“It just goes to show you can’t leave anything behind. You bring it all with you, whether you want to or not.”

So now I’m going to carry on from this post and I’m going to try and keep this positive, because I had my whine in the last post.

So rewind: two weeks back. It doesn’t seem long ago. My sister dropped me off and perched in front of the TV at home, whilst my mom and I went out shopping together. We actually had a lot of fun together- chatting and browsing idly whilst forgetting what we had actually come for. My mom spoiled me a little. It had been years since my mom and I had gone shopping – before I became depressed I think we may have gone out quite often together. As I walked along that high street I was amazed at by how much it changed, but also by how much the same it was. I felt like I was younger again, and I remembered. I remembered me and my mother going out together, and how we got along. It’s crazy how much being a teenager changes you and the relationships between yourself and others, and my depression didn’t help. Anyway we went grocery shopping next, and then we came home. I cooked supper. My sister got ready to leave. My sister left. My mother and I ate sitting side by side on the couch watching some reality program. My mother really enjoyed the meal I made here, and I felt happy. I cleaned the kitchen nicely for her as she finished her program, then we put a film on, some romantic comedy that was very enjoyable at the time but not particularly memorable. That night I slept in my mothers bed, in the void left behind by my dad. We watched another film first, another romantic comedy, then went to sleep. I had a fantastic sleep. I did not wake up once, I did not have weird dreams. In the morning I woke up feeling comfortable, relaxed and refreshed. I could have just stayed there. My mother and father’s bed really is the best. Its the same frame they’ve always had, so it feels like the same bed that I used to go to when I was little, still in South Africa, and afraid of the dark. When I was younger and I got sick, I would stay home, curled up in my parents bed, always on my fathers side. It’s a place of comfort and healing for me, no room for bad thoughts. I slept so damn well.

That Sunday I went to the food festival with my mother and sister. My mother was in a bad mood and my sister was in a bad mood and the festival wasn’t as good as the one I went to with my sister for my birthday this year, but it was still quite good. I ate a lot of bratwurst mostly. As the sign at the stall said “money can’t buy you love, but it can buy you an 8 inch sausage.” That made me laugh. There was a South African stall too- run by a guy from Joburg. We had the usual chat about why they’d moved, how bad the situation in South Africa is and how much better it is here, how much the weather sucks here, although he did not mind too much. We bought miniature milk tarts and butter milk rusks. Very random to stumble across it, but nice. It’s always nice to bump into fellow South Africans, although also sad. So many people are leaving. So many people you meet have so many bad things to say about SA, and they are hardly wrong. Its not like it comes from a place of hate- its comes from a place of disappointment. And that’s what is so sad. That these people, that my family even, love South Africa so much but cannot see a viable future there for themselves or their children. So they pack up, leave, start again somewhere else.

We got home and I hung out with my sister watching bad reality TV then went to bed. The next morning I did some chores for my mother, then went to the train station to return to my uni home. Since then its just been the same old routine of uni and work and driving lessons. Coursework deadlines are creeping up, as are exams and I’m feeling under pressure. I’m still struggling. I’m supposed to be positive in this entry though so I’ll stop there.

I developed a cold last week, was coughing and weak for a time but seem to be better now, which is great.

Finally a random collection of positive things from the past couple of weeks:

This was the really great article on disordered eating mentioned in the last post.

➔ Driving went really well this week and last week, despite having a week off. A little shaky on clutch control, but my driving instructor is still letting me loose on fairly busy roads. Progress!

➔ My best friend emailed me today and we are going to meet up soon! Just when I had given up ever hearing from her again. I’m so excited, but I’m trying to refrain myself from writing back right away so I don’t show it. I don’t want to look desperate.

➔ I am really enjoying work. It does make me a bit anxious, but the work is very manageable, almost relaxing at times, and my co-workers are really nice. We have interesting chats, at least it is for me. It does feel good to take a few hours away from university every week to help out in the shop, and to have a chance to interact with other people. Even if it makes me anxious, it also feels good and helpful. Stops me from becoming too self absorbed, you know?

