Ear Blockage & Stress

Dear Diary,

My ears are blocked. Both the right and left ear have blockages of wax but the left is especially bad. My ears have always been a problem for me but right now it’s been terrible. What’s more terrible is that I have exams at the moment.

I’ve been very sick recently. There is an intense pressure in my left year, so intense that I’ve been sick and have been experiencing dizziness. What’s more is that the pressure in my ears is making hearing other people extremely difficult. I can genuinely not hear out of my left ear at all aside from the occassional burst of tinnitus.

It’s been hard to go to bed. Usually I listen to ASMR to help me sleep but I can’t hear it out of the left ear and the sound reverberates from my right one as a result. It’s extremely upsetting and frustrating. I have exams to do and I am struggling to sit up.

I had my ears syringed yesterday but that only removed the outer wax and the majority was stuck there. I have to keep studying. I have to go to school tommorrow. Wish me luck.

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.

I Feel Defective

Dear Diary,

DISCLAIMER: This is going to be a very depressing post. I’m feeling very negative surrounding my autism and differences.

Today I feel bad. I feel guilty for saying this because it’s not very positive but it’s how I am currently feeling and so I’m going to share it. I feel like a mistake of a human being. I don’t work properly. I have OCD, low self-esteem and I have autism.

It’s not even autism that makes me so wrong. My problem is myself. There is no escape from being who I am and it is becoming very difficult to deal with. The autism just adds to it.

I feel like a broken toy in a factory conveyer belt. I was the one mistake in a perfect batch of toys and no matter how hard the factory workers try, I can’t be fixed.

My brain doesn’t work properly and I’m feeling more and more aware of this fact every single day. I just want to be normal and I just want to be able to not be autistic for a day to see if what I’m feeling is autistic or just an average emotion.

My brain just doesn’t work properly. Explaining how or why is impossible – a bit like describing a colour to someone who can’t see. All I know is that there is something wrong with my brain and I can’t fix it.

I want the autism to be erased; like how the toy repairman from Toy Story 2 wipes over the signature of Andy’s name with paint, leaving him perfect. I want to be free to not have to constantly fight or give in to my OCD and I want the chance to be an average person who has the average social skills and an average brain.

It feels never ending today. It feels like I’m trapped in my own stupid brain that does not understand how to be a human. My brain does not work and consequently I do not work and there is nothing I can do except struggle.

But what do you do with the broken parts of a toy? Perhaps you make something new out of it. Or perhaps you chuck them in the bin. Time will tell.

Thanks for reading. I’m sorry if this is depressing. Bear in mind that I do not think there is anything wrong with being autistic or having mental health problems – I’m just kind of the personification of “Don’t let me get me” By P!nk today.

Today I just feel so desperately unhappy and it’s hard.

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.

Comparing Yourself To Other People On Social Media

Dear Diary,

Social media has positives. It allows us to communicate with family and friends for free. But it does come with a lot of negatives…

Whether it’s mother’s competing over whose child can make the best macaroni rocket picture or teen girls obsessing over other people’s appearances – social media has made an enormous impact on millennials and generation Z.

Something a lot of girls do is post pictures of themselves with friends. It fascinates me how most of the time the photo isn’t a memory, an event or because they’re having a good time – it’s done with fake smiles to tell their followers that they are friends and are having a great time. When you’re a teenage girl and you see two of your friends hanging out without you – it can really hurt, but at the same time many people feel obligated to post these pictures. Of course you should never not post a selfie with your friend just because you’re trying to make others feel included – all I’m saying is be yourself and don’t feel obligated to share pictures that are simply there to show you have friends – if they are true friends they’ll like you even if you don’t tag them. Also if you are one of those people who feels hurt when they see other people in massive group selfies – ones where you are neither invited to be nor part of – remember something: However happy they all seem in that photo, they are seldom that happy and friendly when the camera is off.

I’ve noticed that many very young girls’ Facebook/Instagram/Twitter profiles are of them doing the “duck face”. Young girls as young as nine are seen pouring in a provocative manner and it is really bizarre. There is something very wrong with our society when little girls are pouting on their public profile pictures.

Being a teenager is hard, growing up is hard. Growing up with social media – is terrible. I used to have Instagram (a personal account that followed my classmates etc) but all it did was make me miserable. I never even realised how miserable it made me until I was forced to take a break from it by my Mum. It had become an endless cycle of seeing other people’s perfect lives, bodies, friends and lifestyles and it made me upset. I saw the girls in my year with friends out together and celebrities looking stunning.

