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    Dear anita,

    thank you for your response. I am glad that you liked my reply to the other member (hopefully it also helped them a bit).

    During the past year I learned a lot and understood some things better. My therapist helped me with understanding things a lot. This very black and white thinking, I also do it, even though I wanted to be a person with an open mind. My parents had kind of a black and white worldview.

    So I thought, because I made mistakes, that it is prove that I am a bad or toxic person. And then I kind of gathered evidence against myself, asking myself: am I bad because of this? And it drove me completely crazy. I did not trust in myself. And if others (seemingly) gave me weird looks, it was further proof that I am bad or not trustworthy.

    You are right, I am capable of being rational in my calm state. And it is good advice to wait when I am in a distressed state, until I become calm again.

    I am still wondering, how did I get into this extreme place of distress for many months with the K/dormitory situation? I think the root of the problem was thinking that I had no value and because of that, trying to please others and overstepping my own boundaries so that I then felt uncomfortable. Gladly, I know myself better now. And next time I meet someone, I will do things at my own pace and set boundaries. I very much hope that I will be able to do that in real life!

    However, I still feel sad about how things ended with K. He was not perfect, but I also played my part in it and surely I was not easy to deal with. I wish I could have handled it all more maturely. But I was going insane back then and maybe it was best to end contact, even if it was in a bad way. Only after getting away from this situation I was able to become calm again, become myself again. I hope that he is doing o.K.

    About not getting into hurtful relationships again: the key to this is staying true to myself and being authentic. Not trying to please others! Having some boundaries and standards. I think I have become a bit better at it already. Now I think: if they don’t like me, they are simply not for me. Now I feel a little bit more relaxed about it. And I know exactly what I want in a relationship. The most important thing for me is to get to know someone slowly. With K and the man in the dormitory, I never fully understood who they were as a person. And that lead to a lot of confusion and pain. I was not able to evaluate the situation because of this.

    Recently I have watched some youtube videos about setting boundaries and self respect by a youtuber called Breeny Lee.  Her speeches are very motivating and I agree with her on a lot of things. It has helped me.

    And about respect: I have to respect myself first, which I didn’t in the past. but I think I am at a better path now.


    Dear anita,

    yes it was weird that she broke her leg over such a simple thing. You know, it was all very crazy! The rescue service even sent a helicopter for her. Maybe because it was at the beach surrounded by a national park and forest.

    But seeing how adventurous my mother is, it was strange that it happened in this way. Two days before we had gone on a path that was not looked after, with ferns bigger than any of us growing all over the place. It was like in a jungle! You could have used a machete to get through…

    Or sometimes she climbs on trees or such things, even though she is over sixty. I have to say that I like my mother and we got along better recently. She seems to be much happier after she had therapy.

    I hope that your foot is fully healed again by now. But it seems so, as you are able to go for your walks again.

    It was all o.K. at my parents home. I cooked for them and cleaned a bit and I also had some time to spend in nature. My father was so nice to repair my Laptop (even though I will have to get a new one sooner than later, as this one is over 12 years or 14? old) and I am thankful of that. At the other hand I sometimes got easily stressed or annoyed by him. Because he just starts to talk to me when I was busy with my own thoughts or something else and about a topic I have no clue of. I kind of feel sorry for him as he seems to be a lonely person. He can be nice, but also difficult and very stubborn and not very open to new ideas.

    Now I am back and I want to focus on solving my own life problems again. Mainly my studies and work. I have to get back on track.

    When it comes to the men, these experiences with men harassing me mostly happened long ago, even before the man from the dormitory. Still, I like to be careful. Never again do I want to experience such hurtful relationships with men again. Sometimes I still think about it and get sad and upset. Recently, I also get angry when thinking about the man from the dormitory. The worst thing is that he thought he treated me so well and I took on the blame for everything. He was so insensitive and brash!He overstepped my boundaries again and again and I was blaming myself!

    At least now, with the man from the bench/morning walk situation, I did not feel guilty for saying no to him, like I would in the past. I can say no whenever I want an to whomever I want without having to apologize.

    Recently, I am becoming also more interested in feminist topics. People should all be treated equally and with respect, no matter of their gender. Some of the lines from the man from the dormitory echo in my head and make me so angry! And how entitled he felt!

    At some point though, I would like to find a partner. But it has to go very slowly and I do not want to rush myself ever again to please a man. Better to stay single than to be with a man who doesn’t respect you!!!



    Dear Ferilyn,

    often I also thought of myself as toxic. I do not like this stereotyping of people as toxic or “the bad guy” as you described yourself here. This is a very black and white world view, but humans are more complex. We all behave badly or “toxic” from time to time. But that does not mean we are bad or “toxic”.

    What is important here is that you were able to see what was wrong with your behaviour and you even went up to the person and apologized. The important thing now is to learn and grow from this and not make the same mistake again. But it is also inevitable in life, that you will sometimes mess up and make a mistake.

