Category Archives: General-personal

Edges

I think that the edges of myself are not very well-defined. It doesn’t take much for me to lose track of where those edges are.

Other people’s edges are much bolder, so they overwrite mine when they’re too close. Socialising is when I can’t be sure which edges are mine and which are other people’s. Sometimes it’s nice, more often it’s scary.

Strong sensory input is dazzling and makes the edges too dim to be seen. Sensory overload is when the edges become completely invisible and all I can do is hope that they are in the last place I saw them.

Anxiety is when the edges seem to be shrinking in and cutting off the important bits of me, so that I can’t defend myself or block anything bad from getting in.

Meltdown is when the edges are gone completely. They shrink so much that they disappear, and everything becomes a part of me and I can’t escape.

Contentment is when I find something that perfectly fits the shape of my edges, and I can hold it against myself and it becomes – not a shield, not armour – but perfectly fitting clothing. Something that does the job of reminding me where the edges are, so I don’t have to keep focusing on them.

Joy is when my edges swell and grow and envelop everything I care about and it all becomes a part of me and everything is right.

Future

I’ve never really had concrete plans for my life. Most people are able to imagine themselves as an adult, with a career and their own home and maybe a family – or whatever they hope for. But I’ve never done that.

When I was much younger, I could imagine a distant adult and pretend they would turn out to be me. I’d imagine a successful career (whatever career I was imagining at the time), the family that everyone told me I must want to have, the busy social life that was supposed to be the marker of happiness.

As I got older, that type of imagining became meaningless. I started to see people around me growing up – like my family going from being children to students to adults. And I learnt that you didn’t suddenly ‘switch’ into a different person. Instead there was a gradual transition where you learned new things and developed your skills and interests until you were able to do adult things like moving out and getting a job.

But I knew that wouldn’t ever happen to me. Whatever the transition was supposed to be between being myself, and being a Person Who Can Go To University (or a Person Who Gets Married, or a Person With A Full-time Job…), I couldn’t imagine it – it didn’t exist.

The only adults I saw, were those unattainable things that I knew would never happen to me. People with jobs, people with kids, people who liked parties. I tried to work backwards, and figure out what those people’s transitions were like – what they were like at school, what they did at college, to make them into that type of adult.

When I did that, all I found was more stories I couldn’t relate to. There were all people who had no trouble with school, people who made new friends at college, people who were just like all the kids around me but nothing like myself.

The only conclusion I could make was that there were no adults like me. Either there was no-one like me, full stop – and I was an entirely unique and impossible occurrence. Or, more likely, everyone who was a young person like me never became an adult. I could never see my own future, so I had to assume that I didn’t have a future.

I ended up believing that I must be one of those people who’s destined to drop out of life at a young age. Either I’d go so insane I’d commit suicide, or be institutionalised for life, or become a completely different person somehow. Or I’d be struck by some hideous disease or unfortunate accident and be killed before I got a chance the grow up. The only future version of myself I could imagine, was the newspaper article about a young person tragically dying before their time.

It’s only really in the last year that I’ve learnt that I was wrong. And it happened because, for the first time in my life, I found People Like Me. People who had been the ‘troubled kid’ at school – and then grown up into adults anyway. People who never liked parties, and still didn’t like parties, and just didn’t go to them. People who couldn’t make friends at college, and socialised online instead.

I’ve finally started to believe that I actually exist. That it’s possible for me to be an adult. That I have a future.

I want a diagnosis.

(This was originally written on 9th September 2012)

I want a diagnosis.

I want to be able to remember events from my childhood and think “I know why I reacted that way. I know why those things happened.”

I want to be able to tell other people a handful of words and them be able to know – or find out – what problems I have, what I need, what I can’t cope with, and what they could do to help me.

I want to be able to tell myself that I’m unique, that I’m special, that I’m different.

I want to be able to find people just like me by typing the same handful of words into Google.

I want to be the only person like me, everywhere I go.

I want people to notice I’m different.

I want people to say “I never would have guessed” and later think “it makes perfect sense”.

I want a diagnosis of something rare and misunderstood. Something with stereotypes which are wrong. Something that will make people fear or respect or avoid me.

I want a diagnosis. I’m just not sure what diagnosis it is that I want.

In the end I tell myself that I’m making it all up. There’s nothing special or different enough about me to warrant diagnosing with anything.

But it’s only now that I am really realising how much trouble I had when I was younger. Maybe I just assumed that everyone feels like the outcast when they’re a kid. That everyone feels like they don’t have any friends, that everyone hates them, that they’re the butt of the joke every time. That they feel like they have nothing in common with their peers. That they can’t cope with living the life of the person they’re supposed to be.

Because I don’t think those things are normal. Not to the extent that I experienced them. But if they aren’t normal, then what? What does it mean? It would be so easy if everything I experienced could be pointed to one disorder, one cause, that would sum up my whole life. It doesn’t seem to be that easy. And I have no idea where I’m meant to go from here. Do I just give up? Assume I’m normal until proven otherwise? Maybe that’s the best way. But I’m not sure if I’ll ever actually be able to believe it. I’ll just be left, confused and unresolved about what might or might not be wrong with me. Maybe everyone exists in that state constantly.