For better or worse, this blog has basically become me talking about my feelings and the way in which I see the world. It has helped me through some of the worst times and been a way for me to let my friends and the wider world know what the hell is going on with my crazy, crazy mind so it makes my actions somewhat more understandable. But I haven't been entirely honest with you all, because there's one big piece of the puzzle that you're missing. And it's something I've been terrified to talk about for a long time because it's the most personal thing about me. It's the thing I don't talk about, until now.
When I was a very young boy, I was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome after I told the school that my parents had kept me locked in the shed. They hadn't really. I remember when I found out I had it. My parents were cagey and refused to talk to me, so I knew something was wrong. I kept thinking I'd done something bad until I finally drew up enough courage to ask Mum what was wrong, I was sitting next to her on the bed and she said that I had been diagnosed with this thing called Aspergers. I was so scared and I just started crying because I didn't understand and Mum started crying with me and assured me that everything was going to be fine. Inside, I knew it wasn't going to be.
Ever since then, I've known I had it, but it was something I refused to acknowledge about myself. It wasn't something I wanted to learn more about and it wasn't something I liked to talk about. It was the primary reason I've almost always had a counsellor, although I was really talking to them more about problems with my sexuality or my family. It wasn't about this label, this diagnosis of mine. I don't know what it was that finally changed me, but I think it might've been something to do with a school presentation I saw about it once.
For those of you who don't know, Aspergers Syndrome is a type of high-functioning autism defined by difficulty in social interaction, understanding non-verbal communication, difficulty in empathy but with a higher level of intelligence (sort of) in certain areas which become obsessions. I find it hard to 'do' social interaction, to get why people do certain things and the slightest thing can become misinterpreted as an insult. For this reason, it's a lot more work for me than it would be for most people. I won't go up and talk to you and so I often get extremely lonely and afraid and feel stupid because I want to talk to people but I just get afraid and can't.
This presentation said all this stuff but at the end, the two kids said and because of these reasons, people with Aspergers tend to be very lonely, have no friends and die alone. Now, imagine my pain at this. I wanted friends, I hated being alone, I hated the solitude and the sadness and then these people say that it's a permanent condition, that I was destined to feel this way forever and I couldn't deal with it. I entered this huge depressive cycle which continues to this day (that's not to say my boyfriend hasn't helped because he has, but there are moments when that loneliness comes back and stabs you in the heart like before).
The way I've understood Asperger's is that it's like a conflict between the head and the heart. Say, for example, I wanted to speak to someone. My heart goes, "oh, speak to that person. They might have something in common with you and you'll become really good friends." And I go to walk up to them when suddenly my head will stop me and say, "but what if they hate you? What if you're actually really annoying? What if your friends only put up with you? What if you don't know when to shut up? What happens if they say something hurtful and it sends you into this depressive cycle again? What if this? What if that?" And I get stuck. I desperately want to follow my heart, but my head has such a strong influence and it sucks, it really, really sucks.
Some of the worst things to ever happen to me have been related to this conflict. Years ago, I used to have an externalised thing called the Fear which would just say all these nasty things about me (you're stupid, you're lonely, you're annoying, you'll always be alone, you're worthless, you don't mean anything to anyone, no-one would miss you if you were gone) and I used to hate myself. I thought about suicide because no-one would miss me. That was eventually conquered by a counsellor making me realise that the Fear was wrong, that I'm not stupid, that I would be missed and that one day I would find love.
And then there have been the times where I would finally make a friend, but then I'd lose them. I can remember so many times when I finally plucked up enough courage to talk to someone and we'd have a good connection and the next week, I'd save them a seat and they'd sit somewhere completely different. They'd see me, but not sit next to me. Those still hurt. I know they didn't mean it, I know they couldn't have possibly realised the amount of torture that my mind would torment me to, but it still hurts.
My Asperger's has made so many aspects of my life much harder than they should've been. I believe the reason my parents didn't work out I was gay was because they attributed it all to my Asperger weirdness. I've been so lonely and I think it's made me damaged.
But why am I talking about this now? Why am I talking about the one thing I said I never would? Well, there's a couple of reasons, but the main one is my boyfriend.
Just the other day, we were sitting in his car and talking and he had to keep telling me that I wasn't broken, that he would still love me despite my own perceived 'damaged goods' and there have been times, so many times, that I've thought, 'well, actually, I really should end it, because I am so broken that I am a burden to him and he doesn't need that. No one needs that. He's supposed to be my boyfriend, not my counsellor.' So, I've decided I can't live like that anymore. I can't live with the constant, perpetual terror that my boyfriend is going to leave me because I am a broken soul. I am sick of not believing my boyfriend when he says he loves me no matter what. I'm sick of my fucking head refusing to listen to my heart. I just want to be able to...
And that was as far as I got. After that, I had to stop talking about this because it's hard and it sucks and it's really painful to talk about. It's important that I talk about it, but ripping off this scab is probably going to be one of the most painful things I've ever done. There's a reason I don't talk about it. Because it's impossible. But I need to confront this or I'll never move on. I'll never be complete. I'll just be broken. So I have to do this. But to do so, there's going to be more than a few times where I can't take it and need to run out of the library like a petulant child, to calm down and allow myself to cry. It's gonna hurt like hell, but it's the most important thing I've ever done.
It hurts because it involves talking about myself, talking about the deep dark pit of depression and bad feelings. It hurts because every time I read something about Asperger's I realise that it's not me, it's the syndrome. It hurts because I realise that I'm so much more damaged and hurt than I ever realised. And it hurts because I can feel myself changing. And change is hard. Change is really fricking hard.
So, I'm going to start talking about this more openly because then I can deal with it. And I can tell my story and I can feel brave. And I can become a better person. That's why I have to talk about this.
Thank you all.