Dear Social Worker,
I’ve been through tough times. You are a good social worker. I can tell you care and you love what you do. Thank you. I don’t feel comfortable with talking about everything, but I want you to know it isn’t your fault. It’s difficult for me to trust anyone.
I am terrified of extreme poverty. I’m scared of being hungry, cold, dirty, exhausted, unemployable, and left to fight the elements alone. I’m scared of suffering from major mental illnesses and being unable to jump through all the hoops required to make it through treatment. I’m scared of getting shot to death by police for no good reason.
I cope by trying to be invisible. I cope by storing away little bits of food and survival gear. I try to stay warm and dry using grocery bags. I think that, if I never carry money, I’ll be less likely to be beaten and robbed.
I get bad dreams about the things I’ve gone through. It would be nice if I could open up to you, but realistically, I know that’s unlikely. I don’t want to open up, only to feel misunderstood. That would hurt the person I truly am instead of just hurting the mask I hide behind.
I’m also uncomfortable telling anyone that I might be smarter than your average bear, because I’m scared you’ll think it makes me less worthy of your slow, careful patience. Intelligence is overrated. It doesn’t save my sanity or help me get on my feet. It gives me useless talents, like getting my groceries to cost EXACTLY twenty dollars at the self checkout, and the ability to write this anonymous letter, even though I’m a high school drop out.
Please don’t give up on me. You are helping, even though I still have a long way to go.
Thank you, social worker.