceived as different from the rest of the individuals socialising in a given situation, so that we are both outside. Misha is outside and different because he’s a cat, so he can’t speak human, understands things differently and all that jazz, for many people from extended family he’s even weird for a cat because he’s apparently very different from all the cats they know who purr nice and loud and aren’t scared of every slight movement or something being placed somewhere else than it usually is and come obediently when you call something like pussy or kitty kitty whereas you have to call Mish Mish for Misha because that’s what we’ve taught him, and even then he’ll come when he wants, though personally I suppose the latter is what most cats do. I am outside and different because I can’t do peopling like most people expect their fellow people to be able to do it, I am blind, which makes a huge difference for a lot of people in how they see you, plus it means I am outside of a large portion of their non-verbal communication and my perception of things is quite different, just as it is the case with Misha. I can’t always have Misha close to me while peopling, even when we’re peopling at our house, because Misha obviously doesn’t care about people’s rules and won’t necessarily want to be there with me, or if he does, it’s usually for a very short time, unless there’s yummy food and people provide him with the kind of attention that he likes. But he’ll often be close to me at the start of various family gatherings, so that I can often come into the room with Misha on my shoulder, hearing his purr. It’s funny, actually, because this is the only situation when he sits on my shoulder and many people find it impressive like my grandad thinks we must have some miraculous connection if I can go around carrying him on my shoulder like that. 😀 This way, people’s attention focuses on Misha, whereas I feel calmer having him close to me. Then after a while he’ll usually sneak out to the kitchen or go up on the radiator into his basket, and then when my brain battery is low and I go to my room, he’ll always follow me and we’ll recharge together, as he tends to find all the people noise and the unwanted kind of attention especially from children quite overwhelming and needs a lot of sleep.

   When I’m having a particularly hard time due to depression, Misha can sometimes be the only thing that will motivate me to get out of bed really. I don’t know how I did it before Misha! When I’m not overly depressed, I really enjoy waking up to Misha’s sweet “Hhrrru?” Which is how he greets people. I love talking to him first thing in the morning, giving him his food and cuddling him for a while if he’s up to it. It’s really the best start for the day you could imagine. Some people are surprised that I don’t mind and even want to sleep with him and then have to let him out of my room in the morning at such insane hours as 3 AM sometimes, hardly any later than 6 AM, my Mum says it’s like having a baby. Perhaps it is, but I really don’t mind getting up and letting him out, and unlike with a baby, I can go right back to bed if I want and sleep to my brain’s content or even longer, or I can let him out without actually waking up, just on autopilot. 

   But most of all I think Misha has helped me with anxiety. Especially the more panicky/acute types of anxiety like my typical sensory anxiety aka sound/silence anxiety. It is such a relief having Misha at home in this respect. It doesn’t solve the problem completely, though I really doubt there’s anything that can always do it with 100% effectivity but Misha helps to varying extent every single time. I think this type of anxiety that I have must work similarly to fear of the dark that many young children experience, which I base on that I believe that silence and darkness are similar phenomena in a way, and that Sofi, who still deals with fear of the dark a lot even though she’s a teenager, seems to have a lot of similar experiences around it, though that could also be of course due to that we’re sisters and experience some things similarly. Anyways, while in general I’d say Sofi’s fear is thankfully milder than mine because she only experiences it at night, not in all kinds of dark conditions, and nothing else triggers it other than darkness at night, there’s one thing in which I really feel for Sofi regarding her anxiety. Misha doesn’t help her at all. In fact sometimes he even adds to her discomfort because he can be so quiet and creep her out if he’s in her room and she can’t see him. And I think that really sucks. For me, there are times when Misha can make a world of difference and allow me to fall asleep at all or alleviate my anxiety enough that I don’t need my PRN anxiety medication. I feel a lot safer when I’m at home with Misha vs just on my own. Even when he’s not directly in the same room as myself can sometimes make a glimmer of difference, knowing that he still is somewhere in the house. Sometimes when some creepy sound or a sleep paralysis episode triggers this type of anxiety for me bad enough, I have trouble with such seemingly unrelated things like being in the bathroom, whether as in in the loo, or showering. It’s really difficult to explain the connectioon and the whole sensory anxiety thing in general, but when I’m in this particular freak out mode it’s like everything seems murkily scary to me, it’s a really weird experience to describe with lots of different dimensions to it I’d say. But in such situations, having Misha with me in the bathroom, laying on the radiator while I’m showering, can help a little, or in the latter stages of the freakout phase quite a lot. We have a radio in the bathroom but it never helps half as much as Misha does when the world goes all creepy. Speaking of sleep paralysis, Misha can help that too, though of course for that to be possible, he has to be in the room with me. He has frequently gotten me out of a beginning sleep paralysis dream in the morning by frantically crying, hhrrru?’ing and scratching the door to let him out. I always thought it’s just a coincidence that he frequently happens to do that right when I’m floating away, but then I had a nap a few times during the day with Misha in my room. I don’t like taking naps because they dysregulate myy sleep cycle even further than it normally is and because they’re more likely to start or end with sleep paralysis, so I only nap if I really have to or if it just happens involuntarily while I lay on the bed for a while with Misha and we both drift off. Well, and I have happened to drift off to sleep paralysis in the middle of the day with Misha either next to me or at my feet, and every single of those times I woke up feeling Misha tickling my foot with his paw, as he sometimes does playfully. Now I don’t know whether Misha has some extreme superpower of sensing sleep paralysis in humans which even fellow humans are typically unable to figure out and think you’re just sleeping heavily, or perhaps he simply saw me wriggling my toes, as people sometimes do in their sleep, and which I do in sleep paralysis if I am able to because I discovered that it can slow down the initial floating/drifting and alleviate this sensation which I really hate, and if I wriggle them to a specific side it lets me float in a specific direction rather than being aimlessly thrown around dreamland until I reach the one and only right destination, and sometimes even the right toe move at the right moment lets me wake up. Misha, like most cats I presume, likes things that move, and he likes to make out with people’s legs whenever he’s only allowed, which is never but he never loses hope and perhaps he just thought my toe wriggling was an invitation and the tickling was some sort of foreplay. Regardless though, I’m glad that as it seems Misha is able to wake me up from this at the right moment before everything starts for good. It’s just quite shitty that he rarely is there when this is happening. 

   How about you? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   Have you ever experienced phone anxiety? How do you deal with it? 

   My answer: 

   For me, this is definitely something that i experience regularly, pretty much with any kind of phone call I have to make or answer. I’ve heard that apparently phone anxiety is so common because people don’t see the face of the person they’re talking to, which is quite ridiculous in my case given that I am blind, and in theory I should probably be more comfortable with phone calls because I hate people assuming what I’m thinking or feeling based on what they thhink my facial expression is, but I think in my case the phone anxiety is just an extension of my usual social anxiety or something like that. Except for some reason the phone anxiety is worse, because in most instances, I’d much rather talk to someone in person than on the phone. One of few exceptions is my Godmother, interacting withh whom I find quite challenging, but on the phone it’s slightly easier to keep some sort of script, or cut the conversation short when it’s going in a direction I don’t like. Also with people I’m close to, I usually don’t mind either way, though talking on the phone with my Dad can get pretty awkward, but not in a way that would be anxiety-provoking. 

   How do I deal? Well, I avoid making phone calls as much as I can. I never answer calls from people I don’t have a clue who they are, unless I’m expecting a call from someone I don’t know. If I have a choice to do something over phone vs online or in person, most of the time I choose the latter, unless there’s some specific situation where phone indeed has some advantage over the other option, like doing something online is not very accessible or reaching someone via phone is more likely to result in something happening faster thann when reaching them via email. And of course I have my Mum who is my spokesperson, and if I absolutely have to make or answer a phone call and absolutely cannot do it, then my Mum does it for me. When I do have to make or answer a phone call, I try not to dwell too much on it in advance, but I also never do it completely spontaneously, I always have to have some kind of script planned at least vaguely, and sometimes I even write notes in advance. 

   How about you? If you have experienced it, is it something you deal with consistently, or just in specific situations, or is it something you used to deal with but no longer do? 

(Almost) ten things I am really good at.

   It feels like, ever since I’ve got my Mac, I haven’t really posted anything longer. But now I’m mostly used to all the basic stuff on it, and have figured out how to blog from it, so I figured I’d finally do some journalling prompt-inspired post now. 

   I am going to go with a prompt from the book called 200+ Journal Prompts for the Mind, Body and Soul by Riley Reigns and the prompt I chose to do is as follows: 

   What are 10 things you are really good at? 

