The hiatus is over.

So, as I wrote in the last post and as some of you could notice from my activity on your blogs, my blogging hiatus seems to be over. It’s so great to be back to blogging and connect with you guys! πŸ™‚ I think I wrote you in my last post about all those strange issues with my new computer, which, again, turned out to be caused by the fan that was loose, so the computer couldn’t work properly. Interestingly, when I got it back last Friday, the fan was fallen off again, but this time I didn’t send it to that company again, but my Mum took it to a nearby servicing place. It seems to be fine now, although my trust for this thing has been broken very badly so, while it is a major and stressful change for me anyway, with all those complications along the way it will take me probably even longer to adapt to this new computer and feel confident with it. I have a lot to get used to, and I haven’t figured tons of things yet which is awfully stressful, and there are some that I might just never figure out and will simply have to deal with. I don’t have most of my speech synths – because some seem to have keys that don’t work any longer (including the Welsh and Swedish one which makes my language learning a bit more difficult), I also don’t have Jacek about which I was telling you earlier that I had had that speech synthesiser for years and out of all I’ve ever had Jacek was the best and most reliable Polish speech synthesiser and I simply had a sort of emotional bond with him so to say. After the last time I sent the computerΒ  to the company who helped me get it, I also lost (hopefully temporarily) most other of my voices, because they were doing multiple system repairs, restorations and what not and in all that chaos there have been some licence issues that I’m not able to sort out on my own and will just potentially have to buy them once again which is so totally unfair, especially that I’ll most likely also have to buy myself some other Swedish voice. I can do without Welsh, but definitely not without Swedish. Thus, since I lost all those other synths, I’m also left without a decent English synth which I can deal with but which stinks really badly! Also I have to figure out why my computer doesn’t seem to like virtually any headphones, and they just don’t work exactly properly on it, because while you have them plugged in the sound output can just change at random back to the speakers, or the sound goes somewhere into the space and you can’t hear it neither on the headphones, nor in the speakers. This stinks too, because while my speakers are quite gorgeous, at least for listening to music, I do appreciate my privacy and don’t always want everyone around to know what I’m doing, or even listening to, and sometimes do things which you just need to use headphones for. I hope it’s not some major issue but I probably will not be able to solve it on my own because I simply have no idea what’s the problem here, and, as you can imagine, it can be quite a bit of a problem when you use a screenreader and can’t control whether you are actually able to hear it or not. And oh gosh I do have to get used to all that humming in the background! It’s a trivial problem but it’s really annoying for someone like me who has music on at night while sleeping and so far had only had laptops before. Obviously desktop computers are much noisier. Or at least mine is. I only listen to the music quietly at night, so I can hear it slightly but can still fall asleep and not wake up because of it or something, and it alleviates my sensory anxiety stuff, but now, this way the humming is what I hear predominantly then. I’ve been wondering whether there are ways to quiet it down a bit but I’m quite clueless and I suppose if I won’t get used to it after a while, I’ll have to look for some other ways to have my music on at night, because in this case I’m not up for any compromises. So yeeeah plenty of change and I’ve only mentioned the major things! πŸ˜€ Actually for now the whole adjustment process makes it hard for me to see any upsides of the situation, even though there certainly are some. Like, my files don’t get randomly damaged any longer, yaaay! That’s a huge positive, isn’t it? I believe you can get used to everything, and people definitely get used to much worse things which have no positives about them, but I’m really quite curious how long it will take for me, and while my adjustment process is lasting it’s rather daunting.

I thought that since I’m already writing a post I’ll base it on some writing prompt, or a challenge or whatever. And I decided that I will answer the question of Carol Anne at

Therapy Bits

which she posed to her readers yesterday in her series Carol Anne Asks, especially that her question is very general and I haven’t posted in a LONG while. The question is:

How do you feel today? πŸ˜€

So, today I feel a bit better than in the last days and weeks, which have been tough for me because of all those tech issues and the whole computer transition thing, but also there has been quite a bit of socialising and general anxiety and stuff. Today I’m still an anxious, stressed, a bit anhedonic and overthinking mess but to a slightly lesser degree I’d like to believe. πŸ˜‰ I had a headache in the morning, but thankfully it was just very slight and didn’t develop into anything worse and it has vanished after a few hours which was great. I did some Welsh late in the afternoon, which I wasn’t able to do in a serious way for a good couple of months because of my laptop being glitchy and eating up or destroying my files including Welsh files, which felt kind of good but also more stressful than usual because, well, I had to get used to doing it without Gwyneth – my Welsh speech synth – and because I’m generally not doing too well right now which shows up in how well I absorb what I’m learning. I don’t know if I’ve told you about that ever before but my current dominant music crush, or faza as I call it in Polish – on Gwilym Bowen Rhys – is fading slowly but surely, and I am very worried because this has never happened with my crushes before, not before another one came into my life and dominated over the previous one. Now there doesn’t seem to be any other crush on the horizon to replace Gwilym onn the dominant position in my brain. As I’ve often said, crush is such a shallow word but for me a crush means more than it typically does to someone. My crushes/fazas inspire me, fascinate me, boost my mood, help me to develop in new directions, make me want to live, etc. etc.! They feel absolutely necessary for my mental wellbeing and self-development and make a huge difference, and I believe that a decent crush peak is actually one of the best natural medications for depression. So, this is worrying. All my crushes are still there, even when they fade slightly they are there, but they can’t have as much of an influence on me as a crush that is dominant. So I believe that explains why I’ve been feeling somewhat more mentally lousy and anhedonic in the last couple of months and it’s been slowly increasing, and when I feel better I frantically look for a potential new candidate for me to get a faza on, even though I know well that it never works like that when I want to have a faza on someone, I will, it just comes spontaneously. But maybe my brain needs some… inspiration, stimulation, or whatever. πŸ˜€ I would love my next crush to be called Jack! So, here’s my request to you lovely people, if there are any musicians, or even literary characters called Jack, or something similar that you know, that you think I might not know but might like, do let me know! If you have any idea, and by any chance that Jack will indeed become my next crush, you have MIMRA absolutely guaranteed! πŸ˜€ Seriously. Jacquelines and the like also count. Or if you know a Hamish…

So, yeah, that’s more or less how I’m feeling today.

I missed blogging awfully, so I’m glad I can finally get back to it, although I don’t know if I’ll manage to write daily for now, we’ll see. πŸ™‚

How are you feeling? Let me know in the comments, and go over to Carol Anne as well, or if you want to make a post of your own let me know so I can read it. πŸ™‚

Me and Misha are heading off to Sleepland. 😴

Ten Things Of Thankful.

I haven’t participated in

Ten Things Of Thankful

in ages, I saw the post by Astrid of A Multitude Of Musings last weekend and only realised I haven’t linked up in a long time or so it feels. So I’m very happy that I’ve managed to do that this week, although I doubted I will be able to do it in time. I’ve been feeling rather crappy emotionally and moodwise the last few days so a bit of gratitude will be a good thing.

  • Because it is Independence Day in Poland, the first thing on my list is just that – our independence! That we have been an independent country for 101 years now, that we have had such difficult history yet are thriving, and in the recent years it’s visible more than ever. I’m grateful to and for all those people who sacrificed their lives for it to happen, who went through all sorts of horrific experiences or personal losses during WWI. As I said in the song of the day post I think we so often tend to take it all for granted. I’m also so extremely grateful that I’m Polish. I love many countries, and even more languages to pieces, but I often feel like I wouldn’t like to be born any other nationality than Polish, and it would be such a flippin shame if I wouldn’t speak Polish. I probably would never learn it because it would be too difficult, so my brain would be so much poorer, and would I want to learn languages as I do know, my start with it could have not been as easy with a less complex mother tongue. πŸ˜€ Living in Poland has its downsides just as anywhere else, but there are so many things that are just non-existent in all other countries and that are absolutely great.
  • That I won’t have to pay for the repair of my new computer. As you may remember, it got damaged during the delivery, so the company through which I bought it appealed to the delivery company so that they would cover the cost of the repair, because it was actually not working at all. In the end they said they’ll cover the cost of a new one. I’m also grateful for that somehow my laptop is still functioning. I really don’t know what’s going on with the drive, it’s not working properly and I really don’t like this limbo phase lingering on forever, especially that getting used to a new one will be even more stressful, but at least I do have a (more or less) working computer. Otherwise my brain would stop working. πŸ˜€ Okay, maybe not straight away, but not long afterwards. So I hope I can keep it (the computer) alive as long as it’s necessary. And I’m doing something on it most of the time so I bet it’s exhausted.
  • That my airways are doing better. This time of the year is allergy time, and then it’s very easy for me to get my seasonal bronchitis. It felt like I was going to get it very soon but to my relief I’m feeling much better, and hope that doesn’t mean the bronchitis thing is just going to be delayed, but that it won’t come this year.
  • (mentioning self harm and other stuff, nothing graphic. Please skip if you feel it could be triggering) My bed. I spent all morning in bed and got out of there long after noon. I’ve been in a shithole and just didn’t have the mental energy to drag myself out of bed whatsoever, and the perspective of having to interact with people was overwhelming. So, when you can’t get out of bed, it’s good when you have a comfy, double bed like I do. I’m still rather shitty though more functional, generally that doesn’t happen often to me that I seriously can’t get myself to do things, I often struggle with it but can do it in the end, so today was pretty hard. I’m just feeling emotionally overloaded lately and my inner critic Maggie is having a hyperactive phase or something, she’s hyperactive most of the time but sometimes more than ever and then I feel like annihilating us both. Oh and another thing I’m thankful for that is related, I’m thankful for not cutting at all lately! I’ve managed to go no cutting since July which is not my life record but at some point this weekend I was sure I’m gonna do this but I didn’t. I guess apart from my will-power what held me back was that now I have that weird sore thing on my leg I’ll have more than enough scars on my legs, and I usually cut my legs because it’s not very likely to be noticed. I guess the cutting crisis is over for now so that’s good. I’m not sure why I’m having this overload thing right now, I guess just because I haven’t had for quite long so my brain decided it’ll be the right time, and I suppose a lot of small things triggered it.
  • painkillers. I’ve had a bit of a headache today, not a strong one but annoying enough for me to decide to take something for it as I had a hard time focusing on my writing. Luckily it helped as now it’s lessened and hopefully will go away completely soon.
  • My Inner MishMash Readership Award. I’m so excited about making it. It’s a long weekend now but hopefully tomorrow I can get the last things I need for it and then will be sending it out and revealing the winners.
  • Misha. Misha is such a tremendous support for me. For the last few days he’s been very moody, but he has his cuddly moments now as well when he wants me to cuddle him for like 15 minutes and is so cute then. It is rare for him so the more I appreciate it.
  • my Dad. I’ve been having a bit hellish times with him but that makes me feel like the more I should include him. I’m very grateful that he employs me, and helps me in a lot of practical ways, though being around him is a real test for my patience more and more, gradually and when I’m having those emotional overloads and all that self-loathing stuff I’m particularly easy to get angry with people as well.
  • my mum. Just like my Dad, she is very practically supportive of me so I wouldn’t manage without her, especially that she is my proxy when dealing with people, which I appreciate hugely and can’t imagine what my life would be like without a “peopling” proxy hahaha.
  • All my blogosphere friends and penfriends. They make it a bit lighter in the shithole. As I said, my family is brilliant but I can’t really talk to them about most of the stuff that is going on in my brain, except for with Mum about some of it that she can relate to in any way, and it’s also extremely hard to reach out to people when I’m feeling like I do right now. So it’s good that I have people online these days. Even when I can’t or don’t know how to talk about my mental health struggles it feels good to just be able to chat with someone who thinks similarly, and it makes a difference when you know you’re not alone.

