Asperger’s / autism and suicide… (from one perspective)

This may be a dark post.  Therefore, I’m issuing a potential Trigger Alert for those with depression, those who have made attempts in the past, or may otherwise be at higher risk of an attempt currently or in the future.  I don’t want this post to become the last straw or final motivation for anyone; in fact, that’s exactly what I’m trying to prevent.


World Suicide Prevention Day came and went.  I only knew about it because 1) I was awake, and 2) I was on Twitter.

As usual, I’m late to the “party”, but on that day, my own thoughts came back to haunt me, even if their presence was a mere whisper.  It wasn’t sitting on my shoulder, egging me to “do it”, but a few memories and their emotions made their presence known.  And that day, I began to develop my thoughts on this subject from my newly-realized spectrum perspective.

And today, I’ll share them with you.  Wide-open and brutally honest, here’s a peek at my deepest insides: thoughts of suicide as influenced by my Asperger’s/autism.  I write this because EVERY day should be World Suicide Prevention Day. ❤

I have made 2 halfway attempts that I can recall.  I haven’t made an attempt in a long time.  Thus, I think I’m “safe” writing about this topic.  But then, who really knows?

What we do know is that statistics connecting Asperger’s/autism and suicide are grim.  Several probably-well-meaning websites oh-so-helpfully point that out to us.

As if we didn’t already know.

“Why, oh why?” they cry.  For them, to commit suicide is to carry out the Ultimate Unthinkable.

They fumble for fingers to point, icons to blame, influences to nail to a cross.

Isolation usually ends up at the top of the “Most Wanted” list.  But for me, it goes deeper than that.  Other emotions come into play, too.

I think back to the times where I’ve been “on the brink”.  Where it took everything I had not to grab my keys and drive my truck off a bridge.  Examining the building-up of those thoughts and emotions is where the key to Suicide Prevention lies.  It’s not in ribbons and slogans.  It’s not in uplifting memes.  It’s not with crosses or in churches.  It lies in the people themselves, before they pass the Point of No Return.

When I think back to those “on the brink” days, I remember a torrent.  “Isolation” doesn’t begin to cover it.  The following feelings would swirl and snarl, twisting in knots and fusing together, morphing into each other like nightmarish chameleons, only to splinter apart again in a heavy mind-fogging mist, and so are written in no particular order.

Usually, there was a feeling of “being stuck or trapped” at various points in my life.  Maybe I had been lied to–again–and yet, there was no easy way to terminate the relationship, because I was dependent upon that person (made even more difficult by the fact that my dependence on them was unrealized).

Or maybe it was yet one more person who accused me.  Someone who said, “you always…”, “you never…”, “you don’t…”, or “you tend to…”.  Someone who fell through, who backtracked, who reneged.  Someone who betrayed me.  Someone who turned my life upside down.  And yet, someone who had me by the wrists.  I was trapped.  Surrounded.  Locked in.  Blocked.  No escape.  My first instinct is to run, and when running isn’t possible, my other instinct is to Disappear For Good.

Usually, there was a feeling of helplessness.  Problems so enormous and so insurmountable that I didn’t see a way out.  Usually more than one problem; usually multiple.  And they circled and weaved.  And they loomed, giant, filling up my entire field of vision.  I had no support.  I had nothing to lean on.  There seemed to be nothing I could do.

Usually, there was a feeling of alienation.  This goes deeper than the way I understand isolation.  It’s a profoundly sad and hopeless feeling of “no one understands”, coupled with “…and I have no way to explain”.  There are times when I can’t express what I’m thinking or feeling.  Sometimes, I need to, but I just can’t.  I need the other person to know, but I have no way of explaining it to them.  There are other times when I could express what I’m thinking or feeling, but it would be lost on the other person.  Either they couldn’t understand, or if they could, they would refuse to.

This then leads to a feeling of insignificance.  As though somehow I’m not important.  What I need doesn’t matter, doesn’t count.  I wasn’t worth the consideration.  I wasn’t worth the effort.  I wasn’t worth the time, the energy, or the financial investment (such as, for example, in counseling).  It doesn’t matter that I begged.  It doesn’t matter that I pleaded.  It doesn’t matter that I cried.  It doesn’t matter that I lost all self-respect as I verbally and emotionally groveled at the other person’s feet.  Words are like daggers through the chest cavity; I’ve had them literally slump me down at times.

There’s also a feeling of regret.  I’m sorry that I said or did something.  I’m sorry I entered into an unhealthy relationship.  I mourn the months or years spent liking, loving, trusting, and/or depending on that person.  Those months or years are lost, and I grieve for them, because I will never get them back.  (Cue the feeling of being “stuck/trapped”).

Then there’s the feeling of self-denigration.  As if to say, “well, I’m not worth anything better anyway.  Why do I get caught up in these situations, or with these types of people?  Maybe it’s all my fault.  Maybe I’m just unlovable.  Maybe I’m damaged.  Maybe I’m screwed up for life.”  There’s also the incompetence line: “Maybe I’m incapable of forming and maintaining a healthy connection…”

And then finally, “…maybe it’s just as well.”