   I have to say that these kinds of prompts aren’t really easy for me and I don’t really like them, because I never know what to respond with. I mean, sure, we’re all good at something, have some good traits etc. But I usually have a hard time coming up with things and also even though I’m normally not a perfectionist, I feel like I’d have to be significantly good at something to include it in a list like this. But, I decided to take it as a little challenge and see how it goes and if I can actually come up with ten things. So, here we go: 

  1.    Language stuff. As I frequently say, I don’t believe there’s such a thing as language talent. You simply have to like a language and find a learning method that suits your particular brain architecture, because when you like something, it’s easier. Or at least the difficult aspects of it are a lot less daunting than they were if you hated it, and you have a lot more motivation. I feel for people who have to learn a language they dislike or feel meh about, for school or for business purposes or due to emigrating or whatever else. That being said, I think there is an area in language learning that is definitely easier if you have a bit of a talent for it, and that is picking up the sounds. And I feel lucky in this aspect too. It used to really surprise me how people often don’t hear the difference between sounds in a language that are similar yet, to me at least, clearly different. But it seems to happen to people frequently so I feel really privileged that I hear those things, it makes learning languages a lot easier. Often it also means that I have it easier to reproduce these sounds even though they may not be a part of my native language, though sometimes it may still take time for it to sound natural and other times I may be able to differentiate sounds in someone’s speech but be clueless as for how the flip they make a particular sound, like I don’t think I would ever be able to speak Danish convincingly, although I’ve been told that apparently getting drunk and speaking Swedish is a successful strategy for some people but I don’t even drink at all these days so thank God that I’m not in love with it or have never had a faza from Denmark or I’d have a huge problem. Even in Swedish, they have a sound called Viby-I, or Lidingö-I, which is a variation of your usual ee sound except it’s definitely not the same. It’s something that used to only exist in some rural areas  but now, for whatever reason, it’s common in Stockholm and Gothenburg and is considered a posh thing. I was always taught that the letter I is pronounced as ee in Swedish, just like it is in Polish, except I would so often hear people pronouncing it in a way that sounded really odd to me especially when the I was long. Even when I got myself a proper Swedish speech synthesiser, she also pronounced the ee like that. I once asked my Swedish teacher about it but he seemed like he didn’t know what on Earth I was talking about. It bothered me, because it felt like if I can’t reproduce a sound that seems so common in Swedish and that people use all the time even in the media, I ca’t be like a really really good Swedish speaker, but eventually I just let it go, because I saw that some people don’t do it at all, so it can’t be a huge crime if I can’t, plus it doesn’t really sound all that cool. I once saw someone online describing it that it sounds as if you have a bit of peanut butter stuck in your throat, which is quite accurate imo. 😀 The normal ee sounds a lot better. But then I started learning Welsh and I was particularly interested in North Welsh, which has a very similar, but not quite the same, sound for the letter U. So if I wanted to sound properly North Welsh I just had to figure it out. It took me some time but for some reason was a bit easier for me than the Swedish I even though the difference there is very slight. And once I figured out the Welsh u, I was also able to do the Viby-I as well. Although I don’t really like it so it’s not how I actually speak Swedish, I don’t think it fits me at all and it feels kind of exaggerated. Also what I mean by “language stuff” is that I, at least in my native language, have quite an extensive vocabulary. People always say that to me and people in my family always come to me when they don’t know what some word means or aren’t sure how to say something. 😀 I really do like words and word play and learning new words and using them in interesting ways, and creating my own words. 
  2.     Judging people’s characters, observing people and analysing what I know about them. I don’t often feel like I am as good at it as some people tell me I am, like my grandad who goes as far as calling me X-Ray lol, mostly because i feel there’s so much I always miss because of not being able to see, as people always send so many visual cues about themselves – appearance, clothing, facial expressions, body language, gestures  – that are important, and sometimes not being able to pick up on those cues can skew the whole picture completely. But if we put all my limitations into consideration, i guess I’m quite good at it indeed. I like to rely on this skill a lot in my interactions with fellow human beings, as I always find them – the interactions, not necessarily the human beings as such, collectively – difficult, and having as many cues as you can is always helpful to some degree.  Plus, people are generally quite interesting and so complex and multi-dimensional. The variety in people’s personalities fascinates me quite a lot. Sometimes it works as a sort of defence mechanism as well. The downside to it is that when you use something like that a lot and it often works well, you might lose vigilance at some point and rely  on this too much, and it won’t always be right. I now know that my judgment isn’t always right and that I always have to keep it at the back of my mind that there’s a possibility that some or all of my assumptions are wrong, but I had to learn it through experience. 😀 
  3.     Listening. I like to listen to other people. Their problems, their stories, their fascinations. I like to listen about how they feel. And I believe a lot of people like to share their stuff with me because they often tell me things that I would consider personal, or. ask me for advice or something. And I’m happy about it, because often I feel like this is the only substantial way in which I am able to help other people, so it makes me feel useful. I’m not sure why people like me so much as a listener, other than that I’m an introvert and introverts are apparently generally considered good listeners (which I don’t think is a rule) but I’ve heard it a lot that people find it easier to talk about personal or difficult stuff when they’re not looked at and I can relate to that myself as well very much. So it makes total sense to me . I am often able to perceive when someone’s looking at me, particularly if they’re doing it in a very persistent way, and more like staring actually, though it’s not like I can feel it always, and sometimes I feel like someone is looking at me even though it ends up not being true. But I really don’t like talking to people about stuff that I feel kind of emotional about when they are looking at me, so I can understand that they might find it easier to talk to me than anyone else because I don’t look at their expressions. Also, listening to other people  saves me from talking a lot myself, or from having to deal with people focusing their attention on me. A lot of introverts don’t like to talk about themselves. I can’t say I always don’t, because with people I like and feel some common ground with, I like to talk about myself, but only when I want it, not when I’m forced to do so by circumstances and the expectation to do small talk, so in such situations I’d much rather listen. And you can learn a lot of interesting things this way. Sometimes, it gives you a totally new perspective on someone and their life than you’d have otherwise. Sometimes, when you have a lot going on in your own brain, listening to others is difficult and quite daunting, but I usually try not to show it too much unless I really feel that my brain can’t deal with someone else’s shit on top of my own and no one is going to benefit from this. I appreciate it that people consider me a good enough listener to come with their joys and struggles to me, and I try to be helpful and as attentive as I can. 
  4.     Avoiding people and scary situations. Well, I have AVPD for a reason I guess. 😀 I can be really creative and go to great lengths where avoidance is concerned. I can go as far as going out at night barefoot and in my PJ’s onto the terrace covered in snow and wallow in it to get sick and avoid going to school the next day. 😀 I hate peopling passionately and, as regular readers of my blog will know, I have lots of anxieties and phobias, big and small, so there’s lots of things that I avoid regularly and have a lot of strategies to do it and do it successfully most of the time. If I decide not to avoid something, it’s usually for someone else’s benefit, for example I go to some family gatherings because I know that there are some people in my family who are so weird that they’d blame my Mum if I didn’t go, or my grandad would be worried that I’m having a migraine or disappointed that I didn’t come, and I care about my Mum and grandad. 
