Sunday, 15 April 2018

25. Turning 24

My 24th birthday was recently.
I'm old now.

It's interesting to compare what I wrote on my 22nd birthday to how my life is now. It's certainly better. Mainly due to the medication that I take for my social anxiety disorder. People say that taking meds for mental illness changes your personality. In my experience, it really doesn't. Instead, it enables your personality, or the personality you had before mental illness threw it in a hole and buried it, to come forth. Have I changed? Of course I have. But, if anything, I'm more me than I've been for about 15 years. Meds are complicated, and they're not for everyone, but not a day goes by that I'm not incredibly grateful for their existence. 

Living alone has been a challenge. Also, the friends I talked about in the post two years ago have mostly disapparated, except for one. I made some new ones, but having a healthy social life remains a challenge. I don't like alcohol. Or drugs. Or smoking. I don't like parties where you're supposed to get drunk. I don't like music that isn't really music, but that is less melodious than when I repeatedly beat my head against a table. And I especially don't like LOUD music, or LOUD people who keep screaming random things near my ear for no apparent reason. What I look for is a small group of friends who 'get' me. Who won't try to change me. And who I feel I don't have to change for. And I have some of those. Which is great. But I'm still not content. Which is ungrateful. I suppose what I feel is missing are one to two people:

Firstly: Some love! Would be nice. I'm difficult, though. I need someone who can handle me at my most complicated, which is a challenge.
Secondly: Someone who can handle when I talk about my mental illnesses, and, at the same time, someone who isn't a lot worse off than me in that aspect. A lot of people can handle my mental illnesses, but only because theirs are worse. Which I'm game for, I'm a good listener, and I love to help, but as to this person I am specifically looking for: They're not it. I need someone who doesn't freak out at what I say when I'm not even touching the surface of the depth of my mental health issues. And at the same time someone who doesn't laugh at the comparative smallness of my issues, saying: 'That's nothing, I...'
I have some people online who can be that second person, and that's wonderful and helpful, and I don't want to diminish it. But sometimes you need someone to be able to come over. Sometimes a girl needs a real hug. 

Living alone, for me, also isn't exactly a real option. If I'm alone for too long, all my energy goes down the drain. Anxiety and depression prey on me. It ain't pretty. So I'm currently considering moving back in with my parents. Which is not ideal. But I'm not sure what else to do. The next couple of semesters will be filled with online university, so I don't really need to live anywhere specific. And it seems strange to just throw a dart at a map and hope it doesn't land anywhere expensive. 

I did start online dating this year. I met a couple of guys and had my first official date with a girl. I was so nervous, people. I'm not even sure why. The whole point of my bisexuality is that I don't give a crap over people's gender(s). But I guess, maybe, this hasn't been entirely true lately. I've been attracted to girls more. I am, of course, still bi, but I'm not at the 50/50 anymore, like I used to be. Well. Sexuality is fluid. I'm just gonna have to go with its flow, I s'ppose. 

The main thing I'm doing this year is one thing: Study. I have my (finally!) final law exams in either May or June (yes. I wish I knew which one. This is not ideal. The fact that I don't know if I still have one or two months to prepare is freaking me out). Final law exams are ridiculous in Germany. Basically, you have to know everything you learned over five years. Most people take 1 to two years to prepare. I decided to take 6 months. Because I am mildly insane. Which is a good thing, I hear. I'm also doing four psychology exams in September. Which is double the work of a normal, full-time semester. And  I'll be having my oral exam for Law in either October or November. I'm studying nine hours almost every day. I used to be lazy when it came to school. I'm not lazy anymore. Just mildly insane. Which is a good thing, I hear. I guess I'm kind of glad that it's this insane amount of work. I don't feel bad or worried about it. I actually kind of like it. I'm one of those strange people who don't really worry about the actual exams too much. Which is not to say that I don't worry. But I mostly worry about being late, not finding the room, not being on the list, and so on. These things cause me intense panic on the day of and the days just before the exam. Once I'm actually seated, with the exam in hand, allowed to begin, I sigh with relief. 

