Dating on the Autism Spectrum: Neurotypical Partners Open Doors Therapy

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Dating on the Autism Spectrum: Notes for Neurotypical Partners

August 30, 2020 by 

unhappy couple who is dating on the autism spectrum in palo alto. They get online autism therapy in California at Open Doors Therapy

Hello! Welcome back to my blog series: Dating on the Autism Spectrum. In my clinical experience, this is a topic that interests many of my high-functioning autistic clients. So far, I’ve shared dating tips for autistic individuals and how to handle conflict. Today I want to touch on what it’s like to be neurotypical and dating someone on the spectrum. I understand that every individual relationship is unique, but there are some common challenges that occur in this situation. 

Understanding Autism and Emotions

awkward couple on the bench in the bay area. They go to autism therapy in Palo Alto, CA at open doors therapy to learn more about dating on the autism spectrum

One of the most Googled questions neurotypicals ask about dating on the autism spectrum is “can autistic people fall in love?” To be honest, this question always catches me off guard. Of course they can! They’re human! It’s a common misconception that autistic people cannot feel or express emotions. In fact, they are some of the most empathetic people I know. Some autistic people hyper-empathize to the point that they feel very intense emotions. The difference is that they may not show these emotions on their face or they may have trouble expressing them. 

Sometimes, the lack of emotions displayed by an autistic partner can really anger their neurotypical partner, because they misinterpret that as not caring. Then, a cycle begins because a person with autism will often withdraw to avoid conflict and the trauma triggers it brings up. When an autistic person is faced with conflict and an upset or hostile partner, they often withdraw or leave the scene because they feel unsafe. 

Relationships can be an autistic person’s special interest

Many autistic teens and adults are very passionate about a special interest. So, they invest an intense amount of time and energy into it. They can talk on and on about it. Often times, this extreme passion and interest extend to their relationship as well. Have you ever joked about a friend who recently fell in love and can’t think about or talk about anything else? Well, that’s similar to how an autistic person feels about their special interests and their love life. 

Romantic relationships can be difficult to maneuver when you’re dating on the autism spectrum.

Romantic relationships are complex and confusing for neurotypical people. But, for autistic people, romantic relationships are even more complex and confusing. Many people with autism crave intimacy and love. But, they don’t know how to achieve it in a romantic relationship. They can feel blind to everyday subtle social cues from their partner. This can cause conflict and hurt feelings. 

There’s an old saying: Marriage is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. And this really applies when you think about being in a relationship with an autistic partner. Most autistic adults that I work with tell me they are trying incredibly hard to be a good partner. I believe this! They are exhausted by the perplexing signs that their partners are giving them. It can feel like reading a book but you only get to see every 5th word. Your goal is now to understand the whole book, but you can’t when you miss most of the story. Sometimes you might get the gist, but you still feel confused. 

As a neurotypical dating someone with autism, you may need to play the role of an interpreter

Does this mean people with autism can’t become better partners? No, that’s not the case, they can grow a lot. But, as a neurotypical partner, it’s important to acknowledge you can grow, too. Your autistic partner is spending most of their waking hours in a world biased for neurotypical people and trying to interpret your neurotypical messages. However, their brain was not wired to process neurotypical messages easily. So as a neurotypical partner, you can help by playing the role of interpreter and explain what you’re trying to tell them by saying what you mean.

Try to see the world through your partner’s eyes and understand their perspective.

When conflict occurs, try and empathize with your partner and their struggles. Then, it will be up to your partner to share with you. Usually, there was a misunderstanding and your partner was not intentionally trying to make you feel abandoned, dismissed, or insignificant. They simply did not understand what you were trying to communicate with them. Many people with autism do not readily pick up on non-verbal communication, so ask yourself: was I direct in telling them what I needed or wanted? If the answer is no, then try and understand their confusion. 

Learning how to listen to your autistic partner and not make neurotypical assumptions is a hard task. But, really listening to your partner and trying to understand their pain and their perspective builds intimacy. You will get to know them probably deeper than anyone else in their life.

