I’m Back …

… Sort of … Maybe (;

We’ll see how long it lasts.

My mental health has plummeted again. For the longest while in the history of my mental health. I can’t helped but feel that the PhD is the culprit. It is the trigger. And I find myself considering whether I should cut my losses and leave. But it is a massive section of my CV I’ll have to fill in the blank for moving forward … /:

For now I will push forward until the inevitable fork in the road. Decision by the end of Autumn I reckon.

 

For now …

Advertisements

By the Way, You Don’t Have to Breed

The Disco Pants Blog

Caprice

As a mother of two I’m going to let you in on a secret closely guarded by the parents of the world: having kids is overrated, and you don’t have to do it. No matter how many women (it’s always the women) accost you at dinner parties demanding to know why your uterus remains a thing of emptiness, I will tell you unequivocally that the motive for their probing is rage around the following things: you – unlike them – look fresh and rested; you – unlike them – will not be going home to pay the babysitter after this dull dinner party but heading straight to somewhere fabulous where you’ll imbibe alcohol and have sexual relations and lastly (and this is a biggie) your vagina is intact. Nothing makes mothers madder than the idea of your intact vagina.

These things about you fill parents of the world with hateful…

View original post 578 more words

The Darkside of “How To” Videos …

… It has Cookies.

Firstly I’d like to express my pure excitement at the fact I’ve just used a free stock photo site for the first time!!! :O Hope I did it correctly … I don’t know if there’s a wrong way to do it … ?

I contemplated briefly procrastinating and making my own cookies to photograph and then scoff … and decided that as I’d spent Friday Evening doing a similar activity with Cake I should possibly ignore the urge (;

Maybe I should have a whole ?thread? on: Things I do when I procrastinate? … some of it possibly borders on mental … ❤

I digress …

ONWARD! To the World of “HOW TO“!

I love the world of How To. It’s a glorious place mostly filled with perfect camera angles, tasty images and glue guns. Everyone who is anyone aspires to own a glue gun after all! If you don’t you are either are not ‘anyone’ ( 😛 ) or you just haven’t ventured deep enough into the felt forests of continent spend all your money on craft supplies!

However, the world of How To hosts many dangers which adventurers must be aware of, such as the auto-play button or signs stating: continued in part 157 ! You must be prepared!! It can literally …

COST YOU YOUR LIFE!!!

Point of the story: Why have I just spent a portion of my life watching videos on How To make cactus pin cushions … ?! I will admit their alluring design is captivating, the simple method tempting and their potential for being added to the list of crafty gifts I shall possibly never make, staggering … b-b-but … I have never even considered the need for a pin cushion in my life. Making the pin cushion itself may create the need for me to have such a pin cushion, but it won’t be in existence at the necessary point in time!?

A Serious Problem Indeed.

The Dyslexic PhD

Recently I have reached some sort of impasse with my dyslexia and PhD. I was diagnosed with Dyslexia late into my academic studies (first year BSc) to the tone of: “how did you get grades without support!?” … which didn’t make me feel very good, especially as I was convinced that I was not dyslexic and sunk straight into denial … nothing I had heard about dyslexia at this point had been very positive and now I had this new label on my identity to deal with … This was made worse when, upon finally “giving in”, I looked back and realised that I’d built a network for myself pre-university totally unaware, which was now ravaged by distance and career direction. Finally into the last stages of my PhD I have started building a new one – like an idiot. Hindsight screams at me regularly: WHY DIDN’T YOU DO THIS SOONER?

I’m shattered. I’m frustrated. I’m hopeful. I want to give up and cry. I want to keep going. I can’t see it. I can see it. WHY DOES EVERYTHING TAKE SO LONG? … so much longer than “normal” people. I’m a failure. But I’m here and I won’t give up now. I want to be here. I don’t deserve to be here … Must keep going (swimming).

