I read a blog recently: http://bit.ly/2d10OkU, and wanted to make a comment, but my comment was unfortunately cut short by WordPress for some unknown reason. I wanted to be able to write my comment in full so I thought the best way I could think of is post it as a blog post, which I’ve pasted below:
I see where you’re coming from, I feel like an odd one out too in many ways. In terms of what a lot of people like around my age and their views on life, and notice how different I am in comparison. I don’t want to change my ways to fit in with them, I just want to find others that can understand where I’m coming from. To find people that make me feel like I truly belong. I want to express my thoughts, feelings, and views on life and the way it’s treating both myself and other people. I worry that I may be misunderstood, or that my views on life that I post on my Twitter account may scare some people away because I tend to post some heavy subjects about the atrocities happening around the world. I want to be able to express my views, but at the same time, I don’t want to scare people away, >.<;. I want to make friends, not cause friction, but I want to express myself. I feel I need to express my views as I want to be able to find like-minded people.
My PTSD affects me quite badly because it leaves me with triggers in the social and educational world. It makes it extremely difficult to socialise. I myself have been scared off many times because of reading something that immediately triggers bad memories, and I go through an intense battle inside my mind. My depression sinks deeper and deeper, my frustration of how time takes everything away, how the cruel twist of fate cuts me like a knife, the reminder of how behind I am to my peer group. It all triggers this overwhelming intensity inside of me. I end up having this debate with my mum over what happened, how intense my triggers are, my memories and experiences, my inner turmoil raging over, trying to make sense of what happened, realising how traumatic those experiences were, knowing how difficult it is to find the right answers.
Talking about insomnia, tell me about it. I, myself stayed awake for two days yesterday, and it ended with an interesting conversation with a couple of people on the spectrum across Twitter. Now, I’m awake, in the middle of night. My days and nights completely go upside-down almost all the time. It’s because of my depression and frustration. The need to find answers to my questions, the need to fulfil my dreams, the need to find like-minded people and make friends. This is what causes me my insomnia, and it’s difficult to get back on track. I have to stay up over the cause of the following day in order to go to sleep earlier and wake up at a more opportune time. It’s not easy, and the more depressed I feel, the worse it gets. As the season gets closer to winter, I start to notice how dark it is outside, and I often refer to myself as a vampire as my days and nights are completely upside-down. Truth is, my mind is constantly on the go, and I know that the moment I stop listening to my modern Japanese music, stop playing games, watching anime, etc., it all comes flooding back. My battleground puzzle mind, my mind and heart that are constantly conflicting with each other. I can’t go to sleep without reflecting on the differences between myself and others, knowing how alone I truly feel. There have been times when I’ve cried myself to sleep. I watched an episode of Naruto Shippuden a few weeks ago. This episode immediately caused my emotional trigger to go wild. I went through a pretty intensive meltdown. That’s when I just lay there on my bed, talking to myself about how much I needed to find my solution to this pain. I haven’t been able to watch another episode since then. That’s when the next day I badly needed to do something about it. I decided to create a website. I wanted to create a forum to connect with other people on the spectrum hoping to make friends. I created the forum, but I could tell, it was going nowhere, no one was joining, -_-. I wanted to reach out to more people, and that’s why I created a Twitter account, calling myself Toshiro Hitsugaya to relate to anime I like watching (Bleach). I wanted to reach out by tweeting about my views and about my autism, the way it affects me and what I can relate to.
When I found out I was on the autistic spectrum, I was 14 years old. I was going through my breakdown at school. At the time, I wasn’t on the internet. I wasn’t writing on Twitter, speaking on YouTube, writing on WordPress, or on forums, etc. I felt totally alienated and badly bullied at school. I was totally misunderstood, I couldn’t get on with anyone, but then I never instigated conversation. The only time I interjected in a conversation was when I was in Year 3, I was 7 years old. The other children sitting around the table were talking about where they’ve been on holiday. I said I couldn’t go on holiday, and the looks they gave me. Well, if looks could kill, they were good examples. Since that time I never tried to talk to anyone unless they spoke to me.
