Rain Clouds

Everyone has a little box in their brain

full of rain clouds

that will never go away.

They’re the rain clouds

you can’t let fade,

because they’re the darkness

you need to keep.

They’re tightly sealed,

until those days

when you think about them.

My box is full to the brim,

and rain clouds are fighting

to get out every day,

and more are getting leaked.

They fill the parts of me

I don’t want them to fill,

and rain is getting in the way.

My happiest thoughts become

soaked in rain.

And me?

I’m already drenched.

There’s no saving

a soggy piece of paper.

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Urges

Urges send my hands reaching,

clawing at what they want,

but then I stop them.

I have to stop them.

Urges control my mind,

every thought in it

wants the same thing.

Happiness, sadness,

anger, they all become one.

One spear aimed at the heart.

Whether it misses or not,

that’s up to me,

and whether I listen

to my mind.

The spear misses this time.

The Thing About Selective Mutism

I have selective mutism. No, it doesn’t mean that sometimes I choose not to talk. It means that I physically can’t talk in those moments. I want to talk but the words will not come out. In fact, there’s not much selective about it.

For me, these incidents can occur if I get a certain vibe off someone, and I don’t like them, or if I’m in social situations, particularly in large groups. I have good days and bad days. Some days I can speak freely and other days I can’t.

My mum once took me to a counsellor but my body refused to speak to her, so it was deemed useless. This was because I didn’t like her and found she had a certain tone in her voice that scared me. It’s important that people speak to me in a certain way, and if they don’t, sometimes I won’t respond.

I also usually don’t talk to people at first, until I feel comfortable with them. If you ask me a question, though, I’ll usually respond. Sometimes, it might just be a gesture though, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to talk. I just need to get into it.

It has actually gotten to the point where my mum talks for me most of the time because she’s worried I won’t say anything. It shocks her when I do speak up as it can be very unexpected. If I’m feeling more confident that day, I might talk more.

I find talking online a lot easier than in real life. It means I can put across thoughts that would never cross my lips. I like interacting with people, and talking to them, but I am normally not the one to start the conversation.

It’s hard not being able to talk when I want to all the time. Like the words are right on the edge of coming out, but they just don’t. My thoughts become overwhelmed with words that never came out and sometimes, I might just explode in a fury of thoughts later on to my mum. She doesn’t always like how much I talk to her, but I can’t help it! It’s what is stored up from earlier.

I can come across as rude for not talking when spoken to, but that’s out of my control. I hope this post helps people to better understand selective mutism.

Lia

What Not to Do to an Autistic Person

I’ve mentioned this before in posts, but I thought I should put a disclaimer before this one, just so you know. Autism is a spectrum, and the things that I don’t like or that make me stressed might not necessarily be the same for other people on the spectrum. They might have other worries.

This is a list of tips for people who might know someone with this condition. However, it is definitely not accurate for everyone, as mentioned above. It is accurate for me, though.

  1. Do not make arrangements with me that have less than a week’s notice, or that don’t have all the details sorted out until very close to the scheduled day of meeting. This stresses me out so much and I get so worked up over it that I am 84% going to cancel. If I don’t cancel, I’m probably going to be sad and tired for a while after meeting, because I hadn’t mentally prepared myself for it.
  2. Don’t speak to me in a demanding way, or with a stern voice. This just causes me to panic and I actually take longer to do the task than if you had just asked nicely.
  3. Please don’t ignore any text questions I have! I cannot stand the ‘read’ feature on social media. I use Facebook and Instagram most often (both of which have this feature) and it causes me an unsettling amount of anxiety when someone ignores my text. I’m talking about people who read it and then decide to never respond. This applies largely to questions and stuff that would normally incite a response. Just.. please…
  4. Don’t look at me too intensely. I am alright with you glancing at me occasionally but it kinda makes me feel uncomfortable if you look at me too long. I’m sorry, it’s just hard to deal with eyes looking at me… I sometimes want to permanently hide under a sheet so no one ever has to look at me.
  5. Try to avoid touching me. I am extremely sensitive to touch, and sometimes I feel so obliged to hug people and it really feels awkward and uncomfortable. Also, please do not touch my arm or something if you’re trying to get my attention or for whatever reason — I know you only lightly touched me, but it hurts! Most people wouldn’t be affected but sometimes my mum will tap me and I’ll go “ouch!” and she’ll think I’m being over-dramatic, but it actually hurts.
  6. Compliments… gifts… help. I am alright with compliments and gifts, as long as you don’t expect a response. I have been called rude for this but it is just so awkward! I am really grateful that you like my hair or for the potato you gave me but it makes me really embarrassed, especially around people who aren’t my close family. My mum calls me beautiful every day, that’s enough compliments for my entire life! I also struggle with confidence and don’t know whether you’re being nice or truthful. It’s hard to decide!
  7. Don’t speak too loud. You can speak at normal volume, but do not yell at me or raise your voice. I’m sensitive to noise, too, and tend to retreat from loud noise and often won’t respond, or might even try to cover my ears.
  8. Don’t expect me to never say inappropriate things. If I’m feeling awkward, or the conversation has stopped flowing, I probably will say something inappropriate. For instance, I might say something about potatoes because I love them and they’re the first thing I can think of. What gets me is when people question why I said that, or look at me strange. I’m not like you.
  9. Don’t forget me. I know I’m not the best person at maintaining friendships, because I eventually drive them away with my inappropriateness or my anxiety, but I always try to do the right thing. I try. It’s hard when people don’t accept me for the way I am, and how difficult I can be. I might be complex, but I can be solved. Just try it.