    Don’t be afraid to go out there and make new friends (I should take my own advice as well, haha). You have learnt more about yourself from this experience that you can apply to new relationships. Please have some compassion for yourself.


    Dear anita,

    yesterday I went back to the river and sat on the stone to write. It felt very relaxing to hear the sounds of the stream and write my thoughts down.

    I think I feel more calm being at the countryside. At the other hand, I also draw inspiration from the city.

    My mother broke her leg while trying to step over a windbreak at the beach. She must have stumbled somehow. Her foot was twisted in almost a 45° degree angle. Luckily my aunt was also there and she knew what to do. We called the emergency number 112 and my mother was brought to the hospital. Her foot was operated there. It will take some time to heal.

    About the men: there were some who only asked me for directions and I am always happy to help out, if I can. Others had made comments about my clothing or appearence and I did not say much to them at all.

    Then there were also two who wanted to talk to me. One I met when I was out on a morning walk. I had woken up too early about 4:45 or so and decided to go outside for a walk by the river. As it started to lightly rain I sat down at a bench under some trees. I was just looking at the water, concerned with my own thoughts. But I was feeling calm and even good.

    The man said to me “good morning” and I said “morning” back, but I didn’t take much notice of him, I was just in my own head. I did not think about him, just answered to be polite and continued to look at the water. He was standing closely for a few minutes, I thought he did some exercises or something and didn’t take much notice of him.

    Then he came to me and said “Can I sit down?” I replied: “There are more benches right there…” (I know I am a weirdo, haha) So he said: “Ah, so you are taken.” And I told him that I just wanted to go for a walk by myself and was not interested in a conversation. He continued to try to initiate the conversation and asked if I am studying here and that he only wanted to talk. But I continued to say that I wanted to be by myself. At the and he asked “And you also don’t like to go running?” And said “What a pity” and left.

    Maybe I should have given him a chance, I don’t know. I was just not expecting to be approached and I was completely lost in my own thoughts. Also, I hadn’t even combed my hair or taken a shower yet, kind of weird that he was so persistent. But maybe he was just lonely. I think he said something about just moving here, I don’t remember. I hope I was not too mean to him.

    If someone tries to talk to me out on the street I am very apprehensive. My first reaction is just: please leave me alone, I want to be by myself. I feel unshure about where this will go and I am not good at meeting new people. It is easier when somebody just asked for directions, because then everything is more clear: what they want from me and that they will not want to get to know me any better.

    There was also an old men who tried to talk to me. He said, commenting on the path where I was walking: “this path is much nicer, a softer underground”. I just politely smiled and said yes, it is a nice path, but I walked away quickly. He asked if I am coming from work and things like that. I politely answered but also quickly walked away.

    Maybe it could be nice to talk to a person from the neighbourhood, to just have a nice conversation, get to know another outlook on life. But I am not trusting people easily. It has happened to me that I was sitting on a bench reading and then an old man came by and asked if he can sit down, his legs are really hurting. I thought “poor old man” and let him sit. Then he said some things (I did not fully understand, because it was in Spain and at that time I wasn’t so good at speaking spanish), but he also touched my leg. I put away his hand and he did it again. Then someone came by and said to him “You found a new friend, huh” and they were laughing. I felt humiliated and went away, but I couldn’t go too far, because I had to pick someone up.

    Things like that have happened. Another man who touched my leg, after I had talked to him. Someone who just grabbed my butt when I was walking by at night. Men saying suggestive things. Meeting and engaging with people on the street doesn’t seem to be a good idea.

    Those two men I met didn’t seem bad in any way. The young man was even good looking, maybe a bit too persistent though. I just don’t know. My calmness was gone after meeting the young man. My singleness became very clear to me again, which I hadn’t thought so much before.

    But now, being at the countryside and spending more time in nature, I feel calmer again. In any case, I want to keep my mental stability and men seem like a threat to it.


    Dear anita,

    I just wanted to write to you and then I saw that you had posted yesterday. Thank you for asking, I am fine. And how are you doing?

    In June I visited my family, then I went back to my place. Later my mother came up north to the sea, so I went to meet her there. Sadly she has broken her leg while there. Because of that I am now at my parents place again. My father had planned to go to a work related seminar this week, so my mother asked me to come for help. Even though my father decided not to go, here I am.

    Today was a productive day and I am happy, because during the times I was at my place, I felt unproductive. This morning I went for a walk to the forest. It was such a beautiful morning. For a while I sat by a brook to write in my diary. Later I even saw a common kingfisher. Then, I saw a big stone in the middle of the river. I waded through the water to get there. Then I sat at the stone, letting my feet cool in the water. In moments like these, I feel the most alive and in tune with myself.

    Sometimes I think that I want to live at the countryside and even move back to the east again. The life in the city seems so stressful.