  5.     Not eating, or perhaps I should say dealing well with hunger mentally, because I’d been so good with not eating in the past that I no longer am as good. As a lexical-gustatory synaesthete, I really love food. I can be picky with what I like, but generally, I love food. Yet, I don’t seem to have as much of a problem with not eating as many people seem to have. I’ve noticed that stuff like not eating for a day scares many people, or blows their minds as something that they wouldn’t be able to do or would never ever want to do for any reason. For me, of course it’s not pleasant or fun, but it’s absolutely not a huge problem. Whenever I’m under a lot of stress, especially if it’s something temporary rather than more chronic, I tend to eat very little, if at all, and what little I do eat I have to just force into myself. It’s because I usually have nausea when I’m really stressed or anxious, but also it feels like all my energy goes towards dealing with the stress, and all the other functions freeze for the time being so even if I’m not nauseated I rarely have any appetite, or simply forget about eating. It doesn’t even have to be stress, can be strong positive excitement or a lot of changes, good or bad, going on. It’s only after everything’s over that I start to feel super-weak and ravenously hungry and usually eat something like a bag of crisps or a chocolate bar in one go. When I was a kid and teen I also had a few extended periods where I’d be unable to eat much if anything at all during the day because of generalised anxiety and the accompanying nausea, or emetophobia (fear of vomit). I also had times as a teenager when I wouldn’t eat as a way of self-harming or solely because I didn’t like having needs like that and it made me feel out of control, or I’d eat very irregularly and sometimes very little, and sometimes a lot. I still struggle with eating when something triggers my emetophobia really badly, and still sometimes have times where I have a control or self-loathing issue with eating, or other times I’m so engrossed and absorbed with something really fascinating that food is the last thing on my mind until I go back to normal earthly functioning or start to feel so weak that I can’t ignore it any longer. Also, as a Traditional Catholic, fasting is something I’m very much used to and something very normal to me. I know some people, like our Sofi, for whom fasting is a big sacrifice and they find it really difficult to resist not eating, but for me, while of course it’s an inconvenience, it’s not a huge one. Just enough to be a bit of a challenge but not like: “Uhhh no, it’s Ash Wednesday again!” Or anything like that. However, I feel that all my eating troubles have screwed me up a little physically. Because now I’m generally unable to eat larger portions, or even just normal-adult-people portions, of food in one go. Or if I do, I feel ridiculously full ridiculously quickly. On the other hand, while I can mentally deal well with hunger and fasting, physically it’s sometimes different, because often if I don’t eat at all for a full day, I’ll start feeling real weak and wobbly towards the end of the day and it’ll get a lot worse towards the morning and I’ll barely be able to drag myself out of bed and it feels kind of scary because even standing is exhausting and feels like I’m going to pass out and I really don’t know if I’d live alone how I’d even make myself food in such condition so I’m so glad I have a Dad who can make me sandwiches in the middle of the night. 😀 I also had this weird thing going on even when I was little, but it was a lot less frequent, only when I was ill at the same time or something, so I suppose my shitty eating habits must have exacerbated something that I have a natural tendency to or something like that. Therefore, these days I no longer do full-day fasts, even when it’s actually an obligatory fasting day, I just do intermittent fasting, otherwise it’s rather counterproductive and it’s obviously not the point of it. Even with intermittent fasting I have to be careful and not too ambitious and if I start to feel weak I eat something, even if it’s something small as it’ll usually do the trick and see me through the rest of the day. Now that my migraines have become more frequent and easier to trigger, I also have to watch out for that if I don’t eat for a longer period of time, as not eating can be a trigger, and if that’s what has triggered it and I manage to eat something before it develops fully, I may even manage to nip it in the bud without any medication. Oh yeah, and speaking of migraines, when I have a full-blown one, I always have awful nausea, so I never eat when having a migraine either unless I end up feeling weak like what I describe, and when it happens during a migraine it’s really shitty because you’re already drained because of a migraine, and you’re so nauseated that the last thing you feel like doing is eating, yet you have to eat because otherwise you’ll keep feeling more and more drained, and when you do eat you feel even more drained because when you’re already drained to begin with, eating’s more draining. 😀 Ohhh yeah and add emetophobia into the mix. SO yeah, these days, I’m rubbish physically at not eating, but hunger itself isn’t really a significant inconvenience for me on a mental level. 
  6.     Misha. Yeah you can probably tell by this that I’m running out of ideas. So I asked Sofi, and that was the first thing she said. I asked her what she means by me being good at Misha, but she couldn’t quite explain. 😀 So yeah, let’s say I’m good at Misha. It sounds like a perfect thing to put on your CV! 😀 Well, I have a good relationship with Misha, though naturally he has best relationship with Mum because she’s like his Mum too and he always seeks contact with her the most and misses her most when she’s away, and, more important than that, she’s his main food provider, so he just associates her with food, and food is his meaning in life. But we do have a very good relationship and we often sense each other’s feelings and states of mind. If he associates all of us with something, then I’d say he most likely associates me with sleep, because we often sleep together and he often sleeps in my room during the day and there’s lots of places for him to choose in my room where he wants to sleep and everything’s designed especially for him. Communication with Misha, in particular understanding his needs, is rather challenging for me, because he’s generally not very fond of touch or closeness, and his language is mostly movements and facial expressions, so it’s usually my Mum who will pick up way faster and easier what he wants or if he’s feeling physically poorly. Yet there are things with which I feel like I may get him better than other people here, though we’ll of course never know for sure. I can usually spot when he’s feeling anxious or distressed with something based on his behaviour quite easily, and when I can touch him his muscles are all tense and twitchy then. I think I can pick up on Misha’s moods fairly well but I don’t really know what that’s based on, guess just my intuition mostly though he does tend to be more vocal when he’s happy or playful and they’re of course happier sounds then. And, as much as Misha isn’t into closeness with humans, with me he’s more physically affectionate than anyone else here. He has his very complex routines around sleep, and when he sleeps here in my room and I’m with him, he won’t settle unless I give him at least a small treat and lay down on the bed. Then when he’s finished eating, he’ll very slowly and carefully go on the bed as well and go on top of me. He’ll put his head next to mine and gently sniff my, hair, then my cheeks. If he’s in a particularly exuberant mood, he’ll even try to lick my cheek, but I’mm not overly fond of that so I don’t really let him. This whole licking and sniffing business only started a year or two ago. Then he’ll start kneading me and eventually will lay on my chest or tummy, and then he’ll silently yet forcefully demand an in-depth head, ear, nasal bridge, cheekbone and chin massage, purring louder than he normally does. This is still not as loud as your usual cat purr, but it’s very loud and powerful for Mish standards. Sometimes this whole session lasts just five minutes, other times even half an hour and we both end up having a nap until Misha wakes up with a start, horrified at the extreme weakness and softiness he has shown, picks up what’s left of his dignity and slowly moves onto the blanket, as far from me as possible, and starts the kneading all over again, or rather, as Sofi calls it, sleep-waltzing. Then it’s grooming time, after which he still sometimes wants to copulate with my feet no matter how much I discourage it, although he’s way better now with this than when he was younger, and then, provided that everything goes to plan, little Misha falls asleep. But if I dare  get up from the bed, or even move to much, he’ll jump off and go sleep somewhere else and there’s no coming back. When he’s very sleepy or upset, the whole sniffing and massage and sleeping on Bibiel part is left out, but if I’m here I still have to be with him on the bed ’til he falls asleep. Of course, he normally won’t do it either when someone else is in my room, now that would be too much of a disgrace, right? But my Mum has managed to catch us like that a couple times and apparently she’s never seen Misha with an equally blissful expression on his face. As much as he loves Mum, he rarely lies with her, because she doesn’t like it for some reason, and she never allows it at night. So when she does sometimes have a whim to have a nap with Misha under the duvet, she usually ends up regretting it, because he scratches her legs (I think he does it in his sleep actually but it must be painful nevertheless) and feels strongly attracted to her feet as well, which always ends with her calling him a pervert and kicking him out. So yeah, maybe I’m good at Misha, whatever that means. 
  7.     Not vomiting. I’m forever grateful that I’ve got a brain like this, which, most likely, blocks me from vomiting. Apparently that’s the case with a lot of emetophobics, and it seems to be with me too. And even if it’s not, otherwise I’m good at avoiding situations that could lead to vomiting. I’m gonna assume that I’m both. 
  8.    Ummm… what else…? Sofi says playing BitLife, but I think she’s biased here because she knows no one else who plays BitLife other than herself and me and to her I’m the ultimate BitLife player who knows everything about the game and does more than just endless crime (which is what Sofi does). I do like BitLife, even though I no longer play it as much as I did at the beginning when I heard of this game. I have an impression that BitLife is getting worse now, but it’s still fun to play once in a while. And I know people who are much more into it and have played a lot more than I do. I haven’t even completed any of the official challenges, I’d rather do my own thing. I like to think of what sort of character I want to play and who I want them to be and what I want them to do, and then play that character over the course of a couple of months. Of course there’s only so much you can do In BitLife, but I like to imagine that character’s life in more detail and think about motives behind their various decisions and try to go into their head while living their life. And then I like to live their child’s life, and then their child’s child’s life and so on and have a little saga of my own creation kind of. I’ve had one family which went on for 16  generations. Oh and I love naming kids in BitLife, I once had TWENTY babies (playing a man) and I relished being able to name all of them. That wouldn’t be quite so fun in the real world when I’d actually have to raise all those children. But I think that there’s one thing that Sofi is incomparably better at me in BitLife. Not counting things like burglary which don’t seem to be properly accessible or I don’t get it. This thing is winning money on horse races. Sofi gets it right most of the time and I have no idea how she does it, but she does! I wonder if she has the same luck in real life. 

