Sunday, 23 October 2011


The last four days or so have been particularly busy and stressful for me, due to a combination of heavy university work and volunteering commitments. Since I hadn't had a day-off for a few weeks, I felt the strain more than I usually do: consequently, yesterday afternoon and evening I showed some of my traits. I had trouble keeping eye contact with people, and stood by myself a few times even though I was with a group on an outing. In the evening I jerky-slapped a few times and covered my ears for a few minutes when the heating turned itself on: the sound bothered me much more than usual then.

We have a toy hamster in our house: Dad bought it for me in the market one day, saying that he felt that I needed a pet at uni. Consequently the hamster, Susie, lives in a hamster wheel on the kitchen table, and by turning on a switch, she 'runs' on the hamster wheel using small wheels in the place of paws.

The point of that story is that my stress levels got quite high, and I ended up at the kitchen table spinning the wheel with my finger (Susie was on the table). It wasn't an absent-minded spinning, it was something I really focused on: hardly anything mattered but keeping this wheel spinning. It made me feel a bit more content, if not much less stressed. I don't really know how best to describe how wonderful spinning an object (sometimes including myself) can make me feel: in a way it feels good that there is something constant, unchanging, and that I have the power to make it stay spinning at the same speed. Spinning objects is something that nowadays I tend to do only when I'm very stressed: on occasion I'll indulge myself to take a few moments to spin a pen on the table. Maybe it helps because there's only one thing to focus on, whereas when I'm tired and stressed I feel overwhelmed by seeing and hearing so many things at once in the world around me.

It was at this point that Cat persuaded me to go to bed and get some sleep. I felt better today, but still had to take a few minutes to myself from a group lunch: admittedly most of the people I'd never met before, which is always daunting and draining for me. Still, I'm feeling a lot better now, although I think a good night's sleep is in order!

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