With my birthday coming up in a few days I just wanted to take the chance to highlight exactly what I am celebrating.
When I was 11 my mother had me tested for Autism. Seeing none of the other professionals she had sought offered a theory that she felt matched with what was "wrong" with me.
And they confirmed it was Autism on the lower end of the spectrum, a four by their assessment. Dealing with major depression was hard enough, autism made it worse to a degree that's incomprehensible and often made me want to commit suicide. Which is also in the diagnosis report.
Now it's easy to talk about it because most about what they knew about Autism and depression was very little almost 20 years ago. Only now are they finding some links that might be the real cause(s) of both Autism and Depression.
Some might be reading and think: now some of my behavior makes sense. Or that it makes my depression make sense. Maybe others will be in disbelief. Whatever the emotional reaction brings to the surface is fine with me.
Because I'm no longer constrained by both Autism nor depression and their stigmas.
Way before I even knew the presumed underlying reasons I knew there's something I could do and that I wouldn't stop until I proved to myself that I could overcome both.
Alleviating my depression helped with absorbing some of my Autistic tendencies. And visa versa. Seeing that newer research suggests both are linked to inflammation, mineral/vitamin deficiencies, a depleted microbiome and subsequent auto-immune issues, I did and do most things to decrease and mitigate inflammation inducing behavior. I am of course always pushing towards perfectionism in each department.
I actually didn't know changing my nutrition and starting strength training with some stretching would shave off a big part of what made depressed and my autistic tendencies seemed to evaporate one by one, month after month and year by year. It wasn't until I started doing deeper psychological work on myself ( often referred to as shadow work, because you work on the heavy and dark stuff) that I started to understand the root of my own depression. Reading up these last years gave me a better understanding of the subconscious links I made between depression and nutrition coupled with strength training.
The other thing that surprised me was that after years of minding my nutrition, my stress levels (meditation, breathing, stretching, strength training, philosophy) my autistic tendencies are as good as gone. I clearly remember what my outbursts, severely exaggerated behavior and inexplicably immense emotional reactions felt like. Not to mention OCD and almost paralyzing anxiety. When I search myself for those tendencies I'm met with nothing.
My reactions are largely under my control, I would dare say my composure is better than most people in the general population. My shadow work coupled to the other work on my mindset and mind-state have shifted my perspectives to complete polar opposites. Even just in general the emotions that are evoked in events that cause me turmoil are much softer/evened out rather than the sharp and hard emotions that completely overwhelmed me to panic and blocking. My night terrors have largely subsided, I had those basically every night.
To say I'm doing well is an understatement. By all means I am thriving. By doing some of the heaviest psychological work known to man and my undying belief and persistence that something could be done about everything that was wrong with me. This is exactly why I'm writing the book I am, not just to lay bare the tools, but also lay bare the struggle, pain and suffering that has enveloped me most of my life.
Authorities, researches, psychologists and authors alike kept and keep saying these things will always be a part of you. I beg to differ. Because clearly very little remains, if any. I've demonstrated I'm far from being on the Autism spectrum. Clearly I'm no longer depressed, my general outlook on life is rather optimistic and hopeful. I don't want to offer anyone that is facing the same any empty hope. Only information and tools that seem to make sense with the newest research available to us. I can only highlight how I've personally overcome autism and depression, I do deeply believe that a combination of principles will pave the way to a better future for everyone who feels afflicted by lower end Autism or depression.
As for the reason I've never mentioned it until now is because I felt victimized by my self perceived affliction. Which lead me to not approach the subject. I don't feel victimized by something I feel I don't have anymore or no longer equate myself with. Depression is one thing that is sorely misunderstood by the general public. What autism does with the nervous system is hard to fully convey. However I'm making an attempt to explain it ,which is why I wrote a little article here on Medium. However it will never come close to making clear how much it takes to overcome autism and depression these last two decades. I've been looking for words and ways to do my "transformation" justice. Perhaps the book will provide the proper perspective and context. In any case: my life and current self are the embodied testament of metamorphosis.