Hello. How are things? How’s life? How’s lockdown? How’s money? How’s the future? How’s your world? How’s your folks? How’s your head? How’s your heart? How how how how is everything? How? HOW?! HOW!?! How do I do tomorrow when I can’t do today?
How am I supposed to handle going outside when my evaluation of science doesn’t agree with society’s?
How is my 2 metres longer than someone else’s 2 metres?
How can I be ok in a community when at any minute someone will say something leaving me to stress for days, weeks, months?
How do I trust? How do I forgive? How do I understand? How do I have empathy for those who believe I should drink bleach to be cured of autism?
How am I supposed to be myself? How do I know what “myself” is? How can I see a future for that person when I can’t see a present?
How did I not plan better for this? How could I have?
How do I do that when I need to do this but can’t because that other thing needs to be done first but I can’t because x doesn’t work with y and …
How am I not standing on the beach screaming into the wind with the arrogant notion that my single scream can adjust a global cycle of air? How am I not just screaming?
How have I not walked into the river at high tide and not come out?
How am I not still in bed? How am I dressed? How have I not given up?
How do I help? How…?
I am exhausted. Shattered. Tired. Frazzled. Bushed. Spent. Weary. Pooped. Fricking fed up ahhhhh!!!! I’m having to do so much mental processing to try and stay positive. If I do the opposite I’m filled with rage by 8am after refreshing the news once. I’m filled with rage before even opening social media to scream outrage into the void and do a spot of doom scrolling. I’m filled with rage before I’ve even left the house and outside there are so many more rage inducing situations to deal with. By 9am I have no energy to do anything but internal screaming. How can I be a creative person after 9am? Maybe I should retrain?
Before the pandemic there was room in my life for sarcasm and bitterness. Today? Today I’m trying my best to find empathy for EVERYTHING! Even spiders.
Negative thoughts are challenged with “Yeah but…” I have to find the positive side of a negative situation so I can get to the next negative situation with enough energy to do it all over again. You better believe there’s another negative situation lurking behind the current one.
I’m reminding myself that other people may have a valid reason for doing something. I remind myself that I can’t tell what someone else is thinking and that all I’m doing is fighting a fictional representation of them in my own head. That’s pretty dumb isn’t it? I tell myself not to do that. Breathe. Let go. Move on.
Is this empathy? There is research on autism and empathy that suggests that autistic people aren’t great at certain types of empathy. I do sometimes struggle and it has got me into trouble at times but here I’m simply using logic. I do not know what someone else is thinking so logically I cannot argue with them in my head. Unfortunately being more Vulcan has also resulted in issues so it’s a process of finding that fine balance.
The important question is whether this is working or not? … I’m trying to figure out how to log my moods using mood tracker apps to see if this is having any effect. It “feels” like it’s working. At least despite everything that is going on I haven’t had a major depressive episode in recent months. Wobbles. Bad days. I’m getting out of bed each morning. I’m not getting up at 6am and going for a run as I was at the start of the year but I am at least getting up, dressed and trying to work. Empathy and looking on the bright side of life might taking the edge off. I don’t want to spook it by saying I’m doing ok but… I might be. shhh
As I’m writing the sun peaks out between some clouds and lights the room. I can feel the warmth on my face. A cool breeze blows through the open window. It’s a fascinating and complex moment. Fleeting and beautiful. Easily missed if I hadn’t been open to it because I was filled with rage.
I made it to the next minute. It was a nice one. There are more minutes like that. There are more below.
- Sailing the stormy seas of mental health
- Balancing Returning to Work When You Have Mental Illness
- How My Husband Inspired Me to Change My ‘What If’ Anxiety Thinking
- Alan Alda On The Importance Of Empathy During The COVID-19 Pandemic
- Coronavirus, autism and my mental health
For one week only you can get prints of the photos in this weeks newsletter on my print store. So be quick if you see something you like.
Just a few sunrises from Wirral looking across the Mersey to Liverpool. The first is an inverse looking from Liverpool to Wirral.
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