So where did it all go wrong ?.
Autistic people are supposed to have special interests that are all consuming.
Growing up I had those in abundance. World Cups, Football in general, Alexander the Great, Lego, creating armour and weapons for my Action Man, Dinosaurs, the list went on. I wasn’t interested in making friends although I enjoyed playing football in the park but the idea of going out, going to clubs or pubs (as I grew older) was totally alien to me.
And girls ignored me. Not that, looking back, I should blame them for not wanting to be friends with a skinny, acne riddled, pudding bowl haircut, flared jeans, glasses wearing boy who didn’t really know what women were for anyway. There were far better looking guys out there, I am sure.
So my special interest wasn’t the female form.
As I grew up and worked in the law that became my focus and passion, the cut and thrust of legal argument, the excitement of cross examination, the anticipation of the verdict and the glorious rules and laws we were all subject to.
Outside of work my focus switched to travel. Getting away from the mundane and everyday, being me, being free from expectations and conformity, wearing what I wanted, seeing what I wanted to see, the joy that comes with the planning, the reading up on the next city, the next temple, the next country.
My holidays weren’t holidays. They were escapes. Planned at least six months in advance with research into the airlines, the airports, the hotels and the day’s activities.
Egyptology became my focus. I learnt hieroglyphics to a basic standard, I memorised dates, who ruled when, who was buried where, dynastic order, what was built when and by whom. I collected over 50 books on the topic and then…
It all died.
Three years ago.
I booked a holiday but the excitement wasn’t there. I did some basic research but my enthusiasm had dried up. My mood was lower than ever, I seemed to be fighting inner demons and my brain wouldn’t do what I wanted it to do. I felt bereft of energy and slowly but surely, my interests were evaporating.
In three years a lot has happened. I had a stroke in 2013 and another “event” in 2015. My father had vascular dementia and died at Christmas 2014. My mother committed suicide in August 2015. I had three fruitless years under the “supervision” of the mental health team who promised much and delivered little. I found a new job after three years unemployed (when I couldn’t get a single penny in benefits because my Autism meant I couldn’t face work interviews so I wasn’t eligible to be paid) but found it was, and still is, the wrong job, damaging to my health and sanity with occasional singling out and past bullying and victimisation. But when you have no money, what can you do ?. And then there’s Diabetes and Fibromyalgia to cope with.
But now my brain won’t work. I scored 100/100 in a memory test run by the Alzheimer’s Society, so I know I’m all there but I can’t remember things, I can’t focus and I literally have no interests. Everything bores me. I can rarely sit through a television programme or a film, I switch channels, I fidget, I can’t read a book because I lose interest. I seem to have lost myself and I don’t know why.
So, where did it all go wrong ?.