On the Spectrum and Completely Depressed Is there a way to get this monkey off your back once and for all?

On the Spectrum and Completely Depressed Is there a way to get this monkey off your back once and for all?

The last two weeks have been less than stellar. And by “less than stellar,” I mean they sucked. Whatever I worked on seemed to be wrong, my self-esteem was in the toilet and life, in general, wasn’t a whole lot of fun.

But on the bright side, I didn’t have any suspicious packages mailed to me this week. Of course, there were also no regular looking packages either. Not getting packages is the upside to not being famous.

My point with the whole suspicious package thing is even though I know there’s a brighter side out there, sometimes I just can’t see it, or sense it in any way. I know it’s there, but there are times it simply takes a while to find the brighter side.

But we can and will eventually find the brighter side!

To answer the question at the top of the page, is there a way to get this monkey off our back once and for all? Sadly no. Depression and anxiety are things that we will always have to live with to some degree, but we can find ways to make it easier. We can come up with ways to get the depression gone in a few days rather than a few weeks or months.

“J.R.,” you say. “It sounds like you’re going from the bright side to sating anxiety and depression are always nearby.”

Yes, I did say that, but what I hadn’t yet gotten to, is the fact that we can learn to control the depression and anxiety with some coping mechanisms.

Just as each person on the spectrum is unique, each of us has our unique ways of settling down and letting go. What follows are several ideas for getting rid of stress, depression and anxiety quickly, before you fall down the proverbial rabbit hole.

Go outside and do something. This is one I struggle with in a big way. I tend to plant myself at my desk day after day. Then depression sets in and I say I’m going to leave the house, but I don’t.

When I do make myself get outside to either walk, sit out on the patio and read or just relax, I feel better. If I know I feel better when I go do things, why do I sit at my desk, hyperfocusing and not going outside?

FYI, going out to the front yard in pajama pants isn’t going outside.

 

Find your thing that clears (or helps clear) your mind. For some it’s meditation, others yoga or exercise. Whatever it is for you, start doing it or if you are doing it, do it more!

I try to meditate, but its still a work in progress. One thing I like to do is sit in my beach themed reading area in my office, light a couple sticks of incense and either sit with my eyes closed and just relax or I nerd out and read comic books. Looking over, I see I have a decent sized reading stack piling up.

The idea is to get your mind off the depression or the anxiety that’s weighing on you and get it onto something fun or onto nothing at all. If you’re not thinking/obsessing over it, it can’t bother you too bad.

 

Believe in yourself. This is the absolute hardest one for me. My self-esteem is naturally down. It has been my whole life and though I hate it, I deal with it. I’ve actually gone as far as working with a man who has overcome way more than I ever had to and has soared.

If this is something you struggle with, follow the link to check out more on Brian.

 

The final tip I have is simple. Find a person or two that you completely trust and let them know what they need to look out for. You may think that you’re baring all your weaknesses, but if this person has your best interest in mind, they’ll see it as strength and not weakness.

How do you deal with depression, anxiety or any of your other traits? What’s worked and what hasn’t? Let us know.

***

Want to keep up with what’s going on at Not Weird Just Autistic?

Enter your email in the upper right-hand corner where it says, “Get new posts by email” and you’ll be one of the first to get the fresh dirt on all this good stuff.

An Asperger’s Guide To Dating Neurotypicals is out and hit #23 on the Amazon Hot New Dating Releases Chart. You can find it on Amazon and Kindle or get an autographed copy for the same price at the J.R. Reed Author website.

Before I go, I belong to a closed Facebook group, Aspergers Life Support, run by some terrific people. There’s a link on the right or you can click on the words in purple. If you have Aspergers or are a loving NT of an Aspie, I definitely suggest asking to join the group. They’re great people and have helped me on many occasions.

 

Photos courtesy Unsplash

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired? Have the Courage to Conquer Fear and Fake It 'til You Make It

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired? Have the Courage to Conquer Fear and Fake It 'til You Make It

Believe it or not, I’m not as comfortable with myself as most people think I am. Even with the purple goatee, a large, colorful collection of Converse and an array of cardigans and vests that I love to wear. The truth is, that most days I don’t feel good about myself and frankly, I’m sick and tired of feeling that way.

I’ve heard all the, “Fake it ’til you make it” speeches and I know people are right when they tell me that. I do try to fake it, knowing that one day I too will finally believe it long term, but for now, my belief comes in short bursts.
I’m sitting at my desk on Sunday morning drinking coffee and listening to music through my headphones as I piece together what I’m going to write when Falling For the First Time by Barenaked Ladies (one of Canada’s better exports) came on.

