Depression is my routine

Depression is my routine,
anxiety is my regime;
I don’t know how to break it
when I can no longer remember
the happiness I used to feel,
because now I only know
how to put up a shield
so you’ll see a smile
but that’ll be the mask,
not the reality.

How To Be A Person (Not)

It’s hard living with autism on top of mental health problems. They all work against you in every possible way. My autism leaves me without a filter on what I say, so I often blurt out exactly what I’m thinking. My anxiety then comes in and tells me that, because of this lack of filter, everyone must hate me because I say all the wrong things. Then, depression calls out and tells me that I should stop leaving the house because nothing works out. It’s really hard to get the motivation to leave the house because I have the trio of anxiety, depression and autism that want me to stay inside forever. It takes all of my energy to leave the house.

After I leave the house, I am put out into the unpredictable world. Things happen that can affect my autism because it wasn’t as I expected my day to go. I’m put into social situations that make me question why I can’t just be more like non-autistic people, because I will say stupid things over and over again. It’s really hard to not say stupid things, or at least things I think are stupid. I guess this is why I’ve always struggled with friendship. Most people don’t like me. I maybe have one or two friends but, then again, anxiety will tell me that they don’t really like me. How could anyone like me?

It’s easy to tell if a dog or cat likes me. They’re very easy to read. People, however, are more difficult as they aren’t always honest and I can’t tell if they truly like me or not. Also, being around people exhausts me. I tend to nap in the afternoons to deal with this. I am not like other people. The name of my blog is derived from the fact that I relate more to pandas than people. I struggle to relate to most people. I guess I think life would be easier if I weren’t a person.

I also find it hard to think about my future. I can see other people’s futures; I get quite happy when I think about their plans, but when I think about my own future, I can’t see a lot happening. I don’t feel like much is going to happen in my life. Being autistic, it’s hard to see a lot happening because I struggle with communication. I’m too awkward for life.

Expressing myself is quite easy when I’m writing it down. A poem or a blog post, either way, I am able to express how I feel about my mental health and my autism. That’s why I do it. It’s easier to be me if I have an outlet for my emotions. It’s still quite tricky though, figuring out how to be a person.

Lia

First Post of Year, I Guess

I think I’ve been a bit overwhelmed lately which was why I haven’t posted yet this year. I’ve been sad and anxious and also ill physically so I didn’t really have a chance to, though I have posted one or two poems on my Instagram (@bamboochewer) and some pet and food photos during that time.

I guess I would say that I feel a bit like an alien. I do have friends but I don’t feel like I relate to humans, as such, because I’m so odd. I feel like I’d probably relate better to someone who doesn’t live on this planet but has recently come across it. Everyone there is a stranger to them and they look different and they act different. That’s how I’d describe how I feel.

I recently met up with a friend I’ve known since birth; however we haven’t seen each other for several years, since we were at school really. It was nice seeing her but I’m terrible at social interaction and immediately felt overwhelmed when she wanted to see me the second week. I like her a lot and I think she’s awesome but I always worry that I say the wrong things. I think I have said many wrong things across the years. I just blurt out things and most people end up hating me, which is why I don’t like meeting up with people regularly. I feel like… the more I see someone, the more they’ll realise that I’m a weirdo and the less they’ll want to see of me.

Also, most people don’t think about the world as I think of it, and I struggle to relate to people because of that. I think I have maybe one friend that has the exact same mindset as me; everyone else doesn’t understand, truly, how painful life is for me. I’d consider myself to be pretty empathetic and this empathy goes for all living beings, but it comes with great sadness. I see animals suffering and I want to help them so bad but I can’t. My autism prevents me from doing what I’ve always wanted to do; help animals! I love writing but I think, spiritually, I am that girl who talks to a butterfly and asks how it’s doing but then realises it will be dead soon and has a little funeral inside my head. I don’t talk to most people about these thoughts I have because they wouldn’t get it but I do feel like an alien for having them.

