Trigger warning. This post talks of suicide.
The Last Pack Member – An Aspie Alone
Nothing Amusing About These Musings!
A few months ago, l wanted to walk off a cliff in St. Margaret’s, near to where l live. I couldn’t cope with the noise inside my head, l couldn’t cope with yet another depression moving in for the kill to my brain. It was all too much.
My partner and my dog were yards ahead of me, enjoying the truly beautiful Kentish weather. It was glorious, as my Mother used to say ‘Enough blue for a pair of sailors’ pants!’ It was a lovely day and l ruined it – by being depressed. Depression is a twofold demon with me, l suffer from both a Neuro depression mode and an autistic or rather an Aspergian depression mode. One of them is nuclear whilst the other is maddening.
I looked longingly down upon the rocks, a drop of around a hundred feet below my own feet, the waves glistening crashing on those same rocks, white horses danced out of the crests of the waves, there was a fantastic sea breeze and all l could think of was ….
“Would the fall kill me outright or would l become a vegetable, because rotten luck chases me and has chased me for years! Would l be lucky enough to be a bloodied pulp, my bones broken, perhaps even a neck snap?” Those were my thoughts – l was a mere 12” from the edge, 12” from a potential death, 12” away from a suicide … but l didn’t, l looked at both my partner and my dog my two best friends in the world and l knew then that l was NOT going to do it, l was going to fight it, and this time l was going to win!
My dog, Scrappy is the last of a large pack of dogs that l had the privilege of having the company of over the last twenty years; she was the last pack member to come on board. She turned 14 at the end of November this year, and she has proven to be a loving loyal companion of mine for every single one of those days – she has never betrayed me, or let me down and has loved me unconditionally without question. She is a hardy breed, an Australian Sheep dog crossed with a Staffy – she is as hard as nails.
An acrimonious divorce in 2007 split my beautiful pack up, the ex-wife took away half of my dogs in an attempt to cause me pain, and l never saw or heard from them again, and it was painful. My dogs have been my life, they have been there when humans simply were not enough company or were not there. So to lose 4 of my 8 was tough. However l had my four girls left. Sadly by 2009, l had lost two of those girls to old age, and sadder again, l lost my beloved Dora in 2014, which left Scrappy and me.
How could l possibly host the thought, the terrible thought of killing myself? How could l leave my last pack member and my partner? There is a good chance Scrappy who is an elderly dog and has been my closest companion for 14 years would pine and die before her time, l could not do that to her. My partner and l are fast approaching five years together and it has not been an easy ride for her – Aspergers – despite clumsiness many purport it to be, can be quite a challenging disorder to live with – how could l do this to her? The first woman who has ever really understood me? How could l allow the insidiousness of depression to cheat her of time left with her man?
That would not be fair. …
So often people accuse and propose suggestion that no thought goes through the mind of those thinking of death upon themselves and whilst l cannot speak of all, l have faced this burning question many a time. I have more responsibility to others now, and whilst l may not always have the highest regard of my own life – l must be considerate to those whom are left behind to pick up the pieces, clear up the metaphorical mess and attempt to get on their lives continually asking themselves if they could have done more?
I decided that day 12” from certain death that NO, l would, come what may start to retake my own life, and not let depression control me anymore. I may not be the happiest soul on the planet, in truth how many of us really deeply are? We are all broken in one way or another, but l am happy the most when with my two best friends and that alone was sufficient to kick back, to step back from the fall of death, and slowly but surely l eased away … 14”, 20”, 2 feet, 3 feet and then l joined them again, and completed the trio that we are as a family.
It’s not easy being on the spectrum of autism with my Aspergers, nay before you think that is a cry for sympathetic help, it’s not, it is a cold hard clinical and objective fact. All day l say to people it’s ok to be different; it’s ok to not be ok, and all the other motivationals you can think of. But the reality is that when l am in a Aspie geared depression, l care not for those motivations – for many a time l don’t want to be different, l don’t want to not be ok – because l do want to be ok!
I am different anyway, the very essence of who l am, predicts that l will be different, because l think differently to most, therefore l am already different by genetical default, it’s literally in my genes to be different. When you are trying to heal yourself, your mood swings are unpredictable 0 – nuclear in 10 seconds is not unheard of, and with the notorious Aspergian pendulum to it swinging away in the background, you are going to be in for one hell of a roller coaster ride. Walking on eggshells doesn’t even come close to how you are feeling.
I tried medications – they are useless with me and also l am anti-chemical so this makes recovery harder, but would rather be organic in my healing than pretending by using a medical disguise that all is well. Although l will not deny it was a real struggle battling depression with no medication, no therapy, and no one to specifically talk to about screwed up my head was back then.
Even long before my Aspergers diagnosis l suffered horribly with mental health issues, so much so, that it is almost a permanent residency within my skull, it’s always there, it’s like a leopard or a tiger, one is spotted the other striped, they may change their behaviours occasionally, but they will always be who they were born to be.
That’s like depression, my opinion may differ to another on this level, but l think the depression is always there, lurking and just waiting for a fresh dose of darkness to creep into and onto its path. Each person’s stress and depression is reflective upon who they are. I may not understand another person’s stress, equally as much as they may not see the disturbance in mine. We all have , good days, bad days, good months, bad months, great years, fucking lousy years, and sometimes, well sometimes those of us who pretend everything is dandy – break down again. The pretence no longer able to be contained, the creeping darkness that is depression has crept back into our minds and will not go until it causes absolute havoc.
But sometimes these reoccurrence’s can be caused by triggers – ask any autist if there are triggers to their stresses, their meltdowns or even their breaks, ask a non autist and they will tell you the same – everything can be bloody fine, but occasionally the tiniest bit of straw is enough to break the camel’s back.
I would like to say that since my telling the doctor that l intended to go it alone without medication, may not have been my wisest choice, but l was without a huge choice of options to pick from in the ‘getting better chain’. I put my recovery down to my love for my partner, for Scrappy, for the last pack member, for my ability to be optimistic, for my wanting to love life, for wanting to be with my partner and grow old together.
Currently l am about as positive as l can be, l am NOT saying l don’t have glitches, because l do – l have waves of melancholy sweep over me at times – only the other day for two hours solid l just wanted to end my life, and l had to really keep busy, project my thoughts elsewhere, and eventually that darkness ebbed away.
The moral of this post is simple, be MINDFUL of others folks, you don’t know the journey they have to undertake to be where they are, not everyone has the same journey, nor everyone arrives at the same destination as everyone else – so be mindful please, and remember that everyone has a story to tell and it may not be as lovely as yours.
Rory Matier – The Tee Shirt Blogger
Ps: These posts are my views on my autism/Asperger’s, they may not be everyone else’s who is on the spectrum.