Finally, I’m not tired, been spending the weekend doing photo-editing, Reading and writing poetry and a lot of introspection. On the past, present. Been very burnt out recently. Within the last week mostly falling asleep every afternoon until midnight and going back to sleep at 2-3am before waking up early for work.
I’ve managed it. Managed to get a lot of sleep this weekend. Got a quote that means a lot to me around my neck, a good time hanging out with friends last Wednesday. And lots of time for photography and poetry. A way to see, to calm. I’ve learnt a lot in the last few weeks, I’m using photoshop and other techniques a lot more. I’ve done my first paid bit of photography and learnt from that.
A nice friend who I’ve helped out and has helped me, despite me having lost all those who had been closest to me. They said that they’ve been inspired by some of my art. And this really touched me, gave me hope. And the lesson they took away, saying to just show your art, be proud, be yourself and unembarrassed and ready to leave and ignore anyone who is offended by that.
And this leaves me thinking, with my diagnosis and lots else, I’ve always been hiding, from everyone including from as I have always attempted, myself. But now I don’t have to. Just doing my photography and poetry and if anyone has a problem then they can go.
Someone tried to take away my poetry even while I hid it years ago, and even then I was reluctant but tempted to follow what they said, even if I knew it would have killed me, would have taken the last thing I had. Almost like taking your mind out of your head and leaving you an empty husk. Luckily I didn’t stop. I stopped caring what they thought. Eventually.
I’ve never really been artistic or really had hobbies but now I have quite a few. Lots have changed over the last few months and it’s been fucking exhausting.
I’ve had my mind opened to things I would never have given a second thought before, and also been reopened to ideas I had moved away from but found again in a different but form that has resolved the problems that caused me to move away.
Talking to others, one person who works at the UN gave me some really solid and good advice giving me a goal to produce change and use my empathy and desire to produce change for those worst off when I had wanted to be a lecturer since primary school, the door had seen closed off due to finances the situation in academia and job security and many many more. But I knew I didn’t want to join a faceless massive corporation with the only goal being a small cog making shareholders richer. I have an idea for making actual change although it’s definitely not easy by any stretch, or at least to try.
I also want to continue photography as a hobby, for fun, but maybe even to make a little money on the side so I’m thinking of ways I can do that, and helping others with it. Using my photography for mental health both in outcome and also in process.
I am also hoping to self-publish books on poetry which I had tried 2 years ago but just gave up. I can try again, and looking at my old poetry even from a year back, it’s a lot better and more positive on the whole than it had been. Even the philosophy behind all of it has gotten better.
I also now understand and am coming to terms with my diagnosis, 19/11/19 marked a year since my diagnosis and I was surprised and even had to check my diagnosis letter as it’s honestly felt like 3 years at least. So much has changed and, even acknowledging my meltdowns, their processes, they’re lack of ability to completely stop once started and the darkness within them are all new, not the occurrences, but the understanding of what and why they were happening. I even have ways to try and divert their progress so long as it’s done early enough and I don’t fall too deep within a meltdown. And even if I do, I know some ways to recover better and to avoid slowing the process to months or even years of recovery.
I’ve also been thinking of writing about memory, my unusually good memory, I can remember the exact words someone said from my first year of university when I was wasted, the most in that year of Uni, and again similarly in my second year also. Memory’s been a curse and blessing of mine, like Autism overall. Only once, between the ages of 10 and 13 out of desperation and depression, I was able, or worked out how I can erase memories. It was a painful experience, learning how; like I was smashing my mind with a wrench to see what would work. Eventually, I found out how. To put it into perspective, if I had a phobia it would be forgetting, a phobia of mine since I was a young kid. But even with the desperation, I thought it was worth it. It involves using my hyper empathy against my own mind, self-harm on a cognitive level. Eventually, I managed. I found peace. Forgetting the pain, the person, all memories about whatever it was. I found peace. But remembered the lessons. It’s something itself that scared me for all the years since it’s always been a last resort, it’s something that cannot be reversed so you have to be sure you want to erase. And even despite pain and emotional manipulation and emotional abuse a few years ago for 3 years, I was reluctant to use it. The reluctance caused undue and unneeded pain. I learnt valuable lessons but still would have if I forgot the experience but kept the lessons. Been pondering for months. I think I’m ready to use it again, it won’t be painful this time, I know how it works, why, and how to target it like a cognitive scalpel rather than a sledgehammer. It’s a weird feeling, remembering there was a memory but having no idea what it was. I sometimes wonder what it must have been, knowing if I decided to forget, the pain it took to get over, it must have been so bad I’m glad I cannot remember. Total erasure. You could in a room with a person who was terrible, horrific to you. You wouldn’t know anything about them apart from their name. Would remember the pain, but not who it involved or what it was, and just be glad you couldn’t remember what must have been so bad to cause the last resort to be the go-to. I’m not scared of this forgetting anymore, it’s useful, but still, as it has always been, the last resort. The last resort because there is nothing left after it to do. It solves all when there is no other solution. I’ve thought for many years if anyone asked me the “how” I’d never tell them. The pain in the process isn’t worth it. But the peace after also is. If I had to describe it, it’s letting all the pain and hurt wash over you, you let it in in a single flood, let it wash over you, wash you away, drown you, and when you get so tired of fighting the tide, so exhausted in mind, body and soul, the mind in desperation asks the singular question “is it worth this to do this?” And this follows by tiredness, the waters wash away. They leave you to wake without memory, at peace, but tired and needing some recovery time. But all the horrors have been experiences and wash away and your mind banishes them once and for all.