If this list feels a bit forced to you it’s because it was, haha. But I just felt I needed to write something and I guess we should be grateful for even the smallest things, shouldn’t we? πŸ™‚

Working On Us – rejection.

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

Beckie’s Mental Mess

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. If the answer to #3 is β€œYes”, was anything resolved?

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

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

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

A mid-week coffee and everything else share.

I wanted to do a Weekend Coffee Share post this past weekend (finally), but didn’t end up doing it, of course. I planned to do it on Sunday but had a terrible headache for pretty much all day and didn’t feel like writing anything overly complicated. And, actually, I’m not even sure what I’m going to write about because there’s not that very much going on, or I can’t write about everything that is publicly. So we’ll see where this coffee and tea and everything else share will take us. I hope you’ll join in.

Get yourself a mug or a glass of something delicious to drink, maybe a snack or a meal and let’s get started. I’m just going to drink water because that’s what I feel like drinking right now, and I’ve actually just had supper. But if water doesn’t feel sophisticated enough we can pretend it’s champagne because my water bottle is glass and, according to my Dad, looks very much like a champagne. πŸ˜€ You can have some of my Mum’s chicken and pasta casserole or bring something to the party yourself. πŸ™‚

If we were having coffee, I’d ask all of you how you’re doing…?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am getting more and more excited and thrilled about my project of My Inner Mishmash Readership Award. The official announcement of the winners is going to take place on November 26 (I would like it so anyway) the day when the awards will be sent out to people. I tell everyone that it’s the first year in a long time that I’m excited about Christmas time and can’t wait for it, hahaha. I’d like to make this award my yearly, Christmas tradition, unless the winners will be exactly the same every year. But it’s also quite stressful. I’m not preparing it on my own, my Mum helps me a whole lot obviously and I depend on other people too to prepare some things, so I’m quite stressed out and desperately praying that it’ll be all ready on time, and rushing my Mum all the time because we haven’t even got the half of it done yet. My Mum takes it very slowly with such things, and is often late, so I’m glad I’ve started it out in late September, and if it gets very hectic I might get to it even earlier next year, just in case. But anyway it’s gonna be lots of fun I think, and I hope my winners will feel appreciated and I’ll make them happy.
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that our dog, Jocky, who is 1-and-something-year-old, has been fixed last week. He looks so poorly. It was necessary because there is an awful, old bitch in the neighbourhood who seems to appeal to all the dogs in the area and attracts them with an unbelievable strength. We didn’t want him to go there, and not letting him go was so awful because he would howl all nights and seemed so unhappy. Now he just seems miserable, and the whole experience of getting Jocky fixed was very unpleasant and unsettling for Zofijka, but I believe it’s all temporary.
If we were having coffee I’d tell you that I had a Zombie day on Wednesday. My horse riding instructor offered me that I could go riding that day but I said no, because it just didn’t seem right to ride on a Zombie day. I feel dizzy and floaty on a Zombie day and so my balance on horseback would be even worse, and that would only make me more anxious. Also, well, it requires a good deal of focus for me to ride and do all those exercises that I do, and to do them well, so I would just feel disappointed with myself, and obviously you never have enough energy after a sleepless night. I went riding only once during a Zombie day, and got a massive panic attack and couldn’t recover for ages, and I don’t normally get panic attack as my anxiety is more of a chronic and generalised kind. Anyway, I didn’t go and had a very lazy, hazy and crazy, lousy and drowsy day at home, but it was one of such things that no matter what I would do, I would regret it, so all day I was like “Oh no, why didn’t I go riding? What a pity I couldn’t go riding. Maybe I should go riding? Why did I miss my riding this week?”. Especially that, as you may remember from my post about Zombie days, I struggle a lot with decision making on such days. By the evening I was absolutely exhausted but, already in bed, I tuned in to BBC Radio Cymru and realised with a thrill that this was the day on which the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards ceremony was about to happen, and my current music crush –
Gwilym Bowen Rhys – was one of the nominees for the Folk Singer of the Year Award. So I switched to BBC 2 and, instead of going to sleep as a proper Zombie should at 9 PM, if not much earlier, I listened to the ceremony, and enjoyed it a lot because there were other people too that were either nominated or won some awards, whom I knew and liked. A bit sadly, Gwilym didn’t win, but oh well, I think he has a chance to do so in the future if he’s been already nominated this year. The next day, my instructor said she could fit me in as well, but I decided not to go again, I just didn’t feel quite well mentally, just not in the mood whatsoever.
If we were having coffee I’d tell you that, thankfully, last week my instructor was flexible and could also fit me in on Friday, which I did accept and went riding, as I felt much less shitty. Still not very well but I thought I could manage it and I don’t like having too long breaks because then it’s just harder and I feel more anxious and unsettled beforehand, and it’s just a pity when I have to miss a whole week, and, because my instructor is very busy, it does happen a lot of the time. I was very anxious beforehand despite I still take my medication before riding to feel a bit more at ease. It took me a long time to relax, the more that we decided to go to the forest and ride there. I hadn’t been riding in the forest for about two years! And I had to sort of get used to it again. To the different ground and landforms and it just took me a while to feel more confident. I generally love to ride in the woods far more than just in the hall where you go round and round all the time but this time it was a bit more stressful than enjoyable. I just hope next time, whenever it’ll be, will be better. It was Rudy’s 20th birthday (60 or 60-something in human years) so he’s got lots of carrots afterwards. But before we finished, we came back to the hall for a while, and I did quite a few circles of both sitting trot and rising to the trot and some balance exercises, and riding sidesaddle – like ladies used to in the olden days. – We have no sidesaddle as such in the stud but I was just riding as if I was in a sidesaddle, in such a position. It is also a very good (and very scary) balance exercise. Previously I was able to do only one circle of it and was all dizzy afterwards, but this time I dared to do a few circles, though still with my instructor’s assistance. I am hoping I’ll soon get better at it and it’ll be less scary haha, and then maybe will also be able to try riding backwards again. I used to once but could only manage a few steps and it scared the shit out of my brain. πŸ˜€ But yeah, overall I enjoyed it a lot. Rudy’s hair is very thick now though, for the winter, so he was completely worn out and sweaty when we finished. I just have to remember to take my allergy meds before the riding, and not after, haha, so I can be more efficient and have my airways clear. My horse allergy is not strong but it really is a pain in the neck, especially if you forget your meds. πŸ˜€ I won’t be able to ride this week because my instructor is very busy.
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I had an awful day on Sunday. I had lots of nightmares and woke up with my head throbbing like hell, and couldn’t get out of bed, so I didn’t until afternoon. A very lousy Bibiel I was! Zofijka fell down and got a mild concussion which scared her, but then she said that after all she doesn’t use her brain anyway, so she doesn’t care if some of it has spilled out. How honest! πŸ˜€ My headache went away in the evening but I was still anxious and just blah. My parents had their acquaintances come over in the evening and had a little but very loud dancing party, which really annoyed Zofijka, who was tired and her head was hurting after the fall, and all the noise didn’t let her fall asleep. Thankfully, her brain seems to feel better now.
What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

Brain, what do you want from me?

I’m seriously starting to wonder what’s up with those flippin’ Sundays! I’m recently getting Zombie days exclusively on Sundays, and this month I’ve hit a record. Three Zombie days in a month, all Sundays, including this one. If you don’t know what a Zombie day is, it’s the day after a sleepless night. I call it this way at least. Mondays used to be most often my Zombie days back when I was at school, and I guess that was even worse. To not be able to sleep for the whole night and then having to start a week in the Zombie mode, grrrrr yuck!

