#worldmentalhealthday And Why It’s Important To Break The Stigma Around Mental Illness

Hi everyone!

The title is a bit of a moutful, and I wasn’t quite sure how to phrase it either, but let’s go with this one. This post is going to be mostly my thoughts on the subject of mental health anyway. 

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I’ve always been an observant person. I often find myself people-watching and noticing details and wondering about things that go unsaid and what’s going on under the surface. As I got older and started dealing with certain mental issues of my own, the curiosity for the within only grew stronger. 

I didn’t really ever feel like I could talk to others about what was going on inside my head, and the few times I did try to communicate my feelings and struggles, I felt as if I wasn’t making any sense and like I was just burdening others with my problems. I guess I grew up in an environment that didn’t really ever encourage talking about emotions, and that, combined with the facf that it’s always been much easier for me to express through writing than verbally (I’m very guarded and witty and sarcastic when you talk to me, whilst in writing, like this blog, I can share things I haven’t even said once out loud) and that fear of being a burden, and it all just caused me to build these high protective walls around myself and learn to suffer in silence.

It’s only this year that I’ve started opening up a little about mental health – I’ve discovered some things about myself and I’ve done a solid bit of research – and yet still I feel quite anxious before posting any post similar to this one or sharing my writing that touches on this subject. 

When you’ve been keeping certain things and feelings and thoughts bottled up inside for years, it becomes incredibly difficult to even think about opening up to people.

And one of the reasons why is also the stigma around mental illness.

We can start with the fact that communities, countries, cities, universities etc, do not put enough emphasis on mental health care. Suicide rates are spiking up, the number of people with some kind of mental disorder is astounding in the most awful of ways. There are so many people who are struggling for help, and a large portion of them have never felt comfortable or safe enough to reach out and get help. There is definitely not enough being done to provide help of low (if any) cost and a better accessibility. 

And then there is the world that we live in: the media, the greatly un-educated people, those who have never experienced that kind of pain and emptiness firsthand, those who believe that people with Borderline Perosonality Disorder are crazy, those who say hurtful things like “you’re better off dead” or something along those lines. Those who do not understand, but instead help spread this unjust stigma.

So what can be done? What can you do?
Firstly, educate yourself. There are so many high-quality websites out there that talk about different mental illnesses; those are good for theory, but you also should go to Youtube and watch videos made by people with the illness who talk about their personal experiences. The same illness will manifest differently on each individual, so it’s pointless to draw general conclusions – it only negatively impacts the view society has on mental illness. 

Step two is to practice kindness and understanding. If you even suspect someone to be in emotional distress, reach out to them. Look for the signs and look for approaches to get them to open up. Listen to them if they do, sometimes it means the world. 

I do understand that it’s difficult to do even that, to reach out to someone and see if they’re alright. I mean, it would be a little strange to just go up to someone and say, “hey, you looked kinda depressed, is everything well?” It could create some pretty awkward moments. We all, me included, have to work on these approaches and find a good way to handle delicate situations.
And I can’t begin to tell you how often I wonder if the people around me feel everything so strongly and deal with issues similar to mine. I’ve never had a big open conversation with any of my friends about these things. Sometimes it makes me think that nobody else feels like I do, and that’s actually a really big part of the problem: people feeling alone and isolated and misunderstood. Because not enough people feel comfortable enough to share their feelings in fear of rejection and not getting validation of their struggles. And it just goes in a circle and nobody confides in anyone.

And that needs to stop.
We need to learn how to share and learn how to listen and learn to create a safespace for people to open up about their problems. 

So if you’re reading this, if you’ve made it this far, I need you to know a couple of things.
Firstly, if you are struggling and need someplace or someone to vent to, you can leave a comment here or send me a message on Instagram trough here 

Secondly, I want you to remember that you are not alone, And believe me, I know how much you feel like that’s not true, because I’ve been there, plenty of times. But so many people are going through similar stuff and so many people will understand you. Trust the universe that you’ll find those people and find someone to confide in. 

Thirdly, bad days are not the end of the world. Again, I know they feel like the end of the world, but they’re not. Just keep pushing forward, because you can do it. It had to get better at some point. Like I’d written above on the picture, you deserve your happy ending and a beautiful story. Some chapters will straight-up suck. But some chapters will be so incredibly amazing that the bad ones will hurt a little less. The most important thing is to keep writing that book. Don’t leave it on a tragic cliffhanger. There are so many beautiful aspects to life and I want you to experience as many of them as possible.

And lastly – you’re doing great and I believe in you. Here’s a huge virtual hug *HUG*

To those who aren’t struggling in that way, whether you know someone who is or not, please practice your mindfulness of these subjects. Go hug some people. Reach out. Be there for others. Be nice to everyone, even strangers. 

Thanks for reading and love always,

T.

Oglasi

What Depression/Mental Illness Feels Like

sunset love lake resort
Photo by jim jackson on Pexels.com

Hey everyone,

this is pretty much a spur-of-the-moment kind of post; I’ve had a really crappy day in terms of my emotions and mental state, starting with my misophonia acting up again through the night which resulted in lack of sleep and anxiousness and anger, and then it all continued as the day went on. It’s around 11 pm now, and I was propelled into writing this a little over an hour ago, because of something hurtful someone said to me. And so I just thought I’d write this to get it out of my system; writing is my therapy and it did manage to pull me back from that really black state now. As always, I’m sharing this in hopes that anyone out there who’s going through similar struggles can get at least that tiny piece of comfort in knowing they are not alone in this. And also, in hopes that people who cannot relate to this will be able to learn something and take things into consideration, and simply learn to show more compassion and kindness and care for the people around them, because so many are hurting in silence and are in dire need of human interaction and any silver lining that anyone can offer. 

