What is there?

I am sad at the moment. That’s why I haven’t blogged in a while. I didn’t have anything to say because nothing was happening to me, except my mind was crumbling.

Everyone I know has a future. I can see them living their life happily in the future. But I can’t see my own future.

I have autism, which makes most social situations much more challenging. I have selective mutism, which is why most jobs wouldn’t work for me. You can’t exactly blank the customers! Most people don’t understand why I’m unable to work, encouraging me to try, and telling me about opportunities, without realising how extremely anxious this makes me. In my current state of being, normal jobs just aren’t for me. I can’t do it because of my challenges. But I want to have a goal, something to strive for, to live for. Because, at the moment, I have no goal. I’m not living, I’m surviving. I can’t do a lot of things because of my problems but because no one can actually see my disability, they keep encouraging me. It’s nice, that they think I have potential, but to be honest, it’s kinda like telling a blind person to see.

I want to do something so bad but I’m tired, I’m sad, and I have no motivation. My anxieties are everywhere. What is there for someone like me to do? Someone who can’t even go out alone, someone who often can’t speak for herself. What is there?

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Invalidated Feelings

Someone recently invalidated my feelings and it really hurt. I’ve been feeling like rubbish ever since because it was someone close to me. I just feel like I can’t talk to them about anything I might feel in the future. I’m depressed and I’ve been depressed for a long time. So, to get my feelings completely disregarded, by someone who knows my mental health and knows me very well, isn’t nice. Ever since they did it, I’ve been down more than usual. I feel like we would argue if I brought it up with them so I’m just going to have to keep my feelings to myself around them, I guess? Even though they’re someone I shouldn’t have trouble expressing myself to. I’m in a really low place right now and it hurts. It hurts that I can’t talk to them. It hurts that they’re such an important person in my life. It just hurts.

Changing Medication

When you change from one medication to another, it can be really challenging. For me, I’m changing the antidepressant I’m on. The reason for my switch was that, although the medication wasn’t necessarily not working, it caused my mind to have a wall stuck between it and me. I couldn’t think, and I’m a blogger, so not thinking made it increasingly difficult to write posts. It also made me angry and frustrated because I WANTED to think. It didn’t stop me thinking completely, but it blocked my mind from so much that I was sad about that. If I wasn’t sad about actual depression and anxiety, I was sad about not thinking. It just felt like something was blocking me and I didn’t have that on my first medication (though I didn’t have any positive effects either) so I felt like it was a really bad side effect. My doctor agreed and decided to change my medication, for the second time. Second change, third medication.

My first medication had been sertraline (no side effects or benefits, only prescribed it due to being a child). Three years of it (prescribed aged 15) and I finally decided to change it when I turned 18. My mum recommended citalopram as it had worked for her. However, it caused me the most terrible side effect of mind block. I was pulling my hair out. It had some other side effects too, which weren’t as bad but were still life-limiting. The third medication, the one I’m on now, is escitalopram. The doctor said, although the name was similar, it was a different medication. She also mentioned that it had less chance of side effects, which was a positive for sure.

Although I’m hopeful about it, I’m currently going through a pretty rubbish phase between medications, where I’m taking a new one and have stopped the old one, but the benefits of the new one aren’t kicking in yet, but all of the side effects are. At the beginning, the side effects are the strongest, so they will probably stop after a while of being on the medication. I’m feeling anxious and sad but I’m thinking that I will get through this. I’ve also had some horrific side effects, which I won’t go into here, but I’m sure that they will clear soon. I’ve not been on this one long so I’m going to give it time.

I hope my medication gives positive effects soon.

Lia

Suicide [Poem]

Dedicated to a friend of mine who was failed.

Heart stops, literally,

as you fade into a black existence,

with those mourning,

others tutting,

some not caring at all,

for you are dead

and you did it by your own hands.

This is why your death

is debated by all around;

are you stupid

or are you scared?

Are you worthless

or is that simply unfair?

Why are people talking about you

as if you’re just a court case?

You’re a person, dead or alive,

and you still have a face.

I’m Depressed

When you’re depressed, it’s kinda like being sucked into a black hole. No one knows where you’ve gone, and you can’t go back to where you were before. Instead, you should go to a new place, a different place, because that old world you lived in — that was the one that led you here. To this black hole. Instead of hopelessly trying to go back into it, accept that you’ve been sucked through it, and try to figure out how to cope with your new surroundings.

Sometimes, when you’re depressed, all you want to do is cry. It’s okay to cry. I cry, daily, at the moment. I don’t know how to stop myself. It’s the easiest way to let your emotions out, because other ways seem challenging.

Having depression and anxiety combined is a deadly combination. They contradict each other so completely that your mind is rattled and you don’t know how to exist. On one hand, your depression makes you stop caring, but on the other hand, anxiety makes you care about everything. How can you care about everything and nothing at the same time? I don’t know how, but that is me. I care about so much yet so little all at once. It’s confusing.

