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.

People Tell Me

People tell me I’m sensitive. What this means is that my heart is unlocked and you just need to climb inside it to see that I’m crying. People tell me I’m insensitive. What this means is that I picked up a pebble and threw it into the wind, but then it fell back down and was bigger than I first noticed. People tell me I’m beautiful. What this means is that my mind is a socket and people are plugging in a charger for my feelings. People tell me I’m ugly. What this means is that everyone else sat in a field of grass whilst I played in the mud. People tell me I’m smart. What this means is that I listened to thousands of other voices regurgitating the same spit. People tell me I’m dumb. What this means is that my life is an essay that I have yet to complete. People tell me a lot of things. What this means is that their lips keep determining, their eyes keep deducting, and their ears keep ignoring. I tell myself that I’m here. What this means is that I can focus on the snakes or the mice but, either way, I’m going to get bitten. Instead, I should focus on the most conflicting voice of all: my own.

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

Thursday & Friday

I went out two days in a row – Thursday & Friday, and it was pretty draining because, to me, going out two days in a row is daunting. I just get exhausted easily. I was actually going to go out three days in a row, but the guy that was supposed to be viewing our house cancelled last minute because he didn’t like the location. We’d already cleaning it and got ready and he cancelled. It was kinda annoying because I’d prepared myself for going out.

On Thursday, my mum surprised me with some Sylvanian Families — more precisely, babies!! They were adorable so I went out with her to get some more. I haven’t had any in so many years and it was really nice to rekindle that interest. The toy shop we went to was awesome too, will definitely be visiting again. We had dinner at Pizza Express because it was open and other places we would’ve gone to weren’t. I had a nice vegan pizza and my mum had a non-vegan one. I saw a girl that I recognised from the group I was going to later there, but I didn’t say anything at the time because I didn’t want to bother her/didn’t have the confidence.

So, I went to the group after Pizza Express and it was quite good because A DOG WAS THERE AND SHE WAS THE SWEETEST! It’s a once a month group, I think I mentioned my first meeting in a previous lot, but this was the second time I’ve attended. It’s for autistic women and I’m the youngest member, being only 18, whilst most of the others are quite a bit older. They seem nice though; I don’t mind the age gap. The idea is to talk about what happened that month for the first half and then discuss a topic in the second half. I guess I didn’t mind talking in the first half because I had the dog on my lap and she was adorable. She was kinda big for my lap but it really helped with my confidence. She’s supposedly a trained therapy dog, though when someone acted out crying she didn’t go help. Maybe she sensed they were acting? Later some people did actually cry and she didn’t go help either, I think she was too busy being cute. I won’t hold it against her, because she’s lovely.

In the second half, I got really anxious because I wanted to say something but, as it wasn’t in turns like the first half, didn’t feel I could speak up. I didn’t want to interrupt anyone. So I kinda just huddled into myself and stayed quiet.

Friday was a good day because I saw three cats outside of my home. Firstly, I went to MyMindSpeaksAloud’s house to play games! That was really fun. We played Monopoly Deal, Exploding Kittens (app version), Meow Meow/Mauns Mauns (fave game), Monopoly (Stranger Things version), and Bananagrams. I also had soup there, which was very nice. It was so great hanging out with her, as I don’t get to go out much or hang with people my age so it was really lovely. She also returned the DVD I lent her ages ago that she had only just watched the night before. I also saw her cats — Jasper and Monty!! Jasper is kinda timid but he was more approachable than he had been last time I saw him. Monty was so sweet and loving and just awesome. He’s adorable, ahh.

I left and went to my aunt and uncle’s house for dinner. I had vegan shepherd’s pie and they had chilli. This is where I got to see the third cat of the day — Haku! He has such soft fur. He’s also really sweet. I don’t normally get to see him when I come as we usually bring Pablo and he hides, so it was really nice to see him. He was very cute. It was nice to see them as well as I don’t see them that much usually.

It was a long car journey home, but worth it because I got to see three awesome… cats. Yeah, you thought I was gonna say humans, but nope. The cats. The only reason I went there. The people were OK.

Also, my dad set fire to a shelf on Saturday (yesterday). Good job, father.

Thanks for reading,

Lia

A-Levels: Mental Health

I’ve been struggling with the stress of a-levels for a long time now and then I realised: my mental health should come first. Having suffered with depression and anxiety for a long time, I was back into a cycle I couldn’t get out of when I started my second year. The constant change of creative writing teacher certainly didn’t help. Now, I might only be doing one a-level soon. I know, I know, only one!? It’s because I’ve been having a lot of anxiety attacks recently and we’ve been talking to the college about the stress.

You guys have to remember that, although good grades would be nice, you shouldn’t let them be harmful to your mental health.You matter and you will get through this. I believe in you! However stressful a-levels are, they will be done one day. Just remember that. Especially if you have had mental health problems in the past, I would speak to people about what the best course of action is for you. They can help you by breaking the work down or referring you to counselling or whatever you need. Just reach out if it’s all getting too much. People do care.

🙂

Lia