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Blue's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day (life viewed through the lens of depression)

Clues_Of_Blue
Community Member

Some of you are aware of my existence by now, but for those who aren't, I'm fairly new to this forum. I've been stumbling my way along with depression for somewhere around seven years. It was triggered by a life event and exacerbated by circumstances since then, which I've done my best to eliminate where possible. About a year ago I changed track with that and made the huge decision to end the relationship I was in. Rough though that was, I finally started to see a bit of progress. I've still had a fight on my hands, to stay afloat and get control of my time and money and my peace of mind, all of which were tied up for a long time in untangling my finances from those of my ex (not his fault, the bank made it really damn hard, and my job and my own state of mind weren't helping).

Now I've started enjoying things again, and am not always instantly down when I'm on my own. I was once a (deliberately) solitary creature who enjoyed my own company and learning everything I could, so it's good to be more like that again. The depression's always there, lurking in the background, but I sometimes go a few weeks at a time without any prolonged episodes. Long enough to start feeling like I'm healing or that my emotions have some concept of cause and effect again. Then down I slam again, sometimes for a day or two, other times for weeks, and it feels like I've made no progress at all. In these periods my mind and my emotions are constantly at war, particularly when I'm alone and/or it's quiet. My mind is calm for the most part, and well aware I'm strong and capable and have strategies and I actively work on those in spite of the depression. My emotions, on the other hand, are running about with flags chock full of negative messages and even though I know it's not (or even close) I feel like everything is collapsing, that I can't deal with it and I just want everything to stop. That's where I'm at, today.

I do have an amazing partner now, who is extremely supportive, and has helped me immensely. My current problem is that I need my friends and family, too. I so rarely have time that isn't ruined by unsociable work hours and also the energy and will to socialise, but my friends are seldom available when I do. In those times I know it may be weeks or months before I can see them again, and I miss them, and that's mostly when I crash again these days. Dunno how to fix that yet, but I need to vent, and here I am. Getting better but having a really crap day.

2,149 Replies 2,149

Dear Blue,

 

That is a very useful tool to be able to separate logic and emotion as a way of coping with challenging circumstances. It’s also a skill that’s well suited to certain jobs where not being able to make that separation might make the job overwhelming. I’ve seen quite a few things now about people with autism gaining employment in analytical roles where that capacity to apply logic makes them highly suitable for the job. My brother has always worked in analytical jobs with computers and technology. He can talk at length as well about the pros and cons of different technologies, how they work etc.

 

 I’m really sorry you had that experience of not feeling safe to show emotions. My brother and I had the same thing and I think that partly contributed to his emotional detachment of which dissociation is definitely a component. I have a sense though his brain was always going to be strongly logic driven, whereas I’ve somehow remained with strong emotional threads attached at all times, even in the most traumatic experiences. It’s like I remain connected to emotions even if I cannot speak them because I’m dissociated. I can’t seem to stop feeling even when freezing and spacing out, like my body is trying to numb me but it isn’t fully succeeding.

 

That’s made me think of a facet of autism that’s getting discussed more and more, and that’s autism and animism. This fits me exactly as I’ve always experienced everything as animated and having a character. A rock, item of clothing, basically anything feels like a personality to me. I cannot look at something without feeling its character and it will have an emotional valence for me.

 

Growing up I had no one to orient to, whereas my brother could orient to Mum because she had bonded with him and not me. So animals and plants became my family. If I saw a tree cut down as a child it would cause me extremely intense emotional pain and it still impacts me if I see it now. The autistic woman I did some counselling with in 2016 said she sees trees as other kinds of people. This made 100% sense to me.

 

Do you have anything like that, where you experience things as being animate and having a personality? For me it is like every single thing is imbued with a life essence. There is a lot out there now about this as a kind of autistic perception, but it concurs also with many cultures of the world that also view the world as animate. 

Yes, women on the spectrum are definitely more vulnerable. I’ve been through two assaults that looking back I know happened because my vulnerability was so obvious to the perpetrator. I’m a little wiser now at reading manipulative behaviour. The assaults happened aged 21 and 36. In my late 40s I feel like I’m finally grasping how to detect certain dangers.

 

 I hope you have a good week Blue after a difficult one last week. Take care and kind thoughts to you too.

