Tag Archives: Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome

Should is the Root of all Evil

I’ve been waiting to post something until I was sure I had a subject to write about which wasn’t related to real life in any way. I still don’t have that but today I realised I don’t need to keep waiting. It’s possible to write about real life without it getting too depressing. At least today it is. I’m in sort of a good mood and I’m making the most of it. Freiburg won, I got a Jogi video from the game and with ten packets of stickers left to open I’ve completed 87% of this season’s album. Those things may seem pretty trivial but they are very important to me and I’m no longer worrying if I should be thinking of bigger things or if my interests make me a child. I don’t care anymore.

What I should or shouldn’t like is of no importance to me anymore. I’m not so worried about what other people think of me in that way. Sometimes the right pieces come together at the right time to make you see something and that happened to me this week. The research I’ve been doing for my presentation and the psych appointment being the two pieces in question. One of the things I discovered whilst looking things up was the word autism was first used in 1912 and it used to describe a group of patients who seemed to be isolated and uninterested in the world around them. That was long before autism became a proper diagnosis or even a recognised condition but it wasn’t that far off an accurate description. And I know some people won’t like it but it makes sense to me. I understand why some people will be offended by that because it conjures up the image of the stereotype of autistic people who are living within their own little world and who are unable or uninterested in being a part of the world around them. Thing is I do live in my own little world and I’m not keeping that a secret anymore. I’m not making myself spend time with other people just because I think I’ve had too much alone time. I know what makes me happy and what doesn’t. It really should be that simple but I over complicate it. I have to try and stop doing that.

Like I said it makes sense to me and it was reading all of that combined with what the person I saw said which made me realise something. I wish they’d been blunter, at first they went through the usual but there’s no such thing as normal anyway. Then we got to the real point. I don’t seem normal because I’m not. Any effort I put into trying is a waste of time. It’s an unobtainable dream. And that led to another question, do I even want to be normal?

The past few months I certainly thought I did, now I’m not so certain. One thing I did decide is that I was a lot happier before I started worrying about what other people think I should be doing. I’ve been so worried that I won’t or can’t meet their expectations. And I’ve been worried about what’ll happen when they realise that themselves. Yet I was worrying about completely the wrong thing. What I’m really afraid of is them finding out I have no intention of even trying. Because I really don’t want to be normal or to do any of the things everybody thinks I should want. That’s the secret I’m worried will be exposed. Not only that I can’t pretend to be normal but I don’t actually want to.

I know I said this wasn’t going to be depressing, I didn’t lie, this is far less depressing than the last thing I posted. I’m not debating whether or not I have the right to be alive for one thing. Today I haven’t felt like I’m a waste of space who doesn’t even deserve to consume oxygen. I might feel that way tomorrow or even later tonight if I can’t sleep again. But at least I had this one afternoon free of any such worries. To get back to the point there’s a phrase I came across which I feel fits perfectly, it’s how the Navajo Indians refer to people with autism and such disabilities. They call them perpetual children which I think is a really neat way of putting it.  I can’t explain why exactly, I just really like it.

Nothing has changed between now and the last post I wrote, nothing has been fixed or anything like that. There’s still plenty to be put right and I’m no closer to a solution for the main problem than before. The reason I’m not stressing out over it is because I’ve let myself withdraw into my own little world without worrying if I should or not. There’s that word again, should. They’re right, it can be an insidious and unhelpful word. I have to do what I need and right now that’s run as far as possible from reality.

On the subject of reality there is one thing I have to mention, Freiburg’s win against Schalke today means they’re in fifth place in the table. If they finish in fifth place they’ll be playing Europa League football. I don’t want to think about next season because it feels like tempting fate, both in regards to them and myself. As good a mood as I’m in it still makes me uneasy to think that far ahead, to assume I’ll still be alive then I suppose. In regards to Freiburg it’s not missing out on Europe Im worried about, what’s scaring me is the possiblity they will qualify. I’m not sure they’re ready for such a big step. Last time it pretty much broke them and whilst I’d love them whatever happens – whatever division they play in, I’d rather not have to go through the heartbreak of relegation again and what comes with that.

Relegation is one thing, you can always get promoted again after all. But the players, that’s not so simple. I got over the others leaving last time that’s true. This is different though, I’ve watched them become a team together, it would be all the more painful because of that. I guess this specfic worry ties in with what I’ve been writing about. Because by rights there’s no way Freiburg should be in contention for European football. They’ve conceded 55 goals so far this season. To find a team who’s conceded more in fact you’d have to go right to the bottom of the league, HSV have let in 59 and Darmstadt 59. To put things in perspective they were relegated in 2014/15 having scored 36 and conceded 47. They’re going to finish in the top half of the table with a worse goal difference then when they were relegated, having scored only four more goals. I think it’s the contradiction and oddly enough their unpredictable nature which I love so much. Sometimes they just don’t make any sense. I guess they’re a good fit for me in that sense. I mean last week they lost to Darmstadt who are in 18th and got relegated this weekend, and not only did they lose but they did by three goals. And this weekend they’re in a European place. From one extreme to the other.

The reason for their relegation two years ago lay in the fact that season they drew 13 games compared to five this season. They still have defensive issues obviously but they’re working on them, Söyüncü is a large part of the reason they’ve improved so much. The handsome Turk has the intelligence to match those good looks and is something of a monster tackler. There’s one question which requires no thought at least, he is without a doubt my favourite player this season. Not just my favourite new player but my favourite overall. There’s nothing complicated about that at least.  I just wish he could have played today, not least so Schwolow would have someone to celebrate with, a little something like this:

The Right to Life

This is long, rambling and dark but I make no aplologies for that. It’s the first real thing I’ve written in a while and I really needed to get it out of my head. I imagine I’ve written some things which some people might not agree with but that doesn’t matter, how you feel is how you feel. Besides I’m tired of other people telling me how I should feel about myself, they have the right to disagree with my view of things but not to dictate how I should feel about all of this.