 

Here goes:

Once upon a time lived a girl, by no means a princess, her story by no means a fairytale. Her house wasn’t a castle, and her window wasn’t high above the clouds, isolating her from the rest of the kingdom.

This girl had a home, surrounded by trees and flowers, under a vast bright blue sky dotted with cotton candy clouds. The girl had a family, all of its members intertwining throughout her memories in a blur of happy moments. The girl had the world under her feet and the sunrise before her and her companions right by her side.

And yet, the girl was broken in a way that she had not been able to name for a very long time.

Amid her sunlit days, she started feeling cold and dark and full of shadows.

It was strange to her at first, how the tears never seemed to cease pooling at the corners of her eyes. She couldn’t understand why she was feeling so lonely, even among her friends and family.

There were many things she disliked about herself; whenever someone tried taking her picture, she would turn away. Whenever she looked into a mirror, she felt pathetic. Ugly. Strange.

One day, the girl’s world suffered an earthquake unlike any before. It would haunt her often, in the darkest and loneliest of hours of night, making her so sad and so confused. There were so many emotions she was feeling, and yet she could hardly ever let them show. I don’t want to be a burden, she would think as she cried into her pillow. I don’t want to be a burden, she would whisper as marked one life after the other onto her skin. I don’t want to be a burden, she would think whenever someone asked her how she was. She did not want to be a burden, so the answer to that question was almost always the same:

I’m okay.

Just a little tired.

As the girl slowly entered womanhood, she made herself a home among books and stories, fictional people and the friendship they offered. They helped her feel better; helped her imagine a world in which she could do anything, go anywhere and be anyone. A world in which sadness and loneliness were not her most trusted companions.

It was a great comfort, that world, yet reality kept trying to kick down its gates.

There were good times in there, too. Times of friendships and happiness and the feeling of belonging and freedom. Times of joy and gratefulness.

But, as her teenage years bade her goodbye, the girl’s world changed once again. Friendships fell apart (We just somehow grew apart, I guess), others’ expectations kept smothering her from the inside, along with her own desire to find purpose. Her mind, along with her heart, grew tumultuous; her thoughts became unclear and unfocused, her smile cold and practiced, her voice hoarse from being quiet for long periods of time. Little things made her viciously mad; little things made her deeply unhappy.

But worst of all was the emptiness.

The feeling of just moving mindlessly through each day, yet not really going anywhere. She would lose interest as quickly as gaining new passions; she would withdraw from others, rejected and hurt and wondering what was it about her that made her so unlovable and awful.

She was a failure.

She was a wreck.

She was nothing special, at the end of the day.

And that’s how she felt almost daily.

She carried all those feelings inside – I don’t want to be a burden – where they slowly festered and grew and mixed together to form a combination that could be dangerous at best and deadly at worst.

 

Once upon a time lived a girl, at war with her own mind.
And no one knew who would end up the winner.

 

/ / /

If you are struggling or know anyone who’s going through a tough time, you can find a list of international helplines here

If you need to talk/vent, you can leave a comment here or contact me at tammy_28_10(at)yahoo(dot)com or through my Instagram page here

It will get better. Keep fighting.

 

Writing Advice

Hey everyone and welcome (back)!

I’m going to go and guess that you opened this post because you’re a writer and/or aspiring author and you’re trying to find any advice on writing. You’re mostly likely familiar with some of the most commonly said phrases on this type of articles: read a lot, write what you’d want to read and write every day. Which is all solid and legit advice.
But, maybe you haven’t yet come across what I’m about to write, and maybe some of my tips turn out to be of aid to you. If so, then this post will have served its purpose.

Let’s begin, then.

#1: Dream big, but stay grounded

I tried writing one of my very first novels at the age of 12. It involved a girl who stumbled upon a dead body, an attractive investigator who took on the case, and a serial killer who was almost impossible to catch because he was one third of a set of triplets, who all had the initials J. M. and were all actually committing murders.

My next project involved the new girl at school, strange things happening at night, a fallen angel named Sebastian, a final battle on a high-school rooftop and a human/angel romance threatened by a sequel.

Then, it was an academy for angels, followed by something involving vampires and kissing, followed by a variety of demon-hunters and the monsters they’d end up falling for.

In my mind, there was no doubt, even at that early age, that I wanted to write novels that would become bestsellers and get adapted into movies. I daydreamed about book tours, signing thousands of copies of my books, participating in various panels alongside some of my favorite authors, and getting messages from readers all across the world. This was my ‘dreaming big’. There’s nothing wrong with it; in fact, I encourage you to shoot for the stars and hope for the universe. Hope is a wonderful thing, and it can serve as a powerful fuel that keeps the passion going.
But staying grounded is a must. While I did dream about all these things, I also never really expected for them to actually happen. I understood that spending fifty weeks on the bestseller list is not something that happens to every writer; I understood that I lived in a place where literature is not so much valued as it is overlooked, I understood that I write because my soul commands it, not because it is guaranteed that I’d reach a status of a celebrity one day.