    After I came home, I cooked food for everyone. Then, I showed my brother how to clean the bathroom. I am happy that we get along so well and wish we could live closer together. Later I decided to clean the kitchen. And I was reminded that my mother is almost a hoarder. She keeps old wax from used candles or has a whole shelf of plastic bags… I was amused and poked a bit fun at her. The best thing was a box of old icecream sticks and toothpicks (used, I think). And I asked her: “What do you need that for?” She said she could use it to burn in a bonfire. I was laughing with her and she said when I asked about her things “You never know what you could use that for!”

    It feels good to get something done, but tommorrow I also want to get some drawings done…

    Yes, I was in a bit of a rut. At the moment I am also feeling a bit anxious. Lately different men approached me. But I did say no to all of them. But because of that, my loneliness became more clear to me and I was wishing to find a partner, yet unable to make a change. Also, I got some paranoid thoughts because of those men. And a second thing is that a woman from the last dormitory wrote to me. It increased my anxiety more. The fear that people think badly of me came back. I am so glad that I do not live there anymore. I am thankful for my current roommates, that accept me as I am.

    Hope you have a good Sunday!


    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 2 days ago by Lily.

    Dear anita,

    how are you? Now I am at my parents place. I did spend the last days mainly outdoors going for long walks with my mother or brother. It makes me feel a little bit calmer to be around people. Before, I was physically feeling the loneliness. But I do still feel lonely from time to time. Hopefully I can get back to work soon, so that my everyday life returns to a bit more normalcy.

    Regarding the previous post: the laundry was not destroyed, I probably used the wrong word or was a bit dramatic. I asked my roommate about it, it is all o.K. This is just not the best laundry machine I guess. Also, I took your words a bit too personally, I am sorry. It is prabably my biggest flaw. To always take things personally, to assume that others think badly of me, to feel guilty for everything. The fear of not being accepted or being disliked or blamed is immense!

    You quoted me: ““It is probably best to reduce my efforts in the community rooms”- I am not sure I understand what you mean by this. ”

    I just meant, better not go too crazy with the cleaning stuff. Better no experiments or aggressive cleanings. Better stick to the weekly plan and normal methods.

    When you said it’s good that I don’t make assumptions: I have to confess that I mainly repeated my therapists words, trying to remind myself. I myself still make assumptions, when overhearing  a snipped of a conversation or sometimes even just a laugh. The fear of “they are talking about me” or “they don’t like me” is very big and overwhelming.

    To cope, I am trying to fill my day with more useful tasks and I should also remind myself that I have a tendency t come to this kind of conclusions. I would like to become a person that is not judgemental and open minded and doesn’t make assumptions. Those things are very important values to me, but I am not there yet.

    Yes, I am looking forward to talking to my therapist again. Then I can ask again, to understand her better. For example, I could ask her about her (seemingly) angry facial expression. Then I could see if my impression was right or not (if she still remembers by then). Then I can understand things better.

    You are right, I am not seeing the people that I am talking to for who they are, when my fear of them being angry at me takes over. For good or bad. Hopefully I can overcome this sometime and just be me and let others be.





    Dear anita,

    how nice it must be to live in a forest! Hopefully some day I can also live closer to nature. At the moment I go for my walks on a small path by a brook and on a graveyard. There are also lots of trees and plants and it usually calm there. But today there were also a few people out, must be the weather.

    Regarding the laundry: I doubt that the detergent destroyed the machine. Firstly, there was already a problem with it before I moved in. Even though it was new, it was sometimes leaking. Secondly: on the internet it says that it not damaging and even less aggressive than normal detergent. I found a report from people using it for four years and they had no problems. The chestnuts get soaked in water overnight, then I use a filter to pour the water in. So no small pieces get in. Thirdly, I have not used this detergent in months (at least since January). I always forgot to soak the chestnuts in time, then I ended up using my normal detergent. So I only used it a number of times.

    However, I can understand that such experiments can seem weird to others. And that they could think that it is damaging. I am often doing things such as foraging herbs and mushrooms, using baking soda for cleaning and such things. It is probably best to reduce my efforts in the community rooms. If we fight over this, it would only cause me stress. Of course, I also do not want to destroy the community property with some experiment. So it will probably better to clean in a more common way and not overdo the cleaning efforts.

    So far, they have not said anything to me about the laundry. I only overheard a snippet of the conversation, when they were in the hallway next to my room. So I do not know anything about what happened, I also don’t know the context, so it shouldn’t be any of my business until they approach me.

    About thoughts: yes, I still worry way too much about other people’s thoughts or sometimes my own. I wish I can reach someday the point of not worrying about thoughts! And it is also o:k. to be weird or different. And actually I like doing these “weird” things, like foraging, wearing colorful clothes, listening to all kinds of music from around the world… And I want to do more of those things that interest me without shame (as long as they do no harm of course). I like those things, so I should embrace myself with my interests and feel proud of it.

    About my therapist: You are right, a therapist can also be wrong She is only human too. I am not sure if she is wrong or if I just misunderstood something though. the next time I see her, I will talk about that topic again and question her about what she meant.