Many of these thoughts were in my head even before I knew about those comments related to “low functioning” autistic people and how they shouldn’t be allowed to be born, how only “high functioning” people invent stuff and are of use to society. That’s not exactly what I was thinking but it’s certainly the same kind of theme. I don’t want this to be a rant about that because that’s not what I need to get across right now.

I’ve been trying to work out what the problem is (practical concerns aside) and I rightly came to the conclusion that I was letting certain things get into my head and that was a large part of the problem. What I didn’t know was precisely what I’d let get to me. I think I know now, it’s the idea that I’m unworthy of life and that I don’t have the right to live as long as I’m of no economic or social value. Where such thoughts came from is probably not one thing but two, both the current political climate and everything I know about the Nazis. Plus the idea that such attitudes and thoughts are still around even seventy years after WW2. Jewish people no longer have to fear pogroms and death camps and disabled people don’t have to fear concentration camps or being gassed to death in a so called hospital. But for both groups of people in some ways little has changed. Jews are still treated with suspicion in some quarters and certain myths like their control over certain industries dominate even today. As for disabled people I question how far society has come, especially in regards to autism and things like learning disabilities and other neurological issues.

How can you feel like any progress has been made when you read complaints about such people being in mainstream school alongside “normal” children yet the same people bemoan the cost of units and special schools. As well as making comments about how it’s not fair “special children” get so many extras like trips, experiences their kids don’t get and what they deem to be unnecessary extras and special treatment like adjustments in exams and other such things. What their problems are is clear to see. They don’t want those people contaminating their precious children and they don’t want to pay for them either. Which leads to the logic of such people shouldn’t exist, not children and not adults. Education for them is too expensive and that logic leads to life for them is too expensive for the rest of us. That disabled people are an expensive and bothersome cross they have to bear who have less of a right to life than so called normal and healthy people.

I let all of this get in my head, though in truth I feel like it just awakened thoughts and feelings which were already there rather than actually putting them there. I didn’t think too much of myself to start with so I wasn’t very resilient in terms of resisting such thoughts. And all of this lead me to the conclusion that death is the only option. That not only does my life have no meaning to society or any economic value but that it has no value to me either. I started to feel like I didn’t have the right to feel anything good or to have anything at all.

And soon enough there wasn’t anything good to feel anyway. Things which once made me happy no longer did so. Instead they were somehow tainted, instead of seeing things like a good match to watch as something which made me happy all I could think was how pointless it was and how I didn’t deserve to enjoy it. And other times I felt nothing at all, not happy, not sad, just nothing – a complete blank.

There’s one more aspect to all of this I’ve found confusing as well, just as confusing as feeling nothing is feeling everything. It goes from one extreme to the other. From being a complete blank to feeling everything at once and finding it overwhelming. At one extreme you want to do nothing, you feel like you can’t do anything and so you don’t. It takes so much effort just to get out of bed it feels like doing anything more is just impossible. That quote from the Enke book is certainly accurate. The gist of it being in the morning you feel like you can’t do anything and so you don’t. Then in the evening you beat yourself up for not having done anything.

And if you try to do anything and fail or it doesn’t go to plan you end up feeling even worse. But even if nothing goes wrong you still don’t feel right. You might find an obsession related task to busy yourself with but it doesn’t bring you the same joy it usually does. That’s assuming of course you even get that far because most days you don’t. Even just writing about it starts to suck you down into the darkness and to feel like everything is pointless. Now it’s taken me away from my point, which was about going from one extreme to the other.

Maybe the reason it’s so hard to write about it is because there hasn’t been many days like that lately, more of them have been dark ones than anything else. On days like that you feel like you can and want to do everything. You have plenty of ideas in your head and want to write (or type in my case) them down all at once. For a while you feel unbeatable, almost like you’re flying, as if nothing can take you down. It used to happen when I stayed up all night but I haven’t been doing a lot of that lately, at least not by choice anyway. Rather than late nights writing or watching football they’ve been nights spent awake worrying. I hate even thinking that I cried myself to sleep let alone admitting it. I know emotions aren’t a sign of weakness and all that but I still hate it. And now I’m doing it again, writing about the opposite of what I’m actually meant to be writing about.

It’s not so much I haven’t felt like that in a while but that when I do it doesn’t last as long. There hasn’t been many late night flights of fancy or genius story ideas lately. In fact the best idea I’ve had is one borne of the darkness, that idea being Matze trying to kill himself and the story which details the aftermath of that.

I guess I just feel like I can’t win these days, if I write I’m both happy and unhappy. And it’s much the same way if I don’t write and for everything else really. Everything just feels wrong. When I can think it’s like I’m all over the place, like I can’t pick one topic to focus my mind on which is unusual. The constant chatter in my head drives me crazy, a lot of is completely random and just makes no sense whatsoever. It’s even worse when the same thoughts keep coming back again and again, and they just won’t go away. Even when they’re not bad thoughts it’s still annoying.

But none of that is what makes me angriest, it’s my inability to act which does that. I’ve thought all of this through, I know what the options are. Yet I can’t seem to act upon any of them. If I can’t find anything in life worth being alive for then death is the logical conclusion, it’s certainly the only way out of the confusion and torment. So why then can’t I act on it? And I know this is a stupid thing to worry about but I can’t help but think if I talk to anyone about this they’ll take the fact I haven’t attempted to act on my thoughts as evidence that it’s not that bad. Or that I’ll be told to simply pull myself together and stop being so pathetic. The other thing I think might happen is to be told you know suicide is the logical solution to the situation, not only that you’re right your life is pathetic and meaningless and you’d be doing everyone (including yourself) a favour if you did do it. Part of me almost wants to hear that because I want to see if it pushes me over the edge into actually doing it.