Another thing that I’ve been wondering a lot today is what does my brain want. I never know that during a Zombie day. I never know what I want. A Zombie day probably means something slightly different for everyone. For me, it’s a weird, floaty, dream-like, hazy, unreal feeling in my brain and my whole body. I often catch myself wondering “Is all this even real?”. I often get deja vus when I’m a Zombie, and my sense of time is changed. It’s like there is almost no time passing if I don’t look at the clock. I’m often a bit hyper in the morning, and then go into apathetic and zoning out, but I won’t go take a nap because my sleep cycle needs to reset. Sometimes I even mix languages like today. I feel like I’m losing control, and I’m often very anxious, jittery and even very panicky, but I can’t take my med ’cause in such a state of mind it’ll make me fall asleep while walking, as was the case with my horse ŁoΕ›, instead of muffling the anxiety. I am cold and weak and obviously lack the energy, am dizzy, and towards the end of the day if I’m really worn out I sometimes get little creepy hallucinations that make me want to scream with fear but I’m too scared to do that. Is that even normal when you have just one Zombie day? I’m more creative and coming up with bizarre, completely out of the box, apparently illogical but very logical ideas and solutions and theories, and the cool part about them is that I still love them the next day and often listen to my Zombie brain and take what it came up with into account. Perhaps it works like for people who apparently get the solutions for their problems from dreams? I can be a bit impulsive so I try not to do important things or such that need a cooled down perspective on a Zombie day, and I can easily go from something even quite close to euphoria to the darkest depression and an emotional overload, and when something is not going right, I can easily slip into hopelessness, it just feels like things are always going to be this way.

But most of all, I don’t know what I want! It’s so frustrating. I mean, I often don’t know that anyway, but in my Zombie mode, that affects even the most basic things. I’m faint and starving, and badly nauseous at the same time and I don’t know what to do with that. I think for like 15 minutes, “Am I hungry?…”. I decide I am, and then I can barely eat anything. Do I want to write a post, or take a shower? Does it matter? Perhaps not, but I have to do one thing first. But first I’ll rather just sit for the next 15 minutes with my Brain in the Zombie zone.Do I critically need a nap, or can I stay awake until the evening? Yes, I give up, I need a nap! I lay on the bed, and although my mind is swirling between the real world and Dreamland, it can’t quite decide on any of those. Do I want to drink green tea or cocoa? Do I actually want to drink anything? Is it better to be around people and be scared of people or alone and scared of my own brain? How can I know all those overwhelming things if even my brain doesn’t care to decide? Zombie days are weird.

But at some point, there comes a moment when all the controls in your brain go bright red, and suddenly you realise: “YAY! It’s time for sleep! That’s what I want! Sleep, sleep, sleep and sleep!”.

And now I’ve come to that place. I know that what I want is to

wrap

uptightly in all the possible blankets in my room, wrap Misha up cosily and snugly in his bed, and float away into Dreamland. Switch off my brain finally, in desperate hope that when I’ll wake up, it will reset, change the layouts and show me different worlds, both the outer and inner one. Perhaps the Zombie day was what my brain needed. It has been cluttered with unimaginable for me amounts of worries and ruminations over the last week, and a Zombie way is quite a smart way to do a reset. Only, will it really work this time? I am desperately hopeful and deeply sceptical at the same time.

But I guess the time is flying by, my precious seconds of potential sleep are flying away, so, for now I’ll leave you to it, and hope that, whatever is the time where you are, the next time you’ll be sleeping, it will be a really healing, powerfully regenerative sleep.

Do you often get Zombie days? How do they feel like for you?

 

Question of the day.

Do you like to go to family reunions and gettogethers, if they’re a thing in your family?

My answer:

As I wrote in my answer to the last question, not really, as it’s very hard for me because of the anxiety and other mental health stuff, and not feeling the connection with most of my extended family. I will go to some of them mostly out of duty so that no one feels hurt and my conscience is not biting me, but if I have to be honest, no, I don’t like it, and if I can, I’ll avoid it. Smaller gatherings are a bit easier, as are those on my Mum’s family’s side as opposed to my Dad’s family with whom I feel totally like a changeling or a fifth wheel. My Mum’s family, even if they are a bit overwhelming at times, are interesting people so at least I can listen to their conversations which can often be absorbing, and they see me more for me than just my blindness, though also not fully.

How about you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day (10th September).

Hi guys! πŸ™‚

Here’s another family related question I have for you.

Do you stay in touch with your extended family? If so, how?

My answer:

Not all of them, but my grandparents, most aunts and uncles and some cousins. Our family on both my parents’ sides likes to get together so we see each other at different occasions, like birthdays, name days or such. My social anxiety and other things often make it difficult for me to be around a lot of people for a long time, it’s overwhelming, and, I have to say it, it’s frequently also boring because I don’t really have the close connection between me and my close family, so there’s not much common ground between me and most of them, and sitting at the table for hours and listening to/trying to engage in conversations I don’t really feel a part of or don’t have any real interest in certainly is boring. Eating around many people makes me feel anxious too, and anxiety makes me not hungry at all so it’s stressful if you don’t want to offend someone and eat at least something. And talking to more than like 3 people at once is hard for me, let alone when there are groups of people scattered around the room and each of them talking about their own thing, so I usually feel way more alienated and lonely in such situations than I do when being on my own, and I hate hate hate feeling lonely while being around others, and usually I end up just listening to people and forcing myself to smile all the time. And that’s largely why I often avoid those family gatherings if it’s not necessary for me to be there and if I can avoid them. Also most of us live quite close to each other so we sometimes bump into each other on the street or on similar occasions.

How about you? πŸ™‚

Working On Us – sleep disorders.

It’s week #13 of Beckie’s mental health prompts series Working On Us at

Beckie’s Mental Mess.

The topic for this week is sleep, insomnia and other sleep disorders. Here are the questions for prompt #1.

 

