Things I Miss About Love

I miss the little things. Interlacing fingers, or the memory of them; I miss waking up in the morning and smiling at the knowledge that feelings were okay and that if nothing came of it, at least I would be. Talking until late, laughing and seeing a name on my phone without being afraid that the name hates me. Simply put – I miss it feeling okay that I love someone.

I miss the leaping spark in my heart, catching with the wind and flittering until it grew stronger. The fire burned like it was meant to burn, red and orange flames coiling around my happiness. I miss the warmth, not shaking uncontrollably when I said the words “I love you” because the fire and little sparks felt like a friend. I don’t understand how to be friends with the fire any more.

I miss feeling whole, the solidity of a presence and the surety of feelings completing my heart in a way it hadn’t been in such a long time. Like sand on a beach, it’s sifting through my fingers; I miss wave upon wave of “this is real, the truth – this is how I feel!” crashing over me. I’m prone to fancies and running but that time, I didn’t chase after an empty hope in a heart-shaped box. I miss not feeling frayed, whether it’s because I was in love or because now I feel unhappy all the time I don’t know. I miss feeling like the connection from heart to love was a lasting thing, a silk-red ribbon braided up like it was meant to be twisted.

I miss feeling truly right within myself or right around someone else, suspended in a moment without panic. “The moment between breaths,” I call it, the quiet contentment that this was correct and that I was not misplaced and not an “other”. I miss laughing with the person whose feelings mirrored mine, twin smiles on different faces and, for one second, a shared happiness. Now, with the love gone it would have been bearable but with the heart broken, it feels so suffocatingly wrong.

I miss songs playing and associating them with happy memories, sweeps of violin and voice coupling in a dance. It seems as if songs hold a crushing weight, not delicate like the way you spoke to me or straightforward, like I’d like to be to you, if I can. It has a double meaning, marinated in lies and love and sadness for 3 weeks until the melodies set themselves on fire.

⠠⠊ miss my insecurities about my body not mattering for a while. I miss feeling as if I were confident in one way – although love could never wipe away my mind like love was a “healer” – but I miss remembering that at one time, my feelings were returned. I miss being enough for just one person, not feeling attention-seeking and being justified in my feelings.

I miss counting the days since a beautiful time happened – 4 weeks since I felt “I love you”, 9 weeks since my heart broke, 2 weeks since my hopes got lost and 1 week since I cried. I miss imagining counting the stars and it not hurting, as if something so infinite as a star would care.

I can’t wait until I no longer miss these things. When you feel like you’re breaking from missing someone, when they have no idea, it’s so hard to remember that one day, it won’t hurt so much. One day, I’ll stop missing feeling like I can think of things without something welling up inside me.

I’ll fall in love again and I’ll miss it again and it’ll be okay. I just have to get there. Can I do that?

I don’t know any more.

From Elm πŸ™‚

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Why I’m Not Applying for University This Year

Around this time, if you live in the UK and are in year 13 or equivalent, the majority of people will be in the process of applying to 5 universities, getting their personal statement ready, getting references from teachers and finally submitting their application. A fair few people will have already applied, received some offers or even got unconditional offers. I’m not one of those people. Instead, I’ve decided to apply next year.

A year ago, I was all set to do it all this year. I started thinking about open days and in June, I went to my first one in Birmingham. Since then, I’ve gone to 4 more open days, really got a feel for the course I want to do – English Literature and Creative Writing. Although I didn’t work on my personal statement in the summer, I was going to start in September. Why, then, did I change my mind, when everything seemed to be in place?

To explain all this, we’ll have to go back a bit. The first thing to say is that I’m “Severely Sight Impaired” – in other words, I can’t see much at all, or much to be useful. My independence is very lacking; I concentrated on GCSEs so much that I think I let my mobility and drive for independence go to the sidelines. That’s a whole other issue but the point is that I don’t have much independence; just being visually impaired isn’t the sole reason because there are so many VI people who lead independent lives and are happy. For me, instead of going to a special school for Sixth Form, the idea of going to one for a year after my A-Levels finished to increase my independence was suggested to me and I finally started to realise that not only would it be a great idea but it would make me much happier and more confident.

I applied for 2018 entry, got a place on what they call a Pre-Entry Assessment and went there in October. I can honestly say it was such a great experience – I spoke to the teachers there and the people who could really help me to get funding to go. It was then that I started to truly realise that applying to university whilst I was there would be a better option, for reasons I’ll get onto in a minute. After coming back from the assessment, I got a phone call saying that I had a place (in my usual fashion, I was shocked and I think I genuinely squealed?).

Up until 2 months ago, the resolution of applying and deferring held. However, I had some reservations about the whole thing. Firstly, I thought, if I got a place at the college for the year after, I could just apply there and that stress would be reduced. Going there and discussing it with them helped with that: they were supportive and one of the staff members mentioned to me that deferring might actually cause me more stress in case something went wrong. At the moment, the less stress I have, the better.

As well as that practical side of things, I have extremely bad mental health at the moment. In no way is that an excuse to not do something but many things are going on in my life, such as new opportunities but also personal issues, which means that my stress levels are off the charts. University applications have made that so much worse. I know that just delaying it isn’t the answer, that I should work on it, but for me it doesn’t feel like delaying or avoiding. It just feels like I can apply when I personally feel ready.

