Covid-19: Mental Health

I know most people have probably already done a blog post on this pandemic but I haven’t yet, so here goes.

Before Covid-19, I left my house maybe once or twice a week; I napped daily, due to a combination of factors, and I didn’t have a lot going for me. It’s not as hard for me to cope with this change as it would be for someone regularly going to a job or uni — simply because I didn’t have a lot going on. I don’t think I’ll have a lot going on for a long time. I am depressed, anxious, and autistic. This is how my life has been, since a young age. I could never concentrate at school when it got into the afternoon, so I’m glad I am now able to take this time for myself.

Simply put, this gives me a reason to stay in my house, a reason to not leave, a reason to continue being depressed. Whilst on the front, because I didn’t leave the house a lot anyway, it looks like there isn’t much change, there is. I now have an excuse to stay inside for weeks at a time and get out of the routine of leaving the house. This is affecting my mental health, and it’s probably affecting other people’s mental health too.

I’m here to tell you that, even if you don’t feel like it, have a bath or shower. Brush your hair. At least have the motivation to do that, because if you don’t — you might end up forgetting how to look after yourself. I’ve been trying my best to have baths when I can’t be bothered because it’s the one thing I can do right now. Also, even introverts need friends. Reach out to people; even those that you haven’t talked to for a while. You might find you relate to them more because of this crisis. Try, when it’s sunny, to go out into the garden for a few minutes each day. These past few days, the weather has been great so I’ve gone into the garden and enjoyed it. Even if I don’t have any plans, even if I can’t see the future, I can see today and I can accept it, whatever happens.

This year was going to be a good year. I literally wrote a tweet in January about all the plans I was looking forward to; my cousin’s wedding, my 21st, etc. Now, it’s going to be a bit different. It won’t be how I envisioned it but it will still happen and, to be frank, changes happen all the time. When I was going to college, I’d get freaked out if there were changes to the train times. Now, there’s a massive change that is going to affect everybody, and somehow, I feel more calm than I did then. I am worried about the financial future of my family, I am worried about the health of everybody, but I have accepted that whatever is going to happen will happen and I can’t change it. However, I can help myself and others by washing my hands regularly and not going outside, so I’m going to do that. I did get sick a few weeks ago but I have no way of knowing if that was Covid-19 or not, so I’m going to say that I haven’t had it and continue washing my hands regularly because it’s better to be safe, even if you think you’ve had it. Yes, there’s a chance you’ll be immune, but you don’t know for certain, and unless you had a test done, you won’t know for certain that you had it. So keep washing your hands and keeping yourself mentally-prepared.

I also wanted to add a note at the end of my mid-night ramblings. A good friend of mine, MyMindSpeaksAloud has started a weekly well-being challenge which you can sign up to here. She’s amazing and it really has helped me focus on something. Even if some weeks I haven’t managed to complete the challenges, just reading the emails from her made me smile and think of something in my mind. When it started, I was unwell so wasn’t able to complete it, but now I’m in a better mindset and enjoying reading her emails and hopefully completing the challenges. It really does help if you need a little boost. Thank you a lot, Alice.

First Post of Year, I Guess

I think I’ve been a bit overwhelmed lately which was why I haven’t posted yet this year. I’ve been sad and anxious and also ill physically so I didn’t really have a chance to, though I have posted one or two poems on my Instagram (@bamboochewer) and some pet and food photos during that time.

I guess I would say that I feel a bit like an alien. I do have friends but I don’t feel like I relate to humans, as such, because I’m so odd. I feel like I’d probably relate better to someone who doesn’t live on this planet but has recently come across it. Everyone there is a stranger to them and they look different and they act different. That’s how I’d describe how I feel.

I recently met up with a friend I’ve known since birth; however we haven’t seen each other for several years, since we were at school really. It was nice seeing her but I’m terrible at social interaction and immediately felt overwhelmed when she wanted to see me the second week. I like her a lot and I think she’s awesome but I always worry that I say the wrong things. I think I have said many wrong things across the years. I just blurt out things and most people end up hating me, which is why I don’t like meeting up with people regularly. I feel like… the more I see someone, the more they’ll realise that I’m a weirdo and the less they’ll want to see of me.

Also, most people don’t think about the world as I think of it, and I struggle to relate to people because of that. I think I have maybe one friend that has the exact same mindset as me; everyone else doesn’t understand, truly, how painful life is for me. I’d consider myself to be pretty empathetic and this empathy goes for all living beings, but it comes with great sadness. I see animals suffering and I want to help them so bad but I can’t. My autism prevents me from doing what I’ve always wanted to do; help animals! I love writing but I think, spiritually, I am that girl who talks to a butterfly and asks how it’s doing but then realises it will be dead soon and has a little funeral inside my head. I don’t talk to most people about these thoughts I have because they wouldn’t get it but I do feel like an alien for having them.

I think I’m going to do some things in my life, but I won’t do them until I’m a lot older. At least, that’s what my numerology says (I’ve become interested in it recently and my friend told me what it means for me). So maybe I’ll be like Greta Thunberg, just a granny version of her.

I like people a lot but there’s certain traits of people that I don’t understand. I think because I’m autistic, I like to see things in two ways. You either are something or you’re not, so when people say they’re in the middle of a way of thinking, I get a little confused.

We all have a purpose and I think I’m discovering my purpose as I move along in life. Your purpose can change over time too. Existing is a worthwhile purpose, if you can’t think of anything else. Existing is hard enough, so don’t worry about needing a greater purpose. Just being here is a challenge enough, sometimes.

And that concludes today’s random depressed and anxious musings.

Lia

Why I Love Writing Poetry

Poetry is the main thing in life that keeps me going. I’ve been through hard times and just getting it out onto paper helps. I can’t tell people about the hardest of times because they won’t understand but I can write about it. I can write about all the things that keep me up at night. Sometimes I lock away the poems, for my eyes only, and other times I share them with the world.

My mum is an artist. I always found that to be such an awesome job (even if you don’t get paid much mostly) because you can express who you are in art. I tried to do art but it just wasn’t for me. At one point, when I was a kid, I wanted to be an actress. I loved acting! But then I lost my confidence due to events and gave up on that. At one stage, I wanted to be vet. I’ve always been writing, since I was young, but never thought it was something that could become more meaningful than just a hobby. I started out writing picture books and soon turned to short stories. Now poetry is my domain.

Writing has saved me a lot, I’d say. It has helped with my depression and anxiety. It hasn’t cured them but getting words out onto paper has really helped me. I do wish I could tell people my true feelings but I fear loneliness. Once you place your burdens on people, they might leave you. It’s happened before. So I place my burdens on writing now. The paper absorbs my soul and breathes my air.

Poetry is art too; it’s just a different form of art. No one sees the world the way I see it. Especially due to me being autistic. I often find myself holding back thorns in my mouth because I want to tell people how I see the world. But they will not approve because it’s not how you’re supposed to see the world. At least poetry will always be my friend, and it will always accept me, even though I’m different. Poetry doesn’t give me bad advice or tell me things I don’t need to know; it just listens and that’s why I love it.

Thank you poetry.