But when I took a step back from Instagram, (don’t get me wrong the first few weeks were frustrating, my thumb was aching to like the latest posts and scroll through my feed) but after a while, I felt relieved. What you don’t know can’t hurt you and whilst I wasn’t up to date with who was dating who or which Kardashian posted which naked selfie – I was happier.

I still look at social media but I do it either through my blog or anonymously without following anyone I know in real life. I don’t use Instagram at all other than for my blog-though I barely use it for that either – because it just makes me upset.

Talking about looks and appearances, whether they’re celebrities or classmates one thing is consistent across social media, most people look perfect. Despite the irrational idea that these celebrities really look that good at every angle at every moment. In short, no, they don’t.

To prove how easy it is to manipulate the way we look online I’ve done a little experiment of my own. I took a few pictures today of myself – not looking my best. I gave myself 25 seconds on each photo to edit or use a filter and this is what I did. Bear in mind this was in 25 seconds, imagine what someone could do with professional assistance and time spent on getting good lighting and angles.

I was wearing some light mascara today so my eyelashes are darker than usual.

So my advice: put your phone down, take a break from social media and do something fun. Whether it be listening to music, reading a book or making a scrapbook-just stop comparing yourself to those fake pictures.

Medusa.

I don’t Know How to Act

I doubt I’ve ever been sure how to act in conversation. I take on the role of who I think I should be in different circumstances. It never really works of course, there are only so many mannerisms you can copy from people in your life before your real opinions and thoughts are revealed.

Since my diagnosis I’ve noticed that I’m acting the way I think an autistic person should act. Try that for irony? I’m even being autistic about being autistic. These days in a difficult conversation I avoid eye contact, not because I hate it or feel uncomfortable looking people in the eye, but because I feel like people understand that I am uncomfortable. I play with my sleeve and avoid eye contact because when I do this adults who know about my diagnosis (which is most people) understand how I’m feeling. I take on the persona or role of having autism despite the fact that I actually have it. I know that many autistic people dislike making eye contact so I’ve adopted that in taking upon my role.

It makes me feel guilty, like I’m stealing from people but I can’t help it. It’s both subconsious and consious, I didn’t know I was doing it at first but then I noticed it worked. People could understand the obvious signs of distress especially how I usually make good eye contact and would understand that I was feeling stressed or upset.

I’m not good at figuring out what is the right thing to say, do or think. I struggle to understand people’s feelings sometimes and this makes me sad. I get angry with myself for not being able to decipher the correct things to say, do, act or think.

So what can I do? The truth is I’m not sure but right now I’m going to watch some YouTube and distract myself from being angry with myself.

Medusa

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.

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 Ghosts Of OCD Christmas’ Past

Dear Diary,

I’m not sure what exactly, about the Christmas experience is the root cause of all my crippiling mental health problems during this time. Perhaps it’s the expectation to be happy, the overall hustle and bustle of Christmas or something else entirely but I every year find myself in a dark place.

My OCD is nowhere near as horrific at Christmas time as it used to be when I was younger but the ghosts of OCD Christmas’ past still haunt me. Not just the memories of being so unhappy and anxious, not just the saddness that I wasted so much of my childhood consumed with OCD but also because the similar, familiar feelings of anxiety, guilt and depression greet me again.

Today is the 19th of December and I’m off on my Christmas holiday’s, except all I’m feeling is guilt. I feel guilty for things I may or may not have said, done or felt during the darkest periods of my life. I feel guilty for not liking people for reasons I can’t completely remember. I feel guilty for my social failures then and now. I feel guilty for not being able to understand others’ feelings when I was eleven and undiagnosed.

I’m scared for Christmas. I’m scared that I’ll fall into old patterns and give in to my OCD so much so that it ruins my whole day. I’m frightened that I’m going to fall into a depression that never ends. I’m scared that I won’t enjoy Christmas.

I remember so many Christmas’ where I cried and washed my hands compulsively to the extend that they bled. I remember my shoulders aching with pain because I was holding myself in a way as to not touch certain things. I remember being so anxious and unhappy.

So what should I do? That’s the million dollar question. For now however I’m going to focus on not going into a coma of misery each hour until the feelings of stress, sadness, guilt and whatever else subsides.

Will update soon. Hope everyone else is feeling okay.