Self-awareness holds the key to dating on the autism spectrum

It is up to your autistic partner to also become more self-aware. If they don’t understand their own feelings, beliefs, and intentions, they won’t be able to share them with you. Individual counseling or couple’s counseling can help your autistic partner become more self-reflective and self-aware.

Self-awareness on both sides of the relationship is important. When your partner understands their feelings, beliefs, and intentions, then they can share them with you. But, as a neurotypical partner, it’s important to learn more about yourself, too. What drew you to your partner? Now, what causes you to feel unloved, insignificant, or abandoned? Is this a pattern in your relationships? If you’re both struggling with this, then consider counseling. Couples counseling with a therapist who specializes in helping neurodiverse couples can really help you both become more self-aware and understand each other’s wants and needs. 

Learning about each other never stops, especially when you’re dating on the autism spectrum

Lastly, learn about your autistic partner’s unique needs and honor them. Common situations that may be challenging for your autistic partner include:

  • Social settings: Many people with autism have a need for alone time and time to engage in their special interests. Crowds, family gatherings, or going out with a group of friends can feel overwhelming. 
  • Group conversations: Many people with autism feel more at ease in 1-on-1 interactions. In group settings, it can be draining and tedious for an autistic person to make conversation and stay engaged. Robbing the autistic person of the joy of the interaction and getting to know someone. 
  • Sensory sensitivities: Becoming overstimulated is common. Sometimes they don’t even know it at a conscious level, but it dramatically impacts the way they feel and behave in certain situations. Sounds, textures, smells, vibrations can overwhelm their nervous system, especially if their senses had been assaulted earlier in the day. This can wear them down and drain them. 

 Put yourself in their shoes for a moment

Imagine running 10 miles during the day. Then, you come home, and your partner won’t even acknowledge that you ran 10 miles. Now, how do you feel about that? It probably would hurt your feelings. Remember this analogy the next time you get upset with your partner when they say no to doing something or go along with it but become overwhelmed. They metaphorically run a marathon every day but aren’t often acknowledged for their efforts. Furthermore, they are asked to change or try harder and that can cause them to feel so sad. So, it’s important to think about what really matters to you, and be reasonable in your requests of your autistic partner. Recognize how hard they are trying every day to make you happy. It will give you the compassion and understanding to be reasonable with them while respecting your own needs too. 

Begin Autism Therapy in California:

gay couple sits outdoors after learning about dating on the autism spectrum from an autism therapist in palo Alto at open doors therapy

Navigating romantic relationships with autism can be challenging, but we have services for you that can help. You don’t have to go through this alone. I offer a wide range of services for autism including help in romantic relationships. There are a few steps you can take to get more information. 

  1. Contact Open Doors Therapy and schedule a free 30-minute consultation call
  2. Find me on Facebook and like my page to stay connected with our social community
  3. Sign up for my newsletter and get news about neurodiversity and living on the autism spectrum

Other services at Open Doors Therapy

At our autism therapy clinic located in Palo Alto, we offer other services for those with high functioning autism, Aspbergers, and undiagnosed autism characteristics.  Due to the COVID- pandemic we are using online therapy. I offer services including individual counseling for teens and parents, adult counseling, and group therapy. If you’re interested I also offer a wide range of social skills groups including neurodiverse working professionalscollege students with autistic traitsgifted youth & caregiversautistic adultswomen who identify as neurodiverseautistic teens transitioning to college (summer only), teens & caregivers, and a mothers groupContact me today for your consultation. Share on Facebook Tweet

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Handwriting and Autism – When Primary School Teachers discipline the wrong way

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Handwriting and Autism

My hands shake, they always have.

I was never fortunate enough to go to Kindergarten and had to get by learning how to hold a pen, pencil or crayon the way I assumed it should be done. I remember watching my parents and siblings and studying their grip around a pen. I mimicked it but felt that it was uncomfortable. I was obviously never exposed to activities to develop my fine motor skills properly, so I adjusted my grip to a level of comfort, a self-taught way to draw shapes and to try and copy the symbols I saw, which I later learned were ‘letters’ and ‘numbers’.

The tremor in my hands always seemed to trigger the same question from observers: ‘Are you nervous?’.

‘No. I am not, my hands just shake.’ was always my response.

