Life’s Whirlwind

The people who I think know me, know as little about me as nearly the rest of this world; truth is, I don’t really know myself either, my life and the person I am is just as much of a discovery as it is to anybody else, and I only fear that, that’s exactly how it’s going to be until the day I die, whenever that is; I’m like a closed book.

Death scares me, it’s the biggest fear I have, unlike every other fear it’s one that’s inevitable, one that everybody has to face and a fear that happens to us all, some more knowingly or suddenly than others. Fear is something that holds you back, fear is an emotion unlike any other, the hardest to overcome or override, fear isn’t something that can be processed like other feelings, and to some, it can be the most dangerous emotion of them all; fear can make a person become powerless, feel weak, trapped, without facing fear we just keep on running until we can run no more, and then what happens?

You should never fight or block an emotion(s), negative or positive, the best thing you can do is process them, no matter how hard they are to do so, you feel things for a reason, compassion, excitement, sadness, happiness, how you feel is your brain reacting to what it’s seeing, to what you’re thinking, to what’s happening or has happened, it’s how you communicate with the world, it’s a way of letting yourself and other’s know what’s working and what isn’t. Keeping emotions balanced however, is probably the most trickiest thing to master, at least, for myself by any means; when you’re amongst the Autistic Spectrum, at least from how I’ve always known it, emotions are never really balanced, you feel so many things at once that to some extent you feel nothing at all, you block feelings out because your brain, the emotional part anyway, becomes so overwhelmed with everything it’s being fed, that it just shutdown’s because it’s processing speed in comparison to a Neurotypical’s brain, works at a slower rate and can’t keep up to the speed at which it’s should, not to mention, we have a tendency of overthinking things to extremities, which is why I’ve been trying to teach myself the art of not taking things as seriously as I once may have done so.

For eight years I was stuck in the rut of thinking everything was my fault, I’d constantly overanalyse and evaluate things from my past and present, I’d even contemplate about the future, another fear and something I have trouble even now looking towards; I was overthinking, allowing my emotions to take hold of myself rather than myself taking hold of them, and yet after all those years of feeling everything, in just two days something changed and I started to feel nothing at all. At first it felt kind of weird, I couldn’t even feel when I wanted too, when I tried, it’s like I had been stripped bare away from everything that I had once knew; everything from my past now almost seems like a complete blur, as each day passes the memories fade to what feel more like dreams, as if from that point, where I changed, where everything changed, I’d disconnected, disassociated myself from the world almost as if it was some kind of unconscious backup plan to help myself overcome, override, everything that had and was happening inside my mind. Whilst all of that was taking place and still is to be honest, I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder F60.3); BPD is a condition in which a person’s emotions are unstable and intensified to varied degrees, you could be happy one minute and within seconds, you could be crying into a pillow, you’re almost like a dormant volcano awaiting to erupt, and it comes without warning that’s for sure, that in itself frustrates me enough, because the one of the things I dislike in life most is when things are unpredictable and never really certain. Unlike some sufferers, I chose not to have any kind of therapy, counselling or medication, although I did try an antipsychotic called Quetiapine on a very low dose for two weeks, though all it really did was help me sleep if anything, and that was only 50% of the time at that, plus I just find that there’s more solutions out there than just going with the easiest sometimes, medicine; I’ve always been very stubborn, I’ll admit if needs be that I have this condition whilst at the same time, still try to tell other’s that it’s “gone away”, it’s not that I’m worried of being judged by others, or afraid of the stigma that surrounds mental health, it’s just that on the better days, like today for instance, I just don’t feel it I have either. Although readmission happens, and there has been a small number of moments, whether it’s just minutes or days, where I’ve felt close to what I once remembered feeling, I seem to get over them much sooner and with less effect on others than I once ever had, sometimes I wonder why or how that is, but it’s almost like there’s a light switch imbedded in my mind, sometimes I’ll change moods and switch back as nearly as soon as I switched over to begin with, and other times it takes a little longer, but the extremely of it is never like it once used to be, or at least hasn’t been so for over a year now, and maybe thats because I’ve never truly managed to re-connect myself with my emotions again; so many questions.

