Peculiar Actions

Every individual is unique because of their personality. Personality is formed by the things that influence you; the people you’re surrounded by, interests, things you’ve learnt, opinions you’ve heard… the list goes on and on. But for me, the things that really make somebody unique are often the little “quirks” that make them weird, or strange, or different, and they are usually some of the best things about a person.

Some people will like your quirks, and some people will hate them. Some may judge you on them and others may try out your little habits and take something from it. They are what make you, you, and if you’re happy with yourself and don’t mind these little “quirks,” you’re in a good place.

Some of my “quirks” that I have identified are in some way or another a coping mechanism. They have been compared to the actions of a person with OCD by a colleague in work, whereas others are just simply me, and have been given the nickname “sophieisms” by my parents. None of my “quirks” negatively impact my life. They are not a huge burden, and often are what put my mind at rest. But it needs to be remembered that for some people, these “quirks” are over compulsive disorder behaviours, and can put a strain on an individual’s quality of life.

My main reasoning for writing this post was not to make a point for once but to write a bit about me. Write a bit about my personality and about some of my annoying little habits that, although are sometimes embarrassing when people notice or point out, make me the person I am.

1. I can’t keep still. When I’m sat down and I’m not doing anything, I’ll be tapping my feet or a surface with my hands. If I’m stood up, I’ll usually pace up and down the room, or tap my foot as if I’m listening to music and moving to the beat.

2. My hands must be kept busy. Whether it’s doodling little flowers, spinning a pen in between my fingers, or playing with a piece of paper, my hands will never relax.

3. Once I’ve opened the front door to leave the house, I run back in and upstairs to check that my phone charger, straighteners and the iron are all unplugged and switched off at the wall. Sometimes I’ll check it and when I get to the bottom of the stairs, I’ll run back up again to check just in case I didn’t look properly.

4. The TV, radio, my phone etc can only be left on certain volume numbers. Luckily now my car’s volume colours in a bar, it only leaves my phone and TV. The numbers have to either be even or a multiple of 5. The only exceptions being; 1, 3, 9, and 13.

5. I clean my ears with an ear bud at least twice a week, whether they are dirty or not.

6. When I have a really crappy day, I buy a packet of cigarettes but don’t smoke them. They’ll usually live in my glove box for a few weeks before I give them away to a friend who does smoke.

7. I’ll have one sentence conversations that nobody else seems to get. I’ll ask somebody one thing and after hearing their response, I’ll start talking about a completely new topic which people often find hard to follow.

8. I forget to breathe when speaking. If I have a lot to say or need to explain something long, I automatically speak faster, and by the time I’ve finished, I feel like I’ve just completed a workout.

9. I like things to be symmetrical. If I’m tidying the tills in work after they’ve been shut down, I move everything like the counters, marker pens, score cards, leaflets etc so the tills are mirror images of each other. I like things to be in straight lines and equal distances as much as I can.

10. Everytime I leave a family member, (even if I’m just going out for a meal) regardless of if we’ve been arguing or I’m mad at them, I’ll always say “love you” before leaving because I have an irrational fear about what my last words are to someone.

 

Stop, Think, and Stutter.

As a child, I couldn’t sit still. I struggled to concentrate on one thing for a period of time and my thoughts constantly jumped around in my head as if they were a group of school kids on a trampoline. I used to think about so many different things at the same time, I regularly skipped over things and would say one thing, and then the next sentence would be on a totally new subject.

I’ve begun to stutter or mess up when I’m speaking. My written language skills are actually quite good, and reading off a script even I manage quite fine, but when I’m trying to follow the words in my head rather than with my eyes, it becomes more difficult. Often as a child, and even in my teenage years, my mum would tell me to “think before you speak,” as I’d often find myself in trouble because I didn’t think of the repercussions of my words. As I’m getting older, I am doing so, but it seems to make it a lot more difficult for me to get any words out in the first place.

I’ll speak on the tannoy in work and I’ll stutter, or I’ll merge two words into one, or even skip words out entirely. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. I’m concentrating so hard on saying the sentence, sometimes my brain is saying the words faster in my head than I’m saying them over the tannoy, and it often leads to this happening as a result.

As this is a habit that I’ve developed only recently, I find it quite embarrassing. I worry about people thinking I’m stupid because I can’t get my words out, which often causes me to mess up more than normal. Working alongside colleagues and customers also in a service based workplace only highlights this issue more because it’s happening in the same environment on a regular basis. But it’s become apparent to myself that it’s better to have to repeat and correct myself, rather than possibly offend or make somebody feel negative because of what I said before thinking.