    I also think that you and my therapist have different ways of thinking. She is using “positive psychology”. Her world view is very positive and she shows a lot of empathy for people. I am not sure if I am explaining this correctly. She seems very tolerant, has books from authors from different cultures in her room. But at the same time, she can also point out if somebody has behaved arrogantly towards me. Overall I respect her opinion and feel that she is able to help me. Most of the time I feel understood by her. She seems to really care.

    But one thing… sometimes the thought came up: I wonder if she ever experienced what it is like to be bullied or abused? I hope this doesn’t sound arrogant. Surely she will have her own hardships, but I don’t know, sometimes I wonder if she can really relate? Of course I don’t know anything about her life and it is more professional this way I think. I hope this doesn’t sound arrogant.

    Yesterday I told her about things that had irritated me during the past days. The paused contract, also the thing with my roommates. There was more I told her. The tap of the laundry broke recently. The landlords asked always to turn it back after washing. When I wanted to use it, it didn’t work, it couldn’t be closed anymore. I told my roommate about it, and she already knew. The other roommate had already told her. She said that I must have closed the tap too tightly, as she used the laundry machine after I used it. They did not accuse me or anything and even said that it could have happened to anyone. The tap is old and the janitor already did something to it before But still it bothered me a bit that it automatically was decided that I closed it too tightly. I have not done anything out of the ordinary to the tap, just used it.

    Then also my roommate seemed a bit too happy when I told that I will visit my parents for a week or more and she had already asked before if I will visit them soon. This worried me a bit if I was a bother.

    O.K., I will admit that worrying about such things is petty of me. While I told those things to my therapist, she made an angry face (at least I perceived it that way) and took notes. I guess that those things are why she thought I lacked empathy.

    I do not know if empathy is the right word. I can understand that my roommate is probably just happy to have more space for herself and that living closely can sometimes be difficult (like my therapist said).

    What I do wrong: I think about small things like this way too much. I often take things way too personally. Most likely others do not think so much about me. Maybe I could have more empathy for their situation. Maybe it is a bit self-centered of me to think that others worry so much about me.

    Maybe sometimes I have empathy, when somebody tells me about their life experience. And I have the strong wish to be there for and understand others.On other occasions I probably could have more empathy. For example the girl that ignored me. Maybe she just had a bad day and I should not take it personally.

    What I definitely should do less: trying to understand others motives by using my imagination. I sometimes have too much of it. If possible, I can ask them directly. Then I will be able to understand the situation better. Or if this is not possible, I should remind myself that I sometimes misinterpret situations and make a big problem out of nothing. Better then to somehow calm my thoughts down and distract myself.

    And like you said, sometimes people are just not empathetic. I should not ask perfection of myself.

    I will talk about this session with my therapist next time I see her, so I can understand better.

    Thank you for the time you took to read and respond. Sorry that it was so much today! I felt the urge to respond and clarify more.





    Dear anita,

    thanks. Overall I am reasonable, but my extreme self doubt sometimes clouds my thinking.

    Yesterday I went to therapy and it was a bit of a difficult session for me. I was talking about my fears that my roommate could think that I am weird. Because there was a problem with the laundry machine and I overheard my roommates saying something like “who knows what weird things Lily did with the machine.” She said so laughingly, not maliciously. Also, I do not know the full context and overall my roommate is a very friendly and mature person. But my fears of being weird and of maybe being difficult and a bother got activated again.

    I started to worry about what weird things I do. Once I made a laundry detergent out of chestnuts. But I doubt that the chestnuts could have damaged the machine because they only get soaked in water and then the filtered water is poured into the washing machine. But I thought about everything, am I cooking too much? Are the clothes I wear too weird? Etc, etc.

    My therapist then said when talking about my family that under such circumstances it was difficult to learn about empathy. Then I asked her if she thinks that am lacking empathy? And she said yes. I was so shocked and even asked twice. She said I have a hard time understanding people.

    Well, I can see her point. Often when I feel insecure, I get so worried about being rejected or about what I could have done wrong, that I am not capable of seeing clearly. I often assume that people will think badly of me.

    I am still a little shocked and confused though. Later she asked again, that I seemed a bit shocked when she said that and about what I would consider the definition of empathy. At that moment, I was a bit unclear and couldn’t give a proper definition. But she also said that she believes that I can be capable of empathy, but often my view of people is clouded and sometimes I don’t understand their motives (if I understood correctly).

    Also she said that in my relationship with K none of us had much empathy for the other. In my case she believed that I was interested in being empathetic, but in his case maybe not. She explained that it could be also because of different cultural background, not because he is in any way a bad person (but in the past she also said that he behaved egoistical and probably wanted to control me). In the west it is more important to look inwards, while other cultures have different values.This also got me thinking again, because the memory of this relationship still stings and I still think of him at times and don’t understand everything that happened. But o.K. at least I learned something from that experience and want to handle things differently next time.

