Where Do I Go From Here?

Dear Diary,

It’s midnight as I write this and I’m snacking on chocolate M&M’s. Today has been a mixed day to be honest. Two days ago I made a decision to tidy up my bedroom and start putting an effort into my appearance/cleanliness/etc – basically I am trying to get out of my cycle of depression.

It has been going mostly well, even though a hotdog I was eating from the garage had a hair in it, causing me to freak out. My health is better – although I won’t be walking to the shops any time soon as I still get tired very easily.

However the doctor still hasn’t called me to tell me what I should be doing now. I’m a lot better sure, but what’s the reason for my previous ill-health and how do I stop it from happening again? I fear that because I’m better than I was that these questions will go unanswered for a while.

I haven’t been to a driving lesson in ages due to my ill-health and feel uncomfortable resuming them until I can guarentee that this will not happen again. I’m terrified about university next year, I’m terrified about what I’m supposed to do with myself for the next few months and I feel very lost.

When I wake up tired in the morning and have nothing planned for the day (especially when other people are also asleep) I struggle to find the urgency to get up. When I know I’m going shopping for food with my Mum, visiting my grandparents or going out to breakfast I have a purpose but most days I just feel like there is nothing to look forward to.

This is an obvious problem as one cannot do something exciting every single day and chores seem non-urgent enough to not get myself out of bed at a quick pace.

Being miserable and depressed is a lot easier than trying to help yourself. Helping yourself get out of a misery pattern requires facing all the things that you want to avoid and actively trying to find solutions to your problems and negative feelings which is tiring and scary.

Health Fears | Awaiting Blood Test Results

Note: These are fears to do with my physical health. Most likely I have nothing too serious. I don’t want to seem overdramatic or like I’m making light of serious conditions.

Dear Diary,

I’m realy scared.

I probably shouldn’t be; there is no true cause for panic yet. Doctors are confused but not extremely concerned – so it’s clearly nothing too dramatic; And yet I’m still scared.

A few months ago I noticed that my legs (mostly my right leg) was getting tired far quicker than usual. Throughout my life I’ve always taken longer and gotten tireder faster than everyone in my family- be it walking around a city centre or climbing up Ben Nevis. This was different though; My Dad grew concerned when upon a visit to Edinburgh I could barely manage to walk across Princes Street. I was stopping frequently because my legs were too weak. It had never been this noticeable before. I could convince myself that I was just lazy or unfit (even when I was struggling to do the everyday walk to the shops that takes ten minutes and that I’ve been able to do no matter how exhausted ) but when my Dad noticed then I admitted that I’d see a doctor.

The doctor looked into my eyes, checked my reflexes and told me to move my arms up and down and side to side – all good. The doctor told me that he’d get a nurse to do some blood tests and then we’d go from there. When I asked him what it is he thinks I could have, he said he wasn’t sure.

I got my blood test taken just under a week ago and I’ve been counting the seconds to call them back (they said wait a week but I’m going to check on day 6). I feel like I’m frozen just waiting to hear what to do next.

Tonight my work were going to a work dinner ( I haven’t been to work in weeks and can barely walk up the stairs half the time ) and I obviously didn’t attend. It’s the end of the season and tonight would have been my first ever proper grown-up work dinner. I was excited for it when it was mentioned four months ago before I went on sick leave.

I don’t know what I’m most scared of. Am I terrified of having some horrible rare fatal condition? Am I afraid that it’s nothing and that I’ve either been delusional or it’s something so insignificant that I’m embarassed for being in so much destress over it? I don’t know.

All I know is that until I get some answers I have no interest in keeping my room tidy, looking pretty or doing nice things. All I want to do is wait for my results, wait and be given information on how the hell to get better.

That’s MY Thing! – Feeling Territorial Over ‘Having Problems’ And The Embarrassing Reality Of Being Jealous That You Are Not The ONLY One In Your Life Who Has Similar Problems

Feeling like you are the only one feeling a certain way is awful; but the complex feelings that develop when you learn that some people close to you, outside of the people you know through your disorder, also may have similar issues, can be complicated to process.

