I told my abridged suffering to my new therapist, I was suspicious of her. Then she had astutely brought up that my drawing must’ve been like a autistic stimming habit. I had let her know I was so attached to it and did it all the time; at cafes, on the trains, in class, during lunch breaks, watching Netflix etc. It was like breathing.
Unlike other people, I have had my stimming habit AND special interest stripped from me. At least I’ve had it severely reduced down to not shining anywhere near as brightly as I used to.
Even a non autistic person would probably be devastated if what had happened to me hit them. The difference is, I am on the autism spectrum. This means, big time meltdowns and being unable to cope for years on end.
I have avoided formal life drawing classes for two years, but am going tonight, and hope it wont be too big a disaster since I’m also driving. I’m not here to bash myself and lament over what has happened to me, but to merely report on how autism comes into play.
I turned to drawing often not just as a hobby, but eventually as a means of soothing fidgety behavior and excess energy. Above all else it is a problem solving way of interacting with the world. As I attempted to tell my therapist, drawing has a beautiful language of meaning and understanding, as simple lines come together to go from vague abstract shapes to represent a crease in someone’s clothes. Art isn’t simply willy-nilly brainless fun, but requires it’s own intelligence.
I regret to say, I may never experience the heights of such intelligence ever again, all because I loved my mum too much and went psychotic. Pictured below.
Art kept my brain active. Forever seeking forever inquiring but most of all, trying to communicate a mood, memory, feeling, things we lack more subtly varied words for. As my university classes are beginning to go into concepts about ‘constructing meaning from images’, I find myself contemplating the illustrations I had made leading up to my accident. The way I naturally turned to motifs and color choices to represent themes of alienation, violation, grief, shame, joy and even more subjective amorphous concepts such as nostalgia and ‘truth’.
Now I don’t like to use autism as an excuse, but doesn’t make me ashamed either. Neurodiversity now is being more associated with quirky intensity and a hardworking nature, something beneficial to society if they find a profession formed out of their interest. Yadda yadda. What I did basically, before psychosis took me down some notches.
On the other hand, I am terrified to say I’ve experienced psychosis. Because it’s sick, it doesn’t offer much, it makes you useless and dysfunctional so professionally there is no value. I understand, but my psychosis also taught me things. Although I should loathe it for what it has taken from me, I feel more human than ever before, like life lessons happen for a reason. If other people don’t want to hear the stories of psychotic experiences, that’s their loss.
I have yet to fully embrace my autism diagnosis. I feel like it just doesn’t fit right though. Something about it, makes me feel like I’m a massive faker. Does anyone else feel like a faker with their autism?
I don’t feel comfortable in my own head with the identity of autistic. What it might explain is my outward appearance, confusion, strange social quirks, obsessions, sensitivity to sound and above all else, meltdowns. I feel like a pretender because I don’t want to blame autism for my emotional dysregulation, but it must be a massive part.
I have struggled with emotions my entire adulthood however, I have been an impossible wreck ever since I realized psychosis stole my art. Or maybe what did it is what my therapist calls ‘traumas potential for massive affect on cognition‘.
My question is, would a neurotypical person cope better?
Maybe yes because they wouldn’t have had a special interest X stimming comfort to lose in the first place!
The emotional side of things is where autism comes into play, I vent everywhere; on Instagram and here, reposting to Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin all my sour blog posts. I do all sorts of inappropriate stuff by other peoples standards, but for me such honesty has always felt natural. My film teacher called my analysis of our group project ‘scathing, but…’. That sums me up. I tend to get my just desserts by watching people begin to leave my stories. That should be a sign.
I have only recently started to be more careful about what
I post publicly, because I need to reign in my venting and not alienate more viewers I feel. I am happy with the growth and quality of readers of this blog however.
So what, I’m being honest right? My drive to communicate was why I got into art. Why I LOVE any sort of life drawing because I crave this honest representation even in visual form. Oh I want to cry, to say this isn’t me anymore, but I drew the below picture yesterday so lol. Why am I writing everything in past tense. I’m alive.
A neurotypical person may have moved on quicker, have a bit more emotional control and attitude that wasn’t so negative, and therefore struggle less with adapting to a new life. Change. There is that big factor I forgot to mention. Change is the killer. I don’t want a new life though, I want to draw well for a living! I want to flourish as an artist! Who I was and am meant to be! This change of identity is fucking evil, if I do say so myself. Nobody fucking will talk about this shit on the rest of the internet except for blunt-autistic-ass-me. I’m not joking if someone else talks about psychosis damage and autism then sign me up.
There’s something else about me that isn’t exactly autism, but rather the innocence that I had as a pre-teen and through my teens. This was a time I withdrew into myself, and found sanctuary through a rich inner world. My attraction towards anime blossomed here, and I found solace through art. Art was magical, and all I wished was to be as good as my favorite DeviantArt artists, when I grew up of course.
Now I have grown up, and lost so much simply because I loved my dead mum and went ‘psychotic’. I think dark thoughts on a daily basis and have exhausted the patience of all the people that endured me venting on them. I grind my teeth subconsciously and perpetually have no relief from the onslaught of emotions that come simply from being conscious. Nothing saying it’ll ever get better lined up on the horizon. Just uncertainty and despair. Oh and being told to ‘be more well rounded’.
Does going ‘without’ your stimming habit and special interest make you still autistic?
That is where my insecurity comes from. A diagnosis didn’t even help it just made it worse, as I have people slapping labels on me instead. What identity is there left in this broken body? The autistic woman or introspective artistic girl, do any of these shallow labels still belong in this shell I considered ‘Vela‘? Who is she anymore, who am I?
Isn’t it enough to suffer in silence and never talk about true things affecting people, just post pretty cartoon arts and shut up. Why publish to Twitter and LinkedIn, why let people know?
Because I’m open.
Because I’m autistic, maybe?
This is what other people will never understand. It’s what nobody will ever truly hear and feel. I am just crying out into the WordPress void basically. 😦 Good fun. Goodbye.