  1. Have you, or do you suffer from sleep disorders? – I have a lot of sleep issues, which are both related to my mental health difficulties as well as the fact that I don’t see the light so my sleep cycle is just messed up. They change with time. Just as I sleep at different times and my sleep schedule and habits change, so do my sleep related problems. Most of the time I struggle with insomnia more or less. It is my normal to lay in bed for an hour or longer before I fall asleep. Sometimes I wake super early, like 3-5 AM and after going to sleep at about midnight. Luckily it’s not as often as it used to be for me that I have, as I call them “Zombie days” – a day after a night of no sleep at all. – Sometimes my insomnia is clearly due to anxiety or stress and I just overthink everything and worry about every single thing and ruminate, it’s gotten worse recently, but sometimes it’s like my inner clock just isn’t set on sleeping whatsoever and I may even feel a bit hyperactive, playing with Misha at 2 AM and not feeling even slightly tired, and then sleep until noon or so. Then I have times when I sleep a lot, 12-13 hours and usually miss a great chunk of the day as a result. Sometimes it just comes on its own, and then I hate it, because I don’t want to sleep my life through like that, and feel lazy and lousy, plus then it’s usually not the best kind of sleep, filled with bad dreams and such. But sometimes I do that on purpose because I’m so depressed and sleep is way more interesting than the reality. I suppose I might have non 24 hour sleep-wake disorder (what a grossly long name) which is very common among the blind, but I haven’t ever heard about it being diagnosed in Poland so I guess people don’t know much, and while I know there is medication for that in other countries, I couldn’t find the evidence that it is used over here, so I don’t see the point in seeking a diagnosis. I have very vivid dreams, which can be an incredible gift and a really great thing, I love my good vivid dreams, but it can just as well be something close to a curse, because my nasty vivid dreams are super creepy, as if I had a personalised horror movie production studio in my brain, with horrors right just for me. πŸ˜€ I’ve read that there was some Danish study which revealed that apparently blind people have nightmares more often than sighted people do, which would make sense from what I’ve heard from many blind people. If you have vivid dreams things get just a bit more intense. And on top of that I am one of the lucky ones who regularly struggle with sleep paralysis. And that’s probably the biggest sleep related problem for me. There is also my silence anxiety and sounds anxiety involved, which makes sleep often difficult. I won’t get into detailed descriptions of what it is for me but, very shortly, I just don’t do complete silence, so I need to have some quiet music in the background, and Misha, and it always works, but to a very varying degree.
  2. Have you sought treatment for your sleep disorders? – I had a point in my life where I thought I was unable to take this sleep paralysis thing any longer, I was so fed up and constantly scared and I just lost my patience with it. It’s something that I’ve lived my whole life with but suddenly I had that “why me?” crisis. And then I went to the neurologist looking for some help, also because I wasn’t perfectly sure it was sleep paralysis, because some things in it are different for me than they are for most people whose stories I read. She confirmed that and gave me some tips on things that I could do myself to alleviate it, and told me that there’s no medication that would be 100% working for it, but that she could put me on some antidepressant that is said to help with that, though it’s not certain how effective it is and it’s mostly prescribed for people with narcolepsy who additionally suffer from sleep paralysis. Since it’s not clear if it actually works, I said I’d rather try dealing with it without medication first. I was also offered antidepressants by the psychiatrist who diagnosed me with dysthymia but I’m honestly pretty scared of some of the side effects like gaining weight. I’m currently underweight actually and could probably put some on just to stop my Mum’s grumbling and make buying clothes less tricky and look healthier, but I wouldn’t like that to happen because of taking medication. And so far I am managing with just anti-anxiety meds. I’ve learnt over the years some tricks to get out of sleep paralysis or to prevent it, but it doesn’t work all the time. Sooner or later it will always catch me.
  3. Have you ever had a sleep study on you, and if so, what was recommended? – No. I would kind of like have one though, and my Mum says I should, because, in her opinion, my sleep is weird and I should get it checked out if not because of any concerns, then at least out of curiosity. And yeah, it’s interesting, I am curious, though I don’t know if my sleep is objectively that much of a phenomenon, I guess not, my Mum is just very typical. I’ve never had an opportunity though, and I don’t think there is any sleep clinic in the area or anything like that, I don’t know anyone in person who’d have a sleep study done.
  4. Has your doctor prescribed medication for your sleep disorder, if so, what has worked for you? – Not directly for sleep, mostly for anxiety, but that has affected sleep too. I took Hydroxyzine for a while as a child, and then my psychiatrist put me on it again when I was 17 and got the reactive depression diagnosis and told her about the anxiety I was having. I’ve always heard good opinions about Hydroxyzine and that it works well for people, that it’s such a safe medication and all but it wasn’t so for me. It was making me extremely groggy, I would be just switched off and away from the world for hours and hours and hours, the only thing I could do on it was sleeping, and then I would wake up hungover and with a headache. Perhaps it was because I hate being groggy and foggy and not in control and thus my anxiety got worse, but in any case, I really didn’t feel like it was working for my anxiety at all. The only times when I have found Hydroxyzine very helpful, life-saving almost, have been when I felt really depressed, only feeling like sleeping, or very unstable and overwhelmed, like last year after the first of my final exams when I was super triggered I just slept the whole night and most of the day away on Hydroxyzine afterwards, worked the trigger through while sleeping and woke up (almost) a new person, (almost) ready to face another final exam. Hydroxyzine is also an antiemetic, so when my emetophobia is through the roof and for a very sound reason – like a norovirus raging in the house – it helps too. And I don’t mind sleeping norovirus invasions through at all. I still have it and can take it when I need but that’s rarely. I don’t see my psychiatrist regularly, so after some time I went to my GP with my anxiety problems and told him the whole Hydroxyzine and anxiety and messed up sleep story, and he put me on Afobam, which as I heard later from my psychiatrist is more suitable as a sleep med for those people who tend to wake up a lot rather than those who can’t fall asleep, as is more often the case with me, but it works great for me so I’m still on it. The thing is, it’s highly addictive so I am only taking it on as needed basis. That is, when my anxiety is really severe or when I want to regulate my sleep cycle at least for a while or when I just know I won’t sleep and I have to sleep. If I need it for a few days in a row I take only a half of it. That’s not a perfect solution definitely, but at least when I take it, it works. I often do feel groggy after it and sleep for a long time, but I don’t feel hungover like after the Hydroxyzine and it noticeably improves my sleep quality, I wake up refreshed and well-rested most of the time.
  5. Have you ever tried home remedies to alleviate your sleep disorders? – Loads of herbal-based supplements and some other OTC products that worked just as well as candy, melissa tea which apparently is placebo, melissa essential oil which apparently works very well but not for me, smelling lavender which probably didn’t work because my sense of smell doesn’t work too well either haha, CBD oil which I am still trying but with no great results, I guess the concentration is too low or something, I’d like to believe that it works, niacin, which I really tried supplementing and wanted to but as high doses as they say that you should take for mental health were not doable with me because those pills are really big and I have a bit of a trouble swallowing big pills, let alone five or more at a time, and even when I broke them into halves or thirds it was still tricky to swallow such amount of pills in one go, it was crazy. πŸ˜€ I was able to notice some small improvement on it but I just couldn’t continue this way, my life would evolve around swallowing niacin three times a day and dosing it the right way, and then they say for it to work you need to take other stuff too, because it changes the absorption of vitamin C, and the niacin itself is absorbed better with something else. Ugh no thanks, my life is way more interesting without all that, and what if that cocktail wouldn’t work? All my efforts would be wasted! πŸ˜€ Also, I am trying out progesterone cream which also my Mum is using, which has directly nothing to do with sleep obviously but my Mum, being a great lifestyle geek has read loads of material on how helpful progesterone supplementation can be for women and also how much of an effect hormonal imbalance can have on mental health, and my hormones aren’t balanced even just because I have hypopituitarism. My Mum says it works miracles for her, though I guess for her it’s a bit different since she’s going through menopause so that must be rather obvious. I can’t say much on that cream though because I’m only using it since July, and it needs some time to have noticeable effects. What helps me is Misha, listening to music, reading before sleep, doing some visualisation exercises, prayer, having my feet warm – they’re usually cold so I like having hotwater bottle and when it’s cold outside I won’t fall asleep without it ever πŸ˜€ – trying to implement some sleep routine, though for me that’s really really difficult and never stuck for long, I am trying though, so I hope that counts and makes it better than it would be without it. Doing something relaxing always helps, whatever I find relaxing at the time. Oh, I nearly forgot, I also had numerous trials and errors – more of the latter – with melatonin, which at first didn’t work, and then every time I got back to it I had very nasty nightmares every night I was on it. I’ve heard that could be transient, but no one told me how long that transience should last and every time it felt like a bit too long to keep trying and waiting so I don’t think I ever will again. With my sleep paralysis, good sleep hygiene and some sort of a routine/schedule helps. I can’t always have the latter, but what I’ve found helpful is not napping, though I was never an enthusiast of naps at all, they just make more chaos. No napping, and no laying in bed awake in the morning for ages, as I carelessly used to do especially at weekends. Suddenly, after a while I become surprisingly, extremely sleepy again and I don’t even notice when it sucks me in. Also, generally I know I need to avoid such things like waking up and then going back to sleep after a while, because that very often brings sleep paralysis. But I never know how long that while should be, seems like even half an hour break between one sleep and another at night is too much and is risky, so if I want to avoid sleep paralysis I should just get up and start to live. Of course, that’s not always practical, because even if I wake up at night I may still feel like I need more sleep, or will be very tired during the day if I’d just wake up and start my day in the middle of the night, so sometimes I do this, but sometimes I don’t. The neurologist told me that sleeping on your right side helps with sleep paralysis. I laughed at it internally and thought it must be some superstition, the more that I much prefer sleeping on my left side, it’s just comfier and I read about some weird study that has shown that it helps the brain to clear from all that could be potentially toxic while you sleep, and I’m all for keeping my brain healthy. But it makes some sense. Sleeping on my right side, as I’ve noticed so far, won’t prevent sleep paralysis if it’s inevitably going to happen, but it’s less intense and shorter. The worse is when you sleep on your back, and that seems to be the case for most people. I hate sleeping on my back but it used to be the position I laid in when awake most of the time so then it hit me hard, now I try to avoid it if I can.
    1. Β Β  What’s the longest amount of time you went without sleep? – Thankfully only a bit more than 2 days. The good thing about my insomnia and Zombie days that I feel really lucky about is that I don’t have it the way some people do, that I would go on for days without sleep. If I have a Zombie day, it’s awful, but at least it means that at night I will fall asleep like a baby, and, usually, sleep like a log until early morning, and my sleep cycle will reset nicely and will be really decent and in line with my time zone for a while. Unless I am trying to play a hero and by night am so exhausted that my nervous system just gets overloaded and I can’t fall asleep despite you can’t really say I’m fully awake and sane by then.

Working On Us – self care.

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

Beckie’s Mental MessΒ 

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

 

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

Ina Wroldsen – “Mother”.

Hi hi people! πŸ™‚

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

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

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

Working On Us – pets.

It’s week #11 of Beckie’s mental health prompts’ series Working On Us at

Beckie’s Mental Mess

and I’m joining in. The topic for this week is pet therapy and emotional support animals.

Β Β Prompt #1 Questions:

 