This did not always put their minds at ease and without fail people always assumed that I would struggle to do daily activities. They would more often than not try to assist me with everything: carrying glasses, cups or mugs. Treating me like I had some kind of a disease. It frustrated me, because in my mind I was more than capable of doing every basic task they could.

When I was 9 my teacher saw my hands shake and asked if I was afraid of her? She did this in front of the whole class and obviously they started laughing at me. I was not afraid of her, my hands just shake.

When I was 10 my teacher at the time noticed that I held my pen incorrectly and tried to rectify the situation by threatening me with getting spanked if I did not toe the line. I told her that it was uncomfortable to hold my pen in the traditional way and that I had my own way of gripping my pen. This explanation did not sit well with her and I got a hiding for just trying to explain that ‘I got this’.

This left a scar on my psyche, and I started to trust teachers less and less.

I also have a different way of fastening buttons on my shirt, I do not use my thumb and index finger, I use my thumb and middle finger. This was also frowned upon by our PE teacher when he saw it as me struggling with what he called ‘a basic life skill‘. Again, I did not struggle, I was just doing things my way.

When I was 11, 12 and 13, I had to rewrite some of my tests because the teachers were not impressed with my handwriting. Apparently it was ugly. I was okay to form capital letters, but the lowercase letters seemed to take longer when I had to form them and inadvertently ended up like the scribbles you see on a Doctor’s note… I had to adapt by writing slower and concentrating on writing in the style of the other kids in my class. I eventually got the hang of it, copying others I mean…

When I was 14 and in High School, I adopted a strategy that would serve me well into my adult years. I decided to use only uppercase letters. I would just increase the size of the first letter in a sentence and would use smaller versions of uppercase letters for the rest of the letters in the word. I got less criticism and it seemed to pass the acceptable criteria for legible handwriting.

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Well into my 20’s after reading up on all the symptoms of people with hands that I shake, I settled on ‘Essential Tremor‘ as the impediment I had. I would use this as a self-diagnosed condition whenever people noticed my hands shaking.

I still write like a medical doctor and sometimes I wonder whether people at work can read what I have written. The funny thing is, I can read what I wrote. I think that is all that matters, right?

Fast forward to the present, with my newfound knowledge of Autism and that I am on the spectrum, I finally understand why my handwriting is unique, and I like it!

Alternative Reality – unknowingly living with Autism

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Part 2

  • In 2010 I was approached by a mining company in South Africa to work as a Crisis Manager in the Industry. I worked on 23 Shafts managing operations of their Cap-lamp Rooms where they kit underground Miners. I developed a supply chain strategy for them which they still use today. I also worked on their RFID tagging system of miners and equipment to identify when miners lose their equipment underground or do not exit the shaft at the end of a shift.
  • In 2012 we ended our mining contracts at Marikana when all the miners were shot by South African Police, it made global headlines.
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  • In 2013 I went back into the Construction Industry and started my own Project Management company. I developed a system to get building plans approved faster than the traditional method by walking them through at the local town councils.
  • I ended up helping a Lady to get her Building Plan approved. She was the private secretary of our former State President Mr. Nelson Mandela. I did not know it was her when meeting her and she pointed out how nice it was that I treated her as a normal person. I did however apologize when she revealed who she was!
  • In 2014 I had an opportunity to move down to the coast and live in the Western Cape province.
  • In 2015 I started working in Insurance in the Financial Services industry by being appointed as a Project Manager with an International Group of Companies.
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  • I was appointed to settle the Agile Project Management office in our local Software house. I facilitated and managed over 1000 releases to Production in 12 months. I developed a Change Control Release schedule which they still use today.
  • In 2016 I received the Personality of the Year Award as voted for by the Group Directors.
  • In 2015 I completed a Project Management course at the Nelson Mandela University Business School. This was my first qualification after finishing school 2 decades ago.
  • In 2017 I was promoted to Senior Project Manager and started working on Insurance Telematics. I reported directly to a Group Director.
  • I developed a Crash Detection prediction model with our tracking service provider.
  • I developed an online User Portal.
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  • I developed a Crash Recreation Tool for our Investigations department.
  • I developed our Driver Rewards Program.
  • I analyzed our big data with our Actuaries to improve our Risk Management strategies.
  • I studied human behavior to predict future behavior and probabilities.
  • In 2020 I woke up on a Saturday and spent the day with my teenage daughter. During the afternoon I felt depleted mentally, emotionally, and physically.
  • I said goodbye to my daughter, got in my car, drove out into the mountains, and tried to commit suicide.
  • I failed. I survived…
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  • I woke up the next morning and with all the blood loss managed to drive to the Emergency Room at the local Hospital where they stitched me up and booked me into the Psychiatric Ward.
  • I was as surprised as they were about what had happened! I was an eternal optimist and loved life! It was one big adventure!
  • When the Psychiatrist entered the consultation room and asked me what happened, I started telling him what I can remember.
  • After 5 minutes he asked: ‘Has anyone ever spoken to you about Autism?”.
  • This question changed my entire life…The Psychiatrist said that this is classic Autistic Burnout behavior, I am in good hands now and they will take care of me.
  • This man saved my Life. It was as if 4 decades of confusion and darkness and the unknown came into focus and fell into place. ALL of my questions were answered.