I think I’m going to do some things in my life, but I won’t do them until I’m a lot older. At least, that’s what my numerology says (I’ve become interested in it recently and my friend told me what it means for me). So maybe I’ll be like Greta Thunberg, just a granny version of her.

I like people a lot but there’s certain traits of people that I don’t understand. I think because I’m autistic, I like to see things in two ways. You either are something or you’re not, so when people say they’re in the middle of a way of thinking, I get a little confused.

We all have a purpose and I think I’m discovering my purpose as I move along in life. Your purpose can change over time too. Existing is a worthwhile purpose, if you can’t think of anything else. Existing is hard enough, so don’t worry about needing a greater purpose. Just being here is a challenge enough, sometimes.

And that concludes today’s random depressed and anxious musings.

Lia

Small Change, Big Emotions

As an autistic person, routines are highly important to me. If a routine changes, I get stressed and it kind of sets my mood for the rest of the day. Even if the change is small, it still makes me distressed. I can be having a wonderful day but then one thing can happen to change that.

The worst changes are unpredictable ones, changes that I haven’t been warned about. These changes cause high levels of stress to me and I feel pretty depressed. If I’m told about the change, at least I can prepare myself, but when the change comes out of nowhere, I feel like crying.

I thought my day would go a certain way today; I had a picture in my head of what would happen — but that isn’t how it went. A small change caused me to basically feel like the world was ending. I know that sounds dramatic but that’s autism. We love routine and, when our routine is altered, we panic.

There are a few ways you can help someone with autism deal with change, but sometimes that doesn’t work either. The most important way to help an autistic person deal with change is to warn them about it long before it happens; this way we can digest the change and adjust to it. Of course, unpredictable events will still happen. Let us have a meltdown, if this occurs, because holding in our emotions is far worst. I had a meltdown today but I tried to hide it from public view; I had to sleep as soon as I came home because I was so damn tired. I’m often tired but I was even more tired than usual, having immediately had an anxiety attack as soon as I got away from the public. My mum got the wrath of it. I told her everyone hates me, that I’m stupid, that I don’t want to do this anymore; I was so anxious and it was all because of one change.

I just wanted the day to go smoothly but it didn’t and that’s to be expected, when living in a world with unpredictability. I wish I was a robot, sometimes, programmed to behave in a certain manner; that way I would not feel so unsettled. The thing that upset me the most was that I was never told this change would happen; it just did. It was sprung upon me and I felt defeated.

I’d really like to thank my mum for dealing with me when I’m so anxious. She is always there and it’s useful to have someone on your side who really knows you. That way, you can meltdown in front of them and they’ll still love you.

Lia

Opportunities and Anxiety

I was so terrified, when I got told of this opportunity, that it wouldn’t happen because not many opportunities have ever amounted to anything. However, last week I met up with a woman who told me she wanted to write for her.

Today, I wrote for them for the first time. I have bad anxiety so every time anything good happens, I always question a lot of things afterwards. Was I annoying? Did my writing suck? Do they hate me? My mind always goes to the negative side of things, rather than admitting that I managed to do a few tasks today that were out of my comfort zone.

For one, I ordered lunch, which is something my mum told me to do. I was so terrified of doing it; I never order for myself because of my anxiety. My mum also wants me to go on public transport alone soon.

I also wrote from prompts that weren’t my usual writing, but I enjoyed it. I love it when I’m given a prompt that makes me write something unexpected. However, I still worry that perhaps it was not good. Perhaps, they will wonder why they wanted me to write for them in the first place. This is my anxiety.

I get so excited about opportunities, yet I also get so anxious. I think this opportunity is good though and that I might become a better writer by doing it. I just have to let myself win, not the anxiety. Before, the anxiety has won, and I have given up trying. But I am going to try my best to let myself have a chance.

Lia, you can do this!

