As I stated in a previous blog post, depression is one of the many things a person on the Spectrum endures in their life. It can be onset by a lot of things, but the main cause for mine is the thought of being alone and never really able to do much about it because with every social situation can bring unnerving anxiety. For most of the years growing up and college I wanted to share what I was feeling but had always been to nervous to post or talk about what I was feeling due to what actions the people that heard/saw this would do knowing how I was feeling.
To combat some of these thoughts, late at night I would write down how I felt, only to erase/throw it away a day or two later. Well for some reason about two years ago I wrote something down on a piece of paper. However instead of throwing it away or erasing it, I typed it up.
I named this piece "Man in a Cage". It was how I was feeling towards my "disorder" at the time and thought it explains how some might feel that are dealing with this "disorder".
"Man in a Cage"
There is a man in a cage in the center of town. He has been there since he was born. He has no clue why he is there, just that he can’t seem to escape. He sees people walk past him, yet no one tries to help. They just see him as nothing more than a man in a cage and don’t seem to care why he is there. The years roll by and he meets some people who try to help him, but the cage is so complex that they cannot quite figure out how to completely set him free. To no fault of these people, they have to go and live their lives and the man understands. The man meets some people by pure curiosity, but since he’s been in this cage his whole life he tends to scare them away without ever really trying to. He comes to a point in his life that he really does not mind the cage. Instead of trying to get out he only hopes for a companion of sorts so that he can at least think he is free. But as the years roll by, it gets harder and harder to just sit in the cage watching the people pass by all the time.
I think it is plenty self-explanatory. However, in case it may not make sense. I am the man. The cage is this "disorder" that "traps" me from society, but keeping me in the middle of society. The people that try to help are my friends and family, who due to their own lives and obligations can not stay by me through my whole life trying to help me out constantly. The scaring people away is that being on the Spectrum, I do not always "fit" in and can seem awkward and creepy to a lot of people and thus keep people at a arms length not knowing how to deal with me. Lastly, the companion would be someone who I could have a long lasting devoted relationship with to share along in this life.
This is by far not my current view on my situation, but I just thought I share how it feels sometimes for me when I get down.
Lastly I want those who are on the Spectrum reading this and can relate, please speak to someone how you feel. It is not uncommon to feel this way with the way you are and just closing up and not talking to anyone just makes it worse. The more you share about yourself to others, the better they can help you in your journey we call life.
Mark Fleming- Person on the Autism Spectrum