Nurse checks blood pressure.
The Psychiatrist informs the staff to tell me that he would only visit at 19:00 that evening. The Psychologist will only visit me at 15:00, so I have the morning to myself.
I start to work on what the Psychiatrist asked the previous day, and I try to ‘see’ if any of my family members present with behavior which might suggest that they are on the spectrum.
I was never close to my siblings, always felt like the outcast. The outsider, the weird one, the dreamer, the talker, the strange kid. I was always alone…
I have 3 brothers and 1 sister, I am the 4th child. I remember that I always asked questions. I always wondered about things, I was interested in how things worked and why they are the way they are. I hoped to get answers from my siblings but I soon realized that they became annoyed with me asking so many questions. I was told to keep quiet, stop asking questions and I was ignored. I was shunned from the rest of them and kind of dismissed as the creepy weirdo kid. I ended up reading the encyclopedia and books and magazines to quench my thirst for knowledge.
I would then go back to my siblings and would try to tell them about the interesting things I learnt but they would always just tell me to keep quiet, to stop talking.
I felt the distance grow between me and my brothers and sister over the years. I got this feeling that they didn’t like me, and I could never understand why.
Now, 4 decades later with the knowledge that I am actually different in an amazing way, I feel better about the lonely journey I had. I feel better about the fact that they showed no interest in me. I understand why I felt like an only child with absent parents. I am at peace now with myself. It is strange that ‘familiarity breeds contempt‘ in my life was actually ‘being unfamiliar with your brother and his autism breeds contempt‘.
Thinking about them now trying to identify autistic traits is easy, none of them have it, they are as normal as can be. I do see it in my extended family but not in my immediate family, they are all neurotypical, typically typical.
I am glad I never did fit in, and I am glad I can now stand out!
The Psychologist arrives and we start talking about my current mental state. How do I feel? Mentally, physically, emotionally, how do I feel?
Physically? I feel rested. I feel healthy. I feel great.
Emotionally? I feel strange. I feel like my effort to match emotions to facial features my entire life in order to read people has drained me. I feel relieved that I can now pay attention to how my emotions affect me and how others and their emotions affect me. I struggle to have sympathy and empathy display on my face, but I do feel it. In fact, I feel more intense than normal people. I feel that I would need time to process my emotional baggage I carry with me after 2 failed marriages and 2 divorces. At least I feel, I actually feel EVERYTHING all the time…
Mentally? I am strong! I have a fantastic mental gift which I never knew existed! I am only starting to discovery the immense power of my mind! I am absolutely overwhelmed with joy just thinking of the possibilities I can uncover with my new super power! My mind is a powerful resource and I can use it to solve problems! I am very very very happy!
The Psychologist tries to warn me that my happiness may be too much. I need to watch out for a relapse. I need to take it easy, I would need therapy for a long time to align my ego-states and to make sure I’m really coping.
I picked up a shift in his voice and his gaze and his body language. The air changed, his mood changed, he became colder and a bit distant. I know, he wanted longevity in this therapy approach between us. He wanted a patient for an extended period of time. Mmm…. He wanted money.
We spent so many hours talking through my experience and I made great progress and I was relieved that I have received an answer to my lifelong question. And this guy sitting in front of me starts to plan his future income stream? Well, well, well, it does seem to me that he became too familiar with me and now I do not like him, so….’his familiarity breeds my contempt’….
We finish the session and he leaves.
Psychiatrist arrives and we talk about the physical sensations of having dopamine and serotonin stabilizing. We double check that we are both happy with my prescription medicine and the dosage and the way I function. We agree that we have found the sweet spot with the pills. We chat about my family and my experience of being ‘different’ growing up. He assures me that my future would now be light and in focus and would make sense. He talks to me, he actually talks to me as if I am worthy of being spoken to. He listens to me and he believes me. He tells me that I need to start thinking about my career history and my current career choice. He has a feeling that I might have never really done what I am actually good at, and perhaps I need to take a look at what passions or interests of mine I had to bury in the past in order to ‘fit in’. I may want to revisit those ideas 🙂
We finish the session and I have a cup of coffee. I like the Psychiatrist more than the Psychologist.
I take my medication, get into bed and wait for the bliss that is sleep…