And that’s the point. You write for yourself; you write so you could spread a message to others, you write to tell your truth, you write because stories are about to explode from your fingertips. You know that you most likely won’t ever become a household name. And that’s alright. If it happens – great. If it doesn’t – also great.

 

#2: Write in all genres, all perspectives and all tenses
(not in the same project, of course)

Like I’ve mentioned, I started off by trying to write a bunch of novels in various genres – more specifically, most of those projects were in the realm of paranormal romance, with varying otherworldly creatures and plenty of human heroines involved. My attempts were fairly unsuccessful; not only did my mind keep jumping from one idea to another (a problem I still face to this day), which meant that I would abandon one project for another and then abandon that one for a third and so on, but I also couldn’t seem to plot any of those books to such detail that I would have enough material for a 300-page book.
One of the ideas I had when I was around 14 was a novel about a girl named Ellie, who met Will, a faerie that fed off human sadness and negative emotions. It got discarded for another idea, I can’t even remember which, but then something happened: I stumbled upon a call for short story submissions by an emerging publishing house that one of the authors I’d known about was involved with. It was one of the first real publishing opportunities I’d found, so I knew I had to try.

The problem was, I had no short stories written, nor any ideas for one. Until I remembered Ellie and Will. And so the premise of a novel became a short story. And that short story got published.

Some time later, I discovered a new passion project: poetry, which I scribbled in bursts amid first time falling in love and first time feeling heartbroken.
At 16, I finally wrote a novel.
At 21, I published a poetry collection.
Today (which is still at 21), I focus mostly on novels and poetry.

As far as the writing style goes, when I was beginning to write more seriously, I used a lot of third person view and past tense. That later switched to first person present. Now, I use the latter for my contemporary novel ideas, but I did find a renewed liking for third person past tense for my fantasy novel ideas.

The point of this is – try out as many different things as you can. If you write mostly poetry, that doesn’t mean you can’t write an amazing novel and vice versa. Just because you prefer writing from a first person perspective doesn’t mean you won’t ever want to switch to a third person for another project. Diversity is wonderful and important and will help you improve your writing and find different ways to tell stories you want to tell.

 

#3: Finish your first big project for yourself and yourself only

The novel I wrote at 16 never moved past that first draft. I gave it to a couple of friends to read, and they all wonderful things about it (well, mostly that it made them cry a lot at the end, which was the goal, soo…). Still, I decided soon after finishing it that I would never even try publishing that novel. Why? Because I had finally proven to myself that I could finish writing a novel. And that was the most important thing at the time.
So write what you want to write – write it like one day it might get published. But, once you do write it, sit back, let that delirious smile spread across your lips, and pat yourself on the back because you did it.
You did it.

 

#4: Also, the first draft of anything is mostly shit   

Let’s be honest here. The first draft of your novel, or short story or whatever else, is going to be filled with not only genuine grammatical errors and sneaky typos, but it will also be filled with cringy sentences, redundant dialogue and plot holes. That particular novel of mine I told you about – it’s not really good. I mean, it’s good in a way that the story grips you and makes you bawl in the end because, spoiler alert, it was a sad, sad story, but it’s also pretty bad in terms of the writing style and character’s voices and character development. There’s a lot of tell instead of show (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, google it. Trust me.). The quality, to sum it up, is not up to the standard I know I can reach. (example: I still look the same, though – round electric blue eyes framed with black lashes, over them two arches of eyebrows. Between the eyebrows, a straight nose and, under it, two red lips, the lower one slightly bigger than the upper one. –> I could rewrite this here and now and it would look and sound ten times better.) 
And, with time, I got better, of course. Not nearly as perfect as I’d like to be, but writing takes a lot of practice and trial-and-error, I’ll get even better. You’ll get even better.

Just… not on the first draft.

 

#5: It starts with a sentence

I’m really big on grandiose opening sentences. I like when that first sentence grips you by the collar of your shirt and pulls you into the story, leaving you powerless to break its hold. Frankly, the sentence is so good, you don’t want to resist it.

A single sentence is usually how ideas are born in my head. When writing poetry, I think of a single line and then build the poem from it, not knowing when and where and how it will end. When writing a novel, I write one sentence and then develop the plot and the characters and then I realize that I have a new project on my hands. This is my way of creating; I’m sure you have your own. If not, or if you feel your way is currently in hibernation and isn’t really providing good ideas, try this one out – maybe it helps. Maybe it challenges you in new, fun ways.

The important thing is to, again, find the thing that works for you. You have to kiss a lot of frogs to get to the prince, they say. It’s kind of like that with finding your writing voice – you have to whisper a lot before you learn how to shout.

#6: You’ll want to quit more times than you care to admit (and that’s okay)
This is coming from a girl who has been seriously questioning her writing abilities and career choices for over a month now.
Once, I was texting with a friend and I remember sitting on the couch and staring at the books I have at home, over a hundred and fifty of them; I don’t recall exactly what had caused my doubts, but I know I’d written to him that I don’t think I want to do this whole writing thing anymore. I think I was at a point where I was going through a bad case of writers block and there were no opportunities for me to share my work with the world and I was just sick and tired of everything.
I find it slightly ironic that, now, a little over a month after publishing a book that is solely my work, I’m having more trouble than ever with seeing the purpose of storytelling.