➔ There’s a couple of cats down a road near me who always greet me when I walk past, and I likewise. I petted them on the way home one evening last week, and looked up to see a little girl watching me out her living room window in confusion. I guess I must look crazy. I don’t care. It always cheers me up to see them.

➔ I’ve managed to talk to my father a couple of times this week. This has really helped stress wise. My dad has a way of making me feel motivated about university, and making me feel like I’m capable. I really appreciate that I have the sort of father that doesn’t mind taking the time to explain things to me. I probably would never have become an engineer if not for my father always taking the chance to explain things to me since I was a little girl– regardless of that fact I am a girl. I’ve grown up listening to my father informing me on how the world works and encouraging me to be curious – how a car works as we drive to get groceries, how all kinds of technologies new and old work as we walk around a museum, how the electronics of items work as he takes them apart to fix etc. I’m not sure I’d be able to carry on with my degree without it.

➔ I went to see the doctor and he told me it was great to see me looking so well. He said I looked happy and healthy. He seemed genuinely pleased with my process. It made me feel good. Yes, I am still struggling, but if I look back at where I was… I have improved in many ways. I’m glad I went to the doctors. And I think the antidepressants are going to be a good thing in the long run. There’s a lot more I can be doing myself, after all. See: willpower and discipline.

➔ I have completed three job applications and started two more. I spoke to the careers advisor again to get more advice and motivation. Gotta keep going!

➔ I have done some studying these past two weeks, actually. Even if it doesn’t feel like I’m making much progress, I have made some effort at some points. (positivity fail? Oh well.)

➔ I have started, just occasionally, doing yoga and I think I really like it.

➔ I have been reading some fabulous books lately. The Tenderness of Wolves was excellent,so rich in historical detail and with incredible characterisation, although it was utterly heart breaking. I cried once I finished it because I was so overtaken by how it had effected me and how much loss I felt at it being over and like that. There was so much longing in the book – not just for love – and so much of it unrequited and with no realistic resolution/going nowhere. I wanted to write about it here but words failed me. Even what I’ve written now feels inadequate. I’m reading The Falling Woman currently which is incredible in the way it presents religion, ancient history and mental illness and questions our perceptions of what is real and normal without being preachy. In between, I have been flicking through the new scientist last word books which are very entertaining.

➔ I found a local organic supermarket which is expensive, but sells amazing items – like brown short grain rice, spelt flour, puy lentils and every kind of alternate product you could wish for.

➔ I started using cloth sanitary pads and have been quite impressed. Am pondering writing a post on them – I’ve already written posts on not using shampoo and on mental illness so maybe I’ve already crossed all tmi boundaries, or is this one a further one? Hard to know what is too much (information). I’ve been blogging too long.

There, a nice (?) solid list of 13 things*. That wasn’t too hard, actually.

*Bloggers always go for multiples of five. Well, I’m using a prime number OK? I like awkward numbers. Whatever.

“Perhaps I am somewhere patient, somehow kind, perhaps in the nook of a cousin universe I’ve never defiled or betrayed anyone.”

Its been a while since I posted about my eating difficulties. Its not something that is easy to post about – it feels absurd and ridiculous still that I have something like this, and it doesn’t feel serious enough to really be worthy of attention. But I read an article today about eating difficulties and it made me thoughtful. Well, it made me sad.

I don’t think I’m getting better. By which, I don’t think I’m developing a healthier relationship with food or my body. I’ve bought new clothes, force myself to eat good, healthy meals as often as I can, and not to make up for binge eating by starving….but. I still find myself twisting in front of the mirror, trying to find bones, despairing over the face that they are not there, at the roundness of my belly, of the width of my thighs, of my new stretch marks, of the blemishes on my face and the roundness of it too – I feel grossly overweight and unattractive and unable to convince myself otherwise. I find myself trying to stand a little taller sometimes, trying to sit a little straighter, to hide the way my belly rolls. I find myself not bothering with makeup and ignoring half my wardrobe- not feeling worthy of it. Makeup especially – there doesn’t seem to be much point when the canvas is all wrong. I find myself binge eating, still. Far too much. Not as great amounts, and not as often, but still too much, too often. I am always thinking about food, more now than ever actually. I’ll be totally overwhelmed by the need to binge, and unable to focus on anything else, or I’ll find myself considering my meals, trying to weigh up what will be healthiest and how much to have. If I’ve had a packet of crisps or a small chocolate bar as a snack I’ll either feel the need to compensate by making an especially healthy, small meal or think well, I’ve already failed and give in to binging, depending on my mood. I don’t want to eat, but I keep eating, and even eating my three good meals feels so wrong. I feel I need to do something about the way I look, and if only I had the willpower. I find myself looking at other girls, comparing myself and coming up at a loss.

