This is such a rambling post, please be warned now.
I guess you could say that this post is a little bit sad, a little bit enlightening too though, hopefully. I want to talk about how I learned to enjoy my own company and how you can do the same. I'm very big on the idea that you don't constantly need people around you to make you feel happier and that with time, you can teach yourself to enjoy the independence that at one point felt so incredibly isolating.

So, let's go back to nearly three years ago now. Year 11 Lauryn who did have a group of friends, did socialise more and on the surface, probably seemed a lot happier than she does to people who have known her for less time. However, the truth is that at this point, I felt as though I was going to explode. I knew that the school I was in wasn't right for me and I knew the company that I had wasn't right either and that had to change. So, I began what I knew would be two years of not so much smiling, a lot of issues but hopefully, beneficial in the end. It was a massive risk for me but luckily, a couple of years later, I'm better off for it. As everyone knows, I moved to sixth form at a different school on the other side of Plymouth and essentially cut myself off from most people I knew before in hope that I would understand more about what I wanted and needed from life if I learned to enjoy my own company. 

This all stemmed from my autism diagnosis and the general anxiety that I face in day to day life. As someone who has always had difficulty making friends, many people questioned why I would want to move somewhere where I knew nobody. I'm not saying that I didn't make any friends during sixth form because I did make a couple but for the majority of the time, I was alone. This gave me a large amount of time to figure out what exactly it is that I'm doing with my life and how I was going to cope. The thing is that this wasn't even like what I was going to do as a career or the interests that I would take up during university, this was working out how I was going to cope with my brain the way it is. 

I've learned a lot the past couple of years about myself and what I can and can't cope with, most people say that a disorder doesn't define you which is true but you can't pretend that it's not there. I had to deal with this in the most forward way that I could so that now, at university, I have a better idea of who I am, how I communicate and what support I need to help me with my day to day life. I know that if I didn't step out of my comfort zone a couple of years ago then there would be no way that I could handle uni life. Right now, I'm proud to say that I'm able to talk to people. Not full on conversations just yet but I'm getting there and it's refreshing to see that after such a hard couple of years, I feel comfortable enough. 

The most important thing about enjoying your own company is not seeing it as lonely but simply being alone. Society has put the idea of being alone in some sort of taboo box which is forbidden else you deserve the label of "loser" of "freak". This isn't the case. Being by yourself allows you time to reflect on life whereas sometimes you'll find that constantly being with people doesn't give you a chance to let out some emotion and reveal parts of your identity that perhaps you haven't even discovered. 

I'm not saying that I went on some sort of journey of self discovery because not only does that sound horribly cliche but it's also not true. The way I see it is that it's vital to take some time out of the day for yourself, no matter how "busy" your day may seem, nothing is more important than feeling ok in your mind. Actually, it's not even about feeling ok because sometimes, you're not going to feel ok and that is ok and completely normal. There's too much pressure built up around constantly feeling ok but the truth is, you're not going to constantly feel fine. We are only human and as humans, emotions will vary but knowing how to deal with these emotions is what really gets you somewhere. Just got to do what makes you feel better, really. 

I feel like at this point it's a good time to talk about plans with friends and how these might impact your day to day life. Most of the time, meeting friends is a good thing. It's an enjoyable experience, right? Well, anyone who knows me will know that I'm the worst at sticking to plans like I'll be really looking forward to an event and then all of a sudden a switch will go off in my mind and it's just a massive "nope" then I have to cancel. I used to get really annoyed at myself for it because I don't socialise enough as it is so to cancel the only plans I do have probably isn't the greatest idea but after time, I learned that this is ok. If I suddenly do not want to go out of the house on that day, how is going out anyway going to help me at all? That's another thing about me, I will not be forced into doing something. See what I mean? So many discoveries about my mind. 

Now, I'm not suggesting that anyone does what I did and take two years to essentially remove yourself from the social sphere. HOWEVER, I'm reminding you all that it's ok to take time for yourself, to enjoy your own company and become aware of what you need as a person. I think I can finally say that I'm happy enough with my own mind and I'm glad that I'm making friends.