  1. Do you own a pet for emotional support and/or service/therapy? – Yes, but it’s not strictly speaking an emotional support animal. I have a cat called Misha, he’s been with me since he was a few months old, and he is of tremendous support to me.
  2. Is your pet a certified therapy animal? – No. As much as Misha is helpful for me, he’s definitely not a fit whatsoever to be an emotional support animal formally. If you’d spend even just a day observing him closely you’d rather say it’s him who needs emotional support. Misha is an anxious loner who is scared of touch and closeness, and chronically stressed about everything, afraid of every noise and a more sudden movement. Strangers and travelling scare him as well, he doesn’t do changes and other cats. He is a well-bred aristocrat with loads of noble ancestors but looking solely at his behaviours and reactions one would think he must have spent years on the streets or in a shelter in the middle of a war zone. I really don’t know why he is like this, apart from that I’ve heard that just as much as parents can “infect” their children with anxiety if they are very anxious, same applies to pet owners. My Mum says he’s practically the worst fit for me, also because he only seems to tolerate eye contact fully well. Yet, despite our ups and downs, we get along really well. I have the added benefit that I know I am not alone with my anxieties and fears, weird reactions to stuff and avoidance. I know he understands me, although at the same time he is the only being in the world in whose company I would be happy to be ALL the time, but he so often prefers to be alone, and sometimes it’s hard to not take it personally. I have to often prioritise his needs when he needs his solitude or has a bad anxiety day and is all jittery and jumpy, but I know he understands how important he and his support is to me and that when he recuperates he’ll give me his attention and support and I’ll be happy to give him the same in return if he wants. I’ve heard so many people saying he is selfish, but in fact, taking everything into consideration, I think he is of an extremely noble and generous nature, but also a very difficult and complex character. I guess it’s good he’s not a human, he’s already enough of a complexity.
  3. What kind of pet do you own? – Misha is a Russian blue tsar, he’s over 3 and a half years old. We also have a mixed-breed dog called Jocky, who sometimes works therapeutically for me as well, even though I don’t have usually as much of a connection with dogs as I do with felines. Jocky is the lively, happy type, he’s mostly Zofijka’s, her cure for loneliness and lack of friendships, but my family says he must like me in some special way because he’s always very engaging with me. I mean, in a bit of a different way than with the rest of us. Especially when I feel low, I have a suspicion he really is able to feel when I’m depressed. And then he is so very funny and jumps at me and all and wants to play with me, and he always wins in the end because I can’t not laugh. We also have aquarium fish. I’ve heard people saying having aquarium fish is very calming and therapeutic because it calms them down to be able to look at them swimming, but since I can’t see them, they might as well not exist to me.
  4. Do you believe that support animals truly assist those in need? – Sure they do! I am not sure what to think about that animals can respond to our emotions, I think it depends in a way on an individual animal, but in any case, just having a pet that you love, whatever that animal does to make you feel better, can sometimes truly help. And there are trained service animals who help and assist people and I think that is unquestionable that they do and to a huge degree.
  5. Do you believe that any animal can be a therapy/support pet? – I think it really depends. On a specific animal, how engaging and interactive it is, but also on the human who is on the receiving end and is supposed to get some help from that animal. If you are sceptical, I don’t think it will help, and if you are scared of horses for example, it’s doubtful you’ll benefit from hipotherapy, unless you want to overcome your fear. It’s slightly hard for me to imagine how those less interactive animals (like the fish I mentioned for example) can support people, but I guess if you really like fish and are attached to your fish, it’s possible. I think it’s primarily the connection and love between you and your pet that is healing and therapeutic, not some unusual properties of the animal itself.

Prompt #2 Narrative:

Describe how your pet is of support to you? EXAMPLE: Helps with anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc… (And, please… Share their name and a photo) if you desire.

Misha – despite being a bundle of nerves himself most of the time – has a very calming effect on me. He is my best friend. I spend a lot of my time alone, which I am most of the time happy about but having Misha gives me some company and on those days when I do feel lonely, I feel less lonely because I have him. He helps me with anxiety. Like I said, I know he is anxious himself and that sort of adds to the connection between us. We understand each other on this front, I know I am not alone with what I feel, because a lot of the time, when I have a bad anxiety day, he does too. I call him my charger because he always helps me to recharge after a lot of socialising. Misha is very quiet like most of cats, not even particularly vocal, but he helps me with what I call silence anxiety (basically when there’s complete silence and my brain doesn’t get enough sensory stimuli, it’s really hard to explain and understand), even if Misha doesn’t make the slightest sound his presence can sometimes make it go away completely. When I feel depressed, he keeps me company and gives some purpose to my existence. He makes me feel useful because he needs support too. There are days when he does want a proper, long, relaxing cuddle, and he always comes for it to me, and he comes to me in search of refuge when suddenly there are lots of shouty strangers downstairs, smoking and listening to loud music, or stranger kids running around the house and wanting to hold him and calling him a she. It’s funny by the way how he’s always able to understand that an invasion of human beings is about to happen and run away to my room just in time, and it’s interesting how he doesn’t mind some people coming over to us and is happy to stay downstairs with them. He is my sleeping pill. We’ve established a routine on most of the nights (and Misha loves his rituals and routines) that he sleeps in my room at night, in his bed, and it really helps me to fall asleep when I have him close. Or if I can’t sleep, it’s even better, because I can pet Misha. My Swedish teacher encouraged me once that I should talk to Misha in other languages, because that’s what he did with his cats and they understand. And that’s what I do now. It’s cool because he seems to understand me no less than in Polish, while the humans don’t get a word. So I can talk to him about things that I wouldn’t talk about to people, that I don’t feel like talking with people, or that I don’t have anyone to talk to about. Misha doesn’t purr very loudly, I’ve read somewhere that purring isn’t only a signal of pleasure for a cat, but a self-soothing mechanism first and foremost. And when he does purr, it sounds more like he’s purring to himself. I’ve also learnt that a cat can purr when anxious or in pain and that would be true for Misha I think. But when he purrs for himself, I love to eavesdrop and get some of it for myself. I like to lie near him and listen to all his inner sounds – his purrs, his breath, his tummy gurgling, his heartbeat, every Mish sound is like a music for me and it is very soothing. – Playing with him always makes me happy. And just his presence changes the atmosphere in the room where he is. Basically, after those 3 years with Misha, I can’t imagine my life without him anymore. I guess Misha is like a drug for me. When I’m away for a few days, like on holidays or something, by the time I come back home to Misha I have full-blown withdrawal syndrome.

Here’s a pic of Misha, I don’t even know how presentable Misha is on it and don’t remember what he looks like here, but this photo’s been lying in my Dropbox so I believe I must have used it somewhere earlier, and I don’t think we’ve made many new photos lately, so I hope this one is good.

Misha standing alone

Other than Misha, I’ve also had some experience with hipotherapy. I’m currently having a hiatus (which will likely be over in September), but I used to horse ride regularly. I’ve written a fair few posts on my complicated relationship with riding and how it all started but to give you an idea, the very first time I started riding was at the boarding school for the blind when I was 5 and in the nursery. I didn’t like it, I was scared of it, probably because of my issues with balance, and any time I was supposed to ride I was sick. That stopped when I went to primary, because since then only those with multiple disabilities could do hipotherapy and it turned out I had allergy to horses, so I was happy with it. The when I was in what we call integration school at the age of 10 my Mum read an article on the benefits of hipotherapy and she felt like I could benefit a lot from it, especially emotionaly, and she found a stud and signed me up for hipotherapy there. All without my knowledge. I guess she didn’t even know how scared I was. But after the first time I rode there I suddenly discovered that I love horses and I love riding and it is amazing! I’ve been riding there until now with some longer breaks in between, still with the same instructor, and, until last year, always on the same horse. Sadly, last year, my faithful horse – Czardasz aka ŁoΕ› – died of old age.

At some point my instructor suggested to me that we could do more actual riding and less hipotherapy. That is, the stud where I am riding is exclusively for the disabled, and most of the people riding there have severe cerebral palsy or similar things, and they can’t really ride. I have some additional stuff apart from my blindness, like my shitty balance but it’s definitely not quite as severe a thing so overall I was able to ride and do much more on horseback. So I agreed and since then we’re doing what’s apparently called horse riding with elements of hipotherapy. πŸ˜€ My instructor is both a hipotherapist and a riding instructor, and a keen rider herself, but she is also a doctor – a neurologist. – So, apart from having fun riding, I have conversations about the brain with her and it’s thanks to her that I realised that had I been sighted I’d like to be a neurosurgeon.

I find horse riding very therapeutic. Very helpful with releasing the stress, tensions, all that stuff. Makes you feel free. You can’t ride while you’re tense so you naturally have to relax. Which can take for me just about the whole 45 minutes to fully relax my muscles at times, but oh well, it’s worth trying, isn’t it? It’s incredible how you bond with a horse while riding, especially if, like me, you don’t really change horses a lot, so you can get to know 1-2 horses really well, get to know your horse’s personality, the way of walking, what they react to and so on. My horse – my first one, the one who died last year – was really good and patient with me. He always felt when I was anxious, he seemed to understand me and I usually understood him too. He was very, very big and very, very phlegmatic. He once fell asleep while walking and tripped and I fell off of him, that’s how phlegmatic he was. πŸ˜€ We got along really well, although sometimes his size scared me and he wasn’t easy to ride because he was very demanding and I needed to work real hard to make him feel anything from my movements, since he was so much bigger than me. πŸ˜€

My current horse is a bit of a nervous type, and very receptive. I am not quite as bonded with him primarily because I haven’t ridden much on him, but I like him a lot.

I usually feel really euphoric for a while after hipotherapy, you know, endorphines kicking in and all that. But also, I said I have a complicated relationship with riding, because I do. While I love it so much, at the same time it’s still scary for me. Not that type of scary as when I was a kid, but it is scary. I can’t even exactly tell you why. I am scared that something awful will happen when I’ll be riding, I once had a panic attack while riding, and that I have poor balance doesn’t help and doesn’t make me feel safer on horseback. I know I go through the same fear every time I am about to ride, and I know that 9 times out of 10 everything will be fine, and I am willing to take the challenge, and my willingness to ride is (usually) stronger than the fear, but the fear is just there no matter what. Sometimes it still makes me feel sick and like I won’t do it this time. Things would be much easier if I didn’t have that fear, and I think I’d be able to do more and in less time.

Just like with Misha who makes an impression of not fitting for an emotional support animal, same applies to my horse riding, it’s a bit paradoxical that I ride, because technically I don’t have in abundance all that stuff that you need to be a good rider. My balance is screwed up, my sensory integration is screwed upΒ  and my coordination is screwed up. It makes things tricky. But at least thanks to riding I can improve them as much as it’s possible. But I think overall, taking everything into account, I am a pretty decent rider anyway, and I used to take part in local, small competitions and scored high which I am proud of.

Working On Us – music.

Hi guys! πŸ™‚

It’s week #9 of Beckie’s Working On Us prompts at

Beckie’s Mental Mess

and this week’s topic is music.

Because I already share loads of music with you as part of my song of the day series, and all of it is music I like that has some sort of a beneficial effect on me, this time I decided I’ll only participate in prompt #1.