But you know what? I can’t stop doing this. Even if no one buys any of my work, ever, even if I go months without writing a single chapter or even a poem, even if people tell me that writing will never pay for my bills and show me that they don’t really believe in me and my passion – I’ll still be the girl madly in love with words and the exquisite joy they bring me. And I’ll still be the same girl who finds comfort through writing, who believes that a book, in the right hands, can make a world of difference to a person.
So I can’t stop. I won’t stop. Won’t quit.
And, you know what?

 

#7: There will be moments that make it all worth it

Like seeing this:

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Seeing your book on Amazon, with even a “look inside” feature, is pretty damn neat, I won’t lie.

 

So. I want to leave you with a couple of end thoughts: you have a gift. You are a writer, you are a storyteller, you are a healer. You are good enough.
Don’t give up on what you love.
We’ll slay those bestseller lists together.

Now, open that new, blank document and write.

 

My poetry collection, Starlight, is available to preview and purchase here
You can find me on Instagram: @thewanderingwriter28

Likes, Followers, Social Media And Comparing Yourself To Others

alone beach calm dawn
Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Pexels.com

Hey guys,

So, lately, whenever I set off to write a new post, I feel like I won’t have some grand, positive, uplifting message at the end, and I start wondering if that post is even worth writing. But, I started this blog for myself, to be able to get some things off my chest, and so I think it’s important for me to write even those posts that don’t end up on the most positive note.

I’ve been going through a strange time lately. About a month shy away from 22, I feel like I’m not really doing the best job at transitioning into a full-fledged adult. I often find myself musing about the importance of social media in this day and age, and how a lot of values and ways of life have shifted among younger generations, compared to our parents’ and grandparents’ ones. Some days, I can’t help but think social media and the Internet have brought sheer misery to us.
Let me explain.
If you’re familiar with this blog and my stuff, you know that I’ve recently self-published a collection of poems and thoughts and that I’m trying to gain some exposure through (mainly) Instagram I thought to myself, Atticus has done it. Rupi Kaur has done it. Many other have done it. Maybe I could do it, too.

But there are so many poets and writers and readers out there who have the same thought, who are trying to do the same thing. My words often get lost in the sea of poems and pictures and quotes. I write ten hashtags on each picture I post in hopes that it reaches a wide audience and a solid number of people. But, in this sea of poetry, people stop by, click on that heart button, and simply leave my profile. It’s a very quick game we all play – explore, click, scroll on to another, repeat. Every once in a while, someone follows my account; some of them are genuinely interested in what I share, but some click follow only to undo it a few days later. The numbers always go up and down, and it’s never a constant rise, and I can’t help but think that the majority of people who like my posts or follow me do that only to grab my attention and prompt me to like/follow them back.
Which I guess I understand, but I can’t seem to bring myself to spend a lot of time just commenting on every post I see. I might be a little paranoid about it all, but the fact remains that even when people stop by to check out my writing, no one buys my poetry collection. It’s not selling at all, and I’ve wrote about this before – it’s really not about money for me, it would take a lot of sold copies for me to make any significant money from this book, and I know that’s not going to happen, I don’t count on it to happen. But I write to share my thoughts and my feelings and give others words of comfort and joy and make them feel any less alone, even for a little while. I’m a storyteller – my mind lives in places no textbook will ever write about and I feel like this is what I was destined to do. I’ve been told a couple of times by friends something along the lines of, “Well, at least you have this talent; I don’t have a talent for anything like that.” And I get it – you can’t learn to be a writer, you have to be born with that special spark. But lately I sit in front of my computer and I just think to myself, what do I get out of this? What good is my talent when I can’t seem to use it, what good is my voice if I can’t seem to shout loud enough for people to hear, what good are my words if people don’t know their meaning?

So that’s a part of what I’ve been feeling lately. But, of course, there’s more.

One other thing social media does is allowing us to paint this wonderful picture of our life. A picture in which everything is bright and sunny and going according to the plan. Degrees are acquired, foreign countries visited, weddings and pregnancies and weekend getaways… everything is so perfect on screen.

As I’ve stepped into my twenties, the roaring twenties, I’ve been seeing more and more announcements and good news from my peers. People I went to school with are getting engaged and having babies and travelling all across the globe and getting their degrees and always smiling on their pictures.

And I’m happy for them, I truly am. But I look at those smiles and then I look at myself, at the fact that I’m behind in my studies, that I can’t seem to really accomplish the dream I’ve had for at least ten years now, that I no one’s ever really been in love with me, that I feel so alienated even from my closest friends at times, more and more often lately, that for all my writings, I can’t seem to find the right words to describe a certain emptiness that I feel inside. And so looking at those smiles hurts. It hurts because I am in a place from which I can’t seem to see things getting better. I’m letting myself go a little bit more with each new day. Most day, I’m not even really sure who I am, who I’m supposed to be. I can’t seem to recall where the last three months have gone – what have I done, what have I accomplished, have I done anything remotely important at all? It doesn’t feel like I have.

I feel like I’ve been trying to become invisible for a long time now; silent in a corner, uncomfortable when people try to talk to me, panicking when they ask questions to which the answers are so disappointing. Because they expect certain things from me, and I can’t seem to follow through. And I hate letting people down, so I’d rather let others let me down and try to make myself as small as possible. Because it seems I’ll never live up to the expectations of others and the standards others have set.

See? There isn’t really a point to this post. I am unable to give myself any good advice, because I know there’s a part of me too damn exhausted and too far gone to even care for it, much less follow it.
If any of you relate to this, if any of you have gone through this and have come out stronger, I’d love to hear your advice and your stories. 

Until next time.