Help

A massive difference between me and a lot of people is that I’ve never been too afraid or too proud to ask for help if I need it. I was brought up to ask if I needed something or to say if I didn’t understand so I could learn to be a better person, and this is something I’ll always be grateful for.

To me, this quality is a key part of what allowed for me to change my attitude and overcome what was going through with my head over the last year. I knew something wasn’t right and rather than be ashamed of it, I knew I had to tell my parents what was happening and knew I had to make that initial doctor’s appointment because I recognised that it was something I couldn’t fix on my own.

I’m a very open person and I wear my heart on my sleeve for anybody to see if they bother to give me enough attention. Mainly because, if they are putting in enough effort to be able to see that I’m upset and they want to help or are actually giving up their time to ask me how I am, I believe they are people who I can trust.

To be honest, I am a needy person. I sometimes crave attention and other times I love being alone, but recently I’ve come to realise I don’t rely on people much anymore. It’s not because they’ve let me down in the past, but because I’ve learnt from when they’ve helped in the past and can help myself in a lot of situations now.

I don’t always need people, but I like that they are there. I like having pointless conversations over nothing that I won’t recall in a weeks time, I like having a large support network I can rely on if I do need help, and I like having people around me who make me laugh, but I also like my own company sometimes and don’t want people to get annoyed if I don’t want to spend the whole day checking my phone for notifications, and I don’t want to upset people by not replying because I’m out with a group of people, or just sat in the living room having quality time with my family.

I get two (three at a push) free evenings a week. I have work, sixth form, my volunteer placement and then my school work I have to complete outside my lessons every week, and to be honest, sometimes it’s a stressful workload to balance. To add on top of that family visits, catching up with friends from three different circles, and finding some down time for myself as well as trying to keep the house tidy is near impossible. At the moment every minute feels like a second, and I often don’t want to spend every spare second on my phone. I apologise if that’s selfish and that often my friends are getting a catch up at the end of the day rather than talking all throughout the day, but isn’t it true that your best friends are the people you can go without talking to for weeks on end and then the next time you see them everything is normal?

Sometimes, little things that have happened may get to me and often I don’t want to write a whole blog post about it and vent my feelings, so I’ll write a little tweet about it instead. Like I mentioned before about writing this blog, writing it down for people to see can release a lot of negativity I’ve been holding onto, so with that in mind, just because I write a negative tweet, I don’t necessarily need help. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful people care enough about me to check I’m ok and want to help, but I don’t want people to constantly waste their time and efforts on me if it’s not needed. Please enjoy life and stop worrying. I will ask for help if I need it and know I have people I can go to, so unless I ask, please don’t worry.

Positive Actions

Looking back at where I was a year ago today makes me realise, although 2016 hasn’t been a particularly special year, it’s been a good one.

A year ago today I was tired. I enjoyed opening my presents, eating my dinner and spending time with my family, but I wasn’t really there. I zoned in and out all day where my mind was in other places, which robbed me of fully enjoying the festivities. The only way I can describe these moments of zoning out is if you imagine yourself staring at a white wall. It’s not a special wall, and it’s not a metaphor or a piece of art, it’s just a blank wall with no meaning.¬†Because of this, the only thing you can think about is your emotions and dwell on whether you are content/happy/sad/angry etc.

This year, however, I’m enjoying the “in between festivities” such as helping lay the table, playing with my dog and his new toy, watching Christmas films and all the other little bits. The progress made in the last few months by changing my mindset is surreal, but I’m all the more happier for it.

So with this piece of positivity, I’m going to end it with some of the things I’m grateful for and good things that have made 2016 a good year.

Even though I’ve lost some friends, I’ve grown closer to the ones I’ve kept and made some new ones that are possibly some of the best people you’ll ever meet- one of which bought me possibly the most personal and thoughtful gift I’ve ever received.

hazycam

I’ve got a job where I’m appreciated, have made a small community of friends I can surround myself with, and have been given the opportunity to progress into a career with the company.

I have successfully identified and understand what was happening with me and have been working on it with positive results.

I’m happy.

My friends and family are happy and healthy.

Even though I haven’t got a solid plan to go to uni, I feel safe and comfortable with my future and that there are routes available to me.

I got a B in A-level geography and am going to finish my BTEC courses with distinctions next year.

I’ve begun saving for my future which I am quite proud of.

I’ve identified some of my weaknesses and have begun to improve on them.