    Anyways, the empathy thing was so shocking, because I believed that I was empathetic. And I think that I am capable of feeling for others and listening to them. And I can often see different sides to the problem, I can see the good in people and I can also be empathetic when someone doesn’t behave perfectly. And I want the best for others and not to hurt them (at least that is my intention).

    But I guess as soon as I feel self doubt, I misunderstand a lot of things. I assume that people dislike me, that nobody can love me and that they will reject me.

    The therapy session was very emotional. At the end my therapist seemed like she almost started to cry and said that I am a wonderful person. She also said that she wanted to give me hope and that I had already made progress.

    My feelings about all that are confusing. A bit of sadness, disappointment in myself and doubts. A bit of wanting to ask my therapist more about it. A bit of thinking: but no, I AM empathetic. But I guess it is better to learn, self-reflect and understand myself better.

    In other news, my contract got paused for another month. As the company offers classes for grown ups, the reopening will likely be slow. It was disappointing, especially because they first said that I could possibly come back to work soon.

    They also sent only a quick Email, instead of calling. It was more formal than before. But that was probably my bad, because last time I sent back the signed pause-contract one month later, so yes, they probably felt that I did not take them seriously and that’s why. Yes, my bad. This time I sent it back more quickly. Sigh. It makes me feel uncomfortable.

    At the same time I felt a bit angry. They probably meant well when they told me that I can come back soon, but still…

    I have looked out for other jobs and found one I want to apply to. Today I want to start writing it. Who knows how long all of this will last. Who knows if they maybe will release me in the end. And the old job at the reception of the company is not perfectly suited for me: it is very stressful, with lots of people calling, people coming and asking questions, while you are still at the same time have to do other office work. I am not the best suited for contact with lots of people, answering lots of questions. Often I was very insecure. It was a good training and I have learned a lot, but it also was very stressful. It gives a lot of opportunity for making mistakes and worrying and feeling guilty.

    Well, maybe I will get the job back. There are positives too. The payment is well enough, the people that work there are decent and in the end of the day good people and I felt accepted. But it will not be a bad idea to look out for other options. It will make me feel better and more in control of my own life. Less dependent on the fate of the company.

    I will only look for jobs that either are paid well enough or give me an opportunity to learn new things.

    Also, I will visit my family for a week or two. Now I have the time and it will be a good thing to get away for a while and to have more human contact. I can also write applications and paint at my parents house. And I can go for walks to the forest and cook for my family. Maybe I will make a very fancy strawberry gateau or torte…

    There I will also have the opportunity to connect to nature. You are right, it will give me a break from overthinking. I need to integrate such activities that give me a deeper connection with myself into my everyday life. Dancing, nature walks, cooking and such things. Today I plan also to go for a walk. Are you also going on a walk today?


    Dear anita,

    thanks for your input. It is true that I can be very perfectionist. At the moment I have a lot of self doubt, feeling left behind in life. I get unhappy with myself, because I see others working so hard and then I don’t get anything done for several days. I want to grow up, take responsibility for my life and be mature. But I am working on improving, I should not forget that. The results can not come overnight.

    In the past year, I went to a helpful therapist and learned more about myself and understood myself better. I also worked more and became more financially stable. And I did not give up, when it was not easy at work with the new tasks and I was feeling overwhelmed. Now I am trying to work on my routine and getting a bit better at it. I am already working on it, so I should not beat myself up. Have more compassion with myself.

    The internet is a problem for me though. I get easily distracted by it, a habit that I have cultivated over years. The problem is, if I start with one hour, it will easily turn into five or more hours. So therefore I need some rules for it. Maybe I could limit the use of the websites that offer the main distraction for me. Not to visit them except in the evening, for one hour or so. Maybe that will work. Maybe that is less rigid.

    About my friend: you are right. She is smart enough to make her own decisions, she is also confident and a strong person. I need to let go. She seems to be doing o.K. She has her boyfriend, a job, her family and lots of friends and acquaintances. Maybe some distance can even be good.

    At the same time, I am also feeling a bit sad. “She does not need me”, this thought comes up. But I guess she is just very very  busy. At least I know that she is o.K.

    I think I should focus on working on myself, my studies, my routine and such. Maybe there will be a time, where I will not have so much time for these things. I am o.K.

    My afternoon on Sunday was nice by the way. I went out for a long walk. Suddenly it started to rain. There was hail and it was thundering. It was a bit scary, but I also felt alive. Then the sun came out while raining, it looked so beautiful.The world seemed as if it was newborn. There was steam coming from the ground and there was this earthy smell. I am glad to feel so connected to nature.

    Well, I hope you are well. Take care!




    Dear anita,

    how are you?

    The past week was mixed for me. Some days I  was able to follow a routine. At 7:00 am I would wake up, then do Yoga (only 10-30 minutes), then draw for a bit, prepare lunch/eat lunch, draw some more, then go for a walk and journal while outside, sitting on a bench. I thought that I had finally figured it out, but then there were some days again when I didn’t get much done.

