Me and My Autism – Part 2 – Emotions

Looking ahead towards of the future, I actually can’t believe I will be 29 next month. Still feel like a 18 year old at times, with so much energy in the days, I would fall myself asleep at night in front of the TV. Could definitely be my new trend. There is always one thing, however, that keeps coming back to me from time to time.

When I virtually have a quiet space, with nothing to do or chilling out, past events always come back to me and it would always be a mixture of good highlights and past mistakes. Even with a good memory like mine, sometimes you would feel like you don’t want to think or talk about past mistakes and believe me, I had my fair share of them. Now, some people will say that having autism, you couldn’t read people’s emotions or tell how you are feeling yourself. Trust me, when I say this, this isn’t the case for me and I bet with others as well.

As a young boy, who doesn’t have a clue where he is or what to do, I had my mum telling me stories about when I was violent but I didn’t even realise I was doing that. It’s hard even now to remember doing that as a 3-4 year old. As the stories kind of reminds me, I usually go into disbelief, put my hand on my forehead and just shake my head. Thank god, I didn’t keep on that route. It’s true, my emotions and thinking process was a whole lot slower. I used to cry over the silliest of things like the low sun getting into my eyes, losing out in a school event etc…

Throughout secondary school, I couldn’t tell my emotions changing but there was a time of a good number of years where I didn’t cry at all. I did have a smile but I felt very neutral inside, no real characteristics and no obvious strengths or weaknesses to show. I am a quiet sort of man and I still think I am on many different aspects, there’s nothing wrong with that at all, maybe I have come accustomed to it and be a better listener overall. Even throughout college, I had the same sort of demeanour, don’t know if that was the reason why finding friends for example was hard.

Finding friends to keep was a struggle, even finding love was even harder to digest. My rule from all these years of love searching is, never use dating websites. Men would always have to start the conversations off. If they do reply, keep the conversation going, be your own self and hope they have an interest with you. It does make you lonely if you keep trying.

Love is such a powerful emotion that, when you do get into a relationship, it takes over when the feeling is so right. When you get it wrong, it also takes over mentally. I remember if the blame was on me, even if I wasn’t at fault and I tried to rectify the situation and failed, I would find a place to stop the car, so I could clear my mind up and try harder to get her on your side. God!! Sometimes that would take a hour of back and forth and I hated every second of it. I wasn’t the angry type of person but by god, I was close several times. Maybe it’s the pursuit of love, maybe it’s loneliness but the first signs of that was when I had that meltdown I would never forget.

I put a brief description on what happened in part 1. I might have been 20, maybe 21. After weeks of no word from the job agency, many nights in the bedroom on my own in my comfort zone and feeling like I had this self bubble, feeling all alone and no self value. Day after day, the thoughts get inside my head, pilling up, feeling like someone has over poured my coffee and set the temperature to volcanic levels. I remember, sitting on the chair, Mum was looking at me and she noticed something wasn’t right. I could feel my breathing and heart pumping, all of these nerves greater than any job interview I have ever attended and trying to steady myself but it was no use. My eyes were filling up until the volcanic erupted in my brain and I must have cried hard for a good 5 minutes. The words that I said still have a profound effect on me ‘Why can’t I get a job!!! Why can I get no friends!!! Why can’t I get no girlfriend!!! Why am I so alone!!!’ That wasn’t normal for me and I could say, that particular night, changed the way I am and how I feel emotionally. It was a shame Mental Health wasn’t a big topic and thinking about it now, that was my first experience of a Mental Health breakdown. That’s why I say to you guys right now, for people who say people with autism haven’t got or can’t tell emotion, I would prove you wrong if you were with me that very night.

That was the first of two kind of meltdowns that I’ve had throughout my time. The second one was a more recent occurrence in the summer of 2017. And both times, I know I was entering into a depression period. That 2nd time round, cost me a relationship in the process and I wouldn’t say I blame her at all. It was for me, the start of where those past mistakes was taking over in my brain and I really did want to put those times behind me. Of course, they will stay with me, a bit like my autism but I needed a way out of this and that comes from the mental side. Over the coming months, into the autumn, the many days of sadness and normality, turned into grit, determination and giving myself the almighty boost to drive me to a better future ahead.

I said at the end of 2018 that my redemption year was completed. And that was mostly because of my mental side staying so solid and strong, even with some obstacles along the way. The way that I am feeling inside is so much more positive than ever, I could act natural with a smile on my face, like the way I am dressed and of course, who could forget the hat. Even throwing some banter as well, little things that can make a big difference as well. I must admit, there are two main emotions which make me feel amazing inside. Love is certainly one of them. The other one, is the satisfaction when you have helped someone and they say ‘thank you.’ Just a simple saying can mean so much to you, just the same with ‘I love you.’ Sometimes I well up inside and I easily become speechless.

I do think that 2018, has changed me a lot as a person on the inside. Becoming a more, positive person inside and seeing the brighter future ahead. Helping others spread the word around and even having a cry, now and again is perfectly ok. Memories will always stay with you and it will keep reminding you that you are human, you do have vulnerabilities and can’t be 100% perfect in everything you do. Is how you control those memories that will define your future. Help is there if you need it because you are not alone. There is a network out there, especially locally that will help you get back on the right track. Whatever brings you down, will eventually make you stronger and become the person you are today.