How a man on the Spectrum learns to live

It’s a Circular Thing

Hi everyone.

For the longest time I have been out of the writing mood.  I confess that for reasons which I attribute to growing pains, I was caught up in the vicious cycle of needing to write to break the anxiety, but being too anxious to do so.  Such is the truth for a lot of people caught up in cycles of behavior such as addiction, compulsive behavior, hoarding, bad food choices, and other detrimental actions.

I believe it started after I became sick with the flu last month.  I couldn’t do very much for nearly a week; if you ask me, for someone on the Spectrum, depending on the severity, it could be a recipe for disaster.  I didn’t realize how bad of a downward spiral I was in, until Mom sat me down for a serious heart-to-heart conversation.  Of course I was confident that I was okay for a time, but it wasn’t until I returned to writing in my journal and in my online drafts that I realized how much I missed doing what I enjoyed most.

What I don’t enjoy about being emotionally present is the fact that my cyclical periods of self-doubt and low self-esteem have a chance of becoming so gripping and tiring that I find I have no energy or desire to do anything that gives me pleasure.  Such is the problem of depression, in my case at least.

In all honesty, anxiety & depression have been a dual struggle for me since I was in middle school.  I was made to think that those afflictions were my core issues growing up.  It wasn’t until the diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome at fifteen that I began to come to a better understanding of who I was.  Being in touch with my emotions is a positive attribute that I’ve learned to put forth.  However the tendency to swing back and forth between anger and joy and nervousness to languor is a distinctive side effect.

I feel like my problem is that I forget to maintain positive feelings and don’t remember how to easily let go of negative feelings.  I know that different people have different rules/expectations of male conduct nowadays, but I’ve never liked being told what to do in such a know-it-all, patronizing manner.  I know who I am and what’s at the core of my character, and all I ask is that I be judged not on appearance and diagnosis, but on the content of my character.

Truthfully, the talk I had with Mom was one of the most honest we’ve had in years.  I was able to say my piece and feel a strong sense of relief.  However, that was not the end of my share of serious conversations.  After I met my closest friend Billy for lunch a few weeks ago, we opened up about where we’ve been and where we’re going in our lives.  Since he had two sisters growing up and I’m an only child, we’ve been as close as brothers for twelve years now, and we can get serious about life when the situation demands it.

Billy’s been married to my other close friend Catherine since 2008.  They love each other, but they were tested greatly for almost two years before finding the end to their own cycle of difficulties.  In a nutshell, a small apartment with too much stuff in it, and two times the dissatisfaction with jobs, took a toll on their well-being.  I really didn’t know how badly they felt at the time, but at least I told them they could always count on me for moral support and any favors they might need.  While it turned out they didn’t need anything really material, I discovered that my words and my subconscious need to see them do better in life did have some effect on them.

I am happy to say that a year ago, they moved to a brand-new and much larger condo and sold some of their excess belongings during the move.  They also found new jobs that they could enjoy going to, and Billy thanked me that day for my unwavering moral support and being such a great person to know.  I didn’t know until recently how badly they felt during their transitional period, but to know that my words had such an effect on the direction they took was enough to tell me that I had done what a true friend would do.

Since those important conversations, I have felt relief for many reasons.  A heart-to-heart talk that could have brought down my spirits was able to break open the shell of isolation that my depression and anxiety had generated.  I was trapped in another vicious cycle, until I spoke to the people who mattered most to me; it was their love and sincerity that convinced me to turn a corner and reignite my positive energy.

Now, let me ask you some important questions: have you ever found yourself in a vicious cycle of negative feelings?  Is there something in your life that seems to weigh down your well-being?  If so, have you or a close friend or relative found a way to pull each other out of that valley and back up to a peak?  How do you maintain a positive frame of mind when things appear bleak?

For me, it was about having the courage to be open enough to let in the healing words of the closest people in my life.  Whatever their relationship with me, they have had the effect of reminding me of how important I am to them, as well as my sense of purpose and significance in life.  I know that I’m blessed to have people in my  life who have grown to understand my diagnosis, which is a large step towards understanding me.

I feel a renewed sense of purpose and being.  I continue to kindle that spirit with daily reminders and routines; I’ll elaborate on those at a later date.  What’s important now is that I’m in a better place, and I’m back to writing, and doing whatever else makes me happy.  With the worst of my downward cycle over with, I feel confident with the place I’m at right now.  It’s taken a long time, but I’m glad to be back on the road paved with words.  I hope I continue to have the pleasure of everyone’s company on this road; Thank You again for your continued support.


Comments on: "It’s a Circular Thing" (3)

  1. Teresa Garcia said:

    Hi Tony…’s great to hear from you again. Life is full of ups and downs…we all face them whether you are living on the spectrum or not. This crazy roller coaster called life!!! Your words are always so encouraging and I just admire you so much. Love you!

  2. Hi Tony: Good to see your words here once again. Stay healthy. Take care of yourself. Dad

  3. Hi Tony,

    I know what you mean about the circular thing. It seems to me that there are so many circles in our lives. “All our life’s a circle, sunrise and sunset.”
    I have found that the only thing that keeps my head above water, and helps me break out of old hardened ways, is to do yoga.
    I have been doing yoga since I was 16, and this past year I began in earnest and made a committment to do it every day, along with the breathing practices.
    It has been so easy, and I have been so healed that it makes me want to laugh. After all the struggling I did to try and work things out, and all I really had to do was breathe and stretch!
    I don’t want to sound like a “born again” but I believe that the body can help the mind get out of its rut! This is often the opposite of what we thing we need to do.
    As in AA, they say, “take the body, and the mind will follow.” They knew about addictions.
    The added benefit of yoga is that all the Asanas, (positions) that you do actually clear you, and calm the mind. Upsets and issues can really just drop away..
    I have one caviat though, make sure you do the slow, breathing type of yoga for a quiet mind. There are some fast, aerobic yogas out there that make you very fit. They are great, but don’t have the same goal. I would be happy to tell you of a great place in San Diego if you are interested.
    “Emerge from the inside out, all that you ever longed for is here.”

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