I feel like the only reason I’m still alive is because I’m too cowardly to commit to dying or anything else for that matter.  But if I am indeed too cowardly then I need to find a way to make life more bearable, if that’s at all possible. I think I’ve avoided seeking help for far too long, making excuses to myself and finding reasons not to. Plus I haven’t had that many great experiences with so called professionals which makes attempting to seek help seem like a valid option. Memories like that stick, autistic or not. And it’s hard to put your trust in someone after an experience like that.

Even if that weren’t an issue the problem of me finding it hard to actually tell someone what’s bothering me is still there. If only I could have written it down and they would agree to read it then it would be less of an issue. One doctor refused to read it, insisting I read it out and verbally tell him (which kind of defeats the purpose of writing it down). And since then I’ve not really felt confident enough to try again. It wasn’t even my idea to start with yet I’m the one feeling stupid over it. That’s exactly part of the problem, that happened at least four years ago yet I’m still angry over it.

So if death isn’t an option (at least not until I summon up the courage or run out of options) then I need to deal with some of these problems. I’m not optimistic on that count, it’s not like anything or anyone has been helpful before. And lest I get told I need to help myself I damn well know that, but there’s only so much you can do. But I have to try at least, if not just to cross this off the list before admitting defeat and giving up.

It all comes down to this, I’m tired of being afraid of everything. Forget about doing anything  in life, when you’re afraid like that you can’t even live day to day. I’m tired of being afraid to step outside or be anywhere where other people are. Or where unpredictability is a factor to deal with. It would be nice to just go outside without being on the edge all the time, and the same for being around other people too. It’s exhausting thinking over every single word I say and every little thing that happens. I never feel at ease around other people, even people I know and it makes me not want to be around other people at all.

But I keep getting told I can’t spend my life hiding away in my room, yet no-one has any words of wisdom as to how I’m meant to deal with the outside world either. So I don’t know where that leaves me. All I can say is it’s easy for them to preach to me about what I should be doing but they don’t actually have to do it, they don’t have to live like this. I’m tired of people and their expectations. I’m tired of them thinking they have a right to have any expectations of me and to be disappointed in me.

People say do what makes you happy but when they hear what that is they soon change their tune. And I’m not talking about death either, though obviously they say that when that’s my answer too. I mean when my answer is to retreat from the real world, to hide away with my stories, football and films. To collect stickers and cards, and engage in similarly repetitive activities. No-one ever believes me when I say I’d like a job which consists of repetitive tasks and little social contact and I don’t know why. It makes me wonder if they even know me at all. If they’ve fallen for the act I put on around other people. I mean  I know I can’t pass for normal but maybe I do too good a job of getting too close to being normal. So it surprises them when they learn that I like to engage in the same kind of activities my more visibly autistic brother likes to do. Maybe they’ve made the big autism mistake, thinking that because a person is highly verbal at times and intellectually normal they aren’t that autistic. I guess on that count it’s a good thing they don’t know how I act when I’m alone, it might make them most uncomfortable. So I don’t really know what the solution is to that problem. For the moment thinking of such big problems isn’t what I need to be doing. I need to work out what’s most important, to work out the things I can do something about.

I want to not be afraid, or quite so afraid anyway. To stop feeling like everything is pointless and not think of death. To be able to feel something good again, to be able to enjoy something. And for the feelings to last. To stop questioning whether or not I have the right to be alive and not think about how the government could round us all up and put us in camps if they wanted to. I don’t need to be happy, I don’t need to think that big. Just the absence of some of the negatives would be a start. After all I’m used to having to keep my expectations low.

As far as making any real plans go it seems pointless, it feels too big. I don’t whether that’s because I can’t see the point in anything or it’s because the future is like this abstract concept I can’t quite grasp. I know that’s an issue for me, if something’s not happening right now then it’s like it isn’t real to me. But I don’t know which one of them is responsible, or maybe it’s both of them,

The strange thing is as I was typing up this last part of this there was a documentary on entitled “Unravelled: Countdown to Kill.” That particular episode was a about a man named Chris who had Aspergers. He was a genius mathematician but couldn’t hold down a job or really fit in anywhere. As a result of his depression he developed psychosis and wrote an email to his father blaming him for giving him Aspergers and demanded he apologise for that and for reproducing when he had defective genes. When that email went ignored and unanswered he ended up devising his own final solution.

What freaked me out about that is the fact I ranted (in my head to myself) about a similar topic the previous night. I was angry about that too, about people knowing they had defective genes and yet going on to have children knowing they could end up like them. It made me angry to think of knowingly inflicting this on a child. I know what people will say, it’s only Aspergers and not some horrible genetic disease which will certainly result in death. And that’s kind of the point, at least if you have a disease you have an idea of your fate and you get a way out. You don’t get that with Aspergers. There’s only a way out if you take it yourself.

The thing that bothered me the most is the family friend saying she couldn’t understand why Chris was so angry and why he blamed his father. How can they not understand? He’s a grown man who can’t hold down a job, has no friends, no life, and can’t do the one thing he loves the most. The question you should be asking is how is he still alive? Why has he in his anger not hurt himself or someone else sooner? The way people like him are treated in society is it any reason why so many end up killing themselves? They get socially isolated because let’s face it normal people’s talk of tolerance and acceptance is just that, talk, most people don’t practice it. Normal people do nothing to help autistic people, despite autistic people having the disability it’s we who are expected to do all the work.

