Anniversaries have power in our lives. They’re a rotation around the sun, a return to where we were. We stop to check off where we are in our lives versus the last time we were here. You sit down and think about growth or, god forbid, regression. And like it or not, there will be regression at times.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014 marks 17 years since I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. This is, of course, 24 hours away from New Year’s Day. Inevitably it becomes common for me to think back on my disorder as much as the rest of my life on this date. But then, that’s how it works when you’re in my shoes. Asperger Syndrome/High Functioning Autism is the lens of my life.
I’ve written on that day before. All you need to know is it was the moment where I was aware of if I’d ever have a “normal” life. Things got better. I would indeed do rather well. I’m “successful” by whatever criteria I choose. But if I’m perfectly honest, no, I wouldn’t say I’ve ever had a “normal” life. And that’s ok. I’m mature enough to know the diagnosis helped me to attack the problem. So it goes.
But I still always feel a slight melancholia as I pass the day. You have to. You feel pain about the way you felt. You mourn for the person you were. It was emotionally devastating to hear things were what they were. I don’t know that I’ve ever been sadder.
How are things this year? I think I’m at a bit more peace to be honest. I’ve started writing more about my issues. I’ve done so before but I’m doing so more publicly. I’m trying to be an advocate. I’m more cognizant of who I am. I’m more ok with it.
I’ve definitely had my battles this year. I openly battled a round of depression brought on by circumstances outside me. I’ve also been trying to get a bit more treatment but the hard limitations of our mental health system have hit me. I really hope we all understand how flawed the system is. There have been some rather hard meltdowns to deal with and I’m grateful only one or two were public though the one that was public was incredibly public and profoundly humiliating.
But I’ve kept going. I don’t get to quit after all. That was clear 17 years ago and it’s clear today. The meltdown that was so embarrassing for me came all of 48 hours before the interview I did for my podcast that I noted in the last entry. That’s just it. Moments of exuberant triumph and moments of sheer, crippling humiliation come equally and randomly in life. The key is to get through the latter to reach the former.
I’m still here. I’m still fighting. I’m stronger than ever. And 12/30/97 gets further from me.