I’m always watching other people – noting their figures, noting the way they dress, their smiles, the things they talk about. Straight legged girls, or girls with beautiful toned curves. Girls with clear skin and glossy hair. How two girl friends walking home in the rain lightly hold onto each others wrists as they squeeze together under one umbrella, how a woman on the phone tells someone she misses them, two students discussing a secret room in a club they can never find again once they leave, a girl wearing heels for no apparent reason than she wanted to.

I feel helpless against it.

I realize that I am probably willing myself not to get better. In fact, I may be feeling bitter about being better, may be longing for the days when food meant nothing to me and I did not have to eat, could easily get by with just a tiny amount of the stuff, and binging on a bar of chocolate was enough to get the high I craved. I want to be thin and clear skinned again – that was how I was. It probably wasn’t quite so magical, but I’ve formed this ideal in my head and the fact that I once had it in order to really make me feel bad about not still being it. I may be clinging onto my illness, too scared to let it go, puzzled by what would be left without it. If I am feeling stressed and lonely, what can I do except eat, to give me some joy. If I don’t eat I find myself on online shops, making useless purchases, anything to fill the emptiness and to make me feel happy.

I find it hard to feel happy these days. I find myself too scared and anxious over happiness. If I allow myself to feel positive and hopeful, what if it doesn’t make a difference? My mother keeps telling me to think positively, and then things will work out. But what if they don’t?

The “What if’s” gnaw at me, all the time. I feel a sense of dread, a firm belief deep in my gut that something bad is going to happen. Not it may, it will. Something bad is about to happen. I don’t know what.

I’ve faced failure a lot over these past few years- mainly academic. But that is just in paper – I feel like as a person I’ve perhaps grown up in the wrong way. I feel a little broken, and more than a little detached from everything going on around me, looking in and not understanding, being unable to cross over into that world. Perhaps I am in a parallel universe, looking into this strange and foreign place and longing for it, but unable to be part of it.

I’m hurting over the loss of my best friend – who I have not heard from in months, and who has been drifting away from me for years. I really need her right now, but she doesn’t need me. I don’t have anyone else. I have coworkers who I can chat to, I have my family, I have my driving instuctor so its not like I go without human contact, but I never connect with people. There is no one who I can really talk to. I don’t know though. I feel disconnected from the people around me, I do not know what to say, and antagonize and regret anything I do say. I don’t know how to make friends, or be friendly, and it feels like I’m now at the age where I’ve lost the chance to have the friends who you read about in novels or see in films – those long time friends who know you inside out, who are always there for you, and who do their best to be there for you. I lost my last friend this year, she drifted away and outgrew me, who is so childish and difficult and withdrawn. Now I am losing my sister to the same thing – to adulthood, to her growing up and changing. I am missing my sister too, in fact. Why am I always the one being left behind? Because there is something wrong with you. It has to be me. The fact that I never say the right thing or have the ability to make people stay. I eat away these feelings, this loneliness, this confusion over how other people work, how the bonds between people form, and how you can get someone to like you.

I also eat away over my stress over my life. I have my thesis to work on, which I still don’t understand, alongside two other projects, and have exams to study for, and job application after application to labour over alongside. I’m facing so many deadlines, and I feel utterly overwhelmed. I am not working right now. I’m trying to put it off. I don’t want to face it because it makes me anxious and stressed out. Of course procrastination makes me stressed out and anxious too, but not if I eat enough sugar to get that nice high. I can pretend its OK then. It feels like I’m doing life all wrong, I cannot succeed in my personal life, and I’m always struggling to keep up with my academic life. I’m feeling trapped when it comes to my financial situation, and I keep applying for scholarships, for interneships, and now for jobs, and getting rejected.