In the documentary the focus is on him and his failings, all the professionals agreeing that if he had sought help none of that would have happened. That it was his fault, that he chose to commit a violent act instead of getting help. That if he had only sought help everything would have been ok. That he would have worked through his problems, found a job he loved, found the love of his life and bought a home like every good American should. Again he’s the one with the disability. Why is it his fault for not reaching out? How about blaming his father for not reaching out to him? And they are absurdly naive to think all that would have happened. It hadn’t happened so far so why should it happen at all? As long as the focus is on the disabled person and what they’re doing wrong society isn’t going to get it. He was psychotic, he didn’t chose to do anything, he was sick. He was beyond being able to make a rational decision.

None of the people they talked to addressed the failing of society in finding a place for such people. But then that involve them reflecting upon their own behaviour and how they treat such people. It would require them to change their own behaviour and they would not like that. He was a smart guy, super smart. He could have been of huge value to society. Yet all people saw was a strange guy who they didn’t like. And the focus was always placed on him changing his behaviour, never on people accepting him for who he was. And they wonder why he hated himself so much he started thinking eugenics was a good idea. All the time they’ve been putting those thoughts in his head, making him feel like there’s something defective about him by always sending him the message he needs to change his behaviour. Society sends you those messages from every angle all the time and then people act all surprise when you express feelings of self hatred.

How his so called friends treated him shows that normal people don’t care about disabled people. Instead of talking to him about his behaviour or getting advice from someone they simply moved out without telling him. When normal people do things like that it’s hard to tell yourself it’s worth making the effort to build relationships with them. His father’s girlfriend was horrible too. She didn’t like them living with him. Like her opinion mattered, his mother died for god’s sake, how about some compassion? You start a relationship with someone who already has a child you don’t get to dictate how they raise their child, and if they have a problem with that child living in his own home that is their problem. God even I understand that. See this is what I mean, normal people like to say they are so empathetic and autistic people lack empathy and compassion but the truth is they do.

I guess the question I need to answer is do I hate myself because it’s the way I feel, because I’m a disappointment to myself – or is it because I can’t live up to other people’s expectations. I feel like I’m pretending for their sake and I don’t like it. As if they only know the person I’m pretending to be and not the real me. I think I’m happy when I hang out with people but I’m not really sure. And I’m not sure if that doubt is just because of my anxiety around social situations or it’s because I really don’t enjoy them. I wonder if I could be less anxious maybe I would find them less exhausting too. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

I don’t know which one is the real me, or if they both are. I feel happier (not to mention safer) when I’m in my room alone, when I don’t have to worry about looking normal, the only noise is what I want to be there, I’m in complete control of my environment, there’s no element of unpredictability and everything is calm and quiet. In other words when I’m less stressed out. Every time I go out or spend time with other people I always regret it. I feel so tired and beaten down afterwards I question the value of doing such things, of whether or not any potential good which comes from it is worth it. When I’m alone in my room I can easily forget about the outside world and were it not for the cinema I’d have no reason to go out. Lost in my stories the outside world doesn’t even matter.

I always feel like I’m pretending around other people, even people I know. And I hate that, I hate the feeling I can’t be myself.  To be around other people you have to pretend to be something you aren’t. Spend all your time alone and you don’t have to do that. I don’t know, I really don’t. I often think of not doing that anymore, of wasting no more energy on keeping up any such pretence. I hate it when anyone tells me how excited or happy I look and sound because I don’t feel it. I don’t even know why I’m smiling. Sometimes I want to scream not only at them but myself. I’m frustrated with myself for the way I keep pretending I’m fine. I wish I could just tell one person in real life the truth. That I could show my feelings in front of them and tell them I’m angry, confused and scared. But I never do that, only during a meltdown do I let other people see me upset and that’s probably because I’m not thinking straight.

Even more I wish I could tell them I’m angry at them for saying how smart I am. Because I don’t feel smart and they are part of the reason. I feel so stupid when I can’t understand what they’re saying and I can’t tell them that’s the case. Too many words and I get lost, half the time I don’t even understand what I’m saying let alone someone else. Part of me wishes I never had to talk out loud again, not to anyone. It’s not the only reason I’m angry with them. I’m also angry because they say one thing and do another, they say things they don’t mean and don’t stick to agreements. Life is confusing enough without so called friends making it even more so.

A Step in the Right Direction

I’m not sure why I decided today would be the day I break the bad habit I’ve let myself fall into of not writing anything, if it’s out of guilt that I’ve not posted something with actual words for over a month or if it’s something else. There are several other reasons which could be conributing factors, the sudden and unexpected change in my mood being one of them. The main other one being the reconstruction project I’m currently engaged in which turned out to have an unexpected silver lining. I’m still surprised at how I reacted to that; to the news I had to start over what has essentially been a three year project and that part of it had to be done in just under two weeks. I didn’t freak out about it, just got down to work and made a plan. I think that might have something to do with the improvement in my mood. It’s been so time consuming that Ive had little time to wallow in my misery or think about anything else, having something to focus on has been most helpful. I’ve been warming up to the idea of writing something for the past few days, indeed the words for the prompts of the past two days would have worked perfectly for me. But I didn’t want to force the issue, whether it’s a blog post or a story listening to your instincts is important, if it feels right you’ll just know. Hopefully some of those same instincts will return for other purposes too and I can get back to finishing some of the stories I’m in the middle of.

I haven’t gotten much of anything done lately, the reconstruction project aside. Other than keeping up with the Bundesliga which I couldn’t even think of giving up nothing else has seemed important. It’s not like I haven’t had ideas for stories, just no motivation to write them down. It’s far easier to play out scenarios in my head rather than wrestle with getting them down on paper, in much the same way it’s easier to talk to characters in my head than to real life people. And when I do talk to the latter it’s always about my obsessions these days which probably isn’t a good sign. Apparently that’s a sign of anxiety but then I’m almost always feeling anxious about something so that’s not really helpful. Then again I don’t have much time for so-called professionals right now. I’m pretty sick to death of them and their so-called knowledge of autism. I know they aren’t all that useless but it’s not always easy to remember that. Last week’s events helpled a little on that count, it’s not often I get to meet a professional who I think could actually be helpful. Talking to them is other step in the right direction mentioned in the title. Because not only did I do something I was not entirely sure about but I did so by myself. And that is new for me, going to an appointment like that without taking a trusted adult. Whether it turned out to be useful or not just getting out of the house was a good thing, I’m spending far too much time inside these days.