Dear Diary,

Perhaps the most strange of feelings is the realisation that your wish of being accepted by the people you knew before your diagnosis is trumped by your misplaced-irritation at no longer being unique.

I spent so long subconciously treating my OCD, depression, anxiety and autism as my defining traits, which for all the time I’ve spent sad, anxious and doing compulsions – is understandable. Everything that was wrong with me has become the very thing that defines me. I am the one with issues. I am the one who has had to deal with mental health struggles and I am the one who has a messed-up brain.

The problem with thinking like this is the fact that in my misplaced jealousy about my so-called soul defining characteristic – the thing that only I have – is not exclusive to me.

You spend so long annoyed about being different and being a certain way that you begin to view it as the only thing about you that matters; that it’s the one thing that makes you different and special – even if it’s for what you percieve to be a bad reason.

When you meet like-minded people through your disorder/s it feels like it is something away seperate from your day-to-day life and those you know previous to the diagnosis are in a seperate ‘box’ so to speak. That is not real life though. People who are alike end up finding each other, or knowing each other anyway because that’s how life works. Things can never be kept completely seperate and that is the reason for so many good things. If sections of our life never interlapped no-one would ever have friends or have relationships in anyway.

The reality of the situation is that just because other people I may know have their own struggles and challenges to overcome, it doesn’t make my challenges and achievements any less important. The only thing that you can do is support the people in your life who have done the same to you and continue to make the most out of your life. One person’s struggle does not make another’s less important and feeling territorial over certain ‘problems’ doesn’t help.

It may feel weird to realise that your not quite as different to the people you have known for years as you thought you were; but just maybe it will ecourage you to be kinder to yourself. Afterall the people you care about are not defective or wrong – so many it’s about time you stop viewing yourself as such.

What Now? – Being Off Work With No Plans And Growing Anxiety and Uncertainty

Being a grown-up is a hell of a lot less fun than I expected.

Dear Diary,

I’m back writing on my laptop in my dressing gown and drinking a blackcurrent fruit shoot – mind racing a million miles an hour.

I’m trying to locate the cause or reasoning behind this nagging uneasiness I’m feeling and have yet to come to a conclusion. I’m probably embarrased and stressed out that I vommitted at work; I’m probably worried about going back to work in five or so days; I’m probably worried about my theory test and the content I need to learn by then and various other fears; And yet none seem to be the root cause.

I feel like I’m waiting to go back to school at some point and fall back into the routine of being a high-schooler. I’m waiting to be plucked from my new life as a working adult and placed back to where I truly belong, the place I was for most of my life.

Perhaps it’s being off work that is confusing me – (although this week off was desperately needed.) Maybe I’m feeling discombobulated about not following my routine as I have nowhere I need to be. My physical health is very poor; I can’t even walk to my Dad’s car without being extremely out of breath. I may stand still for hours upon hours at work, walking on even-flooring and walking quick short distances and back but these days I can’t walk down the high-street without repeatedly stopping for breath. In my entire life I have never felt this physically unfit.

Whatever the reason; I am lost and not sure where to go from here. I feel like a child playing dress-up, missing the carefree-ness of being a high-schooler (though high-school in on itself wasn’t exactly carefree) and I am scared of being given time to myself.

Food is still bothering me. Textures and hard bits in meats are causing me great discomfort and upset. My OCD is not great; I’m opting to not care about my appearance out of depression and not trying to make myself feel better by wearing my favourite clothes or accessorise.

I guess you could say I’m in limbo. I’m unsure of what to do and anticipating disaster and so are not doing anything productive or beneficial. I’m reluctant to start challenging my OCD or making myself feel better because I feel so damn tired. The idea of redecorating the house before a tornado strikes feels pointless so to speak. I’m just waiting for my tornado – and a tornado will always, always come – in a run-down shack instead of enjoying whatever time I have left in a cozy cottage so to speak.