It feels more than a little disheartening to spend hours researching a company, putting together an application just to get a generic email back saying “sorry, you don’t meet our requirements.” That wording too, that implication: you are just not good enough. Here I am, sitting thinking I’m ticking all the right boxes – the high academic achievement, studying abroad, learning a different language, volunteering – but its not right. I get paranoid that perhaps they see past it all – see how shy and insecure I am underneath the facade I want to project. I want to be someone clever, someone independent who also works well in a group. I am passionate about travelling and working abroad, passionate about my degree and using it to do something useful and I want them to know this. Perhaps they focus on my failed A levels. Perhaps they see that I am shy and introverted, because I’m not involved in societies, maybe? Or do I not have the right hobbies? Is it the languages – because I have not grown up bilingual and have managed only to get to beginner level in my chosen second language? Is it that I have not got enough work experience? Perhaps. But as my coworker noted, as we were having a good bitch about the stress of graduate job hunting, it feels ridiculous and unfair that to get an entry level job you would have had to already had that job before. It feels wrong to use the word unfair. I have always believed that if I worked hard enough then I will be rewarded though. I always thought it would pay off. I’m frustrated by it. It makes me crave something that makes me feel good. Like, some chocolate.

I probably over think things. I don’t know how to switch my thoughts off. “What would you do if you had more free time”? My doctor asked me, not getting it at all. Its not that I don’t have time, its that I feel overwhelmed by the management of it, that I cannot concentrate on anything anyway, because of my thoughts. I’m so caught up worrying if I’m doing the right thing, that I feel frozen, and I don’t want to face it. What if. What is about to go wrong. Am I about to mess up. Am I messing up right now. What is wrong, what is this bad feeling settled inside me.

I don’t want to face anything. I’m tired. I’m scared. I really want some bloody chocolate to make me feel better. I know I’m not supposed to though.

“I’m in pain – anger and hatred still remain in my heart”

I cannot be the only blog owner who finds it difficult to maintain their blog when they’re unhappy with how it looks? I’ve become thoroughly sick of this layout, and yet I’m having trouble replacing it – I want my site to look like this but not like this. I know, it makes no sense to me either. But I am likely making excuses. I’ve been feeling lazy, procrastinating over everything – now I’m even neglecting this place.

These past couple of weeks have been a mess.

I managed to get my business coursework submitted, and the thesis draft did get done – even without as much help from my group members as I would have liked, and with two chapters missing. I felt awful sending such a rough around the edges piece of work to my supervisor but there were hardly any alternatives. I got feedback from my supervisor back and it was a long email with lots to work on. After forwarding it to my group members there has been little progress. I’m so worried about this project. Yet, I don’t know what to do about it – should I just write the missing chapters myself? Should I send yet another email to ask for someone else to do it? Do I just give up? Right now, I’m close to answering yes to no.3.

I also got my other coursework back – my circuit design coursework. I got a pathetically low mark. I could have cried. Instead I hesitantly texted my friend to vent a little. It did not remove my disappointment or my hurt over it, but it did help a little bit. I felt proud for having the courage to reach out to someone.

One of the things that constantly comes up in my counselling is the importance of socialising, or rather the importance of getting out the house and doing things, preferably with others. It always makes me uncomfortable when talking about friends and hobbies comes up in my sessions. I don’t have many friends and my hobbies feel quite pathetic (does reading even count as a hobby?) But it makes me more uncomfortable thinking about why its like this. Though I have been trying to take the advice of my therapist.

This week I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone twice. I went to dinner with my Japanese classmates and teacher on Tuesday. It was a little awkward – I tried my best, but I caught myself rambling a couple of times. At least I caught myself, before it go too bad. I did enjoy it a little, but it also left me feeling tired and embarrassed. Then on Thursday I went to see Cats with a friend. I’d asked them ages ago to go with me, and I’ve been nervous ever since. I don’t know them that well but they made attempts to set up things with me at the beginning of the year which I’d always passed on – never rejecting, but never confirming, too afraid to say yes outright. What if they were only being polite? I’d think. So they naturally gave up asking. I wanted to face my fear, I guess. And so I worked up the courage to ask them. I thought if I reached out to them it would make it better- show that I do want their friendship. Perhaps value their friendship? Something like that. I guess I just thought I should stop waiting for something to happen and make it happen instead. Be decisive! Yes, that is probably it.

