This post is the follow up to last week's post about memory and this post has actually been a week in the making. After writing the post last week my emotions were in flux as I struggled to make sense of it all. The part that was rough was the section where I talked about the spider web of memories as the first week in July is always rough for me.
There is a major side effect from having a good memory and the associative memory system coupled with a videographic memory and that is that the future is a scary, dark place. How so? How could the future be so scary considering that I have done more and achieved more than I could ever possibly imagined just five years ago and that trend could very well continue? You see, I don't see it that way. The future is a scary, dark place because with time comes change, with time comes new memories, and with time comes loss.
I've always feared the future and I know I've used this example several times, but when Missy the Maltese, my childhood dog, was just a couple years old I would cry and cry about the day that she would die. My dad told me, and I couldn't understand it at the time (I understand the concept all too well now) that I was, "paying interest on a loan I hadn't taken out yet." While that mat be true I could already feel the pain of loss because I knew it would occur. Having this be true it makes it hard to enjoy the present because I've got memories of the past playing in my mind and the inevitable losses and change being played out in the future in my mind.
What comes from this? After my diagnosis and subsequent depression I managed this by eliminating myself from as many places and relationships as possible because, if I knew no place and knew no one how could I be hurt? This in turn created a sense of isolation which within itself was just as bad as fearing the future but it seemed to be the only way to protect myself from the unknown which is the future.
To this day I struggle with this. It doesn't take much to trigger a memory from the past which in turn triggers a fear of things to come. Everyone has this to a degree, right? I mean, while people may dream about fame, fortune, and other good things to come everyone, somewhere in their thoughts, fears what is to come. However, it probably isn't to the crippling level that I can feel it.
I have overcame this to a degree because I am out there and haven't stayed hidden away within the walls of my home. It's something that is ever present and I'm sure this has to do with the way I process time which I'm sure is different than how "normal" people process it. To have my entire life feel like it's been just five minutes means things are always fresh which furthers the fear of future pains because the pains of the past are just as present as the day they occurred.
It took a while to get the bravery to break the cycle. I don't write about it much but it takes great strength just to exit my front door each day because out there, in the world, change is occurring. If I locked my front door and stayed in the future would be something that I wouldn't see as I'd have complete control over my present and would be oblivious to change. This is something I have realized I don't want and this is what gives me the strength to go out into the world, to travel, to experience new things. Will the future hurt? Perhaps, but isn't this is essence of being human? Autism spectrum or not life is a challenge and is full of unknowns. I fear the unknown and the future is just that, but it is something that I have to accept or the future will control me and the fear will write my own history. I don't like the sound of that so I must forge onward. Will there be triggers that remind me of people that have passed? Yes, but the best thing I can do is, instead of let the sadness consume me, use the memories to motivate me. A lot of people helped me to get here and I've got to honor them by forging onward into the unknown known as the future.