Tag Archives: mental-health


I want to talk about recovery because I noticed that I changed the way I think about this, I think the new way I think about it is more realistic and helpful for me.

for those who don’t know I have autism (pdd-nos) and suffer from depressions and anxieties. I use to think that recovery would was about eliminating bad moments anymore but now I think its about being okay despite the bad moments. if I would be recovered when I didn’t got sad or afraid anymore I would wait till hell froze over because I realise that, that isn’t going to happen. I can’t be cured, there is no cure for autism and I always be vulnerable for my mental health problems but I can recover.
I am on the road of recovery as we speak, I have and am learning how to be okay in the good and especially in bad times. recovery for me is also about learning what things I can make better and what I will have to live with and learning to accept that I will have to live with them. I now have a much better understanding of my problems and look more at how I can deal with them other then trying to eliminate them completely, this way I am less stressed and even happier.


Relationships and me.

I often find it difficult to deal with other people, even tho I do like to be around them, I suppose this makes me often lonely. 

meeting new people

I have always found it very difficult to make that first connection, I never quite figured out how to do that and the uncertainty makes it quite scary as well.
If someone greets me I will respond but unless I really know the person I won’t be the one that says hello first. I have learned that because I am frightened at those first meetings that my body-language and behavior doesn’t invite people to try to connect with me. So I could go to a bar or something to meet people but I would be at the end of the evening probably still alone because I can’t do the meeting thing. When I have to meet someone new (for work or something else) its very frighting because I am never sure what to expect and what will be expected of me. I am very aware of the fact that I am not very good at it and that some people won’t respond well to my social clumsiness what makes it terrifying.

Social interaction

there are too many social rules and they are in a state of constant flux, every time I think I figured it out they change. I don’t see the point of many things and just do it because I have to. Giving of hands, shallow conversations, I do them because you are suppose to but I don’t really see the point. Its not only playing the game without knowing the rules but also without really knowing why you are playing in the first place.
I don’t look at people when I speak to them, there is something about another persons stare that feels threatening. Most people see my avoidance of eye contact as disinterest or even as being rude, I have had even health care professionals who knew about my autism ask if I could please look at them when they where talking, I can’t.
When it comes to socializing I like to stick with the people I know because I can mostly predict how they react and they know my difficulties.


I have a few friends, never had many because its hard to make friends and maintain them.
Finding the right balance of contact is a challenge, because I don’t have many friends I tend to too much and that can be annoying for the other person but contacting another after a longer while can feel like a first contact and is difficult.
Especially in the past I had the other setting all the rules of friendship because I had no idea what they would be and if I could ask for anything without upsetting the other. Now I am learning to let others know what I need and experiencing that its okay to do that.
The fiends I do have are very important to me and I care very much about them, theres not much I wouldn’t do to help a friend out.


I fell in love once, or better said I allowed myself to fall in love that one time. I have liked others but always was too frightened of making myself vulnerable that I would deny myself the chance. I just virtually ran the other way when anyone came too close.
The one romantic relationship I had was lovely but also difficult, its hard to know if what I did was right and I had a strong fear of messing up. I also found the emotional side of such a relationship hard to deal with, its illogical and overwhelming, for me it was surprising that I could feel such a way for someone especially someone that I knew relatively for a short time. I couldn’t say if I would try it again tho as the ending of it shattered my heart.


Coworkers and bosses

I have worked for about 4 years at one company and it had its ups and downs.
I have good days and bad days, on the good days I can be chatty and quite pleasant to be with, on the bad days my social skills go south and I isolate myself.
The production manager wasn’t a fan of me and I didn’t like him either, we where two people from a different world who couldn’t understand one other no matter how much we tried. That I think in a different way caused conflict every now and then, I am not good in conflict situations it makes me rather nervous and upset, I usually walk away or try to smooth it over as soon as I can. With my coworkers I had another problem and that was surprisingly enough my good behavior, I always was first to offer to work longer or in weekends, I really tried to do the best I could at everything, I did it so well that often I was made an example to follow for the rest, they did not like that I made them look bad.
We started as a group with mainly man but in the years the number of women overtook the man and that was noticeable for me. Its not that I have anything against women its just that a group of women interact in a different way, they often don’t say what they mean and you have to hear from someone else if they don’t like something you did. I have a problem with that kind of interaction as I never know where I stand and it makes me highly insecure also I am incapable of playing those games.
I no longer work, I just couldn’t work there anymore as a lot has happened there when I became ill, I hope I can get another job but my difficulties make this hard too.

