Three Amigos

I started this blog in a way to deal with what may have possibly been the start of symptoms for social anxiety. I was worried that I would have to deal with feelings of isolation, shyness, social awkwardness as well as depression for the rest of my life, hanging around me for the rest of my days. I’m in a course at university that I do not appreciate and my career path seems to be looking more dead than ever.

And, yet, now, I’m in my second year at university and looking back, I can safely say it is one of my most favourite years of existing as well as one that I will cherish for the rest of my life. When my life has its downs, I’m going to be looking back and being thankful for at least this year, this amazing year.

When I started writing this, I was sunk in my emotions, and not the good ones. I would feel sorry for myself and hang on all the bad things that would happen in my life. It was wrong. Yes, we all have bad times but just putting it out on this blank canvas for you guys to absorb is wrong. Yeah, sure, I kind of try to be inspiring at the end (not good at it but I try!) but it isn’t enough. I wanted to inspire people with this blog, show that there is good out there, right in front of your freakin’ face if you just stop and look and appreciate. I did, and not only did I realise what I had now, I started to realise what I’ve had since joining university. So, consider this entry No. 1.

3 years ago, I came to this University without any friends. So, I am grateful to the first three friends I made, when I came to my University. I’m gonna protect their identities, so I’m gonna name them after the Three Amigos: Lucky, Dusty and Ned. Now, bear in mind I haven’t watched the movie, so I don’t know what their personalities are like, I’m just using the names.

Dusty was the first friend out of these three that I met. I randomly sat next to him in a computer science beginners class and he was on it. I had no clue what the hell was going on, but he was all over it. Naturally, I was about to cry so I begged him for help. He was a really chill guy and seemed open to help and he did throughout the class. This was important for as I didn’t want uni students to be jerks and meeting this guy was able to help me realise that wasn’t the case. Dusty was able to help me come to terms with the fact that I might not have to be afraid of making friends in university and I’m going to remember that day he did that for me.

The next cool thing about Dusty was that he introduced me to Lucky and Ned. I had king of gotten to know Dusty by that point but he was still the only real friend I had made at that point. Lucky and Ned were equally cool guys, super chill and so easy to talk to. It was worth noting that we were a pretty diverse group as well as the fact we were taking different courses the next year, so we came to terms with the fact that for the one year we would be spending a lot of time with each other. The more I talked to these guys, the more I realised how people my age at uni were so cool. Ned had a great taste in music and couldn’t resist dancing when something good came on the radio in the bar. Lucky was a little more conserved but could crack a good joke and his wit was off the charts. We would take part in group projects throughout the year (thanks, Lucky, for taking that part a little more than the rest of us!). My best memories are always going to be playing pool in the bar, it was  pretty safe to say we single-handedly funded that table for the year, to the point the bartender told us how to work the thing for free!

They were some of the most eccentric and weirdest people I had met in my time at uni and I wouldn’t have wanted them any other way. They provided me with the company that would have changed my whole view of university if they hadn’t been there and paved the way to making more amazing friends over the next few years.

Thank you, my three amigos. 🙂

A rabbit in a cheese house

I made up that expression. Thinking of titles is hard but I’ll clarify what it means the more I explain. Sorry, it’s been a while, I’ve had an interesting couple of weeks with ups and downs, moments of enthusiasm followed by moments of disappointment.

So let’s jump into today’s topic, shall we?

I’m in my second year of university right now. I’ve had a catch-up year with broke me in and a first year which wrung me dry but I somehow made it through. I had three friends in my break-in year. They were really good guys but we went to separate courses the following year and grew apart. I didn’t make many friends in the first year of course, in fact pretty much none. I tried to change that this year. One of my friends from sixth-form, who’s also in my course, invited me to a meet-and-greet for his committee. Any other day I would decline, I wasn’t for being around people in a large group and not knowing any of them. But I made myself do it, I convinced myself to just be me and…well, talk to people. It didn’t go as swimmingly as it did in my head but I talked to people. I even met up with one of the friends in my first year. Turns out he was friends with my mate from sixth-form.

