I think it may be that I’m happier today than I have been for a longtime. That’s not to say that getting through the day is a breeze, it’s not. The world is still tiring and there are days when I feel there is a sneak thief stealing my spoons (Spoon Theory). The difference is quite stark from six moths ago, to explain I need to go further back to a point that should have been the end of a painful and traumatic journey, looking out on an awakening of my true self. I was naive and very wrong, the journey to learning and accepting that I was autistic was long and painful, what I would find out is that everything comes with a price.
The price for me was a downward spiral that nearly cost me my life, it felt like it took a long time and that I was falling for a long time, looking back from here I realize it was far from slow. The foundations took 40 years to build; the house of horrors that rose up from them seemed to materialize around me overnight. I was stuck and there was no way out, not because there was no door and not because I was alone, no I was stuck because I thought I was the house and I had trapped my family inside. The house was burning, I had to get my family out and once they were I could stop fighting the flames, let them take hold consuming everything they touched until nothing was nothing left not even a shell, the fire would leave nothingness an empty clean space that could no longer blight the lives and futures of those around it.
I didn’t know how to bring the cleansing pain without touching those that were precious to me, after all that was the point wasn’t it to leave them untouched able to start afresh like the sprouts of life that grow from the purifying forest fire. The old growth had to be cleared but how to do that in a way that others where not cleared or harmed? It’s not like I thought at this time that my loss would cause them harm, sure they would be sad for a time. Surely though it would be a relief for them and me. I couldn’t leave them without the means that they had, they couldn’t lose our home, it would need to look like an accident. The house might burn but it would look like an electrical fire and they wouldn’t be in. That way everything would be ok.
I had a plan, I knew how I would let the blaze have free rein and I knew when. It couldn’t interfere with work, that would not only effect too many others it would also mean my wife taking time off, she needed to work to pay bills and if I waited for the holidays then she would have a good few weeks to sort things out before going back to work. It’s strange how you think about things sometimes, writing this now it is clear just how delusional I was. Delusional or not things didn’t work out, the hardest part of this plan I had come up with was the months I had to wait. I needed to keep the flames at bay and ensure that nobody saw them, if they did all would be lost. I’d burn anyway but I would hurt others in the process, I had to ensure that didn’t happen.
I failed. I failed at hiding the fire and I failed at waiting. The pain was agonizing, it seared through every nerve and fiber of my being, eating it’s way through me from the in side out. There seemed to be a limitless supply of fuel for me to ingest, feeding the flames. Everything became a fuel and I took it all in letting it ignite my soul. The world was at war with me, assaulting every sense and hammering away at me. I had to wait had to hide it, so I hid away shut as much of the world out as I could, flinching away from anything that approached. I tried to make the outside a statue impervious to everything. I didn’t know it but the flames had already taken control they were consuming me, the shell of the house just wasn’t burning but you could see the smoke and the flames licking out of the windows if you were looking.
Then one weekend just weeks before the holidays the shell caught, the flames burned quickly any hope off suppressing them gone in an instant. This was it, not the way I’d planned but I couldn’t take the assault on me anymore I had nothing left, the consequences of continuing were greater than those of letting it go. It would cause pain and hardship, in the long run though it would be better. That’s when I found out I wasn’t alone, that I’d never been alone. I wasn’t the only one that had been holding back the flames, now when the fire consumed every part of me, when I thought the empty peace of nothingness approached a new pain came it was worse than everything that had come before. I screamed and wished for someone to end it, for someone to save me from the pain I now felt. I wasn’t alone and I burnt.
I burnt but I was not ending, I wasn’t the only one burning now either. My shell was in flames and a new shell that had been there all along surrounded me and held me together. I burnt and it held strong. Over the coming weeks the shell starved the fire of fuel, deflecting it, denying it, adding a fine mist of cool water until the flames, for a time were gone. The pain was no longer searing, but the world still attacked pressing in on me. Without the flames I could now feel other sensations in my body, I might not burn but I was being crushed and my muscles were giving out. I wanted to sleep, I needed to sleep and if I never awoke what sweet bliss that would be. I couldn’t stop it myself but if it happened so be it.
I don’t know what happened next, that is I know what happened but I don’t know why after all I was resigned to my fate. I would suffer and one day when the world saw fit I would cease to be and that would be it. There was no point fighting, it was what it was. I had been up until this point doing a sterling job of hiding all this for work. After the weekend that I nearly died, I walked into work Monday morning as if nothing had happened. When asked how my weekend had been I replied “not great” and left it at that. This day though I couldn’t cover it up, when I tried it was like trying to haul myself up a cliff. I couldn’t think and kept falling asleep. The next morning I walked into my manager’s office and laid it all out. I crashed, there was no substance to me; I had no strength and no ability to tolerate and survive the world around me. I was completely dependant.
Whilst I don’t know why 5 months ago I decided to finally let go and stop hiding, I do know that once I had there was no going back the last of my resistance to being crushed was gone. Now I needed to withdraw completely from the world and rely on others to hold back the crushing weight, praying that the fire wouldn’t return whilst hoping for it at the same time. I had been falling but now that I had stopped trying to hold on and let go I found that there were arms to catch me. The decent was over now the climb out of hell would begin.