This blog post isn't really all that structured, but I don't mind. I think it's good for me to write posts like this one once in a while. To gain a bit of perspective. And it's nice to look back and see how I've changed, and how my life has changed. 

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

24. Is talking about your mental illness a sad thing?

Hello kind people!
I am back. At least, for now. I'm not making any promises.

I'm almost 24 now and I do feel quite old. 

I've grown quite a lot over the past two years I think. I certainly learned a lot. Like, how to be confident. At least a bit. How to be honest and open to people in real life, not just on the internet. 

People are still quite scary, but ever since I started taking medication for my social anxiety disorder, I've started talking to them more. The people. Not all of them, of course, just some of them. 

And these moments when I reach out to people are probably my favourite moments in my life. 

Even if my anxiety often still scolds me afterwards. Who cares. I scold her, too, sometimes. Millie, the anxiety. Millie doesn't go away when I've done the scary thing. Millie says unkind things to me for a long time after I've done the scary thing. But Millie is often quiet, too. Which didn't use to be the case, so I'm grateful for that.

I can't seem to help talking about my mental health. I don't set out to, but I suppose it's a pressing issue that needs to get out. I do feel guilty about it. I don't want people to feel worse because of me. So I try to keep conversations about it to a minimum. The problem is that even that minimum seems to be way too much. And, I mean, I get it. No one wants to talk about sad stuff. Because that's what it feels like to people. They feel sad, and they feel helpless, and of course they don't want to feel that way, because why the hell would they??

But for me talking about it and having people listen is incredibly empowering. I can't even tell you quite why. Perhaps because I like to be taken seriously. Perhaps because sometimes I think I've just imagined my anxiety, or that it's completely normal. Which would mean I would have to deal with it on my own, and there would be no help. 

Hearing what Millie is telling me outside of my head, getting someone's perspective, talking through it with someone non-judgemental, all of that is very empowering and beneficial to me. And no, that is not the job of a therapist. 

I mean, it is. But you can't just go to a therapist and be cured. That's not how life works. That's like going to a hospital for a broken leg, and they fix it, but you don't get crutches, nobody picks you up and also you have to build your own bed in the forest out of rocks and wet leaves because nobody's there to help.

This might not be the greatest comparison. 

But you get what I mean. You need people. You need trusting relationships. 

Also there's a lot of terrible therapists in the field. And even ones that are good just don't work for everyone. The notion that if someone has therapy everything is fine and you have no responsibility for their mental health is incredibly naive.

Don't get me wrong. As a friend or family member you are not responsible for someone's mental health. But you do have a responsibility for it. Meaning that if somebody's mental health decreases, it is - of course! - not your fault. But also meaning that if you choose to be someone's friend, you don't get to back out of the bad parts. If your friend tells you they're struggling you don't get to say 'but you have a therapist :) ' and go back to talking about Grey's Anatomy.

But there's another point I am trying to make. Of course when people share their struggles with you it can be tough. Especially if you care about them. You want them to be happy. But to me, people telling me bad stuff happening in their lives does  not make me sad. And I guess I know why that is. 

I don't feel powerless. 

I guess somebody who has never dealt with mental illness suddenly eye to eye with a struggling friend feels like I would if somebody told me:

'We're on a football field. All the players have died in a mysterious fire. You need to score the final goal or we will be eternally doomed.'

This makes more sense if you know that I know less about football than Trump knows about kindness -

well, maybe not quite. No need to be drastic. 

What I mean is that when I encounter someone with a mental health related problem, I know most of what to avoid, I know what could possibly help, and I am not afraid of the deep and dark mysterious, because it's not that deeply and darkly mysterious to me. 

And - which is why I'm not sad - I know that even if I just listen and do nothing else, the person next to me will still be better off than they were five minutes ago. And that's what's important to me in that situation. So, in a way, these types of situations make me not sad, not scared - but kind of happy. 

You don't need a psychology degree to be helpful.

You don't need to have struggled yourself to be helpful.

You don't need to read and analyse ever letter of the ICD-10 or the DSM-5 to be helpful.