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I always felt like I didn’t fit in – How autism feels when you don’t know you’re on the spectrum

I grew up in a small town.

I have 3 brothers and 1 sister. I am the 4th child.

Ever since I can remember I was alone. I was labeled as a weird kid. I remember that I was confused about the fact that I was not allowed to be in the same company as my siblings. They were always of the opinion that I ‘should play outside’, so that’s what I did. I would imagine the most wonderful adventures with dragons and warriors and magic!

I recall the first time I saw a Hollywood movie, I was 6 years old. I live in a country where we drive on the left side of the street and we grow up learning to speak a second language, English, in school and with a British accent. So when I watched the first movie I was absolutely amazed at how fantastic it was that they drove on the right side of the street and spoke with a totally different accent! I remember thinking that the filmmakers had a huge imagination!

You can imagine how my brothers laughed at me for not knowing that America was a real place…

I was ridiculed but I was also determined to visit this magical place one day!! My number 1 item on my Bucket List is to see New York city!!!

I was mesmerized with movies and I started a lifelong journey that year, I started to watch each and every film I could find!

Now, I also felt excluded from everyone and everything by that age. I never understood how to communicate with others my age since they were not interested in movies like I was… It seems that not everyone memorized the dialog and knew the names of the actors and the characters in the film. They also did not know who the director was or they didn’t know what other movies he directed. They were more interested in playing with a ball or tackling each other. I didn’t like physical touch so I was shunned very quickly.

I remember that when my mother told me that I had to go to school the next year that I didn’t really want to. I got dressed on the first day in my new uniform and I recall it was very itchy. Material on my skin feels foreign and I have only certain pieces of clothing that I wear. Anyway, on the first day of school I walked into the classroom, took a look around and told the Teacher : ‘Good morning, Miss. Thanks for inviting me to come to your school but I don’t think I want to join your class. Have a great day!’ and I walked out of the school yard and started heading home.

The local Doctor happened to pass me by on my way home and stopped by the side of the road. He offered me a ride to my house and he was very impressed with my choice not to attend school. He explained to my mother what I had told him and he left.

She took me right back to school and told me that unfortunately school was not optional and I had to be there. I asked why and she said that if I didn’t go that I would get a hiding.

My father was very strict and it would not have been my first time getting a hiding either.

I didn’t understand what you were expected to do at school but I didn’t want to feel his belt on my butt either!

So there I was with 26 other kids in a classroom and I was never allowed to tell them or the teacher about movies and the wonderful magical place called America!!!

I was told to keep quiet and to pay attention or else I would have to be sent to the Headmaster and he was then going to give me a hiding…

So I did what I was told…

Coffee brings people together!

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to buy me a virtual coffee! By doing this you are joining me on my adventure! I only visit Normal, I don’t get to stay there…

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1000 All Time Views!!! – Thank you for taking the time to read this narrative about me and my attempt to master high-functioning Autistic Savant syndrome with co-morbid ADHD and OCPD

Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings. I am not sure where this journey would lead to but I am taking you with me!

