My inner phobias…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Question of the day.

How do you comfort yourself when you have anxiety?

My answer:

First of all, in the recent few years my main comfort in everyday situations when I feel mild to moderate anxiety and the most effective one is Misha. When my anxiety gets higher, Misha is of course of significant help as well, though might not always be enough on his own. Nevertheless, Misha provides me with such an excellent support that it’s a bit unbelievable to me, that such a little being can help you so much just being close to you. Other than that, it often depends on a kind of anxiety, and its intensity. Music usually helps me a lot, and distraction, so usually books or doing stuff online or going for walks with Mum or playing with Zofijka, the last only when anxiety is rather mild. Sometimes food comforts me, but when nxiety is really bad it usually doesn’t and food is the last thing I want to think about. I often feel shaky and chilly while anxious so warmth helps too, whether it is laying in bed with Misha and a hotwater bottle or drinking something hot or wrapping up warm or a hot bath or sometimes hot food, hot like spicy or hot like warm. If I am able to at the moment I try to reach out to my friends. And of course there are medications as well, though since my anxiety medication is quite strong and I take it as needed rather than continuously and preventively, I most often try as much as possible for it to be the ultimatum to which I turn to when all else fails rather than something I seek comfort in immediately when anxiety strikes. Other than that it really depends on the kind of anxiety, whether it’s social anxiety, any of my fabulously freaky phobias, the very strange and hard to describe, and even harder to overcome “sensory” anxiety, as I tend to call it, or freaking out about anything and everything. But Misha is the best for everything and always helps! πŸ˜‚

What are your comforting strategies? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Hi people. πŸ™‚

Since February is definitely a birthdays month in my family, I have another birthday related question for you.

How do you like to celebrate your birthday? Do you actually like celebrating it at all or is it just a normal day for you?

My answer:

I definitely dislike the conventional way of celebrating special days – all people crowding around the table, having to absorb huge amounts of food at once, smalltalking, feeling bored and either you being in the centre of attention all the time or people not caring at all about the reason of the celebrations but just being happy to have some place to go and stuff themselves with food – depending what kind of a family you have. πŸ˜€ My extended are a blend of both haha. No that’s not for me. I try to have possibly decent relationships with my extended family, at least my Mum’s family, even though I don’t feel much of a connection with them for a variety of reasons, so I’ll adjust to such a way of celebrating if I have to, but that’s normally not my thing. I much prefer spending my birthday with just the people I genuinely love or like and care about and with whom I feel well like my immediate family and my online friends. For years I would rather avoid celebrating my birthdays at the boarding school so now I’m not that crazy about them either. It’s nice to do some things you really like on your birthday, to make it more special, be them something very unusual or just every day things you like, though my birthday this year, although really nice, wasn’t something I celebrated a lot. I know my Mum wanted us to go to the Italian restaurant that is quite close to us, because we both love Italian food, but unfortunately in the end it wasn’t possible as it would collide with my Dad’s job and Mum usually has to pick him up. Anyway, luckily I could avoid my extended family coming over, and my Mum just made my favourite toffi cake and my favourite salad and then chips for us for supper, which were all very yummy, we also went to church because of my birthday and I got a picture of a cat that looks almost like Misha, from my Mum, and it was all very nice. But other than that it was just a normal day, and if I had to choose whether I prefer having a rather normal, maybe even a bit uneventful birthday or a family gathering, I would definitely prefer the first. Other than that, here in Poland as in many other European countries we also have name days, which are originally a Christian tradition, and maybe because I’m Christian, or maybe for some other reason, celebrating your patron saint’s day seems just more worth celebrating than the fact you’re getting older. Especially now as I could change my legal name a few years ago and like the name Emilia, it feels like just a much better opportunity to celebrate. My name day is on 30th June so it’s always summer holidays then here, so even the atmosphere is more favourable and you can do more fun things, and my extended family still can’t get used to me having nam te day in June so I don’t have to worry about socialising too much. πŸ˜€

How about you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

What would your perfect shindig involve?