 

  • Have you ever received music therapy as part of your treatment?Β  If so, what kind of music was introduced to you? – Maybe not exactly as part of my treatment as such, but there was music therapy at the boarding school for the blind where I was going to, and I did take part in it for some years. Back then I had already a lot of emotional/mental health issues but I only sort of knew that “something’s wrong” and nothing more specific, I didn’t want to know even in a way, and some people in my surroundings also knew about it to some extend, at least what was obvious and visible. I liked music therapy a lot. As far as I can remember, we mostly listened to classical music, some soundtracks or electronic music, but we had some other music too. What I – and all the others who participated – loved the most were relaxations. We’d listen to relaxing music and the music therapist read some guided imagery to us. You could follow it, or just let your mind wander, or not think about anything, or fall asleep, just relax. I was struggling with stuff like racing thoughts at that time and didn’t sleep much at all so that could sometimes be very very helpful. And I loved the sort of exercises when we were listening to a piece of music and had to imagine some sort of situation that it would fit to, or what it represents.
  • Do you listen to music ( if/when) you meditate?Β  If so, what kind of music do you listen to? – I don’t meditate a lot actually. We’ve recently started to do some Christian meditation – me and my Mum, usually once a month – but I’m not particularly good at meditation, I have real trouble with shutting up my mind and focusing on just one thing at a time. If we do that, we usually don’t listen to music. But, also quite recently, I’ve noticed that my generalised anxiety has worsened which makes some things more difficult for me, like settling down for sleep, I’ve been overthinking and ruminating more since a few months and I still have yet to discover what’s the exact reason if there is any. Anyways, because of that, I started doing some more visualisations and imageries, especially before sleep, as a way to relax and soothe my brain. I’ve always liked that but now as my anxiety has sort of relapsed, I think I should do it more often. And when I do it, I do listen to music. It’s usually some sort of calming, instrumental music, for relaxation and meditation, though I try to be aware of what I’m listening to as much as I can and not listen to new age-y stuff. Also gentle, calm folk is good, or electronic but not too electrified music. I love harp, especially Celtic harp and especially solo, but almost any type of harp will do to me, and I find this instrument extremely soothing. Also Enya’s music calms me a lot. Sometimes I will just listen to nature sounds or such but usually I need a bit more to create some sort of fuller relaxing image in my mind based on the music I’m listening to.
  • If you have never tried music therapy as a treatment, what types of music calm and/or mellow you? – Apart from what I’ve mentioned, it’d be all my music crushes, who always fascinate me, inspire me and are sort of like antidotes for all sorts of negative things, not always necessarily their music calms me down but always gives me positive vibes. Other music I find calming is acoustic pop, some indie, maybe chillout and such but not too jazzy, psychedelic rock/folk, lighter alternative rock…
      • Do you believe music helps everyone and there is really no use for therapy in this regard? – I do believe that music helps everyone, it can help immensely, but it doesn’t mean that music doesn’t have additional therapeutic values which can be used when they are needed, and I believe that it’s beneficial effects are even more pronounced in people with mental illness or mental health issues, even other sorts of chronic illnesses or disabilities. And music has that quality that it helps to release emotions, or express them, you don’t have to be the one who creates the music to be able to express yourself through it, I believe. I think there aren’t many other ways that would be as universally effective in this, and people with mental illness often struggle with releasing their emotions in healthy ways, and that’s why I think it’s mostly so therapeutic for us.

If We Were Having Coffee… a midweek coffee share.

Anyone up for a cuppa coffee at 9 PM? Or probably it will be even later by the time I finish this post. But perhaps it’s earlier where you are so if you want a coffee, grab a cup of it and join in. Or drink whatever you feel like. I can offer you a coffee, or an iced coffee, green tea, black tea, some herbal teas, or raspberry tea, kefir, Pepsi, or water. Or you can bring something yourself so that it’ll be more diverse.

I have a lot of snacks this time that I can share with you, I’ve made a big big shopping last week, thinking I’ll be alone for a week so will need a lot of yummy stuff to munch on. A lot of sweets, like biscuits, chocolate, some hard candy, gummybears, lots of stuff that it’ll probably take me weeks or months to deal with myself so I’ll need people to help me out! But you can still bring in your own food. We don’t have much serious food here right now, no yummy dishes or anything like that, as Mum is the one who cooks those and she’s just come back from my uncle’s funeral, but I’ve also stocked the house with instant soups, pasta sauces and all sorts of cereal and yoghurts and such.

I won’t be eating anything this time, actually I only ate a little today, a late breakfast and some cookies with Zofijka, I feel kinda weird physically and don’t even have an idea why, I’m tired and a bit nauseous and lousy and I felt like not doing this coffee share today, but I need to catch up with you and tell you about an idea I had, so I don’t want to delay it all the time.

So, grab something you feel like drinking and eating, find yourself a cosy and comfy place to sit, and let’s start our coffee share properly.

If we were having coffee I’d ask all of you how are you doing and how has the last week and this week so far been for you?… πŸ™‚

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I was on a very unexpected trip to Masuria last week. my Dad just got kind of a suden idea that he’d like to go to Masuria because he’s on holidays for over two weeks now. Masuria is a sort of go-to, traditional place for some longer holidays for us. My Mum has family there, and my Dad is very much into WWII stuff so there’s a lot to explore for him. The food is heavenly there, and so are the views and just the general atmosphere. We didn’t have much time to spend there, as they were supposed to go on another trip with my Mum’s family to the Bieszczady mountains, so we left on… Thursday, I guess, and were meant to go back home on Saturday if not earlier. We didn’t do much there though, because the plans regarding their other trip were changing constantly, and my Dad got cross about it, so in the end we were home on Friday early evening. Still, I mostly liked the trip, despite my Dad’s constant irritability getting on my nerves and my own moods shifting quite a bit which was difficult to contain but I think I succeeded at it very much. It helped me to sort of get away from my anxieties, clear my mind a little, and, while the depression was still echoing somewhere in the background, my anxiety and rumination had significantly lessened while I was away, which was actually surprising, normally I’m one big nervous wreck when travelling for longer than a day and sleeping in a stranger place and all.

We went to one small town called MikoΕ‚ajki and were just wandering aimlessly around it, I bought myself a cat figurine made of porcelain, it’s blue, as in the Russian blue Misha. πŸ˜€ Oh yeah and I mised Misha terribly! I guess I’ll always have that messed up in my brain, when longing for someone, it feels like I’m never going to see them anymore or will have to lose them again very soon, it feels much more of a loss than it is, no matter what I tell myself, no matter that I know I’ll see Misha in 2 days, which is ridiculously short, it’s so stupid and shitty, I hate it. My Dad really wanted to take a ship there, around the lake in MikoΕ‚ajki, but I flat out refused because it was very windy and I was afraid my vestibular system won’t cooperate, so he was enraged, but couldn’t have any discussion with me. The next day Mum wanted to go somewhere by ship, and it wasn’t that windy so I gritted my teeth and said OK, but to my surprise Dad said we don’t have to and he doesn’t want to force me. Not quite like him, but while I would deal with that, after all we’ve sailed to Sweden and such and I dealt with it, I was happy I didn’t have to go through it again without a sound reason. πŸ˜€

After we’ve seen almost the entire MikoΕ‚ajki, we went to EΕ‚k where we very supposed to sleep, but my Dad – always planning ahead and even a bit stiff – went all wild and spontaneous this time and hadn’t booked us a place anywhere. He doesn’t have a debit/credit card, I left mine at home and Mum was almost skint so couldn’t pay for us, while all the online booking stuff only accepts cards obviously. So he was all raging, until we finally found a hotel that he could plain phone and pay them directly with cash. πŸ˜€ I was starting to think that we might end up going back home at night, so fumin he was.

I had really weird, like really weird and rather creepy dreams, some in a cool creepy way and very creative, one was gloomy-creepy and even more odd, and involved me having ECT. Only that if ECT really looked like that… it was even worse than in “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”. I don’t know what I had that for, was it depression or whatever, I just know I was seeing a very authoritarian doctor there who said something is definitely very wrong with my brain and I need ECT to get it working properly, he was the kind of person who knows everything about you before you even get a chance to say anything. It was a really gloomy and awfully depressing hospital, I felt sick just being there, and I guess it was quite a long distance from my home, because when he announced to me that I’d have to come there I guess every month me and my Mum were very unsatisfied. He first wanted me to sit there and wait for my turn while there were like a dozen of odd, metal beds with people on them, who had all something wrong with their brains, they had some stuff connected to their brains, I don’t know, wires or electrodes or whatever it was, something was beeping all the time like in a trashy medical thriller movie, the doctors were doing something to their brains, like manipulating with them with their hands, they were bound to their beds, and they had awful, like horrible, horrifying seizures, it looked gross, heart-wrenching and creepy and their dignity was taken away from them. I guess they weren’t unconscious but in some altered state of consciousness. And then I had all that stuff too, only that I didn’t have the seizures, instead I felt awful and woke up with no memory. And I know I talked with some of those people who were there, one of them was very much like my friend Jacek from Helsinki, and he told me he’s been having that for 5 years every month and he feels less and less like himself and that I should run away from there. I came back home and my whole extended family came to me to wish me speedy recovery but I didn’t even care about anything and it felt really strenuous to think. And then slowly, life would just go back to normal, and as soon as I’d start regaining my colourful brain, feeling OK, getting back my memories and was less scared of what happened, it was time to go back to that prick. It was weird that I couldn’t even just refuse, everyone was saying I have to, they were very sad about it but were saying it will help me in the end. I often have dreams when people force me to do things and no matter how hard I refuse or fight, or how diplomatically I’d try to persuade them out of it, they have to have it their way. I wonder does that mean something? πŸ˜€ So yeah, that was my dream, in a nutshell, I was going back and forth from there and seeing all those people and having it done to myself and recovering, until finally when I came there and he put me on the bed I just woke up. First I was creeped out and wondered why the hell I had such a gross dream, and it haunted me for a while, but then I started laughing at how creative my brain is. Guess I really could write thrillers based on my dreams, only I don’t like thrillers! πŸ˜€ Would like to have a talk with my brain and ask it where it got it from, during your average jolly family trip. Maybe something was wrong with that hotel! πŸ˜€

