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

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

 

A Letter to a Friend

Dear Queen, as I’m going to call you in this letter,

I know you’re struggling right now, which is why you’re distant and barely reachable. I know you don’t have any plans. I know you feel like nothing interests you at the moment. I know you feel low and stressed. I know you’re scared. I want you to know that you are not the only one who doesn’t know what to become.

You’re the smartest girl I know, and I always wondered why you’d cry before exams when you always aced them. But I know why: you were stressed and you put so much pressure on yourself to do well that it all got too much.  You might be doubting yourself but I don’t doubt you.

I, too, am afraid of the future. I, too, struggle to find my ambition. I’m not going to university next year either. If you want to talk to anyone about this, talk to me, because I know what you’re going through. I know what it feels like to not have any clear goals. Of course, there is my writing, but realistically speaking, that’s going to be nearly impossible to accomplish.

I know you don’t talk to me as much recently, and I know you haven’t really been saying much to other people, but it’s important you remember that we all love you and we all care. You are so beautiful and fantastic and I’m so proud that you’re my friend.

Please, text me, or email me, or meet up with me sometime — you are appreciated. You are. I understand how troubling it can be thinking about your future; I’m in the same boat and sometimes I cry about it. But at least I have my writing to let my feelings loose. You really need someone to talk to, I think, though you’re scared to admit it. You’re awesome, Queen, and whilst you’re still going to doubt that, remember that no one else does.

Yours truly,

Lia