The Night Before Prom

Dear Diary,

I’ve said goodbye to many teachers who have supported me and whom I genuinely care about. My last day is tomorrow evening where I’ll go to prom, enjoy a meal and get my high school graduation certificate.

I’m nervous for tomorrow but also so excited. I have a beautiful dress, I’m getting my hair professionally done, I have beautiful accessories and makeup and I’m so excited!

I’m currently painting my toenails for the prom and I’m going to choose my jewellery – I’m definitely wearing my Elena vervain locket and my Elena ring as well as some of my Pandora charms.

I have a busy day tomorrow so I’m going to get some sleep. This may be the shortest blog post in the history of humanity but I want to record how I’m feeling.

Take care and wish me luck!

Medusa

The nail polish I’m wearing to prom tomorrow.
The beautiful bow my neighbour made that I’m wearing tomorrow!

University Decision: Pre-Making the choice

Dear Diary,

The time is here – well a mere matter of hours away – for me to decide where I want to go to university and what course I want to take.

There are a few things for me to consider in the next short while. There are things to consider about both my capabilities my dreams and what the hell I want to do with the rest of my life.

I’m an insecure eighteen year old with autism and mental health problems; trapped in the mindspace of a primary one girl, who longs to be accepted and liked by the other kids in the playground. A girl who can’t understand why people don’t like her. I’m someone who lacks confiction in her decisions without letting on to the fact. I’m someone who still struggles to understand how she could possibly be autistic one day and on another day can’t touch her belongings because her OCD is too bad.

This is why I’m scared. I’m scared that I’m going to end up miserable in two ways:

Reason 1: I’m scared that by picking one choice I will be passing up on an opportunity I have always wanted and may never get again. I’m terrified that I am choosing based on fear of the unknown. That I’m using any excuse to not take a leap of faith and do something I’ve wanted to do since I was little. I’m afraid that I’ll end up filled with regret and anger at myself.

Reason 2: I’m scared that if I pick something and take a leap of faith it won’t work and I’ll be disheartened, sad and crushed. I’m scared that I’ll not be able to manage the course either by being not good enough at the course or by having a mental breakdown, or by both. I’m scared that I’ll miss an opportunity to discover what I want to do by rushing into an idea that could make or break me. I could take my time and see, try something and then if I can do it – move on to my dream course (if it remains that).

I’m so scared of regret, I have enough of it from my years of letting my OCD control my life and I don’t want to add to it. But whatever I do regret is always a risk.

I need to spend the next few hours thinking. Will post after I make my choice.

Medusa.

Knowing My Limits.

Dear Diary,

I’ve come to the realisation that I’m not doing great at a subject I’ve been sudying for a year. I don’t want to quit it as I may aswell carry on to potentially recieve a pass but I’m not feeling great about it.

I keep thinking ‘I should have studied more’, ‘I should have done this – I was capable of doing this’ and ‘I’ve let myself down’. However in all these angry self-hating thoughts never have I allowed myself to think of the reasons why I’ve struggled.

The lockdowns, the not being able to do my routines, not being able to go to my appointments in person, feeling really unhappy and dealing with my OCD. All these factors and more have all added to my stress and inability to focus.

Despite knowing this, despite logically acknowledging that these things are true – I don’t believe it. I just feel bad. My brain hurts and I feel bad. I could be doing more but I’m going to go to bed.

Medusa.

To Make A Choice To Try

Dear Diary,

I had a choice today; a simple choice that could make a huge difference in my life.

I’ve been feeling like I don’t want to be here anymore for a few weeks now (not suicidal – just a wish to not exist). A feeling that if there was a magic button and I had a choice to remove myself from existence, I’d press it.

The world has felt bad and I’ve been feeling miserable. My OCD is bad, my self-esteem is bad and my anxiety is through the roof and whenever this happens a simple question goes through my mind “Things are always going to end up like this so what’s the bloody point?”.

I suppose it’s normal to be negative whilst being depressed but it still sucks. Knowing that I’m going to have to deal with my autism related OCD and anxiety for the rest of my life is horrible to think about and it hurts to think about.

Whilst being in this vortex of misery other aspects of your life gets sucked in too – aspects such as your schoolwork, your appearance and the tidiness of your room. As seemingly inconsequential as these three things seem, they all add up and lead to a very depressing situation.

So after all that; my choice came today. My exams are starting in the next week – exams I’m woefully underprepared for – and the thought of doing any studying felt impossible. It was physically and mentally straining to pull out my textbooks and open my laptop. I confess I nearly quit twice and I nearly threw my laptop in frustration.

But I chose to keep studying; and I ended up doing some good revision. Despite every part of me wanting to curl up in my bed and want to die – I chose to do something productive and it has made me feel better. Schoolwork feels that little bit less worrisome and I feel more in control of my life.

I’m still not feeling 100% – or even 50% but it’s a start and after today I want to keep trying.

