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.
Labels: autism, boyfriend, change, coping mechanism, depression, grad school, me, meltdown, my brain, self-injury, transitions