Fire (Flash Fiction)

It’s that moment where you sit too close to a fire and it starts to burn. You want to pull back but at the same time, this is the warmest you’ve ever felt. It’s that not knowing whether you’re in the fire or not; that pacing from the heat to the cold. You don’t want to be cold. You can’t be cold again. So you sit by the fire, for hours, just next to it, but every so often you get too close again and the heat is too intense. The first thought in your mind is that you want to leap into the fire, not away from it. So you sit close, waiting to see if there’s any reason why you should leave the fire and go back to the cold, but there never is. There’s never a reason to jump into the fire either. You’re stuck, between being on fire and being cold and neither of those options sound good to you, so you are waiting until a better option comes forward. It doesn’t, so for years, the fire is your neighbour. The fire is your friend. The fire is not you though.

The Mystery Blogger Award

I was nominated for the mystery blog award by my amazing friend MyMindSpeaksAloud. Go check her out!

the-mystery-blogger-award

What is the Mystery Blogger Award?

The award was created by Okoto Enigma who created this award for blogs that hadn’t been discovered as way to give them some recognition!

Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.
– Okoto Enigma

Rules

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

Three facts about me!

  1. I have a birth mark on my hand that is an oval shape and I used to draw faces on it all the time as a kid, especially pirates.
  2. I believe in aliens. I mean, I think it’s quite a close-minded belief to think we’re the only ones out here. I was actually having a discussion with my mum about it and we talked about the fact they might have already made contact, just not with us. They probably chose dolphins or something because they’re actually smart.
  3. I have a double-jointed thumb. My mum also has it and her mum too.

Questions by MyMindSpeaksAloud!

  1. If you could start a new hobby, what hobby would you start?

Hmm tough one. To be honest, I’ve always thought it would be quite cool to make pottery. I’ve never done it but seeing people do it makes me want to. Maybe one day!

2. If you could describe yourself as an object, what object would you pick and why? (you can use the most obscure reasoning, make it as weird as you like!)
Probably a single raindrop. By myself, I’m barely noticeable, but when I come together with all the other raindrops, we make a puddle and then a river and so on. I feel like everyone is a raindrop; they don’t realise that they can impact the world in a big way because they see themselves as a raindrop, they don’t yet see the puddle they will become

3. What is the primary reason you get up in the morning? (“because I have to work” is not an answer haha)
This is actually a really hard question for someone like me to answer. I’m depressed so every day is a challenge, to get up. I don’t really do much day-to-day, except writing I suppose. I suppose I get up to tell the world that I exist. Even if just one person knows I exist, that means something, because I do exist and they know it.

4. What personality trait do you have that you also see in your friends?
This is a tricky one because I have friends who are very different to each other. I don’t really have a “type” for friends so in order to say that they all possess the same personality trait as me, I would have to look at all of them in their individual way and put them into a group. I don’t want to do that, to be honest, because they all have their own unique traits and I’m happy they’re not the same as me. I’m happy we’re different. I suppose, if I had to answer the question, I would say that their personality trait is uniqueness. They’re unique and that’s what makes them special.

5. What food/meal do you not have very often but when you do have it, it makes you really happy?
VEGAN FISH PIE. I recently asked a local cafe to make me vegan fish pie and they happily obliged and it was delicious. Need it again. Thanks for making me hungry!

Best Post

I don’t know really but I guess What Not To Do To An Autistic Person is an alright post. I like spreading autism awareness and this post does that.

Questions

1. If you were a fruit, what fruit would you be?

2. Do you ever remember your dreams? If so, describe one!

3. What’s your favourite time of day?

4. What existential question do you have for the world?

5. What are you most proud of?

I nominate ANewChapter for this award and whoever else wants to do it. 🙂

Lia

Dyspraxia and Mental Health

It is dyspraxia awareness week. Many of you might not know this as dyspraxia isn’t as widely known about as other conditions like dyslexia, but it is pretty common. When dyspraxia is no longer underlined red when I type it, I will be happy.  It is also mental health awareness day, so I decided to do a joint post.

Many people think of dyspraxia as being clumsy, but it is so much more than that, and often it can affect our mental health. I know that my self-esteem was pretty low as a child because I couldn’t do things that other kids could do. I often compared myself to my older brother and saw ways that I lacked in comparison to him. However, he probably had his own challenges too, but I didn’t see that. I saw what he was good at and I saw what I wasn’t good at which led to my low-self esteem. It also didn’t help that I was quite badly bullied at school. These bullies fed into that self-doubt and I still have trouble, years later, finding my self worth.