Intrusive Thoughts To Do With Greed + Food OCD

Food and me have a complicated history. I’ve always been a big eater and have always enjoyed eating take-outs, at cafes or at resteraunts with my family. Despite how much I’ve loved food, it’s also been a large part of my OCD.

Throughout my childhood certain food was viewed by my OCD as ‘contaminated’. Not by germs ( although ‘germs’ was the terminology I used to use to describe the thing that was ‘contaminated’; a word later added to my language.) or an actual founded in reality, albiat very unlikely concern such as it having some sort of disease; my ‘contamination’ was different.

It was the grease from a bagel, the tomato ketchup from my brother’s hotdog, the slight possibility of a crumb from a sausage roll falling on my scarf when I’m on holiday to Centre Parcs e.t.c.

The thing that was different about my OCD as my phycologist pointed out later was that when I felt like the food had ‘contaminated’ me, I was never in fear of consequences like a loved one dying or getting sick from the food – the typical OCD fears that would fuel the compulsion ( or at least the typical line of thinking that if I do something or fail to do something, X, Y and Z will happen as a result. )

My OCD has rarely been like that. Don’t get me wrong – my OCD is by no means worse or better than any other person’s is – it’s just different presumably because I’m, well, autistic.

When I got ‘contaminated’ by food or any other thing I deemed undesirable, I was not afraid of something bad happening as a result – It was that I felt wrong and bad. It’s hard to explain the way being ‘contaminated’ feels. It’s not real, ‘contamination’ is a way for me to deal with life – I know. But the feeling is awful.

Something that one of my phycologists once said about my OCD being different to the traditional OCD made me think oneday in my appointment about how upon feeling ‘contaminated’ by apple juice – I searched on Google Images ‘celebrities with apple juice in their hair’.

I wanted ( and still do to a degree ) to be like ‘everyone else’, I looked at these ‘normal girls’ in my real life and celebrities. I looked at the girls in my class and on the TV, who I could never quite understand and found flaws in myself in ways that were unconventional. The worst part is that even if someone else got  apple juice on them for example – that was okay! They were not ‘contaminated’ because it was only me who got contaminated…

Because at the end of the day my OCD is not about preventing something bad from happening, I think my OCD is about my autism.

So that brings my point to today. I go out and buy spicy chips from the shops, food I buy with my own money that I truly don’t need as I’ve already ate. I eat them and now I feel the familiar feeling of being ‘contaminated’. I feel greedy because I did not need to eat them and I hate myself slightly for being so greedy.

So tonight I showered, giving into my OCD and as I sit here late at night on what would have been a school night had I still been in school ( a transition that my autism is struggling to comprehend – that I’m no longer in high school ) and a plan to hang out with a friend for drinks tomorrow and all I can think about is how those spicy chips made me feel.

But we all know it’s not really about spicy chips. It’s because I have a social event tommorrow and I’m nervous. It’s because I’m realising that I am no longer a child and have new challenges. It’s because I am autistic. I just wish my brain would believe it.

University Decision: Post-Making My Choice

Dear Diary,

I’ve chosen a course that in part surprised me. I know that I can excel at it and I am genuinely excited to get started!

Of course there are the wriggling doubts, the fears, the nagging voice in the back of my head whispering that I’ve made a huge mistake – which sucks but is also normal. I got into a fantastic course that may not have been my ‘dream course’ but is something that I love and can’t wait to begin.

So yes with the celebration comes slight mourning – mourning for a S1 girl’s dream and mourning for the countless other opportunities that every choice we make in life limits you to.

But despite some sadness and anxiety; I feel relieved. I have a clear view of what I’ve got to do and how I’m going to do it and that feels really good.

I am very happy and I think that this course will not only be badass, exciting and that guarantees a career; but will also make me happy in life.

Only time will tell but today is a good day and it requires a celebration – one preferably when I’m neither sunburnt or exhausted from adrenaline. One thing is for sure; I can’t wait to get started!

Take Care.

Medusa.