I wasn’t as satisfied with my new venture into social confidence so I decided to take it a step further. I signed up as a member of the committee, meaning I would attend the meetings and plan future events and, more importantly, get to know some new people. And a good bunch they are. Honestly, they are some of the best people I’ve ever met. Sincere, funny, the personalities gel together well enough to be a new hit sitcom.

I’ve gotten to know most of them, not to a close level. It’s been years since I’ve had a “close friend” but enough to know that they are good people. They try to make me feel welcome in their circle and I’m grateful for it. But I can’t help but feel like an outsider. In my head, joining an already formed gang of friends seemed like a good idea but I realised that I had just dropped myself in something I didn’t fully understand and in return, couldn’t allow them to fully understand me.

They have their inside jokes, their history and I’m not in any of them. I’ve always valued one true friendship over many relations and me trying to be good friends with these great people just feels like me try-harding. I’m ignored in chats, our individual conversations are stale. I’m beginning to doubt if I’m even genuinely like by these people. And it’s not even their fault. These voices in my head won’t shut up, they just keep talking and talking. Do I even belong with these people?

I have to settle for the fact that I will only ever have friends and not those close friends I prize more. Still, I’m appreciative of what I have so I won’t complain anymore.

A rabbit in a cheese house. Surrounded by mice, who are all eating away while the rabbit just sits there. Maybe the rabbit wishes another rabbit was there, but, hey, mice are pretty damn cool in the mean time.

I feel like my usual sign out is a bit too on the nose. I’ll think of something more cool in the future. 🙂

And a final word to the friends I have made. I know you don’t read this, so this is more for me. Maybe at times I believe I don’t belong around you, but thanks for not leaving me alone.

Voice in the back of the mind

No, I’m not dead. I don’t know if anyone cared but it’s just a forecast, don’t argue at the weather guy, you come over here AND SAY IT TO MY FACE! (scared myself a little!)

People often tell me to describe anxiety. Well, they don’t call it anxiety, I refuse to put a label on it as I want to defeat it on my own ground. But it’s popular knowledge around all the people who know me that I’m often never around friends and constantly reject invitations to parties and get-togethers. In an attempt to understand and empathise, I am often asked to describe it. I’ve made it a strong point that I believe I don’t have an intense case of it and I do believe there are levels of social anxiety. My levels are at the can just about handle being around lots of people and not show signs of panic to an extent. However, the moment I come home, I’m weak and exhausted and replaying the event in my mind on my loop. I know people sometimes can’t even handle a single minute in that type of scenario and can often fall into panic attacks or worse. This isn’t me boasting that I’m stronger than all my counterparts but me acknowledging that there are people who are stronger than me who deal with worse.

When I describe my anxiety, I call it a ‘voice’. I can never quite make it out, who the voice is, is it a voice I have invented? But how can I? I don’t think people can create voices but it’s always there telling me, pestering me: What did you do wrong? He can’t stand you? Why do you even exist? It’s persistent and vile and just appears. It’s the verbal embodiment of your worst fears, telling you that they are true and they will always be there. It puts you in a constant state of terror that you are unloved and unwanted and unworthy.

Now, I know this might make me sound crazy. Oh, this guy hears voices in his head and he lets them control him. In a weird way, it’s kind of true. I do let that voice just take control of me at times and it humiliates me in ways I know and hate. I’ve been in a battle with it for most of my teen life and still today.

The key to beating this is to realise that you are in control of your mind, always. When you hear that voice, it’s your fears speaking but it’s your mind they come from. Realise that your mind is able to be doing the things you’re doing. If you feel you are unworthy of your friends, remember that those people are your friends because they care about you, regardless of how scared you are. If you feel like your family hates you for whatever reason, remember that your family will always care for you, even though they may not always understand (I understand that there are exceptions to this, I’ll try and broaden in the next post).

Realise that your mind is controlled by you and you’ll realise that the voice that reminds of your fears cannot drag you down from who you are. So, you’re scared of those little things today. Continue your life, strengthen your life and you’ll eventually beat that voice.

Good night, you potatoes. Enjoy the cocoa! 🙂

Feel good moments

Those little moments that mean a lot.