This week I got that out the way first, going out on Monday so at least I didn’t have that to beat myself up about. I had to make myself go as usual but it was worth it, no matter how bad I feel turning down the opportunity to see a Franco Nero film at the cinema is not an option. Had I known the exact plot of the film beforehand I wouldn’t have gone to see it but it’s a little late for that now. Seeing a film about making the most of life, death and coming to terms with your own mortality probably isn’t the best thing for me to be watching right now. And given my reaction I’m going to say it wasn’t such a great idea. I’m still kind of embarassed about that, I hate people getting upset and I hate it even more when that person is me.

The thoughts which appeared in my head during the film were even more troublesome. Why I would suddenly start thinking of that story again I don’t know. I’ve still been thinking of death over the past few weeks, that hasn’t gone away. But I haven’t been actively thinking of carrying out such an act. Strange thing is it’s not Matze I was thinking about, rather it was afterwards, what would happen to his parents. I don’t know if this is just me working out such things in my head so they make sense to me, or if it’s me talking myself out of it. Or perhaps I’m just curious what happens afterwards, this might be me answering the question the psychiatrist put to me. He asked me what I thought came afterwards and I didn’t have an answer. I know he meant for me but obviously I’m thinking about other people too. Two thoughts in particular got stuck in my mind during the film, would his parents be angry if he didn’t leave a note and what they would dress him in for his funeral. Morbid thoughts I know but I couldn’t help it, they really did come out of nowhere.

What it means for me I don’t really know, I haven’t let myself think too much about it. I’m trying to balance the need to keep busy whilst not pushing myself too hard and doing too much. Because I’m very aware this seemingly good mood I’m in could disappear in an instant, I need to be prepared for that, for everything to come crashing down again.The last post I wrote was about that, keeping my expectations of myself reasonbly low. That hasn’t changed any, I still need to be careful of not expecting too much. At least after what happened at the weekend I won’t be pressuring myself to socialise more, thinking I could change my routine that way is just about one of the stupidest ideas I’ve ever had. On the matter of good ideas my current choice of book probably isn’t the best either. The Robert Enke book has been on my mind the past few weeks, it’s only logical I suppose. I’m trying to work out if I’ve got anything worth living for and in doing that I can’t help but think of him. I can’t stop myself from wondering if he couldn’t find a reason to stay alive how am I meant to? Weird thing is he committed suicide on the 10th November 2009, and the second chapter of the other book I’m reading starts on the 10th November 1938. It’s even stranger because the book Winter Men is set in Germany and it starts with the death of the main character and you soon learn his brother killed himself. What interests me is Gerhard thinks he’s the coward for not doing the same thing, more to the point he envied his brother for being able to. It’s strange because suicide is seen by some people as the coward’s way out. I agree with him, I don’t think it’s cowardly. Carrying on living a shadow of a life because you’re too scared to do anything on the other hand, now that’s cowardly. I spend all my time losing myself in other people’s stories so I can run away from the fact I don’t have one of my own. All that time spent creating stories for other people and I can’t work out what I should do.

Lowered Expectations

These past few months I’ve had very low expectations of myself and the past few weeks that’s been true more than ever. The logic is simple, keep expectations low so that way I won’t be disappointed when I fail to live up to them. This week all I have to do is write one small letter, I know it’s only Tuesday but I’m already beating myself up for not having gotten it done. All this time thinking about it and I could have just written the damn thing by now. Yet it’s not so easy, not least (and I’m aware this sounds absurd) because I don’t know what to say. Or rather I know what to say I just don’t know how to put it, how to make myself come across politely. I’m used to things making me feel stupid in some way but this is something else, it’s making me feel like words aren’t my friends either. It’s had the effect of not making me want to write anything, though I can’t blame that for not posting anything on here, I haven’t felt particularly motivated in that respect anyway. So unmotivated have I felt on that count I’ve stopped bothering to make excuses to myself as to why I haven’t done so, nor did I make myself promises, saying that I would try the next day.

When it comes to this stupid letter however I have made many excuses and found just as many distractions.  First of all falling back on the usual tried and tested methods such as looking for new Jogi pictures, sorting stickers and then resorting to sorting out the ever growing list of recordings on my hard-drive. The latter provided quite a bit of fun, I’d forgotten about all the Copa America games I’d collected last summer and the fact that it wasn’t all doom and gloom. As for new distractions I’ve spent quite a bit of time dreaming about Freiburg’s Turkish defender Çağlar Söyüncü. In my story I paired him up with Alexander Schwolow as friends simply because that’s how I wanted things to be. And it turns out they have quite the budding friendship in real life, at least on the pitch anyway. It’s one of the things which has cheered me up somewhat this week. I always like getting pictures of my favourite players but these were extra special, and just to make it a little bit more fun I made a GIF too:

caglar-soyuncu-alexander-schwolow-freiburg-v-koln-2016-17 caglar-soyuncu-alexander-schwolow-freiburg-v-koln-2016-17-1 caglar-soyuncu-alexander-schwolow-freiburg-v-koln-2016-17-2caglar-soyuncu-alexander-schwolow-freiburg-v-koln-2016-17-3I know I’m getting ahead of myself seeing as there’s still fourteen matches to go of this season but I’ve already made up my mind, the name on my home shirt next year is going to be Söyüncü. In one way I suppose that’s a good thing, the idea that I’m thinking ahead, even if it’s only in a football sense. Thinking ahead to next season means a part of me is planning on being around that long. Even if I don’t feel like it’s true evidently another part of me knows better. I can’t say that I’m feeling any better though because that wouldn’t be true at all. The feeling that I’m sleepwalking through everything won’t go away. Even when I’m watching Freiburg play I feel like I’m not quite all there. I start off feeling fine but the longer the game goes on the harder it gets to keep paying attention to it and my mind ends up drifting.