    Today I also got up (a bit after 7:00 am), did Yoga for 20 minutes, cleaned the flat, showered, cooked lunch. Now in the afternoon I want to draw more. Maybe go for a walk again later. So far, it was not too bad, even though I still got distracted by the internet.

    Often I feel like I don’t get enough done, that I should be more productive. I feel sometimes so useless, worse now that I don’t work.

    At least I have improved a bit, did Yoga, journaled, drew regularly for a few days. I am now almost finished with an old project that I started years ago. So I am learning and getting better. I am trying to tell myself that it is o.K. and that it is good enough to make an o.K. use of my time.

    It could still be worse. But I really want to overcome getting easily distracted by the internet. My therapist and I talked about it repeatedly, but it is hard to stick to the things discussed. For example, I should not look at my phone in the morning.Today I even woke up before 7:00 am,but then looking at the phone made me postpone the start of the day. What a bad start! I do not want that to happen again… So some rules I want to keep, that I also discussed with my therapist:

    1) Not look at the phone in the morning

    2) No internet while eating (Magazines are still allowed)

    3) No internet before noon

    Maybe writing this down here will help. So far, I wasn’t doing so good. But I have to try again.

    By the way the life admin day (LAD was supposed to mean life admin day) went well. I did almost all the things on my list, except writing a thank you note for my mentor. Maybe I should set another date for that.

    About my mother: thinking about telling her that is pretty scary. I have not talked about it with her yet. My therapist said, that this would be a good occasion to practice telling people how I feel. But I also feel like my response to her was an o.K. solution. I thanked for her kind words, but didn’t say “I love you” in my message.

    Well, I am still running away from communicating openly. Why is it such a horror for me? Why do I have so much resistance? I have a very hard time telling others my uncomfortable feelings.

    Yet, I would prefer that others would communicate openly with me. It really seems that most people don’t do it.Even my tough colleague couldn’t tell my other colleague that she was not satisfied before talking to management.

    Maybe the world would be a better place, if people talked about their problems directly. But so far, I was not strong enough to do that too often.

    About my friend: she is indeed very busy. She wants to save money now and work full time, so she can work less next semester. At one hand I admire her hard work, on the other only hearing about it makes me feel stressed. Sometimes I get the feeling that she wants to do all at once. She works six days a week now, more than 40 hours per week I think. I worry a bit, hopefully she will take care of her health. But she knows best what she wants.

    I don’t know, if I should call her or reach out to her until she comes to me again (at the moment, I called about once a week)? One thing, I do not want to add to her stress, and on the other hand, I feel weird being always the one who calls first. And then I always get the feeling that I say the wrong things, maybe I am not supportive enough. To be honest, once it happened that she talked about herself and then I changed the subject to me, which I realized later and regretted. Maybe I am thinking way too much about all of this? Or maybe I am not a good friend? I have worried about this a lot lately. Hopefully I will be able to work again soon too, so I will have more distraction.

    I guess I am feeling lonely, but I should focus on the positive things. This week I even went to the river beach. It was a very nice day. I brought some potato salad I had made one day before, an apple and an egg. Then I sat down at the beach, ate my food and journaled for a while. And I watched the people around me. There were a lot of families, children climbing on a tree nearby and playing with the sand. Later I walked back on the shore and collected some river shells. It was a bit like a mini-holiday.

    It was a very nice and sunny day. Today it is raining again (but it’s good for the plants). I should be thankful to be safe and that I will be able to spend time drawing today.

    I hope you are well as well! You said you live close to Canada, somehow I imagined you living in California. Is it slowly becoming summer too where you live? Here I can hear the swallows now more often, so summer can’t be far.

    Have a nice day!



    Dear Ravi,

    thank you for your tips. I think there a re a lot of self help books out there, I only have to decide where to start. As for video, I am already watching youtubers like lavendaire who talk about personal development. I am also in therapy and I think I am on a good path now.

    Thanks for your concern! Have a good day and take care!


    Dear anita,

    hopefully I am making progress, at least I am understanding things better now. Last year was too hurtful. Now I only have to put everything into practice.

    I still have to work on forgiving myself. Negative thoughts and regrets do still come up at times.

    But today I feel pretty much o.K. My boss called and said that I could probably come back to work in about two weeks. That makes me feel hopeful that things will become more normal again soon.

    But I think I have also used this free time pretty o.K. I have made progress on my project and want to finish my illustrations for it until I start to work again. Also, I have worked on my routine and feel like I am finally making some progress there. Today for example I got up at 7, did some Yoga (20 minutes), drew and then went for a walk and also journaled while sitting on a park bench. I feel satisfied with myself.