Thank you for the donations so far, you help me more than I can imagine :

3 x Virtual Coffee

7 x small donations

And to the one person who donated $100 – You are my Hero!

Take care

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Your Mental Health is more important than other people’s expectations of what they think you should do… – my Psychiatrist advising me on how to deal with my high-functioning Autistic Savant syndrome with co-morbid ADHD and OCPD

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Your Mental Health is more important than other people’s expectations of what they think you should do… –

my Psychiatrist advising me on how to deal with my high-functioning Autistic Savant syndrome with co-morbid ADHD and OCPD
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How to be an Employee with High-Functioning Autism / ADHD / OCPD

5:00am

Monday, my first day where I will go back to work post my 2 weeks in a Psychiatric Hospital.

I shower and get dressed in my black company-branded golf shirt, my favorite pair of jeans and my trusted black Salomon trainers. I have breakfast with my daughter and head off to the office in my Land Rover Freelander 2.

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I am cautiously optimistic about what they might say:

  • Will they be glad to see me?
  • Will they understand?
  • Will they see the reason why everything happened?
  • Will they take pity on me?
  • Will they judge me?
  • Will they support me?
  • Will they fire me?

I park my vehicle and enter the main building. I walk straight to my office and start typing an e-mail:

It came out that I have a rather high IQ, and started to develop my own Theory of Mind from a very young age when I noticed that I didn’t fit in. It was my coping mechanism for my survival. I would study human behavior and emulate the behavior of others in social interactions in order to fit in. I would learn to memorize various acceptable responses to millions of social ques that others were sending in order to map the correct response in each situation. I managed to create a public persona over the past 3 decades in order to live my interesting life. However, this public persona started to drift away from my own personality. I also started to ignore ego-states that were detrimental, malevolent or hampering my social standing and success. This caused these ego-states to dissociate from my personality, be destructive and almost form their own personality. They started surfacing when I consumed alcohol. I started losing the ability to recall certain memories over the past couple of months, and I was about to split up into various personalities and ego-states.

– Me on my first day back at the Office

The battle for control between my public persona, the good me and the bad others in me ended up with an attempt on my life by myself?!

Apparently, people with similar symptoms to mine don’t often make it past 15 years of age and die by suicide.

It is astounding that I have made it this far in life without ever being diagnosed or without any medication.

My intellect and creativity helped me in laymen terms to recognise that I was different and figure out quickly which skills I needed to function as a human. It also assisted me in using my afflictions to my advantage.

My ADHD assisted to help me pick up multitudes of social cues and map them to acceptable behaviour patterns. It also kept my serotonin and dopamine levels in check by figuring out how to self-regulate and top-up these chemicals in my brain until I couldn’t anymore.

My Obsessive-Compulsive disorder helped me with understanding order and hierarchical structures and using them to my advantage in order to reach high levels of accomplishment.

My depression gave me the darkness and hopelessness to activate my fighting spirit which I used to slay all these dragons. Again, I just thought life was one big adventure! Never knew others didn’t have it this bad…

My left and right hemispheres are both dominant. I am as analytical as I am creative. This probably saved my life!

What now?

I am extremely relieved that I am sitting here typing this post to you, where there is life there is hope.

I am thankful that I have answers to questions I have been asking since childhood.

I am not a danger to myself or others. I am now only one person and a better version of me.

I am on chronic medication for:

  • ADHD so that I can focus at work.
  • Anti-depressants to regulate the serotonin in my brain.
  • Anti-psychotic mood stabilizers to regulate the dopamine in my brain.

I am in therapy to reintegrate all the ego-states into my one personality.

I am high functioning with Autism (previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome) so I can cope with a healthy balanced life.

I am not allowed to have alcohol ever again.

I have a scar on my wrist that might freak people out, but I am comfortable to explain the significance.

I have mental illness and I have received help.

I am okay.

This is the beginning of a whole new adventure!

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‘To know oneself is to study oneself in action with others’

– Bruce Lee

The e-mail was sent to all our Group Directors. I wait for the backlash but nothing happens. 5 minutes pass and still, nothing happens. I hear a knock on the door, first person to see me face to face, my direct superior enters my office.

