Getting back

There’s no denying or escaping the fact that I’m feeling increasingly lonely at the moment. I’ve no desire to spend the rest of my life alone. This isolating was with the aim to be more secure around people by being more comfortable alone.

The place I’m in now is not a good place to be alone. I do need someone to talk to and offer a distraction.

So tonight I’m back out for drinks. It’s a been while but probably not that long really.

I’ve been through something taxing today and I probably should be resting but I committed myself to getting fairly drunk and felt like staying open to some company.

Had a first at work. The first time I’d had to report a breach due to a policy being incorrectly administered.

It was nerve wracking because it’s the sort of thing I don’t like dealing with and to be honest after 3 years I was worried there might be questions asked as to why I haven’t done one before.

But yeah I asked for and got help and it’s something I know I can deal with now.

We’re a regulated industry and our breaches must be reported within 72 hrs. There was no putting off until Monday.

That didn’t happen until mid afternoon so I took my extra half hour dinner break and popped in to my local autism hub.

I was hoping to be a bit more social again and it was nice to see an old friend who I haven’t seen for ages. We had a quick catch up and I’m pleased to see she’s doing well.

I got to ask how the others are doing which put my mind to rest a little.

I mentioned that I’ve been spending too much time alone as I learn to be myself. It got me thinking again about how the real me is so difficult to find.

The real me is someone who is friendly but at the same time I’m doing it because I need other people around me to feel human. Without company, what exists deep inside doesn’t really feel very human.

It is totally part of who I really am that I don’t feel safe alone because if I have to isolate to protect myself I’m already trapped in a place where I don’t feel safe.

I am such a different person when I’m around people who make me feel good. The 2 sides of me don’t recognise each other.

That’s the reason I have pursued the Jungian ideal of integrating my 2 selves. To become a balanced person.

During the bad times I had unfriended my old friend which i immediately regretted and fully expected she wouldn’t want to talk to me. But she did.

It made me think that she was so casual that she didn’t even notice I had disappeared which kind of sucked in a way but I was ultimately really glad that she was still friendly.

I’m going to continue pursuing building bridges to being friends again with the old group but I also want to just keep going to new places and begin to meet new people.

Perhaps now I’m becoming more like my old friends by staying open while not really doing anything to cement friendships into demanding relationships.

I still want to pursue relationships of course because I find it easier to trust people when I know they’ll stand by me and stick with me.

It’ll help to spend time around people again but at some point I’ll want more and become unhappy again. But better to be unhappy than to repeat the experiences of the last 18 months.

And so the burgeoning creative inside me really wants to start writing something. To create a world that I can lose myself in and hopefully provide me some alternative to the loneliness.

It’s a big deal and I’m still so hesitant to give it a proper go. I can tell myself that it will be some thing worthwhile that I can be proud of. Maybe it can be what I dedicate my life to instead of seeking out the company of real people.

One fear is that it will make the isolation worse and I’ll ultimately get lost in the dark forest again. But it might be the sort of thing I need to give myself the belief that I’ll be ok.

At this time I can reveal that I finally deleted my Facebook and it’s too late to reclaim it now. I’m already plotting how to relaunch myself by creating a brand new account but only in order that I might have better control over how much I share of myself.

I’m returning to some good advice, to take things one at a time and make slow but steady progress. Trying to rebuild myself but it has to be done right. And it needs good foundations.

I think that I need to apply myself in such a way that I can win one small victory at a time while making sure that I get as much rest and healing as possible.

It’s truly a great feeling when you finally deal with something big but there’s an energy cost and things don’t sink in until you’ve rested and recovered. Feel that weight lifted from your shoulders.

Getting in touch with a better self-image now. I’ve been trying to hold onto the various schema that exists inside myself.

The demons who are covered in spikes to hurt people who get too close. The harsh taskmaster who demands I do better. The child who always want to play and won’t listen to anyone else.

There was even a brief dalliance with the archetype of cool. The unbeatable aloofness of the smirking figure who is above everything but whose eyes smoulder with the fire of warm charisma.

I know I’ve needed this tonight. To take a break from worrying and engage with the part of myself that is free to imagine something better.

So it feeling I’m getting my humanity back again. It feels like connecting with other people helped me connect with my better self again. That was probably always the case.

It’s no accident that all of my friends were autistic and it’s no surprise that I seek to keep them in my life and spend all of my time with them. It’s no surprise that I reacted so badly to losing that connection nor why I feel so bad for the way I reacted.