There are many reasons why applying now would be a good idea and I get that. First, it gets it out the way; it also gives me a goal to work towards. It puts me in the mindset of higher education and also would make my future a little more certain, yet this can all be done next year. This has all been said to me, both by others and by myself, but those arguments don’t convince me. Because I know that I’ll be able to apply next year, that I’ll have more time and I don’t feel right about applying this year, I think that applying next year will be the best option for me. It won’t be the same for many people but we’re all individuals and what works for someone won’t work for someone else and vice versa.

A lot of my teachers have told me to apply this year and defer. I’ve explained some of my reasoning to people; most understand but some don’t at all. However, I know that plans and people and lives change. Hell, next year I might decide I don’t want to go to university at all, that I want to do a different course or that I don’t like the unis I applied to. Also, it means I can apply with the results I already have: motivation of getting a certain grade has never held me up. Because of that, I’m not going to be putting that awful pressure on myself that made me collapse into myself before; I just feel that it might be better for me all round. It will probably make me feel the most healthy, the most put together and the least stressed out of my options.

I want to apply when I know I’m giving myself the best opportunities I can. My personal circumstances – where I know I’m taking a year out next year – have allowed me to do that. At the moment, pretty much everything is uncertain compared to what it was before. That’s okay. Life doesn’t always have to be about certainty.

Whether you apply this year, the next or the year after, remember that you should always put yourself first. There will be things you do, decisions you make, that people won’t understand, where they think you’re not being sensible or that you’re just taking the “easy” way out. Remember, though, that life has a thousand different roads you can go down and it’s fine if your road doesn’t run in the direction you thought it would.

Don’t be afraid of doing something that’s not “typical” of what people usually do. For whatever reason, you might decide that doing what the majority of your friends are doing isn’t for you right now. Consider all your options but most importantly? Don’t let university applications be the most daunting, most terrifying thing ever. You’ve got a life to live besides that, after all.

I hope this has helped anyone, whether that be to realise they do want to apply now or not, or just to let you think a little. I’ve done enough screaming over uni – I don’t want you to do the same if people are being shitty about your decisions.

Are you applying to uni this year? Did you decide to take a year out? Let me know in the comments!

From Elm πŸ™‚

She is Me | Who I Used to Be

There was a girl once that was afraid of saying “I love you” but after a while, she got over her fear and revelled in the blooming exultation of wanting to say it. That girl said it to someone, happy, smiling because it was correct and there was no fear attached, no turning back from the gaping yet welcoming truth. The idea of a feeling crashed inside her chest as waves on sand, shaking with the enormity of it; she carried it in her heart, a glorious gift of secret longing. Solid and golden, it was just beyond the hand of someone else, flittering; they kept it, shared, forever. Until it wasn’t.

There was a girl who loved writing. Words poured out of her, like expelling a breath; they tangled together in waves and shadows and created pictures she couldn’t see. She tasted the air and it echoed with words: there were letters in her smile and the solace she got was from creating a story. With eyes shining with new life, she took the whole world in as if it was hers to rebuild – as if she could change the world with a grin. She was poetic and altogether too whimsical, sharply realistic yet also prone to fantastical dreams in her spare time.

This girl devoured music, floating along with pianos and guitars yet grounded with her voice. Singing, not bird-like but nature-like, connected her to reality in the same way that writing let her explore it. She would spent time smiling over songs, heart swelling as the individual notes gave her some identity. Now, that view is glorified – perhaps she just listened – but to me, she was beautiful in it.

Despite her protests, she adored learning – it lit a spark in her as she ranted over books, characters growing and being shaped inside her head. It was as if she herself was a book, filled with little nuances that only came to light after she didn’t know herself much any more. They were good traits, solid, dependable – she was motivated, a steady pulse of resolve thrumming round her body.

Loyal, strange, sometimes wild, heart fluttering at the touch of a hand and when she kissed someone for the first time, her heart would warm whenever she thought of it. There was a little basket of memories she kept inside there, of people who loved her and called her beautiful – of the people she believed when they told her, even if she said she didn’t. Looking at her now, you wouldn’t think it; she doesn’t think it. Was that how she really was? Is she pretending she was more? When I think of her, though, I think of someone who, though still within me, was far more open and happily honest.

As her heart broke, that girl became more herself; she had morals and a complex, wonderful mind that loved her friends more than her own happiness. She was not happy, yet she was slightly content; she had a wealth of emotion among her shattered love that rose to the surface with an easy push. She was respectful, heart clanging painfully yet flowering with blossoms of hope and closure and expressed mourning. She was a whirlpool, except the foam rose high into the air, still holding hands and wishing fervently, a string-tether to her heart, for any kind of happiness.

I say this because this girl didn’t realise what was right in front of her until it had moved on. In living life, she didn’t know how much she cherished it until she wasn’t she any more, until she was replaced by someone who is more of a blank. The vibrant colours and personal identity, once so flourishing and silver, became bronze and duller as she grew smaller. She’s still there, in a little cavity called Hope, in a little drawer called Please Remember Me.

That girl is buried somewhere. I’d really, really like it if she came to the surface one day. Maybe she will; maybe I’ll remember that she is me. “Please Remember Me,” she whispers, after all. I just have to wait.

From Elm πŸ™‚

The Key To Tomorrow | An Amazing Organisation

Hi everyone!

