Post-meds first thoughts

Right now, things are different. Partially because right now I have to deal with the politics part of science, which I am not a major fan of and which confuses me. But also, (and with what was probably not ending up as the best overall timing), we (doctor +me) discussed it and I got off my antidepressants. Oh, and also, as a heads up here, I am going to briefly mention various things that happened that lead to me being on antidepressants (mostly self-harm and suicidal thoughts).

***Oh, and also brains are weird and do strange things and I certainly don’t understnad them, and this is definitely just personal-me-rambling thoughts. Do whatever makes your brain happy and work. If antidepressants make your brain work, then by all means, keep taking them. I am not trying to say that you should stop taking them or try to stop taking them or that being on them is bad or only a phase or whatever. It is just that for me the side effects are starting to outweigh the benefits again.***

And it has been long enough that I have started to sort out the differences between the weird side effects that happen whenever I get on or off of medications and actually being off of medication. So I am sorting through my life and seeing what I have been up to now that I am *actually* off of meds. I want to stay off of them, if I can. I know they are good and useful and they helped me a lot. I know I needed them. I don’t think I still need them, but I am not positive. I’m sorting it out and working through it and discussing things with people and seeing the results and we are experimenting in how staying off of them is working, and then after a month, we will re-evaluate the decision.

Now that I am off them, everything seems realer. Things are less blunt and less dulled. Things were a lot flatter before. There’s more colors and layers to things. This is generally good. But it also means things can be sharper and things can hurt more. Because when I was on my meds, they were mostly sort of dulled off to the edge. My thoughts and senses and connections faded and separated out more. The world was more blurred, but that also made it softer and safer, and that was what I needed then.

But I like the world with the colors and the layers and the connections. I like how the world is now, how beautiful everything is. I had missed it, and I am glad it is back.

I haven’t noticed anything specifically or abnormally strange in things I am doing or thinking. I’m fine with the general things I know about related-to-depression things. I don’t want to hurt myself or kill myself. I don’t seem to be crying more than the normal amount or at unprompted things.

The only big thing I have noticed is that I think I was less stimmy before. And since I translate my emotions through what I am doing, it confuses me. I am not sure if I am happy or stressed or tired or frustrated. My movements are more and my movements are different. I’m not sure if this is good or bad. So I am a bit confused by this. I’m not sure why I am moving more or moving differently. So I can’t tell how this translates out. It isn’t always bad stimmy, but it certainly is more stimmy.

Stimmy stimmy stimmy stimmy stimmy.

I know I was more manageable on my meds.

But what does manageable mean? I’m not sure what I even mean by it, but I know the word I want is manageable. I don’t know if I meant more manageable for me or more manageable for other people. I just know that word belongs in this description. More manageable for me is good. More manageable for other people… not so good, necessarily.

I know I seemed more normal when I was on them, but I try not to have that be my goal. I try to have my goal to be to be happy and to make the world a slightly better place (or at least not a worse place) and to not hurt other people. And there are some career goals related to science thrown in there as well. But seeming normal is something I try not to have as a goal, because I don’t think it is something really attainable for a prolonged period of time, and I try not to have impossible or unattainable goals.

So that’s where I am at for now. We shall see how things go from here.

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Faded

Warning for mentions of suicide/depression

my number friends have faded
I can’t tell if it is the antidepressants
or if we’ve just grown apart
I no longer spend time and days and dreams with them
There used to be beautiful complex ideas or colors or sounds or feelings or something that words now just can’t recreate that missing sensation linked up to the words and now it is mostly gone
The colors and sounds and feel of the rest of the world are
different
faded
distant
There’s only a few that I remember
            Like the dependablity of 24 like drawers and boxes and storage
                        or
            the colors and curves of egotistical
                        or
the taste of swears
It’s worth it
(mostly)
for the end result of happiness
for being functional
for staying alive
for wanting to stay alive
because not wanting to live makes the colors seem pointless
enjoying a less colorful world is better than not enjoying one at all
but still
sometimes I miss the links and strings and connections that faded away
maybe someday I’ll recover