It’s a song I love and have heard probably a thousand times before, but as I listened to the lyrics (which will be in blue and a larger font) it hit me that these lyrics tie in with what I’m writing about. So, grab your beverage of choice, sit back and read this because I’m only going to write this

One Time

 

J.R. Reed www.notweirdjustautistic.com sick and tired

Sometimes we fake cool even though we don’t feel cool.

I’m so cool, too bad I’m a loser

I’m not really cool, at least not in my mind and I don’t pretend to be cool. However, I’ve been told that with the bright colors and black porkpie hat I’m generally wearing, that I come off as someone who has a lot of self-esteem and is very comfortable with themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Yes, I enjoy being me and I won’t deny that to anyone, but more often than not I feel like I’m a loser rather than a winner. That’s a stupid thought because I’ve accomplished a lot in my life, but the last ten years or so have been, to coin a hockey coaching phrase, a gong show. In other words, pretty bad.

Every day the self-esteem is getting better thanks to a couple trusted friends and colleagues, but I’d really like to find some kind of Disney Fast Pass so I can make it to the front of the line faster and put all the negativity behind me for good. Why? Because I’m sick and tired of feeling that way. But for now, I do my best to put on a happy face and fake it, knowing/hoping one day I won’t have to put the happy face on because it will already be there.

I’m so smart, too bad I can’t get anything figured out

With my Asperger’s comes a very high IQ, but to be honest, that doesn’t mean anything to me. I don’t have a college degree and I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve looked at a set of directions or instructions on how to do something and had a big question mark above my head. What good is a high IQ if you don’t do anything with it?

I’m not saying there’s nothing I can’t figure out, but it does frustrate me that I was born before the word autism was used in schools and that trying to go to college was a joke for me. I tried to learn, but couldn’t figure things out the way the teacher was teaching it, so I would leave class confused because the teacher didn’t have time and would generally tell me that if I was paying attention I would understand.

Comments like that erode your self-esteem as did the teachers in fifth-ninth grades who called me weird stupid and lazy. I was sick and tired of hearing the comments from them and hoped high school would be better. Nope.
The high school journalism teacher told me to take another class because I didn’t know how to write and never would. I think I’ll dedicate my next book to her.

I’m so fly, that’s probably why it feels like I’m falling for the first time

Yeah. I’m not fly. I’m probably the anti-fly. Although I do love the Offspring song, Pretty Fly For a White Guy. I do have my moments of fly-ness, though they’re few and far between. Truth be told, I’d rather they be many and constant. I guess I’ll just have to fake being fly for a while–whatever that really means.

There are times that the self-esteem gets so bad that it feels like I’m falling into that pit of despair for the first time and I can’t even begin to tell you how bad that feels. It’s like a narrow well with nothing to grab onto to pull yourself out. That’s why we need a support system to help us out when we fall into that pit of despair.
As much as we want to hold things in and, well, be a man, it’s not logical to do so. If that’s how we’re going to live our lives then we’ll be in that well for a long time. Personally, I’m sick and tired of falling into that well.

I’m so sane, it’s driving me crazy

I’m high-functioning autistic, have had a stroke and am ADD. As my psychologist likes to joke, I’m a certain kind of special. When I think of these lyrics it reminds me that there are times when we as people with mental health issues find that we’re doing good and think we don’t need our medication anymore, but that is one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves.

If we stop taking the medicines that help stabilize us and keep us functioning at a normal level, it will absolutely make us crazy. Trust me. I know about this one from first-hand experience. Actually, a couple of first-hand experiences. If you’re not comfortable on your medication and want to try something more homeopathic, talk to your doctor first. Don’t play Russian roulette with your mental health.

J.R. Reed www/notweirdjustautistic.com sick and tired

When we lose our direction in life, it’s not a map that we need.

What if I lost my direction? What if I lost my sense of time?

Get back with that friend or network of loved ones mentioned earlier, you know, the ones who can pull you out of the well. Let them help you get back on the right path because as much as you want to convince yourself you can do it alone, you cant.

Recently I started taking my own advice and started texting a friend every day who needs a support system as well. It works out great for both of us as we can check in with someone who has an understanding of what the other is going through.

I’m so done, turn me over

That’s it. We’re done. The bottom line is this. You need a support system, even if that system is only one person and you have to do your best to fake it ’til you make it. I personally find that difficult, but I try to do it almost every day. Eventually, it will stick and life will be like walking on sunshine!

Want to keep up with what’s going on at Not Weird Just Autistic?

Enter your email in the upper right-hand corner where it says, “Get new posts by email” and you’ll be one of the first to get the fresh dirt on all this good stuff.