Being in a constant state of anxiety has most people constantly feeling scared, nervous or sceptical. Being around lots of people will have you squirming uncomfortably where you stand and receiving compliments will leave you second guessing whether or not they were being sarcastic. It feels like an impossible task to feel satisfied or happy when you’re in this constant state of mind.

So, I am going to try and list all the moments when, at least I, feel good in my everyday life. No inappropriate jokes please, I’m a 14 year old child in the body of a 20-something year old, I’ll giggle like a school child.

1. Getting a good grade.

Not a deep point but for all the people out there who still take exams and constantly feel inferior to your classmates, this one works wonders for confidence. If you’re like me and constantly find yourself on the string of successive exam failures, you start to think you’re doing something wrong with your life. It’s obvious that you have no idea what you’re doing and you’re confused as to what your next step is. Getting a good grade in an exam is the best way to counter this. Sounds easier said than done but it will take commitment. Another tip is to work with someone. It should be someone who you consider a close friend so you can be yourself when you study. And for those of you who are lacking in that department, find someone in the same subject/course to work with. You may find it weird to work with someone who hasn’t developed a connection with you yet, but at this point it’s important to think about yourself. You can’t allow what others will think to get in the way of the good grade you need. Just call the person or meet them and say, “Yeah, so I’m gonna fail this exam at this point. Do you mind if I work with you?” Hopefully, the sympathy card will get you a study buddy! (I recently did this myself and I was so confident going into the exam, so I can say firsthand it works!

2. Getting a text from a friend

It doesn’t even have to be an invitation. It could just be a, “How’s it going?” and there is nothing more satisfying than receiving that kind of text. The fact someone is taking time to find out how your stupid self is doing shows that this person is a good human being. Now, the case can be made that the text is sent out of duty and is not genuine. But seriously, at that point it doesn’t matter. Chances are you haven’t talked to anyone in a while and you need to have that communication with another person. At the end of the day, people like us are too scared of making the first move because we’re too scared or we don’t want to waste anyone’s time but when someone reaches out to us, they’ve done their job. The only thing left is for us to reach back. Make the conversation because they want to talk to you, showcase yourself because people do want to know you.

3. Doing something ‘mature’

No, guys, seriously, the jokes need to stop. Performing acts of responsibility are things that I myself struggle with a lot and often avoid doing. Someone who’s anxious around other people with a confusion at everyday tasks? Sounds like a child to me. Social anxiety can revert most people back to a child like state where you just want to lay in bed and watch cartoons all day instead of do the laundry because the other people will judge you when you can’t figure out whether to put in the conditioner before or after the detergent. To be able to do this requires a lot of will power by working with your own expectations. You need to tell yourself to do it, or in my case, wait until the laundry hamper overflows. Performing simple acts like doing the laundry or shopping for healthy diet foods or working for a good amount of time can give a personal sense of accomplishment and it feels a lot better when you live up to or exceed your own expectations rather than someone else’s.

4. Having a good conversation a loved one

There are times when you feel really demotivated. It may be because something happened at school or work or maybe you had an argument. This can often result in a state of despair where you think you are not worth your existence, you fell you can do nothing right and you let others down. At these times, the support of a loved one is vital because you need to in the moment to be able to share your troubles to make it easier. That’s why it hurts more when your loved one refuses to understand and may even belittle your predicament. Your conversation turns to argument and you feel stressed and isolated again. When you have a conversation with a parent or sibling of really close friend and they understand everything it reminds you that while you may not be the most popular at school or work, you have a relationship with someone else that means so much more than anything you’ll find there. If there’s ever a time where you argue with someone you care about, remember how much they mean to you. If they remember the same thing about you, then you have a relationship that can withstand anything.

I’ll probably do a continuation in the future. Truth be told, there a few instances where I find myself feeling completely happy. Sad thing is, there is always something nagging me everyday that makes me feel…well, you know. These are things I have experienced myself so I’ll let you know when I find some more.

Good night, you potatoes. Enjoy the cocoa. 🙂

Style Profile

Should I wear this today?

This is a bit of a weird topic, considering I almost know nothing about the matter. Clothes. I am going to talk about clothes. Wow, what has this blog become?