Health care professionals

as a child I use to have a near pathological fear of doctors, dentist and others alike. Its not that something horrible has happened to me, with doctors and alike the fear was mainly that I was expected to speak, to explain what I felt and my incapability to do so. Dentist are a different kind of fear, that is the possibility of pain that terrified me. Now I am older its better but still I am not quite comfortable around these people.
This made that I was rarely to be found at the doctors office and only when I really had to, I was until a few years ago always accompanied by a parent, I just couldn’t go alone and didn’t want to try either. Then a mental health crisis left me little choice other then to seek help. You can probably understand that seeking help for a mental health problem was very difficult as it involves talking about emotional feelings, it made me feel vulnerable and insecure as I never know if I’m making any sense.
I still see a therapist every week but after more then a year I still can’t quite define our relationship, I would have said friendship if it didn’t lack a certain balance. Its all about me in those hours and even tho I do care for her it doesn’t seem right to ask her how she is doing for instance. I really need her to set the rules and boundaries and even to let me know if I threaten to cross them because I just don’t know otherwise.
I also see the psychiatrist but just once every few months and that makes that I am far less comfortable to talk with him, he knows and accepts that. I do like the matter of fact way we can talk about serious topics, its easier when the other doesn’t make a big fuss over it.

Suicide: choice or tragedy ?

trigger warning: I openly talk about suicide in this post, if this is triggering or upsetting you stop reading, take care of yourself.  

As I struggled with depression the option of ending my own life has entered my mind many times. I always thought of it as a choice that I could make if things got too bad, it was my life after all.

But now my depression has lifted for the time being I can’t help but to wonder how free that choice would have been, would it have really been my choice or was it only the illness? I am not a professional so I have only my own experiences to guide me to an answer

 as I said I often considered suicide and even at times started to plan. I approached it quite logical and even tho the reasoning behind it was purely emotional, I was under the impression that I was thinking clear about the subject.

One of the considerations is: if I have the right to make such a decision, then so does anyone else and what if someone I love wants to end his/her life ? . When it comes to the life of the people I care about I am very unwilling to let them go, no matter how much they may want to. Its selfish but I couldn’t deal with the pain of losing someone. I am also much more positive when it comes to others, I think there’s a lot that can be overcome and that there is a better day coming for them. I will fight for a perfect strangers life more then my own because I can see the light for them but not for myself. If I won’t allow anyone else to go when they want to then why should I be allowed ? What makes me so special?

When I hear people talk about suicide then the first thing they often say is that its selfish and with that I don’t agree, it doesn’t have to be. I often don’t get in danger until I find that my loved ones are better off without me. When I am dead surely they would be upset for a wile but then they can morn me and move on, if I stay then they are hurt time and time again by seeing me in such pain. This is the way I reason when I am very depressed and from that reasoning it isn’t a selfish thing to do.

The thing is, I reason that way only when I am very depressed, at other times I don’t think that way. So, is that reasoning a symptom of my depression? Many will say it is, I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that I change my mind on the subject too often to make such a big decision. If I would feel this way for a very long time without break then I would say yes, I can decide to go but until then my answer is no.

The arguments above are intellectual exercises but the one time I tried to kill myself it was far from an intellectual decision, it was pure panic that drove me that morning. I had been feeling very depressed for a wile and was getting quite fed up with feeling so badly. The Friday before I had checked myself into mental hospital, only to check myself out again the next day because the change of environment was too much to handle. The psychiatrist that released me wasn’t happy about it because I was clearly not doing well but without an clear indication that I was going to hurt myself or anyone else there was nothing he could do.

That weekend was full of high and lows, I was very unstable and I was just trying to get through the days as well as I could. Monday I went back to work and pretended that nothing was wrong but I was mostly just kidding myself. On Tuesday I decided I really needed some kind of help, so I called to make an appointment with my psychiatrist but got told that I could come the following week.

I was disappointed but also desperate, a week seemed like forever and impossible to cross. I needed help right that minute but couldn’t express that to the person I talked to.

