I always heard that you hit rock bottom and then you could start the climb back up. It hasn’t been like that for me, I was still falling, in fact Im not sure there is a bottom just the never ending decent. Does this fall lead anywhere or are there just stops along the way where you can choose to get off? When your falling all these stops are just a means to stop the pain, they are all paths you take on your own and if you mean it or not they just end up giving your pain to others. The only path that elevates the pain is up and out of hell.
For me the falling stopped not at the bottom but because I was caught, I don’t think I would say I was in pain anymore and it wasn’t the nothingness I had hoped for. No, things were the same but they’d stopped. I was still exhausted but I felt like I was resting. I couldn’t tolerate the world (it was still attacking me) but I wasn’t fighting it. I knew I had been caught and cradled. I didn’t and don’t understand why but I had people who loved me and the moment I uttered the word help I knew they wouldn’t let me fall anymore. From a practical point of view a few things happened. First my wife took me to see the doctor, then the doctor gave me medication to help with the anxiety and depression and signed me off work. My employer put in place supports for me for when I did return and when I felt up to it I was referred for counciling.
That wasn’t it though and I haven’t come to the end of this journey, what I have done over the last 5 months is take a step that I thought I’d already taken. I have excepted that I am autistic and I’ve stopped fighting it (mostly). I have come to realise that it wasn’t this “thing” I was fighting and hiding away from the world. No I was fighting myself, when I hid (passed) I denied my very core, stepping into the world and saying who I am was an embarrassment, this thing was bad and it harmed others. It had to be an other to defend me from the self hatred and the fear that I would be rejected. I hated the way the world affected me and now I had something to blame and that was me.
The world as I said still affects me, clocks ticking, supermarkets and cars going past as I walk down the street. People talking to loudly or at the same time, bright lights and saying things that are different to what is meant. It causes me pain and strife and I’m still anxious, although the meds help with that. My hands are on the rungs of the ladder and I’m hauling my way out of hell one handhold at a time and when I look back there is now a host of people there to catch me if I start to fall. Of course they were always there I just didn’t look.
I started “My Decent into Hell” saying I was happier today than I have been for a long time, it’s true and it’s not because others have accepted me, not because the world has made adaptations to accommodate me. No I feel like this because I have accepted who I am and I’ve made adaptations to accommodate me. I don’t go anywhere without headphones and I wear them when I need to with no concern for how others feel. Those that love me just want me to be okay. I wore a pair of sunglasses in meetings at work because I was having a particularly bad day and the lights were like knives in my eyes. I cling to those that love me when I’m anxious knowing that I don’t annoy or embarrass them. No there is nothing but love for me, the real me.
I will stand up and say I am autistic to anyone and if you judge me or make assumptions then that’s on you. I love me and am loved, the fear and hatred of others is theirs not mine. I took on those feelings added them to mine and attributed them to everyone, the fight nearly killed me. I won’t go there again and for all those who say that this bad thing resides in me please know I’m not on my own I have people who love me and will fight with me. I am autistic and I am part of a community that will I believe come together to help prevent the many of us that descend into hell not returning. With help I’m climbing out of hell, if you are descending or struggling to climb out, take my hand and we’ll climb together one rung at a time.
Aspie and Proud