Day 1

Sometimes you just need to restart.

This weekend I went to a camp with my church. One of the speakers there talked about how much your health affects everything else. So I have decided I need to start over. I am doing good things in my life, but I am struggling with my own physical, mental, and emotional health. But maybe there’s something I can do to help myself be better.

Today is day 1. I’m not going to worry about the past feelings of depression or frustration or pain or anything else. I’m going to be a new person.

 

Just to keep me accountable to someone on this newness of life, I’m going to post my goals on here.

Here’s what I am going to do starting today:

  1. Go to bed at 9 pm
  2. Drink at least 2 bottles of water per day
  3. Eat 1 extra fruit/ vegetable 3 times per day
  4. Run from 5:30-6 pm
  5. Take a multivitamin

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Silence

Sometimes you have to stay silent to keep from screaming.

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I have been switching between feeling depressed and lethargic to feeling somewhat hopeful, but for the most part I have just wanted to disappear.  I need a break from life. Luckily that break should come fairly soon. I am taking a week off of work and going back home. Hopefully it will be the break I need and I will be able to return to work without all this frustration I have inside right now.

Lately all that is coming out is poems of frustration or hopelessness. Inside of me feels like explosions of emotions that don’t fit in with my life. And I have no way of expressing those feelings without feeling like I am going completely insane. So, I am going to take some time off and just disappear from all normal activities for a while. Hopefully when I get back the darkness inside will have found an escape or at least will be quenched for a little while longer.

Exercising

I absolutely love exercising. I’m not very good at it because I just don’t really feel a need to go out of my way to exercise. But I enjoy the feeling of my heart beating, my lungs expanding, and the blood rushing through my veins. It’s like the opposite of a tight hug- like being hugged from the inside out.

When I am not in a good mood, I exercise to get that feeling. It makes me forget about what is bothering me and just focus on trying to breathe. I exercise because it makes me feel alive.

Sometimes I feel so extracted from the world. Like my thoughts and mood have pulled me from being able to be around people. But when I exercise, I feel so alive. I just feel. I feel in a way that I don’t usually feel. Instead of all the sensory pressures on the outside, I can feel them on the inside. And for some reason, that makes it easier to go back to feeling pressure on the outside again.
Sensory Blog hop

 

Thank You for Saving My Life

This post has less to do with autism than it does with depression, but depression isn’t uncommon for people with autism so I think it still applies here.

I have thought about dying since I was old enough to pull the handle on a car door. I just couldn’t help but think of what it would be like to open the door on the freeway and roll out into oncoming traffic. It probably sounds pretty grotesque, but it’s what I thought about as a 5 year old. I just had this sadness built up inside of me and the only way I could see it disappearing was through dying.

This post, however, is not about dying. It is about living. You see, I’m still here. Even though I have wanted to die for as long as I can remember, I’m still living. And the reason I am still living is because of all of you and all the people who have ever been a part of my life in the smallest way possible.

No, people haven’t saved my life literally. No one has pulled me out of a river and saved me from drowning or taken a gun or a knife away from me when I was on the edge. I haven’t really gotten to those situations because people have saved me before that. I have been saved less from attempting suicide than I have from wanting to attempt it.

Every time someone says hi to me as they pass by or smiles at me or looks me in the eye and asks how I’m doing or sits next to me or notices me, my life is being saved. Because in the end it’s not the big things that save my life overall. It’s the little daily things that save my life. It’s someone taking the time to be kind and friendly. It’s someone taking the time to look around instead of getting lost in their own little world or the ever-enticing world of technology. It’s someone taking the time to take the time.

Saving a life really doesn’t take that much time when everyone takes that extra second to be kind to someone else. It’s when few people have taken the time with someone that saving a life really becomes hard. Because it will taken one person 10 years to make up for the love someone hasn’t felt from 100 people over 1 year. I can love you, but if I’m the only one loving you, it’s going to be hard for you to feel like you are loved.

I have been very blessed with a family that loves and cares about me. I have been blessed with a few good friends who have taken the time to get to know me. And I have been blessed with many people who have spent the time to say hi to me or listen to me. Some days it hasn’t felt like enough and I have ached for that little bit of extra love that feels just out of reach, but other days I am so grateful for the love I have been given.

I have attempted suicide before and I have thought about it over and over, but it’s those little specks of love that save my life everyday. So thank you. Thank you for saving my life.