On that moment it was perfectly clear for me that I couldn’t go on another day, it was that absolute. I was in such emotional distress that the only thing I could think off was that I had to escape, no matter how. I needed a way out and I only saw one way, suicide.

I took a x number of my anti-depressants and as soon as I done so, I was calm. It’s a horrible thing to say but it felt like it was okay. I waited a wile for something to happen but nothing did. Took a few more and waited again but nothing. I scribbled down sorry on a piece of paper, in the past I had written whole letters to different people but the only thing I could think of this time was sorry. After a couple more minutes still nothing happened so I decided to make myself ready for work. Looking back I realize that’s a weird thing to do when you just tried to kill yourself but I guess that’s part of my autism, if things get difficult I fall back to my routine and that said that I needed to go to work, so I went. At work I was starting to get dizzy and drowsy but just went on with what I was doing until I got so dizzy that I literately couldn’t stand anymore. On the floor I hoped one last time that, that would be it but realized soon enough that I wasn’t going to die. I had alarmed my colleagues a bit but I never told them (or anyone else) what had caused my little fall. I had let my boss drive me to my parents and there I slept it off. The next two days I stayed at home because I didn’t feel very well but I kinda deserved that, in my opinion. Had asked google if a OD could cause much harm but apparently they where quite save. (looking back I realize they must have made them keeping the possibility of someone Oding in mind)

the intimidate crisis was over, I still had a very hard time but could go on from one moment to the next. It wasn’t a cry for help, if it was I would have told someone somehow what I did.

From “I can’t go on anymore” to the act itself can have been more then a few minutes in between, so you can say it was impulsive. But it certainly wasn’t the first time I wanted out, I had considered it many times over the years. It wasn’t a well thought through plan, if it was I would have been dead.

My desperate attempt is now more then a year behind me now and its going in the right direction with me, its a two steps back one forward kind of thing but at least its going forward. Haven’t seriously considered suicide for quite a while now and of course I hope I will never go down that road again.

I am taking steps to make my chances of keeping well better and to keep me safe when I do get down again. As in everything in life, there are no guarantees but do feel that I am in a better place then I was before. I am still here to tell you about it and for that I am thankful.

Surviving the holiday season

the back end of December can be a joyful time, filled with people, food and for some presents. But when you don’t feel too well to begin with its probably less fun and even difficult to get through . This are my top 5 tips to get through to January.


Tip 1: reduce stress

this season is packed with stress for everyone and to my knowledge theres no mental illness that isn’t aggravated by stress. You are the expert on your own illness and also what stresses you out the most, trust that you know best and act accordingly. An idea can be to talk it over with those that support you (professionals or family and friends). You can time-limit visits or parties or delegate tasks to others. Going out for dinner, either to a restaurant or with those you care about can be a good way to get out off making Christmas dinner.


Tip 2 : not completely alone all the time

it can be quite depressing to be alone at home, especially on a day that you know others aren’t. The best thing is if you have loved once where you can be with, either for the days or a couple hours. I am aware that not everyone has someone and for those it can be an idea to go to church. even if you are like me not religious at all it can be nice to have people around you and most are supportive and warm especially round Christmas.


Tip 3 : remember, enjoyment isn’t an obligation

what I hear a lot is that people feel that they have to be happy or festive these days. And I get that, I use to feel that way too, that there is a certain way one is suppose to feel and I would get even more upset because I didn’t feel that way. Now I realize that the stress that I’ve put on myself by thinking that way was making me feel a lot worse. Now I try not to worry about what I am suppose to feel or what other may expect me to feel, but just take things as they are. If I enjoy myself its a perk and if not then that’s not something to feel guilty about and its not failing either.


Tip 4: there is always someone to talk to

it can be that your regular helpers are on holiday but that doesn’t mean you are completely on your own. When needed there are always crisis services that you can call, do call them when you need it. If they are wise (and they usually are) they will expect to have more calls because a lot of support workers are out. They also understand that the holidays are difficult for many so don’t feel guilty to call for support. The Samaritans are there as always if you just need a friendly ear or advise.


Tip 5: if you can’t deal with it, don’t

if you really aren’t feeling up to holidays then treat it like any other day, you are perfectly allowed to completely ignore Christmas and new years eve.


The mindfulness (obstacle) course.