But tonight is a night for allowing myself to feel good again simply because I’ve reconnected with a part of myself that I love and have shut off the voice that tells me I need to be someone else to feel that love.

The pub is quiet but not too quiet and they’re playing some good music. I can sit by myself and blog or I can join some people I know.

What would the archetype of cool do? He’d do whatever the fuck he wanted.

Thanks as always for reading

Kindest Regards to those who do xx

What does my autism mean?

It’s worth revisiting this subject every now again. It’s no secret that I’ve struggled to understand and accept my diagnosis. But I am making progress in this direction.

All I have done since the diagnosis is to bravely push myself into overcoming my difficulties, proving to myself that I shouldn’t let it hold me back. And the happiest period of my life was when I was around people who didn’t make me socially anxious.

There’s a life out there for me somewhere where I can be happy and free. My autism doesn’t mean I’m doomed to struggle forever. But I’ll never find that place until I truly know who I am and how to manage my life in a way that is actually beneficial to me.

I question everyday what is truly autistic and what is merely my own refusal to look myself in the face and stand up for myself. I only just met the threshold for diagnostic criteria. I imagine I was masking quite a bit during the process. All my life has been spent chained to the neurotypical world and I’ve always tried to blunt my edges to fit in. Well actually not always.

Life has been a balancing act between doing what makes me happy which involves being true to myself, and doing what I need to do to survive which is never the stuff I actually want to do but instead am forced to do.

I think I always made a choice wherever possible, to do what I want but never what I need. More often than not it’s the wrong choice in the end.

When I say life is a balancing act, that actually means that I oscillate sharply from one extreme to the other. Never been very good at shades of grey, that’s just not my world.

Talking how we neurodivergent see the world differently, I don’t think there’s ever been space in my world for anyone other than myself. The hardest thing to deal with has always been how self-conscious I am around other people. It feels like the world is somehow on hold because everything now revolves around what might happen when my brain registers someone else in vision.

At a simple level, the brain goes into fear mode. Fight or Flight or Freeze. I’m not sure if there’s much adrenaline going on, it doesn’t feel like a rush. But it does feel like everything is magnified. And it doesn’t result in actually taking steps to escape any danger because my rational mind knows there is no real danger. But my brain just hypes up everything anyway.

And I have to go certain lengths to calm myself down but it feels like my brain never turns off this fear response. I’m always tired because my brain and body are always agitated.

It’s generally always Flight or Freeze for me because confrontation is truly what I’m most frightened of. I’m in self-preservation mode where my brain is anxiously scanning for all possible things to wrong. Always frozen while I anxiously await the stimulus until I just react.

And yet there is the craving for stimulus. Life feels so empty without it.

I can’t really do small talk and I can’t really ever sit down and talk to someone without fully determining how it will affect me. And truthfully, if it doesn’t affect me then I’m not stimulated so I’m not really engaged.

All of this adds up to strong notion that I am quite narcissistic deep down. Certainly among what some psychologists would call “vulnerable narcissism”. But I would say that I am who I am for a reason.

Everything happens for a reason, meaning cause and effect rather than any spiritual interpretation. I am who I am because I lack something that allows me to engage with the world in the normal way. I do care about people but then, like everything else it’s for selfish reasons.

Ultimately I’ve gone to great lengths to compensate for this selfishness by trying to act unselfishly. But putting the cares of others before my own leaves me more vulnerable.

I’ve been pondering the question of whether it was really in my best interest to be diagnosed with autism. It was important to be diagnosed with something because I was headed down a long, dark road at that point. No job, no friends, no life, had struggled to readjust after graduating uni at the age of 33.

Was it useful to be diagnosed under the wide umbrella of autism? It didn’t really answer any of my questions. There was no path forward, no treatment, no real idea of anything. There was a general support available which really consisted of signposts for services and general information about autism.

The true good it does is to find a community of people like you, they have a drop in session once a week to provide a safe space to talk to people or be by yourself with plenty of activities. And there was the old monthly socials to give us safe social engagement.

I was never truly interested in being safe, I was always looking for stimulation. In that way I think I was always looking to defy the idea of being autistic, that in a safe environment I was itching to break forth and be confident and badass.

There is a certainly a gaggle of demons inside me that likes to subvert social expectations but knowing that all my friends and acquaintances were autistic there was a natural tendency to repress myself around them. I threw myself into the autistic community and became more sensitive and empathetic as a result.

Did I end up becoming too sensitive? Too meek? It was a wonderful place to be when life was opening up and there was so much potential. As I write now, that feels like a million years ago.