and they’ll come back

~~~
I feel like my synesthesia has faded since I started taking antidepressants. As side effects go, it is live-able with. I didn’t really notice it for the longest time, until I started reading up on some other things people were saying about synesthesia, and realizing that’s sort of how things used to be… but not anymore…  I suppose it could also be unrelated to the antidepressants, because I don’t have any strict sort of time scale.

But I think that is the story I am going to stick to (in my head and on the internet, because this isn’t something I really talk about much in real life), because then it seems like a choice, instead of just another thing I thought of that I don’t belong in. I don’t want to be on the edge of something, where I was almost good enough. And given the choice between the connections and not wanting to die, I would choose happiness every time. 

So even though I miss the mixed-up jumble of senses and sometimes get confused as to why something is incomplete, I’ll stick with my antidepressants for now. It’s an annoying side effect, but practically the only long-term one I have noticed, so I think otherwise things are working out.

Correlation, Causation, Happiness and Imperfect Metaphors

I’ve been analyzing patterns of happiness, and trying to identify ways to stay happy (well, non-depressed, more precisely. I am fine with being unhappy, or not-happy, or bored, or things such as that because those are part of a range of human emotions, so they happen). 

All I have is correlative data, and so I cannot conclude any causation. But I’m going to hash out a couple things, and maybe make unfounded extrapolations, and use a bunch of probably-unclear-if-you-aren’t-me metaphors and say the same thing multiple ways until it makes sense to me.

The first thing

I know that when I am happy, I tend to spend time with people. When I am sad, I tend to hide in my room and stay away from people, except a very special few (boyfriend). The tricky thing to tease out, though, is if being around other people makes me happy, or if when I am happy, I have enough energy to spend time with other people.

So if we look at a simple correlation, we would see this.

So hey, you might say, this seems like a pretty good correlation. Maybe even causation, eh? When you are happy, you spend time with people. Maybe then, to be happier, you should spend more time with people.

But wait… the plot thickens.

This is not actually the complete graph. Anyone who knows me should know that I have an upper limit for time I can spend with people. The first graph I showed you was incomplete! It actually only included a small part of the scale! When you look at a larger range, you actually see this!

Was the first graph even necessary? Well, I do like drawing these graphs, so I am going to go with ABSOLUTELY YES.  But (shhh) these graphs are actually not assembled using any “real” data, just general observations I have gathered from my life. Don’t tell anyone!

Being with people all the time is not a good thing for me. I need alone-time-breaks, where I can just chill out quietly and read some books or watch Netflix or spin in circles or look at leaves or swim or other things. There is an ideal ratio of time that I can spend with people that will result in maximum happiness ability. It is also more complicated because the amount of time varies depending on who it is.

Also, there are other factors that do affect this. It is a self-perpetuating cycle, a positive feedback loop, in many ways.

When I am sad, I do not have enough energy to do daily things (like eat or brush my hair or things like that). Because being sad seems to use up energy by itself, somehow. When I am happy, I do have enough energy to do daily things AND I have a surplus of energy. I can then spend that extra energy on fun things that make me happy.

What I think the answer is…

(1) Spending time with other people makes me happy
(2) But it also uses up a lot of energy
(3) Running out of energy results in meltdown, results in sad me
(4) Being sad also means lack of energy (possibly caused by lack of energy, is tricky to determine the cause of that)
(5) When I am sad, I do not have enough energy to make myself happy.

And now for some Terry Pratchett

It is sort of like this. (But with happiness instead of money. And the spending money is instead effort. OK, well, it is a complicated metaphor, and I’m not sure I can completely explain it, but they are the same colors and flavors and feelings of arguments, and I can’t really explain better why they are the same, but they just are.)

“The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money. 

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles. 

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.  

This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”

(I have maybe possibly been on a Terry Pratchett spree recently… But this is from Men at Arms and it is wonderful just like all the other books.)

Happy people seem to have more energy to be happy.

Comparing happiness and showering and enzymatic reactions

It’s sort of like taking showers. I actually really love taking showers. I love water. I love the sound of it and the feel of it. Taking a shower will result in me feeling better, almost invariably. Because water is just that amazing. But the amount of effort it takes to initiate a shower is just not always there. So even though in the end I know I will feel better, I am not able to do it.
Thinking about it in another way, it is like I am lacking the activation energy. I am missing an enzyme to lower the activation energy. But somehow other people are able to do the thing. And because they have the enzyme, it works. It is easy, maybe. But it just doesn’t work for me.