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a blogger called Dani, who writes at Behind Stress. She came to me about a campaign she started with somebody else and as soon as I knew what it was, I knew I wanted to talk about it or here. Both to spread awareness about it and also to show that people do go out and make a difference.

Two friends have set up an organisation called The Key to Tomorrow. Its aim is to “make helping people easier”: every season, they help a different charity. It’s not just them: they encourage anyone who wants to to get involved. For instance, this season, they’re helping local homeless shelters: you can donate items such as clothes to your local shelters.

What I love about this is the aim. I feel like the whole spirit of this is that anyone can help anyone else, regardless of gender, age, or any category or box you can put people in. Influencing one person, or helping one person, at a time can start to have a snowball effect where you can make some serious positive changes.

It isn’t just big organisations who can do something. If you start out small from a genuine place of love then you can slowly start to help more and more people, more and more charities, as I know these friends want to do.. I wish I’d thought of something like this; they’ve shown they’re committed to helping, not just talking about it, because they’ve set this up.

Next season, they’re looking to promote awareness of mental health, gender or why it’s a great idea to volunteer. Needless to say, I absolutely love all three of these ideas. Their spring logo will be available on their website; I’ve attached the winter logo as a featured image on this post.

I honestly get really inspired when anything like this happens. When people my age – or any age – want to get involved with charities, it further inspires me to want to do something. As many of you know, I thrive off helping people and making their lives a little easier, whether that be by talking or doing something practical for them if I can. This kind of organisation is perfect for that mindset and I know I’m going to try and get involved for that reason. It’d be great if some of you could, too. If enough people help, you can change the lives of others. (That should become my slogan)

Contact Information

TKTM’s website can be found herehttp://thekeytotomorrow.wordpress.com – or alternatively on Instagram – @thekeytotomorrow – or Twitter – @keytotomorrow.

As well as that, you can find Dani on her blog and also on her Twitter. She, along with her friend, is an incredibly creative person and I admire them so much because they are seeking to help people in any way they can. As they say, “anyone can help” and I completely agree with that. Give people a means to help others and they could do anything.

I’ve really liked doing these kinds of posts. If you like it also, have any feedback or would like me to talk about any organisations or movements you’ve set up, you can Email me or visit my contact page. I’d love to hear what you thought!

From Elm πŸ™‚

Breaking the Silence on My Mental Health

Trigger warnings for mentions of mild self-harm, slightly suicidal thoughts and very negative content. I want to warn you in advance; if you’re affected by any of these, I’ve left links at the end of this post where you can find support.

Yesterday, my friends from school – Wren and Red – sat me down in what they called an “intervention” and told me, in no uncertain terms, that my mental health was utter shit and that they were really worried about me. After having shut myself off from everyone for a while, I totally understand why: their “intervention” threw me a bit even though I was expecting it, so that I didn’t quite know how to express myself. Thinking about it all of last night and this morning, I realised that part of the reason is because I stopped writing on this blog. So, I’m breaking the silence (which I’ve been intending to do for ages) to bring you a mammoth post on how bad I’ve been feeling, with some things that you might find more hopeful at the end. Bare with me here because I need to get this all out in the healthiest way possible. I want to show you something real and to tell any of you going through the same things that you’re not alone.

Where to start? I feel like I haven’t talked about this for so long that I don’t know how to speak. I’d start at the beginning or the root causes but the problem is that things are so muddled in my head that I don’t know what those causes are. All I know is that I’m desperately sad, so let’s start with that.

Whereas a year and a half ago, I felt sad a fair bit but I had a lot of moments of happiness, now, I feel either sad or blank constantly. When I’m not sad, I’m worried for some reason, fired up with some kind of emotion that is only rarely positive. I feel empty as well; it’s like I’m trudging through mud and even wanting to move is a struggle sometimes. When I spoke to my head of year about it, she told me it was just normal teenage behaviour and made me dismiss what was happening but my friends made me realise that it’s not “normal” to feel this unhappy all the time. It’s not “normal” to feel overwhelmed to the point of screaming and tears and it’s in no way “usual” to feel as if you hate yourself, that everyone hates you and that you should just shut up. I can say it’s got worse: it wasn’t this bad before; either that or I just didn’t notice. I have a habit of dismissing my own feelings, lying to myself and then eventually figuring out that I’ve felt something I thought I hadn’t or that things were worse in my mind but I locked it all up. However, I’ve started to truly notice how I’ve been feeling and it’s quite worrying.

Along with this negativity, I’ve been having a lot of horrible thoughts as well; this is where the trigger warnings apply. In short, over the last few weeks I’ve wanted to disappear. I don’t want to actively die but I do wish I didn’t exist a lot of the time. I tried to figure out the reasons why and a lot of it links back to me feeling worthless, horrible and to a situation which has just exacerbated that entire hurricane of feeling (I’ll get onto that at some point). Anyhow, the thoughts of wishing I could disappear got so bad a week ago, shortly before I started school again, that I scratched at myself and only realised it was self-harm afterwards. As it’s a sensitive topic, I don’t want to go into too much detail as that’s unnecessary for this post; I just want to say that if you do this, don’t blame yourself or call yourself disgusting: it’s not a healthy thing to do but it’s not your fault if you do it. I got so upset by this that I was unable to cope and shut myself down. I hardly ever talk about it; it’s just something that I don’t often acknowledge and I’m sorry if that negatively affected anyone. The urge to do that again, along with the urge to just not move and to wish myself gone so that nobody would notice me, is fading but it is still there.

