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

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

Wall

A brick wall pushes against my brain,

trying to keep me sane,

but in reality,

it’s trapping the helps and the whelps

and maybe I need them back.

If I have no tears or fears,

if I have no worries at all —

then what’s left to care about?

You only care when you feel bad,

and I just can’t feel sad.

It’s so heavy, against my mind,

and I can’t lift it —

I need a grenade.

Perhaps, then,

I’ll find a way

to feel again.

The Box and The Ball

The box is blue.

Inside the box is a ball.

The ball is red.

The ball doesn’t want to be inside the box.

The ball would much rather be inside a red box.

The ball jumps.

The box doesn’t move.

The ball learns to accept that it is stuck with the blue box.

The box doesn’t want the red ball to be inside it.

The box tries to open.

The box is stuck.

The box tries to crush the ball.

The box can’t get rid of it.

The box learns to accept that it is stuck with the red ball.

A yellow car comes.

In one movement, the yellow car crushes the blue box.

The blue box crushes the red ball.

The red ball suffocates.

If only, the yellow car had avoided them.

If only, the blue box had opened up.

If only, the red ball had jumped out.

Let’s Be Honest

Let’s be honest.

I’m in a black hole

that’s sucking me in deeper,

and I’m trying to reach —

reach for the stars, as they say,

but I can never make it.

Let’s be honest.

I’ve been like this for a while,

sleep is my companion

and my worst enemy,

I don’t have the motivation

to get motivation,

I don’t have the aspiration

to get aspirations,

I don’t have the strength

to get strength.

Let’s be honest.

I’m sorry I can’t pull myself away,

from the same muddled day

I’ve been living for too long,

it’s a blurred mess.

Let’s be honest,

I’m depressed.

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.

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

 

Mistakes

We all make mistakes in life, don’t we? I can’t stop thinking about a single mistake I made many years ago, and the fact that I wasn’t allowed to redeem myself.
I had some friends, nice friends nearby, for the first time in forever, but I also have pretty bad social anxiety so this time, so long ago, I was having one of my ‘social anxiety meltdowns’. I was saying that everyone hates me; I don’t do this often, but I do it sometimes when I feel like a friendship is getting too good to be true. I only ever do it once, usually, and then after that, I never do it again. I just need to have a meltdown, sometimes.
So these friends, who I met up with once a week, and sometimes did more with; I had one of these meltdowns, and my whole life got destroyed. I tried apologising to one of them the following day but he didn’t understand at all. He was saying “I can’t be friends with you if you’re gonna be like this” despite the fact I’d never done this before. So, I ruined my friendship with him, and then I couldn’t say anything to the others because I would likely get the same outcome, so I stopped going to the thing, and I just became more antisocial than ever. I didn’t go to college either, everything stopped.
It hasn’t restarted.
This incident triggered such a big nothingness for me and I don’t think I can ever get friends that can meet up regularly because I’ll ruin it again. I miss being their friend but two of them I don’t talk to anymore at all and one I have to message first to get a response, which I hate doing.

I feel so lonely but I can’t have friends because I’ll destroy the friendship. And who would want to be friends with me, anyway? Who would even understand me? I’m not worth understanding.

Anxiety

I usually talk to my mum; she’s so caring and supportive, but she goes through her own issues too. When she goes through them, I can’t talk to her because it would just be another issue. For instance, she’s recently been having anxiety. What pushed her over the edge was a person she used to go to school with swearing at her when she was walking Pablo. She doesn’t want to have to worry about stuff like that anymore. So she hasn’t been able to go out of the house alone, which is really awful.

Because of this, I can’t talk to her about my own anxiety. I get so anxious sometimes that I do irrational things and then hate myself. When I talk with my mum, she helps me be less irrational. But now that I can’t talk to her again, I’ve gone back to old habits, and have probably lost friends because of a meltdown I had. When I feel like this, I also kind of want to not live anymore — not die, just not live. Like not existing. If I didn’t exist, I wouldn’t have to worry so much about everything! Of course, I do exist, and I will always have existed, so not existing isn’t an option.

I don’t really have anyone I can talk to now because I don’t want to bother anyone, especially my mum, so I am just thinking negatively all the time. I hope I can get over this but I know that, from my experience, I get over it for a few weeks and then it comes back again. My anxiety is just always there, waiting for me to mess up, so it can scream at me over and over again. I don’t even have to mess up, I just have to be in a situation where there is the possibility of messing up, which is pretty much every situation.

How do you deal with your anxiety?

Lia