Mental Health · Personal

Sort of a Life Update: Mental Health and Uni Stuff


So I’ve been avoiding blogging recently, or at least, I didn’t feel like it. Luckily I’ve had some stuff scheduled in the meantime (but those are gonna finish soon!)

Since I’ve made a few personal posts, I wanted to avoid making another personal one for a while. I didn’t want to fall down that same rabbit hole where I just keep narcissistically talking about myself. But still, I read some posts I made on my last blog recently and they kind of made me laugh. Even then, I tried make everything sound comical to entertain my readers and it kinda made it seem like I had an interesting life (while in actuality I was very lonely and felt detached from people). I don’t know if I can replicate that again, but I’ll try for the sake of making this post more interesting.

So after I made that post about my parents and our extremely uncomfortable conversation (uncomfortable for me anyway…), I did speak to my mum and decided to ‘come clean’ about a lot of things. Basically opening up to her. Thankfully she didn’t just dismiss me. She tried to come up with alternate reasons as to why I feel the way I do, but I think she didn’t want to admit that there was a problem. Still, as she is a healthcare professional (a midwife), she did ask the screening questions for depression. While I did admit to feeling somewhat depressed (as in the emotion), I told her I wasn’t depressed (as in the condition). She suggested calling Samaritans or something like that, but I told her I had phone anxiety. We both decided on me going to see the GP to see a counsellor, since it helped last time. So I went ahead and booked an appointment with a specific doctor, not my own GP, as my mum had suggested, because she doesn’t like my GP that much either.

So, with the appointment booked, I pushed it to the back of my mind and tried not to think about it much. It didn’t help, and I just kept feeling stupid for booking it, wondering if I should back out, but I hate to let people down even more, and I was determined to finally take myself seriously for once.

About that same time, another blogger, dragonriko, who runs a PDA blog, gave me a huge insight to my situation.

Childhood Emotional Neglect. CEN. When a child’s emotional needs have not been met, leading to emotional and behavioural problems in adulthood. I cannot tell you how well this described me. Like… it seemed to fit me like a T! And I know I said autism fit me fairly well, but CEN really explains everything perfectly. It explains why I struggle in social situations. Why I get lonely. Why I feel like an outsider looking in. Why I can’t connect with people. Why I get explosive anger. Why I have trouble reaching out to people. Why I have trouble expressing myself.

The list goes on.

And my situation like I described in that post (LNR: Crocodile Tears) seems like a good example of childhood emotional neglect. In my childhood, negative emotions were bad. You had to be happy and smiley all the time. Even now, because I’m living with my parents, I can’t show any negative emotion without my parents complaining about it. I can’t really remember my childhood that well because I have a shit memory, but I can remember that whenever I was sad about things and cried, my parents would never comfort me, they’d just tell me to get over it that I’m not physically hurt. And the thing with my parents is that they can be pretty intimidating. When they talked to me when I’m sad, it’s like they were cornering me. Their voices would be raised and they’d speak in a harsh tone (I’m actually sort of reliving it emotionally as I speak, yikes…). It’s so confrontational and frightening. Even as an adult, I sometimes break down and cry when they speak like that so I can just imagine how I felt as a little kid when they spoke to me like this. It explains why I tend to be tense and jumpy. I’ve very tense right now.

I can understand why my parents are like this. They were raised like this. This is just how Africans (or at least those born and raised in Africa) are. I’ve always hated it, even to the point of wishing I was white or at least was raised by white people (though, of course, now I know that white people can be like this too- it’s not strictly a race thing). Still I can’t help but resent my parents a bit.

Especially my dad.

In fact, after writing that Crocodile Tears post, I’ve just been annoyed every time I see my dad. My dad can be such an asshole it’s not even funny. He just has to be in control. He’s ignorant yet acts like he knows it all. He criticises me for not going to church despite the fact that he will ALWAYS choose football over God.

The damn hypocrite.

It does make me feel bad to talk about him like this. Not just because it’s very easy to guilt me, but because he is my dad, he did take care of me and aside from all the stuff I’ve mentioned, tried to make my life as easy as possible, as I know he didn’t have an easy life. So I’m grateful, but I’m also resentful.

That’s life, I guess… Swiftly moving on…

I’ve been thinking and reading and watching a lot about CEN, and complex PTSD. Not that I’m saying I have complex PTSD, but reading into it does give me some insight about how I behave. I’ve been recently reading into emotional flashbacks, because they could explain a lot. But for now I’m just educating myself. I’ll leave the diagnosing to the appropriate healthcare professionals. (Not that I’m putting down self-diagnosis- it’s important if you don’t have access to a HCP who can diagnose you- though you should never self-medicate with POM meds when you haven’t been diagnosed.)

The GP I met to ask for a referral (which he has done, bless his soul) signposted me to this self-help resource call moodjuice. I took a quick read-through of the anger section which was actually quite insightful. It even has worksheets you can use to better understand your anger and how to manage it better. It became apparent to me yet again that I have issues with recognising my own emotions and with self-appraisal. So I decided that I’m going to make more of an effort at recognising my emotions and also the physical symptoms related to them. It can get a bit hard sometimes because I know hyperventilation can be caused by emotions, but I often mistake it for asthma. This will be difficult, but I want to be able to manage myself better.

So that’s the mental health side of things, the next is uni.