As for meltdowns, they’re their more than moods can explain, but I’ve also been thinking of their benefits, definitely not worth the pain, but if I can isolate the benefits it would be good. Benefits like hyper-productivity (sometimes) where I could work on photography for 24 hours straight without a break, without sleep and be totally awake (compared to the other potential effect where I’m tired even with 20 hours sleep). I’ve managed to get a couple of weeks of work done at times when I’ve been hyper-productive, often after a meltdown. An aura of pure focus I’ve managed to take advantage of during my studies but I’ve lost since I’ve stopped studying. I’ve learnt more about the process and how it comes about. Also how to bring it about. For example, all I’ve done this weekend, tonnes of photography, art, photo-editing, theme making for next year, introspection, poetry and lots of other stuff. All and I’m still wide awake ready for more to be done tonight. More done this and last weekend than the prior month or two. I’ve always liked exams, might sound weird, but similarly, I’ve always been able since year 9 to “use” the worry to motivate a lot of study, but to “pretend I don’t care” about the outcome to eliminate the worry past the extent it’s useful. Advice I’ve given to friends who’ve found it useful. Or Autism’s gift of an analytical framework to time on a task first finding the best way to do a task, for example spending weeks on a. Project setting up systems before starting work on the project itself, and thus when doing the project the workload and the time it takes is cut by at least half.
Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve offered friends help with reading through essays, tutoring in a fashion, organising projects and even giving productivity advice. I’ve said in a prior blog post I’ve never really had problems with Uni, with studying or with work, but always with people or situations largely I know now due to my Autism. Like I would now prefer to retake all my assessments from my Masters a year after I finished it within a month, rather than a social situation most people wouldn’t be phased by). This is because at least I know how to do exams and assessments and I know how to prepare for them and I know I could do it. I’ve helped tutor people back in early secondary school when I would finish the work in class ahead including the extra work and extra, extra work. Even at university in the nerdy history presentation group, I was a part of for an assessment I managed to explain historiographical schools of thought according to a friend “better in 15 minutes than the lecturer managed in an hour”.
It’s been a crazy few months and tbh a crazy year. It took me a while to think of what I did New Year’s Eve last year, it was quite depressing, to be honest, and that was before it got to the worst part.
I’m also getting into art, more creative stuff with photography and creation from nothing to help better produce a message and story with my photography but also for my poetry and I’ve been writing poetry every day frequently again, or up to 14 poems a day. Posting photography and also a poem every day and it’s been good. It’s been helpful.
I’ve got lots of stuff to keep my mind preoccupied with, poetry, photography, art, some meetings I’m planning on going to, exhibitions I plan on joining, competitions, photography tutoring, and lots of other stuff that’s been on my list to do. I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions as they mostly fail, I’ve never had one, but 2019 I did do a “yearly theme” something from my productivity podcast “Cortex” got me doing. I did a lot of 2019’s and the theme was fulfilled better than I thought, but the specifics were definitely not what I expected when I started it. 2019 was my year of Renewal/Redirection. That sure happened, but definitely, in ways I didn’t expect. And it’s worked out well. I plan on doing a blog post closer to the new year about yearly themes.
Autism has caused me problems with interacting with others, in many ways not understanding or people being too ‘harsh’ even if it’s only because I take something personally not meant to be personal because I take things more literally, or as they are, or using the evidence at hand. It’s caused pain, but in many ways, it also provides solutions for me. It’s been hard coming to terms to. And even all this is being written only a year after my diagnosis.
In a way, I’m sorry to the friends I’ve lost along the way, but I’m also not. I’ve had to find my own voice I’ve never had. Always hid and never showed. Maybe that’s the way you’d like me. But no not anymore. And for this, I’m not sorry. The thing I didn’t expect is that it’d be my closest friends who’d leave. I expected people I didn’t know well to say “your shit is depressing”, or “can you not” or “get your shit together” or “you’re a fucking sad case”. I never expected it to be those closest friends who had been always there for me and I would always be there for. But I guess that’s the lesson. If you don’t care, then I shouldn’t either. Something I’ve never really understood. But I think I’m now okay with it. I guess I give up and can’t be bothered caring about people who’d just up when I would never do the same, maybe because I just care too much. Maybe even more about people than they do themselves sometimes.
Quotes I like, to do with areas of hobbies/interests/philosophies of mine:
Photography: Life is like a camera, focus on what’s important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives, and if it doesn’t work out, take another shot.”
History: “The power of the humanities is that they allow us to reflect on what society is and should be, in a way that other disciplines cannot.”
Poetry: “Do not go gentle into this good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Kindness: “Be kind, everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about”
Empathy: “Empathy: I’m in it with you. I’m not here to fix you. I’m not here to feel it for you. I’m here to feel with you and let you know you are not alone.”