My parents are planning to move house, so my mum has been sorting through all their old stuff. This has brought up a couple of things I want to blog about, the first of which is introversion.

In amongst her uni work, my mum found a note from my dad from when they first started dating. She’d gone to the bar to get drinks and he’d vanished and left a note on the table saying ‘Have gone to do some work. See you later x’

My mum told me about this because she found it funny: my dad was renowned for doing absolutely no work at uni, and was very nearly kicked out. He hadn’t excused himself because he planned to work at all, she thought, he’d excused himself because there were too many people in the bar, and it was making him anxious.

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Talking about it

I’m not sure of the etiquette of girl crushes, but I’m pretty sure the best way to go about them isn’t to get all star struck, buy the sex toy and then write about the guest post. Girlonthenet is probably utterly sick of me by now.

But the guest post is really interesting, and it ties in with stuff I’ve written about here before. I contemplated not writing about my views on it, because when someone writes something so beautifully honest and open about their own life, it’s probably best not to try and make it all about you.

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Charlie? She’s a fucking letdown

When I wrote about Eroticon a couple of posts ago, I was kind of hoping my nerves would settle before the day itself. Instead, the complete opposite proved true: I spent last night wide awake with nerves until 3.30, and I had to get up at 6.30 to drive to Bristol. Where I spent the whole day in a state of permanent terror.

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It’s a weird week to be admitting that I’m more nervous than ever about what I write. Last weekend saw my highest number of blog hits ever, along with endorsements from both Girlonthenet and Alison Tyler. For me personally, it doesn’t get much better than that. Then, yesterday, I also got a lovely email from a reader who, I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t have realised was in the readership demographic for this kind of blog at all.

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Watching ‘The Undateables’ (kind of)

I should’ve known this was going to be a shit week. On Friday night, I left the office and promptly burst into tears because I’d missed a deadline and let the designer down (in my defence, the designer is *hot*). Then, I went to M&S and bought steak, which was the only thing I wanted for dinner – something which only happens when my body is screaming for iron. I got home and my period had started. Obviously.

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‘Being Thick Gets Dick’ – My Take – Part 2

So, on Monday, I wrote a post inspired by a piece over at My Potential One True Love, on whether girls who don’t play down their intelligence are less likely to get laid. I concluded that, personally, I don’t ever feel that I have to dumb down to attract guys, although sometimes I choose to. Before I wrote the post, I had a conversation on Twitter with Juniper from The Cut of my Jib about what is actually is that puts guys off intelligent girls, if it isn’t their brain power. With regard to me, at least, these are my conclusions:

I never shut up

I live on my own, and I love it. Seriously love it. But even though I obviously get to talk a normal amount when I’m in the office every day, as well as when I’m out with friends, it’s as if when I’m home alone, the words are just building up in my head, dying to escape, and so, when I find someone to bombard with them, I, well, do just that. My parents say that when I go and stay with them, I’m exhausting for the first couple of days while I’m offloading the backlog of conversation that’s built up in my head, and then, once I’ve got it out of the way, I go back to talking a normal amount. I think uni had an impact here, too – my Cambridge friends all believed that any subject was fair game for an argument/heated discussion, so now when someone says something that I feel strongly about, I can’t just let it go. 

I don’t think boys (and other people too, but this post is about boys) mind that per se, but I can see that it could get pretty tiring after a while. I’m always confused by those girls who drag their boyfriends round the shops on Saturdays – haven’t their boyfriends had enough of them by now, don’t they want a break from each other? – but maybe those girls are quieter and more restful to be around,  so the boyfriends don’t have to have time out just to replenish their conversational abilities, or, y’know, just to remember what quiet sounds like.

Juniper said she even talks during sex, although about sex, not about what she’s having for tea. I think I actually have been known to talk about what’s for tea during sex – in my defence, it was because I got jumped while I was in the process of trying to put tea in the oven.

I overthink everything

Ah, another Cambridge legacy, this one – although perhaps one that’s linked to the depression, as well. If something hurts me, angers me, upsets me, I can’t just let it go – I’m totally incapable of distracting myself by watching a film, or reading a book – I just keep turning it over and over in my mind, considering the various what ifs from all the different angles, and often, when it comes to relationships, settling on the version of events that is most harmful, most destructive, because I can’t bear the thought of getting hurt because I was naive, or because I turned a blind eye to something. It’s knackering inside my own head – I can’t imagine how tiring it is for someone else to try to follow my train of thought.

I don’t really fit in / like other people

You know that line about how you can feel loneliest of all when you’re surrounded by other people? Yep, that’s me. I’ve never quite felt that I fitted in – I’m absolutely shit at small talk and I feel on the fringes of both normal people and people with a disability. At eleven, my mum took me to NHS physio sessions with a load of other kids who had cerebral palsy. I was pretty sure I wasn’t as disabled as the other kids in the group, but how could I be certain? It’s like that thing where you put on weight, but you don’t notice it  when you see yourself in the mirror; only when someone shows you a photo of yourself. It was confusing, because I thought I was normal, and there was society telling me that I wasn’t.