   Uh, no, I’m not going to come up with ten! Actually, to be honest with you, I was only able to come up with the first two, and then I had to ask around and enlist my Mum’s and Sofi’s help, but even they weren’t able to come up with as much as ten. As my Mum stated, ten is a lot! But, so is eight, isn’t it, and I think I’ve made up for this with that I’ve elaborated on each of the things on this list. . 

   What things are You good at? List how many or few you want. 🙂 

How I think other people would describe me.

I thought I’d do some journaling prompt-based post, and I chose the following prompt from Hannah Braime’s The Year Of You:

How do you think other people would describe you if asked?

Before I get into the actual topic, I’d like to brag about the fact that last week I got my MacBook Air, and that’s what I’m writing to you from currently, and this is my first post from it. I wrote in one of the recent coffee shares that I’d been thinking about getting one, but planned it for some more or less distant future. Well, to keep it short, let’s just say that all sorts of different circumstances contributed to me making the purchase a lot earlier than I thought. Now, in the space of… wait a minute, how long have I had my iPhone for?… not even two years… so, in the space of less than two years I’ve acquired a total of THREE Apple products!… :O Me! 😀 Who would have thought… But, as you can surely imagine, I’m still learning and still mostly relying on my Windows computer. I’m not rushing with it really. A lot of things in the Mac world still feel super weird or totally mysterious to me. I don’t know what the end result will be and I also have to take into account the possibility that I end up not getting used to it quite as well as I hope I will and will not be able to rely on it as my primary computer, I know a handful of blind people for whom it hasn’t really worked out that well, and that was the main reason why I originally planned to wait with the purchase. But I’m going to give myself even as much as half a year to see how I get into it. I’ll let you know if I can finish this post successfully from here or if I’ll switch to Windows midway. Now, let’s get to the oh so self-centred topic of this post.

I wrote on the same prompt in my personal diary a couple months ago and said there that I think it’s quite interesting that it seems that various people would probably describe me in ways that would differ from each other quite a lot. I know (well, at least to some degree) what the reasons behind that are, but I can’t help wondering if part of it could perhaps be due to me being somehow two-faced or just not genuine at all. I think it’s really hard to say as there are many aspects involved in this. Before I thought about  writing a post on this, I decided to actually talk to my Mum about it, mostly because, despite she is one of the people I’m closest with, if not *the* closest to me, I had trouble thinking of the things she could say to describe me, so I thought I’d simply ask her about it and, quite as I expected, received a full report in response that didn’t include only my Mum’s own view of me but also she mentioned that she thought I would probably get a different description of myself depending on whom I’d ask. 😀

Mostly though, I think someone who doesn’t know me very well would usually describe me as shy, quiet (I absolutely hate when someone calls me “quiet”, you should spend a freaking minute in my brain if you think I am 😀 ). Many of those people seem to think I’m not particularly smart and rather plain and uninteresting and don’t really have an idea about much of anything because I don’t have a lot to say, or that I’m very apathetic because I don’t seem to react to anything very much and don’t seem to have any deeper feelings. When I sometimes do spontaneously and usually more or less accidentally reveal something about myself to them that they don’t know, or if someone else does, they’re usually quite shocked.

Then there are also people who don’t know me well who think I am very outgoing, talkative, eloquent, smart and humourous, ‘Ive even heard  stuff like charismatic. That’s usually when such an individual met me one-on-one which situation I often find easier to interact with people in, plus probably in a setting that I was comfortable with, like, dunno, talking about Misha, and when I’m generally doing quite well socially, which sometimes seems to be rather random I guess. We’ve had quite a handful of such situations where I’d talk with someone and then later they’d be raving about me to someone in my family how delightfully outgoing I am and my family would be like: “What?!” 😀 Or such person would then see me in a different situation, where there are perhaps more people or which is more challenging socially for me for some reason, and they’d see the version of me that I mentioned earlier, and they’d be like: “Ohhh, what’s wrong with Bibiel?” Unfortunately I can’t always control that. Like, as some of you might remember, I had an autism evaluation some three years ago. That was the second one I had in my life, because I had one earlier at school as a kid, but back then the circumstances were rather yucky, I wasn’t really informed about things properly and I really didn’t want having that diagnosis so I did all I could to avoid being classified as autistic, whereas that second time I was open to it being a possibility and thought that if it was indeed the case, having a diagnosis could help me a bit, if only with explaining some things to people, and my Mum was pretty much sure that I actually must be autistic. Except when I came to that evaluating place, my “delightfully outgoing” persona kicked in, despite I was actually feeling terribly anxious, and they decided that I am most definitely not autistic at all. 😀 While I decided to keep it that way, because I figured they’re the experts so they should know, after all, if I really had it, they should be able to tell it anyway I guess, and I wouldn’t want to go through yet another evaluation, we sometimes wonder if they’d say the same thing if they could see me in some real life situations.

Then there are peeps who simply think I am an icy, indifferent person, and I guess they tend to get the impression  I’m very nerdy or something., or that’s what I’ve been told When I was a teen I’ve heard that some people are intimidated by my iciness/unfeeling-ness, which idea I actually liked, haha, though that totally wasn’t the reason why I acted this way. I now try to do that less, more for my own sake than other people’s, but around people I feel very insecure around it is really difficult not to, after getting my brain used to handling situations this way.

But let’s talk about people who actually know me somewhat more, that is my family.

My Dad, I’m actually very curious how he would describe me if someone asked him, but I wouldn’t ask him that myself as he’s not the type of person my Mum is and would surely find something like this difficult and pressuring rather than fun. But I think he would say something like that I’m funny, know a lot of weird things, like where random people’s surnames might come from (for some reason he often asks me that sort of thing like when he hears some weird surname on the TV he’ll ask me where it comes from, and I will often not know because I feel a lot more competent when it comes to given names’ etymology rather than surnames,  but sometimes I do know or can at least try to guess something and he finds that interesting and always wants to know how I know that sort of thing). He’d probably also say that I’m weird, but not because I am actually weird, rather because there’s a lot of things that my Dad considers weird or downright crazy. For example, extensive use of one’s imagination without an actual need for it like creating something practically useful, or talking to yourself (that’s mental, after all), or talking to a cat as if he were a human, or saying that you’re “reading” a book, even though you’re listening to it. Actually, his phrase for this kind of weirdness is that someone “has films”, which is odd, because in real Polish language “to have films” means to have hallucinations, after drugs usually, but for my Dad it means to have weird, unreasonable behaviours. My Mum constantly “has films” too. Because my Dad is the kind of person for whom something is usually only real when it’s visible, he would also probably say something like that I lead a VERY BORING life, because I have no real, important job, and the one that I do have is only because he graciously agreed to provide it for me despite it wasn’t necessary for him. Furthermore, I never go out, except in absolutely essential situations, I have no real life friends and spend most of my time doing things that he considers meaningless and mundane, like writing some freaking blog posts, when he doesn’t even know wth exactly a blog post is, and I’m not even making any money on it like all them influencers that Sofi follows do online. He thinks the same about my Mum’s life, though of course for different reasons, but he fails to recognise that what makes our lives truly fascinating for ourselves is our inner lives. He’d likely also say that I’m a good listener, because I try to be that for him, even though he’s one of the more difficult people to listen to for longer periods of time, because he finds it hard to put his thoughts into words. But I’ve always got a feeling that there are a lot of things that he’d like to talk about to someone, particularly about his past, to share his memories and stuff like that, but in our family no one seems very interested in that. Neither do I find it extremely interesting, but I believe everyone should have an opportunity to share such things if they feel such a need, so I do try to show a genuine interest in what he has to say, most of the time anyway, and I’ve spent countless hours listening to the stories of his rather colourless, childhood and teenage years, his time in the army (which I actually think must have been rather traumatising for him) and the times when he worked at waterworks (or at least I hope that’s the English word, I don’t have a handy translator app on here yet as I do on the PC), which he now looks back at very fondly and probably idealises that time a whole lot simply because it happened when he was young, and he now has a much better life situation, at least from an outsider perspective.

Like I said, I had a problem coming up what my Mum would say, so I asked her, and she said that I am “of above average intelligence”, which I could actually have predicted because that’s what she always says, even though I’ve never had any kind of IQ test done (it seems to be quite tricky with blind people). She said that it’s very interesting to talk to me because I seem to know something about almost everything and have a lot of interesting ideas. We both do, actually. We could start a business selling our ideas to people, lol. She thinks I have a very extensive vocabulary and am a good storyteller, which actually surprised me because while I certainly do have a large vocabulary and can go on and on and on about things I really love,I  never thought I was actually a good storyteller when speaking. She also said that I am a good listener and have a good sense of humor and that she doesn’t understand why I don’t reveal these qualities of mine to people more and wondered if it is because I feel superior towards people. I really don’t understand it when people interpret things this way, when someone is introverted/shy/socially phobic/whatever else similar people will instantly assume that you must consider yourself superior. It used to really distress me because it just couldn’t be further from the truth. She thinks I could achieve a lot in life, but to do that I’d have to do people, and I can’t do people so my chances are greatly diminished. I Donn’t really know if that’s true, that I could achieve something big sometimes I think so too, other times absolutely not, but regardless, I think it’s the case with a lot of people who could otherwise achieve a lot of great things in their lives if not something that is getting in the way because the world doesn’t work like they do. As for myself, I don’t even know what so great that could be that I could achieve, people or no people, which probably complicates things even more. And let’s not forget that I also cannot do math. 😀 She also thinks that I’m difficult to get along with, which is absolutely true, and that I am a hopeless case of a pessimist, which, imho, is not. I certainly am a pessimist and one who is very proud of it because positivity is awfully overrated, but my pessimism is not hopeless, it’s just defensive. I don’t like the kind of pessimism that makes people grumpy and always discontented with everything. I do my best to enjoy life and all that it gives me, while being a pessimist at the same time. It’s like, optimists see the glass half full, pessimists see it half empty, and Bibiels expect to be dealt an empty glass, and then when they get half a glass, Bibiels go “Yayyyy! There’s actually water in it!” 😀

I don’t really know what Olek would say about me because as it is, we hardly talk. Sometimes though, when we’re the only people who happen to eat dinner at the same time or something like that, he’ll talk to me about stuff that’s going on for him and, unlike with my Dad, I am genuinely interested and don’t have to make it seem so, so I do hope he considers me a good listener. I often think that he must think I’m extremely weird and that he generally doesn’t really like me but I have no actual evidence for that. He seems to think that I’m something like a grammar guru because he often asks me if something’s grammatically correct or something like that. And I’m pretty sure he also likes my sense of humour.