It makes all the difference to be in a welcoming environment where you are accepted but I was still the same guy I always was. Hunting for another fix so I could escape myself. I wasn’t learning anything about life, myself or others.

Everything in my life is and always has been about myself because I have always been trying to answer the question. “Who am I?” And I build up the ideas of who I am from others, only in terms of how they see me.

I could say that I’m self-centred for the most important reason. I’m lacking a functioning ego and therefore, the most fundamental insecurity of all. That I’m not in any control of myself. That I’m basically an autonomous, mindless machine that sees everything but can do nothing.

When I’m around people I automatically relinquish free will. When I’m alone I’m crying out for someone to show me I exist.

And so the crux of the issue. I was constructing a false sense of self from those I was close to. In the end the relationship I was trying to build with others was really just trying to build with myself. Everything I did to support the one I loved was my way of supporting myself. I was trying to cement a relationship between us in a way that fused us together, made us inseparable.

Everything I was looking for in her, I was looking for it in myself. I was living my life vicariously through her in every way. Everything I did to help or hurt her was to help or hurt myself.

All of this came from the fact that I had subordinated myself to her so totally because I’d given up on myself. All along I was at the mercy of my heart, to give control of myself over to her and put her in charge of defining my identity, of determining my fate.

I projected everything onto her when things were too difficult to face up to because I’d lost the ability to really empathise and accept that she was different.

It’s extremely difficult for me socialise with someone who is different. To talk about their interests and stuff they care about that I don’t. I’m not good at it and I don’t feel comfortable. I don’t really understand people who are different. Of course that’s probably cause I’ve only got my own shabby internal model for understanding the human mind.

And mine was always so skewed away from the normal mode.

To attempt to summarise and find a useful conclusion, it’s fair to say that I have to, first and foremost, build my own identity and become independent by finally respecting my need to be alone. To give myself a home where I am master of my own destiny. Where I have the space to always put my own needs first and look after myself.

I hope to become a more balanced person so that I am able to be less black and white. I won’t want to shut myself away for too long, inevitably I’ll want to be social again and I’ll put myself under much less pressure. I hope to be less single-minded so I can balance the seeking of stimulation with the calling of calmness. I really need to spend more time relaxing and I’ll be freer to balance my life when I finally gain some control over external influences.

Ultimately I need some say in my own environment so I can actually have control over the forces that cause me stress and anxiety.

I’d very much like to take a break from constantly talking about myself, frankly I’d have gotten bored of reading if it wasn’t me writing it.

I appreciate very much those who do read, you must have the patience of a saint.

I have no idea how visible the blog actually is so I don’t know how anyone has actually found it but it’s a nice feeling to receive likes and subscribes.

I hope it brings something even though the only thing I have to offer is to share my thoughts and experiences.

Time to regain some balance by spending time with people, I’ve been too isolated. I’ll be doing it on my terms from now on hopefully. Don’t want to feel so out of control ever again.

Kindest regards and thanks

Jamie x

To be driven again

Busy, busy, busy. Keeping my mind tuned towards always working on some project. Haven’t switched off and rested for a while.

Gotta book some time off work soon. I’m in the very strange position of preferring to be at work rather than having time off.

Pretty tiring all in all. Haven’t taken time out to reflect on things. I know that really I’m just bored with life and am seeking out some thing to get my teeth into.

Making music while raw learning about sound design. Playing computer games rarely. I’m back into my old love of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks.

I’m treating everything as a puzzle that wants to be solved and I’ve always milked every ounce of joy I can where I can.

Until i get bored or more likely burned out.

This year I feel will be a long period of transition. Don’t really know where my life will take me or whether I will take control of where my life goes.

I only can and will focus on one thing at a time and these days… well it’s all about keeping the boredom at bay.

I’ve got an opportunity to catch up with some old friends but I’m still very apprehensive about putting myself back into a social environment.

It also means being in the same group as an ex which ended badly and I’m still very awkward and nervous about confronting it even after 15 years.

One thing I have to thank my autism for is that I never forget the strong emotions of the past. I don’t change over time. People I’ve met in the past will see me as if no time has past.

I’ve got so little out of life that I wanted to get so I’m never just able to move on with the times. I’ve always done what I believe will get me the most happiness but it just hasn’t happened yet and I’m still chasing things the same way as if time stays still.

The truth is I simply don’t know how to adjust to the changing of the times and I feel more comfortable now being by myself.

I’ve been attempting to create a world for myself so I don’t need anyone else in it. Trying to fill the gulf that was my old social life.