Clothes

The most common question I get or perceive is “Why is clothing such a big deal for someone with autism?”

Well, the obvious answer is that clothing is sensory stimulating. You wear clothes pretty much all the time so they’re constantly touching you and rubbing against you and putting pressure on you. The thing is though that you’re used to it so you don’t generally notice it. It’s like wearing a wristwatch. The first time you wear one, it feels chunky and strange. But after a while, you get used to the watch being there and you don’t even realize you have it on.

However, when you have sensory sensitivities, getting used to that feeling is a lot harder. I’ve compared it before to running in jeans. If you have ever run long distances in jeans, you know the feeling of clothes rubbing against your skin. That feeling is similar to the feeling that people with sensory sensitivity get with most clothes. Even things like cotton can feel like wearing sandpaper sometimes.
And it’s not just clothes, although clothes issues are the most prevalent usually.

Because of that feeling, I usually choose my clothes based on how I feel that day. If I’ve had a hard day or week, I tend to wear softer clothes that feel less abrasive on my skin. But if I’ve had a pretty good day or week, I’m more open to wearing rougher clothes like 100% cotton or jeans. There’s certain types of material that I can’t wear when I’m not having a good day. They just feel too harsh and that extra thing to deal with will make the day just that much harder.

And I always gravitate toward soft things. They make me feel so much calmer. And when I have soft clothes to feel when something stressful happens, it can help prevent breakdowns or stressing out. Soft sweaters have given me a huge sense of security in difficult social situations over the years.

Clothes aren’t always a big deal but depending on what else is going on, they can be a huge factor in how life goes. Rough clothes can make difficult times even more difficult and harder to cope with. While soft clothes can sometimes make just enough difference to ease a difficult situation.

Sensory Blog hop

Keeping busy

My whole life I have always been happier when I’m busy. I’ve heard people say that people with autism have a hard time being involved in a lot of different activities. That we get overwhelmed and can’t handle it. The thing is though, the number of activities doesn’t really matter so much. I can get overwhelmed doing one activity whereas I might not get overwhelmed if I did 5 different activities in the same time. The trick is how the activities are arranged and knowing what is expected of me.

When I was in high school, I was involved in nearly every extracurricular activity that was available to me. I was in the student body, played water polo, did backstage and technical theater, participated in church activities and scripture study classes, and was in about 10 service/ academic clubs – some of which I held a leadership position in. The thing is though that this was probably what I consider one of the best times in my life. Although I had a million things going on, they were all planned, calculated, expected. I knew what I had to do to make it work and I did it.

In college, the picture was completely different. I decided that I wanted to take it easy because I didn’t know how hard college would be and I didn’t want to overwhelm myself. This actually had the opposite of the desired effect. Instead of making me less overwhelmed, having less to do made me more overwhelmed. Not having to go from activity to activity caused me to become asocial. I isolated myself because I didn’t feel like I had anything in common with other people. I needed those activities to break the ice so that I could be myself. Without them, I had no idea how to interact with people and that led me to focus on my faults and weaknesses and become lonely and depressed.

Every person with autism is different and I don’t intend for you to take away from this that you should plan out an activity for every minute of every day, but I hope that it leads you to consider whether being more involved and having more social interaction would be more beneficial than harmful. Sometimes in trying not to overwhelm ourselves or overwhelm others, we inadvertently set ourselves up for failure. Sometimes keeping busy is just as important as having time to yourself.

Happiness released

If you saw me when I’m by myself, you would be surprised at how different I am than when I am with you.

I know this is true for lots of people, but for me it mostly applies to my autism. It is only when I am alone that I realize how naturally autistic tendencies come to me. I jump; I flap; I don’t hold myself back. I never flap when I’m around other people. My family has never even seen me do it. It feels wrong and strange to do it in front of others, but by myself it happens completely naturally. I often wonder to myself, “what is this uninhibited feeling of joy that is coming out of me?” “Why don’t I feel this when I’m around other people?”

I almost wish I could show you who I am when I’m by myself.

I wish people could see that happiness. I wish I could share that happiness with others. The problem is that other people wouldn’t understand it. Has anyone that is not autistic felt so incredibly happy for no real reason that they have to run and jump and cheer?

I wish you knew that feeling. I wish your happiness was released and I wish I could release mine around you. But for now, I’ll just release my happiness when I am alone.