Sofi thinks I’m different than most of my peers, that I’m crazy, in a positive way, because we do a lot of crazy stuff together, that I often make her laugh, that I’m kind of childish, that I’m medieval because I’d rather people send me things via email than Snapchat (I don’t even have such a thing as Snapchat in case you’re wondering), and because I listen to “ancient” music and don’t know what her slangy words mean unless they’re from English, but even then I sometimes don’t because kids here sometimes use English words differently than what they actually mean in English. She also thinks that I should get some treatment because of the amount of languages I want to learn, but I’m not sure if she’d mention that if she had to describe me.

My poor, Fillyjonk grandma would probably say that I’m a poor, blind girl… and I’m not really sure what else she’d say, and if she would be able to specify why exactly I am poor, but that’s the adjective she often uses in reference to me. Perhaps she’d also say that I used to sing as a little child, but now I no longer do at all, because that’s where she seems to be stuck at a lot of the time. My grandma is a perfectly clear-minded, educated woman, but she just can’t seems to get past some ideas she has about me and I find any communication with her extremely difficult for that reason so I can’t even challenge that somehow. My Mum tried too, because for her it’s more of a problem than for me. Then again, I myself am not hugely motivated to change her view, it’s not like I live with her and like what she thinks matters hugely.

My grandad would probably say that, well, I’m an X-ray, that’s how he often jokingly calls me because he thinks I have a good people instinct. He often says that I am “like him” so he’d probably say that too. He’d more than likely say that I am smart, because this is something he values in people. He wouldn’t say one even slightly negative thing about me because he never does, I don’t think he’d say anything critical to me or about me even if I decided I want to kill someone, so it’s great that he’s my grandad, rather than my father and that it wasn’t him who brought me up. Other than that, I don’t really know. I have a really strong bond with him and he has always stood by me even when no one else has, and we understand each other really well, but actually a lot of time we’ve spent together has been mostly in silence, because we seem to get along best this way, so I don’t really know what he’d say.

And my gran would probably say something like that I am not like all the other blind people she’s heard of because I don’t travel by bus on my own and don’t do music.

So yeah, I think that’s it. In case you’re curious, yes I’m still on the Mac, yay for me! That’s the power of defensive pessimism for you: I thought I’d maybe do two paragraphs and then get frustrated and won’t know how to do something and switch to the PC, that it’ll be good if I’ll even manage to find my way on the rather chaotic WordPress website with the weird VoiceOver navigation so that I can at least  start writing, but I’ve made it with barely any problems at all.

Okay, now over to you: how do you think people would describe you?? Be it people from your family or any other people? Is it consistent with how you see yourself? 🙂

Ten Things of Thankful.

I thought it’s time to do some gratitude list post, as I haven’t done it in a while. As usual with such posts, I’m linking up with

Ten Things of Thankful (TToT).

  1.    That my immediate family are more or less healthy again. We had a wave of Covid going  through our house in the last couple of weeks and we suspect we all might have been sick with it, to a varying degree. My parents certainly were, and it was them who were particularly badly ill. I was especially worried about my Mum, who has episodic asthma, and has been in the midst of an episode when it hit her, so she had really awful cough, but was also generally quite unwell with awful muscle pains and stuff. Thankfully, my Dad is completely well now and back to work, and my Mum is a lot better. She still can’t feel smells or tastes and has worse cough than her usual asthma cough, but other than that she says she’s feeling well and it shows. I’m really glad this is over, as it was quite depressing having a mini hospital at home, and like I said quite worrying at times.
        1. Good sleep last night. My sleep has been very up and down lately, and yesterday I had quite an awful anxiety day. It took me ages to settle down to sleep and I was really scared to fall asleep, but when I eventually did fall asleep I got solid ten hours of it and didn’t even wake up all the time as is usual when I’m having bad anxiety.
  2. Mum’s help. I’ve been having a lot of stuff to do this week – some Christmas shopping, writing and sending cards to people, some banking stuff etc. – and my Mum helped me with it all, which I am the more grateful for given that she’s still recovering. I’ve got a HUUUUGE collection of English-language cards that my Mum stocked up on for me years ago so that I can send them to people abroad, as I only send cards to people abroad at this point. That card collection is also something I’m grateful for, so that I don’t have to worry every single year whether I’ll be able to find the right cards for people in the shops but just pick something from my overflowing box. 😀 Christmas shopping is also so much easier for me with my Mum because I’m terrible with money and stuff like that, even when shopping online. Not to mention banking. 😀
  3. Lots of snow. We’ve been having a lot of snow since the end of November. Well, not like A LOT, but surprisingly much for this time, we usually don’t get proper, fluffy snow that would stay around for a longer time until about Christmas. And this early snow has been very fluffy so you can make snowballs and snowmen and whatever you want from it. We’d been in quarantine and now Sofi’s school has their classes online because a few teachers are sick, so Sofi’s really happy with the snow and we both play in it together with Jocky, and Jack Frost haha. It also means that I can wear my comfy fluffy overalls in the evenings that my Mum’s made for me for Christmas a few years ago, and it’s the season for tea with ginger and other amazing things like that. Tomorrow, provided that Sofi won’t lose interest, we’re going to make gingerbreads.
  4. Misha. I am grateful for Misha’s existence each and every day, even though today I haven’t even seen him yet because in the morning he played with Sofi and now no one knows where he’s sleeping.
  5. Tasting Christmas food. My Mum’s made a start to making all our traditional Christmas dishes, but because her sense of taste is non-functioning at the moment, it’s been quite challenging for her. Thus, Sofi and I kindly offered our help with the gustatory part. It was mostly meant to be for our current benefit – so that we get to taste all the Christmas food before Christmas actually comes – but now I’m really glad we thought about this because otherwise some of the dishes would be really quite insipid haha. I mean, Mum said she seasoned everything but it must’ve been some truly minuscule amounts. I really hope Mum’s senses go back to normal until Christmas so she can actually enjoy Christmas food.
  6. Medication. I’m grateful for having pain killers, as well as my migraine and anxiety medicines available. I had a migraine on Monday, which was pretty shitty, but I’m sure it would be even shittier if I didn’t have the migraine meds. And like I said I also had quite high anxiety yesterday. I’m absolutely used to dealing with anxiety with no meds, as that’s what I did for most of my life until I got my diagnoses, and I still try to take my PRN med only when things get really bad because it’s Xanax (except it has a different name here) so it’s highly addictive. It only takes the edge off it most of the time, but that’s still a very welcome difference and I’m extremely grateful for that, as at least it helps me to focus on and see other things in life beyond my little Bibiel brain bubble.
  7. My little Bluetooth speaker. Well, I’ve had it for over a year now and I’ve always loved it, but the reason why I mention it in this gratitude list specifically is that recently, for some mysterious reasons, it had stopped working for me. Basically, this speaker always gets a little freaky when I get a phone call, like it doesn’t know what to do about it. Sometimes its volume will go all the way up and it will play the ringer sound at the same time when my phone’s already playing it (best way to be woken up at night, and wake up everyone else), or it’ll turn off and never turn back on or anything when I finish the call. Sometimes when I answer the call I’ll hear it through the speaker, other times through the phone. So overall it’s just very unpredictable in how it behaves with phone calls and I don’t really know why, but normally I don’t care much because I don’t talk to people on the phone much. And earlier this week, I was listening to music when Sofi called me, and I heard a very weird popping sound from the speaker and then it turned off. I talked with Sofi, and wanted to turn the speaker back on when we finished the call, but it just made that popping sound again and wouldn’t play despite it looked like it was on. I tried to reset it but again it would only pop when I turned it off and on, and nothing beyond that, despite several trials, literally nothing I came up with seemed to help. I was really disappointed because it’s a really good speaker and I’ve been really happy with it so far. It has a smooth, bedroom-y sound, which is what I was looking for because I mostly wanted a speaker that I could listen to music from at night, but at the same time, unlike most speakers specifically branded as bedroom speakers, it sounds very clear even at relatively low volumes, and very neat when you turn it up as well. Also everyone says that it fits my room aesthetically for some reason. And my Mum always says she envies me it, which I totally understand, haha. And it’s from B&O which are known to make good devices overall so I wouldn’t have expected that this speaker would have such a short life or be so prone to serious malfunction, especially given its price, and I also have headphones from B&O so I was wondering if I should also prepare for their time to come soon. I was planning to get in touch with B&O somehow, but in the meantime my speaker was totally useless. Then yesterday I tried to turn it on once again, and, surprise! it worked! I’ve no idea what was wrong with it but now it works completely fine. I even got Sofi to call me again while I had it connected to my phone and it didn’t freak out. I’m really glad to have a functioning speaker again, and now I appreciate it even more that I don’t have to rely on the iPhone’s built-in and rather unfriendly-sounding speaker all the time. 😀
  8. That we have the possibility to attend traditional Latin Mass every week. I recently wrote about our discovering and kind of “conversion” to traditional Catholicism, and you can read about that here.  I am also grateful for all the resources that help me develop my faith and for all the grace that God gives me to make it possible for me to do so.
  9. My language-learning progress. This week has been rather low-key in this department, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Norwegian podcasts and have become a lot more confident when it comes to my listening skills in this language. I have also learnt some interesting new Welsh words. Fun fact for y’all: there’s such a word in the Welsh language as clusfeinio (klis-VAY-nee-aw in the North or klees-VAY-nee-aw in the South though I’m never quite sure how to represent Welsh sounds in English phonetically) which means to listen attentively, as well as to eavesdrop. I think it’s cool that there’s a language in this world that has a special word for the particularly attentive kind of eavesdropping, as this is something I do a lot. People-watching, blind edition.

