Nagging Thoughts

At the start of May I once again began the process of coming off my fluoxetine. At the review appointment last week my psychiatrist encouraged me to come off the antidepressant altogether, and I really want to, but right now I can’t. You see, this just mirrors what happened the last time I tried to come off them two years ago.

It was the summer and considering that school was one of the major catalysts for my depression which was then stabilised, it seemed wise to attempt coming off meds. It was fine at first, but then I had a paranoid breakdown complete with sleep paralysis nightmares of friends and famiky members coming into my bedroom with machetes, a different person each night. Despite warning all of my friends to be wary of any erratic behaviour I was promptly thrown under the bus and wasn’t invited to anything over the summer which relegated me to my bedroom where my depression, probably closer to psychosis at that point, festered. I wrote some awful things on the blog that I had at the time which were spread around my school come September by bullies. I had other stories spread about me too, e.g. that I bullied my Spanish exchange partner. Someone told the poor girl that I hated her and she spent the rest of her week here thinking that she was in a cruel household when really I just wanted to protect her – she called me her sister before that. Is it any wonder that I ended up on even stronger medication than before? Everything else from that period is just a prescription drug fuelled haze.

Not much of that relates to my current situation except the theme of summer, but those memories are nagging at me right now and I need to get them off my chest so I can sleep. When I’m busy, I’m flying but when I have nothing to do I drown and that is why the summer is such a dangerous time for me. I’m going to spend two weeks in Spain volunteering and then I’ll spend a few days participating in a cloud computing summer scheme ( 🤓 ) in an attempt to give myself a sense of business but in all honesty the summer scares me a lot. I guess going cold turkey will have to wait until September.

A Fresh Start

When I was younger I hated being away from home – I couldn’t even last the night the first time I went to a sleepover and had to beg my dad over my little flip phone to pick me up because I was “sick”. But once I reached my teens I often thought about running away – just packing a bag and slipping away into the night. Of course that would never work, I didn’t have money and I wouldn’t be able to get my medication without being traced. 

I realised about a year ago that I would meet the criteria for a degree in software systems development in an Institute of Technology in the R.O.Ireland after only one year of my BTEC course, making me only 17 when starting my degree. So I grabbed this opportunity as an escape route and applied to the Central Applications Office and I’m waiting for an offer. It’s very different to UCAS; everyone I know that has applied to UCAS this year already has offers from universities across the UK, but I have to wait until the summer to get any news. I wish that I’d get an offer soon since I feel bad telling tutors at my current college that I’ll definitely be back next year when I not so sure.

I don’t feel like I have much to lose from going to university a year early. I mean, I really enjoy my current course and leaving my drama group would break my heart but other than that I really don’t have much here. After the last few years all I want is a fresh start, a chance to put everything behind me and move on. Every nasty thing that I have done or has been said to me haunts me and while I may be in a better place mentally, I still need to get away from it all. I packed a little shoebox with my favourite books and photos, like a kind of memory box, and set it on top of the bedsheets that I bought for when I go. It seems silly, but looking at that box gives me hope for the future.

I’m still awful confused about student finance and booking accommodation but I don’t think that another year here would teach me those things. I may as well just pack my bags and cross my fingers and pray that some application offer takes pity on my plight and gives me a place. 

I know this post is a bit ramblely and unstructured, but I haven’t really told anyone in ‘real life’ that I might not be around next year and I just want to tell someone x

My Dog Had Cancer

I came home one Monday afternoon and realised that I didn’t have my house key with me and was therefore locked out. I banged the door in the hope that perhaps someone had come home early. Ruby, our youngest German Shepherd came running out of the kitchen to the front door so I put my hand through the letter box and rubbed her head. Normally she would sit in front of the door so that she can jump on top of me once I get in, but that day she was acting very oddly.

She kept running to and fro the front door and the kitchen where our other dog, Harry, was lying. I jumped the back gate (despite the fact that it is 6ft tall and I was wearing a skirt) and went to the back door where I could see Harry closer. It became apparent that he had knocked over his water bowl and slipped, landing in an uncomfortable position. As I looked closer I realised that he couldn’t get up and looked absolutely miserable.

I was unable to get into the house until my mother came home 40 minutes later. Harry was drenched in a mixture of water and sweat even though it was a cool day. He must have been struggling a lot and had given up. We lifted him onto his paws and he limped for two metres before sinking back onto the kitchen floor where he ended up spending the night. I begged my parents to take him to the out-of-hours vet that evening, but they insisted that he was probably just a bit stiff from being stuck in that position and that I had to understand that Harry was old. Eventually I convinced them to take him to the vet the next day.

