As promised I’ll begin here.
A year ago I was diagnosed, at the age of 35, with Autism Spectrum Disorder (what used to be called Asperger’s), mainly manifesting as systemic thinking and difficulties with interpreting non-verbal behaviours and processing emotions. This has caused great amounts of anxiety and isolation over the years. It is taking quite some time for me to come to terms with it but with a bit of help and guidance I’m beginning to understand what I can do to change for the better and what I can accept as part of who I am.
Some useful advice from CBT was that I am guilty of all 12 unhelpful thinking habits, namely :
Mental Filter (gloomy specs)
Compare and Despair
Shoulds and Musts
Mountains and Molehills
Black and White Thinking
Memories (here and now)
All of which are bolstered by rigid systemic thinking.
The worst thing about having ASD is the masking. The all-powerful shield that protects me from the projected judgement of others. The mask is so prevalent that it feels like the real me, even though it has never been, nor will it ever be, the real me. It does nothing but paralyse and imprison the real me.
To defeat the demons of anxiety and hence, to take off the mask, I’ve learnt now to keep engaging with others, to spend time with friends who understand and support me, and to keep active doing what makes me feel good about myself. These are what deprives the demons of their room to operate.
So, job interview tomorrow and I’m actually feeling good about it. When that’s done and dusted I’ll take some time to get into some artistic creativity.
I’ll be back soon.