Some Splainin’ To Do – Part 1 (mid 2015 to mid 2016)

Hi.

It’s been a while since I wrote anything on this blog. It’s been closer to a year and a half, hasn’t it? My inaction is quite shameful, but I do have some excuses for that.

It should be noted that I have decided on two things here: 1) I will not include any pictures here due to none of them feeling relevant; 2) The amount of explaining that I am going to be doing is so lengthy that it has to be split into two separate parts. The first part (this one) will concern my first university year. The second one will be about everything from there on until the current day.

With all that out of the way, assuming you haven’t been scared off by the threat of a lengthy post, let’s get to it.

Autumn 2015

First of all, I moved to Joensuu prior to starting at the university. I had a month to myself, so I began exploring my surroundings and picked up cooking again, for the first time since I lived in Dublin. I also got into Ingress (the game that a lot of Pokemon GO’s tech comes from) which lead me to find new paths and places to explore.

A few weeks in, I was bicycling in the woods, going down a hill, when I suddenly panicked and pulled both of my breaks simultaneously and hit a large rock. This sent me flying in the air with my bike in a sommersault-like movement. My unprotected head barely scraped the ground, leaving a small mark on my forehead, before I fell flat on my back with one of my legs on top of the bike, while the other was stuck between its metal bars. It hurt for a little bit so I didn’t think much of it after I checked that my bike still worked well enough to go home. The injury to my right leg got worse due to me ignoring it for the first few days like an idiot, but even after a visit to the doctor, I was told that nothing could be done. So I suffered with it for about three weeks before it got relatively normal again.

While I was still recovering from my injury, I began my studies at the University of Eastern Finland (UEF). I spent a lot of time getting used to my new environment, meeting new people, making friends, wasting time that could have been used for actually studying, etc. You know, the usual freshman things. So I attended quite a few parties, slowly realising that I am far more extroverted than introverted (something on which I wrote in my previous blog entry) than I had led myself to believe. The studying itself felt quite easy thanks to the way the university eases you into the rhythm and workloads. What surprised me was that even people with a background for studying harder still had some issues getting used to the way things work. Everything went quite smoothly, without incident, but I got back into my usual habit of delaying things until the last few days, if not even hours, before even thinking about school work. This led to my inevitable downfall.

Winter (2015 side)

Winter semester continued quite similarly to the previous one; socialising and slacking off continued. Eventually the end of the semester started approaching with its numerous tests and deadlines, due to which I started getting incredibly stressed and anxious; my delaying tactics and new need to spend as much time in human company had come back to bite me in the ass. I, of course, blame no one but myself for my poor time management skills and lack of restraint. I eventually had a mental breakdown of sorts, started getting absurd mood swings at the drop of a hat, and started fearing that I would start destroying my newly formed friendships as I would lash out. It was a difficult time due to needing my friends for stability while simultaneously fearing that I would push myself away from them should I get in the wrong mood. But I made through it despite my anxieties and obnoxious perfectionist tendencies –  I passed my courses with the exception of one (even today) needing some final course work to be sent over and another course I just pushed further in to the future to give myself some space. I was exhausted as I went home for the holidays, but no matter how much I enjoyed my time out of university and no matter how much I tried to relax, my anxieties never subsided.

Winter (2016 side)

The new year rolled in and my short Christmas vacation came to an end. The first week back at the university was cut a day shorter, however, due to my grandparents having a fairly significant anniversary party that I wanted to participate in and help with. So I went there, helped, became a cougar magnet – don’t even ask – and enjoyed my time; not all that much happened in there. I returned back to Joensuu to get back to my studies.

My second week is where things started getting worse. The Monday and Tuesday were uneventful, but on Wednesday evening, when I was leaving my Japanese class at a brisk walking pace, I hit my leg onto the side of table, a bit above the knee. The pain was brief, so I just decided to just ignore it. I also decided to actually walk home instead of taking the bus due to me being a masochist and enjoying the feeling of snow lashing at my face. Really though, I just wanted to enjoy the weather and take my time. The walk was painless and I felt accomplished due to the relatively fast pace I managed to keep despite the weather. The pain came back to haunt me later in the evening, but I just brushed it off again.

The following day the leg was a lot more sore, but I still didn’t pay any mind to it. I went through my classes but the pain kept ramping up; I was starting to have to limp a little bit. I was told to go get it checked, but I, like the idiot that I am, decided against it. So I eventually just went home at the end of the day, still ignoring the leg.