But I’m Tired. Being Tired makes it worse …

In the midst of this emotional whirlwind haunted by increasing deadlines, I turned to the internet for other people’s experiences, in hope I could draw some comfort or coping techniques … and in some places what I found has shocked me. People at the PhD level experiencing out-right discrimination. One account in particular has stuck with me where an individual revealed their diagnosis and was told by the supervisor that they weren’t suitable to continue because “stupid people shouldn’t do PhDs”.

This outrage aside because I don’t intend this blog post to become a rant (another time maybe?) … I found something very interesting … I seem to have followed a similar pattern to others: Get support at BSc (or equivalent) Level, at some point trick yourself into thinking you’ve totally overcome your Dyslexia and now don’t need support (I SHALL NOT BE LABELLED AS DISABLED NOR USE IT AS AN EXCUSE!!! HURRAH!), be proved utterly wrong at the PhD level. THEN learn much to your dismay that university dyslexia support is catered to taught degrees … SAD FACE TIME.

At this point I was still obsessed with the “my dyslexia is an excuse for my own failure” thing. Plus, having already ‘failed’ the PhD process in my first year with my Mental Health struggles … I didn’t turn to my supervisor … thinking rather stupidly that I could hide my difficulties from the fabulous woman tasked with trawling her way through my dyslexic ramblings … HA … HA … HA.

Luckily for me, there was no way she could not see it. Luckily for me, she wants to help. Luckily for me, there are other members in my department just as willing. Luckily for me, they want to give me the time because they actually care about me, my PhD and my future career. They are giving me longer deadlines, more support, arranging 1-2-1 lessons both within the department and with people in my university’s language school – on top of my DSA “stuff”, such as other tutoring and equipment, etc. HINDSIGHT SCREAMS AGAIN! … All I have to do is keep putting the effort in, keep going and being willing, working through it … and somehow find a why to become less concerned about TIME. I feel like time is the enemy … it just keeps going whilst I’m here, stuck in this impasse.

But … it is positive. Everything that is happening … it is positive. It may not feel positive to me all (most of 😛 ) the time at the moment, because frustration does that. I’m frustrated at myself for not just being able to GET OVER IT. Not being able to get over myself … whatever ‘get over’ means … … … ? (;

It is difficult. I feel like my opinions on my dyslexia are a dichotomy, because there are positives to being dyslexic … I wouldn’t want to get rid of it, given the choice … I don’t think? Dyslexic brains are wired differently. For example, and I’m lead to believe this is something common in dyslexics, I approach problems/ideas/etc differently (often termed creativity?) and I’m good at noticing things that are out of place.

The latter point is the current strategy I’m working on with my writing. I’m learning my dyslexic patterns and once I have an understanding of them, looking at the words and letters as patterns (not content) … my mistakes sometimes seem to ‘jump out’ at me, so I’m hoping this will be a good strategy for proof-reading? Then it is just learning what the pattern ‘should be’ and why it doesn’t work so that I can consciously write to different patterns. I’m still working on techniques for the content, my current favourite is a type of paragraph/point/concept check list …

Learning to exist in the non-dyslexic world. Or perhaps more accurately: outside of MY dyslexic world?

I’m sure if I make it to the end, it will feel amazing. I look forward to the amazing feeling. I’m hanging on to the hope that it’ll come. Whilst trying not to put it in the context of time … and context of time wants to add the word “soon” … and I fear hanging onto the the word soon may just bring disappointment.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Those unaware of what dyslexia might be like or how mine exhibits itself can have a little read of this snippet from my experience. Learning difficulties can express themselves differently in different individuals who are all on a spectrum … ?