If you’re having a hard time processing or just dealing with emotions in general, and you’re like myself who doesn’t really deal with them at all because it’s all too much, or if you’re having a bad day, then tips I can provide is to write them out, trust me when I say that it actually works, before I started writing this, I was thinking about everything that had happened recently and not so recently, even things that could happen, may happen, it didn’t matter about there probability scale or there likeliness of happening or not happening, I was still overthinking them through my mind, which is why I wrote this, sometimes getting it out your system and even reading it back to yourself, helps. Other things I’d advise is perhaps making the hard and even the happy times in you’re life, into pieces of music, make your emotions and feelings into something constructive, even an art piece could do the trick. Or for the activists, try exercising, exercising helps release endorphins which naturally make’s you happier, not to mention is also a great use of distraction if you’re like me and just sometimes need a break, from thinking about whatever it is that’s playing on your mind, not saying that you should avoid the problem always, but sometimes if that’s the only solution you can come up with, then it’s better than nothing, and often I’ve found that you just come out with a calmer mind because of it to the point that the problem isn’t there anymore anyway, so not only are you being active and helping your physical state, but your helping your mental state too; remember, dwelling on a problem is going to solve it, because problems don’t sort themselves out, you do, that’s your job.

Because of the way I process emotions and feelings, it can come across to some that I lack compassion, sympathy and empathy, it’s not that I don’t feel as I’ve already stated, but I just feel and process emotions differently, as I’ve also said; I can’t fault myself for the way I was born, for the way my brain was wired. It doesn’t mean I can’t sympathise, empathise or be compassionate, but it’s just that I’d rather be sympathetic, empathetic or compassionate about things that’s actually worth being sympathetic, empathetic or compassionate over, and to different people, that’s different things; I need to be able to relate in some way to be able to feel those types of things and for the majority, humans and what goes on outside my world, I just don’t feel or am able to make that connection, unlike with animals, I do. That’s not because I’m secretly an animal, that’d be ridiculous, but it’s because animals are loyal, more so to say than most humans I’ve come across and known, they’re not distrusting, they’re not judgmental, they’re any person’s best friend, especially dogs, I love dogs, they’re probably on the top list of my favourite animal alongside many others. So if I appear to have the wrong type of humour, say the wrong thing without thinking through, or just don’t seem to feel in the same manner of which you do towards things, don’t necessarily fault me for the way that I am, when really it can’t be helped because it was how I was born.

Everything that happens in your lifetime sculpts you to be the person that you become, it creates your personality; genetics, the people who you surround yourself with, environment, they create the person that you present yourself to be; of course however it’s your decision in how you chose to act, whether you let life events effect you in a negative or positive way; whatever colour, race, size, religion you are, it doesn’t matter, to some extent we are all the same as individual as we are, because actually, we are all human’s at the end of the day, unless you know something I don’t, and sometimes it’s okay to have a bad day, sometimes it’s okay to get angry, we all travel along an emotional rollercoaster at some point in our lives, but certainly and most importantly it’s okay to feel, and it’s most definitely okay to be you.

For now this is who I am, when the worst happens unfortunately like most do, I’ll avoid or change topic because like most, or at least I’d like to think most, I long and yearn for people who are around myself to be happy, not to mention a life that’s somewhat peaceful and quiet. I don’t entail to live in a world of drama, or anger people, I just live for the simplicity, even though in this society that can be rather hard to receive which is why then the tragedies happen, and they unfortunately do, I tend to opt out and crawl back into a world of my own, the safest and most secure place I know.