 

Instagram: @thewanderingwriter28

Scars My Teachers Left On Me (Storytime)

abc books chalk chalkboard
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hey everyone,

I had not actually ever planned to write a post on this subject, but I was browsing through some quotes for my Instagram (@thewanderingwriter28) and I stumbled upon this John Lennon quote:

“I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?”

and it reminded me of something that once happened to me in high-school, and I thought that it would make a good story on here, so why not? Actually, it’s going to be three-ish stories.

So, story #1 – what you need to know before I get into it: I used to be a huge Twilight fan. That saga was among the very first novel series I’d read, and it played a very large part in me deciding that I want to become a published novelist one day. I did start writing more seriously and just more after becoming a Twilight fan, so I do admit that I have some pretty amazing memories related to it, and that it was actually the gasoline that made my writing spark burst into flames. And, amid me being a part of the fandom, I was out shopping once and in one store I saw a black t-shirt with glittery pink letters that spelled out “Looking for a vampire” on the front. And I bought it. And I was quite happy with that t-shirt.

Some amount of time later, I am a junior in high-school, and we get a new subject – Logic. It was taught by a teacher we hadn’t encountered yet in freshman and sophomore year, so none of us knew what to expect. I personally often can make out what the teacher is like pretty quickly, like, there are certain vibes that people have that absolutely do not go with mine, and so I’ve encountered a couple of teachers that I could barely tolerate.
Anyway. The Logic teacher comes in and the part of the class is alright, nothing special happens. And then he says, let’s go around the class and everybody introduces themself. Which I despise sooo much. I’m in college now, and we sometimes do it in classes there, too, and I still to this day absolutely hate introducing myself in three sentences. But fine, I’d do it, I’d survive, it would be fine. And so, I was somewhere around the middle in the classroom, and the teacher did comment here and there on what some of my classmates said, and so I was really crossing my fingers that he wouldn’t say anything like that to me.
And so my turn arrives. I say a few sentences, he says okay, I’m starting to expel this breath I’d been holding.

And then.

He says, “What’s that writing on your shirt?”
And of course, I was wearing the vampire-searching t-shirt. So I inwardly roll my eyes and tell him what my t-shirt says, and he then asks me whether I believe that vampires are real. And this is actually the part that I related to with that Lennon quote, because the following was, and still is, my stance on that question:
I do not believe that there are vampires walking among us. I do not consider myself a vampire. I do not sleep during the day and walk with fake fangs among the streets at night looking for people to attack. I do not drink blood.
I do, however, believe that there is no reason to think that vampires (and other supernaturals) should not be real. Like, maybe there are other dimensions and hidden worlds and glamours that keep our human eyes from seeing them, etc. I do not have any proof, nor would I ever go proclaiming that I encountered a vampire or anything similar unless it were true.

But I do believe that nothing is impossible. I grew up developing a great love for fiction and storytelling and things that seem impossible and otherwordly. Creative writing is my greatest passion, of course I’m going to believe in the unlikely.
And so, when asked that question, I replied that I don’t think they are among us, but that I don’t exlude the possibility of their existence. And this got a couple of laughs from the classroom, but fine, I wasn’t bothered by that. I was bothered, though, when the teacher laughed and said, “No, no, I want a one-word answer: do you believe in vampires, yes or no?”

Now, I’m the kind of person who gets really anxious when put under spotlight, especially in situations like this one. I have social anxiety, I get pretty wrecked before I have to give a speech in front of the class etc. So I think that, in many other cases, if I were confronted with a question like that, I would probably lie and say the answer that is more “socially exceptable” or whatever, just to get that attention away from myself. But there was something that time, something defiant in me, the want to stay true to myself and my beliefs and my thoughts, that made me say reply “yes”. Of course, that got quite a few more laughs, but then we moved on to the next person.
Later on, that teacher would reference that whole thing a couple times later – for example, in the summer between junior and senior year, here we have a tradition of going on a 10-ish day long international trip, and it’s a pretty big thing here, second to prom. As junior year was coming to an end, we had to decide where we wanted to go etc., and there were many discussions, and since that teacher was actually in charge of one of the other classes in my generation, he once asked us where we wanted to go, and he asked everyone individually. And so, of course, when it was my turn, he commented something along the lines of “Oh, I’m sure you want to go to Transylvania”. Because Dracula. Because vampires. Because I’m a freak who loves vampires.

 So… yeah. I mean, I will say that he was otherwise a solid teacher, and that I had an A in both that class and in one class in senior year that he taught. But still, the problem I have with that whole situation is the fact that he would often poke fun at not only me, but practically everyone else in the class. Sometimes the jokes were harmless and funny, but sometimes they were a bit distasteful. I actually had a teacher like that once in college, too, and I was so annoyed with him that going to that class was pretty much the worst part of my week. 

The moral of this story, I guess, is – don’t be that guy. Or girl. Don’t be that teacher that has to make stupid jokes at the pupils’ or students’ expense and put them in awkward and uncomfortable situations. I mean, not to be dramatic, but like, if I were in some other school with some other people and that happened, maybe I would have been bullied for what happened. And, considered I wasn’t really in a good place mentally during high-school, who knows what could’ve happened had that occurred. 

Anyway. Story #2.
When I was in elementary school (which is grades 1 through 8 where I live), I was perfectly alright with math. I was a solid B, sometimes even an A. But then high-school happened and we got this teacher who was infamous for being pretty strict. And I realized, right from the first test she gave us (which was basically a test on the subject matter from the years before), that I would not have a good time in that class.

