Happy new year to all. It’s not something I really feel like celebrating but it’s still a good time to offer that sort of thing.
About time I wrote a new blog, it has been a while. Blogging for me was as much about giving me something to do when sat alone in the pub as about anything else. Last couple of times I’ve just got distracted by actually talking to people and not bothering to go to back and finish.
But I’m doing other things now and don’t really take the time to reflect so much.
Spending much more time playing games, actually doing stuff for fun and enjoyment. Taking time off from worrying and not having to be productive.
On the road to recovery and if there’s anything I wanted to share that might be useful advice it would be to share how my perspective on mental health has changed. Hard to tell whether this is what happens when you heal or if it’s a necessary step towards healing. But I feel different about a lot of things.
I’ve taken this logic from physical health but I feel it’s beneficial to look at my long history of depression not as a sign of being broken but as a sign that my brain is healing, doing what it needs to do to recover from the many blows of life that cause emotional damage.
It’s hard to picture but thinking of the emotional devastation as a literal mental injury. Just as a broken leg causes physical pain that represents the body healing, does the mind heal the same way? Does the emotional pain of social loss and rejection represent a genuine injury to the brain and does the pain represent the brain healing?
With my brain being the way it is, it’s easy to understand the concept that I have no choice in how my brain reacts, and how long it takes to recover. No one chooses to be depressed, I feared the loss of any control over my mood and felt like I was trapped in a state of extreme negativity. I didn’t ever want to be depressed and don’t want to bury myself in darkness.
In the spirit of gratitude I now see the depression as something that protected me by shielding away from further pain and emotional damage, allowing me to heal. It feels strange to say that I don’t hold any anger or despair or sense of injustice over my neurodiverse condition. For the time being I’ve accepted this is who I am and I’m no longer looking in desperation to find some way out.
Long term goals for the new year are to finally find my own place and hopefully that will help me to quit the cigs and give me the space I need away from the stresses of life.
As for the future of blog I’m going to refocus. Want to talk a bit more about ADD in conjunction with Autism as I’m fairly confident I have both. Not been diagnosed with ADD, very self-diagnosing at the moment. I’ve been listening to the stories of those who have both and I see more of my own story reflected back.
I think that a lot of my trauma stems from the fact that I never really felt like I belonged anywhere, that I had a tribe of people like me. Had to hide my true feelings in order to make friends and feel like I fit in. I don’t think I truly ever fit in at my local autism hub. Felt like I was still too different. Had to put on the chameleon suit to blend in.
It’s the real reason I’ve shut myself away the last 2 years, to find the real me by closing off any outside influence. The path to mental recovery has taken me back to who I always was, doing what I’ve always enjoyed. Relearning to enjoy what I had stopped enjoying.
If I’m being honest I tried to embrace every new idea during the dark times, grabbed out for any idea that promised to help me. Watching all the youtube vids aimed at providing support for mental health struggles. Would have tried everything with only a couple of exceptions. Nothing really stood the test of time, nothing really felt comfortable about it. Since everything necessitated significantly changing my behaviour in some way it felt more and more like an imposition of someone else’s idea of beneficial behaviour that just didn’t suit me.
I’ve always had a smidgeon of internalised ableism and I’ve never felt comfortable at the idea that I might be disabled. These days the notion that I need help or that my behaviour is unhealthy and should be corrected just feels like a plain old insult. But I started following some disability rights campaigners on twitter and the dignity they carry humbles me a great deal.
The one thing in the world that truly angers and horrifies me is the exploitation of the most vulnerable in society by those who have the most power. My heart will always belong to those who work to even the playing field. More so to those who call out and oppose the exploitation.
My words have always rang a bit hollow because I never really did anything to stand up for anyone. Felt like I was too weak and vulnerable myself. I know I always needed to support myself better before I could support anyone else. Who knows, I may never get there.
Actually standing up for myself is paying dividends now though. I may always see myself as less able than others but accepting that I am just different and have different abilities, I don’t feel disabled anymore and I don’t feel like I need to make excuses and I don’t need anyone else to understand or accommodate me.
I do however need to support myself and do what I can to make life manageable. Over the years I’ve mastered the art of getting through the day with as little work or effort as possible. Medicated myself with caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. And who’s to say that I could have done it any other way?
What really is behind this new perspective? I doubt it just arrived spontaneously, like everything else there’s a reason for it.
I think it comes from an emerging self-respect. Actually now taking ownership of and responsibility for my daily struggles means I can put myself first. I can filter out the judgemental voices so I can hear the loving voice of support. In fact I think I stopped judging myself completely when I realised that I’ve only ever put 110% into anything worth doing and I only ever failed when I lost sight of my true self.
In fact most of the time failed at stuff I didn’t really feel comfortable doing anyway.
Writing this now I don’t feel afraid of the future, not afraid of being sad or bored, though I’d rather not be. Plenty out there that I am still scared of but taking ownership of my mind, my internal experience, being the boss man in charge of my own head. That is the way to keep the fear of other people at bay.
Thanks for reading as ever x