What are your thankfuls this week? 🙂

Question of the day (27th October).

What do you wish was easier?

My answer:

All things round peopling/socialising. I seriously don’t know how most people are so efficient at it when it’s so damn difficult.

You? 🙂

Question of the day.

What makes you cringe?

My answer:

A lot of things, I’m quite prone to cringing as it seems, at least internally, but today I’m going to write about one specific thing that I’ve recently been made more aware of and been thinking a fair bit about that I think is really weird how much it makes me cringe. I’ve always been aware of this being a problem more or less, but only when I read someone else (with AVPD as well) write about it, it made me think of it more and how weird it is and just observe the phenomenon in myself more closely and I learned that there’s even a term for this and it’s called vicarious embarrassment.

As you may or may not know, because of AVPD and several other things, I find social interactions, basically communicating with people, quite challenging a lot of the time – well let’s not sugar-coat it, all the time really, just sometimes more and sometimes less. – And there’s always plenty of situations where something I do or say or feel or think someone may think about me etc. etc. etc. makes me cringe. I guess that’s nothing new or uncommon or anything. Late night intrusive cringe sessions that I experience quite regularly, in which you relive all the cringey moments of your life, is apparently also something that a lot of people deal with.

The weird thing, which I’ve no clue how common or uncommon it might be, but given that it seems to do with empathy probably means that it’s not just limited to people with mental illnesses like AVPD or social anxiety, is that even observing or hearing other humans interacting and communicating, I cringe a lot too. It doesn’t even have to be objectively very cringey I guess and both sides of the actual interaction may not even care, in fact I suppose they usually don’t, and when at least one side seems to do care and actually be affected by it, it makes it all the worse for me. I mean, if there’s some kind of miscommunication, even relatively minor, I’ll pick up on it pretty quickly and it’ll make me, well, cringe. It’s like my brain doesn’t have enough of my own shit but also has to commiserate with everyone else in the world and cringe on their behalf, even when they don’t really need it because they do not cringe or think about it at all. 😀 I’m just allergic to awkwardness. I really love observing people, analysing their characters and behaviours and stuff, because people are quite fascinating, and since I most often do that from an outsider perspective, meaning I’m not directly participating in a situation so I don’t have to divide my attention between participating and analysing, plus because analysing other humans is one of the main ways in which I’ve been learning how the world and the society and single individuals work so I have quite an extensive experience in this field and seem quite good at it by now, I can often pick up on some things faster than the people engaged in the interaction. Even when it’s not the case but I just think I know what’s going on, it’ll naturally still make my brain cringe and shrink. Some random examples could be when one person clearly doesn’t feel comfortable in a situation and doesn’t know what to do, or worse does something as a result that causes some weird reactions from the other peeps. Or when one peep misunderstands another’s intentions or they misunderstand each other, in any way really, not only intentions, so that it actually has some sort of further bigger or smaller consequences, especially when they don’t even end up realising that they misunderstood because they missed something or whatever or because they were just too concentrated on getting their own point across. That happens a lot with my Mum, who has sometimes quite a peculiar sense of humour and especially loves to utilise it with strangers because it helps her test the ground and often wins people over and I guess that’s part of why so many people like her and tell her their entire life stories and stuff. 😀 However, equally many people don’t get it and it causes tons of awkward situations for her, especially on the phone (aaaah!!!). She doesn’t care about that one bit and thinks it’s funny. I also think it is, but it’s also extremely cringey. I guess it seriously must be to an extent because even Sofi often cringes at things Mum says to people. Or when someone does something that I and/or other people in this person’s surroundings find embarrassing, even very slightly embarrassing. Also even in books, or media, or online or whatever. Like someone making a blooper while reading the news. Or someone being interviewed and seeming very awkward, or when they’re asked daft questions. Any other situation when someone has to speak or do whatever publicly and seem not really in their element or are not good at it. And movies… ugh…

Your turn. 🙂

Question of the day.

If you had a choice to be immortal, would you take it? Why, or why not?

My answer:

Absolutely not! I mean, as a Christian, I do believe we are immortal anyway, in a spiritual sense, and that’s prettyy cool, but in this life, no way! Would be extremely exhausting, boring, and quite a curse. As someone who has quite a lot of passive suicidal thoughts or ideations humming in the background, which I usually ignore when I’m at my baseline mentally so it’s not a huge problem at this point but they’re still there, I’ve never been particularly attached to life. In that, most of the time I don’t hate my life or anything, I don’t actively want or do anything to die, I do have things in life that I really love, but if, say I’d become potentially deadly ill, I wouldn’t frantically fight for all means to survive, or if I learned that I’m going to die tonight, I’d be okay with it, as long as I could have at least a little while to prepare spiritually for it. Maybe I would have a bit of fear which is very natural for people when they die I guess, but so far I haven’t been afraid of death so I honestly don’t think I’d be very afraid if at all. To be honest, at this point in my life, from my current perspective, I’d be more scared of aging than death. But even if we’d invent things that could stop aging and make us immortal, that still wouldn’t do it to me. I must say I don’t understand the current trend or whatever that is, perhaps it’s not evenn current but something that’s always been a thing for humans, that a lot of us want to live LONG lives, that there’s so much talk about living a long life, here in Poland when it’s someone’s birthday people will often wish them “a hundred years”, and I’m always like wtf, how’s that supposed to be good wishes? When you say you don’t want to have a long life it’s like you’re saying a blasphemy. My grandma is like me and she always tells people not to wish her that, ’cause she already feels like her life’s been way too long, and everyone is horrified and indignant, even though she just says that normally and not in a suicidal way or anything. I can sort of understand people who say that they’d like to live a long life if they were very healthy and could be useful for their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren for many years and see things change in the world, ’cause that would be indeed very interesting to be able to have such a long perspective on all the changes in the world and its history. Like my Dad says he could happily live up to 200 years if he’d be relatively healthy. But still, even if I was healthy, I think it would be extremely tiring to live like that, with no end in sight. You see all your loved ones gradually die, one after another, the world changes like crazy so that you likely no longer feel as much a part of it because everything is so weird and different and difficult to relate, and other people have a problem relating to you as well, you wonder if you’ll ever die at all or will you keep going like that forever and in some 50 years maybe they’ll want you to be an exhibit in some museum and tell people stories from all the eras you’ve lived in. 😀 I don’t know about others but I am pretty sure I’d go hella cynical in all that time. I just totally don’t see the appeal. Especially that, after all, even living up to like 80 years old being perfectly healthy is a pretty rare occurrence, so while it can perhaps be an interesting dream to entertain, it doesn’t make sense to me that iin reality those people also do everything they can to live as long as possible. I realise it might change at some later point for me as I get older, but at thhis point, even living up to like 50 years feels like a freakishly long life. Not because I think 50 years is particularly old, but it definitely does feel long. Unfortunately for me though, my Dad’s family seems to have some pretty damn strong longevity genes, so I might have inherited them as well. The good thing is that his family also tend to stay very healthy even without some extremely healthy lifestyle, but still, the mere thought of living, and living, and living, and living makes me weary. 😀 Even when I play BitLife, which is a life simulation game, there it is really easy to make your character live quite a long life if you keep them healthy and happy and have a bit of a stroke of luck that nothing tragic happens to them and lead a low-risk life, and I once managed to make my character reach 120-something years. She was super healthy and happy and a millionaire withh a big, loving family, but living her for SOOO long was extremely boring, and seeing all her siblings, friends and then even children pass away, that was actually sad.

