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.

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.

COVID-19 Vaccine And “Looking Disabled”

Dear Diary,

Today I got my first COVID-19 vaccine. A week or so ago I recieved a letter giving me an appointment for around lunchtime today, I was given the AstraZeneca vaccine and it didn’t hurt one bit. My problem however, was the way the woman who vaccinated me made me feel.

I had brought my identification and my letter and I showed up on-time and the person took one look at me and soon asked me what medications I was taking, unwilling to disclose my taking of anti-depressants I said none relevent. She then asked me some other questions getting sightly annyoyed with me despite the fact I’d done nothing, before straight-up asking me “Why are you getting the vaccine?”

It felt very petty and her whole attitude was very insulting. I was wearing joggers, a jumper and had greasy hair and combining that with my age she just asssuemed that the NHS had made a mistake or something.

Knowing that I had to answer her question for two reasons: 1.) She was going to stab me with a needle and 2.) I just wanted it over with.

So I say “I’m autistic” in the middle of the community centre to this woman who then replies that “She couldn’t see it. [Referring I hope, to the diagnosis on my electronic file on her iPad.”

My point is not that I had to say I was autistic, it’s that I was treated with reluctance becasue my disablility is invisable. I’d been properly signed in, I had been given a time-slot, a letter and yet I was still treated like it was me, who was doing something wrong.

So I’m not very happy about all that. Anyway stay safe.

MEDUSA.

I’m Off The Deep End

Dear Diary,

I’m still not doing good. That shouldn’t be a surprise. Right now I just don’t care about anything. I’ve showered now three nights in a row giving into my OCD and it feels acceptable. Avoiding going into my room and scrapbooking due to spilling some ketchup on my leggings feels acceptable now.

I can’t care enough to study. I can’t make myself care enough to try and cope. I’m not sitting and crying and I’m not depressed enough to not care about contamination but I’m by no means happy.

I was so anxious about contaminating my room with ketchup that I spent hours in my little brothers room during the day. I was sleeping in his bed, my logic being that if I have a shower now when I go for dinner I could get “contaminated” and then I’d have to shower again. So instead I opted for sleeping in order to make the day go quicker.

I don’t want to be better and that’s the problem. I don’t feel any motivation or need to not feel like this anymore. The worst part is that I know that I could probably force myself to fight back against my OCD, it’s just that I don’t want to. There doesn’t seem to be a point.

Depressed, Angry And Then…Came A Moth

Dear Diary,

My OCD is shocking today. I’ve broken my own rules by showering two days in a row for the sole purpose of pleasing my OCD. I don’t even care though; that seems completely irrelevent to me right now.

I can’t find myself caring enough to do anything right now. My parents are annoying me ( a sign I’ve not had enough sleep ) and I’m feeling frustrated by the fact that it seems life is going to take a lot longer to get back to normal due to COVID-19.

My printer is not working – which was the only thing keeping me calm and busy. Printing off photos and stickers for my sketch book was a happy distraction and coping mechanism but thanks to shoddy WiFi it won’t bloody work.

I just don’t care anymore again. I’m finding that challenging my OCD is not working when there feels like there is nothing to challenge it for.

And then like a sign from the heavens, a pesky moth flew into my bedroom. Scared of having a moth fly into my mouth whilst asleep or secretly die somewhere only to give me a heart attack when found three months later, I enlisted help to get it out of my bedroom. At first I called my Dad but he made it clear there was nothing he could do. Determined to rid myself of the moth I enlisted my nine-year-old brother’s help – though I had to make it clear stomping on it was not an option.

We managed to lure the creature into my en suite bathroom. I managed to catch it in a plastic sheet of paper and throw it out the window – only for the little shit to imediately fly back in again. Eventually my twelve year old sister joined the crusade and managed to single handedly remove the moth from my bathroom. Afterwards we all laughed and now my little brother is sitting in my room intensely telling me about his video game theories.

Even though I feel like crap right now – a half hour ago I was angry, upset and depressed and I’m still those things – but I feel slightly better. What I’m trying to say that sometimes life gives you lemons, other times it gives you moths. So make lemonade or go on a mission with your siblings to try and rescue a moth.

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.

The Effect That COVID-19 Has Had On My Therapy/Recovery

Dear Diary,

It’s one o’clock in the morning as I am writing this draft and only one thing is on my mind: I wish I could speak to my psychologist.

I’ve done two or three zoom calls months and months ago which went well, however the real thing is no doubt better for a number of reasons. The first of them being that it’s awkward with internet connection; especially for someone like me whose house is notorious for having dreadful WiFi and secondly, because I would not be comfortable talking about intrusive thoughts over the video call – it would feel weird for me.

My psychologist who I have not seen in at least five months by my own reluctance to zoom- and my previous improvement in dealing with my OCD which also meant less need for appointments- is a child phycologist and guess what? Soon I will no longer be a child.

I was supposed to have more time with my psychologist over the last year. A pandemic was not supposed to happen and intervene in my improvements. I wasn’t supposed to have to grow up without being able to visit my therapist because of a virus. I suppose a lot of people will be feeling like this and I know that I am very lucky in the grand scheme of things – a lot of people have had to cope with a lot worse this past year.

I wish I could make it all go away. I’m feeling exhausted by lack of sleep, guilt, worry and regret. I wish I could give being normal – whatever the hell that means – a go for a day and spot the difference. I wish that I could’ve worked out some of my problems with my psychologist and psychiatrist (who are wonderful doctors and people by the way) during the past year in a world where the pandemic never happened. If wishes were horses.

But I can’t change what has happened. I can only sit here, in my pitch black room after resisting the urge to give in to my OCD. My skin spotty and hair slightly greasy due to the poor dietary choices I’ve been making lately. I can watch the shadows form around the light of my iPhone screen, my Alexa playing the soft sound Distant Thunderstorm in the background and hope that somehow, tomorrow will be better.