It’s not perfect, I know. Like there is the increased energy of the state of the molecule/intermediates that is supposed to correspond to the level of energy I have. And then the lower-energy end-product (although that will vary depending on the reaction). People who are good at chemistry, I am sorry if there are other problems in this that make your head hurt.

Another warning about correlations and causation

And so this is the problem I face when I am going through a bad streak, when I am trying to regain lost happiness. I know what I do when I am happy. I tend to blog more. I hang out with people more. I bake. I sing to myself a lot. I’ll explore and take walks. I exercise. But this is all correlation. Are these things that make me happy? Will they lead me back to happiness when I have lost it? Sometimes they do. Sometimes I don’t have enough energy to try.
I only have correlational data available on my life, when I am looking for causations.

So I will muddle through the correlations. Run some experiments (try some new coping mechanisms). And honestly, the correlational data is important. Because not only does it give me some hints about what might be causal, it also helps me identify emotions. Because that’s also not something I’m the best at. It helps to be able to recognize that I’m not doing great before I am doing awful, because it’s a lot easier to stop things before I’m headed at high speed down to the land of sad-and-confused-and-upset-me. Because when I am doing not-great, I still have the energy to fix things.

Depression

So, I’m actually ok now, I think. I wrote this a while ago. Like on the order of months to years. But this is the thing I am most afraid of. (Well, depression coming back and also getting addicted to things.*) And so here is a weird-colored-visual-idea of it.

I can feel myself melting
Down back into that hole
The one I just climbed out
It’s like turning a heater on a world made of crayons
It just slips down into the ground
And the pretty colors all turn brown
And there’s nothing to do. No way to escape.
Sunk down too far to find the switch off.
Melted wax burns and it is impossible to climb.
Just sit at the bottom.
Wait for it to cool
So I can chisel steps
to find my way out
again.

So yeah. That was a thing. I don’t really remember large chunks of my junior year for whatever this reason. I’ve just been thinking about it because I need to renew my anti-depressant/anxiety prescription (which I really was supposed to do in October, but the pharmacy made a mistake in the order when I asked if I could get a two month supply for my trip to Europe* this summer, and so they basically tripled the amount I was able to get, which was cool and convenient for me.) Because even though I think I would probably be ok now… I should probably wait for spring. Wait for the sun to come out and wait for boyfriend not to be working 6 days a week. And for it not to be a new quarter because beginnings are hard and scary.

But talking to therapists is scary. And making appointments is scary. And usually even after the short-meet-to-renew-prescription-appointments, they ended in needing to just sit and cry in my room with boyfriend there for a while. (Even with the second one who was good and not scary mean like the first one.) But that really won’t be possible at all because of schedules and also just because of how far away my room is. I suppose I have a month left so I have some time to build up some spoons to do this. To plan and discuss.

Anyway, there’s my cheerful little update.

___
*My family gets addicted to things quickly and easily. Both sides. In fact, both sides for at least one of my parents too. Which is why I have very careful rules regarding my allowed alcohol consumption. And why I do not like taking drugs. Even prescription ones that are good for me. Although also I am just really bad at swallowing pills and it usually takes me a couple tries in the morning. And then half of the time I forget and I have to come back home after I already started walking and it’s just no fun. And also I don’t know how I am supposed to dispose of old pill bottles, so I just have large collections of them.
**That and graduation were actually why I needed to get back on them again in the first place. Because change. Change and me are not friends.

checking boxes and opening doors (appropriate public behavior)

I’ve spent a long time writing this. It will probably end up being months. It’s the first real post I started writing on here. It’s difficult to say. Not really emotionally or whatnot, but it is just hard to find the right words. It actually has been months and I think I am just going to publish it with the words maybe not just perfect, because I can always make a revised version if I come up with a clearer way to say this. And there is probably some sort of trigger on here, but I’m really not exactly sure what it is.

Also, this is a really long extended metaphor.

Sometimes I see people complain about fitting in
or about neurotypical rules
and the world.

(although they are people too so we really should respect them too)

and I just remember the rules about checking boxes

I’ve been very thoroughly trained on appropriate public behavior. Perhaps unintentionally more than my parents meant to (they didn’t realize how literal and rules-particular I was, I think.

And because I’m me, and bad at general social cues, I am not always certain what is actually non-acceptable, and what is just things I over extrapolated (see here or here). 
It is why I always wear real clothes in public when there are so so so many more comfortable clothes sometimes aka yoga pants the best thing ever created. Because real people wear real clothes in public and I am a real person.*

My mother always told us that most things in life are about checking boxes and opening doors.(She would often tell us this when we were complaining about silly rules that teachers made us do. In school, that’s what a syllabus is. They give you boxes that need to be checked. All you need to do is check them to get the good grade.