The only thing that matters to me now is being really good at whatever I do. I dream of being respected and admired for my work. Or failing that, just to produce something that I admire myself.

It feels good to be driven again. I’m proud of so much I’ve had to do and done to get where I am now.

I don’t know if I’ll ever attain what I need to feel totally secure and confident in myself. I don’t really plan on ever settling as there will always be something to work on.

This is the path I will always walk. Nothing will ever be quite the way I want it and I’ll always be driven to maximise the good and exorcise the bad.

Choosing the hardest path in life has always been my way of living a life to be proud of. Choosing the easy path of avoidance has always been a source of so much fear and anxiety.

Do I feel like I need to suffer to justify my existence? I think I need both the joy and the pain.

I know which I would prefer but it doesn’t matter at the end. As long as I can look myself in the mirror and say that I did my best and gave myself a reason to never give up.

I feel the urge to be myself yet I dream of burning like the brightest star. I will burn as bright as possibly can while I learn more and more of how to burn brighter than I ever have before.

If I can’t be the dazzling supernova then I don’t feel worthy of making the effort. This is why I’m so obsessed now with overcoming the limits I keep imposing on myself.

It felt so good to write this one for a change. Thank you as always for reading.

Jamie

Admission

I have an admission to make.

I continue to share myself on Facebook to bring a bit of positivity and in the hopes of getting a positive reaction.

I’m trying to be more positive in the hopes of encouraging friends to get back in touch and spend time with me again.

I’m only getting any sort of reaction from family and it’s usually the same small group who show any sign of valuing how I’m doing.

Times like I do feel very desperate and manipulative but the most difficult part of recovering is only having support from the family I was born with and having little to no support from all the friends I’ve made that are on Facebook that I have no interaction with.

I desperately want to make new friends but I’m not comfortable around people I don’t know. All social clubs and groups where i might have been safer making friends have basically been killed off because of the covid response.

I’m doing the best I can to be more comfortable by myself but all my hobbies and interests I know are just distractions to fill the void while I don’t have the kind of close friendships I need to feel safe and happy anymore.

It’s time now for me to ask myself whether I’m better off learning how to be myself and not need anyone or how to overcome my anxieties and be more socially active.

I don’t want to dwell on hard luck “poor me” stories but the truth is that I’m very tired of trying to keep myself positive while months go by without anyone outside of family taking time to think of me and get in touch and offer to spend time with me.

I am doing better at being on my own and to be honest I feel more comfortable being alone than being social.

I think for now at least, that I’m no longer interested in trying to please others by sharing my positive stuff. Planning on shutting myself away from social media so I can work exclusively on making myself happy.

I’ll happily spend time with anyone who gets in touch with me but I don’t want to put myself on the line anymore. I don’t want to share my life with those who have little inclination to share themselves with me.

I will continue to blog here of course as it’s very helpful to have this outlet where only those who invest their time in me are reading.

Thanks always and my kindest regards to those who are.

Pressure

Feeling very anxious today after a very nice Xmas day. I think it’s now about taking the next few big steps to begin to move on and take my life in a new direction.

Writing this blog is about learning that I don’t need to be afraid of expressing myself. I haven’t really found my true voice yet as I’m still trying to explain things that I don’t necessarily want to express.

I want to meet new people and so far I’m mostly talking to people I already know. Still very anxious about going out into the world on my own.

For a long time now I’ve been looking for a family of my own. Family implies pressures and also expectations.

I’ve always struggled with meeting the expectations of the family I grew up with when I feel so different and I never learnt to set boundaries to protect myself.

I made the best friends I’ve ever had and felt for the first time like I had a family where I felt accepted and wanted.

The friendships were based around understanding and that we never pressured each other into doing something that made us uncomfortable.

Feeling like we were a family I still carried expectations with me and I became too demanding. It was hardest blow to lose that feeling of belonging and I still grieve the loss to this day.

I was under so much pressure myself. So much pressure I put on myself to get what I need out of life.

At this point I want to address the 2 years of covid measures. I don’t fear germs and never have. I also don’t believe that hiding from germs was ever beneficial to public health.

All I’ve felt that these 2 years is the crushing pressure of having other people’s fears forced on me and the constant demand to conform and comply.

I’m not ashamed to say that I questioned whether life was worth living when I was told I didn’t have a choice.

I am so proud now of how far I’ve come and how much work I’ve done to turn my life around after so much trauma.

Planning on doing something more positive next blog post.

In the meantime thanks and kind regards for reading. Wishing you all the best for the new year ahead.