Anyway, as I told you, the next day we had to go back home, but before we did that, we visited AugustΓ³w and I had the yummiest iced latte there. And both on our way to Masuria and back home we stopped for a dinner in a lovely restaurant where I had absolutely scrumptious pierogi. Apart from my Mum’s and perhaps my grandma’s, I don’t think I’ve eaten better. Not in a restaurant for sure, and most often we eat frozen which are rather dull, so it was a great surprise! But pierogi in Masuria usually tend to be very good. So as I said my parents were supposed to go for another trip on Sunday, and they did, but had to go back, because my uncle died that same day from cancer. They normally probably wouldn’t go back, but grandma was going with them and she wanted to take part in the funeral. Coincidentally, my uncle lived in Masuria, so yesterday in the morning my family were heading back there and have just come back. I was at home with Zofijka and Misha, and Olek, but Olek’s mostly at work. For those of you who read my “Some Random Questions” post, if you’re curious, no, our house didn’t catch fire, Misha didn’t choke and Zofijka didn’t bring a norovirus home from her swimming camp, although I’m feeling really interestingly today so actually who knows… (no, brain, don’t think about that now!), instead, Zofijka came home sobbing hysterically, but didn’t want to talk so I asked Mum as for how I should handle it and Mum said I should ignore it and that means she really enjoyed the camp… Yeah, I see… No, seriously, I get it. There’s a whole long school year until another camp. I hated camps but still, I know the feeling. She’s better now, and has been out with her mates for most of the day. But my parents are going for another trip yet (my Dad’s determination to challenge theΒ  fate is pretty admirable) only not to Bieszczady but somewhere nearer, so hopefully the smaller distance will help in making it a success finally. πŸ˜€

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that Misha is being really sweet to me lately, which helps me a lot every day. I suspect it’s my little secret bottle of Mish ice cream (his favourite thick sauce) that I’ve got that made him feel so amicably towards me. Those sauces come in little tubes, so you squeeze them out and if we want to have fun Misha can lick it like ice-cream, but it gets messy and I don’t wfind those tubes very user-friendly. So Mum came up with an idea that for the time when they’ll be away she’ll put a few sauces into a bottle so I’ll have it easier to give it to him and dose properly, it’s like an oil bottle. The thing is you of course have to store those sauces in the fridge, or at least in a dark place, so I had to use up that bottle quick. I used up most of it, but sadly, some of the sauce had turned sour, I was afraid not to overfeed him. I still have his normal snacks, but the sauce effect hasn’t worn out yet and Misha graciously spends most of his very precious time with me and sleeps in his bed next to me at night, as well as has his longest day nap always here. It’s really so lovely! πŸ™‚

If we were having coffee, I’d share my idea with you, which I think is great, but I need your feedback, as it has to do with my blog and with you as my readers! I’ve been thinking about it loads and it’s not a very new idea, but, as is most often the case with me, I needed to thoroughly think it through. The idea is such – I’ve been thinking about doing something like a yearly My Inner MishMash reader award – don’t know what its actual name could be yet but that’s a secondary thing. – There are tons of awards in the blogosphere, some people like them and find them nice, for some they’re annoying, so I wasn’t thinking a blog award, like write a post and nominate people etc. Especially that, as far as I am aware, those awards tend to be connected with badges, or other banners or pics, as a way to emphasise and show that someone’s blog has been awarded and I have no idea about that. My idea is more about expressing my gratitude to my readers, having fun blogging, and just connecting with people in a fun way, and also it’d be like a small giveaway. Every year, I would pick three readers of My Inner MishMash that I think have been most involved, that come here regularly, comment etc. and that I feel particularly grateful for having them around. That would be based on my own judgment and feelings, but also on the comments stats. Then I would send out small packages to those folks, with mini things like some typically Polish yummies, T-Shirts with Misha, Mish-themed Christmas cards (as that would be sometime around Christmas and New Year) and such, I’m open for suggestions here. I’d also make an official post announcing the “winners” (although it’s not about winning and losing, obviously I’m grateful for all my engaged/reglar readers who enjoy being here at My Inner MishMash, whether you comment a lot or just read my posts, but I can’t send gratitude packages to all of you every year πŸ˜€ ). Or maybe that post would go before I’d send the packages, and it could have a bit of an award form, that part needs deeper thinking. But what I need most at the moment is for you to say what you think, if you like the idea, are you up for it? Any ideas for a name for this invention? Right now I’m considering My Inner Mishmash Involvement Award (MIMIA) or My Inner MishMash Readership Award (MIMRA), it’s not really an award but it looks better in the acronyms than giveaway, but that feels a little stiff, or maybe it’s just me. My other idea is just simple EMisha’s Christmas Mini Care Package. Yeah, could use some feedback… I love baby names, but titles and such aren’t my ground as much.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m getting lots of new equipment soon! I’m happy not happy. I’ve got the maximum funding for my new Braille-Sense and Plextalk, so I really don’t have to pay much myself compared with the original price especially of Braille-Sense, which is good. I also decided to get a new computer, the one I have right now is about 5 and just seems to feel like retiring soon. My current computer is a laptop, but the one I’m going to get is a desktop, simply because it seems more logical for me, I almost only use my laptop in my room anyway. I’m happy because the change is really needed, especially re Braille-Sense, which is a geriatric, but I’m not happy and all anxious and fidgety because I hate hate hate changes and seem to have some internal problem with tech stuff and changing it, arrrghhhh. It’s not because of the sentiment, I just hate change, I’m afraid something will go wrong, or I won’t be able to transition and adjust, I won’t learn to handle the different things, which is quite unlikely. I guess I’d never had that strong anxiety with tech related transitions before, I guess before most of them I was very happy most of all, I don’t like the intensity of it at all. I’m gonna have my new stuff in the end of August.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, although I’m not sleepy, because I woke up at about 11:30 AM today, I feel very tired for some reason and kind of weird so I’m going to bed soon.

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

 

Working On Us.

This week, I’m again participating in Beckie’s mental health prompts series Working On Us over at

Beckie’s Mental Mess.Β 

This week’s topic is suicide, which is a very difficult and often triggering topic for so many of us, so please read this post carefully or do not read it, if you feel like it might affect you in any negative way.

I am going to participate in the prompt #1, which consists of the following questions.

  1. Have you ever experienced suicidal thoughts? – Yes. I’ve been experiencing suicidal thoughts and ideations since about the age of 9-10, which is also roughly when I was diagnosed with my first depressive episode by a psychologist. Back then, and throughout my early teenage years, my suicidal thoughts were the strongest.
  2. Have you ever attempted suicide? – No, but I was very close to attempting a few times. There were a few things that were holding me back back then. First of all, I am Christian, so I always felt like I needed to be strong for the sake of that, and that if I’d die by suicide, it wouldn’t necessarily mean things would become better for me. Another thing is that I was always scared of overdosing, which would be in practical terms the easiest way to attempt suicide. I’m scared of that because of emetophobia, I mean the consequences I’d have to face if my attempt would fail, being cleared and all that. Also I’ve heard some awful stories as a kid, of people who overdosed on meds and ended up as pretty much vegetables with very damaged brains. If I am to live in this world, I want to have my brain working at least, as it is my shield and weapon. When my suicidal ideations were particularly severe – that is when I was 10 and recovering from an Achilles tendons surgery – looking back on that time I think that if I was given a chance, I could very likely make an attempt, but I had my both legs in huuuge plasters and was very immobile and relied on others for a lot of things, so, although I had plenty of ideas, fortunately they weren’t that easy to undertake. Besides, so many people say suicide is a sign of weakness. I think you actually have to be a strong person to be determined enough to do it. I don’t consider myself particularly strong.
  3. Were you ever hospitalized for a suicidal attempt and/or ideation? – No. I rarely even talk to people in my surroundings about such things in a serious way, so back then no one actually knew I was suicidal, just that I was depressed, and now things are better in that respect so I wouldn’t need to be hospitalised at this point.
  4. When you were hospitalized, what was your experience like? – N/a.
        1. Do you ever feel suicidal ideation since your release? – As I said, I’ve never been hospitalised for being suicidal, but yes, even though I’m doing better than I did in the past, at least in terms of suicidality, I still do experience suicidal thoughts. They’re usually of a passive kind though, unlike in the past, unless I feel really depressed and overloaded, then sometimes I can still feel really bad active suicidal ideations. But it’s just a mere echo of what it was like for me when I was younger, that was hellish.

 

Question of the day.

Hi guys! πŸ™‚

Have you experienced any minor annoyances today?

My answer:

Well, the last couple of weeks hasn’t been particularly easy for me and I’ve had a lot of particularly low depression, and now a lot of anxiety. Overall I guess things aren’t bad, on the outside, so I can’t think of any external minor annoyances that would be major enough to actually mention them, but my brain is not very cooperative at all and all messed up, and I could say that’s what annoys me the most. Just every single thing stresses me out or I overthink it for what feels like ages and can’t stop it.