You don't need to cure anyone.

You don't need to find any solutions.

You just need to sit and listen.

And that will always be enough.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

23. The real and utter history of Easter traditions entirely unsupported by any sort of fact

What does the rise of Jesus have to do with bunnies pooping eggs? Find out here.

What only a small selection of people have figured out: Jesus's friend Peter? He was a bunny. Because Jesus was not above making friends with small furry mammals, he was just above making friends with poor, dead-eyed fish. Of course Peter wasn't the only one of Jesus's friends that came from the animal kingdom: Wait till I tell you about Judas!
But that's a story for another day.
Anyway. Jesus and his friends had been walking through the desert for many-a-day, because Jesus liked to use the desert as inspiration for his similes. The hot, feverish climate helped him stay focused on them. Well, he and his friends were very much low on nutrients. Some of them started to show signs of illness and hallucination. One saw God, even though Jesus explained very patiently, that it wasn't God at all, there was in fact nothing there, and Jesus would know coz he knows his own dad. The guy still saw God and had a chat with him. He invited him to dinner, but God declined.
That was when Jesus knew that it was time to take action. His idea was to produce fruits or vegetables, something with a lot of water in them. He asked Peter to help him. He looked at Peter and he spoke to God, and it wasn't more than a minute later that Peter excused himself. He hid behind a bush. Another minute later and Peter hopped forwards, embarrassed, flinging a white egg in front of him with his nose.
There were a lot of uuhs and aaahs from the group, but Jesus wasn't very content. Not only did one of his best friends have to excuse himself every few minutes, which made him a poor conversation partner, the thirst for water was still greater than their hunger. So he spoke to God again.
A few minutes later, Peter brought forward another egg. But this time, it was brown.
"Are you sure that's food?", Jesus asked with a frown.
Peter nodded and held the egg up with his paw.
The egg started to melt.
It was liquid chocolate.

This is the story of how Jesus and his friends survived the brutal heat of the desert, thank God.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

22. Turning 22!! Recap of the past year

As I sort of did last year, I, again, want to do a recap about my past year. Because I'm turning 22 today. Which is scary. And ridiculous. To misquote Taylor Swift I am not feeling twenty-two. Whatever that feels like, anyway.
Well, I feel like I'm no where where I need to be. I haven't grown up as much as I should have. Things that happened in my child- and teenagehood still bother me a lot and I feel like I should be done with this now. I'm not.
Mental Health wise I'm better and worse: I'm doing a lot for self-care, which is wonderful, and, which is actually pretty amazing, I haven't had a depressive episode (that lasted longer than two weeks) all year!! I still have depressive moods that last up to two weeks but they're not as bad as they could be. But my anxiety has increased and I'm not sure what to do with that. I went to see a therapist but I didn't feel like I could do the necessary things for him to be able to help me (like talk about actual events that trigger these emotions or go outside with him and point out what's going on inside my head). I'm not sure what I'm gonna do now.
Something good that's happened this year: I've started studying psychology this year!! It's online classes but it's the real deal with a real degree at the end :) I'm so glad I'm doing it and loving it so far!
Making life choices is really hard. I still don't know which dreams to keep and which to give up on. I kind of want to quit studying law. But my parents are against it and I'm not sure if I would regret it if I did actually quit. For my other dreams... Well, it's hard to keep faith. I've written a book which I thought was great, but all it has received is rejection. I've sent in poems, stories, books to competitions and they were all rejected as well. I don't deal well with rejection. At all. Any kind of rejection makes me question my whole being. It's hard to keep writing and to keep sending things in. I love writing but I don't want to keep getting rejected. I also went to quite a few singing auditions this year and none worked out. I didn't know it would be so hard to get a role, even at Uni. I've started thinking that I may be overestimating my singing abilities. Because of all this rejection I've started getting 'the nerves' before any kind of singing in public. I always love singing on stage, no matter what, but before and after are an absolute nightmare. I get incredibly nervous which I never used to do. Waiting is horrible then. And afterwards I over-analyse everything. I've also started crying everytime I sing a song alone in my room. I guess it's because I feel like I have to give up on this dream and it's breaking my heart. It's because I'm alone and no one hears or is interested in what I'm singing. I guess it's because no one cares.
Sorry for all the whining! :O
Lots of good things have happened as well. But a lot of things aren't going the way I want them to. But it's okay. I mean, I'm alive! And I've actually found some kind of love for myself. It helps me fight the dark thoughts and keep depression at bay.