An Asperger’s Guide To Dating Neurotypicals is out and hit #23 on the Amazon Hot New Dating Releases Chart. You can find it on Amazon and Kindle or get an autographed copy for the same price at the J.R. Reed Author website.

Before I go, I belong to a closed Facebook group, Aspergers Life Support, run by some terrific people. There’s a link on the right or you can click on the words in purple. If you have Aspergers or are a loving NT of an Aspie, I definitely suggest asking to join the group. They’re great people and have helped me on many occasions.

Lyrics by Ed Robertson & Steven Page
Photos by Pixabay

Depression Is Deadly.  This 1 Tip Will Blow Your Mind You can't win the fight alone. You need help from a friend

Depression Is Deadly. This 1 Tip Will Blow Your Mind You can't win the fight alone. You need help from a friend

Depression is no joke.  It affects everyone differently and for me, depression completely takes me off my game.  I know I can’t focus to write or do any other work, so I sit around and stress out.  That does no one any good, least of all me. Because of this my health suffers, both mentally and physically.

As much as I want to curl up and go back to bed, hoping I wake up and the depression is gone, it doesn’t work that way.  Depression is an ugly monster that follows you around and torments you whether you’re working, sleeping or just sitting around because you don’t feel like having fun.  If you try to sleep, it just sits on the end of your bed d is right there when you wake up

There are blog posts, magazine articles and books all dedicated to overcoming depression, but there’s one simple trick that I was reminded of last night by my friend Jason Cotton on the weekly Mental Health call I host for Good Men Project.  I tried his idea this morning and I don’t know that it helped, but I know it didn’t hurt.

The idea is this.

 

J.R. Reed www.notweirdjustautistic.com depression

Texting a friend to check in and let them know your mental status is important

Find a friend, family member or loved one (maybe even two) that you trust and check in with them on a daily basis to let them know how you’re doing. It can be face-to-face via phone or text or even an email.

In the case of Jason, it works out great as he’s bi-polar and also needs someone to check in with.  I sent him a quick text this morning asking how he was doing and letting him know that I was feeling a bit blah, but I knew that I could power through it.

I also told him that I’d see him at our local comic book shop tonight where we generally gather on Friday nights to play nerd games.  I’ve written before about each of us having an inner nerd and that we need to let it come out and my type of nerd is a comic book nerd.

It helps to have friends who understand what you’re going through and although Jason is bi-polar whereas I’m high-functioning autistic, we share a lot of the same overlapping traits such as depression and anxiety.  I get a lot of what he’s going through and he gets a lot of what I’m going through.  It’s good to have friends who understand.

Friends are key

When I think of having friends who understand and have your back, I think of the TV show Friends.  Yeah, referencing that show proves how old I am, but it’s not just the show that I think of, it’s the theme song by the Rembrandts.

So no one told you life was gonna be this way
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke
Your love life’s D.O.A
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear
When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month
Or even your year, but
I’ll be there for you
(When the rain starts to pour)
I’ll be there for you
(Like I’ve been there before)
I’ll be there for you
(‘Cause you’re there for me too)
No one could ever know me
No one could ever see me
Seems you’re the only one who knows
What it’s like to be me
Someone to face the day with
Make it through all the rest with
Someone I’ll always laugh with
Even at my worst, I’m best with you, yeah

 

The lyrics hint at a romantic angle to the relationship they’re talking about, but it can just as easily be a friendship like the one I was talking about earlier.  One where you are friends with someone going through similar things as you. Someone you can share your worst with and you know that even if they may not totally get it, they’re still there for you and can identify with your pain.

 

My challenge to you

 

If you’re suffering from any sort of mental illness or other neurological condition, try and find just one friend or loved one who you can check in with and who you can talk to about what you’re going through.  Once you do, you have no clue how much better it will make you feel.

 

Depression is a bully that you can overcome, but only if you want to.

 

Want to keep up with what’s going on at Not Weird Just Autistic? 

Enter your email in the upper right-hand corner where it says, “Get new posts by email” and you’ll be one of the first to get the fresh dirt on all this good stuff.

An Asperger’s Guide To Dating Neurotypicals is out and hit #23 on the Amazon Hot New Dating Releases Chart.  You can find it on Amazon and Kindle or get an autographed copy for the same price at the J.R. Reed Author website.

Before I go, I belong to a closed Facebook group, Aspergers Life Support, run by some terrific people.  There’s a link on the right or you can click on the words in purple.  If you have Aspergers or are a loving NT of an Aspie, I definitely suggest asking to join the group.  They’re great people and have helped me on many occasions.

Songwriters: Michael Jay Skloff / David L Crane / Marta Fran Kauffman / Allee Willis / Philip Ronald Solem / Danny C Wilde

 

Photos courtesy Pixabay

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