So uni has started again. It kind of doesn’t feel like it since I was living out last year and now I’m going from home. Although I’ve only started this week, I’ve been going to and from uni last week, getting ready for fresher’s fair. It’s weird thinking that I’m going to be on the ‘other side of the stall’ so to speak. I’m only a second year and I’m already in a leadership position in a society. I’m not saying it’s an achievement- it only makes sense as our last committee were all second years. Also, for most people, their undergrad courses are only last 3 years and I assume a lot of people would be super busy in the third year. I probably will be.

Anyway, as the treasurer of my society, I’ve been pretty busy. We’ve had posters and flyers that have been passed down to us, but our students’ union decided to rebrand itself over the summer and they don’t want to see the old name on any of our stuff. That left me and the prez with two options:

  1. Make new flyers and posters within a few days and throw out over 600 flyers and as well as the posters.
  2. Ignore the union’s request and hope we don’t get in trouble.

Luckily for us, our president is a pretty dependable dude and he can up with the idea of printing out the logo and contact information and sticking them on the posters and flyers. That way we saved a lot and the flyers and posters still looked pretty decent (and they were so beautifully designed- there was no way I was gonna throw them out!)

So with our stuff ready we headed down to fresher’s fair to set up our stall. Our stall wasn’t that great, I’ll admit. But we were told to expect only a meter worth of space. We didn’t expect a second board that acted as a divider but was available for us to use. We would’ve used the space a lot better if we were allowed to use pins, but unfortunately we could only use this sort of Velcro sticker thing, which they only gave us a few. We use to to stick up a poster, some pictures from our partner volunteering society and some origami.

Oh yeah, did I mention it was an origami society?

The fair was pretty successful. We got at least 247 emails for our mailing list. Of course I’m hoping not all 247 people will come because we’ve only made space for 50 for our taster sessions. Two people have already unsubscribed anyway, I’m sure by now they’ll be a few more unsubscribers. I’m not bitter about it.

im notThe fair was a little awkward because I’m socially awkward. I tried to not be in people’s faces and I guess it backfired a little because I was too out of people’s faces. I misinterpreted people saying ‘Oh hey, look, origami society’ to their friends as they pass by, as them having interest in it. I realised this during the second day of the fair.

I also never realised how tiring it is to run a stall. We only had a metre worth of space with only an exam desk, a chair, and a board. Since there was always two people at our stand, we struggled to find space because as well as the desk and chair taking up room, there was the fact that we needed to keep our bags and coats in a little corner which was basically the whole stall. Then you need to consider our neighbouring stalls. The stall next to us, Pakistan Society, had a mini suitcase on the floor and I couldn’t understand why on earth they felt the need to bring one. What did they bring that needed the space? I will never know. As well as that, Parkour Club, which was on the other side of Pakistan Society, had quite a few stuff to plug in (INCLUDING THEIR PHONES) and so they had to use the adaptor which was on our side so there were just wires everywhere. Still, me and my stall partner took turns to sit in the chair, even sharing it at one point. But we stood for most of the time.

The prez had me man the stand for FOUR HOURS on the first day of the fair. And I had to come an hour beforehand to set up. It’s fine I guess, in the end, we did the same number of hours. Still the four hour session was a brutal one. I was very hungry and tired about 2/3 hours in, but I decided to just stay anyway. I COULD’VE gotten something to eat, but I was way to tired to try and fight my way out of the fair. So tired that I almost fell asleep several times on the stall and then I did fall asleep on the train ride home, which must’ve looked weird, given it was only 2 in the afternoon. If it weren’t for the guy who tripped over my legs, who knows where I would’ve ended up. So, thanks and sorry, guy on the train. My neighbour stalls all had snacks as well. I think Log brought some on the second day, but on the first, we brought nothing. Parkour Club, on the other hand, had a tub full of gummy bears and I’m a huge sweet tooth. I never had the guts to ask for any though. My awkwardness got the better of me.

A little off topic, but I did notice how people always looked back to make sure their friends were close by before they moved further. It can be hard to notice how nervous everyone else is when you’re also nervous yourself. People often skipped stalls if they found their friend didn’t want to go. It’s sad really. I went with Cloud last year (Cloud is a close friend of mine who went to my primary school) so she followed me to the stalls I liked and vice versa. Sometimes we just went to different stalls and ‘regrouped’ after we were done.

Another thing I noticed during the fair (and I always have to bring things back to myself, don’t I?) was that when I took over my friend… hmm let’s call her Logarithm (or Log for short), the previous treasurer and a fellow Steven Universe fan, she sort of had her arms out, like she wanted to hug me, while she was talking. But it wasn’t that obvious and I’ve learnt to not rely on cues like that because I’ve misinterpreted them before (and to hug someone when they don’t want a hug is just too embarrassing). Also, I didn’t see her as that close to me, not that I didn’t want to be close friends, but I do misjudge relationship closeness sometimes (I guess? It’s hard to tell…). It was a moment later she said ‘How about a hug??’ in a pretty awkward way and I felt a little embarrassed, but hugged her anyway. I guess I still have quite a bit to learn about that sort of stuff…

So after the fair we had 247 emails, but had no mailing list. Prez had some personal business to deal with (probably with moving into his new place), so he left me with the important task of creating the mailing list. The only problem was, I had no idea how to. Eventually I learned how and made it, and spent several hours designing the first email. I think it came out fine. I showed it to Grace before sending it and she said it was cool. I hope I didn’t break any spam laws or whatever.

Now all that’s left is for our first session and you can bet your bottom dollar that I’m nervous as fuck.

That’s all I’m going to say for now because I have to leave for uni in about 30 minutes and I’m not ready!

See ya next post!




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