Trigger warning. This post talks of suicide.
An Aspie Alone – Part 4
Nothing Amusing About These Musings!
May 2017 – Sunday 21st
“Is a day l shall remember quite clearly l now believe for the rest of my life, however it is not so very singular as a specific day of memory, it is one of perhaps ten significant days during my nearly 55 years of lives. Each and every other day within those ten has something of clarity that l use to keep myself together or fall apart with. That day was literally six days after my 54th Birthday.
The 21st was a day that l was literally 12″ away from ending my life …. it wasn’t going to be an attempt it WAS going to be the final move. The one where you don’t walk away from, get up and shake yourself down, the one where you don’t think ‘Better luck next time!!” For if l had walked just 13″ forwards, it would have been quite probably a 200 foot drop to one hopes certain death.
It was that simple.
The 21st May 2017, was also the day that l decided l wanted to live. I was looking at death and in a few brief moments of clarity l decided that DEATH was not the answer! That LIFE as shitty as it was, was the only one shot l had at actually beating my demons.”
During the month of May 2017 l wanted to walk off a cliff top in St. Margarets near to where l live in Kent. I couldn’t cope with the noise inside my head, l couldn’t cope with yet another depression moving in for the kill to my brain. It was all too much.
My partner and my dog were yards ahead of me, enjoying the truly beautiful Kentish weather. It was glorious, as my Mother used to say ‘Enough blue for a pair of sailors’ pants!’ It was a lovely day and l ruined it – by being depressed. Depression is a twofold demon with me, l suffer from both a Neuro depression mode and an autistic or rather an Aspergian depression mode. One of them is nuclear whilst the other is maddening.
I looked longingly down upon the rocks, a drop of around two hundred feet below my own feet, the waves glistening crashing on those same rocks, white horses danced out of the crests of the waves, there was a fantastic sea breeze and all l could think of was ….
“Would the fall kill me outright or would l become a vegetable, because rotten luck chases me and has chased me for years! Would l be lucky enough to be a bloodied pulp, my bones broken, perhaps even a neck snap?” Those were my thoughts – l was a mere 12” from the edge, 12” from a potential death, 12” away from a suicide … but l didn’t, l looked at both my partner and my dog my two best friends in the world and l knew then that l was NOT going to do it, l was going to fight it, and this time l was going to win!
My dog, Scrappy is the last of a large pack of dogs that l had the privilege of having the company of over the last twenty years; she was the last pack member to come on board. She turned 14 at the end of November last year , and she has proven to be a loving loyal companion of mine for every single one of those 14= years – she has never betrayed me, or let me down and has loved me unconditionally without question. She is a hardy breed, an Australian Sheep dog crossed with a Staffy – she is as hard as nails, but as soft as putty with her affections.
An acrimonious divorce in 2007 split my beautiful pack up, the ex-wife took away half of my dogs in an attempt to cause me pain, and l never saw or heard from them again, and it was painful. My dogs have been my life, they have been there when humans simply were not enough company or were not there. So to lose 4 of my 8 was tough. However l had my four girls left. Sadly by 2009, l had lost two of those girls to old age, and sadder again, l lost my beloved Dora in 2014, which left Scrappy and me.
How could l possibly host the thought, the terrible thought of killing myself? How could l leave my last pack member and my partner? There is a good chance Scrappy who is an elderly dog and has been my closest companion for 14 years would pine and die long before her old age took her naturally, l could not do that to her.
My partner and l are fast approaching five and a half years mark and it has not been an easy ride for her – Aspergers – despite clumsiness many purport it to be, can be quite a challenging disorder to live with – how could l do this to her? The first woman who has ever really understood me? How could l allow the insidiousness of depression to cheat her of time left with her best friend?
That would not be fair. …
So often people accuse and propose suggestion that no thought goes through the mind of those thinking of death upon themselves and whilst l cannot speak of all, l have faced this burning question many a time. I have more responsibility to others now, and whilst l may not always have the highest regard of my own life – l must be considerate to those whom are left behind to pick up the pieces, clear up the metaphorical mess and attempt to get on with their lives continually asking themselves if they could have done more?
I decided that day 12” from certain death that NO, l would, come what may start to retake my own life, and not let depression control me anymore. I may not be the happiest soul on the planet, in truth how many of us really deeply are? We are all broken in one way or another, but l am happy the most when with my two best friends and that alone was sufficient to kick back, to step back from the fall of death, and slowly but surely l eased away … 14”, 20”, 2 feet, 3 feet and then l joined them again, and completed the trio that we are as a family.
