So I’m Back…From Outer Space…

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…Or more accurately, from Namibia (a country in south-west Africa), where I spent 5 weeks at a wildlife sanctuary, including one week at a research site. Overall, it was an absolutely amazing experience and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I kind of wish I’d had the courage to do something like that sooner, but it doesn’t matter – I’m just so glad to have been able to do it in spite of my anxiety. I saw, and learned about, so many different animals – both in captivity at the sanctuary, and in the wild – and met so many different people, from all around the world. I feel that it really helped me to grow as a person, and although I’m still a very unconfident person by typical standards, it has helped with my confidence immensely. People at work have actually commented on this, telling me that travelling has brought me out of my shell, and that I seem like a more confident young woman. No, my anxiety didn’t magically cease to exist while I was away, and it was really tough at times, but I have fond memories of my time away, and again, other people have noticed that my face lights up whenever I talk about my trip. I’m so lucky to have been able to travel so far afield and have had so many new and pleasant experiences. I think my social skills have improved a bit, and while I still don’t particularly enjoy small talk, I can see now that it does serve a very important purpose. Also, this probably sounds quite trivial, but something that I struggled with before travelling was making eye contact when talking to more than one person. I used to only be able to make eye contact with one person in the group, but while away, I managed to make adequate eye contact with everyone, and I’ve been able to do so since returning from Namibia as well. I’ve noticed lots of small but important things like that. I’ll write about my trip in much more detail later, either as posts on this blog, or in a private blog.

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Like I said in my last post, I have really missed my blog. You’ll have to forgive me for being quite rusty at blogging (I’m already being hard on myself for the low quality of this post), seeing as how I haven’t regularly written posts in over a year now. I’m also feeling a little bit stupefied, as I often do at this time of year (more on this later), particularly when it comes to forgetting words, so please bear with me. I have so many updates to write, and so many other things that I want to write about that I’m actually feeling a little bit overwhelmed, but I’ll take it one post at a time. Thank you so much to everyone who has emailed me and commented on this blog over the last year and a bit. It’s so nice to know that my blog has made some fellow social anxiety sufferers feel understood and less alone. Many of your comments/ emails have made my day, so thank you!

I did mean to write an update weeks ago, but a combination of work and coming down with some kind of viral illness got in the way. The doctor actually said that my symptoms (cycles of high body temperature followed by chills) meant that I had to have blood tests done for malaria, which (despite the fact that I didn’t visit a malarial area of Namibia, and didn’t visit during the malaria season) was quite disconcerting. I also had to take my own bloods all the way to the blood lab at the hospital, while I was feeling very unwell and flu-like, which wasn’t much fun. Thankfully (and as expected), it wasn’t malaria.

In other news, I’m still working away at my supermarket job. For the most part, I have felt much happier and less stressed since leaving university. I still don’t have a clue what I want to do with my life (and the fact that one of my course mates described the job market for biological sciences graduates as “a shambling corpse” doesn’t exactly provide much optimism), but I’m thinking that for now, I will just take a year or so to try and figure my life out, and hopefully save up money to do more travelling, while I’m still young and don’t have any major commitments. Perhaps I am burying my head in the sand a little bit with the career situation (and I have already had many people depress the hell out of me by telling me not to leave looking for a graduate job too late or I’ll be working at the supermarket forever/ they have X, Y and Z postgraduate qualification yet still work in an entry level job), but travelling is currently the only thing I know that I want to do. I know that it’s something that makes me feel happy and that has also helped my confidence, so I’m keen to do more of it if I can. I may do some voluntary work as well.

Daily Deals

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