Recovering From A Low

Dear Diary,

After my epic birthday I crashed. Not as far as I sometimes go, but far enough to cause disturbance in my life. My OCD and insecurities have been terrible so much to the extent that I wouldn’t reply to an e-mail giving my photo and getting included in the school yearbook…yeah, I’m not doing great.

I’ve not been scrapbooking due to OCD. I bought a bunch of stupid-ass clothes from a shopping site – all of which I’ve returned – because I wanted to be as pretty as the models and I thought that it would make me for lack of a better word “good“. I’ve been struggiling to adapt to the whole gradual school return. I’ve not been keeping track of my planner or doing any real schoolwork. I’m just kind of there.

It’s hard to get out of this kind of low feeling becuase whilst there is so much that I should be working towards or getting excited for – I can’t help but only see lockdown in the future. The pandemic if anything, has made me very short-term.

If I’m being honest I don’t know how to stop feeling so sad. I have no goddamn clue what I should do to get my mind and life back on track. The only thing that I know is that tomorrow is a new day and I’m going to make an attempt for some positive change: Waking up earlier, practicing driving with my Mum, doing some french revision, writing some more of my english dissertation and, finally buying some clothes that I actually like.

Fingers crossed tomorrow will be better. Take care.

First Day Back At School After Lockdown

Dear Diary,

Today I started back at high school. The morning resulted in me being very positive (with a minor dent in my positivity due to catching my appearance in my iPhone camera) and I saw my friend. Additionally I am exempt from wearing a mask – an exemption I ignored until it was stated that we would have to wear our masks in class and I didn’t want to do that, so I got my lanyard out. Things were looking up.

For the first couple hours I happily read in the canteen socially distant from everyone. After a while I had a good conversation with a teacher surrounding a book I was reading. Everything was fine until lunch came and for the first time in many months I was sat down in the freezing cold outside with my best friend eating lunch. Lunch is hard enough on its own with OCD; being cold is unpleasant for anyone; But maintaining a conversation in person that was acceptable, even with a friend, for the first time in months felt like a disaster.

My social skills are at a low. I see my best friend and I say how much I missed them, giving them the latest news and listening to my friend say the same. After that I start rambling about politics, controversial topics and other societal issues because I am incapable of being a seventeen year old girl who is not autistic for five seconds. It reminds me of the time as a child where a friend visited my house and all I wanted to do was plan a book with them despite the fact that we were ten. But I digress, I feel really upset and frustrated with myself.

I want to blame my autism on this. I want to say that the autism made me do it akin to how the devil allegedly corrupts innocent people making them do things they otherwise wouldn’t – but I can’t. I want to blame my autism but I feel like I must blame myself. What’s myself and what’s my autism? Maybe the problem is separating the two.

Feeling The Panic Build – Dealing With Anxiety & Depression

Dear Diary,

I am feeling nervous. For what? Perhaps due to residual stress having done an interview with a university, perhaps from lockdown or something else entirely, the result remains the same. I am beginning to lose it.

I feel the panic in me rising and it’s an unpleasant feeling. I feel like a ticking time-bomb that will go off with any sudden movement and all I can do is try to minimise the damage it will do when it goes off.

I’m worried that when my OCD gets worse, -as it inevitabely does when I get more anxious- I will be too consumed with them to focus on more important issues such as university, school and homework.

It’s moments like this when I hate being me. I am so frustrated that I have OCD, that I have autism, that I am me. I almost wish I could remove my brain temporarily, give it a shake, run it under the cold tap and then plop it back in my skull again. – I don’t quite know where I was going with that but you get my gist.

Being anxious is not cool and waiting for your OCD and depression’s comeback is even less so. I’m currently in my clothes and dressing gown with smudged makeup, drinking apple juice and feeling bloated by eating a tube of sour cream and onion Pringles – I’m not the Hollywood anxious teenager.

I’m going to brush my teeth and go to bed. In the morning I need to figure out a reason to get out of my bed and stop feeling angry at my brain.

Perfection and Wanting To Fit In

“I’m not like other girls” is usually said by edgy teenage girls with perfect makeup, hair and clothes to their hot love interest in a teenage movie but, I am actually not like other girls. I’m autistic so fitting in was never really in the cards for me and I longed to be the same as the other girls in my class – or more like the way I thought they were. My ocd basically consisted on “I’ve never seen a celebrity or person I admire do this” therefore doing it is “contaminated”. I washed my hands till they bled because I was half convinced the other girls and celebrities never had sticky fingers, never spilt food on themselves and never touched their belongings when “contaminated”. The girls that my autism, my ocd and myself want to be like is the perfect girl. This made up Disney channel character who never has ear wax, snot or any other human functions. The girl that is perfect on every social media platform and never has acne. Of course this girl doesn’t exist – I know that, I just wished I believed it as I still yearn to be her.

