At the end of this 18-month period, I've now completed the two most important jobs of my life. I've cared for my mother during her final months, and I've written a book about that experience - and about the the experience of growing up with (then undiagnosed) autism.
With mum's passing, there's no one left. My brother - my closest-living blood relative - might as well be a stranger I've never met. I've honoured mum's memory in words... and there's not much else I can do.
I live alone, with my cat. I work with autistic people.
Apart from that, I go through the motions of a life. I pay the bills, I eat, I sleep, I get up in the morning and go to work, I come home, I watch a movie, I go to bed... I start again.
I'll be 60 next year. Life has largely passed me by. I don't really have anything left to do. I don't want to travel any more. I don't have anything I'm burning to learn. I don't have anything left. If it wasn't for Daisy, my cat, I'd probably take myself out of the picture permanently. It would be so easy. And such a release.
But she's here. And she needs me. So I must be here, too.
Until I'm no longer needed.
I count my remaining days with hers.
Tom, is this feeling persistent, or does it come and go?
I feel that you are integral to this community. So you're needed here...
It's permanent now. And I'm not really integral to anything. No one is. It's all completely meaningless.
If you really feel like this. Take a break from this site and come back later.
As for life in general. Take a few holidays, see the world or at least the UK.
Learn a new language, try a new hobby, volunteer at an animal shelter, read books.
I wanna reach out to you - to tell you it gets better, to tell you not to do anything permanent, and to offer connection... compassion. But, I'm too disenfranchised myself to think there are magical or instantaneous answers. It's just hard sometimes, and I respect you enough to recognise that.
I'm not gonna tell you to travel - as I hate travelling myself. People always tell me to travel, as it will make me a "better person". Yet, I've met loads of worldly-travelled folks who are still awful people. Likewise, you've probably already read a load of books. And, new hobbies ain't gonna fill a void left by an existential lack of meaning or purpose.
... you're obviously an intelligent, sharp-minded and humorous person. You've demonstrated that on this forum; not only offering solid advice and interesting insight, but you've also reached out to offer compassion to others yourself. I've seen it. So, you've evidently got a lot to offer still.
Is your book published? If not, is this a project worth pursuing... as there may be real benefits to others from putting your own story out there? Are there any mentoring programmes near you for you to help younger (or hell, even older!) newly-diagnosed autistics? There's nothing like that where I live, and being newly-diagnosed myself, I could've done with the guidance of someone who's already walked that path - and who could offer far more invaluable insight than so many of the so-called professionals. If there is no such scheme, have you thought about pioneering one?
You've been through a lot. And, I'm not gonna placate you - as I know all too well just how tiresome, hard work and unrewarding this life can be. But, this world isn't without it's magic still.
A break from this site could be good. Maybe a chance to explore as-yet-unconsidered options? Maybe reinvent yourself entirely - throwing out the old narrative completely! Why not?! If you're single, maybe it's time to date? If you need some deeper meaning, maybe you could explore new spheres, like Buddhist philosophy / meditational practice?
As much as this world can be a real chore and unrelenting hard work, it remains coloured with so many options. It just takes a little creative thinking to find out what's suitable for you.
And as for cats, I've always preferred their company to people. Never underestimate the power of a cat belly-rub! Personally, I've always been of the belief that if you have one cat, why not have two or three?!
I can only send heart-felt and genuine good thoughts your way Tom.
Hi Martian Tom,
Perhaps it is time to start a new chapter, and look for a new objective or purpose. Just because one has finished, doesn't mean that another one cannot start! We are in the world for so long, so we may as well enjoy our time and use our time well!
You frequently mention your "role" of caring for others - your mother, your cat etc. And you mention that you work with autistic people as well. Perhaps you could pursue that in some way - you could go around places talking about your experience of autism, and how people can help! I know many firms are looking into this kind of thing in order to help raise awareness of conditions like autism amongst colleagues, so that would be a really well-received and purposeful thing to do while incorporating the key roles you have performed in your life so far!x
Much love <3
Martian Tom said:If it wasn't for Daisy, my cat, I'd probably take myself out of the picture permanently. It would be so easy. And such a release.
Not so long ago I found myself in the same situation and on the day I had to have my beloved cat put to sleep I tried to commit suicide.
Based on my experience, I would recommend you seek professional help for depression.
Very perceptive point about relationships between people and cats.
When my cats died, three times I was severely depressed, crying, lost and suicidal for months.
When I past up the opportunity to help a cat in pain, I felt/feel so guilty I am still depressed/suicidal. If it had been a person in the same situation I would/will feel nothing and walk past.
Sorry to read this post mate. It sounds like you are feeling a bit lost. I would suggest this may be part of the grieving process playing out and it may take some time to finally pass. I agree with DF5 you are a much appreciated member of this forum and hope you can hear this clearly.
Anyway I just wanted to let you know you are in my thoughts today. Your advice to me has always been sound and appreciated. Thanks.
Take care , Laddie.
PS I heard something on the radio the other day about self-publishing books on Amazon. Is that something you considered?
laddie49 said:this may be part of the grieving process playing out and it may take some time to finally pass
And like caretwo, I also recommend that you seek professional support. Have you been to your GP?
I had thought I was fine after my dad died. It was entirely expected, and the best thing for him. But 8 months later I was suddenly very "wobbly" indeed.
The more I have read about ASD, the more it seems that issues surrounding death of a close family member "are a thing" for our community...
For me it seems almost as if I am experiencing "ripples" from the loss. They do say that the sea recedes initially before a tidal wave arrives. About 6 months later and I am feeling like I am on a more even keel, but I think I would have found it more difficult now if, like you, I had been my parent's carer until the end.
I know what you mean about life seeming pointless. I too felt like there wasn't anything worthwhile any more, like I was surplus to requirements and would not be missed.
How do you feel about young people? Might something like your local scout group be of interest? I guess I am thinking that perhaps one purpose for those of us past the procreative phase of our lives is helping to educate and support the coming generation, so that they are better prepared for life when it is their turn? How about helping the next generation of NTs to make a better job of interacting with their ND counterparts?
Thanks, everyone, for your kind comments and support. I crash-landed yesterday. The crap stirred up by my 'Ripostes' thread didn't help. I wish I hadn't posted it now. It was just meant as a bit of fun, and to let off some steam. Nothing malicious. But I can understand why it upset some people. I'm sorry for that upset - but I stick to my guns on it. No one has a right not to be offended or upset. That much I've learned about life.
Anyway... thanks again to you all. x