When the average student says, “I’m so behind in my work!” often it isn’t that bad. I wish I was joking when I said that I’m so incredibly behind that when I try to tackle the mountain of work I have, I don’t do it. That’s a contributing factor to the reasons I feel unhappy about myself; I’ve taken some steps to solving it, like talking to teachers, and I blame myself for being lazy. I’ve realised that’s not it, or only a tiny bit: I have a severe lack of motivation and a lot of unprocessed emotions, situations and worrying thoughts so that doing work became a struggle. It’s got so overwhelming now that I don’t understand how to cope. I’ve left it very very late and that’s part of the problem. If I could flip a switch and just do the work, I would; I theoretically know how to do all of it but when I sit down and try, nothing happens. Then, I get frustrated, panicked and angry; I feel like a failure; I feel like a horrific person and sometimes, as if I’m lazy and no good to anyone. I can’t just think positively about it all because I feel miserable all the fucking time and it makes me even worse. Attempting to explain this to family is difficult as they don’t believe quite how bad it is, expecting to pick myself up immediately.

Two weeks ago, I went to Barcelona with a charity for VI people and whilst it was an amazing trip, I had the worst breakdown I’ve ever had on my friend who I call Rapunzel. It’s about something I don’t feel comfortable going into at the moment because I haven’t sorted it out, either in my own head or with the people involved, but the breakdown was so bad that I opened up about wanting to die, how awful I felt and on every single day of that trip, I was in emotional pain of some sort. Rapunzel’s the type of person who didn’t mind it when I cried on her and shook so hard I couldn’t stand up. I can’t pin the blame on people; it was just a culmination of circumstances, miscommunication and confusion that led to my emotional state: all of this I haven’t spoken about to many people save for Rapunzel and those who were with me when I was directly faced with it all. Luckily though, Barcelona was wonderful and I had a great time overall. Saying that, I think it partly contributed to how outwardly unhappy I seem (people noticed unfortunately when we were in the country as I had a few moments where my mask slipped and I was unable to function much). Things resulting from it have made me feel severely insecure: I keep on thinking I’m pathetic and I think people have all given up on me. Although things are confusing and I have no idea where I stand with people, they aren’t hopeless because I can fix things but I don’t quite know how to start it.

To try and deal with some of my wild emotions which were slowly being pushed onto myself, I booked a counselling appointment on Saturday. There, I skimmed over how I was feeling: I let the counsellor know everything but there wasn’t enough time to go into detail. I was terrified; I tried to let as much out as I could, referring to the box I talked about in this post to explain how I was feeling. Although it didn’t help because I need regular sessions to get some concrete progress, it didn’t feel like, when I came out, I wanted to cease to be alive. I know that’s brutal honesty but I want to be as truthful as I can be. I needed to let out years’ worth of terror and confused emotion to the counsellor which is only, now, just coming through on my blog because I’ve told you guys quite a lot but recently, I felt like I’ve been unable to post about some things because of how personal they are.

I don’t want to overload myself too much right now. I also don’t want to fill this blog with negative thinking but currently, I see no other way of sorting out at least some of the thoughts in my head. It’s hard to explain but I don’t often know how I feel because there are too many thoughts rushing around for me to process; I also get the feeling sometimes that I’m a non-person and that I’m a bit disconnected from everything. It’s horrible. When I write on this blog, it reminds me a bit of who I am because I forget and even now, I ask myself if these words are really how I feel or if I’m just, well, lying to myself. I’m sorry. I wish I could be more concise but rambling sentences are the only things I can write with any coherency.

Most days, I have to concentrate on getting through without having a mental breakdown, without utterly giving up on speaking or engaging with anything. Whenever I think about it, I get panicked and believe that I’m making things up, that everything is fine and then I start to feel like what I called a “non-person” earlier. It’s so hard to dissect what I’m feeling and I’m trying my best to solve that with things like counselling but I’m so afraid that I’m just going to become the shell of a person. When I consider that, I feel freezing.

There are too many things in my head, from dealing with feelings to coping with family to feeling lonely for no reason. Explaining it in one post is way too much; I tried to do it in counselling and got so upset that I couldn’t actually force any words out. I’m calling myself dramatic when I say this but it now goes far beyond simple “I’m sad” because when I thought the simple sadness, I hadn’t realised that there were a shitload of other issues. People expect me to be fine so I’ve shoved up a wall in my own mind to it; it’s only now, where I’m visibly not coping at school and getting upset because of that, that I kind of have to face the facts and quit calling myself attention-seeking for every little thing.

At some point, over the next few days or weeks, I’ll be talking about all of this in greater detail. Barcelona deserves an entire post of its own but I’m not willing to do that right now; too many things have happened and posting about it all would be so disrespectful to the people involved, not to mention disrespectful to myself because my thoughts are still hectic about it. For now, I’m going to leave this post as it is, in it’s wild and painful waves of thought. I don’t know how to do it otherwise; I don’t know how to structure my ideas to make sense any more but I’ve given it my best go.