I start explaining everything in a calm and controlled manner. I realize that being on the spectrum have impacted my entire career: I can feel the anxiety (now I know to call it that :)), I can feel my hands shaking, I can feel my body rocking slightly (stimming), I realize I don’t make eye contact, I realize I shouldn’t make too much eye contact – it freaks people out!

I can hear that the tone in my voice hardly fluctuates, oops, I forgot to mimic normal people and their speech patterns, dammit! I’m losing it, I’m not the same chameleon I used to be… My masking techniques seems to be forgotten, I feel flustered, and rushed and forced and uncomfortable. I feel out of breath!!!

I see my Manager just sits and listens and I decide WAIT….

Stop talking.

Close your eyes.

Compose yourself, you can do this.

JUST

BE

YOURSELF

I calm down, open my eyes, look at my Manager and say: ‘I am still getting used to the new me, I’m sorry. The old Me does not exist anymore and I tried to bring him back to life just now but its just not possible.’.

He smiles and says: ‘Take your time, I just came here to welcome you back and to see that you are okay. We are glad you are here and we’ve got your back. Take your time to settle in and let me know if you need anything’.

He gets up and leaves my office. I just sit and run the episode through my mind again. Did I freak him out? Did I freak ME out?!

I decide to let my subconscious figure it out and I open up my laptop, log in and start going through my e-mails.

And I exhale….thinking: ‘You’ve got this…’

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Waking up to my New Life with high-functioning Autism and co-morbid ADHD plus OCPD

Being on the Autism Spectrum makes it difficult for me to communicate, also, English is my second language… So I use Grammarly!

Grammarly Writing Support

5:00 am

No Nurse to check my blood pressure due to the fact that I slept in my own bed. I turn around and decide to sleep for another hour or so…

In 4 decades I have never had the privilege to do this since my Fight or Flight response has always been ON. This means that Adrenalin and Cortisol was pumping through my veins continuously. I experienced everything as a threat, without being aware that I did.

The fight or flight response is an automatic physiological reaction to an event that is perceived as stressful or frightening. The perception of threat activates the sympathetic nervous system and triggers an acute stress response that prepares the body to fight or flee. These responses are evolutionary adaptations to increase chances of survival in threatening situations. Overly frequent, intense, or inappropriate activation of the fight or flight response is implicated in a range of clinical conditions including most anxiety disorders. A helpful part of treatment for anxiety is an improved understanding of the purpose and function of the fight or flight response.

https://www.psychologytools.com/resource/fight-or-flight-response/
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6:30am

I wake up and make myself a cup of coffee. I have double cream yogurt with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top. This is to prepare my stomach lining for all the medication I need to take.

My chronic medication list:

7:00 – Contramyl XR for ADHD (methylphenidate hydrochloride)

19:00 – Serdep for Autism / OCPD / Anxiety / Depression symptoms (Sertraline)

22:00 – Dopaquel for Autism / OCPD / Anxiety / Depression symptoms (Quetiapine)

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I go outside to feed our Klee Kai and sit with him on the lawn while I finish my coffee.

I am very lucky to have found this mini-Husky 🙂

I remember when I went to the animal shelter and entered the enclosure where he was housed. He was depressed and was just lying in the dog box when I entered the gate. I called him over to me and when our eyes locked I felt a connection! A flash of connecting with his soul!

He jumped up and ran towards me and tackled me to the ground licking my face over and over again, match made in heaven 🙂 That day we bonded, he linked with me and I with him, such a cool dog!

We named him ALASKA to pay homage to where he came from, I think its a strong name.

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I have a shower and look at the scar on my wrist. My cesarean scar. My sign of being reborn. My reminder of a second chance. My new Life!

I finish my shower and get dressed.

My daughter wakes up and we have breakfast. She informs me that she has some school work to do and that she will check in on me every hour or so to see if I need anything.

I assure her that, no, I will check in on HER and make sure that she is okay. We both smile.

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I have been divorced for 5 years at this point and was more than happy to live life on my own. So it was just me and her living here. I enjoy being a Dad and now that I ‘met’ my real self I was looking forward to my new adventure.

