When I’m not screeching at my computer for suddenly restarting and updating without my permission, and when I’m not attempting to break my Playstation controller in half because AC Syndicate has more glitches than my skin has fucking pores, I’m calmly and collectively scrolling through dozens of articles pretending like my opinion on anything I read actually matters.
Sometimes I talk about these articles on here, you all are aware of that. I tend not to avoid any topics: religion, spiritual things, politics, and how those things relate to mental health. Sometimes I come across articles so infuriating I have to forget about them for a few days lest I want my brain to explode. Sometimes I come across stories so stupid I have to get up from my seat and take a quick jog around the apartment to rid myself of the stupid that got spilled all in my eyes.
Sometimes I read things about Nick Cannon challenging anyone to a rap battle for 100,000 dollars and tears of pity stream down my cheeks for that poor soul who thinks he can actually spit a bar worth anything more than the water in my toilet. Which, granted, can be valuable in areas of the world that don’t have fresh water.
Then I see a story of an Orca beaching herself at Seaworld after performing a show and I read the reports of her having repeatedly been caught banging her head into the metal railings and I’m reminded of how real feeling captive and trapped is to all life in some form. To those people who say self-injury is for “attention-seeking teenagers”, is that whale an attention seeking little shit too?
I can’t say for sure whether she was beaching herself on purpose; as the Seaworld people said, they’re trained to do it, but they don’t have an argument for her slamming her head into metal repeatedly. They train her to do that as well?
I see articles about what’s “TMI” (too much information) in mental illness and my reply is immediate and unwavering: nothing. Stop sheltering people from the truth about mental health struggles and stereotypes get debunked. It’s very simple.
Then I come across articles where my opinion is swayed in neither direction, where the author describes a position I’m sure we’ve all been in at some point in our lives: How do you transition into adulthood with Mental Illness?
The author speaks about Autism, depression, and struggling with life changes, routine changes, and transitions in terms of graduating college and moving out of the sheltered, very redundant scheduled life that is public education and into a world that provides no manual and no hopes of accurate predictability.
She speaks about fantasy and reality: what you want to do with your life and what you can do with your life. This quote stuck out to me
“You might look at your goals and realize that you may never actually run a business or be a fashion designer. It’s too much. I’m always wondering what I would have been capable of if I were neurotypical. But we have to let that go.”
for a very particular reason.
I do not have Autism, apart from the few months I did when they thought I did back in Kindergarten, but from what I understand from the people I’ve met, one thing that can be particularly difficult is establishing connections and relationships with people. I might not have Autism, but I empathize with that completely. People don’t like to talk about consciousness and philosophy for hours, they get disturbed by the things I say, they get offended by things I say and even more offended if I say “I’m speaking generally, don’t take it up the ass” (I wonder why), and I’m not comfortable around them in any way, shape, or form. I don’t like people too close to me, I don’t like staring in their eyes, I don’t like how I can’t tell if their tone of voice and facial expression is meant to mock me like I’m convinced it is, or whether I’m just over-analyzing them.
Simple things overwhelm me. Noise, light, loud voices, large crowds, a Jury Summons letter, a conversation, grocery shopping, phone calls, people near me during phone calls, my own thoughts, my moods, walking through my own house when someone I’ve only seen but never spoken to other than a tentative and slightly reluctant”hello” is in the living room speaking with my father.
There are times I feel so overwhelmed and busy that I have to sit and think for a moment, because the strange thing is I haven’t done anything. I haven’t done anything other than listen to the inside of my head. And in there I get lost, sometimes purposefully, for hours or days or weeks or months. I lose focus on school work, on regular work, and I start doubting myself again.
I tell myself the same thing: it’s too much. If I can barely handle college here, what will Medical school be like for me? If I can barely handle working 20 hours a week, what will residency be like for me?
Being alone at night drives me crazy: I’ve been pretty open with my issues of feeling like there’s some kind of demonic watch over me (no, I am not religious), and it’s most prevalent at night; I always hear footsteps in the hall that don’t seem to exist when I open the door (although sometimes it is my mother) and it only fuels my paranoia. I go through periods of spending my money on the stupidest little things, lots of them, until the point where at least a hundred dollars is gone within a matter of minutes. How, with those two things working against me, will I be able to live on my own?
Roommates make me nervous. I’ve lived in that situation before. They would conclude me a freak for isolating myself, and they won’t understand why I have to have lights on and fans on to block out noise, they won’t understand how little things like the mumbling of the T.V or voices through a wall prevents me from sleeping or how I have to have a generally quite environment to keep my sanity. How would I survive a dorm?
The list could go on for ages.
But it all results in one thought pattern that hurts more than anything: “I’m always wondering what I would have been capable of if I were neurotypical”.
I wouldn’t be living here with my parents. I would have already finished the majority of my degrees–I know I’m very intelligent, it’s the whole having to go outside and be around people thing that’s preventing me from moving at a steadier pace. I would be pretty average. I would still have problems in my life, everyone does, but why do I feel like those problems would be easier?
I think this is also something many of us can struggle with, especially those of us trying to work or establish an educational title for ourselves. Some people get over this hump easier than others. I am not one of those people.
While I cherish who I am and how I am, while I will always be grateful I think the way I do and see the world through my own eyes, it can be difficult to get out of that doubting mindset.