It’s been a long time since I last posted something. The reason for that being is that I’ve just been dealing with life. I’ve had therapy, relationship adventures, losses of loved ones and pets and mainly just trying to cope. However, in all this time away, I have learnt so much more about myself, things I didn’t even think about.
Learning more about myself has encouraged me to come back on here and do some writing.
So here goes.
For so long, I always assumed I wasn’t really that autistic. I just thought that I had severe anxiety with a few autistic traits that made things a bit more difficult, but now, I can really see just how autistic I am.
As I mentioned, I’ve been having therapy (it’s not the first time). But during one session, I felt like I was about to endure something that wouldn’t help me at all, and I couldn’t even find the words to tell my therapist that I couldn’t do it. I was too scared. She had told me that to get over my anxiety, I needed to slowly remove all safety behaviours and introduce myself to situations that would cause a great deal of anxiety. To me, this meant just forcing myself into things without all the things that gave me comfort. And that scared me more than anything else in the world. So I resorted to online forums for autistic people, asking if this was safe for me to do. And believe it or not, but the majority of people who had responded to my concern, had said that it wouldn’t be a good idea due to causing an overload.
The word ‘overload’ stuck with me after reading the comments section of my post, so I proceeded to look online for some information about it. And with the things that I read and learnt about it, and even found that they related to previous situations that had happened in my life, I knew for sure, that I needed to keep things simple.
Telling my therapist about this was the next thing to do, but I had gotten into such a state that I couldn’t even go to the session to do that. I made the decision to skip out on the session for that week and instead, write her an email with all my concerns as I always find that writing is so much easier than talking.
After I sent this email, I proceeded to search the internet and join a few groups on Facebook.
Although I felt like I was heading downhill after that particular session, I realised that the outcome of it, was the best thing that could have happened to me. I started to read more, and I found things that made so much sense about my life.
Masking was one of them.
I had never even heard of this ‘masking’.
And suddenly, everything I had ever endured, started to add up.
The fact that I didn’t even feel autistic was because I had convinced myself I was neurotypical through masking. I had copied everyone that I was around, just to fit in. And although it worked, I get the subtle feeling that it made things harder.
I would get exhausted so quickly during social situations, and I would feel suddenly more vulnerable and sad after a certain amount of time. It was like I reached my limits in my ability to cope, like I had run out of energy.
For so long I thought this was my anxiety winning, but after my research, it became clear to me that it wasn’t always my anxiety. Maybe it was just being overwhelmed and maybe the noise of people had also resulted in a sensory overload.
So, from this, I learnt about something called Energy Accounting. I found that alone time after having some of my energy drained, was very important to avoid having an overload. And then I looked back on all the times I craved alone time after an exhausting event. I was already aware of my needs without even realising the reason for it.
I felt like I had opened this very important door to the way my mind works and it was all because of that one session. So just like my mum had always told me, “out of something bad, comes something good”.