Throughout school I would wander the playground, totally to myself. I would reflect on my life, and look at the other children running backwards and forwards and I’d think, “Why are you doing that? Why are you wasting time running about when we could be talking about life?”. I then thought about the class I was in, could see the other children sitting with other children, talking to each other. I felt excluded, left out, like no one wanted to know. I didn’t understand. I remember those assemblies about singing positive hymns, and I felt them to be patronising. I also remember that song, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands”, so if you didn’t as you felt misunderstood and depressed, there’s something wrong with you? There was a saying in these assemblies that I felt had a double meaning. The saying was, “Do onto others as you’d want to be done to yourself”. Now, I felt that those words sounded a little strange if applied to certain children. If I put those words to a bully of mine, I considered what those words meant to them. I felt that if those words were applied to them, were they trying to say, “I’ll hurt you because I want you to hurt me in return”. I didn’t, but I felt that saying was ridiculous. If you tried to tried a bully with kindness and politely, would they really reciprocate and do the same in return? No, they didn’t. I used to allow others in the class to borrow my stationary, even to bullies, I would give food in my lunchbox to others and open the doors to let others through to make friends, did it help me, did my bullies stop bullying me, did it help me to make friends? No, it didn’t. I also noticed the attempts the school tried to make to help children that felt alone make friends. You see, there was this bench in the middle of the playground. This bench was no ordinary bench. It was called a ‘buddy bench’, and it painted in bright rainbow colours. The idea was for other children to sit there if they felt lonely and other children would come up to make friends. I just took one look at the bench and laughed. I thought, “This is a magnet to bullies, like a moth to a lamp! Is this the best they can do?!? They have no idea what it’s like having to cope in this ‘prison’” (prison is the word I like to use to describe school as I find it fits very well considering how the strong would pick on the vulnerable). I remember I was once forced to sit on the bench by one of the teachers. All that happened was that I was asked to play a game called ‘bulldog’. All it considered of was running from one side of the playground to the other, and if you were tagged by the ‘bulldogs’ in the middle, you would be ‘it’, and have to be a ‘bulldog’ in the next running attempt. I participated in one running, but I felt it was useless and pointless. No one came up to me and started talking to me, no one wanted to know, they just wanted me to join a crowd of runners. What was the point, no one understood me, no one would want to listen to my thoughts, no one would be willing to be my friend.
For a long time, I felt totally alone, then at my mother’s suggestion, I started writing to a female I spoke incredibly briefly to in primary school. She agreed to write to me. I used to always smile every time I saw the number “1” written over the messages section of Facebook. I was expressing how I felt this candle light up inside of me every time I received another message from her. It lifted my spirits, if only briefly. Everything was going well, that was until I realised she was connected to the evils of my turbulent past. Before I knew it, I was back to square one, no further forward. I began writing on an ASD forum in the middle of that turbulence, hoping to find like-minded people, it was going well for some time, until I wrote to one of them on private messages, and I was called a ‘child’ in comparison to my messages on the forum. I experienced traumas involving an educational facility, and I was expressing how badly that had affected me and why those triggers would make the environment very hostile to me because of all the encircling memories in my mind. He didn’t understand what I was saying, and by being called a ‘child’, I found it abusive. He immediately triggered yet another meltdown. He was much older than me, in his forties when I was in my late teens.
My meltdowns are as a result of being misunderstood. My cousin is one very, very good example of someone that has never understood me and constantly causes me to meltdown. She’s only seen one side of me, not the side that the outside world does. She always says the opposite of everything I say, and her voice. Wow, I wish you could hear it, the arrogance is so noticeable. I was bullied enough at school to recognise the voice of an arrogant bully. I could always recognise that in my cousin. She would state such hurtful comments like, “I don’t think you have autism”. It was very stressful, but I was diagnosed by a psychiatrist and witnessed by a panel of psychologists, I have a document to prove it, and she didn’t think I was autistic. I’d like to see her live through my eyes, know what it’s like to feel excluded, alienated from others in the school. To see my sensory issues playing havoc with P.E. lessons (which I hated). We would wear shorts in primary school during P.E. lessons, and I would be so scared of other children’s bare legs touching my own, and I would always draw my legs in so that I could be careful. It made it very difficult to concentrate on the teacher’s words. Not to mention the abuse I would hear from the swimming teacher wasn’t going to help me feel a sudden reaction to swim across the pool. Shouting is not the solution, -_-. I couldn’t climb ropes or tell the time on a clock face, and all the time I was at primary school, no one could recognise my autism. It was only after my breakdown in Year 8 of secondary school when I was 13 years old that a SENs history teacher mentioned that she thought I was autistic and that was during a meeting. My cousin even said to me, “Let’s go to Japan”. I thought, “Sure, I’ll just grow a pair of wings and fly there right now, shall I ?!?”. I explained to her all of the difficulties I would have simply going to a crowded airport, the claustrophobic aeroplane, the constant worry about the safety of the plane. Then getting to Japan, getting off the plane into a completely different and alien environment, worrying constantly (“Will I be alright? What are we going to do? Where is the hotel? How can I sleep in an unfamiliar bed, touching alien sheets?”). That’s another very important point, my OCD and SPD would play havoc in a hotel. I’d need to bring my own sheets and pillow cases, I’d need to cover from head to toe, leaving no skin exposed. The whole environment would be far too hostile. Yes, I’d love to go to Japan, yes, I love the modern entertainment over there, yes, I know some of their history (Sengoku period, and when it comes to China, the Romance of the Three Kingdoms era), I love their old architecture with the old temples, red gates and pagodas, I love their natural world, from the really old wisterias, cherry blossoms (sakura), maple trees, and ancient bonsai trees, but my difficulties make the whole experience of travelling to Japan feel like travelling to Mars, -_-;.