If you’re feeling a little like me, here are some websites and support networks that can help. These are just for the UK but I might be creating a page on my blog for other countries too, if that’s something you’d find useful.

The Samaritans who you can talk to at any time; you can call them on 116123

Mind which is a mental health charity

The Mental Health Foundation

BetterHelp – an online counselling service

Don’t suffer in silence. I’ve done that enough and in a phrase, it’s fucking me up. I’m sick of going from day to day in a haze: I want to live my life but I have to get through this first.

From Elm πŸ™‚

Locking My Thoughts Up

There’s a little key, silver, that my mind holds in shaking fingers. It’s so real and so there that you would think I hadn’t imagined it up. That key is the words said to me; that key is the words I say to myself; that key is the “Don’t think about it!” key. Sometimes, that key feels like the only thing separating my mind from screaming but most often, it feels like the key that, if lost, would unlock things I’d love to be able to say.

The key locks a box – a basic one on the outside, plain wood and inconspicuous if it wasn’t sitting right in the middle of my mind. Among other boxes, you could not pick it out: it has hinges on the lid that creak; they aren’t used to being opened. The lock itself is surprisingly ornate, as if a lot of thought had gone into it and the key usually fits in perfectly. When it doesn’t, it makes a horrible screeching noise and no matter how forcefully you try and turn it, it won’t budge. That box stays locked.

When it does open, though, it’s a mess. Little dividers separate compartments of thought: here’s terror, here’s being left behind but they’re only small. They get released a lot more now. Next to them are the beautiful memories that I’m too scared to think about; they collide with the last time I said “I love you” to create a whirl of sick, sick happiness. Crossing over them is the knowledge of love, the lake of confusion and hurt that flows into it so that I can no longer distinguish one from the other. The neat little boxes within the box have had their walls broken down so that if one emotion is released, another will surely come along with it.

Sometimes, little thoughts trickle out of the keyhole. A bit of sadness when I hear a song, a sharp twang of remembered beauty when I’m sitting alone with nothing to distract me; an echoing emptiness that’s a follow-up to being forgotten. The key lies on top, taunting – “I’m only going to let a little out, just so you feel like crying but not enough to make you cry.” Is the key being kind? Does it want to shield me from a breakdown or is it letting me go to the brink of tears and not giving me the satisfaction of crying them?

There are knocks on the box, from fists that are gentle and fists that are not. “Let me in, will you?” they ask the key and the key laughs and cries in their face, somehow unable to move. It would love to and when it does, the box opens with a squeak of joints and lets out a torrent of “Why, why, why!” before slamming shut so hard that it’s a wonder the key doesn’t get cut in half.

Outside the box, it is a little silent. Blank. Imagine it lying on paper, blue lines snaking out from it to create a picture of an ocean. A week and a half ago, when the happiness snuck out of the box to find its freedom and was so sharply pulled back, it left a silver spark on the paper. It’s still burning there but it isn’t as bright; the key came over and called it back. “Look, it’s over,” it said. “I know you want to stay but you had your fun.”

I ask myself now: is this box my whole mind or only part? Does an emptiness subsist around it or is it speckled with complex stars of love, thought and poetry? I can’t tell. The only thing I can think of now is that box and how I would love to open it. The only thing I can think of is that box and how I’d love to rip it open, tear the wood to pieces and expel the key. The only thing I can think of is that box and how opening it might break me, worse than I feel already.

That box and that key are what has kept me silent. That key is the key that makes me feel guilty when I explain how I feel to people who should not hear it, to people who should be speaking themselves about how they feel. The thoughts in the box are the desperate ones that ask why things went so wrong; those thoughts are the ones that I don’t let myself feel any more for fear of making people think I’m pathetic. Wood, hinges and rivers of thought swirl around inside that box, faster and faster, until they will all explode outwards. I want to avoid that.

I want to open the box before it opens itself. Slowly, so as not to scare anything, until all the thoughts are mixed together and the box has disappeared. I would like to write about them, to tell people how I really feel without being afraid. One day, I will. I just hope that day can be soon.

I’m sorry for my silence. At some point, a proper explanation will be posted; I don’t feel like myself at the minute and I feel very very out of control and so attempting to sort through it all will make no sense and you’d just get capital letters everywhere in my posts and phrases like “AARGHH WHAT THE HELL!” all the time. I can’t quite express how I feel currently but I’ve tried with this and I’ll succeed. Hopefully, it can let you understand a bit about how my mind works.

From Elm πŸ™‚

An Update about Feelings, My Mind and Blogging

Heyy, for the first time in what feels like way too long. I really want to say some things and whether you get to the end of this or not, I really appreciate you reading even one sentence. This is long and not very positive; if you’re feeling especially negative at the moment, please don’t feel like you have to read this because feeling as positive as possible is the most important thing.

