I’m not one for looking back on my life. To be honest, I never learned the knack of it, nor did I understand the point of looking back. I didn’t really get it.
But looking back, is something I seem to suddenly be able to do now, and it’s helping me. It has taken a lot of encouragement and support as well as guidance, from my work coach at the job centre and all my support workers and my psychiatrist, and lots of practice and at times, blind faith.
But it paid off, because now, when I think, it’s all too much, I’m not where I want to be and it seems too far away, I simply remind myself, I have just experienced a major, major burnout, and I’ve had two years just laying on my back. So my 5 minutes of physical exercise each day, whatever it is, is blinking marvellous, and over time, I’ll get back to not only running 7 miles in a morning, but many more and all the other stuff and more as well.
There is so much from my past that I can bring forward. I don’t have to leave it all behind and one of the things I’m bringing with me, is the knowledge that I can do this. I’ve done it before. And this time. Whatever I do, it’s built on a solid foundation. The clear knowledge of who I am. So it will remain. Whatever I build, will carry whatever comes it’s way.
So, it seems I can look back and make use of the past. I was all for leaving it all behind but my support workers helped me to keep some of it. And I know why, now. Some of the past is useful. I can let go of all that is no longer useful. I can let it all go with love, knowing, it has fulfilled its purpose. And make way for the new. But bring with me, my strengths and the skills I learned. I can put them to better use and integrate them with my new self awareness, to create a more peaceful and stable, yet no less exciting life.
I’m pretty amazed actually, when I look back over my life, at how I ever got by! Lol! There’s got to have been a lot of skills being utilised to get me through those days of being in the wilderness, which was often very dark. Some little light, that at times, was invisible, got me through though. And now I’m out of the wilderness, I can see for myself. And despite appearances, all I see is love.
I don’t have much tolerance for being around people. I always end up telling them what to do. They’re like teddies, to me! They need lining up and telling what to do, if they’re going to be any use at all ~ in my little world
But I love interacting, deeply and wholly, with people I meet, when I’m out and about. I can just blurt out whatever’s on my mind or in my heart and often it leads to some wonderful moments and lots and lots of learning and expanding of my heart and mind. Some times, there’s an undeniable perfect flow of love. It’s like a mutual exchange of love, that makes you think, this is what love feels like. And you, and the other person or persons, walk away, with an undeniable feeling of immense joy and we don’t know quite why. It’s a beautiful experience.
My life might not look ordinary, because it’s not. It’s extra ordinary. That’s what happens when you live from the heart and not the mind. Even the simple act of washing some dishes, can be a truly wonderful experience, when you’re present with it, in the moment, in the heart and not in the mind. The way the hands work together and the way they move, so gracefully, is truly mesmerising. You don’t need thoughts or ballets! Watching your hands at work is like watching a ballet. It’s like poetry in motion ️
I think I’m maybe doing what they call, ‘making peace with the past’? I’ve never really understood all these little sayings people seem to say sometimes. But I think I’m actually doing that now. I think I’m making peace with the past. It feels like the next phase of acceptance and integration of the diagnosis and the new self awareness that I’ve gained, that I’m now experiencing.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, is another one of those sayings, that I think I understand now. I can let go of all that wasn’t or is no longer helpful, from my past, but there’s lots of good stuff that I can keep and use.
It’s a nice feeling. Making peace with the past. Who knew?!?! Lol!
Well done and well written
I’ve heavily reflected on my past and how ASD has affected it as people who know about me ask if I’d change myself if I could. I said NO because not only would that get rid of most of my main traits and heavily change my personality but it would also invalidate the journey I’ve been on so far and the challenges ive faced.
I used to react badly to people touching me in primary school and it would often end up with me assaulting them. However now I’m not like that anymore, I never try to start any kind of conflict apart from arguments, I will still fight to the death for myself or family though.
I've managed to make a good friend called Jacob, I think the reason I like to be around him is because he is accepting of me and he is bipolar so we can relate in certain situations. I never liked meeting new people so making a friend was hard, but now I have him I would kill for him.
I have PDA (pathological demand avoidance) so i was constantly grounded and I felt like I was robbed of my freedom and the only way I managed to get through that mixed with the other feelings like rejection was through music. Without it I could have gone further than a few cuts on my arm. I listen to NF and Eminem mainly, I think it’s because I can relate to them through their lyrics and how Eminem was rejected by most of the people around him.
I got a bit emotional with myself recently which was a bit wierd because I have alexithymia but anyway I was looking through my old year 2 achievement folder and the second half was filled with autism stuff and a booklet about what’s different about me (not wrong) and what I wouldn’t be able to do. I exceeded most of their doubts but some of the things they expected me to do I can’t do.
I think that shows how misunderstood we are as autistics.
I have to say well done to you, but I'm not sure I'm ready to look too far back,.
Look back at your past, trust me it makes you feel passionate for yourself with a few tears. It improved my mental health so much as I thought mainly about the positives and how the negatives have made me a better person.
I'd agree. 38 years without any understanding, lots of traumatic events, mistakes, mental illness, and a suicide attempt.