Kidding Yourself

It infuriates me only so deeply when somebody attempts to convince themselves they’re something they’re not, and not only themselves but the public too, people they know and people they don’t, including professionals. In reality I probably shouldn’t take any notice and shouldn’t retaliate neither, and yet subtly I can’t help but snivel anger and loathe the person that’s only lying about something thats far to close to home. Autism; a diagnosis at which I was given at 7 years of age, a diagnosis which is chronic in the sense it’ll never be cured and is permanently set, embedded in my mind and body, personally I never want it to be rid from my mental or physical state anyway, it’s apart of my personality, it’s all I’ve ever known. I feel like people with AS, truly have a sick sense for when it comes to noticing others with AS or similar diagnosis, you know when diagnosis speaks truth and when it’s a lie or symptoms, traits are being mimicked. As much as it makes me feel special, unique, and gives me many talents or gifts to unfold and entail, it still comes with a lot of difficulties I’ve had too and am still learning to overcome daily, why anyone would want to have those difficulties or be apart of something that at times can be so hard to deal with, I can’t quite understand; when a person searches thoroughly and obsesses over mental health conditions or learning disabilities in order to obtain a diagnosis, at which they only know about through knowledge of research, rather than because they actually have the condition itself, or even to obtain financial benefits, is merely wrong, the fact that they even managed to convince themselves or even others to go through the diagnostic process in the first instance, or actually have a desire themselves to want the condition, is a clear sign that there’s something bigger going on, more so mentally than anything else; ever herd of Munchausen’s Syndrome? This person I speak about doesn’t have Autism, not even close, they’re sociable, inattentive, talkative, can wash, cook, move around outside and inside unaided and independently, travels alone and aren’t necessarily the cleverest of people (it’s known generally that those on the higher end of the spectrum are known for being rather intelligent individuals), they don’t have any particular obsessions or interests, they’re not typically organised, they don’t nor have ever experienced meltdowns, a need for routine, and there interest of the subject only seemed to of started once they learnt about the condition through myself a few years ago, not mention that’s when they also began filing through tests on the topic and related conditions. If I felt the diagnosis was a true and meaningful one, of course I’d be the first to accept having the condition myself, but I only know that it’s mimicked and just a text book presentation, a facade, I know that person all to well, they constantly seek for something to be wrong, it’s just not normal, standard behaviour, I’m only curious now as to what the next problem will be. Probably some reading this will question why I’ve bothered, when the behaviour that person shows is so repetitive and so far unchangeable, others would wonder if I’m not envious or jealous, whilst some will just simply agree; why should they be allowed to pass through the system so easily and with limited effort, when others who actually do actually have the condition and are trying to get a diagnosis struggle? The system is flawed, especially when they’ve now got kicked out of there house in order to obtain a place of their own; that shouldn’t be how it works and yet it is; none of it’s genuine. Anybody can look online at symptoms of ODD, ADHD, ASD etc. and act the traits out to both non professionals and professionals in order to obtain a diagnosis, it’s honestly not that hard so to speak, or not that I’d imagine, which is why it’s more important than ever for a person to get diagnosed as soon as the symptoms develop or show, Autistic traits classically are presented from birth or a young age typically, and if the concern is their from any parent, family member etc. then action should be taken almost immediately in order to benefit the child and their development, not when you’re in the beginning’s of adulthood and are just sitting aimlessly, lazily, wining over the littlest of things when they’re not going your way like a child who’s being purely un-co-operative, this may all sound a little harsh, even insulting to a degree, but with a subject taken out of a context, one that’s being used as a lable wrongly, where it’s so personal to myself, I only felt that everything I’ve said, needed to be done so and whether they come across this post or not, I honestly couldn’t care because I’m just speaking the truth and it’s what I feel, it’s the main reason to why I ever stopped having anything to do with them and until they come to terms and stop living in denial, open their eyes and start living in the real world, that there’s literally nothing wrong with them and stops making excuses for why they say or do things, then any relationship I ever had with them, won’t ever be reprimanded or taken back; their just kidding themselves.