I do however feel guilty that she did not see an example of a happy couple in her own life but I did my best to give her hope that relationships are wonderful and she should pursue a partner whenever she is ready. A buddy for life if you will 🙂

She does her school work and I spend time around the house tending to all the activities that I didn’t tend to whilst in hospital for 2 weeks. I check some messages on my phone but I prefer not be caught up in the digital world yet…

I love the second law of Thermodynamics: Entropy.

ENTROPY: gradual decline into disorder.

https://languages.oup.com/google-dictionary-en/

I recite the following sentence at least once a week:

“Over time things fall apart if you don’t maintain it.”

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Lunch

We enjoy a light lunch and I do not feel the need to discuss the events of the last two weeks with my daughter. I feel that she will ask me when she is ready.

The afternoon was calm and at dusk we go for a walk with Alaska.

Dinner

We settle in front of the television to watch a movie and at 21:00 she goes to bed.

I take a shower, take my medication and get into bed.

It is Sunday today, so tomorrow I have to go back to work. I am ready…

I close my eyes and drift off into a undiscovered dream world 🙂

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High functioning Autistic Savant Syndrome – surprised to try and commit suicide

‘Has anyone ever spoken to you about autism?’ my Psychiatrist asked after only 5 minutes of conversation in our first consultation session at the psychiatric ward post my failed suicide attempt.

I tried to commit suicide 12 hours earlier on a Saturday evening. I drove out into the mountains, to be close to nature. I was fascinated by the ferocious beauty of nature, the calmness and the efficiency. The diversity and the plainness. The smells and the sounds. It fascinated me, and that’s where I decided to go for my final farewell. I picked a beautiful spot where I would end my life.

Just some context, I didn’t want to die.

I did not want to die; I loved the adventure of Life!

But…

I was tired. I was drained. I was empty. I was depleted. I was spent.

I also had this feeling while I was driving there that I was ‘outside my body’ like a spectator. I saw what was happening, but I could not stop myself. Almost like being on autopilot on my way to my end. I was aware of every move I made, driving the vehicle, following the path to my final destination with a six-pack of beer and a switchblade in my pocket. I spoke to myself in my head and was repeating the same statement: I am tired…

I reached the spot which I deemed fit for departure from this earth. Had six 500ml cans of beer, swallowed 20 painkillers and slit my wrist…

I thanked mother nature for the full life I lived. I said goodbye to my 2 daughters in my mind and drifted into darkness for the last time…at peace…

…until I woke up!

What?! What the hell happened? Why is there blood everywhere, wait, what?!

It was midnight and the temperature outside was below zero. I realised I might freeze to death, so I tried to fall asleep again. To no avail…

I drifted in and out of consciousness until sunrise.

I had a clear thought: I need to get to a hospital!

I started the car and slowly started driving back along the same path I came the night before. I lost blood and I was weak, but something inside me kept me awake for 2 hours until I reached the Emergency Room at the hospital.

The nurse asked: ‘Sir, did someone attack you? Who did this to you?’.

I replied: ‘I did’.

I will never forget the panic in her eyes…

She immediately called the Doctor and they started asking a lot of questions while cleaning up the gash on my wrist. They stitched me up and booked me into the Psychiatric ward.

In the ward the nurse asked me: ‘Do you know why you tried to kill yourself, Sir?’ and I replied: ‘I have no idea, I am extremely confused and surprised to be here right now.’

She showed me where the consultation room was and told me that the Psychiatrist was waiting for me. I entered the room and the gentleman stood up, asked me to sit down, he sat down and asked: ‘So, please tell me what happened.’

I started talking at a very fast pace about how I saw myself driving up into the mountains with a clear plan to kill myself. I did not want to die, but it was as if I had no control over my actions. I told him about why I chose that spot, I told him about my daughters. I told him about my life. I told him about how great it was to have lived a difficult but adventurous life for 42 years. I told him about my childhood, my parents, my family, my career, my interests, my achievements, humans, physics, mathematics, stars, planets and the history of Homo Sapiens…blah blah blah…all in 5 mins!

He interrupted me by slowly raising his hand in a gesture which meant: slow down, and then he asked: ‘Has anyone ever spoken to you about autism?