Thank you so much for reading this post,

Lia

Expectations

I’m an empty casket, don’t put a body in me. I don’t want something to sleep within me, I don’t want the weight. You expect me to fulfil my purpose, of carrying a body, of being a container for it, but I want to be something else. I want to be free. I don’t want to do that, maybe I want to have nothing inside of me, because then I can fill it with my mind and my soul, without them suffocating.

The body is going in… I’m drowning. I can’t see the body but I can feel it. I can feel the crushed emotions, I can feel the sleeping soul. I want it gone… but, you see, it is my destiny to contain this body for the rest of eternity.

Eternity? Yes. I am to be the home of this body. I can rattle and squeak… but I can’t let it out. I have to fulfil my expectations, the ones I wanted to be gone. I can’t do anything. I can’t throw the body out. I have to live with this weight.

Have to.

Expectations.

When You See Me

When you see me, you see a white girl with blonde hair and blue eyes. She can see, she can walk, she’s got nice clothes. That girl is lucky. Perhaps you’re right; I live in a house, with a family that cares, and I’ve got pets too. I am writing this on an iPad, that’s nice as well. I’ve got a lot of things I should be thankful for. I am thankful for them, but life isn’t a breeze either.

As a stranger, I look normal to you. But I have a hidden condition, and it’s called autism. For me, it means that I crave social contact but want to run away when I get it. It means that I won’t speak up about something I dislike until hours later, when I tell only my mum. It means that I can’t go out alone, can’t navigate alone, it’s too terrifying. It means that sometimes my words get scrambled up and I say things wrong. It means that I can’t currently work, because it would be too much; the people, the tasks, the deadlines— it would all get too much. I wouldn’t even survive the interview. It means that I stay in my house most days.

It means that I am not who you think you see.

People with autism look just like anyone else. Sometimes, they’re even extroverts willing to party (they do exist, I know a few!) and sometimes they’re not. Each person with autism is different, no two share the exact same difficulties. But we all blend in. Just because you can’t see it, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. It’s very real and very frightening.

Thank you for reading,

Lia

What My Depression Feels Like

I’ve been depressed for a long time, suffered from anxiety for most of that time too, though I think the depression started first. I wasn’t even a teenager when it started. I have been on medication for it since I was fifteen, and I’m currently trying to get it changed as I am now an adult and it’s really not working. Not so many years ago, I overdosed on iron pills and spent quite a few hours in A&E, but I had thrown up most of them already. This was my way to get away from toxicity by digesting toxicity. Not my best idea.

I usually talk about my anxiety on this blog. My anxiety is simpler than my depression, because I can understand it. I can understand why I have it and what factors contributed to me getting it. I can understand why I used to be depressed, but I can’t get why I still am.

I guess it’s because of expectations, and what everyone else is doing with their life… and the fact that I can’t just get up and do something. It’s not that simple. Depression is never that simple. I’m at home most days, lonely. I want to get out and do stuff, but I can’t. A heavy weight stops me from doing it.

