Let’s call it a personality screensaver…
Re-posting from last year:
Growing up as a socially awkward spectrum kid, I always felt a kind of kinship with Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. But there’s a problem. His story ends in a way that strikes me as being counter-productive. I think it sends a pretty confusing message to kids.
Getting lost in Seville is like getting lost in a dream. Especially at night.
Drifting by people and stone, steeped in the verbal footfall of echoing voices. Restaurants folded into impossibly small spaces, yet expelling, into the passageways, a rich bundle of sensory dregs: meal-scents, more voices and the ceaseless clinking of glass.
I lived at home during my college years. I was beginning to struggle with depression…it wasn’t a full thing yet, but I was too spacey and low-energy to both take classes and hold down a job. But by my junior year, it was becoming a challenge to pay for gas, meals, stuff like that, so there was no avoiding it. I had to find work.
So, the employment thing: it started in 1995. I was 20 years old.
These are the jobs I’ve had.
The question I receive the most: “A family member who is on the autism spectrum is also experiencing severe depression. What can I do to help them?”
I offered some initial thoughts in a recent post, but this time around I wanted to focus on a very specific facet of this issue. (Click here for a post that collects and summarizes every article in the Aspergers and depression series.)
One of the recurring themes in these questions is not just depression; it’s that the person is having a hard time accepting the diagnosis. The individual is described as hating their spectrum traits to such an extent that they refuse to accept the diagnosis or even discuss it. Those writing in about this frequently report that they have tried to offer positive, practical descriptions of the spectrum, yet find that this approach is only making things worse.
(This is part 6 in an ongoing series devoted to the topic of autism and depression; click here for a post that collects and summarizes every article in the series.)
As a kid on the autism spectrum, I received a lot of pressure to blend in and hide differences. As an adult on the autism spectrum, I now know what the consequences are for that kind of pressure.
When you are young and traits that are part of who you are receive negative reactions from people- especially from parents and teachers- it can very quickly erode your sense of confidence and well-being. This, in turn, creates a perfect storm for self-loathing and depression.
When I was 32 years old, I found myself facing a dilemma.
After socially isolating for a about a decade, I began therapy and was diagnosed with both depression and autism spectrum disorder.
The psychologist said that, in addition to managing the depression, we needed to spend a fair amount of time just talking…simply sitting around, conversing…so that we could begin to map out how my mind was processing social data. Once we had a better understand of that, we could then make a game plan.