I had it in my head that he had a problem with his hips or spine, which is very common in German Shepherds but the vet thought differently. After checking Harry’s range of movement in his back legs, he did an abdominal exam and found a huge mass in his spleen. It was cancer.

Harry was scheduled in for emergency surgery the next morning.

The surgery went well and we got Harry back that evening. He seemed so much lighter on his legs and was noticeably smaller. I have no idea how we missed a watermelon-sized tumour but the vet said that it probably started growing about the same time that we put Harry on a diet last year. He lost so much weight in his face and I could feel his rib cage again (which is normal in healthy sized dogs) but his tummy just didn’t shrink at all. As well it was squashing up all of his organs, mainly his bladder and intestines. Harry had been having some issues toileting but we just put in down to age.

The tumour was sent away for analysis and on the day of my seventeenth birthday it came back as positive for cancer – but a benign one which hadn’t spread. For now Harry needs no further treatment other than regular check ups but I am so angry with myself that I put his issues down to age. It’s a good thing that dogs are such forgiving creatures. Right now, Harry is curled up in his favourite chair having a nap after having his cone-of-shame removed. He has shaved patches on his front paws where the needles were inserted and there is a nasty scar going along the length of his underside but with time the scar will heal and his fur will grow back.

The moral of the story is to take your animals to the vet if you ever notice any changes in their behaviour or appearance. It could be nothing, it could also be a watermelon-sized cancerous tumour.

Here is a very informative site on the symptoms of cancer in dogs

Eurovision 2017

Another year’s Eurovision has came and gone and what a night it has been. I was hoping for Italy to win initially  but now I am glad that Portugal have won, breaking their Eurovision curse.

Italy brought me simple childish joy, I mean who didn’t want to get out of their chairs and dance with the gorilla? I had two pound each way on Occidentali’s Karma but of course, it was Portugal’s night. Salvador Sobral’s song, composed by his sister Luisa, was pure art, just beautiful. 

Considering that the poor fella isn’t well I think that he lived life to the fullest tonight. When he was brought up to the main stage after winning he seemed so unfazed, until he said just within range of the hosts’ microphones “I want my sister”. I may have started balling my eyes out.

All that’s left to say is congratulations to Salvador Sobral and perhaps I will see you in Lisbon next year!

If it makes anyone feel better, I haven’t opened a book

Exam season is upon us along with exam weather, and I haven’t done any revision. Zero. Nought. Nada. Should this worry me? Yes. Does it? No.

At the time this post is published I will have exactly seven days until my first AS Spanish exam. I want an A, but I’ll settle for a B. This time last year I thought that Bs were for idiots and that if you got a C you may as well have failed. Then I got three Bs and a C in my GCSE results, which I deserved for being so stuck up about getting As and A*s.  It probably also helps that the teachers I have now don’t believe I will spontaneously combust if I don’t get a top grade.

My Spanish teacher is a dear for putting up with me and regularly telling me to calm down. I generally do not cope well around exam time but she has helped me to stay level headed and for that she is a star. On the other hand I also need a good kick up the backside to start revising, so I guess I’m putting myself on lock down until I finish my exams.

Earlier on I was honestly considering skipping class on Tuesday to watch the first semifinal of the Eurovision but as I’m writing this I think I’m starting to get my priorities back in order. I suppose I can stream it on my phone and listen to it while working. For the record, I’ve placed bets on Switzerland, Italy, Sweden and Portugal which I’ve never actually done before. Who knows, maybe this post will pinpoint the beginning of my spiral into gambling addiction.

Tell me what you’re all up to and who you’re supporting in the Eurovision this year. And of course good luck for your exams!

Body Confidence 

Body confidence is something that I generally lack. As a child I was bullied for being fat, and looking back on pictures I wasn’t really. A boy in my primary school class told me that I was diabetic because I was fat and at the time I did not have the confidence or understanding to defend myself. I hardly ate for a week after that, and became convinced that if I could be skinny – I wouldn’t be diabetic anymore. Of course, that’s not how type 1 diabetes works and I realised that as I got older but the body confidence issue has always stayed with me to a certain degree. It has always affected how I dress myself – I generally stick to skirts/dresses as I really dislike my chubby legs and knock knees – but today I managed to convince myself to buy skinny jeans and I honestly believe that they are the first proper fitting pair of skinny jeans that I have ever owned. Even though they’re from Primark and they are too long, I couldn’t be happier with them. I might have to shorten them with hemming tape but that’s the penalty of buying cheap clothes. The jeans are cosy and warm and I can’t complain. Maybe I do have a little body confidence.