Anyway, we went to dinner and then on to the show. It started out shakily – they were late, the restaurant was busy. We stood by the bar and chatted and I stuck my hands in my pocket to keep myself from fidgeting – am I saying the right things? Am I being interesting enough? Do they want to be here? These kind of thoughts cycled in my mind. During the lapses in conversation my anxiety would spike and I’d feel panicky, like I should say something, anything. Thankfully this time I managed to keep myself from blurting out strange things to fill these gaps, as is my usual trick. We really over planned it, and so finished dinner about an hour before the show despite the initial 30 minute wait to be seated. We went to the concert hall and sat about for a bit. I was really restless, really anxious by this point, but maybe a little excited. Yet once the show started I was so aware of their presence, so caught up in new thoughts of are they finding it interesting? are they regretting coming here? that I found it difficult to really enjoy it.

After the show, and I had parted with my friend I went to McDonalds and bought myself food. Yes, I had just gone to a restaurant – but I’d been so nervous and self conscious that I couldn’t bring myself to eat a lot in front of them. What if they think I’m eating too much? I don’t want to appear greedy or fat. That’s my eating disorder there – its hard to eat around others. I was starving by the time I left my friend, and I was anxious too so I wanted to eat. I sat at the bus stop staring longingly at the Tesco in front of me – thinking about chocolate, and chips, eating until I felt sick from it, until I didn’t feel anything else but that sickness. I felt slightly shaky, panicked, upset, embarrassed. I sat on the bus and ate my fries – the tiny amount of food I allowed myself to indulge in because I knew I was actually hungry in part – feeling like a pig, feeling utterly ridiculous. The embarrassment growing even worse. I just wanted to be home, away from people. If it was possible to crawl out my own skin, to disappear completely, then that too.

So I don’t get what my therapist is trying to tell me.

I’ve tried to be a bit more social this week. But it stresses me out, leaves me feeling wrecked by anxiety and embarrassed. Even though theoretically I had two nice evenings, I was too anxious and worried to completely enjoy them. That’s pathetic isn’t it? I know I should feel happy in those situations but I just don’t. The anxiety never, ever leaves me. I cannot relax and if you aren’t relaxed how are you supposed to feel happy? I don’t understand. I can cope with texting someone about work- thats ‘safe’- but actually spending a good amount of time in another persons company…its a bit much.

Its Sunday now and I still feel anxious and embarrassed. I have the programme from cats sat on my desk, taunting me. I cringe whenever I see it. Why did I do that? I’m never going to be able to look at a poster or hear cats without remembering these feelings now.

With all this going on – with my anxiety as it has been – with the way work has been going, or not been going, with the stress of trying to socialise, I’ve totally undone all my work for therapy these past couple of weeks. I’m going to bed too late, waking up in the afternoons, eating badly. Its sickening. But I cannot be bothered to fix it. I feel so worried, stressed and anxious that I’ve come to a complete standstill. Given up. I’m hurt, and I’m lonely, and I’m frustrated – I have all these feelings, thoughts, emotions and I cannot process them, don’t know how to deal with them.

I know I always say this – that tomorrow will be better. But I’m really going to try to get back on track this week. Tomorrow I’m going out walking with my dad, and then I’m going to try and get some good revision done the rest of the week. I really want to work on my time management – with no lectures to attend to I have more than enough time in theory to watch all the dramas and read all the books I want even whilst getting revision done. I just need to stop procrastinating. I just need to remember, 2 hours of aiming to get something done is better than 5 hours sitting there fretting that you’re not doing enough.

And I will get a new layout up for this place, too.

“What else was in the woods? A heart, closing. Nevertheless.”