You? 🙂

Ruelle ft. Fleurie – “Carry You”.

Hey guys! 🙂

This song is the third, and last, at least for now, from Ruelle that I’m gonna share with you. But despite I saved it as the last one to share with you, I actually like it most of these three, and this is the very first song by Ruelle that I was introduced to. I heard it for the first time when I had an extremely shitty day anxiety-wise and I found the lyrics really soothing, and the song overall is so beautiful and amazing. As it happens, if I got it correctly, this one is also part of the Shadowhunters soundtrack, just like War of Hearts I shared earlier.

Question of the day.

What do you miss the most about your childhood?

My answer:

As much as I never looked forward to being an adult and even now still don’t like it and find it kind of intimidating, I can’t say I miss my childhood very much either. Usually, I guess when people say they miss their childhood or being a child in general, they miss some carefree feeling that they remember from that time, or a sense of safety or something like that, perhaps less awareness about things going on around them. I don’t really remember any particular carefreeness that I’d feel as a child, I think I must have been born a professional ruminator ’cause I never felt very carefree for a longer period of time as a kid. 😀 There was always something I was stressed or worried about and while I often tried to distract myself from that, it only worked temporarily.

I think if I do miss something, it would be the very early childhood, below age 5. I remember that when I was a teenager I often missed being a very small child or a baby, which probably says something about my emotional maturity. 😀 Not that I have many memories from that time that I’d miss, I just suppose it must be the nicest part of one’s life, when one doesn’t have much of an idea about anything. And most of the memories that I do have from that time are indeed quite happy. Also I’m plain curious because I know from my own experience with myself, and from what my family tell me, that I was quite a lot different personality-wise as a young child. I was definitely a really really weird kid and had my own little, freaky world which was very difficult for complete outsiders to grasp, just as it was difficult for me to grasp that other people don’t necessarily think the way I do and often had no freakin’ clue what I was even talking about, yet when I was like four, or even six, I was a lot more outgoing and socially capable, or even as my Mum claims “happy”, than by the time I was eight, and then since about being 7-8 years old, perhaps earlier, I was gradually kind of withdrawing. As a small kid, I was certainly shy and might have struggled a lot especially with initiating contact with people, but I was quite sociable and when I felt safe with people I always felt very happy to have everyone’s full attention. Most people liked me and I liked people if they didn’t seem scary, I could bond with nice people really quickly. At that time I had more trouble relating to my peers though, which my Mum was initially rather worried about. Some people still can’t get over it that that little Bibiel is gone. And no, thankfully it’s not my Mum. And while I believe there might have been quite a few things that contributed to this gradual yet at the same time seemingly abrupt change, it could be quite interesting to go back to that time and figure out with my current brain how exactly did it happen that that little Bibiel had left the stage. Also it was when I was a small child that my synaesthesia was developing from all sorts of sensory experiences I had, and I sometimes think I’d like to go through that process yet again but with a bit more consciousness to observe it critically, it would be really cool. What I mean is that, for example, a lot of my tactile synaesthetic associations involve stuff that I think I touched or felt as a child, like some of my toys. With some of my synaesthetic associations, I can only feel the overall shape of something, or the texture, but not much detail. And, while I’m sure that some of my tactile associations my brain has just made up, I’d like to go back to those objects or other things that existed for real and see how they actually looked like in full and what they were, and find out why I synaesthetically associate with them what I do. Like, why do i associate my Dad’s name – Jacek – with something as random as a screw cover? I don’t even know if that’s what it’s called in English. 😀 The round, ring-like metal thing that you can put on a screw. I often liked to play in my Dad’s garage, where he always fixed all kinds of things, and I played with all sorts of weird things, and I’m pretty sure that that’s how a screw cover (and lots of other similar things) ended up among my tactile synaesthetic experiences, but why is it associated specifically with Jacek and not any other word or sound? Perhaps someone, like my Mum, came into the garage and said my Dad’s name while I held it? I really like the name Jacek, plus of course it’s myy Dad’s name, so I have a lot of emotional connection to it, but I have none to screw covers. When I once revealed this to one sister at nursery (the blind school I went to was led partly by nuns), she got quite indignant that I have such odd associatioons with my own Dad. Except obviously it’s not what I associate my Dad with, but the sound and sort of overall vibe of his name. This in no way affects what I think of either my Dad, or any other Jaceks, it’s just a separate thing.

Other than that, I guess I could say I miss how, in retrospect, the world at large seemed kind of better when I was a child. Obviously it’s very subjective because I knew very little about it. But when I think about the world and various aspects of it as it was when I was a kid, vs now, it feels like those 15-20 years ago, life in this world in general was a lot better and more interesting. It feels like less crazy shit was happening in the world, and there were SO many cool things that are now a thing of the past. Think Polish Radio BIS, for example. I’ll never get over this loss, even though I’m sure there’s a lot of idealisation involved on my end. 😀

Also one thing not really related to my childhood as such, but that did happen during my childhood – I miss Sofi when she was very little. –
I miss the time when she was still a baby and a toddler, and all sorts of funny and cute things she did and said that she now doesn’t even remember, only from what we’ve told her.

You? 🙂

Question of the day.

How are you feeling today?

My answer:

A bit jittery or stressed or something, and I don’t even know why. I was feeling pretty neutral in the morning, maybe slightly blah, but for the last half an hour or so I’ve been getting some increasing antsy feeling as if something bad was going to happen even though I don’t know what it could possibly be. I get such a feeling regularly so it’s most likely false alarm. I had a freakish migraine on Monday which totally put me out of action for the whole day, and I was still feeling a bit off yesterday after it (it’s weird how a day of lying in bed and mostly sleeping could wipe you out so much), but I’ve regenerated properly by now so physically I’m feeling a whole lot better.

How about you? How’s your life going today? 🙂

Question of the day.

Why do you close the bathroom door even when you’re the only one at home?

My answer:

Well, I guess you could say I am mildly paranoid with people. Part of it is probably due to my mental health and personality in general, and part of it is blindness. When I’m home alone, or even alone in my room, and doing something that for whatever reason I wouldn’t like anyone to see me doing, I’ll still take all the meticulous precautions even if I theoretically know I’m alone, because how do I know that for 100%? Or people could come back any minute, even if it’s not very likely, because all sorts of unplanned things happen. In my previous room, which I eventually grew to love very much, I had a hard time getting used to living there, because I’d hear all sorts of sounds, especially weird noises from the radiator, and hearing all those things that I couldn’t quite pinpoint where they were coming from made me think that someone is either in my room, or directly outside the window, or by the door, so I felt like I was being invigilated or whatever. Having this sort of feeling for hours and days on end can really make you freak out. Add sensory anxiety into the mix, part of which for me is a totally irrational feeling like somebody (in this case my brain frenemy known to the outside world as “Ian”, is constantly somewhere around), and you get some pretty amazing experience. 😀

When Sofi was younger, she had a freakishly annoying and kind of creepy habit of lurking in my room and then trying to scare me, thinking that I wouldn’t know she was there. It rarely worked out, because she’s just not a good lurker, plus I’m too hypervigilant for such things to work out very easily. When I’d have the slightest suspicion of her being there, I’d just do something that would make her laugh and she wouldn’t be able to resist. But the less successful she was at it, the more determined she was, and there were a few times that she actually managed to surprise me and even scare me a fair bit. It was quite difficult to get her to stop this behaviour, and over time it really made me quite suspicious of all sorts of things.

Sometimes people don’t even deliberately want to scare me, but as a kid I had situations where my Mum would be sitting quietly in my room, waiting for me without me knowing, or my Dad sleeping in there as he liked to do, and not knowing this and realising after some time could be a bit frightening.

For most of my life, as you guys probably know, I used to live in a boarding school, so I had roommates and some people around pretty much all the time, I also didn’t have my own room in our first house for the first like 10 years of my childhood and our entire family had like one huge bedroom, so some ways of maintaining some level of privacy get naturally ingrained over time in such situation, I guess.

So yeah, I care about my privacy all the time, whether I know about people being around or not. Even if I know that there’s no one else in the house right now except Misha, I have no guarantee that they won’t come back while I’m pooping or laying in the bathtub, and it would be quite a hassle to have to close the door in the meantime before someone manages to see me or get into the bathroom. 😀 I guess even if I was 100% sure somehow that there are no people and that no people are going to come back while I’m in the bathroom, I’d still close it just automatically ’cause why not? It’s not a bad habit or anything. It just wouldn’t feel right otherwise. I guess even if I had a place of my own, I’d still stick to my habits, including closing the bathroom while I’m in, ’cause… you just never know. 😀

What’s your reason? Or maybe you actually don’t do it? 🙂

Richard and Linda Thompson – “Did She Jump or Was She Pushed?”

