Dear Eve: Meltdowns

Dear Eve,

Thank you for reading my first letter. It means a lot that someone, however fictitious you are, is reading these. So, my fictitious friend, here is my second letter.

I have meltdowns a lot. When I have a meltdown, it’s because everything gets too much for me. These show in various ways, depending on who I’m with. If I’m with my family, I generally have more active signs. I’ll start talking loads at first, basically saying why something’s not how it’s supposed to be, and eventually I’ll cry if it isn’t resolved immediately.

My meltdowns with other people aren’t so obvious, however. People won’t really notice that I’m having a meltdown. I go subdued and quiet, and I kind of try to think about nothing at all because if I think about something, I’m worried my meltdown will become visible. On occasion, I do have more visible signs, but I try to postpone them for as long as possible. I’ll go on my phone a lot if I’m feeling really worried and I will probably text my mum. My mum usually answers quickly and she always distracts me with updates on the pets. I find talking about my pets calms me down instantly.

I’m terrified that someone will notice I’m having a meltdown and think that I’m being ridiculous or that I’m a bad person. I heard a story of someone buying all the apple pies in McDonalds because they heard a kid ‘being bratty about wanting one and having a tantrum’. It made me think: this person judged this kid without even knowing the kid. Perhaps the kid, like me, was autistic or had another problem? How do you know? You don’t. So I always worry that people will think terribly of me because I look so ordinary. I don’t want to be thought of like that.

I wonder if you’ve ever had meltdowns, Eve. A lot of people have them; it’s just that they’re more common in autistic people. My mum has them herself quite often but she isn’t autistic. She is dyspraxic however, so isn’t exactly ‘neurotypical’.

It’s nice discussing these things with you because I know you’ll never reply with advice on how to fix my problems. The truth is, Eve, I can’t fix my problems. I will live with them for my entire life. I can figure out ways of dealing with them, but that isn’t fixing them. I don’t like it when people, especially people without autism, tell me ways I can improve myself. They don’t know how tough it is for me and how terrible that advice makes me feel, Eve. I feel constantly like everyone is trying to see me as a person with potential, someone who can become something. That pressure to be what they want me to be sits inside me always. My IQ means nothing. It’s not about how clever you are, it’s about how suited you are to the world, and I’m a cat in a dog food factory. Basically, the world is wrong for me. I try to fit in but I never will.

I’ve accepted that I won’t fit in, but some people still try to see me as someone who needs to fit in with society. I need to work hard to get somewhere (where am I going? I don’t know), I need to not have meltdowns, and I need to respond when people talk to me. I like how you don’t expect these things of me, Eve.

People think these things are simple, but there are a million reasons why, for me, they’re not simple. I could go over the list but I don’t think you would finish this letter, Eve. So I’m just going to say one thing: this isn’t me. I’m not steady, I’m not calm, I’m not social. None of that is me. I sometimes feel like no one really knows me but I guess you’ll know me, Eve. These letters will help you know me. Thank you, again, for reading.

Love,

Lia

Dear Eve: A New Idea

Before I start, I want to say thank you to Kel for inspiring me and allowing me to do this. He recently started a letter series addressed to someone called Joe, whom is made up, and I thought it was a really good idea. It helps you to get your thoughts out there. I’ve done a few letters in the past, but never directed towards a fictitious person, so I think it’s a really great idea. You can say exactly what’s on your mind, but also feel like you’re expressing it to someone, even if they’re imaginary. I hope this series works out for me too, and please go check out his blog!

Dear Eve,

I know you don’t know me yet but you will know me. You aren’t real and yet I feel like I’m talking to someone. This is my first letter to you and I hope there will be many more.

Do you like cats, Eve? Back in August I visited a cat cafe for the first time in my life, in London. My anxiety was high about going to London as it’s such a big city but it turned out okay I think. The cats were cute anyway. I wonder, would you be a cat person or a dog person? I have both cats and a dog but I’d consider myself a cat person. I do the ‘would I have one if I lived by myself?’ test. As I live with my family, it is easier for me to have a dog, but I don’t think I would be able to deal with one if I lived by myself. The training and walkies would be too much for me, I think. Cats, however, would definitely be there. That’s why I’m a cat person. Cats also don’t bark whenever the bell rings, unlike a certain pomchi.

I guess you could call me an anxious person, Eve. I think a lot. Too much. Even when I know a solid plan, I think about the many, many ways in which it could go wrong. For instance, I am going to a board game club (yay social life) and I am going to take a game that I quite like — Catopoly (I told you I’m a cat person) which is basically cat monopoly. However, I am extremely worried that no one else will like the game and it will be boring for them. I know some of them for sure like cats but I don’t know if they’ll like this game.

About the social life thing: I might go to a couple of clubs, but I’m not a very social person. Outside of that, there isn’t much I do. I do sometimes have a social life outside of these clubs but it is infrequent. The reason I started going to these clubs was because I wasn’t going out at all. I just didn’t want you to get the wrong impression of me, Eve. I wouldn’t want to lie to you about being a high-flying social butterfly.

Our house has been on the market for over a year and it still hasn’t sold. It did sell for a bit but then the buyer decided she actually couldn’t afford it so it’s been back on for a while now. It’s stressing me out, the viewings. Often, there is little warning of them and I love notice. So when there’s hardly any notice that I have to leave the house for the viewing, it stresses me out. I’m stressed a lot lately. There’s another viewing soon but I was given an acceptable amount of warning for it. It’s still stressful but less so than if I had been given less warning. We always have to take the dog out as he isn’t the friendliest to ‘intruders of our house’ (basically people he deems to be in his territory). We have a good guard dog. If someone ever attempts to break in, we will know before they get in the door.

I’m feeling quite tired now, Eve. Did you like my first letter? I hope it was okay for you. I really want to talk to you more in future letters. I write this in my bed, at half-past midnight, because I always find my thoughts most cluttered in the night. Thanks for helping me decluttering them, Eve, by letting me write you this letter.

Love,

Lia