There are currently a few things which I know with all uncertainty and they are the only things which I can say I definitively know:
β€’ Things in my life are steadily becoming more and more hectic, including something which has flipped my life upside down and could potentially change a lot of things
β€’ Currently, I don’t know how to deal with these changes and I’m falling way, way behind in my subjects
β€’ Situations from the past keep on cropping up and I’m discovering a lot of new things that don’t sit well with me, so much so that I don’t know how to “get over” these situations
β€’ I have closed myself off to many, many people around me; I neither talk nor write any more like I used to
β€’ I desperately miss writing and the inability to express myself, my disappointment in myself and my fear that I’m somehow broken because I don’t feel invested in my own feelings is having a direct and unhealthy impact on how I feel on a day-to-day basis
β€’ I am deeply and worryingly unhappy which is not something I know how to write about or that I feel I can write about on here
β€’ If I tried to write about it on here, every single one of my posts would be negative and I really don’t want to spread negative energy – I want to do the opposite

Right now, I’ll hold up my hands and say I don’t know what to do. I’m telling you all this to be honest, to be as transparent as I can be because I feel like I’m slowly getting more and more unhappy, more and more blank and that’s not a mindset I like. I won’t romanticise this or overly complicate it: I am unhappy; I have been unhappy for a long time and I do think you need to know that. Maybe I can explain some of the things that I’ve been doing or not doing, to give you an idea of what I feel.

For the last few weeks, I’ve read no posts. None. The key to getting inspiration for my posts was always the world around me which included what other people had written. As I slowly realised my mental health may not be as great as I claimed and then I decided it would be a fucking great idea to ignore the problem, I stopped reading everything. I pretended to some people in real life that I was satisfied with this, that it was the best thing for me but really I was furious with myself and that mentality isn’t constructive because reading posts isn’t a chore. It should be fun and thought-provoking before anything else.

On the subject of talking, I’ve barely replied to messages, even worse than usual. This is most, well, noticeable on Twitter where things piled up and I thought that if I did reply, no one would even care and that I was pretty much a waste of space who just pretended to be funny or insightful. With some people, I put a lot of effort in to prove to myself I can because I love them; with others, I’m so terrified of putting effort in that I shut myself off even though I respect them so incredibly highly. If I haven’t replied to your messages or emails, please know it’s not because I dislike you – that couldn’t be further from the truth. I have barely enough energy to think properly or even create a plausible reason but I’m so, so sorry. I’m not making an excuse for my stupid thoughts because there isn’t one and I can’t just blame it all on the mental health.

I’ve said I’ll do things but haven’t. This includes posting guest posts for people that I’ve written, organising collabs or even emailing people back. In essence, I feel like a shit blogger and I wish I could be less honest with you and come up with some bullshit excuse but the truth is that I have no motivation to do anything, including schoolwork. Thinking of that, I still haven’t done an essay set 3 weeks ago and I feel so sick now at the thought of going into school that I shake violently and want to scream for hours. Again, that’s a poisonous attitude for me to have, blaming myself all the time for things I haven’t done. Yes, I should have done it all but sometimes I just can’t. At all.

One of the most unhealthy things I ever do to myself is to close myself off. LIKE ELM STOP YOU SHOULD TALK MORE!!! I’ve stopped talking to friends properly, have little desire to go out when before I would have jumped at the chance to do something different. Often, I feel apathetic to a lot of things and my love for company has both increased wildly and decreased, depending on who it is, how I’m feeling on a certain day and the context of the situation. I spoke to my Head of Year this morning and she said it was surprising to see me so composed but the reason for my calm was not because I felt any better. It was because I felt numb inside and 100% didn’t want to talk. Today, I don’t really feel entirely there – “spaced out”, as I call it. I’ve downplayed all of this to my friends, partly because I think they’ll get sick of it but also because I think I’m lying to myself and if I tell them the truth and then realise I was lying, it’ll be much harder to undo. That’s incredibly nonsensical but sometimes I genuinely feel like I’m faking stuff inside my head to make excuses for things.

Sometimes, I say positive things I don’t feel and pretend to feel fine like I did with my Head of Year today when really, I feel the opposite. I don’t feel awful every day but I do feel sad or disconnected a lot of the time. I went to see a counsellor on Saturday and though I didn’t cry, it was the least fake I’ve been in months, potentially years. I didn’t have to know how I felt and in school, I put such a mask on that I don’t know what’s me any more. Essentially, I’ve forgotten what I really feel, how I work and what I’m doing; I’ve lost sight of it – excuse the pun – so that on a day-to-day basis, if someone asked me how I felt I’d either give them opposing answers on different days or just say “I don’t know”. Mostly, though, I pretend I feel better than I do because going into depth exhausts and confuses me because I never know if what I’m saying is what I’m feeling.

I don’t like myself for all these things. It panics me; I feel like a failure – but that’s the problem. I shouldn’t feel like a failure because my mental health will always come first but I can’t help it; I can’t help screaming at myself and sinking further and further down into this well of negativity when in theory, I know how to change my mindset. I know that beginning to think more positively will start a chain reaction which will make things feel better but I can’t seem to stop hating myself and feeling miserable which is incredibly damaging to myself. People around me have tried to convince me I’m not affecting me and yet I won’t listen; I will directly say to people I have no idea what I’m doing or how I’m feeling and that I mistrust people I should love. I neither want pity nor sympathy and I’m deeply scared people will think I will and that I’m attention-seeking, which is another reason I no longer talk.

That’s why I’m writing this. To tell you I’m not coping and to explain to you the decision I may have to make, or the changes that might happen – especially here. The truth is that things are getting so overwhelming that if I tried to post about it all, this blog would be filled with rants and anger and fear. I don’t want that. That may be a thing that a lot of people say but I’ve become really aware, recently, of how my words can affect people.