Soon enough, I got my first F. Ever. Then another one, then another, and things pretty much spiraled down from there. (For the record, I also suck in physics, and am not the best in chem, either; and the combination of the bad grades I started getting in those subjects had a lot to do with how depressed I became.) She flunked me, a lot, I almost failed freshman, sophomore and junior year because I almost didn’t pass her subject. She lowkey hated me.
And you know what’s the worst part? I wasn’t the worst ever at math. Like, I could have done alright, if not for the fact that she immediately sought out three of four star pupils who were better at math than the rest of us combined, and then leveled all of the tests to their abilities. She would give us super advanced tasks because four people knew how to do them. The rest of us? Yeah, screw us.
There were a lot of ups and downs (more downs, actually), and there were quite a bit more things about her personality  and teaching methods that really bothered me, but the culmination of everything was near the end of senior year. Now, in my country, at the end of high-school everyone takes a couple of big final exams, something like the SATs: there are three mandatory subjects, among which is math, and the rest are optional and you choose which one(s) you want to take. For each of the three main exams, each person chooses whether they want to take the A or B level exam, B being the easier version, and A being the advanced, more difficult, level. As far as math goes, B level is child’s play, practically. All you need to do is put numbers in the right formulas, which you can have printed on the exam, and you’ll get a solid grade. In other words, even my harrowing math skills are more than enough to pass the B level.

So, back to that wonderful day of senior year. It was a double period (can you feel my enthusiasm leaking through this text), and I think that it was the day when the teacher brought the results of a test we’d had a week or so earlier. So she wrote down everyone’s grades, she looked at me with her wonderful smirk as I got an F again, all the usual stuff. But then, once all the grades were in, she decided to browse through the book in which all the grades were (I can’t for the life of me remember the word for that on English, if there even is one) and see who was doing well and who wasn’t and stuff like that. I braced myself iternally for what was surely about to happen, especially since I was the first one alphabetically so I would be the first one to get her wonderful commentary. And she opens the book and she accidentally skips the first page – my page – and I’m both nervous and suddenly slightly hopeful; but then she realizes that she skipped my page and goes back. 

And it began. It went like this: *opens my page, looks at my atrocious grades* *sighs* “I won’t say anything…”
But then. “You know what, I have a little bit of a cold today, so I won’t hold back.”

And then she proceeded to belittle me for about five minutes straight, telling me that I wouldn’t even pass that B level exam with my non-existent knowledge. And she ripped into me so bad that, when finally the five-minute reccess between classes came and she left the classroom for a break, I nearly started crying. It was honestly one of the most awful feelings I’d felt during high-school, and knowing that everyone else was there to witness that was even worse.

I took the B level exam. I was a point short from a B, and I realized the mistake I made on one of the tasks as I was going down the stairwell toward the school exit – if I had realized it five minutes earlier, I would have gotten a B. So there. I did that on my own, definitely not thanks to any of her encouragement and teaching.
Oh, and also? Try and guess how many of all those complicated formulas I’ve used since I gratuated high-school? NONE.

Story #3. As you might have figured out by now, I’m not the numbers, textbook-smart, science kind of girl. I’m more of a literature and language kind of gal. I am also not a sporty person, but rather a Netflix-binge-watch and pizza kind of person. In other words, I have no stamina and I never liked P.E.

Especially not in high-school, where the teacher tried to practically make athletes out of us all. And she was all about “I know not everyone is a sporty person and not everyone is built for that, but I want you to give it your all, to show any improvement and will to participate”. Sounds reasonable enough, yes. But, thanks to my un-sportiness, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to perform a lot of the things she taught us. And knowing that made me pretty much freeze whenever I had to try out something new I thought I couldn’t handle. I just couldn’t do it, especially knowing that everyone was watching and surely silently judging me. And because of that, the teacher thought that I wasn’t even trying to make progress, and she didn’t like me that much sometimes. On one instance, we were suppoded to practice dribbling a basketball ball and getting it across the room and she singled me out to show everyone how it’s not done. In senior year, we were learning how to do somersaults, and I couldn’t bring myself to even try it because there was such a mental block in my head. And she told me off in front of the whole class, and it wasn’t fun. So, things like that. And these things, every one of these events I’ve just described to you, plus a few more, they make me feel bad even to this day – I sometimes start thinking about them as I’m trying to fall asleep, and they make me feel so awful still. It will take me a long time to forget them, if I ever do.

(Oh, also, during all of these, I was quite a bit crushing on a boy from my class, so he witnessed everything. It was pretty horrifying.)

All in all, if I manage to get any messages across from these stories, I’d like it to be this: be mindful of other people. Be aware that maybe they’re not just lazy and not interested in the subject; maybe they’re struggling on the inside and are close to their breaking point and just can’t find the motivation to do stuff. Maybe they have crippling anxiety that’s preventing them from speaking up, from doing gymnastics, etc. And be aware, please be aware, that what you say to others might do so much damage, especially at that age when everything feels so big and eternal and awful and a lot of people are struggling already with other issues. 

On a different note, shoutout to all those teachers who are mindful and kind and genuinely have students’ best interest at heart. I had the priviledge of meeting a couple of them, and I will remember them fondly for the rest of my life.

