It seems to me that in some sense I am deconstructing my life. We often hear of people’s midlife crisis so perhaps this is my own. On the radio yesterday, I think it was BBC Radio 4, there was a trailer for a programme where they wanted people to contact them to see what the listeners wanted to do in the last third of their lives. The reference point was fifty and I was surprised to think that two thirds of my life was over. I guess I tend to think people are living longer and longer nowadays so reaching one hundred is becoming much more common, but the reality of my life is that actually I have a few friends that are not going to make it to their fifties let along seventies. So what do I want to do with the last third of my life?
Primarily I want to work out who I am really and through that work out how best to lead my life. I expect both those things to change. So that points down to sorting out who I am really. Why do I add “really” onto that statement? I guess it is about deconstructing the mask I wear and getting to the person underneath but then how do I know what is a mask and what is the real person. I suppose that comes down to tuning into my emotions and listening to myself to see what feels right. It doesn’t exactly sound scientific though does it?
Yesterday I went to see my GP. I had two things to discuss: one was coming off anti-depressants; the other was being assessed for autism (in the wider sense of the complete autistic spectrum). I justified the reduction in anti-depressants because I feel I am more in tune with my feelings at the moment, I feel that though I understand how stressful my life can be I am in control of how I deal with that anxiety. It doesn’t mean I am fully functional and dealing with my life as a dynamic happy individual but it does me I feel I am able to look after myself and deal with situations rather than trying to forget them so that they fester and eat away at my self-confidence. Is this definitely the right thing to do? I have no idea but since I know making a decision is the important thing and I have been thinking about the change then this suggests that it is worth a shot. Anyway it is not a one way street, I can always return to treatment if I feel is it necessary a few months down the line.
As for being referred for assessment, this isn’t straightforward. My GP asked me about various aspects of myself such as my ability to communicate with others, how I read people, how I interacted with people as a kid, and other expected autistic characteristics. I told him about the video my wife and I had watch about being in a relationship with an Asperger’s individual. I told him about my experience at kindergarten and loneliness in the playground. I told him about my issue with noise and conversations and my uncertainty around touch. I explained how I believed I learnt to talk with others by watching and learning from the people around me. I told him about my belief that I was Pathologically Demand Avoidant and how that expressed itself as a child and how it continues to affect my life as an adult.
My GP pointed out that he didn’t believe there were any local services for adults but that he would look into where he needed to refer me to. He said that he didn’t think they that would necessarily be able to do anything more for me than I was already doing for myself. I acknowledged that I wasn’t really looking for direction but the crux was that if somebody in authority agreed with me then I would be able to use that label to help others understand my needs. Crucially though I think that if I am on the Autistic Spectrum then some of my behaviour is developmental and not environmentally learnt and I can be at peace with myself rather than blaming myself for my actions, feeling guilty and completely demoralised because I do not believe I have control over the behaviour and therefore cannot change it.
The visit to my GP felt like the right thing to do and getting his agreement on my next steps feels really supportive and I guess justifies my choices. What I think is neat is that my writing in this blog has given me the ability to have confidence in discussing my case and if necessary, arguing my side (if wasn’t necessary to argue). At the moment, writing is my way of deconstructing myself but I have also noticed that I am beginning to lose interest in finding new things to write about. I think this is another common pattern I have, a little bit of success leads to a lack of interest. I think this may be due to my own construct that once something becomes easier then it starts to become a demand rather than a desire or necessity, a demand that needs to be avoided. I really hope that I can fight this (interesting verb choice there) because as I said at the beginning, understanding is never static.