My sister came down to the City where I live yesterday. She arrived at 22pm and we talked a little, then went to bed. This morning it was a little awkward getting ready. I don’t like my body right now, and I did not like having my bedroom invaded in the morning, with no privacy, no where to go to hide. Well, whatever. I got ready and we ate breakfast together, of course I made it, because my sister will never do things if she has someone else to do them, and then we got ready, separately, a bit of breathing room with her upstairs and me downstairs, and I went to university, actually managing to arrive on time for my 9am lecture for once. After university she picked me up, a good thing, I was not looking forward to walking back in the dark, and the cold. There was ice this morning. I was filled with a fear of slipping and falling on my arse in front of the many, many school children walking to school at the same time.

At home, my sister and I huddled in front of the heater and talked, made plans for a pub dinner. Eventually we realized that we should move from our warm spot, and a little after that hunger drove us into action. The pub we went to was lovely, and the food was perfect warming winter fare – hunters chicken with chunky chips, for me, and large coke with lots of ice to chew afterwards, still in defiance of our father even if its been years since he’s told us off for that (not since we were little girls, really) I eat very little meat these days, cannot afford it, and it’s amazing how special it felt to eat chicken tonight.

As we were waiting for our meals to arrive my sister was on facebook and I impulsively asked if my sister would look up my best friend for me, not realizing how it would sound. But we’ve not spoken in so long, my friend and I, and I’m desperately curious to know what was going on in her life. My sister agreed and brought up her page. It turns out, my friend has a boyfriend. I had suspected – I’d lived opposite her for a year, heard her and her other friends talking, seen him coming in and out of her room, they were always together at hers or his. But I did not dare ask – especially when all her other friends knew. It felt pathetic, and I felt like a terrible friend, felt like I had failed her, somewhat, that she did not wish to talk to me about things anymore. Why did she not want to tell me? Why did all those people know so much more than me? Forget a terrible friend, I felt like a horrible person. Pathetic too, as I sat in my room with my music off, quietly listening to the snippets of my best friend talking to other people that came through my door.

Her facebook feed was filled with all the places she’s been, pictures with her friends.

We’re drifting apart, I know this, however much I do not wish to accept this. It’s neither of ours faults – its just…life. It feels inevitable. I’m too shy, too awkward, too difficult to be around. It’s no wonder she feels like she can’t turn to me, no wonder she does not want to be around me…I’m probably not very fun to be around. I know this. I made an effort last year – to try and make plans, and most times it fell through, and it left me feeling shitty. “I don’t want to be that clingy friend always bothering them,” I told my sister today, and thinking, that friend who does not get the message you do not want to spend time with them. “And I don’t want to be that jealous friend who makes a big deal of why they have time for other people, and not me” I added, a little bitter. I do not want to think too deeply about why I’ve not managed to hold onto a single friendship in my life. I guess I am just a person who is always going to be alone. Really, its my own fault. I’m a difficult person, I know this. And life is not like the movies, where even the most difficult person has someone who puts up with all their shit. People get tired of it. I know this. In the end, no matter what, there’s nothing I can do. My best friend has out grown me, I think. Our lives have simply taken different paths, and we’re in different places now. She’s in her final year, dealing with different things, very busy, and in a few months she’ll be graduating, and then working, or travelling. She’s grown up, and I still have a long, long way to get to that place. I should be happy for her. A few years back as we were walking back from school together she told me certain feelings she had about school, and our friendship group, certain negative things, and in comparison, at university, she has truly been able to blossom into the person she wants to be, to be able to meet the people she wants and do all the social things she likes. I am happy for her.

Still feels shitty though, to be reduced to asking your sister to facebook stalk your best friend.