The Struggles Of Misophonia

Hey everyone,

Before I get into this, I’d just like to point out that my poetry collection, Starlight, is now available at a lower price.
This is its description: Poignant, bittersweet, personal and hopeful, Starlight is a collection of poems and thoughts on themes of love, heartbreak, sorrow, beauty and other kinds of magic that surround us. If you’d like to see a couple of poems/previews from it, you can find those on my Instagram page (click here). It would be greatly appreciated if you checked it out/purchased it/even recommended it to your friends etc.
To those interested, you can check it out on Amazon here 🙂

black smartphone and headphones on a desk
Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

Anyway.

** trigger warning – discussing triggers and emotional distress of misophonia **

Have you ever heard of the word “misophonia”?

Do you know the condition behind the word? Presumably not, unless you have some kind of personal experience with it. I was definitely not aware of the word for a long time, nor was I aware that it was something that is considered to be a legitimate condition.

WebMD describes it like this: ‘a strong dislike or hatred of specific sounds’, and then further, ‘also known as selective sound sensitivity syndrome’. Usually the person suffering from misophonia gets triggered by hearing one or more sounds that are… unpleasant to them. I put the word unpleasant in italics because unpleasant doesn’t even begin to describe it.
In case of a mild reaction, the website further states, one might experience the following: anxiety, feeling uncomfortable, the urge to flee and disgust, while a more severe reaction might lead to rage, anger, hatred, panic, fear, emotional distress, a desire to kill or stop whatever is making the noise, skin crawling and even suicidal thoughts.
None of these are preferable and wanted in one’s everyday life, yet many often have to suffer through them. 

If you’re one of the people who have misophonia, you’ll be quite familiar with the whole process; if not, I’d like to tell you my side of the story.

Before that, a couple of more facts about misophonia: it is a lifelong condition, which occurs usually between the ages of 9 and 13 and is more common among females, although that statistic could come simply out of the underrepresentation of different forms of mental illnesses among men. Be as it may, misophonia is still somewhat of a mystery – first recognized as a condition in 2001, it is a genuine abnormality of the brain, with amygdala being one of the ‘affected’ areas. I bring that up because amygdala has a large part in borderline personality disorder (BPD), which I’ve written about in some of my other posts; considering that the amygdala is responsible for controlling emotions, it makes me think that there is quite a bit possibility that people with BPD have a high chance of suffering from misophonia, too, since both of those conditions involve having extremely strong emotional responses to distress. 

If you’d like to see a list of triggers and learn more about this, I encourage you to search the web for some resources – I’m going to tell you about mine next, but there are plenty other triggers to know about, both auditive and visual.

I should start my story by saying that I woke up at 5 am today.
Which doesn’t seem too horrible – plenty of people have to get up early for various reasons.

But, it’s Saturday, I do not have a job to get up for, I did not have any particular plans worth getting up early for. In other words, I should have woken up around 8, as usual, and gone about my day.

Here are three things you should know: 1) I have always been a light sleeper; 2) in most cases, once I wake up, it is pretty much impossible for me to fall back asleep; and 3) I have misophonia.
This combination has been making my life pretty miserable lately.  I haven’t slept through the whole night in about two weeks now. The things that can wake me up go from ravens cawing outside my window and a car blaring music passing, to hearing people simply talking and eating. The latter, especially, causes me to wake up and instantly become incredibly irritated and angry at everyone involved. And, sometimes, it ruins my entire day. I’m withdrawn and quietly pissed off all day long.

I usually wait for everyone to fall asleep before heading to bed myself. Last night, or actually, sometime today early in the morning, I tried drowning out certain noise by listening to music with my earbuds in – it was no use. I don’t really want to resort to ear plugs, but that might happen soon, otherwise I might go insane. Just now, someone was sneezing in a quite obnoxious way, and it set my skin crawling and nerves on edge. The same goes with certain types od yawning, the same goes with chewing noises people make, the same goes with silverware scraping against pans and pots etc.

At home, I usually wear earphones and listen to music; I’ve actually started doing that during Sunday family lunch too. It’s awful. And I can feel it getting worse; there are certain noises that have begun bothering me only recently, and are now bothering me greatly.

I’m not sure when this ordeal started. I’ve always had those before-mentioned sleeping issues. I know I’ve always despised horror movies, because of those scenes where everything is silent and then suddenly something pops out with a loud sound. I’ve always hated loud, unexpected sounds. Once, we were watching a movie in class and it was full of those tense, silent moments in which you just know something loud is going to happen next. I sat there, feeling so tense, so on edge, sweating in silent panic. At one point, I almost asked the teacher for a bathroom pass just so I could get away for a few moments.
Torture.
Also, during my pre-college education, I developed a strong hate for pencils, more specifically the sound they make while writing. That scraping against paper… ugh. Pens have become my favorite.

So, I’ve mentioned I sometimes get really uncomfortable and really mad when triggered, and I’d like to go slightly more in-depth with that. If you remember the various reactions to triggers that I wrote near the top of the post, you know that there are some more mild and some more severe reactions. I’d say that mine are a mix of the two. Sometimes, when the trigger noise is of short duration, or for some other reason, I get slightly annoyed but then it’s gone and I’m fine. Sometimes, when in bigger family meetings, I can sort of focus on other sounds, like conversation, to distract myself from the chewing noises.
Other times, though… especially lately, since it’s started to seriously mess with my sleep, I can become so violently angry and feel deep hatred to even members of my family. I usually don’t really show it on the outside – I might sigh deeply or kick my blanket around a bit, but it always goes unnoticed. In my head, I scream furiously for people and noises to shut the fuck up already. Once or twice, though, I remember getting this sudden surge of anger and biting into my forearm because I didn’t know what else to do to release the anger.
I’m the kind of person to suffer in silence (also elaborated in my posts about BPD), so it’s incredibly hard and impossible for me to go up to the people who make some of the noises that trigger me and tell them to stop doing that because they’re driving me crazy. And it’s not really their fault. It’s not my fault, either. It’s just this endless cycle of frustration for me, so I try to pull through it.