Hey ER,

 

I'm certainly glad to have it. That said, the professions you mention tend to be emergency services or caring professions, neither of which I am suited to for other reasons. Do you want someone with a very poor working memory in charge of medicines, for instance? And my caring for a carer role sincerely does not extend beyond my husband and birds. Logic and analysis definitely suit me, I trained as an editor as those skills are up my alley. I'm devilishly slow in my thoroughness, however, and don't do shmoozing to get to the interview stage of job search, so no work came of that.

 

It sucked, but it's done. I now have a set of challenges and strenghts to work with, so that's what I'm doing. As you say, there's a nature component to development through trauma, not just nurture or lack thereof. Logic was always my go-to. My sister is like how you describe yourself. My brother seems to swing between points, sometimes able to logic himself out of difficulties, the rest of the time stuck in a place of emotional imbalance and frankly, immaturity.

 

I have a different relationship with objects, though they can come to embody certain things to me. Personality may be ascribed to a fluffy toy, for instance, I think because they represent animals, to which I am strongly connected. I definitely connect to plants as living things, though not in an anthropomorphic kind of way. I have an affinity for them and respect their life and interconnection with myself and the world as a whole. Otherwise, objects hold associations for me. They hold the essence of their time with me, be it positive or negative. The negative is strong, and I do not take kindly to possessions that are associated with toxic humans that have been in my life. They are treated with hostility. The positive are taken care of and used or appreciated regularly.

 

I hear you about not orienting to someone. I had fluffy toys for affection for a time (animals and plants are their own beings, I didn't hold them to that), until I was mocked for it by a "friend", then that was gone, too. I think I stopped trying to connect with much of anything at that point - I even became estranged from animals for years. In another life, it might have been different.

 

I'm sorry you went through those things, may they never happen again. I haven't had that experience, but sure had a knack for picking bad partners in the past. Much more insidious sort of danger, they play nice to start with and get stuck in your life before really showing who they are. I think that can happen to anyone, though those with trauma and/or ASD are prime targets for the type.

 

Another difficult week, but slightly less so. Small mercies, I guess. Kind thoughts to you.

Hi Blue,

 

Yes, having difficulties with working memory would make things difficult. I was thinking along the lines of a cousin who works in IT in a hospital (I think systems analyst) or someone else I know who became an engineer working with the logistics of air traffic control in an airport. They are quite responsible jobs where they have to be extra focused on logistics and separate off to some extent in that part of their brain. I have a friend who got an informal diagnosis of autism from a psychologist but as far as I know is still not formally diagnosed. She became an editor after a doing a course and perhaps was drawn to it for similar reasons to do with logic and analysis. But I understand about the slowness in thoroughness you mention as I am like that. I also understand about the schmoozing and I have had job interviews where I feel like I didn’t know how to talk myself up in the way others seem to be able to. I remember seeing the movie Mozart and the Whale years ago about two young people with autism. When the autistic guy in it is asked in a job interview what his plans for the future are he answers to go to McDonalds, thinking they are asking him what he’s doing next after the interview. There’s something about that I can relate to. This character’s hand stimming in the film is identical to mine. When I saw that it was a pivotal moment seeing myself reflected back to me and consciously really getting I am likely autistic. His hand stims happened when he was most distressed, as do mine. They happen before my conscious brain can even catch up that they’re happening, and I know it’s my nervous system trying to regulate itself.

 

It’s really interesting to read about the associations you feel with things. That makes a lot of sense. I’m sorry you had the experience of being mocked by the “friend”. I remember being told I was a weirdo by another kid when I was 11 because of my hand stims. It hurts you doesn’t it. I hope you can reclaim now anything you felt you lost from that time. It feels like you have at least made a reconnection with animals.

 

 I’m thinking your future is really yours now to claim and truly be yourself. With neurodivergence becoming an ever more present topic, increasingly in people’s awareness, and neurodivergent people speaking their own narratives more than ever, it’s a good time for your autism diagnosis to happen. It would have been harder even a decade ago. Things are changing rapidly in the neurodivergent space every year.

 

I hope the week gets easier and that you can find some time for rest and self-care over the weekend. I imagine it’s all fairly constant in your carer role.

 

Take care and sending you kind thoughts.