When my therapist first suggested that I took a mindfulness course I thought she lost her mind, mostly because just the idea of attending any group was terrifying me and there was just no way I could do THAT, without really knowing what THAT was. It took quite some time but I finally caved and agreed to give it a try. The course that I attend might be slightly different from the regular once as this was one specially for autistics like myself. I would like to compare it to the regular courses but I can’t because I have no experience with them. I am still in the middle of it but wanted to explain what I am doing and how I am finding it so far.

Obstacle 1: going to the course

doing new things is always difficult for me, its not knowing what to expect that is really getting to me. It feels like jumping off a building and just hoping there’s a net to catch me at some point, its terrifying. New people are just as scary, thoughts like “how will they react to me?” “what is expected of me?” “I’ll act like a freak” will plague my mind and the only way to find out if they are realistic is jumping into the deep.


What kind of new-age crap is this ?

Was pretty much what I thought when I first looked into it and in my defence, on the surface it kinda looks like that. The origin of mindfulness isn’t new age, its quite old. It has its roots in Buddhism. I am not a spiritual or religious person at all, I am more seeing is might be believing if what I see makes sense. So you can say that I was sceptical about the whole thing and will keep questioning the things I learn because I need everything to make sense for me or I’ll just be confused. Most (if not all) courses are given in a religion neutral way, so that you don’t need to be or become a Buddhist to practice it. There are also been done a lot of scientific studies to the effectiveness of the method for several (mental) illnesses and complains. Here is a (probably incomplete) list of published studies, if you really want to get into it.


Obstacle 2: practice

the main reason I go to the course is I am not a very disciplined person, to really get the hang of it you’ll need to practice the meditations daily. I need someone that expects me to do it. Even tho the tutor would never tell me off if I don’t, the idea that I have to is enough. I have no self-discipline but am very faithful to my obligations. If I can stick with it when the course is over isn’t entirely sure but chances are better now I have experienced the benefits.


so, it works but how ?

When we sport or shop, our body is active, when we learn or puzzle the mind is active. When you want to give your body rest you sit or lay down but how do you give the mind a break ? Thought is a process that goes on and on, attempts to stop it will fail and will even tire because you trying to stop the unstoppable. Sorry but there is no off-switch for the brain, well a 9 calibre bullet might do it but I wouldn’t recommend that. The theory is that a focused mind is a rested one, instead of letting once thoughts bounce around from subject to subject or thinking about how to make world peace happen 24/7 you will be taught to focus your mind on something that is in the present like a breath. worrying is about the future or past, by focusing on something that is here and now you can stop worry in its tracks. The meditations can also help to improve concentration, to be better in touch with your body (by directing your focus to it. That is part one, by meditating you can learn how to give your mind a break and direction. Part two has more to do with how you approach the problems you face but also yourself, the principle is that its better to be kind and accepting then to be negative and fight against things you can not really change anyway. For example its raining, everyone knows you can’t stop the rain from falling. then you can do two things, getting frustrated or upset by thinking about all the things you wanted to do outside and why does it always rain when I want to do stuff and even the weather isn’t nice to me etc. or you can accept that its raining and either pick up an umbrella or do something inside. (the example is a bit extreme but it makes the point) neither one will solve that its raining but with the second you’ll be in a better mood then the first. Thoughts are regarded as just that, they are not good or bad they are just thoughts. Something you can just let pass by and doesn’t necessary need action or further attention. The same goes with feelings, you acknowledge that they are there and they don’t need to go away but also don’t need any more thought or attention. Even the worst of feelings and thoughts will go away again. This doesn’t mean you can’t change things that you find unpleasant but the idea is that you are in control of them rather then the other way around, if you are then the choice of what to do is yours.


Obstacle 3: kindness and acceptance

I think that most people would say I am a kind and tolerant person (at least I hope they do) but I am not always the same way with myself. And with reason, I found that I am so troubled by fears that I need to be strict with myself if I want to do anything. I am also a perfectionist, if I can find fault in my work, actions or even emotions I will find them and even make them more important then the things that did go right because these are the once I find should change, so they need more attention. I am a practical person, so if there is something that I don’t like I want to fix it, accepting that some things just are the way they are is quite difficult. I have also bettered myself in ways I didn’t thought possible before so what is to say I can’t do it again?  Because I feel that those qualities have been helpful for me in my life, I find it hard to let them go, I am protective of them even tho I recognize they aren’t very helpful or even healthy.


what goes on behind closed doors?