Explaining Myself

Trying to maintain the facade that you’re okay, that everything’s going to be fine. You tell yourself to be strong, to stop being miserable, to buckle up, you don’t want to give off the impression that you’re someone whose amongst the weak, someone who only brings a negative atmosphere to the room, so every time someone asks you if you’re okay, you stand there with a smile and reply “i’m okay, honest”. Why lie? Exactly all of those reasons I’ve listed above, that’s why, and not only are you lying to the person whose giving a damn to care, but most importantly, you’re lying to yourself. I’ve learnt to hide any pain I’m truly feeling, for most days I can numb my emotions, push them aside and forget that I even have any feeling at all, stay silent and hide amongst the crowd. It’s been a year since I’ve felt any urgency to cry, to feel need to relieve myself from everything or anything that I’m feeling, what I’m feeling. Part of me feels like maybe confiding in someone would make it easier, instead of bottling everything, then again, contribute to the thought or feeling of being a burden? To scare them with what might come out my mouth, when some of the things I think or feel even scare myself? I think not. Why would I want to offload my problems on to somebody else anyway, when they probably already are dealing with enough of their own. I went through eight years of constantly feeling as if I was alone, as if the world was against me, pitying myself, complaining about everything and anything because I generally wasn’t in a happy place, and I already knew then that people saw me differently. Not once, nor ever do I wish to return to the place I was once emotionally in, sometimes it frightens me that it could happen, or that this is the start of it happening again. Sometimes the world gets a little to loud, you can’t contain what you feel anymore, so as soon as you’re behind closed doors your defences come down, it’s usually at this point that I can’t help but look at my reflection and wonder what’s wrong with me, or what’s right. I miss how things used to be, when things were so innocent, when I’d believe that people cared, where I’d feel that I was actually worth something, I’m exhausted, emotionally, all I want to do is please others and yet in-turn all I find that I’m doing is unconsciously neglecting my own state of health instead; there’s only so many times you can tell yourself to cheer up, that it’ll get better, there’s only so much you can do to distract yourself, and as much as I don’t want to admit defeat, in my mind it feels I can do no more or i’m at the end of my tether; I’m 21 and I’ve barely even lived, I shouldn’t be so scared to do so but yet I am. Sometimes I’d wish someone could hug me, hold me close, just show me they understand, even if they don’t, show me they care, without being judgmental, but instead I don’t have anybody like that, I’m just left feeling alone, broken, confused, I don’t understand emotions that well as it is. To my parents I’m merely a form of gossip, they don’t care, and if they do they have a particularly funny way of showing it, I know that they do, do some good, but it doesn’t mean I can leave behind every little thing that’s ever hurt me, as I’ve grown up it seems like the balance of it has been more bad than good. They put on this facade themselves when any professionals are in the room, or when required, they’ve given up almost the same as I have myself and I’m not the only one who’s seen that either, and to other’s I’m just there when they need me to be. My health is just something my mother uses to knock me over the head with, as if I brought matters on myself, never did I ask for what I have, so how am I to blame? That lingers, words said never really fade, they stick, the same with memories, even now when trying to do things myself, be more independant, I feel as if I’m getting little support; if I could take everything I’ve developed over the past few years away in a second, I’d do so in a heartbeat. I take care of myself when I have my seizures, nobody else is going to, it’s my responsibility even whilst unconscious and not in control, or so it seems. I could go to sleep and wake tomorrow and forget this ever happened, then something what ever it may be’ll set me off, remind me or make me remember of this, and all the rest where I remember what it’s like to truly feel, I don’t like it and yet it feels impossible to stop it, I find I can only control my emotional state for so long before it swaps roles and becomes in control of me; my mood seems as unstable and as unpredictable as myself; I don’t image a future for myself, I’m just wondering aimlessly without any meaning or direction, I’m just tryna concentrate on being happy with myself as a priority, and admittedly that worked rather well for a while, but now I feel like I’ve suddenly just reached the point where I’ve burned out; I don’t even feel like I need to push anybody away like I used too because I don’t even feel like anybody’s there to begin with anymore; everything’s just becoming difficult, and I don’t know whether this is the Borderline Personality Disorder seeping through that I still somewhat reject and refuse to believe I have or what, but right now I just don’t feel like me; I feel disconnected, it’s pretty easy to handle the positive feelings, but the negative, not so much. I don’t want to be in touch with my emotions if this is what feeling is like, I don’t want to have the impulse or urge to self harm because in the moment it feels like it’s the only thing that’ll make things better, when in reality and at the aftermath of it all, it won’t, it’ll just make me regret my actions and’ll make me feel stupid; I don’t pity myself, I’m not really sure what I feel for myself, but who I do feel anything for, is for those that have to or do, put up with me and the way I am; I’m not exactly asking for anybody’s sympathy or empathy, I don’t hand it out much myself, but for someone to walk by my side, for someone to understand, for someone to remind me that I’m not alone, that’s all I’ve ever needed, thats all I ever ask.

