Day 10 post failed suicide attempt – Choose day

5:00am

Nurse takes blood pressure.

Breakfast.

Shower.

Wait for Psychiatrist. It is Tuesday today…

Tuesday: Old English Tīwesdæg ‘day of Tīw’, a Germanic god of war and the sky.

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I never could understand why ‘days’ felt different to people. Some hated Monday, some loved Wednesday, most wait for Friday and Saturday. Religious folk (most of them) practice rituals on Sunday. To me, all days are the same…

You see, when you go to bed at night and fall asleep, you have zero guarantee that you will wake up. I am always surprised to wake up! The same me, the same mind, the same memories, the same likes and dislikes, the same body, the same spirit or soul or presence. It fascinates me.

So no difference for me in the different days, I literally take it one day at a time.

The Psychiatrist arrives and we make ourselves comfortable in the consultation room.

“How are you feeling today?” he asks.

I start my soliloquy: Well, I started dreaming again. I haven’t dreamt since I was 16 years old. I feel rested and calm. I feel focused. I feel as if I am new. I feel one with myself. I am starting to appreciate the unique situation I am in. If I was successful with my suicide no-one would ever have known that I was on the spectrum and suffered from autistic burnout and that it caused my attempt on my own life by myself. I wouldn’t have known! Not my children, my family, my friends or my colleagues. So, I feel like I have a lot to be thankful for. I feel light. I am nervously excited about what lies ahead. I need to review my past, my present and my future.

“Great, it’s refreshing to hear you have the insight to process this information so quickly. Just be mindful of the fact that this euphoric feeling might not last forever and we must be careful to not let a relapse spoil your newfound joy.” he said.

“I know, I know, but it’s just so new and unreal yet known and familiar…”, I add.

“Medication seems to work well for you. Let’s keep it as it is right now. How is the pain in your wrist?” He questions, with concern in his eyes.

“It’s okay, thanks, I am doing okay.” I tell him.

He continues: “I want to start testing your complex, unique situation with you, just to make sure I am correct in what I see and you agree that it feels right.”

We continue to unpack Autism symptoms and experiences which I had growing up and could now place into context for myself. We unpack ADHD and the difficulties and gifts that comes with it. We discuss OCD and OCPD and its drawbacks and benefits. After delving into Depression and its dangers we close off our conversation and he hands me my next assignment: Go and think about your family and extended family and try to see if you can identify any possible signs that some of them might be on the spectrum.

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Lunch

Psychiatrist visits me in the afternoon and we discuss the various ego states and how to bring them closer to the center. We settle on which ego state should be the executive one and how to look at going back to the world without having alcohol as a vice.

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Dinner

Shower

Medication

I slide into bed and have a crystal clear thought. I am new. I am me for the first time. I have my whole new life ahead of me.

I did not want to die. I am not a suicide risk, I choose to live! Today is the day I choose to accept my new reality. Today is Choose Day!

This scar on my wrist is not a suicide scar, its a cesarean scar!

And I drift off into the black void…

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?

Autistic Savant syndrome – feedback to my Boss after 2 months back at work post my failed suicide attempt

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Hey Boss

I had my monthly session with my Psychiatrist today, here is some feedback just to keep you updated on my journey.

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I hope you don’t mind being the recipient, but it helps me understand my journey better if I ‘soundboard’ my experience 🙂

I also didn’t include the other GDs in this email since my interaction and exposure at work is mainly with you.

Happy if you want to share with them if you feel it will add value or context.

I am doing very well now, mentally and physically.

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There was only one afternoon this month where I could feel the medication working out at about 15:00, but I didn’t have meetings for the rest of that day, so the impact wasn’t that bad. Just felt fatigued mentally.

My dosage remains the same until December, so all good on that front.

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To Do List

My focus area (homework) for September is to read up on High Functioning Autistic Savant syndrome.

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It was revealed that I present with possible symptoms in the Spatial Skills (Map Making / Direction Finding), Art and Music replication categories of Savant syndrome, but without the difficulty of social interaction and isolation.

I excel at visual thinking and I also have enhanced perception of patterns and grouping processes as well as working memory.

I did the Raven’s Progressive Matrices IQ Test which measures fluid intelligence and achieved an IQ score of 147.

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This explains why I enjoyed dabbling in the data science linked to Telematics and its prediction models.

It also ties in with my problem-solving abilities which speaks to my Project Management skill set.

My Psychiatrist pointed out that I be mindful and tactful when sharing this newfound information with too many people. My humble intention for sharing may be misunderstood, and it can be mistaken for coming across as arrogant or narcissistic.

This misinterpretation would make it difficult for me to explain my excitement for sharing my mental gifts. Where I just feel obliged that it would be noble to apply my abilities to try and add value where I can, this aim may be lost in translation.

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So, I know I don’t have to ask, but please don’t share this with too many people seeing that I only present with the markers and haven’t been earmarked as someone with Savant syndrome yet.

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This new journey is unfolding at a controlled pace and I’m still processing all the information.

Thank you again for allowing me to find my path whilst trusting me with the Brand merge project, I am doing my best not to disappoint.

I do have a fantastic project team though, and they are doing a sterling job!

Please be patient with me if you note any delayed or confusing behaviour, I’m mindful of taking it one day at a time.

Take care

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Feedback about my Autism Spectrum Disorder to my Employer after 1 month back at work

Hi Group Directors

Today, I would just like to give you feedback after my first month back at work.

Firstly, thank you to each of you for the kindness shown and the acceptance of this new reality of mine. I have managed to not merely accept my spectrum profile but also embrace it.

Several personality attributes prevalent among those on the spectrum are valuable assets: capacities for analytical and “outside the box” thinking, creativity, attention to detail, the ability to focus intensely on a task for long periods of time.

I aim to apply these attributes to my work here.

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My unique diagnosis is, as you know:

I realized that I have ample reason to be proud of who I am, and with help from clinicians, I am busy winning my inner battle. The therapies and interventions they provide are essential, not because they aim to cure autism, as if it is merely a medical condition, but because they help me address challenges that stem from being autistic in a non-autistic world.

I met with my Psychiatrist this week and he was happy with my progress. My medication works very well, and we can keep the dosages as they are until December. I feel relieved, focused and ‘lighter’.

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I am grateful for being able to work on the Brand Integration project and I’m really enjoying it. I did however notice in the recordings of the meetings that my speech pattern is now at a normal speed due to the medication haha.

Also, I find I sometimes struggle to recall a specific word, similar to when you push down on the accelerator of a Mercedes, it’s like: “I’ll be with you in a second…aaaaand…there we go…”.

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The new me is still new to me in a way, and I am still taking it day by day while getting to know my new superpower.

Thank you again for everything!

Take care…

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