In life, there are things that you have to check the boxes, too, in order for things to happen.

And there are checking boxes to social activities too. To get people to do what you want them to do, you have to get them to like you. To do that you check boxes.

I took things more literally than my sisters (they call me Literal Girl), although not completely literally (I read enough that I have a pretty decent grasp on common metaphors if I am paying attention). So I made lists of things. Not always physical ones.
But I still sometimes think that if I do everything I am supposed to do, and check all the boxes I am supposed to, then things should happen. (And sometimes I think I probably do not know what all the boxes I need to check are. Because there isn’t really a syllabus or a rubric for life.)
And appropriate public behavior and public appearance is very important to that.

Because:

You need other people

Some things are opening doors.

For instance, college opens doors to getting a nice job. You still have to go through the door, maybe walk through a hallway (and who knows, it may be an Indiana-Jones hallway with booby traps and other dangerous, deathly things) and maybe go through some more doors. And it might not be the only door. There might be other ways in. Other doors, emergency exits, windows, fire escapes. Alternate routes.

The thing about doors is that there are other doors.

It’s the same with behavior and communication, I think.

Not ridiculous things like looking people in the eyes or staying still while you talk to them. (But actually probably things like that, too.) But talking and talking and talking. And face-to-face normal communication.

At this point, if I remember (and for important things like interviews, I remember), I can look people in the eyes. I can generally talk. (And most of my interviews were chats about my research or their research, so once that managed to happen, it was wonderful. It took a while to get to that point, and sometimes it just didn’t).

You have to check the boxes to open the doors, to be given a chance. And if you can’t check the right boxes, you’re going to have to go around a long way.

So I wonder if there is a way to change the boxes. Or to have different boxes for different people. Or maybe different doors. Because people shouldn’t have to climb through the windows. Because that is surely much more difficult than just checking the boxes and walking through a door. But sometimes, boxes can’t be checked.

And appropriate public behavior was important therefore because people judge you in public and you never know who is watching you.

Although come to think of this, this never applied in grocery stores and such

More like places where we had to be on our best behavior
Like events where we met our grandparents clients
Or teachers
Or coworkers

Because it didn’t matter what strangers thought.
(To a point. Safety matters.)

It mattered, though, what people you know and interact with think. What people who you need for things think. Because you need them to get your work done or finish school or do a project or get a job or keep a job. You need them to be there for networking.

(Gah, I hate networking. It’s the worst. Asking people to do things for you).

And in those cases, you do have to modulate your behavior. You need them to think of you what you want them to think of you.

(I think we were manipulative)

(my mother is the sneakiest person I know, in a good way. She can get almost anything she wants when she puts her mind to it, from almost anyone. She very rarely does, but when she does, it is amazing.)

You need them to check boxes for you and to open doors.

So then…. WHY and WHY I SHOULD FIT IN AND WHY STIMMING IN PUBLIC IS BAD AND STUFF

So even with this, I still think that stimming in public and all is not bad (although I have been trained out of it in some situations, probably, but I think that is more me being Literal Girl and my parents having several children so having to pay attention to the ones who are running away in the grocery store because they can is more important in that instant that realizing another child is trying too hard to behave appropriately.

Example: When I get excited, I jump up and down. I live in an apartment. If I get excited early in the morning or late at night, I try not to jump up and down for an extended period of time. Because there is someone living beneath me. And I would not like it if someone kept jumping up and down on my ceiling when I am trying to sleep. So I limit my stimming (or redirect it to a quieter one) (or go into the living room because then I’m not above their bedroom).

Another example: I can be loud in class, sometimes. Tapping my feet, clicking my pens. Hummng sometimes. When people point it out to me, I stop. Why? Because noise reduces my ability to concentrate. And other people have just as much right to have a need for quiet as I do. So I will switch to something quieter.

Admittedly, I can redirect these things usually. So it’s ok, for me. And I can usually redirect it to something that I enjoy almost as much or that works almost as much. And some people probably can’t redirect it, and that’s ok for them.

And I don’t see anything wrong (mostly) with sometimes flapping or fidgeting or bouncing or rocking in public. Or general stimming in life, pretty much whenever. Because if I am able to do something that lets me concentrate while also letting everyone around me concentrate, that is much better than doing something that lets me concentrate while

Because if we want people to be considerate of our needs and our requirements for learning, we shouldn’t be distracting to theirs.

Some things I’ve read by other people that have contributed to these ideas:
Mother tongues: orangutans and autistic education by Kitt at AutisticChick
Socially Inappropriate by Musings of an Aspie

