Newcastle Photographer and Content Creator, Mandy Charlton, Always on a quest for adventure, often seen on buses, trains and planes. On a quest to be happier and healthier. Lives in Newcastle with her 3 cats, Iris, Maggie and Arthur. Loves good vibes, musicals and cakes. Full time professional wedding photographer in the north east of england alongside content creator on Tiktok, Instagram and Facebook

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Spiralling, ASD and Me!

Selfie of Mandy Charlton, Spiralling, ASD and Me

I felt compelled to sit down and write this from my heart, it's been a difficult week in a turbulent month, in an impossible year.  I like constant, predictable, I love organised fun!  Call me Autistic, call me ASD or if you don't know me, you'd probably call me uptight.  (I'm actually fairly laid back and liberal for an uptight person).
I think I may have mentioned in my last blog post that I can't cope with stress, or maybe I just thought it, either way, I was speaking to the mental health practitioner at my doctors because I've spiralled a lot this year after getting my life back to a constant again.

Spiralling or shutting down is quite common in lots of people who might have different types of brains, in some people, with the stress they will shut down completely, in some children they will shut down so much it's like they're catatonic, the brain overloads itself and crashes like an overloaded computer.  In some people, like me, the opposite happens, I literally spiral into an overwhelming depression which can lead to screaming, crying, shouting, shaking, panic attacks, suffice to say it's not a whole load of fun.

What I want most from life is to be like other average people, to be a good mum, a good friend, to be someone who can calmly deal with situations when the chips are down but as I get older, more self-reflecting and as I reach out for help from other wiser people experienced in autism and mental health I'm starting to realise, there is no cure for the spiral, there are a million coping methods but just as not breathing properly is a sign of asthma, the spiral is a symptom of my different brain and it's probable that it will never change because it's part of who I am.

The biggest coping strategy I have is to not get stressed so, for instance, I only listen to happy music, watch happy, joyous things (don't get me wrong, I love a good crime drama) but in real life, I try where I can to avoid difficult subjects and difficult circumstances and it's not because I don't feel anything, it's because I feel too much. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I cry at brass bands, tv adverts, stories about animals, I sometimes struggle with just feeling the emotion of the whole world.  Or I feel the emotion and stress in friends and then because of the ASD I catastrophise which makes me believe it's me, it's all my fault and I'm a terrible human being.

I wish, right now, that it wasn't the way that it is, I really would give everything and anything to be a normal mum and a normal friend, it's heartbreaking because as much as I perpetually do try to grow as a person part of me still can't accept that I will never be the mum my children need or someone who it's easy to be friends with.

Despite all of this, I do have a heart full of love and no one is more loyal to friends than me, no one wants to be a better mum more than me and no one wants to be able to give and receive love as normally as I do.

I've decided to completely rule out even thinking about dating until I have fully worked on myself, I could never have a relationship with anyone until I come to terms with who I am, it's not fair to them or me and I'm quite prepared to stay single for the rest of my life if I have to rather than to try and manufacture things that aren't there.

In a world where no one is perfect, why do I feel so imperfect?

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