 Now we have had the theory, lets move on to how I am learning this new skill set. Every Monday afternoon I have lessons, the group is made up out of 7others the miss who will teach us and me, for this course this is a full group but other courses might have more people in it. The whole thing takes about 2 hours, about 80% of the time we are meditating, then a good 15% discussing the meditations we have done and how we did at home. The other 5 % is getting information and homework. We do the meditations sitting on chairs by a large table, other courses might choose to lay down on yoga mats. The discussions after the mediations are about how we experienced the meditations and if there where any obstacles we met when doing them. The instructions come from a book written specifically to learn mindfulness to people with a ASD (autism spectrum disorder) with the somewhat unimaginative title mindfulness for adults with autism. The book is written by Annelies Spek a clinical psychologist who has chosen autism as her field of expertise. The homework we get is a combination of reading the information in the book and practicing the different kinds meditations on a daily basis.


Obstacle 4: talking

you know when someone suddenly asks you “and how was it for you?” and you suddenly can’t find a word to describe the experience ? Well that happens to me a lot (now pack up that dirty mind and remember we are talking about a mindfulness course). Sometimes when given time I can kind of explain it other times I just fail to do so. I am well aware of this weakness what makes me insecure what is not helping the whole thing.


Tips and tricks.

  • Get all the information you need, its good to know where you getting yourself into.

  • Be patient, we all want direct results but it doesn’t work that way.

  • Make time, practising takes time and you have to be willing to make the time for it.

  • Be motivated, it will never work if you don’t really want to learn it.

  • In a group or on your own, choose the way that fits you best.


A rocky road: fighting my depression

I just read the post I wrote in the beginning of this year….goodness was I hopeful, well that wore off rather quick. I had about 2-3 good weeks and then it all turned south again. as I felt depressed again and stayed that way, I went back to the doctor and after incising my dose of antidepressants twice I was being referred to a psychiatrist. the intake was overwhelming, to talk about things I usually didn’t discuss was difficult and a lot to deal with. after my diagnoses of depression was confirmed and  another appointment was made to go back to the psychiatrist and to a psychiatric nurse to talk to. and there I was, standing outside the office with an appointment in 3 weeks. I was emotionally drained and overwhelmed and angry for some reason but my instincts where to run. so as soon as I was at work I called to cancel the appointments I just made, that didn’t go as easy as I had thought it would. I wasn’t being let go without a talk with a doctor and when she called back she really was of the opinion that I really shouldn’t stop seeing them, that I needed someone to help me ( what I said in the intake must have had an impression) she shut down all my bullshit reasons for not going through with it and convinced me to think it over some more. thinking I did and came to the conclusion that I might as well give it all a try.

the psychiatric nurse tuned out to be quite nice to talk to and the doctor appointments I can also deal with (not liking it tho) as I don’t feel better on these meds (starting to wonder if those 2-3 weeks where something called a placebo-effect) we decided to try something else. there are many different kind of anti-depressants and they don’t all work for everyone, so if one doesn’t do the trick another might. it does make me feel a bit like a lab-rat and i have wondered quite a few times if they knew what they where doing, I mean “lets just give it a go” doesn’t sound like a very scientific method or at least not one you should be doing with humans but I have no other choice in the matter.

the thing with antidepressants is one can’t just go on and off them, when you want on them you start with a small dose then step by step incise it until max or you feel better, when you go off its the same story only backwards. this makes switching a very slow process and depression makes it feel like forever until it all gets maybe better. I am now almost off my old ones but when I start my new meds it doesn’t mean that I will feel better, antidepressants start working after 2 to 4 weeks of taking them but the side-effects (you just feel ill) are the worst in the beginning as your body is all wtf is this. so I have still quit a way to go.

this should stop you from taking medication, its a pain to face it all but its also the best shot I’ve got on getting better. that is why it doesn’t stop me from taking them, I have very little to lose at this moment so all I can do is win. btw if you are in the medical profession and want to make some cash, try to make an antidepressant that works instantly and you will never have to work again 😉

so that was about it I think, congrats you’ve made it to the end