    Also, I have learnt a bit about herbs, like I had planned and tried out some new recipes. On Sunday I made the bread which turned out delicious (thinking now about making bread once every week). Also, I made fish on a bed of nettles, which also tasted very well, much better than the nettle soup I made some time ago (that one already looked strange, like some sort of green slime :/ but the taste was still o.K.).

    Now I also have the idea to draw one plant I find or see each day and then make notes about its uses, so I can learn slowly more and more! I bought a new sketchbook for this.

    So I am satisfied with how I used this time without work, even though I was not always productive. I did o.k.

    You are right that I do not have to read every article that a stranger suggests. This one was helpful though and made it clearer for me what I wanted to change in myself. It was good for self-reflection. But sometimes I am still too accommodating. At least I am becoming more and more aware of that. In the past I wasn’t at all and I am still in the habit of trying to please others.

    When it comes to the replying – I think sometimes I do not want to reply immediately and then I forget. Or I want to make a very good reply and then procrastinate. Maybe sometimes I also don’t know what to say or just have a lot of other things going on.

    Last week for example my mother wrote a text message. She wrote what a wonderful and talented person I am and also signed with “I love you”. In this example I did not really know how to reply. Our relationship in the past was not that close, there were no hugs or “I love you”, really. More that my parents did not understand me, I can remember more criticism and not being accepted and feeling like I was a bad, spoiled child. Now I think that my mother was probably depressed and unable to handle being a parent.

    A few years ago, after she had gone to therapy, she started saying “I love you” on the phone and hugging. I say it back but I always feel a little awkward and uneasy. And this text message also made me feel uneasy and overwhelmed. How to reply back? Should I now say also positive things about her back? Do I have to write “I love you” when it feels somewhat unnatural to me?

    I can see positive things about my mother. I am proud of her that she went to therapy and faced her problems. She genuinely seems happier now. She has a lot of friends and hobbies and can also can stand up to my father better. She is a loving person, very active and what I also like is that she is quite adventurous (last year on her holidays she wanted to sleep at the beach, she climbs trees, goes swimming naked in the ocean and all while being over sixty years old). She has hobbies like gardening or singing in the choir and likes to spend time in nature. But I have a hard time writing positive things like this to her, it makes me feel awkward… I think it is not easy for me to express my emotions but with my mother I just don’t feel this close at the same time.

    In the end I just wrote a short message, similar to what you suggested. I said thank you for your kind words and talked about what I had done in the past days and said we can talk on the phone soon. She replied at 3 am the same day, which worried me a bit. But the next day we talked on the phone which went well.

    Tomorrow is my LAD. Did you pick a day for yourself too? If you like you can share about it here.

    My goals for tomorrow are:

    1) Go to the doctor to get a prescription for medication

    2) Clear out that drawer where I put all sorts of letters, papers and things that I don’t know what to do with.

    3) Write a thank you note to my former mentor

    4) Call about two online purchases that I returned and haven’t received my money back

    5) One of my roommates is going to move out soon to move in with her partner. Next weekend me and the other roommate want to discuss what to write in our online advertisement in search for a roommate. I want to prepare for that.

    Those are the most important things for now and I can report later on how it went.

    About my friend: we talked on Sunday. This time she called as she promised. It seems she really works a lot at the moment. She even told me that one day she fell asleep while undressing, she must have been so tired! Sometimes I worry about her, because she works so much and also spends a lot of time helping her mother and others. I think I need to be compassionate with her and I want to be supportive and a good friend. Sometimes I also talked a lot about my problems and I hope it was not too much. In the future I want to be more mindful and present when I spend time with her. Hopefully we can stay in contact, even though life is so busy and she has met new people.

    About the climate: it has become colder now again and a bit rainy. You live in the US, right? I live in northern Germany. The place I live in is known for its bad weather (lots of rain), but during the last three or so years, the summers were warmer and sunnier. Climate change I guess.

    Okay, this has become very long! Hope you are well, thanks for your in depth reply. Take care!


    • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by Lily.

    Dear anita,

    it is also very nice weather here and everything is in bloom! I can even hear swallows already, so summer is not far away! During my walks this week I also saw a lot of birds nesting and baby wild geese and ducks. I always take my time to observe nature and smell the flowers (the lilac is blooming right now and I love the smell of it). Maybe tomorrow or so I also want to bake bread with fresh herbs in it.

    About being socially responsible, I am not always. Sometimes I did not reply in months, especially if the person lived farther away and we were not that close. Then I would feel bad about myself and lost a friend. So I want to improve myself and not do that again.

    My sister has a social worker that helps her and he gave her the idea that she could collect all her letters and documents over the week and then have a set day where she goes through them. It sounds like a very good idea to me, and I could use the same tactic and also when it comes to answering letters or mails. This reminds me, I like to watch the youtuber muchelleb, who talks a lot about self-improvement and organizing your life. She has a “life admin day”, where she does all the little things that pile up. That would also a good idea for me. Maybe next Thursday will be a good day to have a life admin day (I am telling you to make myself accountable).