It’s not easy being on the spectrum of autism with my Aspergers, nay before you think that is a cry for sympathetic help, it’s not, it is a cold hard clinical and objective fact. All day l say to people it’s ok to be different; it’s ok to not be ok, and all the other motivationals you can think of. But the reality is that when l am in a Aspie geared depression, l care not for those motivations – for many a time l don’t want to be different, l don’t want to not be ok – because all l do want to be IS ok!
I am different anyway, the very essence of who l am, predicts that l will be different, because l think differently to most, therefore l am already different by genetical default, it’s literally in my genes to be different.
When you are trying to heal yourself, your mood swings are unpredictable 0 – nuclear in 10 seconds is not unheard of, and with the notorious Aspergian pendulum to it swinging away in the background, you are going to be in for one hell of a roller coaster ride.
Walking on eggshells doesn’t even come close to how you are feeling.
My doctor continually awarded me various medications, chemical after chemical which simply made me worse. I am anti-chemical as is, and have no build up to cope with their presence, combined with an aggressive stomach disorder that l have had for twenty plus years, all this achieved was a worsened health condition. I took my doctor’s advice and stayed the course but after three months, l had to walk away from these and go the natural organic approach. I knew l had the will power and determination to not rely upon anti-depressants this time and knew that l was going to win.
Mo more medical disguise was going to be used, now it was just me getting through it. No more walking around like a zombie or floored like an elephant … NO! l will not deny it was a real struggle battling depression with no medication, no therapy, and no one to specifically talk to about how screwed up my head was back then.
Even long before my Aspergers diagnosis l suffered horribly with mental health issues, so much so, that it is almost a permanent residency within my skull, it’s always there, it’s like a leopard or a tiger, one is spotted the other striped, they may change their behaviours occasionally, but they will always be who they were born to be.
That’s like depression, my opinion may differ to another on this level, but l think the depression is always there, lurking and just waiting for a fresh dose of darkness to creep into and onto its path. Each person’s stress and depression is reflective upon who they are. I may not understand another person’s stress, equally as much as they may not see the disturbance in mine. We all have , good days, bad days, good months, bad months, great years, fucking lousy years, and sometimes, well sometimes those of us who pretend everything is dandy – break down again. The pretence no longer able to be contained, the creeping darkness that is depression has crept back into our minds and will not go until it causes absolute havoc.
But sometimes these reoccurrence’s can be caused by triggers – ask any autist if there are triggers to their stresses, their meltdowns or even their breaks, ask a non autist and they will tell you the same – everything can be bloody fine, but occasionally the tiniest bit of straw is enough to break the camel’s back.
I would like to say that since my telling the doctor that l intended to go it alone without medication, may not have been my wisest choice, but l was without a huge choice of options to pick from in the ‘getting better chain’. I put my recovery down to my love for my partner, for Scrappy, for the last pack member, for my ability to be optimistic, for my wanting to love life, for wanting to be with my partner and grow old together.
In November of last year, l also ditched 30 years of haunting, or what was known as PTSD from an incident which left me mentally scarred in my early twenties where l had to deal with two untimely deaths of people close to me. The 3oth anniversary of that event was on the 17th November, and l was determined to try and clear my head and win with pure positivity. I forced myself to turn that negative emotion into positivity …
….. Here l am in April 2018, l am still stressed up to my eyeballs, however not with the depression per se, but with current events involving my life. On a scale of 100%, l can safely say that l am holding and maintaining a good 85% postive health … l am NOT unimpressed with that considering where l was as little as October of last year when the stress then was even higher than it had been in May or even March of the same year.
l am NOT saying l don’t have glitches, because l do – l have waves of melancholy sweep over me at times! l have to really keep busy, project my thoughts elsewhere, and eventually that darkness ebbs away.
In September of last year l started this blog as a way of keeping myself busy and writing down my life, my journey and my stories as a way of remaining positive and purging any of the remaining demons for good.
I am really pleased with who l am today and who l have allowed myself to be!
The moral of this post is simple, be MINDFUL of others folks, you don’t know the journey they have to undertake to be where they are, not everyone has the same journey, nor everyone arrives at the same destination as everyone else – so be mindful please, and remember that everyone has a story to tell and it may not be as lovely as yours.
Update – April 2019 – nearly two years since l was looking down a 200 foot drop, and l can honestly say that with everything that has occured since April 2017 – l am a much better person. I have kicked depression, it has not revisited the same way it used to visit me. The demons no longer haunt me as they once did – l haven’t forgotten the events of 1987 but l have finally managed to accept that sometimes life ‘just happens’ that way. Life is still a bowl of hogwash, and l don’t think l am EVER going to be Mr Happy – but until nature takes its course, l am still going to be Mr Very Much Alive!
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step – Lao Tzu