Explaining Autism

Autism is life long neurological developmental condition, or in simpler terms, it’s a condition that developed either prior to birth or shortly after and only continues to develop as we continue to age. Autism effects everybody differently, some more than others; some can manage with little or no support and others will need full time care depending on the severity of their Autism and where they are along the spectrum.autism_wordline.jpgEverybody with a diagnosis of Autism is placed somewhere amongst a spectrum, hence it being a spectrum disorder, which means nobody with Autism is the same, so you never can compare one Autistic person to another. Instead of imagining the spectrum as a linear line, picture it as a wheel with all you’re Autistic traits dotted in various places depending on their severity; the more severe traits you display, the more likely you’ll be diagnosed further along the spectrum, to be diagnosed with Autism, you have to meet the DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria which I speak about below; for some this can be an easier process than others, as Autism is one of those ‘hidden disabilities’ and the less severe it is, the more masked Autism can appear to be; it’s known for females to mask Autism better than males which is more than likely why there is a higher percentage of males diagnosed in comparison to females, it’s important to get a diagnosis when you first notice symptoms, as the process can be often a very lengthly one for most. Autism can be linked with other conditions, like various learning disabilities, mental health issues and other conditions, so support for every person with Autism differentiates from person to person. Autism is actually a very common condition also, around 7000,000 people in the UK alone are diagnosed with the condition, so you are never really alone even if it may feel like you are.

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People diagnosed with Autism have three main area’s of impairments, difficulty with social interaction, communication and imaginative play. Often those who are diagnosed with Autism struggle with knowing or being aware of what is or isn’t socially appropriate, like often coming across as rude for example, as we have the tendency to speak before we think, this is linked with the way our body’s process information, generally our processing speeds are slower than average and therefore it takes us more time to comprehend and make sense of something, to help, allowing more time for a response or reminding us to think carefully before hand can lead to less upset for the other person and ourselves. Making conversation is the second main difficulty that those with Autism have, they may come across as shy or even quite the opposite, this is usually depending on factors such as, who we’re with, what situation we’re in or how well or how comfortable we are with the person, another reason why communication and making conversation can be a struggle, is because we often like things to be certain, we’re never quite sure in how the other person will respond to what we say, and so prefer to be approached first rather than ourselves having to be the conversation starter, not to mention also, we like what’s being said to be short and simple. Last and not least, imaginative play, for those with Autism like myself, picturing something in our heads is a very difficult thing to do as our mind has the tendency to be very black and white with very little grey area in between, this is partly why we also think in the way that we do, and are very certain or rigid with our believes and what’s right or wrong and so on. Other Autistic traits or characteristics that a person with Autism will often display are intense or obsessive interests, otherwise known as having the ability to become hyper-focused on something we’re passionate and have a high level of interest in, rigid routines; dislike for change or spontaneous occurrences, it’s a good idea if change is going to happen to prepare the person timely in advance, difficulties responding or recognising emotions, reading facial expressions, repetitive behaviours or the need to stim, such as rocking, hand flapping or making high pitched noises due to over or under stimulation or even a mixture of the two, as it’s more than common for those with Autism to have sensory processing disorder. Things that can help with this is purchasing various sensory items like fidget toys, weighted blankets, fairy lights, noise cancelling headphones etc. A person with Autism may also be non-verbal, be very organised, be impatient, give little eye contact, have high or low tolerability towards feeling pain, be very literal, struggle with decision making, and struggle with personal hygiene and personal space.

