The Big Self-Talk

Something a bit different today. I’ve come to the pub to chill out and write another blog as usual. The difference being that it’s lunchtime and I’ll probably end up getting fairly drunk. Or I’ll just drink til I feel terrible and go home and sleep.

But I wanted to dig deep into the topic and try to find some new conclusions. Or strengthen some old ones.

Is my autism really that bad or am I still in denial? I saw recently some footage on YT of a compilation of respectful moments in football. There some heartwarming scenes of Tim Ream leading the Fulham team accompanied by one of the mascots, a young girl sporting ear defenders.

Tim himself sports a pair in a gesture of support and acceptance. Danny Ings the Aston Villa captain has done the same for a young lad as well.

The video in question unfortunately referred to the girl as “sick with autism” which rather undermined the show of respect.

It got me thinking of how there’s absolutely nothing sick about having severe sound sensitivity. We are just different. We struggle because the world isn’t set up to make us comfortable. It’s run on neurotypical lines.

And I guess it’s always going to be that way. Unless we autistic become the majority that runs things. And even then we are all different anyway with different strengths and tolerances.

Though it may have been nothing more than a supportive gesture that offered consideration and connection, it still felt like exactly what we should be given by those around us.

This is what really hurts me I think, that I’ve got relative disabilities that aren’t visible and the accommodations and considerations that I needed were never given.

Given the diagnosis of what used to be called Aspergers is very much a diagnosis of being different and having struggles due to the fact I’ve been trained to believe my differences made me bad.

I know of people who have a much more severe condition which requires 24hr care. My own condition by comparison never felt like a disabiliy but I knew there was so much so just couldn’t do and have managed to get by without.

Being diagnosed really only gave me license to say there is something wrong with me. I say now that really anything wrong with me is just how I’ve had to live my life, avoiding dealing with things, hiding away. Not fitting in anywhere unless I hide all my pain away. Only ever feeling happy when under the influence of alcohol and chemically killing any fears or inhibitions.

Becoming more and more embittered as I repeatedly failed to make a good life for myself. I’m a clear cut example of someone who always self-sabotages due to the fact that I’ve come to believe that I’m inherently broken, sick, a danger to others if I don’t act “normal”.

The classic story of someone who lives under the horrific assumptions of trauma and seeks to be hurt because it’s familiar and expected.

The sad thing about normality is that there comes a point where you can’t accept what’s different. It doesn’t matter who you are, something will come along that is unacceptable. Some of us have long experienced it and it becomes part of our identity.

There’s something inevitable about becoming what we hate. I see it a lot. I’m still a mirror of all the fear and anxiety I’ve had to endure and when it can down to it, I couldn’t accept anyone else’s struggles.

Shutting down is the main defense mechanism I have and that’s always been my way. But I want to stop doing it. There are always better ways of dealing with things.

I want more than anything to stop living under the shadow of past grievances and be a force for good in the world and that means a lot of hard work to actually change the way I deal with the world.

Yes I have to accept myself and be who I am but who I am is still haunted. I’ve always known that I had to do something to sort my mental health issues out. It meant learning to accept myself but also change something fundamental.

The angel within me, I had thought that he died but he is slowly reemerging again. He represents the part of me that cares about things, about other people. It’s a painful lesson to learn but somehow the truth is that I need to stop mirroring and rise above all the hurt.

It’s part of how my brain is wired that I treat people how they treat me without ever considering that I might just be a good person whatever happens. I could maybe turn the other cheek and understand that other people have their own difficulties and shouldn’t be punished for hurting me.

This takes a fundamental rewriting of my thoughts and feelings that can only come from overcoming the trauma beliefs. I think beliefs can only be overcome and changed by testing against reality but that’s already a terrifying prospect.

When I asked for help I was told that only I can help myself and that’s what I’ve been trying to do. It’s the reason I’m still blogging the same the shit week after week. I’m not yet ready to actually do something new or meet new people or make new friends or talk to old friends.

Whatever I’ve done it hasn’t touched the same old insecurities. Hasn’t lead to any real change. I don’t want to change, but I haven’t been able to move on until I do change.

This has nothing whatsoever to my autism but is the history of my struggle with autism. Or was it just my struggle with being different? Without this struggle would I ever have needed to be diagnosed with anything?

I wonder now about whether my chronic lack of self-confidence was always just trauma-based self sabotage. To maintain the narrative that I must be defective because the narrative is easier than the work. This maintains the narrative that I’m just lazy so it becomes part of my identity.

How to rise above the black and white world of good and bad when there’s no doubt that my life is defined by objectively bad experiences.

So many questions remain unanswered. What can/should I change? What about me is worth keeping. If I only ask myself and not care what others think, will that just make me lonely and unhappy? If I look to others to make me happy, can I stay strong enough to hold on to myself?

This is dialectics and they are hard but they are worth it.

I think maybe this is the first time I have ever truly used the blog to actually work through my issues rather than attempt to portray myself as an autistic voice people might want to read.

Maybe that’s just because I’ve reached that point now where I’ve not got anywhere else to go with it.

I have always wanted to be calm and confident around other people. Maybe this means in effect that I want to be “cured” of my social anxiety. Well in that case I want to have done it myself without anyone else’s intervention. By the sheer brainpower of my own mind.

I actually like solving problems, by myself.

This is really the only meaningful thing now. I’m so tired of running and hiding. So sick of the trauma narrative. It’s not what’s I consider a life worth living and yet the realisation only comes in times like these when I have to confront it.

I told someone once that I’ve been stuck in autistic shutdown, that in fact I’ve unavoidably been exposed to my autistic kryptonite with no escape and that I’ve been under attack non-stop. And I’ve done the best I can to survive.

The truth is I didn’t really ever feel autistic until after my diagnosis and since then, I’ve become more and more “autistic”, less tolerant of change, less able to deal with anything, less able to actually look after myself.

It feels now like this was all just a narrative. An excuse to hide behind.

I will leave it to the reader to judge whether I’m really much of an autistic ally, to say whether I sound genuinely autistic or not.

I am very much neurodivergent and suffer the scars of not ever being truly accepted. I can speak with as someone who has internalized 4 decades worth of ableism and stigma.

It’s glaringly obvious the one thing I haven’t done yet to help myself is to actually do the work of getting myself clean and healthy. Showing myself that I actually care by maintaining myself.

I may not very good at doing that but I can’t hide from the fact that I refused to care for myself when no one else cared about me. That mirroring again. I disconnected from everyone in the hope that I would care for myself but I had already given up. Lost hope. Decided it wasn’t worth the effort.

Found myself in a horrible situation whereby it was just easier not to care. About anything.

The only thing that keeps me going is the absurdly high standard of quality of life I set myself. But yet when did I ever actually meet that high standard. Just give up. Just give in. Fight another day. We will try again tomorrow.

Except we won’t and we know we won’t. We will do just enough to get through and then we will give up, again.

I’ve drained my battery so this will continue soon. In the meantime thank you again for reading. It means a lot to me xx


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