The suicide attempt was the turning point, it led to the chain of events that got me diagnosed. I'm so glad I woke up on my kitchen floor alive that afternoon.
The way I've come to terms with my past, through understanding my autism, has really changed my outlook. I've come out much stronger, and less confused.
Thank you Eccentric. It really helps me to get things out on paper otherwise it just floats around my head and gets mingled in with everything else to create a mass of millions of thoughts just going round and round and all I see is confusion
I love that Will, especially when you said you wouldn’t change yourself because it would change your traits and most importantly, invalidate the journey you’ve been on. That went straight to my heart and made me say Yes! You are so right. When I read that, I suddenly felt like I was holding on to my past and my journey as if it were a little baby, holding it and loving it so dearly. This is why I say I love all autistic people so much, because of the journey we go on. It’s such a unique journey but I do believe that at the heart of it, we are definitely closer to our true selves than none autistic people and it’s that which gets us through.
I can relate so much to everything you said, especially about the lashing out and not connecting with people enough to create friendships. And I too have my very first, real best friend. And like you, I think I love it so much because my friend accepts me, wholly and completely, for who I am. He has autism but doesn’t have PDA and ADHD like me but he has something to do with not being able to express yourself in facial and vocal tones etc. It’s such a special feeling and I’m so glad you’ve got Jacob. The way I feel about my friend, is that you only need one good friend in this world. You can be friendly with lots of people but to have a real friend, is really special, and I think we appreciate it and value it all the more, because we know it’s value through experiencing many years of the opposite.
I also have Alexithymia and just last week realised I was deeply upset, through me having violent outbursts and walking through town looking for a fight!!! I haven’t done that for years yet I still didn’t click on that maybe I’m upset or something. My support worker helped me to work it out, thankfully, before I did commit some kind of violence.
And I 100% agree with your last statement, about how misunderstood we are. But I don’t think that could be avoided, as they began to know about us through studying children from the outside in and I think it’s only now, when there are now so many more adults on the spectrum, who can actually say what’s going on, from the inside, will we get more collective knowledge.
I am so grateful to the psychiatrist who diagnosed me and for the help he has given me since, especially round the PDA stuff but when I’m talking to him, there are definitely times that I think, he hasn’t got a clue what it’s actually like. But then I think, of course he hasn’t, it’s not something that is easily communicated to somebody who isn’t the same and even if they could understand it intellectually, I don’t think they could ever really know what it’s like. But I’m grateful they know enough to be able to spot the signs etc and give some guidance and support.
Music helps me also and is very emotive. I tend to mostly play meditation or chanting type music but when I need to, I play other music. Listening to Amy Winehouse, repeatedly, for several hours through my headphones, the other night, was really helpful.
You sound like you’re really well. It’s good to hear. It’s not an easy journey but one that we can appreciate and value and you’re right, it’s part of who we are.
I agree. I’ve cried rivers of tears but looking back, has made me feel a great passion for myself and my life and I value the negatives as much as the positives because like you said, it is those that made me a better person.
Ditto and I’m so glad you did wake up that afternoon on your kitchen floor ️I think we’re all blinking marvellous to come through what we’ve come through and to me, the most important thing is that we’ve come through it with not only our hearts and minds in tact, but the mind is clearer than ever and the heart is more loving, kinder and more compassionate than ever before. It’s probably not that we’re kinder, but that we have broken through the glass barrier that kept us separate from everyone, including ourselves.
I watched a documentary on broadmoor the other day and one of the guys they were filming was autistic. They’ve really helped this guy and his attitude towards it all, made me think, only an autistic person could have that outlook. There is something very special that happens in the mind of an autistic person. I can’t describe it. I feel like I want to say we’re special, but we’re not, we’re no more special than anybody else, but there is definitely something very unique about our make up, the way we’re wired, that enables us to have a very unique outlook on life, which is definitely very special.
It’s our time to shine in the world and to show people how life is really done
It’s taken me 51 or 52 years, whatever it is (I can never remember how old I am!) to be able to look back ~ prior to this, I never looked back. I can see now that my life was almost like a train wreck! Lol! A big old heavy train just hurtling forward at high speeds until it finally crashed and burned. I don’t even know if I had the ability to look back. I didn’t know how you did it. But I’m enjoying it now and it makes me so proud to be me and as Eccentric said, it gives you a passion for yourself that you didn’t know existed. The diagnosis gave me the ability to look back, I think, because it’s like I have two lives, my pre diagnosis life and the new life I’m creating now. I suppose before, I never even had an anchor point to be able to look back from, because I didn’t even know who I was or what I wanted etc, so what was there to look back on?!?! So it kind of happened naturally as a consequence of getting the diagnosis and now I look back and think WoW how the hell did I get through that! Lol! I must posses some kick ass skills in me that I never recognised before, so now I’m all about unearthing them and putting them to better use. As Cloudy says, self acceptance and looking back, seeing just how well we’ve really done etc, really helps with and stablises mental health and enables you to break free from the limitations, accept what we can’t change and begin to expand out into areas that are important to us and to live in accordance to ourselves, regardless of how different that might look to the rest of society. We begin to be able to find our own way, carve out our own paths, according to us and our needs.