I’m in an existential crisis, wondering what the point of human existence is, if our only objective is to destroy the world? Because that’s what we seem to be doing anyway. So my mind wonders sometimes if the most eco-friendly option of all is to no longer exist. That’s my crazy depressed anxiety-riddled mind for you. I care so much about the world, so why have I stopped caring about myself? I don’t know, but my mind is always plagued with the big questions, as well as the small questions, whilst undeniably not caring what happens to me. It’s a truly destructive mind that I have, but I’ve kept existing this long. I can keep existing, can’t I?

I know this post is awfully depressing but my mind’s a mess. It’s been a mess for a while and I don’t see it cleaning itself up anytime soon so I thought writing a post might help. It’s healthy to write about your problems. It helps you figure them out in ways that you haven’t yet come across. This post didn’t help me fix my problems but it made me realise some of the roots of them. If you read this, thank you for reading. You should try writing about any problems you have. It helps, in a way.

Lia

The Mind of Anxiety

Leave the house or everyone will forget you exist.
Return home or they will remember how awful you are.
Speak up or people will think you have no tongue.
Be silent or you will offend the world.
Do what they ask or you won’t be respected.
Disobey them or you won’t be respected.
Listen to something else other than your mind, for once.
How can you listen to something else when your mind won’t ever leave?
It’s that music the neighbours are playing too loud, it’s your heartbeat that you just remembered is right there, it’s the alarm clock reminding you that you are alive.
Talk to people or you’ll suffocate.
Don’t talk or their advice will make you regret it.
No one can help you except yourself, they say.
Try being me. Then give me that advice. I can’t help myself. I’m a block of ice. Helping myself would mean melting away.

I’m Autistic

I’m autistic.

I don’t like maths or science. I’m not a massive fan of trains either.

Music is good, but I don’t listen to it on big headphones constantly, putting the same song on repeat for years.

I’m not a boy and I didn’t attend a special school either.

I don’t rock constantly and I actually enjoy social interaction. Not all the time, but sometimes it’s nice.

I do indeed have empathy, in fact I am more sensitive than most people.

My name is Lia. I’m 19 years old and I was diagnosed with autism when I was 15. I had been struggling with school for many years before that, especially with bullying (which was most severe when I was 12). I didn’t know how to make friends, or how to keep friends. Most friends I made have drifted from me. They were temporary and I tried to keep in contact with a few but I don’t think they wanted to keep in contact with me, as their replies were very short and hard for me to respond to. It’s okay; we make temporary friends and long term friends.

As an autistic person, I have interests that are more deep than most people, but perhaps not as deep as other autistic people. I say this because I’ve suffered with mental health issues which have interfered with my interests at times. A particular interest of mine is animals, something that I have been crazy about for years. I love animals and love learning about them. If you have any interesting animal facts, be sure to let me go.

I was always an English person at school. I preferred essays to maths equations. It was always easier for me to write an opinion than solid fact. I just never understood or connected with maths, whereas English taught me that, to get good grades, you had to have your own opinion.

I know of autistic people that fit the criteria I listed above, and that’s okay. But we really aren’t all the same. I love sensory toys as I have trouble with my senses getting overwhelmed. I find they calm me a lot. I love to feel textures in my hands, but not in my mouth. Food that is too textured isn’t for me. I like it smooth and consistent.

I struggle with independence, one of the most suggestive traits of my autism. If I were more independent, perhaps people would think that I didn’t have autism. I also struggle with getting words out and might say things that are inappropriate because I want to fill a gap but I don’t know what else to say. People think I’m strange because of this, or sometimes they don’t notice at all. I prefer it when they don’t notice, or pretend not to notice, that I said something inappropriate. When they look at me strange, I become embarrassed.

The worst thing in the world for me is noise. It’s something I can never escape. It’s always there, somewhere, trying to climb into your ears. It drives me insane and I feel so sad when it is loud. Some people might be annoyed at too much noise, but for me it ruins my life. There are a few people that are insensitive when it comes to noise and that makes me upset.

Anxiety is a very real problem for me. It is the voice that never goes away. It cripples my mind and my heart. It isn’t something you can just get over. It works out every single possibility of everything then it combines them into one overwhelming feeling of destruction. That’s what anxiety is, for me.

Autism isn’t a stereotype, it’s a sphere of differences and I know very independent autistic people. I know people who love maths and people who hate it. I know people who love to rock and people who prefer other methods of stimming. I know more autistic females than I do males. In fact, I don’t know autistic people at all. I just know individuals.

Thank you for reading,

Lia

Dealing With Anxiety

A lot of people with mental health issues struggle with loneliness, me included. We struggle with feeling lonely but also with reaching out to existing friends. We don’t want them to deal with our mental health issues, so we feel guilty whenever we go out with them, so sometimes we choose not to go out with people anymore. We don’t want to be the burden.

One friend of mine, who I have only been out with just us two once, has a tactic which makes me feel a lot better. She basically said that if I helped her with her issues, she’d help me with mine. She told me about her phobias and I told her about mine and we both went out together. It felt like a trade, rather than me being a burden, and that really helped me get through it.