Some of the difficulties I experience with my ‘Learning Difficulties’ (Differences (; ) –>

  • Having to repeatedly read text for comprehension, whilst being a very slow reader. First read through or two is just focusing on actually being able to read the text before I can focus on content. I often also get “surprises”: that wasn’t what it said a moment ago!? … Or the funnier (but equally frustrating) version is when I seem to replace words with similar, yet unrelated, words and it makes it seem that the author has very randomly just changed the subject …
  • From this, note taking (from say journal papers) is very difficult for me, especially in the first few read throughs. Not only might I not remember it as I was more focused on the act of reading, but I can’t always trust myself that what I read was actually there … hahaa!
  • Not only do I read reallllllllllllllllllly slowly, it also seems that it takes me much longer to construct sentences. I notice this in particular in emails … where it is not uncommon for me to take ~hour (sometimes more) to understand the content and then write replies.
  • I cannot Skim Read … ):
  • Visual effects when reading. Letters can disappear and I often get what I describe as “strobe effects” not just in what I’m trying to read but around me too … the most annoying one is when light reflects off my keyboard -_- This is all very tiring and distracting, especially as I’m almost constantly reading so I almost constantly also have a headache – currently still working on and acquiring techniques and technology to tackle this …
  • Sentence Structure – for example, “writing backwards” or even forgetting to put the ‘subject’, ‘verb’, etc in … or other similarly important sentence elements. I actually find it really hard to see what’s wrong with my sentences from other people’s POVs, hence not much detail here … Still learning the pattern’s which I use that I need to tackle to make sense to others …
  •  Conveying ideas in the written word: both the structure, words used and omissions. My supervisor has described this better than I feel I will: Often missing out important information that explains to the reader how I’ve reached the end point/my understanding/etc … meandering
  • I do have some issues with spelling, however spell checks and web search engines (usually better at guessing what I’m trying to spell than the spell checkers …) help with this … the final resort is asking friends 😛 … I usually start remembering words that I misspell often and draw on memories of searching for the correct answer to spell them in the future
  • I also confuse certain letters and numbers with each other when reading and writing. I find it difficult to spell even when people are reading out the letters to me because of this confusion …
  • I love to put capital letters and random punctuation everywhere because it “feels right” … Which I think I now have a stronger control over. It used to flip from extremes: “You need to actually use Capital Letters” … Capital Letters Everywhere!!! … “Only put them on important things: ?i.e. Nouns? …” all the Things I feel are important acquire capital letters … so on and so on until today. I took what people said pretty literally … especially pre-diagnosis I think, because there was no awareness on either side? I was trying to get better without really understanding/being able to see what was wrong.
  • I generally do just write as I feel feels natural and am now learning to move away from this. I don’t seem to have assimilated language in the same way everyone else has … so … 😛
  • Organisation.

I’m feel like I’m missing something, but as someone prone to writing their stream of consciousness … let’s stop here 😀

But … I’m European?

I’m a little apprehensive about talking politics here … however:

I’ve struggled a lot over the last few years with labels. Sadly it was only after the last night of watching votes come in that I realised there was one label I held close and didn’t take issue with. It was so integral to my being that I’d never even thought about it in depth, or considered I would lose it until this year.

I’m shocked and upset. Though anticipated this result for a little while … watching the national mood and social media. Feeling angry that a perfect opportunity to teach the public about the political system was totally wasted by the media and government …

I’ve avoided talking about it here … but I feel this question was brought to a country that wasn’t in a state to deal with it. Many of the “out” reasons I heard over these months were Racist, Ignorant, Unreasonable, Lies. And for a while I was fooled by this, trapped in my privilege of university, surrounded by like minded people who feel like their future is in their hands. However, recently I left the bubble … I looked at “my” country … and realised that many out voters were just desperate people searching for a voice. Fooled by the UK elite that their failings were the fault of the “ones in the EU”, “over there”, “not us”, “out of our control”.

I’m sure there must be reasons for leaving that don’t arise from this? But I haven’t encountered many (?if any?) outside of hatred, misunderstanding and desperation …

Somehow this has become a story of characters. Him vs Him. Us vs. Them. Who’s career now changes from this assortment of characters that don’t reflect us …? And I feel bad listening to the “Brexit” politicians who already sound different, is it just me that feels like the story has changed already, the story so many believed? S:

I know some people in similar positions to myself have already come to terms with leaving, aware from the beginning that an out vote would be an out for ourselves also: from the UK, from our birthplace.