So there you have it. If this post is painfully relateable to you, know you’re not alone, no matter how big or small of a comfort that is. If you can’t personally relate, I hope this shed a little light and perspective, so you can understand us better.

As always, thanks for reading and talk to you soon!

Arguing With Lord Tennyson About Love

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(Not literally, of course.)

 

I suppose a lot of you are familiar with the words

“’Tis better to have loved and lost

Than never to have loved at all.”

 

Those lines stem from a poem titled In Memoriam A.H.H. by British poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, and I often find myself saying them in my head, wondering whether people agree with the saying or not. So, I thought I’d write my own view on this question.

Actually, let’s add another question to this: so, do you believe that it’s better to have had a great love in your life and then have lost it, or that it’s better never to have known romantic love at all; and, do you believe that there is someone out there for everyone and that we’re all destined to find that special someone?

 

I’ll start with the latter. I used to believe in the notion of soulmates – I’d perceived it as the existence of one perfect person that you’d get along with so beautifully and wonderfully and with whom you’d fall completely in love and you’d work out all of your problems and live happily ever after.

But then, after an enlightening conversation on the subject with some of my friends, I came to a realization that my previous thinking had no sense, really. Because, as exceptional as the idea of a soulmate sounds, how can there be only one single person out there that’s your match? With billions of people out there, how can it be just that one? How in the world are the two people going to find each other, when they could be thousands of miles away from each other?

Besides, what about the people who had found true love, lost it, and then found it again with another person? Does it mean that they can’t/don’t love the second person as much as they did the first one? Personally, I can’t quite believe that. I don’t think that the love someone feels towards that second person is any less stronger than the love they felt towards the first one. It’s not the same love – every love is different from the other – but it is in no way lesser.

So, I am more inclined to believe that there are several people out there who can be like 90% of your match, instead of one that’s a 100% match.

However.

I don’t believe that every single person is destined to find their true companion. If anything, I believe that some people are actually destined to never find true love. Which is depressing as hell, but a lot of people never even get the chance to find someone. A lot of people have such short lives that they never get to experience that.

And some simply live well and long, alone.

And maybe that’s not the worst thing.

Maybe it’s better never to have known love, never to have had that person to come home to every day, than to have lost them.

So, that’s my current stance on Tennyson’s words; the reason why is because I am currently in a mindset in which I believe I am one of those people who are destined to keep searching for love, but never actually finding it.

Let’s get a bit personal: in my life, I have developed a couple of strong crushes. Like, three or four in total. And they were these all-consuming, strong crushes, which sometimes bordered on being in love with someone. Nothing ever came even close to developing into something besides me crushing from afar, being friendly on the outside but being torn apart on the inside. I mostly kept all those feelings to myself. I learned with time that it was safer to do that – you can’t put anyone in a difficult and uncomfortable position, and you can’t get hurt by being explicitly told no. So, I just keep it all inside and wait for the feelings to go away. Eventually, they do. It certainly takes a while, but it happens.

It still hurts, though.

I’ve tried meeting people via online dating apps – I went on a few dates, I texted with a fair share of people, I allowed myself to hope a couple of times that maybe this time it would be right. But I realized with time that meeting people online does not work for me – people go into these things expecting a relationship, expecting to find their match, but for me, that same expectation puts a lot of strain on the conversation you have with someone. I came to a conclusion that I much more prefer being around someone, observing their behavior, their quirks, their personality, and getting a general idea of what kind of person they are. All of my big crushes were on people who I encountered in person at least once every week. People who I could talk to in person.

I felt attraction to a lot of people whose names I don’t even know. But that was physical attraction.

I fell in love with the people whose hearts and minds I knew a little better.

Unfortunately, what has been known to happen is that I start crushing on someone, only to find out they aren’t single. Or, more often, I start crushing on someone and we become sort of friends, but I never confess how I really feel because I’m certain there’s no way they could ever feel the same.

There are more factors coming into play here, but all in all, over time I have developed this feeling of certainty that I’m going to live my life crushing on people, but never experiencing one of those people actually liking me back.

And I guess that lately I’ve been coming to terms with that. I still catch very strong feelings for people, and I yearn to come across one of those almost-soulmates, but I’m also imagining in my head how one day I’m going to buy a dog to keep me company so I’m not completely alone.

And so I suppose that it’s better not having known true love, than having lost it. Because when you don’t know what it’s like to be truly romantically loved by someone, you can only imagine it in your head, wonder what it would be like, create fantasies in your head. You can do all that, but there’s nothing to lose. When you have known and lost love, I image it rips you apart. I believe that it hurts way more than not knowing love ever could hurt.

Not knowing love hurts. But losing something as strong and powerful as true love must be a hundred times worse.

Well,  those are my two cents on the subject – sorry if this got too somber. Anyway, what do YOU think? Let me know in the comments.

 

As always, for more musings you can find me on social media: for Instagram click here
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