My ocd is centered around my desire to have friends and be accepted – something that is a result of being autistic and being bullied when I was young. I can remember the first time that I washed my hands before touching one of my belongings because I was worried about ‘ruining’ it. That way of thinking is still with me. I feel like I am the problem.

I still have the juvenile dream of being this perfect person with perfect things. I want to be perfect and “clean”. But I can’t. And whether I believe it or not, the truth is no one can. Of course as much as I know that no one is perfect, there is a big difference between knowing and accepting.

I’ve got OCD and instead of accepting that I was bullied by mean girls in primary one, instead of accepting that I have had problems making and keeping friends because I’m autistic, I have created a narrative where I think I must be, look and feel perfect in order to be accepted and liked by the other girls. But the sad thing is no matter how many times I wash my hands and avoid touching my belongings as to not “ruin” them; it doesn’t solve the impossible problem. That I am me. I sometimes struggle to make friends and I will never be able to be in a romantic relationship, get married or have kids because I’m not that type of person. *(Both of these things are not due to my mental health problems or autism- people with one or both can happily sustain relationships – this is a me thing.)*

So perhaps it’s time to stop lying. Perhaps it’s time to accept that I’m autistic and I’ve got OCD, depression and low self-esteem. Perhaps it’s time to realise I’m genuinely not like other girls and can never be. I am autistic; I am a blogger; I am a teenager; I am a good friend; A hilarious family member; Lover of jewellery and books and tv; I have back acne and weird toenails; I’m a scrapbooker; And I’m spotty, smelly, often have a uni brow and my social media, my work and my life are not perfect. Perhaps I need to start accepting this and perhaps one day I will.

No filer. No makeup. No good diet – No joke I’ve eaten my entire body weight of chicken McNuggets over the past month.

Home Learning, Compulsive Hand Washing & Breakdown

Dear Diary,

So I started my home learning experience today. Actually I didn’t start anything – that was the problem. I spent hours staring at my assigned work and barely wrote the date and title. I could not focus no matter how hard I tried, so I decided to have a break from my work today.

If only I could have a break from my brain. I’ve been compulsively washing my hands and mouth. The backs of my hands and my lower face have the rough texture of dry skin that is eerily familiar to when my OCD was at it’s worst. The dry flakes of skin caused by my washing aswell as my acne are what my OCD calls “contaminated” so I feel extremely uncomfortable in my own skin. Everything feels wrong and I want to throw something – or many things.

I can’t focus in my schoolwork and I can’t focus being in my own body. Everything in the world feels wrong and I feel wrong. Part of me wants to have a shower – to give in to my OCD to the extreme sense of not just washing my hands/face but having a full-on “decontamination” but I’ve spent too long training myself to only have a shower every two days.

The world is crazy right now. I want to go to a spa type place and get my skin sorted or at least helped. I want to go on holiday and relax in Center Parcs and most of all I want to go to my therapist and the autism support place I recently joined. I want to not feel like everything I own is going to be ruined by myself.

I’m trying to distract myself by listening to music or scrapbooking but when you’re high on OCD anxiety the sound from headphones or a speaker is too much of a sensory problem; the process scrapbooking is also very difficult when you are frightened of “ruining” everything you own.

2021 Exams Are Cancelled And I’m Scared

The exams for the second year in a row have been cancelled and I’m not sure how I’m feeling. On one hand I’m glad that we now know (kind of) what is going on. On the other, I’m scared about all the complex marking systems, I’m scared about the fact that the senior year students will likely have a shorter year since their are no final exams and most of all I am scared about leaving school, my friends and my routine.

This years exam results are crucial to either getting into or being rejected to university. The last year of high school means there are no do-overs next year for I will not be there anymore. This puts the pressure on regardless and the added distrust towards the Scottish Qualifications Authority since the disaster last year does not help.

I’ve been in school for the majority of my life – I’m used to school. I may not like it all the time, I may find it hard and I may find it impossible but I feel like I need it. The cancellations of the exams means that I’m going to have to deal with leaving the security of school. School is not a choice. It is mandatory and requires no life-changing decisions to be made. When I leave school I’ll have to make choices, make decisions and grow up and the exams being cancelled is the somewhat convoluted path my brain is taking to convince myself that I’m going to be facing my ‘school’ extensional crisis sooner.

I have a few good friends in school. I have every confidence that my best friend and I will keep in contact and that is brilliant but some of my other good friends and I will inevitably drift apart. It’s hard for someone like me who struggled her whole life to make friends, finally does and then realises that she will lose them to time and distance.

That’s life of course, people move on, they drift apart, a quote from a children’s book I used to like “real friends let each other grow up” rings true here. I thought I’d be in school forever as it often felt like it – but the truth is that it’s coming to an end. I’m going to have to accept that I’ll have to grow up, the announcement of the exams being cancelled further fuels my “growing up” anxiety and the only thing I can do is accept this.

For now though, I’m going to allow myself be sad for a little while.