I want to be distracted, to have a friend come over and distract me, but people that were once my friends are now further apart from me than ever. They’re moving on with their lives, going places. And I’m not. You can’t expect me to just get a job, or to just go to university. It’s not that simple, again. Autism and depression don’t mix. I was never good at interacting with people, especially strangers. I want to volunteer but my confidence isn’t very high. My anxiety also coincides with this. I just feel so alone about all this.

This is just how I am. I’m sad all the time, but I’m too exhausted to talk to someone, because my mouth won’t move. So I type.

What Am I Doing With My Life?

So, two people in one day asked me the same question: what am I doing with my life? One conversation went something like this:

Them: Are you going to university?

Me: No.

Them: Are you working?

Me: No.

Them: Are you breathing…?

The other conversation was just a catch-up with an old friend, whom seems to have a really cool job as a teaching assistant with tiny children. I love children, so that seems fun. We talked a lot about our pets, and then about what we’re doing at the moment.

Anyway, it made me realise that people don’t understand me that well at all. These people that I’m friends with aren’t very similar to me. There is one friend I have who is very similar to me but we don’t meet up much, and it’s pretty much just her emailing me jokes that make me laugh. She thinks they’re not funny but they’re really my types of jokes!

So, I don’t have any prospects. I’m just an eighteen-year-old living with her parents. A lot of eighteen-year-olds live with their parents still, so I’m not too abnormal yet. My brother lives with my parents too — he’s nineteen! FYI: My mum moved out of her parent’s house at nineteen. I wish my brother took after her, because I really like the quiet. Just thinking is nice. And I can’t just think because he is constantly loud. I think I’ve complained about it a few times in blog posts… I have hyper-senses due to my autism, so every little sound really disturbs me! And he doesn’t even try to be quiet sometimes. The noise can be so loud…

Sorry for getting off topic! Basically, I think I should tell everyone a little thing about me: I don’t find it easy doing most jobs, or going to university. Both things involve interaction, and I have constant anxiety over every little thing, so something like that really wouldn’t work for me. I don’t know if I’ll get a job somewhen in the future, but right now, I don’t want one. I know that it would send my anxiety levels skyrocketing and my parents are fully supportive of me in everything I do. They want me to try working on my writing, but honestly, I’ve been stuck for ideas lately. Somewhen, I might go to university, or the open university, but it isn’t this year, or next. People need to live life at their own pace.

Not everyone should feel pressured to do what everyone else their age is doing. Sure, other people my age are at university or at a job: that isn’t me. Not right now, anyway. I have autism and it limits many of my social skills. Lots of people with autism do go to work or university, but I don’t find it works for me at the moment. I’m also pretty tired a lot of the time. I don’t know why, it’s kinda undiagnosed, but it stops me from being able to just go out and do things.

Remember that you shouldn’t feel like you have to do what the world is doing. You should do your own thing, be your own person. You can go to university if you want, that’s cool, but you should do it because you want to do it, not because everyone else is doing it. You can wait a year or two to try and figure out what you want to do in life. I want to be a cat, but unfortunately I haven’t figured out how yet. Maybe, one day…

Thanks for reading,

Lia

Sylvia Plath, Mental Health, and Girls

This post is a combined post about mental health day (yesterday) and girl’s day (today). It’s talking about my all-time favourite poet: Sylvia Plath.

She was born in 1932 and died thirty years later in 1963. Why did she die at the age of thirty? Suicide. She had attempted suicide many times, but they failed. Eventually, she succeeded by carbon monoxide poisoning.

As she wrote in some of her many letters, she felt that she wouldn’t get a place at the top universities because of her suicidal background. She did eventually get a place at Cambridge, where she met her future husband, Ted Hughes, who was once the poet laureate.

She talked, in her letters, that girls being suicidal wasn’t taken seriously back then, and that it would even affect their chances in education and work. Her doctor cared deeply about her mental health, however, and had tried to get her admitted to hospital several times, but they would not take her. The system failed her because they didn’t care enough about her mental health. She was also subjected to electroconvulsive therapy when she was depressed, which is a really awful way to treat someone.

In one letter, she mentioned that two days before a miscarriage, her husband had beat her. Many blame Ted Hughes for her death, and some even vandalised her grave, getting rid of the surname ‘Hughes’ and replacing it with ‘Plath’. Her son also committed suicide in 2009.