I thought all those feelings might disappear when I got some sleep but in retrospect I don’t think the sleeping tablets helped that much. For one thing without them I’ve fallen back into my old routine of sleeping in the day and being awake at night, and for another I didn’t like the way they made my head feel. They helped me get some sleep and actually at night-time too, problem is I felt sleepy in the day as well, even with just a half dose. But it doesn’t matter in the long run anyway since they could only be a temporary solution. I’m not quite sure where all this leaves me now or what if anyhing to do next. I’m not keen on the idea of going back there again. I’m not sure listening to someone tell me that at least my speech is good, there must be good things about having autism and that I should just do the things which make me happy is going to help. Great, so I’m capable enough in terms of speech and expressing myself to say that I feel like I don’t want to be alive anymore but I can’t articulate why. And of course I have to live with this, with everything not making sense. I can imagine their answer to that too, things like this don’t make sense to anyone and it’s difficult for everyone. I have no idea if that makes any sense, I hope it’s not descending into rant territory anyway because I said I wouldn’t do that today. I’ve aleady exceeded my rant limit by ranting about Leipzig and last week’s events.

Whatever the answer to any of that there’s one thing I know for definite, I can’t do something because someone else thinks it’s a good idea or it’s what I should be doing. If I write something it has to be because I feel like it. Forcing myself to write could end up making me hate it and were that to happen I’d pretty much be left with nothing. Football is a good interest to have right now but it’s nothing without the stories. If I lost the stories I might actually start to feel lonely. I know I feel a little lonely even with them but not quite so much. At least when there’s always at least one character living in my head then I always have someone to talk to. And I don’t have to worry about what time of day it is. People don’t like being woken up at 4:00am unless it’s a real emergency. And apparently having an existential crisis isn’t an emergency, nor is finding a new Jogi video either.

Normally I would say that the week can’t have been strange because everything is always strange. Yet after last weekend’s events I think I can say just that. I’m not sure what result was more surprising, Dortmund losing 2-1 to Darmstadt or RBL losing 3-0 to HSV. The former resulted in the commentator saying that sometimes things happen in football which can’t be explained. The words stuck with me, as did the fact Darmstadt won at all. Surely given their perilous situation they can’t possibly survive, it makes me wonder if there’s a message in that, sometimes even the loser gets to win. As for HSV that was a different kind of incredible, no-one would have predicted them being the team to breach Fortress Leipzig, or doing it in the way they did. It led to me coining the phrase “Holy Hamburger SV Batman.” Which sums up effectively the weirdness of that situation, and just to make it a little more interesting one of the goals was scored by Kyriakos Papadopoulos who spent some time on loan at RBL earlier this season. He was of course on loan from Leverkusen and he scored against them too. It’s exactly the kind of trivia I love. In that sense I’m glad I still care enough to remember such things. The day I stop caring about random facts and trivia is the day I know all is lost.

It’s not a problem if you don’t look up

I know the title may be a little unwieldy but it’s the only one I liked,  it’s not the only one I could come up with but the others didn’t seem to fit right now. Writing this post (or anything else for that matter) is difficult enough without obsessing over titles, so I didn’t spend a lot of time on it. The line in question comes from the latest Star Wars film and is Jyn’s response when she’s asked if seeing the Imperial flag flying above makes her sad. I also went with it because it’s a fair reflection of how I feel at the moment. Which is why I’ve been avoiding writing anything, doing so requires a certain amount of self-reflection and these past few days the last thing I’ve wanted to do is contemplating my own existence in any way. Actually I’m no more keen to do that now but I did promise the psychiatrist I would at least try to write something. I find his insistence on that front a little odd when I think about it. Not least because they spent the majority of the appointment telling me that being normal wasn’t something to aim for, that there’s no such thing as normal anyway and I should just do what makes me happy and forget about everything else. Well thinking about my existence in any way certainly doesn’t make me happy. In fact right now it’s one of the things which is making me unhappy and resulted in the visit to them in the first place.

A week later I can’t make any more sense of it, I am however despite feeling like some of their advice was conflicting – sure it was the right thing to do. For one thing without it I wouldn’t have gotten my sleeping pattern back in order. All those months of trying to fix it by myself and it was for nothing, the problem was solved by the prescription of sleeping tablets. I’m feeling no more optimistic about anything else but I am at least grateful for finally having gotten a uninterrupted night of sleep. And they did help in the way he promised, he said if I got some proper sleep then my thoughts of death would not be so troublesome. They are still there but they are no longer quite so loud. I suppose right now it’s the best I can hope for. Though I’m not sure I want them to disppear completely. In a strange sort of way I think I find them comforting, I mean knowing that there is an out if I want it and can find the courage.

As far as everything else goes I have no idea, it all seems so overwhelming at the moment. I’m not so naive to think that I can once again start over with a clean slate either. I’ve said that so many times before and it never works out. There is no fresh start to make, just the same chaos I always find myself wandering through. I have no big plans or really any kind of plans at all, I’m not really capable of forming anything like a plan either. Despite having gotten a decent amount of sleep over the course of the past few days I’m too tired to contemplate anything other than what I’m doing right now. Even thinking a day ahead is too much. Lack of sleep is clearly not my only problem, now that’s been solved the other issues are brought to the fore – not least my lack of motivation to do just about anything. It would be so much easier to run away from it all, which brings me back to Rogue One.  It’s not so much pretending the imperial forces don’t exist and aren’t doing bad things, you just don’t acknowledge it. Of course that all depends on not paying attention, on stopping yourself from looking up. And in this case it’s not easy to do that. I can’t realistically avoid the outside world and all that makes me unhappy forever. At some point I’m going to have to learn to take care of myself and how to exist in the real world. There’s not always going to another person there who is able and willing to act as interlocutor of sorts between me and the outside world.