My answer:

Well I guess a perfect shindig for me would be no shindig at all. It’s definitely not my thing. I sometimes can’t stand a normal family gathering, let alone a noisy party for God knows how many people. But if I had to take part in one, I’d be happy if there were some places where I could take refuge, or from where it would be easy to take a French leave and sneak out to my room with Misha as soon as possible. I just had a similar situation today. It’s my Dad’s nameday, and because it’s Sunday, lots of people came in hopes that there will be a lot of food and an opportunity to have fun. And my poor Mum had to make all that food, of course. At first we had a big dinner for the grandparents, and after that my Mum was really kind and understanding to me. She was in the kitchen and called me out. She said she just thought I’d probably be much happier to help her rather than sit with the rest of them, which was of course true, just took me aback a little bit since my Mum usually doesn’t care that much about my social dilemmas. SO I helped her out with making the bread – well helped would be probably too big a word, but I tried, anyway. – And then I could sneak out to my room and Mum told me she’d call me when the rest of the guests would come. ANd she did, so I came down to socialise with them a bit, but there was soon so many people, including children, or so it felt for me, that I felt sort of overstimulated, and despite really good intentions, I had to leave rather early, I started to feel really uncomfortable. So, no, no shindigs, please!!!

You? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

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

My answer:

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

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

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

How about you? πŸ™‚

Carnival.

Anyone else here hates carnival?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How about you? Do you like dancing? πŸ™‚ Have you been to many huge parties with dancing? Do you like carnival?

So I did it. And I’m back home.

I took a nap during the day which made me feel a little bit better overall. As I wrote in the previous post we’ve had a family gathering because of my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. We went to the church, and riding was tough, but pretty manageable.
When we left to go to the restaurant for the actual party, I started to feel quite overwhelmed by the amount of people. I really don’t do well when there are so many people, not even just because of the anxiety, but it also always makes me confused, particularly if I don’t know many of those people, as it was today. It’s hard for me to communicate effectively and have any pleasure out of it when there are almost 50 people, it’s rather overwhelming. But I tried my best and I think despite not feeling secure in the situation I did pretty well.
I only stayed for dinner, then we had a photo session and then some cake and coffee. As for the eating in a large group of people issue I managed it well because I ate very little before so by the time the dinner started I was pretty hungry and didn’t focus that much on other things. And the food was really yummy.
Then my grandad came to me and asked me if I’d like to leave. I thought maybe it’s very visible that I don’t feel very well among so many people, but it turned out he asked because he had to leave for a little while anyway to bring something from the house, so he could drop on his way. My grandad as I told you before is a typical introvert and he doesn’t like to be among many people either, I know he’d rather spent today’s evening fishing or something but that’s the reality, when you have a family, sometimes you need to make compromises.
I wondered whether it’s not too early to leave, but he said it’ll be completely OK and that he knows I’d be bored so I don’t have to explain myself. It’s good when you have someone who just gets things. And it felt very kind of him to think of me.
So then there was a little fuss because one of the guests came quite belated so they all were welcoming him and stuff and so we just sneaked out.
I asked grandad how he’s feeling about the party, because I know it was actually my aunts’ idea to make it so huge and sumptuous, and he said that yes, he’d much prefer to be already in bed watching his favourite movie that is on TV today, but he was happy that his family is happy and having fun. Hm, I don’t know if I’d have such a big family of my own and they’d make such a big party in honour of mine, that I would be so dedicated and thoughtful as he is. πŸ˜€
So he left me and I’ve just got out of my party outfit, fed Misha and checked my email and I think I’ll jump into the shower now and then go to sleep straight away. I feel kinda exhausted despite that nap earlier today, I think I’m having PMS or something, it would be the time, don’t know if I’ll sleep but at least just lie in bed and read something, it’s only 8 PM. I feel lucky I don’t have to be there now when they’re dancing. But I also think I managed fairly well those four hours I’ve been there and had my anxiety under control despite it was strong.
OK, so sleep well guys, if it’s sleep time for you as well, or if not I hope you’re having a nice day. πŸ™‚