It was on that Friday that the pain kept getting even worse. It got so bad that I could not ignore it, and I finally decided to take up my friend’s advise and visit the nurse’s office. I went in there and after I asked for advice, they told me to go to a health centre. Annoyed at the time wasted, I limped off to the bus stop to go to the closest centre. After I got off the bus at the health centre, I felt a huge spike of pain in my injured leg as I hopped off the bus onto my healthy leg. I decided to be a lot more careful and started walking slower. I got into the centre and once again started waiting for my turn. I got called in, but, once again, I was told that nothing could be done for me and that I would have to go to the main hospital due to it being too late. In my frustration I decided to forgo getting my leg checked up and went home with my pains – another foolish mistake.

Saturday came in and the pain was still getting worse. Even though the day prior I had decided not to go to the hospital, I still chose to look up bus schedules and routes. I took the earliest one I could make it to after I woke up. Just sitting in the bus was agony; I felt every little bump in the road and I had to keep my leg as straight as I could. After I carefully got off the small bus in the city centre area, I limped about a kilometre uphill before I found myself at the reception. I checked in and a foreign doctor (of Russian descent) – I mention this because there seemed to be some issues with getting my message across – inspected my leg. She told me that nothing could be done, but she did prescribe painkillers for me – painkillers that I could get on Monday at the earliest because I didn’t think things through (due to being blinded by pain) and visit a pharmacy in the city centre. I returned home and bided my time.

I was too much in pain on Monday to even consider going to the classes, I could barely even move. It took all my strength just to drag myself through the process of going to the pharmacy some hundred to two hundred metres away and back. It also took me about fifteen minutes to drag myself each way. After having gotten my medication, I got back onto my bed and assessed the situation. My leg had swollen to twice its size and I could not bend it more than a centimetre or so without experiencing excruciating pain. It had gotten this bad because I had not applied any first aid. You would think that I would’ve learned from my previous injury, but no. Of course not. The pain, or rather the fear of it, stopped me from leaving the house for the next two weeks. I also could not get any studying done due to the pain being constantly present, which lead to depression and making my anxieties about studies worse. Thankfully I had friends who offered to help me buy my groceries while I could not leave the house. So at least I didn’t starve.

On the third week the pain had subsided enough for me to start practising normal walking again. I had slowly tested the limits of my leg and trained it during my confinement, so I could bend the knee enough to attempt steps. I couldn’t hold weight on the leg and I had to stop every few hundred metres to take a break or risk fainting and falling over, but I still kept at it to regain my lost strength. On the fourth week I was confident enough to go back to the university.

After three weeks of being absent, I had a lot of catching up to do. One of my lecturers even suggested that I should take one of his courses the following year instead due to having missed so much already, but I managed to talk him into allowing for me to continue in exchange for extra course work. So. There was catching up to do.

Spring 2016

Recovery was slow when it came to my injury, but I was able to put more weight onto my leg and pick up the pace again after weeks of persistence. I was also able to catch up with my studies, but it didn’t do much to help with my stress.

Things moved along quite uneventfully, even when the exams eventually started pushing themselves in. I had decided, however, that I would have to skip on returning a bunch of my course work in order to maintain my sanity, and so they remain unreturned to this day – this is something that I would like to rectify as soon as I return to the university. I also decided to skip one of the exams due to feeling unprepared for it, so I’ve got some more planning to do once I’m ready to return.

At some point earlier in during the spring or possibly late winter, I had been given an appointment with the university doctor or nurse or whoever. After the exams had been over with, towards the final days of the semester, the appointment arrived. Nothing substantial was really noticed in there by the doctor, but I had noticed that despite my stomach having started to stick out a lot, I had not gained weight; I had lost some instead. This was odd to me, and it was amusingly enough pointed out to me later again by my younger sister when she said that I looked like I was pregnant when I had my shirt tucked in. I did not pay too much mind to any of it at the time and just decided to relax, enjoy the summer vacation after my family came to visit me and pick me up soon after the final day of the semester.

Conclusion

So there you have the first part of my story. In essence, I was busy with getting used to a new environment and a new way of life while still managing to be awfully lazy, which then lead me to an ongoing spiral of stress that kept bothering me and tiring me out until the end of the university year. Said stress has also forced me with extra course work and whole courses and exams to retake to avoid burning myself out. I also managed to fail learning from my mistakes multiple times which just made things, both mental and physical, worse.

Stay tuned for the following post which will detail the events leading from the early summer of 2016 to the current day – some day in January 2017 (I’m not sure which day the next part will be published.) Some of you are already quite well up-to-date when it comes to that part, but I think that I should still gather all the events together – if for no one else, then for myself.

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