I was diagnosed with dyspraxia when I was 10, shortly after my mum had been diagnosed, in her 40s! An educational psychologist would take me out of lessons to work on skills. I remember she made me cut up a sandwich and it was the hardest task I had ever been assigned. Cutting up a sandwich! She then let me eat it, which I found cool, as I got to eat during lesson time. She also made me navigate around the school library. This was when I first learned about the trick to help with directions. If you can form your thumb and finger into an ‘L’ shape then that is left.

Although I had some help with my dyspraxia at school, it wasn’t enough to make my struggles easier. To this day, I cannot ride a bike, tie up shoelaces, or do other tasks that others find easy. We recently bought some shoes for me and we thought I wouldn’t have to tie up the laces as they come with a zip but I do, so my parents have the fun job of doing that when I want to wear those shoes.

I felt like a failure for my entire childhood. I was at a time in my life when I really didn’t see the point of exams because I would fail anyway, my mind told me, so why even bother? An incident happened during one exam. It was a practical science exam so talking was allowed. The exam was easy for me, actually. The exam was not the hard part. Putting my hair into a bun was! As it was science, I had to tie my hair into a bun. I had only just figured out how to put it into a ponytail, let alone a bun. I started crying as the teacher pressured me. How could I explain that I didn’t know how? By some miracle, I managed to put my hair into a bun by twisting my hands around in a way I had never done before, but my mental state had deteriorated for the exam. I could only think about how much of a failure I was for the rest of the exam and didn’t do as well as I had done the previous year because of that. I still did quite well though.

A lot of people with dyspraxia have average or above average IQs, but they don’t feel like they do, simply because they struggle with the most simple of tasks. It’s important, if you know someone dyspraxic, to let them know their strengths. They will be thinking and thinking about how they can’t make a bed or dress properly; remind them that they have great qualities. My mum, with dyspraxia, is an artist. She makes amazing paintings — but she often trips up. You can be successful if you’re dyspraxic. You just have to navigate life a slightly different route to everyone else, and that’s okay. You might be slow to learn life skills, but you have other qualities. For instance, I struggle so much with every day tasks. I still, at 20 years old, cannot figure out how to make my body not trip up over itself daily. I guarantee I will trip up at least once a day. When I was 12, I tripped up and broke my toe! I’m too dyspraxic for many jobs. I cannot be an athlete, nor can I be an artist like my mum (fine motor skills are more of a challenge for me) but one thing I’ve always loved doing is writing. So I will write. I won’t write for very long because my hands get tired easily, but I will continue writing for as long as I can. I am a writer and I love it.

Dyspraxia complicates things, but I can now (badly) cut up food. I will probably never learn some skills but others might come to me over time. Dyspraxia makes things hard but focus on what you love and what you’re good at. We think in different ways, but that isn’t necessarily a bad things. In fact, some times, my dyspraxia can help me rather than hinder me. Dyspraxia can cause bluntness, which some can see as a bad thing, but I see it as a positive. There’s no secrets with me or my mum; we say what’s on our mind! Dyspraxia is part of neurodiversity and I embrace it now. I needed a little help at school with my handwriting and other skills but that doesn’t hold me back anymore because I use a computer to write everything. All these traits make me who I am so I accept dyspraxia as a part of me.

If you want to go check out a dyspraxic blog, to find out how one awesome person manages to adult with dyspraxia, try Dyspraxia Diaries 101

I often talk about autism and mental health because they affect me a lot too, but Dyspraxia Diaries 101 focuses on how Dyspraxia affects her and it’s one of my favourite blogs because I can relate to it a lot. Some of you might have dyspraxia and not know it; it’s under-diagnosed. If you relate to my story, or hers, you might have dyspraxia! You’re not alone in your struggles and a dyspraxia diagnosis can lead to a lot of realisations and help. You are not a failure.

Thanks for reading,

Lia