I’ve mentioned this in a previous blog post, that my anxiety is a tidal wave. It’s so true in so many ways. Writing on the internet felt the same as well. I can remember in the early days, in my mid teens, I would play MMORPGs, Massive Multiplayer Online Role Play Games, not to talk to other people, but to simply play the game. To feel what it was like to escape into my own world. The video gaming world. Video games were a big part of my life, video games were my escape coming back from a torturous day at school. Video games were my escape if only briefly. I tried all sorts of MMORPGs as I wanted to continually explore different worlds, different experiences, different dimensions that I escape into. However; I started noticing other people started to write to me on those MMORPGs. I was shocked to see someone was writing to me. I looked at the small sentence responses with their usual emoticons, and worried for a moment. What should I do, what do I say?!? I began to write a couple of words and smiley in response. Usually that was just it, but sometimes I found that it didn’t stop there. Sometimes they would continue writing. Sometimes I was slightly annoyed as I wanted to continue playing, yet other times I started to wonder. I would write a few words in response, and before I knew it. I was typing these small messages to people all around the world. Most of the time, we just wrote to each other about simpler things, like who likes what anime (Japanese animation) that sort of thing. On the occasion, I could remember writing to someone about what happened to their country in the past. All of these conversations were instigated by other people, and spun short little responses too and fro, and I never wrote to them again.
There was one unfortunate situation that happened a year or two ago that took on a completely different twist. I was writing to this one person on this MMORPG, and we wrote to each other for some time, and found out she was from the Netherlands (sometimes it’s so interesting writing to these people when they speak such good English. I wish I could understand and speak Japanese as efficiently as they can write in English), I even brought up my older blog and YouTube channel. She started to look at it, came back to me, and we continued writing. She asked if I was on Skype. I told her that I couldn’t cope with talking to someone face-to-face on Skype, this was especially true to someone I hardly knew at all, >.<;. I didn’t know much about Skype, I’d never used it much before, but she told me that she meant messenger in Skype. I didn’t even know there was such a thing, but I eventually saw what she meant. At the time, I wanted to find out what would happen if I wrote to someone, as I never knew what it would be like to write to someone from these MMORPGs since I’d been playing them for so many years. We began writing to each other on Skype messenger, and across the MMORPG we were playing. It was going well for a while. Of course, I was cautious never to bring up anything that would link to my credential information, but I did express my experiences in life and told her I’m on the spectrum. What she was telling me about her own situation sounded so extreme, I didn’t quite know exactly how to respond, >.<;. Nevertheless, she told me that she’s played a lot of MMORPGs herself, eventually we went onto a different MMORPG, and played that briefly. She was talking to me about what games we liked, and she was talking about first person shooting games. I was expressing that I didn’t like those games because I felt it was senseless violence shooting each other. I told her how I liked games with a story that I could lose myself in. I tried one of these shooting games she mentioned, but I got bored very quickly and couldn’t understand the fascination, -_-. Anyway, we eventually went back to the original MMORPG. That’s when things slowly started to turn sour. I then began playing this MMORPG with two other people that this Skype person referred me to. We played in a four-character party. I didn’t see anything wrong with it. That was until something happened. Apparently one of the characters said something, well, not exactly said something, it was more a ‘whisper message’, to this person I was writing to. She immediately took offence by it, I was lost, I didn’t know what to. I tried to write to this person from Skype. That’s when this person from Skype said she was going to stop playing. She told me that I could continue playing. I said that I wouldn’t if she didn’t want me to. I wanted to do the right thing. I didn’t know what to do. I was lost, >.<. I keep asking her, “Are you sure?”, “I won’t if you don’t want me to”. She kept telling me, “Yes, continue playing. It’s alright. I just need a break”. I didn’t know what to do. In the end, I continued playing. Little did I know, it was the calm before the storm. As soon as I stopped playing, and wrote to her on Skype, she totally flipped. It was like I was writing to a completely different person. She was swearing at me, accusing me of not caring. I didn’t know what to do, I was apologising, asking what if there was something I could do to help. She was just telling me to virtually ‘get lost’, in different words, >.<;. I didn’t know what I did. She then changed her profile image to one of her swearing at the camera.
I was always worried about writing on Twitter, this was because I couldn’t face writing small abbreviated messages, I felt I would be misunderstood, and I wouldn’t have enough space to express myself. Then I started to notice other people on the spectrum were making blogs on WordPress, and I decided to reach out to my old and dusty WordPress account and restart. I then felt brave and wanted to write to someone on the spectrum on Twitter yesterday, and I was redirected to other people on the spectrum on WordPress that have their own blogs. It’s interesting to read how others on the spectrum feel. I want to be able to connect with these people and make new friends, :).