How about you? πŸ™‚

Song of the day (1st July) – Grant – “Waterline”.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

I have a song for you that I want to show you that comes from great young Swedish artist – Grant, artist name for Alma Caroline CederlΓΆf. – She’s debuted last year, and this is actually her debut single and the first song I’ve heard from her. I heard it for the first time at the beginning of this year and it really, really spoke to me. And I think it’s going to speak to many people who struggle with mental illnesses, or any mental health issues. Her voice is powerful and magnetic, and the lyrics are raw, brutal and honest, but also positive. Hence I think it’s one of the best songs from my favourite artists tackling this subtle topic. Grant herself has been battling with anxiety, and her music has helped her to take back the control over her own life and deal with it. Here is this powerful piece.

Working On Us.

It’s week #4 of Working On Us at

Beckie’s Mental Mess

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If We Were Having Coffee… or whatever else you fancy. #WeekendCoffeeShare

#WeekendCoffeeShare at Eclectic Alli’s.

Welcome to another coffee share, quite an early one, especially as for me, but I haven’t been too regular with posting lately and I might not be for a few more days so I thought we’d have another coffee share as some longer, catch-up post.

I’ve had my green tea already in the morning as I woke up early and needed it badly so I’m now having sparkling water with lemon, and very yummy Polish biscuits called Delicje – they are round sponge biscuits covered in chocolate with a jelly filling, mine are with orange jelly and as much as I love Delicje, the orange-flavoured ones are the only ones I find acceptable, OK, raspberry ones are OK, but just OK. – Help yourselves! I’ve also made a cake earlier today – a sponge cake with jelly and raspberries – (wow I’m kinda monotematic today with sponge, fruit and jelly, perhaps someone has an idea why? :D). It’s my name day on Sunday, hence I made it. And Mum made yummilicious croquettes (I don’t even know if that’s exactly the same thing in English, but oh well) with rice and mushrooms. I love them, and so does Olek, so if you’d like to sample, you need to hurry as he’ll soon be back from work and there will be nothing left. πŸ˜€ And I guess that’s all really yummy food (in my opinion) we have today, and you can bring something you have to our coffee share to make it more diverse than just sponge with jelly. πŸ˜€ Get yourself a comfortable place to chill and let’s start our chat, shall we? πŸ™‚

If we were having coffee, or not coffee, I’d ask you how things have been going for you and what has happened in your life this week…?

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m feeling like rubbish today. Not the most optimistic note to start a coffee share and a weekend in general but what can I do. I don’t even know why. I woke up feeling OK, like near the baseline, but things have started spiraling down since early afternoon. I can’t get to why that is really. I feel depressed, and even a bit anhedonic, which is not my usual definitely, even if I am badly depressed I can often still feel the pleasure from things I love to some degree but I just feel kind of apathetic and sort of disconnected and don’t care about things too much, I also feel lonely because I feel disconnected, and don’t know what’s going on with my brain. Not like it would change a lot if I knew, and like it matters to me at the moment very much, but it’s always nice to be able to have a clue at least about your brain. I’ve also been having extremely sad and emotional dreams for a couple days which I don’t get either. I mean, scary dreams – yes, – intense, in whatever way – definitely, – strange – all the time, – but I don’t normally have plain sad dreams in which I’d feel all emotional and vulnerable, and yesterday I actually woke up crying. Today I had a sad dream too but it wasn’t quite as unsettling and I mostly remember the emotions of it, not the plot, so I didn’t think much about it, but the phenomenon of such an abundance of sad dreams is interesting. I get emotional dreams like this sometimes around the periods of time that used to be difficult for me in the past but now it’s not the case. Sometimes I wish my brain could speak, or write, or something. I’m so used to bottling up stuff that now I often don’t understand what it’s trying to tell me, ’cause I suppose it must want something from me if there’s no straightforward explanation.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you we’ve had another hot week here, but thankfully today it’s very nicely fresh and chilly, apparently only for a while, Dad says we’ll have another hot day on Sunday. But it’s a relief for all the people I think that at least now it’s cooler.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that at the beginning of this week, my router died. I had to get a new one and installing it and configuring was quite a pain, and I had a whole long boring day and a half with no Internet and not much to do, but now things are back to normal.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that Misha has a new hiding place, and this time, it’s a really good one, ’cause we still can’t figure out where it is, after over a week. He just disappears every day for a good few hours and then suddenly comes back out of nowhere. It’s amazing how after 3 years of living here, he still hasn’t ran out of ideas! πŸ˜€

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that I’m going to another meeting – like the one I went to earlier this month, in that sort of foundation or association that Zofijka’s friend’s mum works in – this time with a woman who used to live in Ireland, she’s Polish. That’s going to be very interesting for me for sure, since I love Ireland! I’m quite anxious again, even though I’ve already been there and it went well. It’s going to be on Monday.

If we were having coffee I’d also tell you that Zofijka’s friend’s mum was supposed to visit us yesterday, and then today, or on Sunday, but it seems like nothing will come out of it. While I’m happy for her to come over, I’m also secretly relieved that she won’t be coming today, as I’m definitely not in the mood for socialising whatsoever and wouldn’t be able to do it right the way I’m feeling now, just normal smalltalk feels so depressing and exhausting at the moment. As if I ever was good at smalltalk hahaha.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that we’re most likely going to the beach on Sunday, which I’m quite glad about, the sea usually makes me feel very good and I feel a strong connection with it, and I love being by the sea. We have our very special beach that is quite far away from us, it’s situated in a village in SΕ‚owiΕ„ski National Park, and it’s really clean and tranquil there, there are few beaches that are that quiet and clean. And we had a plan of going there, but because it’s apparently going to be rather hot, and the ride is long there, and then you have to walk 2 km through a nature reserve back and forth it would be quite tiring and time consuming compared to how much time we’d actually spend on the beach, so we probably won’t be going there and somewhere much closer and filled with people. πŸ˜€ In any case, I hope it’ll be cool and I’ll feel less depressed by then. Also as I said it’s my name day on Sunday so that’s going to be a nice way of spending it I hope.

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

 

Working On Us – Mental Health Prompt.

Beckie over at

Beckie’s Mental Mess

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

 

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

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

Question of the day.

What have you been up to these days, besides work and/or school?

My answer:

Not much really. My Mum’s been on intermittent fast for about a month now, she wants it to be her lifestyle and just a part of her normal life now, and she wants to keep in shape with it. I thought I could do that too, and started on Monday, not because of any dieting or such and not with an intention of doing it like all the time, just kind of detoxicate a bit, maybe a week or two. And I wanted to do it for spiritual reasons as well, I find fasting very helpful for me in a religious way, your mind is clearer, but fasting like fasting, not eating anything for a day or even more, is challenging for me because I start feeling very weak easily and my blood pressure drops even more than normally so that doesn’t make a lot of sense to do that. If you don’t know what intermittent fast is, it’s basically like you set yourself a time period in which you can eat, and have a usually 16-hour break when you don’t eat anything, so for me it was like I finished all the eating at 6 PM and had my first meal at 10 AM. Might sound very difficult and horrible if you are used to eating a lot, or eating very frequently, but it’s easy to get used to it and in my opinion not a big deal. But I didn’t stick to IF for longer than until today morning. It’s steaming hot here, also since Monday, so in a way you eat less because you aren’t as hungry, but I found that if I’m not eating anything at all other than drinking water or teas for so long it gets draining together with the heat and I feel exhausted and really not well. Although maybe it’s just a coincidence. But I thought I’ll wait with it for some time that will be easier for me, if I’ll be still up to it then, it’s not something I have to do or feel like I need to, just out of curiosity mostly.

So as I said it’s very hot here, and I’m not liking it very much. Warm is fine but I hate the heat and am not getting along with it one bit, today I laid in bed with a migraine for most of the day, I still feel lucky it didn’t last longer. My room and Olek’s are particularly roasting hot but I don’t like the idea of moving somewhere else for the time of the heatwave, and living in the living room for example, where it is much calmer but also it’s an open space and everyone walks in and out so I’d go mad. πŸ˜€ So we have to share a fan with Olek and I’m seriously considering getting myself an AC and regretting that I didn’t do that in winter when they are not quite as pricey, even though I thought about that last year. πŸ˜€ Yeah that’s a dilemma. πŸ˜€ I probably will have to if it keeps like this. I hate that I don’t have the energy for doing much at all these days but that’s probably also due to the heat, so I’m really not up to much.

I also feel pretty low and just out of tune overall recently and have a lot of anxiety and ruminate just about anything for ages and can’t stop it which is exhausting. Don’t know why that is, I mean generally if there was such a profession as ruminator I would be a billionaire by now but that thing now is far worse than I am normally and is really stressing me out, I can literally zone out and just think about the worst, gloomiest or scariest things, and I just feel very easily overwhelmed and unsettled and kinda like I’m overreacting emotionally to everything. I’m currently on my period which is certainly not helping things but it’s finishing so I don’t think it’s just that. The positive thing is that my sleep cycle is surprisingly good these days, it’s not normal for me when I’m feeling low and anxious like that. I mean it can take me quite a while to settle for sleep and get out of Ruminland at night but when I do, I sleep without waking and it’s restful sleep. We’ll see what it’ll be like today though, because I slept a lot during the day with the migraine, and mentally didn’t feel like there could be anything better than sleep that I’d feel more up to, but I still feel pretty tired so hope it’ll make me sleep at night.

So, how about you? πŸ™‚

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