Up to that point, I had a pretty big group of friends, but in the years that followed I found it much more preferable to have a handful of very close friends instead – people who understood and liked who I was, and who didn’t force me to step outside of my comfort zone. Meeting new people, which had never been my favourite thing in the world, became steadily even less appealing. I threw myself into my studies, told myself that boys would never be interested, and then set about proving myself right. And somewhere along the line, proving myself right, and disguising my vulnerability with an almighty temper, have become pretty much par for the course.

So yeah, I don’t think it’s my intelligence that puts guys off – I think it’s all this stuff: the fact that I’m a larger-than-life girl who’s capable of being much too intense, way too neurotic, and who won’t have watched any of the films you’ve watched, so won’t be able to have a casual discussion about those with you, either? I never, ever wish I was less intelligent, but I do often wish I could tone myself down a bit. Am I the only one that feels that way?

It’s ok to be happy with a calm life

Writing about depression consistently loses me Twitter followers. I don’t care – the ‘of sorts’ part of my blog name was always designed to allow me to write about other things that are important to me, and that’s exactly what I plan to do in this post. I wrote a shorter post on this earlier, but I’ve since deleted it, because I have so much more I want to say on the subject. If you don’t like it, go right ahead and unfollow.

I hate New Year, and this year was no different. I find the pressure of statements like ‘2014 is going to be so much better than last year’ almost unbearable, especially because depression always seems to catch up with me in the weeks after Christmas. This year, I should have known it was on its way. A few days after Christmas I was in a restaurant with my parents. They made a slightly critical comment and I burst into tears. The weepiness lasted the rest of the evening.

My parents are not great in this respect: they tell me repeatedly that I’m not actually depressed because my depression is always triggered by specific, upsetting events. There’s some truth in this – it often is – but part of the reason they think that is because often when I’m low I avoid telling them, partly because I know they don’t really get it. 

What really upsets me though, is knowing that depressive episodes are almost always triggered by people I care about. Sometimes it’s my friends, more often it’s the boys in my life. A couple of years back, I was pretty involved in a complicated situation with a depressed male friend and ironically, as he recovered, I succumbed to it more and more. He ended up offering to pay for me to have therapy, thinking I was resisting it because I couldn’t afford it. Nothing could have been further from the truth: I was resisting it because I couldn’t handle the stigma that came with being depressed. He was lucky I refused his offer though: to date it would have cost him more than £2k in therapy sessions.

I’m slightly more comfortable with the stigma surrounding mental illness now (good therapy will do that), but less comfortable with the way it’s treated. Therapy is risky – I did have a great therapist, but when I moved halfway across the country I had to find a new one, and I’m pretty sure that in the six sessions I saw her for she did way more harm than good. 

Anti-depressants make me even more antsy. I take them, on and off, but as soon as I start to feel better, I stop. This is a pretty irresponsible thing to do: they’re known to have side-effects, including mood swings, as part of the come down, which is why you’re supposed to reduce the dosage slowly and under a doctor’s supervision. Sheer bloody-mindedness means I never do: as soon as the depression subsides I get resentful about reliance on drugs to control my emotions, bitter about the fact that my emotional range is so curtailed and really, really fucked-off about the weight I inevitably gain when I’m taking them. And so I stop, just like that. And just as day follows night, several weeks later I’ll have a day just like today, where I get up, shower, start to cry, and have to go back to bed because everything else feels like too much of a struggle. Today, I thought I might make gingerbread. Then I thought of the mess it will inevitably make and couldn’t face it. The same goes for cooking meals. Drying my hair is too much effort. Watching TV gives me too much time to think. Basically, I just want to be asleep, but I’m not tired enough to get there. It’s on days like this that I wish anti-depressants could be given intravenously, just so their effect would be more immediate.

None of this stops me laying in to other people though: I’ll do anything, anything, to turn the self-hatred outwards for a bit, so god forbid that anyone should say or do anything that hurts or upsets me – I can rant and rave for hours because that’s what’s going on inside my head anyway. 

But as much as that’s me saying It’s not you, it’s me, I can’t help but wonder if the solution is to return to the kind of single girl independence I last had around 2007, when I was doing my finals and boys were the last thing on my mind.

I’ve mentioned in a few posts that I had more to say about this post. The way Juniper describes sitting on the harbour, wiling away the hours made me wistful as hell. I used to be that girl, the girl who could sit in a bar with a glass of wine and a book, watching the world go by and not fretting about the present, or worrying about the future. In recent years, I’ve lost the ability to do that – now I always seem to be checking my phone for messages from an AWOL boy, or worrying about the fact that I’m not doing super-exciting stuff with other people.

Depression has taken away my ability to enjoy my own company, and that’s the shittest thing of all.