That’s the most dangerous point to reach.  “Maybe it’s just as well” signals a finality, a period at the end of a thought-sentence, the last stop or station on a train of thought.

Because if I really wanted to voluntarily depart this earth, I know exactly what I would do.  It’s the quickest and most reliable method.  It does not fail.  It also does not involve pain, nor does it create a gory scene.  (That’s the part I’m not going to share, for obvious reasons.)  The only reason that I’m still here, day after day, is that I voluntarily choose to be.

And then I would begin to write the Epilogue in my head (another dangerous stage to reach).

What would happen afterward?  I reckoned that my soul/spirit would glance down at everyone below, watching them finally come to my rescue, finally say all the loving things they wished they’d said to me before, finally paying me the legitimacy that I had begged so intensely for, but hadn’t gotten.

It would all be for naught, though.  They still would never understand.  And now, if I’ve departed the physical realm, I would have royally screwed myself by eliminating any opportunity to tell them.

Because the truth is, tomorrow is another day.  If today was horrendous, tomorrow might not be stellar.

But it’s still an opportunity.  An opportunity to find mental muscles you didn’t know you had and to pick yourself up and keep moving.

An opportunity to make much-needed changes in life.  An opportunity to kick toxic people to the curb, to block certain people from the cell phone, email, or social media.  An opportunity to tell someone off, and really let them have the thunderstorm of crap they’ve deserved for so long.

An opportunity to holler, “I’m not going to let them win!” until it echoes perpetually.

An opportunity to enter counseling, or if in therapy already, to find a better, more constructive therapist.

An opportunity to go back to school, land a better job, separate from an absent, distant, or abusive partner (or parents, for those who live with them), or infuriating roommates, or anyone else.

An opportunity to make pivotal decisions.

A line from Anne of Green Gables (both the book and the movie) stuck with me, since I was a child; the really-nice teacher told Anne something along the lines of, “tomorrow is another day; with no mistakes in it.”  That line gave me a fresh look, because that teacher was right.  Tomorrow is still fresh and clean, unblemished, untainted.  Tomorrow will be here soon enough.  There are no mistakes unless I make them.  I have more power than I realize.

But I know that I’ll always be vulnerable.  The Invisible Divide that separates me from the rest of the world, that often creates a chasm between myself and the other people in my life, that clouds our understanding of each other, and sometimes causes discord, will always be there.  Both sides have to work diligently to communicate, which is bidirectional.  Both sides have to make the effort to ensure that the needs and desires of each are consistently being met.

And it’s important to remember that being alone is better than being with someone who is emotionally toxic, negative, brings out the worst in you, or otherwise unhealthy.  Sometimes, it really is better to be alone.

And as lonely as you may feel, and as lonely as life may seem, remember that you’re not truly alone.  No, that’s not some bullshit cliche; there are other people going through something similar right now.  I know that it doesn’t help a seemingly-impossible situation.  I know that it doesn’t substitute for therapy or other tangible support.  But it happens all over, daily.

I firmly believe that we’re never dealt more than we can handle.  The situation may seem insurmountable, but it’s not.  All you have to do is Keep Going.  So if you’re being dealt an incredibly heavy hand or raw deal, that’s actually a testament to your inner strength.  That sounds like feel-good crap, I know.  But it’s true.  Seriously.

All you have to do is Keep Going.

***

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27 Comments

    1. Thank you so, so much. Yeah, the tears stung just now while I proofread it (still wiping them 😊). Further words escape me, but just please know that your response touched me ❤️

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! Your comment gave me a warm, comfortable feeling 😊. I agree with what you said! I’d like to add, We’re not alone, there’s *always* a way through a tough time (even if it’s not obvious; it may be hidden at the moment), and there’s always a glimmer of hope. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you for writing this. I ended up in A an E in 2012 and still have passive suicidal thoughts. Luckily I saw the mental health team both times and right now I am feeling much better but it’s there and it exists and it is painful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’m really glad that an avenue of support was there for you, and I hope that you never reach the point where you need them ❤️❤️

      Like

  2. Keep going – sometimes, it IS the hardest thing to do. And I remember that line from AoGG. It is the only mantra that has worked for me: tomorrow just might be that day…!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for writing about this difficult subject. I have more experience of suicidal ideation than I’d like and I’ve been to some very dark places It’s important we talk about it, so I am grateful for your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your encouraging words 😊. I completely agree! It’s an “elephant in the room” of sorts, and although the post was a tougher one to write, I believe that we’ll only start to heal this issue if we first bring it to the surface ❤️ I wish you happiness! 💐

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautifully written. Bipolar & Suicide is quite similar. “Ultimate Unthinkable”. To me, that’s a sparkling turn-of-phrase. It sums up what they think, but never acknowledging how WE think and feel. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, thank you for your perspective 😊. I have a special place in my heart for bipolar people. ❤️ I was once (mis)diagnosed with it, but I understand why they thought I was; there are quite a few similarities! I imagine that some of your challenges are similar. Hugs to you ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow. You got right inside my head…

    The best way I can describe it is how I described it the other day…. “One of those nights where the wind is especially loud and cold outside, the house is especially empty inside, and my brain is a toddler running around with a fork in a room full of electric sockets, and my higher self is one exhausted babysitter. There are nights when I might as well be on a deep space mission to Europa, the isolation of just everything going on now, all the crossed intersections in my life, is so big and ice cold it’s unmentionable in polite company… and everyone knows that in space no one can hear you scream anyway.”