About a year ago I found out I was bisexual. Which makes it sound like I went to the doctor and he was like 'Here are your results! You're... drum roll please... bisexual!' It's not like that. I guess 21 is quite late to realise this fact about yourself (though some people do so a lot later). I suppose I just never dared to really give it much thought. When I was little I didn't know bisexual was a thing so I thought I might be a lesbian, which didn't make sense, either, so I decided I was straight because it fitted my family's world view. I started questioning this a few years back but never really landed on anything. This is partly because I'm actually attracted to very few people and was barely attracted to anyone for years. It's also because I never kissed anyone or had a boy- or girlfriend, which has a lot of reasons (and none of them are that I'm just a horrible person :P) so I thought I didn't have the 'right' to a sexuality at all. Then I thought I might be asexual because of all these things. But I'm not. Soo, yeah :D Not sure you needed to know that :D But I have been dealing with all the issues related to this this past year so it should be in this post. Y' know, homophobia in my family and society, thinking about how to ask a girl out when you have no idea what their sexuality is and don't feel comfortable sharing yours yet, coming out, not coming out, all that stuff. 
But time for some positivity now: I moved to a new town and I was terrified, because there were no flatshares available so I had to get a flat on my own. I was so scared that I was gonna get depressed. But actually, I turn out to be a rather supportive roommate to myself :D :) With all that self-care going on I'm doing okay! Yay! And the town is great. There are lots of lovely people and I've made friends really quickly :) I've also become more optimistic this past year and started seeing things more positively in general. I've also become more what I'd like to call 'emotionally independent'. I used to get attached to 'a best friend' and my entire mental health would rely on them. It hasn't been like this for about five years but how I felt really still depended on what other people did. Of course other people still have the ability to make me feel better, or worse, I mean, that's just completely normal. But over the past year I learned that I could be a friend to myself. I'm the person who gets what's going on inside my head. So I should be the one who's understanding, because I'm the one who does understand. Right? 
Well, anyway. There are a lot of things I did right this year. A lot of happy memories made. A lot of fear and sadness and desperation. But also a lot of love, strength, kindness, and faith, and visits from that thing with feathers. 

Sunday, 20 September 2015

21. Suicide Prevention Month!

It's Suicide Prevention Month! 
A cause for celebration? 
You might not think so, but I do! 
It's where we celebrate the strength and bravery of those of us who struggle (who are, sadly, always more of us than we might think) and still manage to hold on to life for just one more day, or even just one more minute. 
It's to celebrate every conversation about suicide that people are having right now, because this month reminds us of how much we love our family and friends, and how dreadful we would feel if we lost one of them. 
It's a month of encouragement for all the silent sufferers, to speak out, a reminder for all of us that there is not a single person on this earth who isn't cared about. 
It's a cause for celebration for all who've managed to hold on to life, and a scary reminder of all the things they would have missed out on if they hadn't. 
It's a month of gratitude for all the subtle and even bottomless kindness that we have received from family, friends, strangers that may have kept us alive, even if we didn't know it at the time. 
As well as a reminder that one smile or one hug or one word can save a life. 
Most of all, it is a reminder and a month to celebrate that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. That there are people out there who UNDERSTAND and who will take you seriously and who will help you. As well as people who NEED YOU, because you understand and you will take them seriously and you will be able to help them, even if you don't think you can or are helping them.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

20. Fictional Life Tag!

Today I'm in the mood for something fun! This is going to be the Fictional Life Tag. Thanks to for tagging me :)