The thoughts of planning my emigration … and all the uncertainty … the fact my currently unfinished PhD includes EU legislation and I work/study in the environmental sector = worry, saddness, nausea. There is so much legislation that works on issues that are not prisoner to arbitrary country borders …

… and that worries me the most.

Alongside money … because you can’t eat money or sovereignty and they won’t “save the world”.

I’d say I wish I’d managed to accrue some savings that weren’t in my “fund to prevent homelessness for a month or two if the unexpected happens!!!” … but sadly those savings would be in £s, which isn’t really worth much at the moment (;

I hope it all works out. Things will continue to exist. We’ll accept the decision of democracy … and get on with it …

17.4 to 16.1 Million …

My one consolation is perhaps UKIP will now realise there’s no need for them to exist anymore and I’ll no longer have to listen to hate speech against my will.

 

What to do with this Life of Mine?

At the moment, I probably spend too much time thinking about what I’m ‘going’ to do rather than doing what I ‘should’ be doing. It’s a massive concern of mine, preoccupies a large proportion of my brain-space, but doesn’t seem to be getting any clearer …

I feel like my career progression and planning to this point took a pretty average route. It started in toddler-hood with wanting to grow up to be a Dinosaur before swiftly switching to hoping that I would IMMINENTLY discover I was actually an alien with some predestined purpose … Sadly, after putting in many hours into my “secret” investigation and cross examining my Mother repeatedly (much to her amusement I imagine … with maybe a slice of worry in there too), I came to the realisation that I was human just like everyone else.

So, it was back to growing up to be a Dinosaur.

WP_20160606_003
This is possibly a dinosaur through the eyes of my childhood …

Unfortunately for a human and therefore not already being an extinct reptile, one had to consider the small issue of switching species … and thus my interest in science was born. Early school years I wanted fact or text books, documentaries and all things regarding nature and science to fill my room and my time. With my dreams of becoming a dinosaur dwindling into a fun story for “the adults” in the face how amazing the world was turning out to be and how investigating it became much more interesting.

My experience has been that as a child you learn about professions in “child-friendly” orders. Obviously, the internet was only just ‘happening around me’ and when we finally got it in our house my mother spent way “too much” time on the phone … so it went in circles through: things you can see outside; things you can see on the TV or in books; things the people around you do. In the science sectors, the first closet example I discovered was possibly similar to my interests was becoming a vet. This stuck for a few years until a documentary where a marine biologist was mentioned … (I seemed to fail to consider the source of knowledge in all my books at this early point!!) … Gradually my world grew

… on and on in this fashion until a physics lesson in year 9 …

Our teacher showed us pictures from his research travels, told us stories, to which we asked: “well, how did you get there?! How do we get there?!” … To which he fatefully said: “It all started with my PhD”. Then and there I declared I will go and do that then“. And here I am … with only a small number of doubtful wiggles in between, mostly concerning funding my academics (i.e. debt) and small bouts of teenage rebellion (;

As these years progressed with me on my journey towards the PhD, I developed what I thought was a strong idea of what I wanted. I would do the PhD, it’d be marvelous and perfect and then I’d career progress into the equally marvelous and perfect, plus altogether exciting position of being a lecturer at some university somewhere. I made this decision however with no true knowledge of what that involved and without considering non-university options for research … and this is where I truly am now … Investigating the new world before me again, but instead from the angle of the “Big Question”:

What do I actually want to do with this Life?

Because it has become about more than just what interests me, inspires me and what has always filled me with passion … it now includes my values, relationships, and dreams in and outside of work (including considering a Life-Work balance and what that would look like? and where I hope to find that balance …). This, perhaps surprisingly (or not), fills me with worry.

Do I really know the answers to any of this? Would those answers be possible? Do these questions actually matter? … Do I need to know the answers? How do I find them?

I’d like to know them?

I need to find out because I need to earn money to survive … and I’m encroaching on the “one year to go” marker!! :O … and I’d like to try and find work I can love and be proud to be part of.