This entry has gotten very negative, and I did not want to be this way. Other things aren’t so bad. University is actually starting to pick up. One of my group members offered to help me with the coursework I was struggling with, and he was very kind about sitting with me and going through his work and explaining it, then going through my calculations and checking it, and allowing me to text him at all hours with my random questions. So I got through that OK. And I’ve been trying to spend more time at the library, slowly but steadily going through example sheets. Hopefully I’ll be able to start past exams in most subjects within the next couple of weeks. The only one that is well and truly a disaster, still, is fields, waves and antennas. My project is going nowhere fast either, and I’m worried my group are going to get fed up with me soon. Apart from that, I have been enjoying Japanese these past couple of weeks, even if I still feel a bit hopeless at it. My katakana is coming along, and we’ve started kanji, which really makes one feel like they are getting somewhere in their Japanese education. I’m the worst at speaking Japanese, but that’s OK, I mostly want to get good at reading it and understanding it spoken. My Japanese teacher is really nice – she’s not only teaching the language, but making an effort to teach about the culture – showing us random movie trailers after the end of every lesson and talking about life in Japan. It is interesting. So, I’m just about coping with university. Whatever I am feeling, at least I am managing to get some work done regardless.

Oh and I’ve started applying for work placements next summer. It’s all very terrifying and I’d like very much not do, but I know this is something I should do, and that would be very good to do. I have a list of companies to apply to. So far, I’ve sent one application and am working on two cover letters. Got a long, long way to go yet, but I do not want to rush it. That first application was a rushed job, I only found out about the placement the day before the deadline, and it shows. I do not hold much hope for that one, but it was an experience, and the imminentness meant no putting it off. I’ll be sending my other two applications at the end of this week and I’ve put a lot more effort into those, and I am hoping something comes out of it. Even though I know realistically that getting a job just isn’t that easy.

My sister has been wonderful throughout this process, answering all my frantic text messages and helping me through my first application. I’ve been trawling the internet for advice and spending unfortunate amounts of time on company websites. I’m going to start seriously bothering the careers people at my university. I want to put effort into this, so I at least can know I did my best. I hope I get something, of course. I really need some work experience. I’m 21 and I’ve never worked, you know? It does not look good on the CV. And I feel there are vital skills, a certain maturity, that comes from having worked. Not only in regards to my degree, for I do think I’ll be better prepared for my final year and the solo project I must undertake by having worked in industry, but also personally. I’m 21. I need to develop more independence, I need to grow up just that little more.

That is, if I can get a job. It’s a very big IF. :/

“Sometimes there’s nothing left to save”

14. Nothing is coming to save you. Let yourself sit with that for a second. It will feel like rock bottom. Stay there for as long as you damn well need to. Lay down at rock bottom and look up at everything that you fell from. When you’re ready to stand, you’ll climb your way out by your own volition, and there will be no other hands to let go of yours, and that’s what’s most important. Nothing is coming to save you. We eventually have to let go of the idea that there is.(source)

→ I read this today and it really resonated with me. It describes quite well my situation these past few years. I did not learn this lesson as a twenty something, I learnt it as a teenager, which was a awkward time to do so. It took me some years to climb my way out of rock bottom, I still feel like I am climbing sometimes, like I’m always going to be climbing, heading towards the light at the end of the tunnel, but never emerging. I feel like I am stronger, having fought so hard, that I have a good amount of independence. But, I have also become very withdrawn too. I am fiercely protective of myself and my feelings, scared to trust other people because I never quite believe that they have good intentions, that their kindness is not some sort of lie. I test people – I am too scared to reach out to them, of rejection, so I wait and hope they will approach me. They rarely do. If they do, I say no to any offers of friendship, hoping they will push the invitation. They never do. I wonder if university would be easier if I had friends. I had a taste of it last year- of being able to work on coursework together, or revising together, and its one thing I miss about being there. I was alone, but not too alone. Here, I am very much alone. It’s third year, everyone is all paired up, and there are so many people, I slip into lectures unnoticed, and slip back out just the same. It’s a quiet existence, and I do not mind that, but sometimes I do want to talk to someone – sometimes I do want someone to ask about my day, or to talk over work with someone. There’s no one there. I never made enough effort, I was always too awkward, I always said the wrong thing. I end up feeling like there’s something wrong with me. I spent so many years trying to become something I was not, so that people would like me, they did not, so I gave up and became myself, and still people do not like me. They do not understand me, nor do I understand them. I realised the other day, that I actually do not really know what it means to have friends, to have a social life. It makes me feel flawed, wrong. I look at other people my age and feel so different from them, like there is some invisible barrier between us I’ll never be able to cross. Like there’s some fundamental knowledge I am missing, like being the only person that does not get the joke.