    The second thing about that is, I need to know better what I want and communicate it. Now I am more aware of my feelings. Best to first check with myself, how I feel and if I actually have the time before saying yes to somebody. Then I can be more true to myself and also be more socially responsible and keep my promises. Then I will feel so much better about myself!

    In the past week I was thinking more about this topic and it seems more clear to me now. This was probably were most of my problems came from: not telling what I want or how I feel, trying to please others without paying attention to my own feelings. So at least in theory, I see this more clearly. Next step will be to practice it.

    That brings me to my friend. The next time she does this again, I will say something asking in a gentle way, like you suggested. But she has already told me before that she is bad at replying. I asked if it is o.K. if I call her then and she said that she is happy if I call her. So at least she doesn’t seem to have a problem with me, it is just that this is the way she is and I also know she is busy (this calmed me a bit). I just wish to have more regular contact with her. Before the pandemic I suggested to her that we could go to a class at the gym once a week and she said yes. Sadly this is not possible at the moment.

    Since she met her boyfriend and a lot of new friends through him, we have less contact. Mainly I am sad about this, after all she was the one who called me her best friend and said she loved me. Now I feel a bit forgotten. The best thing would be to talk about it with her. I also do not want to be too demanding, but I still want to stay in contact.

    Now  think I will go for a walk, it is such a sunny day today (it was a bit too sunny during the last weeks, not enough rain for the plants). Later I plan to draw for my project. Hope you are having a good day and a nice weekend!


    Dear Ravi,

    maybe the article triggered me a little bit, because I fear that I am not always authentic or true to myself. I want very much to be honest and kind to people. Those values are important to me. But sometimes I was a bit too polite and not that honest.

    When someone mistreated me once, I still wanted to resolve the issue amicably, I still wanted to be polite. Now I think, if someone treats you this bad, it’s time to throw politeness out of the window!

    Or with this one friend, I wanted some space for myself, she was so demanding! Also her words to me were sometimes pointy. I grew more and more angry at her over time. It would have been better if I had discussed my feelings with her openly, and told her that I was feeling hurt and angry. Instead I wanted to be nice and this perfect person and ignored my own feelings. Then I let the relationship fade away slowly by not initiating contact. I still feel unhappy about this.

    I do not want this to happen ever again! I want to be true to myself, not be overly polite (although I value politeness in everyday situations, no need to be disrespectful to anyone!). It is best for me and the other person.

    Sometimes I still am angry at myself for how I handled those things in the past, feeling guilty for not being consequent enough and for not telling others what I want. But I was very confused myself and barely knew myself what I wanted… I somehow have to forgive myself.

    Well, what I wanted to say, because of these things, I think some of the words from the article hit me (sorry I wrote down so many details, but it helps me to understand myself better). Because the things discussed there hit too close to home (I think this is the saying, right?). So for this reason, it was probably important for me to read the article.

    You wrote: “we think that saying “no” to someone means we are being unkind but that is not the case”. That is true and I want to work on that, being kind to myself and to others.

    Thank you also for the website suggestion. I took a quick look at it and will check it out more later!




    Dear anita,

    yes, going for walks is very calming and helpful. I can always feel the positive effects when I do that and the negative ones, when I skip it. I really like it to observe nature. As I had more time for walks recently, I was really able to watch how spring unfolds and which herbs start to grow one after another. Is it also spring where you live?

    Thanks for your support and your part in my process of seeing things clearer and becoming less confused. I think I still have to work on accepting that these negative believes about myself will be there for some time. And yes, I should remind myself that they are not true.

    When it comes to relationships, I hope that I will find my middle way. At least, I have understood better by now, which behaviours and beliefs about relationships are not helpful at all. I still have trouble implementing those new insights and to overcome old habits, but at least I am seeing clearer and clearer.

    I still have a lot of trouble telling people when something bothers me. For example, I discussed with my therapist that I should tell my best friend that it upsets me when she says that she will call me on a certain day or later, when she won’t (it happened multiple times now). Better if she didn’t make the promise then (I can understand that she is very busy). But when she called me last Monday, I was so happy, that I didn’t bring it up and it also didn’t bother me so much anymore. But it would have been a learning opportunity for me and it is a bit worrying that I can’t even tell a close friend something like this. When I think about it now, I don’t feel much like telling her. There is fear to be too critical and I do not want to put her down or anything.

    But on the other hand, it has happened before that I didn’t tell a friend when her behaviour upset me or when I just needed more time for myself. Then I grew more and more angry at her, until I couldn’t take it anymore and in the end I let the friendship fade out. But o.K., this person was also very different from my best friend. She was very demanding and sometimes told things I privately expressed to her to strangers or other friends. Still, I was unhappy with myself for not confronting her.

    But o.K. Overall I am doing o.K. during the past days. I am working on old projects and coming closer to finishing them finally. It goes slowly, but at least I am making some progress. I hope you are doing well and I wish you a good weekend!

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