    The feeling of just being out on a deep space mission, and there’s just no way anyone on earth will understand the emotions of that level of isolation and strangeness.

    Also, your points about being utterly dependent on someone… Regret… I haven’t reconciled with this. I have no way of working these emotions out, yet. I do get completely overwhelmed. I am not just autistic myself, but also an autism mom, a single mom, I have multiple chronic health conditions that limit my mobility and functionality, and I can’t get disability according to the 3 attorneys I talked to because I “do too much for my daughter.” I also suffer from major depression on and off and anxiety (which is my default state as an Aspie so I don’t actually even really notice it that much), and I have inattentive ADD. All in all I am really loving your blog because it makes me feel less alone. You describe my ongoing feelings of shame, feeling overwhelmed, feeling ashamed of my dependence on others, feeling like I am missing something others have… really clearly in various posts. I loved your saltwater/freshwater post too, I definitely relate to that and I feel that the big conundrum for me is that I created an empire of sorts for myself when I was more able to adapt, when I was younger and more supported, had more family to advocate for me (my mom was always my biggest advocate even before I was formally diagnosed, it was obvious that I had some challenges all along I guess), etc. Now I am much less able to deal with the salt water… and yet I have to, because my support systems are all gone and I am alone. Even the few I have left, really don’t understand my situation and probably never will be able to… And I am completely dependent on them, which means a constant power imbalance, and constant awareness of it more than the others in my life who are able to adapt to the allistic world. It’s a really hard, frankly an impossible place to be in.

    I see the only solution at this point as accepting that i am in a full on autistic breakdown, and just learning to live within my new (or rather, old, as it’s more just a case of having lost my adaptations) limitations peacefully and productively. And finding a lot more autistic friends and chosen family. For my daughter’s sake too, she deserves to feel supported by a tribe who understands her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts ❤️ I completely agree, and I love how you described it! 👏🏼💜💙

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  6. I also want to say that one of the hardest things about Aspergers for me is just being able to parse people’s intentions, not knowing whom to trust. When someone betrays me it always comes as a shocking surprise. Sometimes I am in situations that others around me say are abusive or at least, unsupportive and I don’t even recognize it as such. I never quite know what people mean and I never quite know if someone is friendly or unfriendly. And at the same time, as a single parent, I am always trying to protect my daughter from unfriendly people, and help her parse her own social confusion with people. It is so hard. I am always confused about what people mean, whether someone is being nice to me or just manipulative/opportunistic, whether their kindness is sincere and whether someone is supporting me or being emotionally controlling. I feel so overwhelmed sometimes just by trying to figure people out that I feel like shutting myself off from the world altogether sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for this! 😊 Yep, we think very much the same here, too. Trust has always been an issue for me as well. When I was much younger, I trusted too much and failed to comprehend how anyone would ever have less-than-innocent intentions, since my own intentions were innocent. So I got burned a few times. And then I decided not to trust anyone at all, which wasn’t totally correct, either, but I now realize that that response probably stems from not being able to efficiently discern who can be trusted and who can’t. As it stands now, I’ve gotten better at it, but I still have trust issues 😊 One of my biggest pet peeves is manipulation. Will/can not tolerate even a hint of it ❤️

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  7. Girl, I thank whoever it was that gave you the talent to put complicated stuff into words, covering every angle of them. 🙂

    For a long time I’ve searched blogs for one about suicide, one that I could relate to; now I found it.

    I’m honestly sad you had/have to deal with/go through all the feelings you wrote about, I don’t wish them on ányone. (bad grammar, blame it on Google translate, it doesn’t want to play tonight)

    And I’m honestly glad you had the guts to write about them, because nów I know for sure that, somewhere, sómeone can relate to these particular feelings. (oh, I knew there had to be ppl. out there feeling similar stuff, but never FOR SURE)

    I wish you the best possible!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, thank you so much for your compliments, your empathy, and your encouragement! I really appreciate it, so very much 🙂

      Luckily, those feelings don’t converge all at once very often 😉

      I’m both sad and glad that other people out there can relate. On one hand, it’s purely selfish; I know I’ll never completely be alone. I’m sad that anyone else out there has ever had to experience this, because it’s pure hell. But I know that it happens, and if I could take it all away, I totally would, in a heartbeat! But since I’m pretty sure I can’t :), then I’m glad others are finding this post and finding it relatable and hopefully helpful, so that y’all never feel completely alone, either 🙂

      I wish you all the best possible, too! ❤

      Like

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