I’m not going to go into ending medication here, as that’s a story into itself, however, I was told that coming off medication was worse than coming off heroin, by a former heroin user. I was in a job at the time, planning a brighter future for myself, more financially secure but, again, there was the bullying. I was different, I didn’t fit in so, for some, that made me a target and I finally reached a point where I couldn’t handle things anymore and had to go back into my hole.
Apart from a few occasions, for three months I was a proverbial vegetable on the sofa, I couldn’t move. I was calling the Samaritans almost daily, as I needed someone to talk to who I thought could help, but none of them knew, no one knew what was in my head, trying to escape, so I had to write it down. If I could see what it was in front of me, then I felt sure I could deal with it, and deal with it I did. Slowly.
Books were again my safe place, and after a while, I’d managed to get back outside walking too. I was starting to rejoin the human race again and cursed myself for forgetting my books, after all, they’d helped me throughout my whole life. Still, there was something not right, and I didn’t know what it was. There has to be some reason why I was different, why didn’t I fit in? Why can’t I start relationships? Why don’t I get the girl? So many questions, and no answers.
One night I stumbled onto one of those online autism tests. They’re a bit crap, but I decided to give it a go, I was bored anyway. The questions were pretty generic, but they related to symptoms, symptoms I actually had so, intrigued, I continued answering and pressed send to get my result, and there it was! Rocketing through the roof of my computer screen. Was it the answer I’d been looking for? Only a trip to see the doctor would answer this.
I was sent to see the local Autism service, they had to fill the form in for me, as I can’t do forms and I was in a chatty mood and there was no way I could talk and write at the same time, but it felt good to finally be asked the right questions after horrible experiences with medication and therapy sessions that failed me completely.
After what seemed like months, Covid had kicked in at this point and we were all in lockdown, so things obviously took their time, but the day finally came when I was to have my final assessment. The train to Pontypool was uneventful, as was getting lost on the way there, even though I had the map app open on my phone telling me which way to go, but finally, I made it.
It was one of those tactile assessments where you have to create stories, play with things and try to explain things. I was doing really well (at least I thought I was), apart from staring into space and being constantly distracted, until the bombshell question:
“What does it feel like to be happy?”
…..after a pause
I don’t know. And there it was, something I’d never realised. I don’t know what it feels like to be happy, I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced it, how would I know? Will there be a sign, is there a new sensation I don’t know about? And at that point, everything became unravelled, but so much clearer. I can never fit in because I can’t share what other people feel, I’m going to be like this forever, alone, and I don’t want to be. I left and I cried like I’d never cried before, cried more than when I sneezed a huge bogey into my glass of squash at my seventh birthday party. This felt worse than everything, but on the other hand, I also started to feel free, free at last that even though I knew I’d never be able to fit in with other people, I knew I’d always be alone but I now knew what the problem was
I AM AUTISTIC!!!!
I felt like shouting it from the rooftops, but someone would probably have said something!
Since then life has been as erratic as ever, the bullying still continues, but they get away with it less when others jump to my defence and tell them to stop, it still hurts but it helps. My books are still there and my childhood whole is a lot smaller, I walk everywhere. The walking is my escape.
There’s a world out there, where it doesn’t matter what you do, you’re going to be bullied and abused. Most of the time is because you’re doing something good. I started a project a few years ago, The Pilgrim, where I wanted to help others, I think I’ve done alright with it so far, but I still get abused, I still get bullied and I still get shunned from some in that book world. The last time was this evening, which is what spurred me on to write this, rather lengthy, post. but I’ve come to realise, they can’t hurt me, they can’t hurt you, they’re the one’s that are hurting because me and you, we’re doing something that they didn’t think of, we’re doing good, we’re making a difference!
There will always be a schoolyard bully, and that’s why these two post titles don’t have any capital letters. They’re really not worth the effort.
Be who you are, because nobody else will stop you from being great!
Founder and Editor of Pilgrim House, currently researching folklore and early Welsh Christianity and curator of the archives of the lost village of Pontyddim.