Hiya people! 🙂

A very interesting song I have for you today. I got first fascinated and hooked on British folk rock I guess some time in 2015 and it was around then that I first became familiar with this couple’s music, both what they have recorded together and separately. My favourite British folk rock artist from the 70’s is unquestionably Sandy Denny (who almost managed to become one of my major faza people but even though it didn’t happen due to Vreeswijk still standing strong in the dominant faza position I still love her music very much) and thus all of the bands that she was a member of. One of those bands and probably one with which she’s most strongly associated was Fairport Convention, through which I’ve also become acquainted with Richard Thompson’s music, as he was one of the founders of the band, as well as the lead guitarist and songwriter for it. I think he’s a really good lyricist and there are a fair few songs by him that I like mostly because of interesting or otherwise captivating lyrics.

This is one of the very first songs by them as a duo that I’ve ever heard, thanks to Last.fm where I’d made my first British folk rock discoveries, and aside from appreciating Linda’s vocals and the arrangement in general, I got intrigued immediately by the lyrics and every time I listened to these lyrics afterwards I kept wondering, did she jump, or was she pushed? 😀 I don’t like crime novels, detective fiction books, I don’t even read a lot of mystery, I think a lot of it is horribly overrated and just not my thing, but I like lyrics which are like stories. Then later on I was wondering whether “she” was someone specific so I did a bit of research, and no, she’s not, I don’t think so, although in one interview Richard Thompson said that, after writing this, he realised that

“it could be about Sandy Denny”,

or some other people he knew. He didn’t say specifically that it IS, and I doubt he had a clear intention of writing a song about her specifically, also I haven’t heard of her death ever being suspected to be a murder, but, thinking about it in general, the similarity is a bit eerie. Sandy Denny had a lot of mental health issues, a lot of it sounds like she could be bipolar, and one way in which she regularly self-harmed, or, as some people say, tried to get attention, was by throwing herself down from stairs, which was supposed to be something like a party trick. She also abused alcohol and drugs so she experienced a lot of accidental falls due to that as well. One time she hit her head on concrete when falling down a staircase during holidays in Cornwall. She had a lot of headaches afterwards and was prescribed a painkiller which can potentially be fatal in combination with alcohol. In April 1978, she stayed at her friend’s house alone, and was eventually found unconscious at the foot of the stairs. She went into a coma due to brain haemorrhage and died in hospital a few days later. So upon discovering this connection, albeit so dark and eerie, between this song and Sandy, I grew to appreciate it even more.

This song comes from the couple’s last collaborative album before their breakup – “Shoot Out The Lights” – and is the only song on the album and I guess also the only or one of very few songs of the duo to which the lyrics weren’t written solely by Richard but co-written with his then-wife.

Question of the day.

What do you have too much of?

My answer:

Gosh, lots of things! Some off the top of my head: too much anxiety, not right now but in general, and too many various anxieties as well, too much depression, too much Maggie talk (Maggie’s my inner critic), too much freakiness to put it simply. Too many migraines. Too much Ruminating. Too many deja vus lately, I don’t think it’s normal, but I don’t really mind it. Too much Sleep paralysis (I mean yeah, even one episode can feel like too much but I guess I have it more regularly than most people and it seems to last longer than what I typically hear about. Cat fur in my room and on all my clothes ’cause Misha always sleeps on me or in my wardrobe haha. Sometimes downright indecently too much sleep, but I guess it gets balanced in the end because on other nights I get too little and on others yet just about enough. Too much emotional shit that I hold in, either because it smells too bad so I really don’t want people to have to deal with it or because my brain forgot how to poo before it learned properly, usually it’s a bit of both. Too much daydreaming, not that I’m not happy with it but lately I’ve started to wonder if it isn’t a little bit maladaptive after all, still I like it way too much to care even if that’s the case. Too much imagination, which can get in the way when it comes to anxiety but I’d rather have too much than too little. Too much boobs, which can also get in the way, for example with horse riding back when I did it regularly, but, unlike with imagination, I wouldn’t mind having a bit less of them. Too many moles. Too many languages to love and probably to manage to learn in a lifetime. Too much “colour”, as my Mum calls it, for some people to handle, which results in them finding me overwhelming. Too many clothes that I rarely or never wear because they’re for peopling and I do minimum peopling these days, which typically doesn’t require particularly elegant clothing. Mugs, cups and bowls in my room that I haven’t taken down to the kitchen and washed yet as they keep piling up, ’cause I have too little time for such prosaic things. Most people would probably say I have waay too many gem stones, crystals and stuff. Photos of Misha on my phone, especially considering the fact that I’m blind.

You? 🙂

Question of the day.

What do some people take WAY too seriously?

My answer:

Themselves. 😀 I think most of us are too serious about ourselves to a varying degree, because it can be really difficult to have a distance to something you can’t really distance yourself from physically, like your own self, and particularly difficult when you happen to be especially sensitive or something, but it can be immensely helpful both for you and for those you interact with. It’s a really good thing when you’re able to laugh at yourself and things you do, and even let other people do it. I say this as someone who I guess is slightly paradoxical in this regard, because on one hand I guess such distance is a very natural thing to me that I was pretty much born with, I like to have some healthy distance to almost everything because being able to look at things from some more or less distanced perspective helps me see them more broadly and see all the hilarious, ridiculous, absurd or ironic sides to it clearer, and being able to see those bits makes the situation less overwhelming. On the other hand though, I have this AVPD thing which makes distancing yourself from yourself quite difficult if not impossible. But I guess I’m not alone with this idiosyncrasy, and I don’t think it is limited to only people with AVPD either. I know a bunch of people who have a similar sort of conflict, with or without mental illness involved, and I have a little feeling that this may be a common problem for people who happen to both lavishly use humour/sarcasm as a coping skill , while at the same time being highly sensitive in general and not particularly self-assured. Just my little theory. It’s a difficult and weird combination to live with, and I’d say that sometimes it makes things even worse, but it’s interesting and quite hilarious in itself as well.

But what I also mean by that people take themselves too seriously is that I’ve been noticing more and more of an almost trend for being easily offended. It’s like some people almost enjoy holding grudges, celebrating their hurts which people caused totally unintentionally, like by saying one wrong word, and which seem totally blown out of proportion. We’re living in very strongly self-absorbed times, I think, when there’s so much emphasis on all things self-, and maybe this is what contributes to it in some way. We’re all into self-care, self-love, self-development, self-discovery, self-gratitude, self-appreciation, self-awareness… and this is great, important and necessary, don’t get me wrong! Except I see a lot of people taking it to the extreme and I think this can be quite harmful in the long run. I realise that my own perception of it might be a bit skewed perhaps, due to the aforementioned AVPD and that I tend to gravitate towards the other extreme regularly, but too much of a good thing is also a bad thing, isn’t it? It doesn’t lead anywhere constructive imo, anyway when self is the only thing you focus on. I think self-deprecation, in reasonable amounts, is just as important a skill to have as self-appreciation. What do y’all think?

And what’s such a thing in your opinion that is taken too seriously? 🙂

Question of the day.

What’s your biggest fear?

My answer:

I have such an abundance of fears that it’s hard to say which one is biggest. Social anxiety’s definitely huge, but it depends on a lot of things and sometimes it’s less scary than others, or more manageable anyway, for no apparent reason. Then there’s this thing I call sensory anxiety, which I’ve generally gotten used to live with and it can also vary immensely in intensity, but it can be absolutely creepifying at times. My sensory anxiety is kind of connected with sleep paralysis, so that counts in here too. What’s particularly scary is this sleep paralysis/sensory anxiety “friend” of mine, known as “Ian” on this blog, about whom I wrote a short story on here, but I don’t tell his real name to anyone. He’s extremely scary and I always have a sick conviction at the back of my brain that he’s actually real and that some day I’ll get to experience his realness properly. As for actually recognised specific phobias, out of those that I’ve had emetophobia (fear of vomit) has always been the worst, though it’s not nearly as scary as it used to be for me in the past, most of the time anyway. Another thing that I have a fair bit of fear around is all things neurodegenerative, the possibility that I could end up having a neurodegenerative disease at some point, like Alzheimer’s (well, it doesn’t have to necessarily be a neurodegenerative disease, a TBI would be scary too but neurodegenerative diseases sound like something that’s particularly difficult to have any control over), and lose my brains as a result. My brains are like my fortress or something, so it would be a hopeless situation for me. And while usually it feels like vomit is scarier because it happens to more people and is more likely to happen, plus I’m also scared of it happening to anyone else, not just me, brain damage, of whatever nature, isn’t something that happens to everyone and it doesn’t seem like I’m at a particularly high risk in any way, as there hasn’t been anyone in my family as far as I know with this sort of thing. Yet on the other hand the brain damage stuff has way longer and nastier consequences. So I can’t say which one is scarier.

How about your fear? 🙂