→ I am feeling very overwhelmed by things at the moment. I have my six modules, none of which I am really getting into at the moment. I go to lectures, I make notes. I’m not really processing the information. I worry about doing so many exams at once. Tonight I realized that I have a coursework for the one module, which involves using a particular software that I cannot use, so I am panicking about that. (Especially since I have no one to ask, as I have no friends.) Meanwhile my group project trudges along and I am so stressed out regarding that. I feel like I am envisioning this project totally different to my group members and its infinitely frustrating. I try to be flexible, to listen, to join in discussions not to impress my ideas on them, but to consider, to process all our ideas and try and bring them together. But I find myself getting confused by what they are saying. I cannot understand their vision, and that’s the true problem. In a fit of desperation I wrote down all my ideas as a rough draft of a project proposal last night and sent it out, and today in the meeting they tore it to shreds. Of course they did it kindly enough, but they started talking about things that were similar, but not the same, to what I was written and going off on tangents and I tried to keep up but I found myself so confused. I need to finish off the proposal, to try and change it to fit their standards, even though I am so uncertain about what they expect, and I really need to get stuck into my research. I’ve sat for hours reading through the internet, research papers, textbooks and each time I find myself feeling overwhelmed and confused as to how to get my ideas because I have many, I know what I want to write about and how, down on paper. Third year is so different from all the years that came before it – we’re expected to remember every little thing from previous years, to be competent, to be independent. I feel like at some point I was left behind, and now its school all over again, staring at the backs of my peers, desperately trying to catch up, coming close, but never close enough. I talked about this last year did I not? How I do not feel like an engineer. And its even worse this year, because I need to have a certain level of knowledge, I need a certain amount of confidence in my abilities, and I do not have it.

→ I have had a miserable week, hell, a miserable two weeks. I’m tired, I am always tired. My mind drifts from random thought to thought, never quite focusing on anything for too long, my nights are filled with strange dreams and I wake, with a fleeting moment of images and dialogue flitting through my mind before its gone, and all I’m left is with a sense of unease. It carries on to the long walk to university, and I find myself thinking things I’d rather not be dwelling on, unable to direct my thoughts away. Walking to university is exhausting, lectures are dull and time drags by so slowly, the material washes over me. I told someone today that I have no idea what modules I am doing, I just go to them. They gave me a very strange look and I understand, it does not make much sense, does it? But it makes sense to me. I am just going through the motions at the moment. I feel disconnected, uneasy, exhausted. It’s terrible, I know. It’s week 5 of university and I am already behind on my personal goals for my work.

→ I started Japanese lessons again last week and thus far I am not enjoying them – I am acutely aware that I am not at the level of the other people in my class and it makes me feel desperately out of place, very uncomfortable. I do not like it. I wish I was better at languages. Really, I love Japanese and I am in love with the idea of being able to speak it, but I wonder if I am really doing the right thing by actually taking these lessons. I do not think I am committed enough, and even when I do study, I am uncertain if I am doing it right. I’m not really certain of how to learn a language? When I do try and learn, I never really feel like it clicks, that I am really learning. It’s just a very different learning experience compared to engineering – the small class size, the interactive manner of teaching, working in groups and one on one, having to go up and write things on the board. It’s nothing that I am used to, and it makes me feel awkward and uncertain, and deeply embarrassed. I don’t feel like I should be there. I don’t feel like I should be learning Japanese- I struggle so much to wrap my mind around this strange, foreign language, to get to grips with writing the symbols and being able to read them, to remember all the new words for items. You’re looking at the world in a whole different way, Roman letters replaced by symbols, sentences reversed and held together by particles, each one with its own list of uses, past and present tenses, counting systems. It’s confusing, and I cannot bring it together in my mind. It’s not a problem to be solved, to be worked through to the final solution – its on ongoing effort, constant memorization, learning how to view the world in a whole other way. I find it really difficult, and I wonder if I am doing the right thing.

→ “I want to stay in a good frame of mind” I wrote, and how ambitious was I.