I’ll continue writing but I’m not sure in what capacity. Writing was and is still my safe haven, where I go when I need help. However, it’s become something of an effort that is an unhealthy effort. My entire mindset, focused on negativity that I don’t need, might just be made worse by constantly writing about that negativity. I DON’t WANT TO BE NEGATIVE.

I always tell people, “If you start to feel like writing is too much, that you feel like you have to continue it for other people and to make sure people read it, stop doing it for a while or cut it down a little.” I think I have to take my own advice. I may not want to but it might be what is best for me and I want to show you that things won’t be great all the time and sometimes you have to make shitty decisions that make you unhappy but that might make things more bearable in the future.

I have too much to say and so that’s why this is so long. I know that you’ll understand because if you’ve got this far then I know you care in the slightest bit and I appreciate that so, so much. This isn’t a goodbye or even a temporary farewell. It’s an explanation of how I’ve been feeling, why all of it is unhealthy and the steps I may have to take to make myself feel more like myself. Does that make any sense?

There isn’t a conclusion to this post. I’ve come to no realisation except that I’ve missed writing and that telling you things have lifted a bit of the weight off, for a while. At some point, I’ll update you on what’s been happening event-wise as opposed to feelings-wise and so things might make a little more sense then. I needed to say all this, even though I’m really afraid of what people may say and the advice they may give because of how right they will probably be. I trust you though: people here have helped me through so much shit and I forgot just how much writing does help, despite my worry.

No matter how much I write or how little, I’ll still be here. I’m here to support anybody that needs it, regardless of how I feel, because at the core of it all I want to help people. That’s not just a bullshit phrase; I really mean that. Never be afraid to talk or do what will make things easier for you because your life is about you. It’s not about the wishes of others.

Love from Elm πŸ™‚

I Wanted to be like Everyone Else

On Thursday, a prizegiving event is being held at my school and I can’t make it. Not because I’m staging a wild protest – although that’s something I would do – but because I’ve got a prearranged appointment for something exciting. Even if I didn’t have that, Ow still wouldn’t go because the prize I’ve been ‘awarded’ has not only upset me but it’s hurt me, more than it would seem if you look at it on the surface. Will that make me sound arrogant or ungrateful? Perhaps but I’m willing to take that risk to show how sometimes, well-meaning actions can have the opposite effect.

Prizegiving is huge here for years 12 and 13; parents come, there are guest speakers and it’s held in a Church. Especially for year 13, it means a lot because it’s our last year here. You can get achievement prizes, academic prizes for a specific subject, attendance prizes and that kind of thing. Last year, I won a prize for achievement which I was so so proud of myself for because I worked so fucking hard on my GCSEs I knew I deserved those grades.

This time, from my Head of Year, I’ve been awarded a prize for ‘overcoming adversity’. That’s all I’ve been told: ‘overcoming adversity’, overcoming a difficulty, achieving despite your difficulties – and the only difficulty they know I have that could restrict my education is that I’m blind. Yes, it could be something else, like the fact that I struggled with mental health last year but that was nowhere near bad enough, or rather nobody saw it get bad enough, to warrant a prize for ‘overcoming adversity’. If they’d awarded it on the basis of mental health or external circumstances, hands down, somebody else would have got it – someone who deserved to get it.

It’s not that I’m not grateful. I’m happy they thought me worthy of a prize, when for the last year I’ve been thinking I’m either stupid or that nothing I do is worthwhile. It’s the prize itself: it feels like they’re awarding me for surviving the education system with a disability. It feels like they’re awarding me for existing, for ‘beating the odds’, for being disabled and still succeeding in education. And that would be fine, if I deserved it; that would be fine, if my disability affected every single thing I did to the extent where the act of going to school was difficult; that would be fine, if there weren’t so, so many other people who would deserve it more than me – who have had it much worse than me.

That’s the first reason I’m upset or angry. The other reason is much more personal and is the reason I cried earlier when I found out. I cried instead of being ecstatic and the “why” is quite simple.

The reason I came to this school was to get the best possible education I could. I didn’t want to go to an entirely mainstream school because the ones around my area weren’t that good and couldn’t have supported me anyway, such as preparing my work. I didn’t want to go to a school specifically for visually impaired students because I didn’t feel like that suited me, as I wanted to be surrounded by a lot of people and didn’t want to feel trapped. In short, I came here because I wanted to be like everyone else, without my education being thrown to the curb if I didn’t get good support. And, for the most part, Ow succeeded.

However, I’ve always been known as the “blind one”, or my year sometimes treat me with caution like I’m a doll or something delicate. People don’t often know how to act around me which hurts so much. I’ve always wanted to be recognised as more than my disability, with the blindness being a side thing: “Oh, there’s Elm, she’s short and takes the piss out of herself for it; she writes.” I’ve tried so hard to break free of stereotypes set for myself and others and again, for the most part and majority of people, it worked but the thing that hurts is that the school – the place where I’ve got such a good education – sees me as their blind person and as the one who did well despite a disability, not did well and that was the end of it.

There’s a silver lining to this. I was in the atrium, talking to two of my friends who I got close with when I went to Berlin about this and started crying out of anger and just general sadness. I told them that I felt like I wasn’t really getting an award, that people still viewed me as different when I wanted to succeed just as much as anybody else. They hugged me, sat with me for about 20 minutes and just talked everything out; chatting to people who don’t know me as well but are willing to put the effort in helped to make me feel more included. I love them for that; they took time out of their day to comfort me, along with another girl who didn’t know me at all yet said that she’d never viewed me as “the blind one”.