I’m beginning to make my own decisions for my happiness and wellbeing rather than making them on what people think I should do or should say.

Accepting Me

When I look back at myself a year ago, or even 6 months ago, I realise how much I’ve changed and if I may say so myself, grown as a person.

Like a typical teenage girl, I was concerned about my social media stats. Did I get enough likes on my profile picture on Facebook? Are people reading and supporting my tweets on Twitter? Did people care enough to talk about me or my posts? ¬†I was worried about the things people could see about me online and whether I looked “popular” enough. If I didn’t get a satisfactory response, I would remove that photo or remove the tweet even though it’s what I thought or even if I felt pretty and happy with my appearance in that photo.

Nowadays, I post photos without messaging my friends first about what they think. If I’m worried about what people think, it’s not because I’m worried they won’t like me, but more so I’m worried I’ve offended them with a controversial tweet or by just being honest which, apparently some people don’t like.

I used to find joy online from one “special” person liking my photo or reaching 70, 80, 90 likes on my profile photo, but now I couldn’t care less.

The one thing that actually brings me joy is accomplishing something and actually expressing myself. This is something that this blog has given me and has actually been the only place I can do this apart from having discussions or debates about specific topics with the people I’m closest to.

Writing posts brings me more joy and more pleasure than any “acceptance” I’ve previously received from the community around me through the means of likes or retweets. I’ve outgrown all of these gimmicks and just want to be heard. A community of strangers on here has accepted me for who I am and allowed me to find myself in a short period of time.

I no longer feel like I need a person sat behind a computer screen to accept me by liking my status or retweeting my tweet. To be honest I couldn’t care less if they accept me at all because I am being honest to myself and if they don’t like this version of me, I don’t need them.

I am the only one who needs to be proud of me, and I am the only person who needs to like a photo of myself.

Security Blankets

Being open with people about mental illness has been the best thing for me. I’ve been lucky that I haven’t been judged and the stigma that comes with it hasn’t been put on me. This is because I’ve been selective with who I have talked about it with when they’ve asked what’s wrong, or say “You look so pale, are you ok?” The sad thing is, why should I have to be selective? I know if I showed some people, (and some of those people used to be the closest people I had around me,) they’d make jokes or laugh which for me is so inappropriate. This blog is part of what has built my confidence up, and with the security blanket of it being anonymous, I love how I can selectively choose people to tell about my blog so they can get a better understanding of me.

Surprisingly, I’ve built up the courage to talk about my anxiety to a few friends in work. Work for me is my safe zone. I do not feel anxious, and if anything, I feel quite happy because it’s an environment I feel comfortable in and almost like I excel there. Even though this is the situation, when I go in straight from school, or I’ve been building up a lot of things, people can see it on my face. When being honest and talking to two girls about it, one confided in me telling me about her mental state too. But the breakthrough came the other night when I was talking to this lovely woman. When I told her and she said about herself, it was like a matching pair. Both going through similar things and both having to fight through doctors appointments to try and get answers. Her journey was almost identical to mine.

Even though only 3 people know in work, I feel like that’s enough. Not everyone needs to know about my demons, and I definitely wouldn’t want me to be the agenda on what to talk about in the staff room, but a weight has been lifted, and honestly, it feels good to be honest with people rather than just say “I’m fine.” I have somebody in each of my main environments I’m in day to day, and although anxiety is not an everything day for me, it’s nice to know their there if it sprouts up.

One Giant Shit Show

Last night I felt low and just wanted to cuddle up in bed and be on my own. But also last night, I found some happiness in the thought of not needing my blog as much anymore even though at that current time I felt worthless.

I’ve woken up this morning and I’m already crying. Crying over the thought of going into sixth form. I haven’t felt this bad about it since the end of September. I was hoping I would sleep this mood off but it hasn’t worked and now I just feel miserable. In reality, I think I’ve been feeling like this for the past week but putting it off. I only made it in one day out of four the entire week previously. Sometimes you have to just think ‘it is how it is,’ have a shit day, and move on.

So this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to allow myself this shit day as I have no work obligations or family obligations, get on with school work at home to lessen the guilt of not going in and still be somewhat productive, and hopefully wake up fresh in a new day tomorrow.

I think I’ve been to less than half my lessons all year, and to an extent, I’m not sure whether it’s because I’m anxious or whether half the time I’m struggling to balance my time between; my job, school, job number 2, visiting family, and making time for myself. After today I’m hoping it’ll be a fresh start. A chance to improve my attendance, get on with my school work and finish the courses and make progress in my job.