I hate the idea of being the piece of gum stuck to someone’s shoe. I want to be able to express my problems without being seen as a problem, if that makes sense. Most of the time I’m just terrified that they won’t be able to have as much fun with me there.

I really like the tactic that one friend used and if, in the future, I ever have a friend that feels like more of a burden than I do, I might use it again. It’s a good way of conquering something without realising that you are. For instance, her phobia wasn’t even around, whilst mine was, but I still felt more comfortable knowing that, if her phobia ever did crop up, I could help her like she helped me.

Anxiety is affecting so many people, and it stops lots of people from doing what they want. Make sure they know they aren’t a burden and that you want them there. Even if, after telling them this, they still feel doubtful, express your own difficulties and how they could help with them. Perhaps, like me, they might feel willing to go out. It’s just an idea that worked for me and I’m so glad it did because a couple of weeks ago, I had an amazing time out with a friend and my anxiety didn’t interfere with it that much. There were still moments of anxiety, but overall I felt calm. It was a change from what I normally know. I felt more in control.

Thank you for reading,

Lia

Say What You Mean!

Something I struggle with a lot is people saying one thing but meaning another. I automatically assume that they mean exactly what they said, but this often isn’t the case and it’s very confusing deciding whether or not they meant what they said.

Sometimes, this makes me feel betrayed when they didn’t adhere to what they said, but it can be because they never really meant it in the first place. They were just making conversation.

For instance, someone says ‘oh we should do that sometime’ or ‘we should meet up’ but they didn’t really mean it. It’s something that a lot of people seem to say but not mean. It’s kinda suffocating trying to differentiate between a legit promise and a fake one. I just wish people would say exactly what they mean. It would make life a lot easier.

If people told me exactly what they thought of me, life would be easier too. I can differentiate between people who like me for who I am and people who want me to become something I’m not — and stick with the friends that accept me.

I just don’t understand why people always say the opposite of what they mean. It means that I get my hopes up for something that’s never going to happen. Over the years, I’ve had a lot of failed promises, but I still seem to get my hopes up because I never know when one is real.

Sometimes, promises are real, and I am so thankful for the people that say what they mean. For instance, when MyMindSpeaksAloud said that she’d love to go to a cat cafe with me, I was wondering whether we were really going to do it. Now it’s booked and ready for August! I am very excited about it, and it’s really happening, unless a cat-astrophic event happens that prevents it. I love puns.

If people just told everyone what they meant, we would all have a much easier time, in my opinion.

Do you find people confusing?

Lia

I’m Not Who You Want

I’ve noticed that people expect a lot from me. Honestly, I can’t do everything that is expected. People forget sometimes that I’m autistic, I think. I guess, for a while, it makes me feel more normal but I shouldn’t have to hide myself. My true self isn’t the person people want me to be. This doesn’t mean that people should avoid me, or worry about how to talk to me; they should talk to me exactly how they would anyone else. The only difference is that my reply might be vague or unexpected. It might not be what they wanted. I try to talk normally but sometimes my words get knotted and I end up saying something different than what I wanted to say. That’s just how I am. My thoughts and my words often don’t align. Sometimes, I don’t even speak at all, and that’s not because I don’t want to speak; I feel a physical block on my words. It happens most with strangers but it can happen at anytime with people I’ve known for a while too.

When chatting online, I come across as a very different person to how I act in real life. I type what I wouldn’t dare speak, and my online voice is more confident than my real one. This too can give people the impression that I am capable of a lot. The truth is: it embarrasses me to talk about what I can’t do. That’s why I don’t mention it to my friends unless it’s important for them to know. I put on this act that makes me appear able to do lots of things, when really I struggle to do most things.

I’m someone who needs a carer. That carer is also my mum, which means she is around me constantly, to help me do things. I’m someone who needs someone to go out with me, because I can’t go out alone. I’m someone who has a meltdown about the silliest things. The other day, I had a meltdown because my mum thought my meal was hers and peppered it. It was pasta and I can’t eat pepper on my pasta. A lot of people wouldn’t care about something like that but, like I said, the silliest things cause me distress. I have to have things exactly how they’re supposed to be and, if something goes wrong, I can’t cope.

I’m not who people want me to be. I’m trying so hard for my problems to not affect me, but they will always affect me, because autism isn’t temporary. I don’t mind being autistic, it’s who I am, but sometimes I wish it was more understood. There are many stereotypes around it, but I’m not those stereotypes. People thing that if I keep trying, one day my problems will go away. They won’t go away. I’m autistic for life. I can try to make things easier, but it will take time. It’s not something that can happen overnight.

Maybe one day I’ll be able to go out alone, but that day is not today, and it probably won’t be for many days yet to come. People who pressure me into trying to do things that are hard for me just make it harder still. I’ll do things at my own pace.

Understanding isn’t easy if you haven’t experienced it, but imagine you walk into the middle of a movie, and have missed important parts of the plot. You keep trying to ask people questions, but they’re busy watching the rest so they keep telling you to be quiet. That’s kinda what it’s like. You don’t understand what’s going on and you try to figure it out, but you’re still way behind.

Thank you for reading this post,

Lia