Woah! My head is spinning

W

So, I want to be frank with you guys about how I’ve been recently. I’ve not been well for a long time, and I want to be honest with you about it. As you know I have been an Autistic person all my life, and part of that is heightened senses. Everything is a little harder, a little louder, a little bit more personal than how someone else will take it. And part of that is anxiety. I suffer from anxiety, and it is hurting me.

This has been a problem for me for years, but it has always been manageable, really. I have managed to overcome a lot of it in the secondary school days…well, so I thought. By the time GCSE’s came around, I was an anxious wreck. Now, it is normal for anyone to be anxious about an exam. I’d be worried for you if you weren’t, but I am an autistic person. EVERYTHING is dialled up to 11. So I was hurting. It got so bad, I ended up having a panic attack in the car, when I was 16. And I’ve got to be honest, I think that is where my anxiety really did become a problem for me.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I had it for a long time, but it became worse at that point, to where it is now. And oh boy, its bad. A lot of it has to do with my living arrangements. Im away at University, I have my own room, and Im not going out because I don’t need to. I have become borderline ¬†agoraphobic. When I go out, I have stomach pains, I consistently need to go to the toilet, and I hate crowded spaces, and I always try to avoid certain routes to avoid certain people. It is essentially a mix of nervous energy, adrenaline, potentially the amount of caffeine in me turning me up EVEN more (with all the coke I drink) , and the sensory overload. I had tried self medicating, with water and chewing gum to keep my stomach ‘cool’, I have tried pills to stop me needing the toilet, and I am overusing them, and I am using stressballs and music to basically function. IT ISN’T NORMAL IN THE SLIGHTEST.

It has gotten worse, due to family crisis, and believe me, I have had enough of this. I’m sick of it. I am sick of not being able to socialise, go out and do things. I am sick of the comfort eating that has made me gain weight, I am sick and tired of fearing that someone will jump out of the bushes any minute and attack me. I am pissed off with myself, and I have had enough of it. So, I have been to the doctor. I am now on pills. I am on Sertraline, 50mg, and I am applying for counselling as well. It is bad enough that I have forsaken the rule I set myself of NEVER taking medication.

But I suppose there is no shame. It was hard to admit that, and writing this blog for billions of freaks to read about my plight is quite a thought to ponder. But mental illness (and yes, I’m calling it that) is very much a problem that’s ignored, and not very well educated on. Heck, neither is Autism. My point is, people need to understand their heads, and their issues. You can’t leave it untreated as long as I have. I don’t blame anyone or anything for the way I am, as I was born this way. I certainly believe things exacerbate the condition, like the exams we have in school etc., but there is no one to blame. It is really in my head. And the fact I wrote and will share this post is a testament to the message I am sharing. Get those thoughts and feelings shared, and don’t bottle it in.

I submit that I will never be cured of Autism, nor my anxiety completely. But I do think I can overcome it. I might write more of these as new things develop, or share more about my condition in general. We’ll just have to see. Thank you.

About the author

Ben

Since 2012, Benjamin Attwood has written for the If you Ask Ben blog.

5 comments

Discuss.

  • Hi Ben, despite being a daily-checker of your blog, as I rule I don’t really comment – however, I wanted to throw a comment out there after reading this post.

    I realise that it is difficult to write such an honest post, as whenever depression or anxiety or mental illnesses in general are spoken about, most people’s reaction is to challenge you to a game of “mental illness top trumps,” which in my opinion only adds to the problem. That adds a layer of guilt onto the whole thing. But the fact that you are still willing to express these issues is a fantastic sign! Recognising and addressing our issues is one of the first steps to dealing with them.

    Do what you think is best, Ben. Keep writing (and hopefully return to YouTube at some point!)

    Wishing you all the best, mate.

  • Hi Ben,
    This must have been a difficult one to write. Really glad to hear you’ve come to terms with the way you’re feeling and that you’re tackling it head on. Best of luck mate.

  • […] that I have had since coming back is more confidence. I had a lot of problems in my first year, exacerbated with Anxiety, and the general not knowing who people were, or where things are, and different expectations that […]

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