My sense of fashion is strange to say the least. And I don’t mean to insult anyone by strange as my meaning is it goes against the norm. I don’t follow fashion trends, what most people would consider modern styles and must-wears, I sometimes find ugly or stupid-looking. I believe it’s due to how I see myself, the person I see when I look in the mirror.

Now, for those people with social anxiety, you may be able to relate. Maybe you don’t wear the clothes you think look cool because you think other people will judge you because of them. I had this problem for a long time. I had become so accustomed to my quiet, bookworm-ish lifestyle that anytime I even thought about wearing something ‘cool’ I was worried I was going to be made fun of. Maybe what I thought was cool, other people found ridiculous or maybe I was just the nerd trying too hard to be ‘cool’. Having this stage can be difficult. Trying to fit in with peers is important and it’s really simple to dress like them to be able to have that common ground. Most people are less likely to talk to someone with their hood up, sitting in the corner of the cafeteria. Exuding confidence is never going to be easy and trying to pull people in is going to be rough if you try too hard.

I recently learned something about myself, however. My birthday was not too long ago, and being in my early twenties, getting toys is no longer acceptable [ :_( ].  So, clothing becomes really popular as a gift. I received lots of stylish clothes, new Adidas trainers, bomber jackets, straight jeans. If it was my brother’s birthday, he’d be in heaven. I was appreciative of the gift and liked wearing them, it showed a different side of me, the guy who would alternate between different coloured hoodies and denim jeans.

Then, today, after coming home from class and changing out of my new clothes which I had tried on for the first time since my birthday, I put on my old hoodie and jeans. And I felt really happy. I felt relaxed, comfortable and just…myself. I had for so long thought my sense of fashion was holding me back from making friends with all the stylish people that I had forgotten how my clothing made me feel. My hoodie and jeans reminded me not to try too hard, to calm down. I had learnt to accept that I was a guy who likes to wear simple clothes. I didn’t need to be the guy who had to turn heads with his clothes. I like being plain, old, normal me. It was who I was.

You should never be afraid to experiment. It may be easy for me to say, “Don’t worry about what others think of you,” because that nagging voice will always be in the back of your head, telling you that you look stupid because of your clothes. But changing style isn’t something to be worried about. If you want to wear outrageous clothes, do it if it’s what you really want. And if you just want to wear that boring old hoodie then you rock it. People are wrong to judge you by what you wear, they are wrong to say what you wear is stupid and they are wrong to say that your style is no style. If your style is you and shows who you are, then it’s perfect.

Good night, you potatoes. Enjoy the cocoa.

Anything for…

Love = Heartache ?
What do I know?

I’m totally using you guys as a distraction, again. It’s only bee like two hours. Did no work since then. But I’m really starting to hate my course now. In a couple of years, when I look back, I’m going to remember this night as the night when I realised the culmination of all my decisions in academia ultimately led to my being distraught out of my mind. But I will remember it more as the night I realised how much this blog means to me.

I’m going to talk about relationships. I’m not going to give hard-selling advice (I don’t want to render everyone single within 24 hours!) but just my thoughts on how to maintain the relationship and how to deal with heartbreak. You want to learn how to pick up girls or guys , find some guru on YouTube and relay the advice to me.

I pray all of you are lucky enough to already be with someone you care about and you are already doing everything you can to make sure they will stay with you. I can’t speak a lot from experience but I can safely say that having really strong feelings for someone special is worth everything up and down you encounter if it means s/he is still with you at the end of the day. The ups and downs can be small and big things, maybe petty arguments or maybe huge shifts in the seriousness of the relationship. The easiest and simplest way to handle this is deal with it as it comes. It may not appeal to the ones who actually want to have some sort of control over their relationship but controlling a relationship doesn’t make it healthy, at least not in my opinion. You can’t expect your special someone to agree with you all of the time and s/he will not always agree with you. The trust will set in naturally once you both start making decisions and you both respect each others’ decisions. The more you do that, who knows? Maybe you will end up admiring the others way of thought. The relationship will move on from more than just a physical attraction or a non-serious encounter but ascend to emotional and spiritual harmony. It epitomises the idea of “two halves becoming one”.

