Since my last post, regarding my relapse, I have found myself returning to life anew.
This year has already been a crazy one, and we’re not even halfway through, yet I am privileged to have had these experiences regardless of how tough they have been.
I mentioned in my last post about my relapse, that I had found myself in a deep hole. Deeper than I had ever been in since my autistic breakdown when I stopped going to school at the age of 11.
At an older age, and being more aware of my emotions and behaviour, this became one of the toughest things I faced. I even wondered if I’d get out of it.
Fortunately, I have.
Since November, I found myself getting incredibly lonely. Even with friends, family and other volunteers from the rescue, around me, I still craved having people to talk to. At the time, I felt it was a last minute decision, and a risky one at that, but I joined an online dating/ friendship website. I almost felt ashamed to say that I had resulted to the online world to feed my need for conversation, but as silly as I felt, I am incredibly glad I made that bold decision.
Since I’ve known of texting or conversing through a device, I have found talking to people much easier. I would have time to consider my response and decipher what the other person had to say. I could also get a second opinion if I didn’t understand what someone had said, or even get a bit of help with my reply. It helped grow my confidence and it helped me to understand ways of communicating, even through texting.
Though I was only texting my friend from school at the time of texting being new to me, it was still a huge learning curve for me, and with time and confidence, I began to understand more about texting and messaging.
As you can probably guess, it took me a while to understand what some people meant when they would say something, as the lack of emotion behind a text, can lead the reader to be deceived into thinking the opposite. This is when I learnt to use emoticons. I worked out that using emoticons would help the reader understand my emotions if I said something that may have been a bit too blunt or forward. And since discovering my confidence in messaging, talking to people online, became easy. I felt in control. I could decide when I wanted to stop talking, and I wouldn’t be put on a spot, or made to feel confused. I could take my time with responding and thus, leaving me to enjoy talking to people, without the pressure of them judging me right in front of my face.And knowing this about myself, encouraged me to talk to people online.
After signing up to a chatting website, I became a little afraid of what kind of people I would come across. I still managed to remind myself that I could easily leave if I wanted to, and actually, after the first week, I did for a bit. I began to worry about the kind of things that others would say to me, particularly people of the opposite sex. And being young, inexperienced and naive, it frightened me. So I took a step back for a little while, until the feeling of being lonely, crept up on me again.
Upon returning to the website a second time, I somehow felt more powerful. Having the step back and then returning again, reminded me of how much control I actually had. And without sounding like a control freak, I liked it more than I had envisioned I would. I felt more free when it came to talking to people, and I was able to hold conversations that weren’t at all what I had expected for an online dating/ friendship website.
Having used the website from November to May (I deleted it, and I’ll soon tell you why), I had come across some nice people. All of which I had nice conversations with. Until the end of April/ beginning of May, when I began talking with someone completely different to everyone else. In just the first few messages, we had clicked. He was curious about the wildlife work I had done and I had discovered that he is a support worker for two guys, on the severe end of the autistic spectrum. When I found this out, my eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. Finally! Someone who would get it! And most importantly, someone who actually gave a damn about these people and wanted to make a difference to their lives! And so, it just really made me smile.
After only two weeks of talking and using Skype, we decided to make the big, bold move and meet up. And although I was terrified, I was mostly excited.
First we went for a walk and then spontaneously decided to go to the cinema. A walk and dinner was only on the table but the spontaneous decision to go to the cinema, made it that much more exciting, and I loved it. After the movie, we went for dinner. And this is where I shocked myself.
After years and years of being sheltered by my family, I had decided to meet someone I had only been talking to, for a couple of weeks. I then suddenly found myself making a spontaneous decision on the first date with someone I had just met and I didn’t even feel slightly uncomfortable about it. Then during dinner, we had found ourselves talking for so long, that we ended up staying until closing time.
Since then, we have become really close. I have found myself coming out of my shell more, I am doing things that I would usually fret about and most importantly, I have found someone who is supportive, encouraging, kind and caring.
With that, I am now no longer panicking about the future, because I am happy in the moment.