I’m still angry, still upset that after all I’ve done to try and stop my disability being the first thing people see, they would award me a prize that’s either focused on my disability or something similar. However, I do know that at least some people in my year besides those I’m with at break and lunch, who’ve known me since year 7, don’t view me as separate. I might not be able to stop the teachers from thinking that I’m “so brave” for coming to this school and getting good grades, but I have proved to some of the people around me that there’s more to me than the eyes. The others don’t matter because they never tried.

I’m only here until May and then I’m out. Then it won’t matter how the school see me. I’ve been here 7 years almost and I haven’t managed to prove to them that I’m successful not despite my disability but for my own merit. However, I’ve managed to prove to myself I’m strong-willed, more than that blind girl and I’m respected for myself, to the people that matter.

From Elm πŸ™‚

I Think I

I think

I am falling apart, pieces

Of a jigsaw, spinning

Out of control, never quite winning

The fight to keep my hopes alive.

I believe

I hate myself, twisted, ugly

Thoughts sickening, screaming; funny

How I run to save my heart

When it’s too late.

I wonder

If my heart is thumping, eyes wide-

Awakening, slowly, sobs that I cried

Silent. Suppress. Gone.

I might be

Ruining myself. Day by day,

Sick, sicker, sickest-

In my head, my mind

A fucking self-made mess and

Is this all I can be?

I am questioning

Lies caught in a freezeframe, my mind

A lie, my heart

A lie, myself?

Who am I?

I think

I am falling back together; I believe

I am fake, too broken; I wonder

What the point is; I might be

Hopeful and hoping and hopeless.

And I do not like that.


I don’t know how else to explain my thoughts other than a poem. My head’s an utter mess right now but writing helps, a little. I’m really sorry if this comes across as attention-seeking or if this upsets anyone.

I hope you’re all doing well. If you can relate to any of the words I’ve said, I’m always here to talk.

Love from Elm πŸ™‚

I Have 3000 Followers???

I woke up this morning, on the 2 and a half-year anniversary of my blog starting, to find out I had 3000 followers.

3000 followers????!!! WHAT?! Since when, since how? After I screamed in shock for about a year, clapped my hands in delight like a child and generally partied alone in my room at 6 AM, I got on with my day in a dignified way. Totally.

I don’t understand how the fuck I’ve somehow accumulated 3000 people/aliens/robots to follow my manic, odd and slightly too-hysterical ramblings. The extra chocolate icing on the chocolate cake was that it’s my 2 and a half blogging anniversary and do I care that no one celebrates that? No, because it’s a thing now and I feel like I’ve received a statistical birthday present.

I know that the amount of followers don’t really matter but I’m sat here flabbergasted at the sheer amount of people who clicked that follow button. I mean that’s more people than are in my school, more people than I know and far more people than I can name. Also, it’s me, with my sporadic posts which are either too angsty for words or screaming about irrelevant topics. Why do people follow me again?!

These 2 and a half years have been such a rollercoaster but they’ve also been amazing and I can really contribute that to the influence my blog has on me. I feel real when I write to you; when I publish a post, it connects me to a small section of the world. Through it, I can help people, help myself and spread as much of my odd brand of positivity as I like. That includes me shouting, “YOU ARE AMAZING!” with it being backed up by some weird, philosophical realisation I have in some corner of my life. If it helps one person that’s great and if it helps 1000, that’s equally as great. If my words can reach you in some capacity, to prove to you you aren’t alone in how you feel, it makes me actually smile.

You’re all incredible. I know I haven’t been the best at replying to posts or comments recently; I’ll freely admit that. You still stick by me, supportive like not many people can be. Whoever you are, whoever’s reading this, you have seen a part of my life and you know me, in however little a way it is. If you’ve got this far, I know that in the tiniest way, you care and you take in my words. Knowing that makes me want to cry those happy little tears you get when you realise that people give a shit about you and the work you do isn’t for nothing.

I have some advice for you. Keep going, whether you have 1 follower, 100 or 10000 or none. These are your words, your thoughts and you are the one with control over them. You can change lives but firstly, you have to believe that you can keep writing and not give up. There’s so much more than numbers: there’re feelings, laughter, smiles and letting people in on however much you want them to know or that you want to share. It’s a kind of literary beauty.

Thank you. Thank you with everything I have, for making me the most myself I can be when I write; thank you for reading and listening and feeling whatever emotions you feel when you think of Elm or anything I write. Thank you for talking to me, for understanding, for being such a complex person that you write your own words and interpret what you read in a different way to everyone else.

Wow, I never would have guessed two years ago that now, I’d still be writing. I’m happy for it; I’m willing and ready to connect with my blog fully again and to make the most out of it. I know you’ll help me in whatever way you can, probably without realising. You’ve already done that for me and that means more to me than I can fathom.

I love you all so much. I have plans for the future – as we all do – and I want my blog to be part of that. I want you to be part of that, whoever you are, because through this blog I can talk to the most beautiful people. Don’t forget that a blog can be more than just a cluster of posts. It can open the world up.

Love from Elm πŸ™‚