I’ve been thinking about how I describe myself. The words I’ve used, the apologies preceding them. “I’m sorry, I’m behaving like a toddler.” “I was very gauche when I went to university, really immature for my age.” “I know this is stupid…I know I am stupid, but…”
What if I’m not behaving like a toddler, or being stupid, I’m just autistic? A lifetime of bad words, derogatory words, apologies to myself and others because I am rubbish at being a human being, when really I am not rubbish at all, just different?
There’s so many layers to this. I am losing myself in them. Not that I even know who I am.
I have been realising a lot of things over the last year or so. About how I function (and how I don’t function). And where my masks start and where they end. And I’ve realised I’ve hung my self identity on pegs for years now. In my twenties it was hard working career woman (that gave me a breakdown). Hard drinking fun times person. That ended in detox. And in the last five years, recovering alcoholic and new born hippy.
None of these things are me. Turns out I don’t know who I am. This is frankly terrifying. I don’t have a current driving obsession, just my usual wanderings in the land of autism and the outdoors world. Yoga. Climbing. I feel so lost and so aimless and without the badge of a label, I’m filled with constant self doubt. What if I’m wrong?
I’ve read things about people taking years to come to terms with a diagnosis. My life changed five years ago when I had a breakdown (another breakdown) and stopped drinking, moved counties, left my husband. I feel kind of ripped off, surely one complete life reassessment is sufficient, per life?
Who am I? And more importantly, will I ever be properly functional, at peace?
I have to share this tiny insight, as I’ve been giving myself hysterics all day about it. Last week was a total fucking atrocious mess, I gave up on everything on Tuesday afternoon and basically threw myself face first into a bottle of vodka. As I am a recovering alcoholic, this is generally a bad idea. I mean, it’s a bad idea for most people, plus vodka isn’t all that nice, really. But for me, daft AF. Obv. Anyway, in the pained soul searching, ‘have to do better’, drag myself back up into reality that came later, I decided I needed to keep A Mood Diary. This is pretty standard CBT stuff, and I’ve had three lots of CBT (with varied success). I have concluded, see, that part of my issue with relapse is that my relapse is related to meltdown. I start to meltdown, I can’t cope, I go straight back to what helped me cope/black out/not think for most of my twenties. So this great idea, this mood diary, would help me identify when things were slipping, and thus, help me recognise incoming meltdown and prevent relapse. Genius. The logic is beautiful.
I’m autistic, I can’t recognise my moods. It takes ten minutes to work out a major emotion, the smaller ones I give up on. WHAT WAS I THINKING??
Anyway. Binned off that idea. I’m trying more to keep track of how I’m doing. So, basically, I’ll be keeping a mood diary that goes, ‘bit tired’. Probably most days with occasional ‘very tired’ coming after ‘totally creatively exploding with febrile brilliance’.
Wish me luck.