Queen Procrastination

So, I have a rather large and important deadline approaching in a couple of days for which I have had approximately a week to address. I would say that so far the percentage of time I’ve spent on the deadline task is <33% … I’m quite good at reassigning my main stresses into other aspects of my life: less important parts of my project, money, weight, laundry, how many socks I own, how to do anything I might possibly need to do one day but don’t necessarily need to know HOWEVER its somehow important I SHALL learn immediately –> TO YOUTUBE. Inevitably I then end up in the strange depths of youtube, confused and completely unaware of the time … … … In this particular series of events, suddenly writing a blog post upon emerging from the my internet dreams* has become important … heheheeeee.

In a moment of panic and realisation for this task, I turned to a couple of friends, quoted some expletives … and asked one how she motivates herself. Seriously, that woman has no self awareness of how awe inspiring her motivation is. I want to know the secret and then I’d like someone to put it in pill form so I can medicate myself regularly …

I’m not sure why I turn to others in these situations to state my procrastination. Is it attention? Or am I presenting my life to them and asking them to deal with it? Or just sharing SOMETHING that has happened in my life that isn’t “I woke up today” … hahahaa!! I really do not know. Trying to contemplate it now, a small part of me thinks I want them to turn around and acknowledge it as a failure, being irresponsible or somehow a terrible person. “SADLY” this is not what happens. I get responses that essentially imply I can’t possibly fail, because I “succeed at everything” I do (I DO NOT**) … “you always procrastinate and do well”, or “pull it off”, etc. These responses do not make me happy. I don’t believe them and they’re not the truth.

Firstly, before saying saying what I’m about to say, I recognise that I am privileged, I have many privileges and one of those is a level of intelligence which helps shield me from some of the potential ‘crises’ that my procrastination threatens me with … I weirdly like to deny and question my intelligence, but as someone who has undergone and been diagnosed with dyslexia … I know my IQ … I have a bound report (that I like to hide) which states it … This does not influence how I apply said IQ and nor does it always prevent me from being stupid/ignorant/uneducated/etc, but I have that capacity there and I can’t comfortably present the next paragraph without acknowledging it … sadly. Oh, I’m also doing a PhD … but I’m convinced at the moment that after a certain level that it is more about determination/motivation … and perhaps a level of insanity (:

I think it’s unarguable that if I dedicated the time I should to the work I procrastinate over then it would be better and more likely to meet my own standards – the fact that generally my work is accepted/can be appreciated/meets the minimum requirements does not console me from the fact that it isn’t what I know I could achieve (the Dangerous Could Word!!). I see this as failure and sometimes my procrastination (myself) also leads me to fail by other people’s standards and I’d like this possibility to be acknowledged … ? Success and Failure to be seen by the probabilities they actually have … and to be comfortable with this? To see them as a process … ? And not to feel like your life and everything you’ve worked for will be ruined by one occurrence …

Now I can’t be certain whether my friends believe what they say or are just wanting to be nice (and perhaps this is a whole separate issue to discuss another time) or if it ties in with the argument I’m about to present … but let’s continue anyway … 😛

As part of a stream of procrastination for a previous deadline, before descending into the murky depths of youtube once more, I came across a  TED Talk: Diana Laufenberg: How to learn? From mistakes which I have been thinking ties into this. I really wish I was insightful enough to draw the lines myself – but alas! I was aware that mistakes are important aids to both learning and mental resilience, etc … but I was a step behind.

Shall I introduce the idea now (; ?

Essentially we stream students, attribute success and label them “Gifted and Talented” according to how few failures they have had.

Just let that sink in a bit. From that sentence alone there are many sided stories to tell. You may even conclude that this has influenced your life, for better or worse.