Shoulder Pain and Spain

Somehow I have managed to badly hurt my shoulder and for that reason I just cannot sleep, so I suppose I may blog. 

I got a provisional offer from Diverbo this week which gives me something to look forward to. Diverbo is an English speaking summer camp in Spain for Spanish kids to practise English, but they rely heavily on native English speaking volunteers and that’s where I come into it. 

Hopefully, all being well, I will be jetting off to Spain in July for two weeks. I don’t exactly speak with received pronounciation, but I really want to help the kids trying to get a good level of English. It is all I can think about at the minute, aside from the stabbing pain in my shoulder. Once I get my confirmation of location I can book flights, which is really becoming a concern for me. When I first started thinking about the flights in January they cost €90 return, but now I’m looking at  €90 each way which will mean significantly less spending money.

As well, I’m worrying about clothes. I bought a lovely bikini bottom last year but never actually wore it since I don’t have a matching top. I was just considering wearing my bra with it, because in reality who can even tell the difference? But of course the Internet said not to do that; something about absorbancy and discolouration.

As well I need suncream, and lots of it. In another lifetime I swear I was an albino, because I just cannot cope with sunlight! I’ve started noticing my cheeks going red recently even though the temperature has not hit 15°C and it has been constantly cloudy.

As you’ve probably noticed by now, I do tend to work myself up over things that shouldn’t be top of my priority list, and shouldn’t even be worrying about for that matter. Thank you anxiety.

Drowning in coursework 

Assignment, after assignment, after assignment. The minute that I submit one, another one is published. And of course my AS in Spanish is creeping closer and closer. I glad that it’s the easter holidays now, since I really need a rest but I know that the sensible thing to do is to plough through the worst of my coursework so I can focus on my rapidly approaching Spanish exams. 

Compared to this time last year, I don’t have that same sense of sheer panic – like the walls are closing in on me. Being at college allows me a lot more spare time. At my old school, I arrived just after 8am and stayed at the library after school until 6pm almost every day. I probably spent around 48 hours there every week whereas even accounting for time spent in the library I only spend 25 hours at college nowadays.

I realise that the majority of my posts revolve around college life but that is my life and it makes me happy.

Belfast Calling?

When I was eight years old, I decided that the year that I turned 18 I would go the Eurovision. That year will be next year and I am so excited. I’ve told my mum and dad that my savings are for a wee car but really they have always been for travelling purposes. Since I was 14 I have squirelled away money at birthdays, Christmas and any other occasion into a savings account; making it financially viable for me to go and see the Eurovision wherever it takes place in 2018.

But that raises a major issue: whee will it be held in 2018? Living in Northern Ireland I identify with both Ireland and, to a certain extent the, UK. Seeing the drivel that Ireland is sending this year I can certainly say that it won’t be taking place south of the border, but the UK’s entry is decent and dare I say pretty good actually. Maybe, just maybe, the UK will win and that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be hosted in London. The UK has also hosted it in Brighton, Edinburgh, Harrogate and Birmingham. If it has been hosted in Scotland and smaller cities in England, maybe Belfast could be an option. We successfully hosted the MTV EMAs in 2011 and other international events in recent years, and we have the concert arena and hundreds of hotel rooms. It’s a tiny possibility, but it could work…

Okay, the above is only a small portion of the mental gymnastics that it took for me to come to that conclusion. This post was inspired by a dream I had last year in the run up to the Eurovision in which Belfast hosted it. I mean, part of the appeal of going to the Eurovision for me is the travelling but if that only meant getting a two hour train to Dublin or an hour flight to London, two cities which I already know,  I’d be disappointed. So I guess if either Ireland or the UK won this year I’d be pretty upset, but in the future I’d be blessed to have the Eurovision so close to home.

I’ll probably never hear the words “Belfast calling” on live TV but my small bit of city pride likes to imagine it. Next year I’ll go to the Eurovision and fulfil a lifelong dream and I cannot wait!

This Is Acting

I took part in my first production last week and it was one of the strangest yet most spectacular experiences of my life. 

The highlight of the week was VIP night but not because of the “VIPs” (I doubt that a local TV presenter and a deputy lord mayor of a small city count as VIPs). As I stood in the wings following the encore, I popped my head around the curtain to see how much of the audience had left. Doing that is considered to be seriously unprofessional but most had left. Very few noticed my slight act of rebelion but a young girl waved at me and another gazed at me in what I perceived as admiration. I was starstruck, I felt like a true actress. It probably helped a lot that I was in full costume with stage makeup on but honestly I feel really proud that people enjoyed my performance and wanted to reach out to me.

It was a crazy week with everything from red roses to hyperglycaemia attacks, but it was certainly memorable.