Olol, I think my driving instructor is possibly getting sick of finding new ways of saying 'If you're all stressy, you drive a lot worse'. I know this. He knows this. It's just, controlling my anxiety hasn't EXACTLY been my forte in life so far, to which the 750-odd doses of Citalopram, multiple propranolols, months of CBT and Katie sitting sadfaced in front of yet another GP will all attest. Instructor doesn't officially 'know' about My Mental History, but that's because there's nothing I'd really want him to change in terms of how he's teaching me, so if I told him about it, it'd act as an excuse and nothing more, whereas say I wanted 'reasonable adjustment' at work, for example and by way of contrast, I'd feel more entitled to ask because if there's an easy way of changing how things are done to allow me to do something better, well, that's a better result for all concerned.
I just need to persuade my brain that driving's not scary, and I need to do this sooner rather than later, because I can see myself passing my test (honestly, this is a thing that could happen), then not being able to afford a car for years, and then when I can afford one, just never using it because I'll only remember the terrifying bits about driving, not the bits I'd done well. Which would be a daft waste of money. I've tried rewarding myself after the lesson with chips (cheesy). This makes me feel better afterwards, but doesn't really have an affect on how I do in my lesson or how I feel beforehand. The closest I've come is trying to logic it all out like it's riding a bike. My anxiety levels while riding a bike are virtually the same as those when I'm walking down the street – I'm just more aware of my surroundings. OK. But then I'm thinking 'O but I have more control over a bike because it cannot stall or do other stuff I don't understand, and even if the chain gets stuck or somesuch, I know what to do in order to stay safe and ideally, continue my journey, even if I can't quite repair a flat tyre although I have a vague idea of what needs to be done'. BUT. As I get more experienced with driving, I'll know what to do in more situations. Like, when I first started, giving way to oncoming traffic on narrow roads was terrifying because I wasn't that familiar with the procedure. BUT now it's basically fine. It just takes getting used to.
Now it's a case of translating all of this logic to 'not spending all of Monday terrified just because it contains a driving lesson'. Yes. My lesson wasn't too awful, I'm just a bit frustrated with myself for being scared all the time. We've moved on to dual carriageways (in this case, crossing them), and it's about 50% 'COOL I'M GOING REALLY FAST' and 50% 'SHRIEK' at the moment. Although it's only a couple of weeks since the first time I drove on one and actually, I can see I've made progress. Yes. OK. Sorry. None of the above is especially entertaining to read. but it's helped me order my thoughts a bit.

My pesky wisdom tooth has decided to ruin my weekend and much of the week, if things carry on this way. After this episode, I'm now motivated to go and register with a stupid dentist finally even if it is hard to find one that takes NHS patients. I've been trying cloves and a saline solution, which is helping a bit, but I can't really open my mouth, which means it's been giant smoothie for lunch and soup for dinner. I'm going to see if I can successfully post a waffle through my face later, though.

I've been studying Irish on Duolingo quite a bit lately. Note my use of studying rather than learning. I'd say I was 'learning' Swedish because I hope to achieve fluency within a reasonable timescale (although arguably if I keep distracting myself with other awesome languages, that timescale will increase), whereas with Irish, I'm just dipping my toes in, as it were, with no particular aspirations. It's interesting to compare it with Memrise, which I've used quite a bit in the past. I think the advantage with Memrise is that you have a bit more choice over what you get to learn – like in my Irish Duolingo course currently, I'm having to study 'clothes' even though I'd rather be learning the names of animals, just to progress to the next level. I also find that the whole 'mem' system of finding a ridiculous picture or phrase ('whore-burster' means I'll be sure to never forget the Swedish for hairbrush, for example) quite helpful. But then, Duolingo seems a bit less 'labour-intensive', meaning I do a little often rather than learning 200 new words over the weekend then forgetting them all a month later, as I did with Memrise. Also, the courses seem a little more well put-together. I did a few Memrise language courses that had no sound at all, and others with broken sound files, and others that were just incorrect. I think more people work on each individual Duolingo course, which is an advantage.

Anyway, I have rambled long enough. Allotment's going well. I'm learning more about gardening, like, ALL THE TIME, and it doesn't even feel like learning. It's great. Still haven't got my head around how often I need to rotate my potato crop, if at all, but I have till around March to work that out.

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