As this is essentially procrastination for me right now … I’m not going to delve into more than one. Talking about my views on the education system/exam culture/society etc etc … Is just too much for right now … hahahaa! Not to mention my views on the university system … (;

Successful people are viewed as people who do not fail. If you are a person who has completed some milestones attributed by society to be ‘acceptable’ or ‘worth doing‘ and maybe even have managed to complete tasks that others have failed or convinced themselves they are unable to achieve … AS WELL AS, and this is important, being a person who HAS NOT completed milestones (or perhaps even one, depending what it is) which society would deem unacceptable‘,not worth doing‘ or would not do themselves due to a series of belief systems … You are a successful person. As a result I currently believe that on a subconscious level we see success as an unfaltering path: no mistakes, no failures, arguably none of the aspects of humanity!! hahaa … ! A perfect story with a happy ending which can meet our ideals.

Sorry, but perfect is unattainable and does not exist, especially since the definition of perfect is different for everyone. Mistakes/failures/bad choices are all unavoidable and to believe that you can only be successful without them not only causes  an altered life view for the believer but also for the people those beliefs are thrust upon. It probably sounds really obvious when you read it, but I always find it surprising how much the obvious can actually be ignored – especially when on the scale of a society/community/friendship group/work place/your own brain/etc …

In simple terms:

  • If you see yourself as a failure and believe that success can only come to those who never fail, you believe on some level that you can never have success yourself.
  • If true success is never failing then failing once removes all your previous success. I think exams can be a brilliant example of this? I also believe that the associated stress is unnecessary and unrealistic: you need your “failings” to learn properly …
  • Equally, just because you’ve been successful in the past doesn’t mean that you will be in the future, or that previous “non-successes” didn’t play a role in where you are today.

It’s probably also important to acknowledge here the fact that for different people the definition of success changes and therefore a societal definition may actually make it as unattainable as perfection … ? Discuss (; ?? hehee

Wow, this turned into “self-help book stylee” pretty quickly!!! hahahaa!! Let’s give it a “moral of the story!!!”:

Define your own success, because society’s is Warped and Unhealthy

Or possibly:

Perception isn’t always truth

?

Could we invent failure day? So we can all celebrate the failures that make us human beings? Excuse to eat cakeeeeee~~~~? (; Or just a necessary mental process society needs to go through to stop punishing ourselves for being ourselves 😛 ?? We could find some well known “successful” people to publish their failures in the public space … and these aren’t “I wasn’t successful, I was failing, but then I did this and now I’m awesome” stories … but “I’m a successful person who still fails and that doesn’t change my success … I’m a successful person because who I am and who want to be work together to be my definition”

Someone else feel free to advance this idea because I WILL just procrastinate … (; …

And I really hope that one day soon I can say that to myself and fully believe it … so I’ll write it again whilst I also ask you to say it to yourself:

I’m a successful person because who I am and who want to be work together to be my definition [of success] …

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*internet dreams are essentially what I believe to be when you use your browser in a way to either try and reinvent yourself or which influences your daydreams (I daydream A LOT) … this time around I found a set of videos of people who had obviously been cornered in different areas of korea to be shown videos and then give their reactions (a popular youtube format if you’re looking to become the next star of the internet?) … and I thought to myself … wouldn’t it be nice to actually understand without subtitles. CUE: daydream on speaking ALL LANGUAGES … then obviously somewhere my brain realised how unrealistic this was … and just made it ALL ASIAN Languages … yeah … right. Thanks Brain … OH. I also had a parrot friend … because youtube revealed to me the equivalent of cat videos … for parrots … and it taught me some techniques for training your parrot friend (prisoner? :P) tricks I haven’t yet or may never befriend.

** I DO NOT SUCCEED AT EVERYTHING I DO! That would be weird … I have failed exams and general tasks for being a “successful” human being 😛 … examples? … hahaaaa … I fail at making my blog look professional and inviting (; … I’ve failed a few exams … WHICH JUST HAPPENED to become unnecessary to my academic awards or were part of extra curricular options. I failed at driving. I fail everyday at getting fit and healthy (; … I fail in my relationships on all scales probably at the same rate everyone else does … I’ve “failed” interviews, applications … I’ve failed even applying to opportunities because I procrastinated too much or believed I would fail … ETC ETC ETC!! OMG ! I’m a human being 😛 !!! hahahaaa. Isn’t it lovely 😛 !!