Nowadays, mental health is taken more seriously, but a lot of girls are still subjected to judgement: “it’s just hormones”, “it will pass”, “you’re not depressed, just sad”, “you don’t seem it”, “this is a phase”. Sylvia Plath was failed, but she did so many beautiful poems that will always honour her memory; don’t let anyone else be failed. Just because they’re young, doesn’t mean it’s a phase, or hormones, or anything else. Even if it is, just take them seriously. Wiping them away like rain on your windscreen will cause them to isolate themselves and, eventually, they might have a similar fate to that of Sylvia. I love her writing so much but a lot of it is sad. She literally wrote about her emotions and she still didn’t get the care she needed.

This post was about girls, as it is girl’s day, but that doesn’t mean you should forget boys. They are taught to be strong pillars, but allow them to fall down. If you don’t, they might have the same fate as Sylvia Plath’s son, Nicholas.

A Letter to My First & Second Bully

This letter is about two kinds of bullies. The first kind is the bully who is going through something tough and they’re just getting their anger out on someone weaker than them. The second kind is the one who either does it for popularity or just gets a thrill out of making someone suffer. This is a letter to my first two bullies; the first was someone going through something, the second smiled whenever I cried.

Dear my first bully,

I shouldn’t really call you a bully. You’re a human being. I don’t actually remember how you made me upset because all I remember now is the aftermath. You probably don’t recall, as we’re practically strangers now, but after we found out that you were going through a divorce, we became friends. Your mum and my mum were friends for a while too. I think we once went to pottery together.

I’m glad you were my first bully, though, because you made me realise that not all bullies are monsters. You were angry and hurt and you took it out on me and that’s okay. Although I wasn’t used to it when you bullied me, you helped me to develop an ignorance for what was to come, though it still hurt every single time they bullied me. I know you were a sweet boy behind it. It’s the school’s fault, usually, because they make up stuff about anti-bullying policies that they never stick to.

I forgave you so soon after because I saw the real you. You were only young too; we both were. I’m sure that you learned that it was wrong and that it never happened again. In fact, I think I’m positive of that, because of how a bully became a friend. Though we went our separate ways years ago, I still remember you. I think I won’t forget you.

Dear my second bully,

Nice friends you have to help you insult me. It would be harder to do it alone, wouldn’t it? You always have to come in a gang of three, like the movies, but you’re the ringleader, also like the movies. You never picked on anyone else whilst we were in the same class; not even that boy who everyone else picked on — you were friends with him. It was specifically me. Specifically me. Why? Because I was a girl but I wasn’t one of the popular, pretty ones. I had my hair tied up and I didn’t wear mascara. I also didn’t have my ears pierced. Bare in mind that I was eight, yet everyone else deemed it normal for girls of eight to be coating themselves in stuff. I don’t get it. But I was still a girl: weaker, more vulnerable than a boy. You also knew that I didn’t have confidence, regardless of the fact I stuck my hand up several thousand times. I did that to try and make myself feel better, but it always made me feel worse. Your sneering didn’t help. It never did.

You were also the type of bully that I would never report; you made sure of that. You were subtle, but threatening, and you made me cry in the toilets. Our teachers hated me (because I cried all the time), so they just moaned about me being a cry baby in parent evenings. I think my parents were shocked, but it meant that you could continue doing what you were doing. I didn’t cry much until I came into your path. Yours and theirs; all of the bullies, but you were definitely the leader. I could always tell that. You did it for an ego boost, a popularity boost, security. You needed to feel like you had value because you never cared for class, so your grades weren’t the best; so you bullied me.

Still, it made you smile. It always made you smile, and that sickens me. Funny how sick rhymes with your name, isn’t it? You were another boy, just like my first bully, but you never became my friend. I will also never forget you, because if you hadn’t happened, maybe it never would have gotten so bad. Maybe I wouldn’t have had crippling anxiety for years to come; anxiety so bad that important grades suffered. I would tap my fingers through exams, thinking and thinking about how my life came to that point. And at one stage, I came back to you. And I was always disappointed with my results. Always disappointed. I think I could have done better; I certainly studied a lot. I think all of it was because I couldn’t focus. I just wanted to get out of that room and run out of that gate, all of the time. Maybe you were involved in some way, psychologically messing with me, even though I hadn’t been at your school for a few years.

Thank you for making my life a misery.

Thanks for reading this post. If you’re getting bullied, it’s tough, and sometimes no one will help you (at least, in my case) but you will always get online support. I am always here and so are so many other people. It’s a hard time but you can get through it. 

Lia