I suppose in a way it’s easy for them to sit there and tell me to just do what makes me happy and don’t worry about comparing myself to my peers and my lack of independent living skills in comparison to them. For the simple reason they don’t have to deal with all this, they won’t have to deal with the fallout if something goes majorly wrong. No-one is responsible in that sense because I don’t fall into any of the neatly drawn categories. Not disabled enough to qualify for any government provided services in that regard but too disabled not to need any help like that. All the relevant professionals agree it’s not right and unfair, but none of them care to do anything about it. No-one cares enough to actually speak up about it. Why would they, after all it’s not their problem. I’m not really sure what my point is, I’m just frustrated with it all. And very tempted to just give up, to let them get away with it. The only thing stopping me is the fact I know it’s not right and I can’t let them get away with it.

Retreating back into my own little world and completely giving up would in the short term be better for me, but it’s not the right thing to do. Both for myself in the long term and morally speaking. What else would I let them get away with if I give up on this? Where does it end? I can at least fght back in some way and for that reason alone I should do this. I may not be able to do much but there may be someone else they screw over who can’t fight back at all. Sometimes you have to think of other people too. I am too tired and beaten down to do anything else but this I won’t give up on. Whatever happens afterwards I’m not letting this go.

Yet Another Change

I know there are bigger problems in the world, indeed I have far bigger issues to be concerning myself with now. Yet despite their real life importance it’s not any of them which are dominating my thoughts and ruining my week right now. Sixteen days into the year and I’m trying and so far failing to settle down into something resembling a schedule. Today was meant to be yet another reboot of my routine. The day where I get a good night’s sleep and where nothing goes wrong. That was ruined the second I put on the news where I was promptly greeted by the news Hansi quit. It’s certainly not the best start to the week. I never want anything to change but especially not now, and Hansi is the very last thing I expected to be the cause of any kind of change. I spent so much time worrying what would happen if I got bored in some way or suddenly got sick of the whole thing I completely forgot to think about what would happen if one of them caused everything to change.

Making the whole thing worse is storywise it actually works out quite well. Almost straight away I worked out how to work it in, from that perspective the story practically writes itself. I know conflict of some kind is necessary to propel the narrative but this isn’t quite what I had in mind. I was perfectly happy with the conflict I was creating by myself. I’m mad at him for making everything change but I’m even more mad at myself. The reason being it’s like in having those ideas I’m somehow accepting it. I just don’t know what to do now. I can’t escape into my stories because Hansi is there. And I can’t deal with real life now because he’s there too. Maybe it’s time for some new characters anda new pairing. As long as I don’t do something really stupid and decide to get a whole new obsession just because one piece of the puzzle changed. When the stories don’t make sense and real life doesn’t either then I really don’t know what to do. Well I do know, I just can’t do it. I can’t get a new obsession, not least because I have nothing new to jump ship to.

I’ve been meaning to get back into the habit of posting regularly for several days and in the process finding several excuses not to. This is the last thing I wanted to be the reason for writing something. At the same time this feels like the most important thing in the world I’m angry at myself for being so bothered by it. After all as other people would and do say it’s just football. And there are so many other things which should be preoccupying me. But with or without this unexpected change I don’t want to think about any of those. Because at the moment I have very little control of them. All I can do is wait and the waiting is killing me. At least with the stories I have some sense of control. If I don’t like some real life event then I can simply ignore it, or at least write it the way I want to.

Real life is always hard work and it’s even more true now than usual. Holidays are always difficult and Christmas especially so,  partly because of the winter break meaning not only do I have to get back into my own routine but I have to do that without any football for three weeks. Putting my routine back together is impossible when a big part of said routine is missing. Funny thing is a few weeks ago I had to explain a lot of this stuff to someone and ever since then I’ve been obsessing over it and beating myself up about everything I said and did.  I can never quite decide if my answers made me look more helpless than I really am or if I’d been less than truthful and I’d once again inadvertently given an optimistically misleading picture of my abilities. Thinking about such matters never ends well. It always goes the same way, ending up with me wondering just what kind of grown-up I am. And the answer is no kind, I’m a grown up in name only.

People try to help and reassure you, saying helpful things like people develop at their own pace and it’s marathon not a race. It doesn’t really help but it’s not their fault, they probably don’t know what to say anymore. I don’t know what to say either. Their well meaning words are every bit as unhelpful as being told I should just do what makes me happy. The only thing that makes me really happy right now is stickers. That is the only thing I can get excited about right now and is the only thing I have any real plans for. I couldn’t really argue if anyone accused me of caring about or loving my collections more than I do the people in my life. The collections are nothing like any relationships with humans that’s why. They are simple and uncomplicated, they just are. They make me happy and that’s all I need to know. They also have the side effect of making most people think I’m a total weirdo or some other such unflattering name but it doesn’t really matter anymore. When it comes to people it’s the exact same problem as it is with collections, can’t live with them, can’t live without them. On the subject of collections the following picture may prove to be the last addition in my Hansi collection. For how long only he knows. I’m not gettig my dream I know that much, he’s not ever going to be Jogi’s assistant again, I’ve long given up on that dream even in fiction form:

hansi-flick-sky-sports-news-16-01-17

Advent Calendar Day 22 & 23: The Missing Day & The Book Thief

I really needed today to go perfect, after spending all day yesterday catching up on sleep and the week’s previous events I needed one perfect day at least. I’m happy to say it started out good and for once stayed that way. With getting the two premium packs of FIFA 365 cards in the post I was worried that might turn out to be the high point of the day, a case of starting good but not ending up that way. And to make it even better I got a Philipp Lahm card in the second pack:

20161223_191030-1 philipp-lahm-fifa-365-2016-17-fan-favourite-cardI started writing this post on Friday after I got back, I didn’t get very far though. I was a litle more tired than I thought, so today should actually be yesterday. The point still stands though, the day did go fine.  There were a few minor things I got in a flap about but most of that doesn’t seem so important now. The main thing being the newly configured Christmas market, I read in the news about extra security measures and all that but didn’t really know what that would mean here. It just caught me by surprise, half the stalls not being where I expected them to be. I’m not complaining of course, I understand why, they don’t want any stalls closer to the road than they have to be.

As for everything else I think I’m too tired to be obsessing over anything. Just the other day I was reading about some idiot online who doesn’t believe that social anxiety is a real thing and that people who claim to have it are just nervous really. That it’s normal to feel nervous in new situations or a little uncomfortable at times. There was so many things wrong with what they think I’m not even going to bother to go into it, I don’t want to ruin my day. But there are two points I want to make, I would give anything to just be a little nervous. And secondly anyone who thinks that way should consider this, in a strange way I’m grateful to be so tired today simply because I can’t think straight and thus won’t obsessing over anything that happened yesterday. That’s not to say those things won’t come back and bother me later though, in fact I can guarantee they will. It’s not just about feeling uncomfortable sometimes, for me it’s never feeling comfortable, no matter how well I know someone or how much I trust them. It’s always second guessing myself, always doubting if I’m saying or doing the right thing. It’s the fact the simplest of conversations require so much thought put into them that it’s easier to just never talk at all. Like I said there’s nothing I wouldn’t give to just be a little nervous.

Forget about the bad stuff for now, as well as the cards there’s something else I got yesterday. Everytime I get a little extra money in my pocket I spend it on books, and yesterday was no different. Two of them I’m particularly happy about, not just because of the subject matter but how nice the covers are. I don’t normally take pictures of the books I buy but I’ll make an exception here, they are two delightfully Germanic covers:

20161223_190929-1On the subject of books that brings me to the second topic in the title, my annual re-read of The Book Thief. The plot point which bothered me last time still bothers me a little, yet I want to read it anyway. It’s not so much I don’t care, more that the positives outweigh the one negative point. Reading it again is like seeing an old friend you haven’t seen for a long time, like a good friend you accept it’s flaws as being part of them. It’s one of those books I feel like I can never get tired of and each time I read it I get something new from it. I think it’s a very fitting book to be reading now. Not because it’s about Germany, where it takes place is not really relevant to what I’m thinking about, it could be anywhere. It’s the people that are important, not the place. It’s foolish to think that the Holocaust is some uniquely German thing, all people are capable of that level of hate and of acting on it.

Time and time again I’ve tried to work out why it’s one of my favourite books. If it’s because the story is being told by death or because it’s set in Nazi Germany. Actually whilst both those things play a part neither of them are the main reason. I think I know now what that reason is, it’s Liesel’s foster-father, her Papa Hans. And no it’s nothing to do with his name, though I will admit it’s really hard to type Hans and not Hansi. It’s what he does for Liesel, the way he helps her as best he can make sense of the world. It probably doesn’t make much sense to him either but amongst what’s going on he takes care of her, teaching her to read and so much more. I could do with that right now, someone to explain all of this, to make everything make sense. That’s part of it anyway, the other thing is the words themselves, the very topic of the book. But it’s not stealing books which I’m thinking about, rather stealing words.

The Book Thief made me realise it’s something I take for granted, being able to read that is. I never considered what it would be like to find that hard or be unable to read at all. I taught myself to read at a young age and have never liked or needed to be read to. The importance of being able to read can’t be understated, yet it’s not all there is. Reading is one thing, understanding what you’re reading is another thing all together and what I worry about the most. Not just with the written word but in conversation too. There’s one particular event in The Book Thief which really sticks with me, one line which I can never forget. “You can steal a book but you can’t read one.” And it’s how Liesel solves her problem which makes it so memorable to me. Unable to read the book in front of her she starts reciting from memory a chapter from The Gravedigger’s Handbook. Reciting but not necessarily understanding, that’s why it sticks with me. So much of the time I feel like I’m saying and hearing things but not really understanding them. I’m never really quite sure about what I’m saying, or if it makes any sense. It feels like words are my best friend and my biggest enemy at the same time. I hate them but I need them.

That’s enough about books and words for now, just one more day to go, today is the final day of the calendars. At least I don’t have to worry about how the final post will go, I have that all planned out and there won’t be a lot of words in it, there’s no need, the pictures will speak for themselves. But before that is the previous two days, day 22 & 23. Day 22 saw striker Harvard Nielsen make his appearance in the Freiburg calendar and he was followed by Christian Streich who needs no introduction. I won’t have any problem picking  a good picture or GIF of him that’s for sure. And in the Dortmund one was Raphael Guerrerio and Marco Reus:

20161223_190702-1Christian Streich & Amir Abrashi - 1.FCK v SC FreiburgChristian_Streich_celebrates_Freiburg_v_FurthChristian_Streich_goal_celebration_SC_Freiburg_v_1_FC_Union_BerlinChristian Streich - SCF v RBLChristian_Streich_celebrating_promotion_2015_16Christian Streich & Alexander Schwolow – SC Freiburg v Heidenheim 1SC Freiburg - Meister der 2.Bundesliga 2015-16 - Christian Streichchristian_streich_and_nils_petersen_celebrate_sc_freiburg_v_eintracht_frankfurt