Me – The only constant in my life, yet you may as well be a stranger.
All of my life I’ve tried to understand how I work, why I act and do the things that I do. I thought I had a firm understanding when I was diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder. I hated myself and didn’t want to live anymore. After I attempted to take my own life I discovered for the first time how much I meant to those around me, especially my family. I realized how selfish I was living my life and wanted to change.
So I started changing my thoughts, I replaced the self-hate with acceptance. I slowly learned to embrace the things I didn’t like about myself as they made me unique. Instead of brooding over my past as mistakes, I turned them into learning opportunities that I could learn and grow from. This served me well when I dated Valerie, she admired the maturity it took to do what I’ve been doing. But is it really that noteworthy?
Almost a decade after I was diagnosed with my mental illnesses, I thought I had conquered them, but my world was absolutely rocked by a surprise diagnosis from the same time that I knew nothing about. It came when I was talking to my mother. I was talking to her about my conversation with Valerie, about how I just couldn’t understand why I feel so isolated and unable to connect on the emotional level I’d like to with anyone. That even though I love my mother, and other members of my family, I feel more like I’m trying to prove to myself I love them, just saying a word, rather than actually meaning it and loving them.
Then she told me I had Asperger’s.
When I was initially diagnosed with bipolar disorder and major depression, I was 17 years old. For whatever reason I was also diagnosed with Aspergers yet it was never disclosed to me. Not by the therapist that diagnosed me, or my parents whom he told. My own mother had been carrying this as a secret from me for almost 10 years. 10 years I’ve been searching for an answer and a solution on how to ‘fix’ my barriers. Just like that I had my answer, that I had a genetic condition that was incurable, and I will spend the rest of my life coming to terms with the fact that the answers I was hoping to find don’t exist. I will live like this forever and my only hope to cope is that I find a means to accept that I will never understand what love feels like other than what I want it to feel like for myself.
I have no satisfaction with this reality, but there’s nothing I can do about it.
I lost trust in my mother that night. To think that the one person who has been there for me longer than anyone else, that has helped me fight every step of the way, was intentionally hiding the most profound of my conditions from me. It hurt, it hurt more than I thought it would. Yet I still feel no change for how I feel for her. Perhaps I was expecting to love her less; but I don’t know how that word is supposed to make me feel, or what words I could use to describe how I feel for her now. Or for myself for that matter.
I thought I had learned to love myself, but perhaps all I did was learn to accept that I was different because of something that I couldn’t describe then. Something that I now know has a name, is more tangible, yet still just as untouchable and unreachable as before. It’s frustrating, and so very isolating. I’ve always lived my life revolving around one paramount fear, a fear that has changed little over my life, but changed nonetheless. At first it was a fear of death, then it became a fear of silence, next was a fear of being alone. Now it’s something new, a fear of never being able to truly connect with someone else. That one day my existence will end and I will feel as if I’m still a stranger that nobody can understand or connect with, even myself.
So what can I do from here? I must confess I don’t know, but maybe it goes something like this.