Hey ER,

 

My working memory complicates everything. Logistics aren't my thing, either - I can find my way to new places, but it takes way too much energy to do it! Editing combines my attention to detail with one of my "special interests", the English language. Definitely the sort of job that plays to autistic strengths. I hear you about the interviews. The shmoozing was more a problem of a) being social in general which is exhausting and b) the deliberate falsness of playing nice with someone for personal game. Never mind how you're meant to suck up to companies and go on about why you want to work there and how wonderful you think they are. I want to work here to make money. Period. I don't have much masking in me beyond keeping my stims subtle in public, so the stuff they wanted to hear wasn't there. I haven't seen Mozart and the Whale. Sounds like it resonated with you and was affirming of your experience. Stims will definitely come up more when we're distressed, I developed this thing of cleaning under my nails rather excessively as an unobtrusive stress stim in public situations, otherwise you'd hardly know I had any before I started consciously letting myself stim as needed.

 

Thanks for asking about it, I connected some dots while answering the question. I was very used to being labelled a weirdo among other things. Didn't hurt that much when it was regarding things I was conscious of or didn't consider just basic body functions like moving. I found it very jarring to have small, harmless habits pointed out in a derogatory way, though. It was just attention I didn't want. Only stuff like that from someone close really hurt, though, like that "friend" mocking me. Reclaiming those lost connections has been hard, but yes I have it again with animals. Sir Pecks brought that back to me when he came into my life, and Mr Feisty came along a couple of years after. They changed everything.

 

Thanks. I think I'd have forged my own path at any time, but with ND awareness increasing, it sure has been an easier process. I'm hoping my story educates some people around me and does some good for others, too.

 

Yes, it's pretty constant as a carer. I've had some good moments, though. Kind thoughts to you, I hope your week goes well, too.

Hi Blues, sleepy21 here. I am saying hello as we spoke a bit back in the day. Im sorry ur having a hard time. keep hope ♥️

Hi Blue & ER, (& Sleepy, too)

Blue, your conversation here with ER is certainly an education for me. I want to thank you, Blue & ER, for being so open & honest in your discussion here.

Hugzies for everyone

mmMekitty

Hi Sleepy,

 

Good to see you again, it's been a long time. Thanks for the kind words. Things are certainly difficult and complicated, but I am not blind to what is good and beautiful in my life. Hope you're doing okay, happy to listen if you're not.

 

Kind thoughts,

Blue.

Hi mmMekitty,

 

Thanks, it's really good to know that our discussion is educational and helpful to someone. It's a while since I checked in on your thread, hope all is going okay for you.

 

Kind thoughts and hugzies,

Blue.

Hi Blue, MK and Sleepy21,

 

Blue, I’m so happy you’ve had Sir Pecks and Mr Feisty in your life. I have parrots visiting my garden and, if I’m feeling really down, I see them and their character just lifts me. They have so much personality. So I can sense how they’ve been family for you and the meaningful connection they’ve provided.

 

Things have come a long way since the making of Mozart and the Whale with regard to understandings of autism. I read some criticism from the autism community because the two lead actors are not autistic. But I saw an interview with one who said after acting the part he started to wonder about possible autistic traits in himself. I felt it was quite insightful for its time but it’s a long time ago now I saw it. I remember another criticism was the film emphasising the lead characters as having savant traits, which of course can be a stereotype. But I guess however they portrayed the characters they could never fully encompass all versions of autism.

 

 I think your openness about your story is helpful for others. It’s been helpful for me to chat about these things. Mostly they are things I don’t get to discuss in everyday life. I still feel somewhat outside the world with ND traits that I haven’t been able to turn into a living or get to use as much as I’d like. I feel like a semi-closeted person who has some lifelong ASD traits, but living my life like I’m basically neurotypical. And I know I’m not a clear-cut case because aspects of me are quite neurotypical while other aspects are not. A bit like the way I’m kind of ambidextrous, not quite one thing or another. But I think a lot of people probably feel like they’re a mish mash of things.

 

Wishing you and all reading a good week ahead!

Hi blues, nice to be here and thanks for welcoming. It is great to speak to u.

 

I am going through some transitions and it has been challenging. I feel a bit anxious.

 

Nice to meet you Eagle. I agree we need more awareness. People can be scared to ask questions and have these discussions.

 

How was ur weekend? Ive been pretty cold , going to a coffee shop outdoors and watching all the dogs and moms and children in puffer coats. I find it good to be outside, even in the cold.