So far this year there have been two questions asked with a frequency unheard of. One, which I won't be covering in this blog post, is, "Can people on the autism spectrum have fantastic memories?" and the 2nd one is, "Do people on the autism spectrum have emotions and if so, how strong are they?" Last month I actually blogged about this topic but as with most things, when I write about the same topic, I'll add something new.
The reasons I'm writing about emotions is, well, my emotions are strong right now and I can't figure out why. In a way I feel the same as I did back this month in 2005. Never before, or since, has a month had an impact as February did nine years ago.
Nine years ago I was in the worst pit of depression possible and as I look at my calendar journal there are so many days with entries such as, "did nothing, am nothing" and, "alone. simply alone" but there are also other entries such as, "wrote Game Theory" and "wrote Work, See, and Fear."
For me this month is about as sacred as they come. For one, yeah, I was born in it but I'll say I was born twice because of a perfect storm of emotions that enveloped me back in 2005. I had been depressed and in a state of utter hopelessness for 15 months and I was reaching a breaking point. While I was depressed I did everything I could to occupy time and not think; my goal was to get up as late as possible and stay up until just before the sun came up to minimize social time and I'll admit that I got rather good at it. A person can only run from emotions so long before they catch up and nine years ago they did. I realized that who I was expecting to be wasn't going to turn out and for the first time in my life I understood that I was directionless. What was I going to do? I tried talking to my dad but I could do nothing except repeat the same lines over and over and I could not speak what I was truly feeling.
What inspired this blog was a question I got yesterday in that I was asked about a situation where something small occurred and the response from a person with Asperger's was severe. Thinking back to myself in 2005 it was sort of the same way. So often an event can happen but it isn't the fact of what happened then that is the problem but it is the final drop of water that overfills a bucket and after that everything comes gushing out. The next question then was, "what can be done about this?" to which I have no easy answer as not everyone is going to find my path.
After being alive for 22 years and doing everything I could to avoid emotions I held my breath, sat down at my computer, and started to write. I had no destination, no envisionment of writing a book, nor did I think I'd someday be a speaker but the proverbial dam had burst and it was either express these emotions and to deal with the question of, "Why am I alive" or I was going to be consumed and possibly destroyed by these emotions and questions.
This is why I say I had a rebirth nine years ago because all that I was changed, or rather started to change. There is a thing though and that is, while some things changed, some things stayed the same. I'm still my biggest critic and I still have bouts of feeling as if nothing is ever going to change. I often feel down, sad, and as if the world has won. I also, rather frequently, have a feeling of such that I am not doing enough with my blog, book, speaking, or any other aspect in my life. This is a strength and a weakness because I am unrelenting in my cause but I don't know, or am incapable of understanding any sort of impact. Unless you're on the autism spectrum, or maybe experienced this in your life, I doubt you can have any appreciation as to what this feels like.
I'm looking down at my calendar journal right now, as I mentioned, and I can remember putting each day's ink on this month and I had such a yearning for the world to understand me. Now, nine years later, I have the same sensation but it isn't about me but it's now others. I know others are where I was; I know there are others that just want someone, anyone, to say that they aren't alone and actually means, "I know how you feel" when they say it; and I know there are thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of people that are in the midst of being at that moment in life where the bucket is filling with water and since I was there, first hand, nine years ago I feel this pressure of indescribable weight to do more. How can I do more? I don't have that answer but it's something I must do. Just as there was a perfect storm in 2005 I feel that February 2014 may have the same effect on my future because, while it's not myself feeling emotions, I've heard more and more of the dire need out there in the past five months and to put it simply, I have got to do more.