~~~
*regarding this and other rules, these are rules for me. Not for other people. If you want to wear yoga pants in public, which I wouldn’t blame you for because they are the most comfortable things in the world, go for it.

I don’t understand

TW: Depression and anxiety and suicidal thoughts. And something along the lines of thinking a disability doesn’t count or isn’t real.

In which you learn how I am secretly a horrible person.

My freshman year roommate and I generally got along. We weren’t really friends, and had rather different schedules, but were generally respectful and would study somewhere else when the other person needed to sleep and get dressed quietly with minimal light-turning on to not wake up the other person. She’s actually a cool person and I think I could have been good friends with her, except we never actually talked except greetings and stuff. (She had a rather intense long distance relationship the whole year that was not going super great, so it occupied a lot of her time.)

Sophomore and junior year I lived with the same girl. When I agreed to live with her freshman year, I knew it wouldn’t work well. But I couldn’t figure out how to say no. Sophomore year was ok though. Not super great but not awful.

And then junior year hit with the depression and anxiety and suicidal thoughts. (Junior year was just not a high point in my life).

And what had been a non-ideal but still functional living arrangement really just got awful. Because I had nowhere to hide.

And my roommate was having her problems with ADHD and stuff. Which meant that she was MESSY. (Which actually wasn’t that big of a problem because I am messy too, but I am usually only messy with stuff. Not with time.) And would sleep in late. And miss classes. So times when I expected to be home alone were totally destroyed. My schedule was gone and off. And meltdown over meltdown over meltdown and I couldn’t even hide in my room, since she was in there.

I need schedules.
Especially when my world is already going to pieces, I need my schedules and my routines.

And I hated ADHD. And thought it was fake and made up. Because CLEARLY IF SHE JUST GOT OUT OF BED when her alarm went off then she could go to class. If she just went to class, then maybe she wouldn’t have been failing her classes. Or maybe if she studied instead of internetting all the time.

I just didn’t understand why she couldn’t try harder.

Or why she kept missing her classes.

And to be honest, I still don’t really.

I don’t understand how someone can’t just sit down and do their work.

Or just wake up when the alarm goes off.

And then a couple years later, my youngest sister, who I’ve never gotten along with great, was in high school. And did a really bad job freshman year. And so my parents got her tested and found out that she had ADHD. And this made me even more mad and I decided ADHD was even more fake.

This is the sister who yells at me that I don’t know what it is like to be her because people like her and they don’t like me. And she has friends. And that’s important. And I just wouldn’t understand. And how she has other things that are important like sports. And I just don’t understand what it is like to be bored in class. (Also false, I didn’t learn a single thing in a math class until we got to the proofs in geometry in high school.) And who is generally difficult. And who lies to our parents so she can go do things she wants to do. (This is a big one. Even Medium Sister, who was much more social and fought a lot more with our parents than I did, never lied to them. Our parents are generally fair, reasonable people who just want us to succeed at life and be happy, decent people.) And she even lied about being sick to get out of school sometimes (something, again, I never did even though I hated school sometimes because lying was wrong. And incorrect.)

So it seemed perfectly reasonable to me that Small Sister was using this to get out of doing school work. Or other work. And to make things fit her life.

(And also I was mad at my parents for getting her tested but never thinking about it with me, even though I did go through various periods of life where it would have probably been somewhat obvious. But I was quiet and didn’t make trouble. And apparently, if you made trouble, then you got excuses. And that wasn’t fair at all.)

And I just didn’t understand why someone couldn’t just sit down and finish their homework.

Or why they would lie about things.

Or why they wouldn’t ask for help if they didn’t understand things. There are tons of people in my family that can help with math.

Or why she didn’t follow the rules my family has created about not forgetting things at home (homework isn’t done until it is in your backpack and your backpack is in the car.)

There are so many things that just don’t make sense to me.

But then again, I also don’t understand how people could have trouble with basic calculus. Or be biology graduate students and not understand how to look at simple recombination or complementation data.

Or how people can talk to other people without needing to take naps afterwards.

Or how people can just go up to random strangers and ask them for directions.

Or how to talk to a professor during office hours.

Or how to call and order food from a restaurant.

Or how people can remember other people’s faces.

Or how to remember to take a shower every day.

But I can not understand things about other people and not be a jerk about it. Because I’m sure there’s a lot of things people don’t understand about me. And I’d appreciate if they weren’t jerks about it either.

And I can not understand something and still know that it is a real experience for other people. Even if I don’t really understand it.