This is the part where I’m going to go full out. Being someone with social anxiety, relationships have always been a tough spot for me. It’s hard trying to impress someone when you’re always constantly scared of talking to other people about what the time is, let alone let them know you really like them. I’m going to refer to one situation, not any of my relationships, but one of my crushes. I’ve talked about the two crushes I’ve had in my life, both were one hell of an experience. I’m going to focus on the second one, the one that caught me off guard. I’ve talked about it before, in my earlier posts.

Maybe sometimes you’re not ready to be in love, let alone just be in a casual relationship. That is pretty standard for a confident person, who likes to have some fun with a partner before trying the love area. It makes for a good foundation by getting to know the person deeper. It’s complicated for a person with social anxiety to be in a casual relationship as making friends and getting to know them is hard so dabbling in romance and spontaneity becomes quite the task. But what do you do when you see someone stunning, funny charming and you’ve only known them for like a week? There’s no foundation, this freaking castle just materialised out of nothing. You weren’t prepared for it and these feelings terrified you. They terrified you when you were alone in your room and definitely anytime you were with said person. The main reason, for me at least, is that you felt it was easier to just be a friend. After everything you’ve been through, heartbreak is the last thing you need over the lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem. You needed some friends just to help you stand up.

When you’re with someone special, that person is going to be your rock. They will support you in times of strife and shield you from pain. Do anything for that rock. Once it vanishes, the troubles become harder. No petty reasons can justify losing it. Do anything for that person if it means they’re by your side at the end of the day, smiling at you.

If you can’t be with someone special, your friends are your rock. Learn to appreciate the relationships you already have, the ones you can go to for a laugh or just to talk. Do anything for them and soon, being just a friend to that special person will be enough for you. Now, that isn’t to say to abandon love. Grab what you deserve if you truly want it. But sometimes, you may not be ready to be in love. When your heart aches after looking at someone and you just can’t handle it, remember that there’s always friendship. Heartache will turn to warmth when you can just hang around with those special people at the school cafeteria or at the park. Like a family. Love doesn’t have to mean heartache, it can be the beginning of something good, though maybe not in the way you expect.

Good night, you potatoes. Enjoy the cocoa. 🙂

Voluntary Procastination

Thank you

I’m going to be completely honest with you guys. I have an exam in fourteen hours. I should be revising…or sleeping. I’m going to be honest with you guys, again. I don’t have a topic in mind. As I’m writing right now, I don’t know how this post is going to end. I just feel so much better when I’m typing these things. This blog has given me so much in such a short period of time. I can vent, I can express, I can shout without making a sound, I can get everything out without hurting anyone. It’s addicting to a point. I’m procrastinating from revision for an exam that I have later today and I love it.

There are probably a lot of you people who feel the same way at times. You don’t distract yourself because the distraction is so appealing, you do it deliberately because in the spur of the moment, you just want to leave your life behind. And maybe it will mean chaos when you get back to it. But for that short amount of time, you couldn’t care less. You feel free.

Well, for me, that place is here. To anyone reading this, you are my safe haven when I need it most. I made a post about finding a Place of Escape. An actual physical location to go to to wind down to appreciate the world. They’re amazing, I hope you’ve found yours. But being here, being heard by you people has given me more relief and satisfaction than I have felt in a long time. I finally feel like my thoughts mean something and you guys are the reason for it. You people, with your social anxiety, depression, whatever, you people have made this pathetic person’s life so much better in just two months. I hope you’re reading this post thoroughly because the next time you think you’re good for nothing, remember (even though it may not seem like much), you saved me. I appreciate myself more because of you, you’ve given me reason to believe in myself and I thank you so much for it.

I want to talk more about you guys next time. I know right now, very few people read these posts, but message me or comment what I can talk about. Maybe something you feel and you want to know if I feel it, too. Or if you’re having a problem, I might be able to give some insight (I’m not a doctor, so don’t expect medical advice!) I just want to help all of you. I really want to make your day better. Then, at the very least, we’ll be even.

Good night, you potatoes. Enjoy the cocoa. 🙂