A person with Autism pictures the world very differently to someone without, often it can be quite an overwhelming experience and they see the world as being against them as it appears like a massively scary place, even the littlest of things can cause anxiety for a person who’s Autistic, such as going out somewhere new, change, meeting someone, known or unknown etc.

Getting a diagnosis doesn’t mean you’re automatically placing a lable on yourself, labels are found on text books or food packaging etc. they explain and define very little, where as a diagnosis does not. A formal diagnosis can be a way forward for you or your child in being one step closer to receiving help that can make life become so much more easier than what it may well be without, it allows you to access things you may’ve not be able too without the condition formally diagnosed, not to mention having a diagnosis explains to you and others around yourself the reasons why you think, say and do the things you do; having a diagnosis doesn’t define you, it’s merely just an explanation to help people understand you better, it’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed of, and although it may automatically feel like you’ve suddenly become different from the rest of your friends and peers, the reality is, we’re all different anyway so what’s it matter?

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Having Autism isn’t a bad thing, in fact there’s quite a few perks and positives to having the condition that could quite easily outweigh it’s struggles, for example, most people with Autism are very clever individuals and excel academically, there’s also the well known fact that people with Autism can be very talented and excel exceedingly in one or more of the following areas, mathematics, music, art and computing this is often down to our great ability to focus intensively on an area of interest, I also believe that it’s easier to express ourselves creatively and through these areas we’re able to do so as there quite creative subjects to various levels of degree, it’s also easier to express through those forms of interests, rather than through role play or by other means which as I’ve said previously, is a thing we have difficulty doing. Another fantastic thing about Autism is our memory capacity, for the most of us who have Autism, you’ll always be wanting to watch what you say due to our sensitive ears and our ability to hone in and remember conversation word for word, that’s if, we’re not in selective hearing mode; we can retain large amounts of information more so than a person without the condition, and remember things that others would easily forget; some of us are very organised too, which is partly down to of our love for routine, it means we’re never or rarely late, and have everything and more that we need in preparation prior to what ever could or is happening, making us therefore more efficient individuals which is something employers later in life will want you to be, and is expected from your teachers and lecturers during your years of education. We’re very straight forward also and don’t really have any hidden agendas, people know what we want when we make them aware and communicate it to them, because we just speak it how it should be, and so people get a clear message, even if sometimes it can be a little rude. We don’t live on expectations, we don’t follow or age stereotypically that’s expected or demanded of us in which we supposedly should, we set our own pace, we have our own mind and aren’t persuaded or controlled by what everybody else may or may not be doing, we live in our own world, and in fact that’s rather a good thing, because it means we concentrate on ourselves and are probably more happy than what somebody who’s just following everybody else is doing and what society is doing is; overall we are very unique and special individuals and should embrace the fact that we have Autism rather than to deny it, to not just the people around us but to ourselves too.

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Just because you have Autism, it doesn’t make you any less of a person than a person who’s not neurodiverse like yourself. It doesn’t stop from being able to achieve any less and it doesn’t disable you from doing what the rest of the people can do even though it is classed as a disability, but that’s besides the point, all having Autism means is that you may find that things take a little longer to grasp and you may have to find different ways of doing them in order to succeed at the same or above the rate as everybody else – that’s another thing though, most people who have Autism have an amazing work ethic, that often will keep us ahead of the workload anyway even with the struggles standing. The quicker you learn to understand and accept yourself, the easier it’ll be for others to do the same. Just be happy with who you are, it’s apart of you and you may as well embrace it rather than waste excess energy on fighting something that won’t ever disappear. You were born this way for a reason, you can find ways to help, and you can find ways to make life easier, but don’t simply deny the condition just because you don’t want it, either way it’ll still be there and it’ll only cause more hard work for not only the people around you but yourself too. I’m proud to be Autistic, I have Autism and it’s apart of who I am and I wouldn’t change it for the world, so why aren’t you?

Bibliography
https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/diagnosis/dsm-5-diagnostic-criteria http://www.jalderson.com/imagination-autism-irony-treatment/ http://www.autism.org.uk/card