A story of depression and autism, starring ME

Trigger warning: self-injury, suicide and depression mention-ing

Freshman year I started dating my boyfriend. He’s pretty awesome.

Freshman year I cried a lot alone in my room. Dorms are louder and full of people and not at all like home. Home had quiet places and trees and very few people. After school, I didn’t have to talk to anyone except family. College I had to go to crowds just to eat. Freshman year I avoided this by avoiding eating (The dining hall was loud. The dining hall was crowded. The dining hall did not have very yummy food. Decisions were needed there: so many, what to eat, where to sit…) But then he caught on that I would only eat when I ate with him, or my after-class lunches with my biology friend. So he would come almost every day he could, to eat with me, to make sure I ate, to make sure I could eat.

Sophomore year, eventually, I couldn’t handle it. I started hurting myself, mostly biting, when I couldn’t handle things. It was complicated. It’s hard to explain. I might try later.

I know my family has a history of depression. Every single person ever, basically, gets depressed around college age. So I definitely have some depression-like tendencies in me.

And so I told him, and he’d come and hold my hands to keep me from biting them. And hug me when I cried. And keep me solid and grounded. And give me his hands to pinch and bite instead. Although that’s not quite the same thing at all.

And we talked and talked, and he helped me work up enough courage to go to campus counseling. And I wrote a letter about hurting myself because I could barely manage to tell it to my boyfriend, and I think it was more of a whispering explanation of what I had been doing after he saw me. Because words are difficult. And I didn’t know how to explain it, which made it more difficult to say. And in the letter I said this. I explained how I have troubles bringing up topics but could probably answer questions on them. And I came up with a script on giving the counselor the letter.

I did not have a script for the possibility that he would refuse the letter.
“This is talk therapy.”
I did not go back a second time.

Then that summer, I would call him crying. I slept in closets. I wanted to kill myself. But I knew logically I didn’t really want to and I was quite upset at my brain for thinking this. And I wanted it to stop. So I asked for help.

Well, mostly I cried a lot. And he said “USE YOUR WORDS” not during meltdowns, but nearby. And it did make sense. He said, “I can’t help you if you don’t tell me what is wrong” but I didn’t know what was wrong. Everything was wrong. I was wrong. And I thought and he thought and we all thought I could use my words, that I should use my words.

And he tried to help, but there are some things he just didn’t know about. And I was scared of what I would do. And eventually he convinced me to go back to counseling. And this time I had a good counselor, and it was better, and we worked through some depression issues however therapy works.

But in a case of fight or flight, I am very much flight. But it is very hard to run away when your brain is the danger.

(My mom says counseling is sort of like physical therapy. They tell you to do something small and seemingly useless, like wiggle your toes a certain way three times a day for a week, but then at the end of it, you feel better. Even though it seems like not a big deal.)

Although it didn’t quite work, so I took antidepressants.

Those worked. Although they made my brain fuzzy for a while. And I don’t really like taking them (because I’m bad at swallowing pills and bad at remembering pills.)  I don’t like taking medicine that alters my brain. Even the antidepressants which I sort of needed because I wanted to kill myself all the time and was afraid one day I would actually do it and normal therapy wasn’t working. But my brain is where all of me is. And I am wary of things that will change it. Because there is always the possibility that it is changed too much. And then who would I be?

After about a year, I stopped.
Because I was happy.
And I was happy.
And I was good for almost a year.

Until it got close to graduation. And I was going to graduate school interviews and moving on with life. And after graduation I was going on a trip through Europe for 6 weeks. And I was melting down every day or more. I don’t do change well. And I just pictured the problems that could come with melting down in a foreign non-English-speaking country.

So I went back on them (they are also anxiety medication).

(Although I still had a meltdown in an airport. But that was the only public meltdown of that trip, so pretty successful for 6 weeks.)

And at some point, I found The Third Glance. And the internet. And started thinking more and more that I was autistic.

And then I got tested for autism and they told me I was autistic (probably). And I decided I was.

And I’m looking back at some of the depression and anxiety and meltdowns and SIB (because I reclassified it as this. Because it is easier to read). And it’s hard to tell them apart sometimes. Because some of it definitely almost certainly is depression. And some of the crying and SIB is almost certainly autism-related meltdowns.

So for me it’s a mix.
And it’s messy.
But I suppose that’s life.

Posts that are sort of related that I read and influenced this one:
Oh Right, It’s Not Just Autism by Nattily at Notes on Crazy
Are you sure you’re autistic by autisticook