Not entirely sure, but I'm assuming books and TV shows/films are both okay :)
1. What fictional world would you love to live in?
Okay, if you get this I will love you forever: As a child my favourite book was 'Witch Week' (almost wrote 'Witch Wee', there, sorry. Would have been a very different book) by Diana Wynne Jones. I have now, as an adult (no, I am not ashamed) read most of the other Chrestomanci books. So, as he can travel through worlds, I would love to live with him in his castle and accompany him on his journeys. Sorry,  most people won't get this. Actually, the only book of hers anybody seems to know is 'Howl's Moving Castle', because they made a film out of it. I personally preferred watching 'Archer's Goon' on Youtube (another kids' TV series - don't judge). So, if I can't live with Chrestomanci, I would live in... wait for it...
Or in the world of Charlie Bone. I loved the books but I've forgotten most of the names of places in the series, so I'll just have to call it 'the world of Charlie Bone'. Lovely. Basically, anywhere where I can use magic and I can make some questionable friends - I'm happy.

2. What fictional being would you be?

A witch. Any witch, anywhere, always. As a child I hoped and prayed I was really a witch and would discover that at one point - no luck yet. But I'm still hoping...

3. What fictional creature/animal would you keep as a pet?

A flying, talking unicorn! And if I can have two, a tiny talking dragon as well!

4. Who would your fictional mum and dad be?

Can I have Sirius and Lupin not die and have one of them as my dad? Or both of them? They could adopt me and I could find my birth parents on a really mysterious journey...

5. Who would be you fictional brother and sister?
I've thought long and hard about this... I mean, I'd probably take any reasonably kind person. I only have one brother and I wish I had ten brothers and sisters! I would take Emma and Billy from the Charlie Bone series as my siblings if I could be as young as I was when I read it, which was about 12. Because I think Emma's about twelve in the first book and Billy's younger. Also I decided at one point if I ever had a daughter I would name her after this Emma and Rachel's daughter Emma from 'Friends'. I hope she wouldn't mind that :D

6. What Fictional character would you have as your best friend?

The Doctor. Chrestomanci. Luna Lovegood. Hagrid. Snape. Stop me. Somebody stop me.

7. Who would be your close girl friends?

Emma from the Charlie Bone series, Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Ginny Weasley, Phoebe from Friends, Amy from Doctor Who, Phoebe from Charmed, Nan from Witch Week, Momo from 'Momo' by Michael Ende... Mixed age group, but we'll make it work :'D

8. Who would you chose to be your close guy friends?

The Doctor, Chrestomanci, Sirius Black, Severus Snape, Remus Lupin, Cole from Charmed (I know, sorry), Chandler from 'Friends'. Chandler would be quite confused in this group, though. More confused than Phoebe!

9. Who would be your boyfriend/girlfriend?

Difficult one! Phoebe from Charmed, though I'd have to be constantly afraid she'd die... Which can't be easy for any relationship! Luna Lovegood... And I know I had a crush on Carlisle when I read Twilight :D I  know. Strange. Girls and old guys! And Carlisle's REALLY old. But then so's Edward! And Carlisle's much nicer than Edward...

10. What author would write your story?
If Diana Wynne Jones was still alive I'd hope she'd write my story! And turn me into a witch hahaha. Other than that my story's really kind of boring, so whoever writes it better be prepared to lie! But then, stories are the best lies.
I tag everyone who drank a glass of water today =)

Sunday, 26 July 2015

19. Friendships

I'm insanely naive when it comes to friendships. Once we swiftly dance over the threshold between acquaintances and friends, I assume that the friendship is gonna last until we die, or maybe beyond that. I remember talking to some friends, and I think I was the only one in the group who was certain she wanted to have children one day. One of them said: "I wonder what kind of mother you'll be..."
I said: "A good one, I hope. Also, you'll be able to see and make your own judgement."
She looked at me strangely and said: "Well, maybe... If we're still friends..."
I was slightly freaked out by that. For me it was the most natural thing in the world that we would, of course, be friends forever. All those broken friendships of the past were still influencing me daily, but those were things of child- and teenagehood. We were adults now. Surely such a thing couldn't happen between adults? Joke's on me: She left our friend group a month, maybe two months later.