Back on the autism/ depression merry-go-round

Cheer up and dry your damp eyes

And tell me when it rains

And I’ll blend up that rainbow above you

And shoot it through your veins

‘Cause your heart has a lack of colour

And we should’ve known

That we’d grow up sooner or later 

‘Cause we wasted all our free time alone

– ‘Rainbow Veins’ by Owl City

A quick update.  Lately I’ve been thinking once again about whether I may be on the autism spectrum. A classmate recently confided to me that she was recently diagnosed with autism, and I see a lot of similarities in us/ in the way we interact. So many of the female features fit so well with my experiences, though I wouldn’t say I have any of the stereotypical behaviours usually seen in autism. It would explain A LOT, though I’m not 100% convinced. Either way, I very much doubt I would be allowed to be re-tested again (after having been assessed for autism twice previously). Sometimes I just feel like some bizarre Aspie-Neurotypical hybrid who can’t relate to anyone. Even if I could be assessed again, I’m not sure the results would be any more conclusive than they were the last time.

The thing is, I usually only tend to wonder if I’m autistic when I’m depressed. I’m not sure if I’m depressed because my social skills are so poor or if my social skills are so poor because I’m depressed. I’m a mess lately. I’m crying myself to sleep, getting very little sleep, and binge eating. I feel like I don’t belong on my course because all of my classmates seem to have insightful and interesting views and knowledge to share, and I have nothing intelligent to say. I can’t concentrate and I can’t think straight. My future seems fairly hopeless. And I know it’s ridiculous because on paper, my life looks great. But I feel so hollow and useless. Depression 1 – Raven 0.

I’d say depression is definitely my biggest problem these days. It’s not that anxiety doesn’t still make life extremely difficult much of the time; it’s just that I seem to be better at dealing with that than with depression. I mean, I’ve certainly been a mess at times during my course with anxiety, especially before the presentations (in fact, that was probably the worst my anxiety has been in years), but at least that was shorter-lived. I’m only mildly-moderately depressed right now, and this has only been going on for about 4 weeks now, but I can’t take it. I’m sitting here writing this at 1am when I need to be up at 6 because I kept crying for 2 hours and couldn’t sleep. And this is better than lying alone in the dark with nothing to distract me from my thoughts. You cannot comprehend how much I hate myself. I always do but I hate myself even more intensely right now. I cannot stand myself. And I’m convinced that everyone else hates me too. Just for existing.

I was messaging the classmate I mentioned above the other day about mental health related stuff, and she suggested that I’m probably still experiencing these intense feelings of self-hatred because of the bullying and other stuff that happened to me when I was younger. I think she’s spot on. The main problem with this though, and I can’t remember if I mentioned this before, is that CMHT have effectively abandoned me. They won’t allow me to be referred back to them, as I discovered a year and a bit ago when I was going through a rough patch and went to my GP to see about being referred back. This is fine with me because quite frankly CMHT did f*** all to help me in the 2 years or so that I attended their appointments. But I feel that if they aren’t going to help me, they should at the very least point me in the direction of somewhere that CAN. I asked the GP, “Well what happens if I become suicidal again then?” Her reply: “Well you can get in touch with us and see what we can do”. Oh, you mean like tell me my mental health problems are due to me being pathetic and not just getting over it (and on one occasion very reluctantly prescribing me an SSRI) like you’ve done almost every single time I’ve been about something mental health related before? I can’t wait! It’s no wonder so many people totally lose faith in the mental health services in this country. They are a disgrace. Can you imagine if we treated physical health problems in the same way?

Patient: “I’ve discovered a lump and I’m worried it’s cancer”

Health services: “Okay, well we’ll put you on the waiting list but it’s looking like about 13 weeks or more at the moment”

Patient: “…But I’m worried it’s cancer. It could get even more serious if I wait that long to see someone.”

Health services: “Well unfortunately that’s all I can offer you. *Hands the patient a leaflet on making healthier lifestyle changes*

Patient: “I’ve got a heart condition and I’d like to see a specialist”

Health services: “It actually looks like we had appointments with you over the course of 2 years a few years ago, so I don’t think there’s anything else we can do to help you”.

Patient: “Yes but it’s getting worse. I had a heart attack last month”.

Health services: “Well unless you’re having a heart attack at the moment I’m afraid we can’t help you. I’m sure you’ve learned enough by now that you can manage on your own”.

A counsellor at my university recently made me aware of a private therapy practice that accepts donations, and I’ve been put on the waiting list, but they only do talking therapy there. While it helps me slightly in the short-term, it doesn’t change anything because it doesn’t get to the core of my problems. I’ll give it a go, but it seems that unless you can afford upwards of £75 an hour for private CBT/ psychotherapy, the help out there isn’t great. And who CAN afford £75 per session? Even if I managed to get a job in the ecology/ conservation sector after graduating and saved up for a few years, I’d probably still be struggling to afford the number of appointments that I’d need to make real progress. It’s not exactly a sector you go into to make a lot of money. But what enrages me all the more is that people who are long-term unemployed due to mental health problems would NEVER be able to afford this. The system fails those who need it the most.

I don’t know where I’m going with this post. I suppose I just needed to vent and to get some of these thoughts out of my mind. I should probably go to bed now.


Me walking into my 9am tomorrow today

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3 Responses to Back on the autism/ depression merry-go-round

  1. klodo says:

    I find that almost all the people who said therapy was great had to go to more than one before they found someone they liked and so pay private and as you say its way too expensive for people who need it the most. I think I read that someone had over 24 sessions before they got better whereas the NHS offers you 6-12 at best and my city apparently has the longest waiting list in the UK.

    • Gemma says:

      I’m sorry for how ridiculously late this reply is. I think the key thing with therapy is finding a therapist/ psychologist that you get on with and can be open with, which is obviously a challenge for people with SA/ autism in particular. The number of mental health professionals I’ve seen over the years is probably well into double figures and probably only 3 of those people had any understanding of just how bad my anxiety was/ how it affects me. The number of sessions the NHS offers are woefully inadequate for just about anyone with mental health problems, in my opinion. Especially as most people have been suffering for years before they seek help. The NHS mental health services in the UK are utterly broken and things need to change.

      • klodo says:

        Thats OK about the late reply, Yes its shit in the NHS now. My city apparently has the longest waiting times in the whole UK. Some people on the anxiety forum were basically told to just go away as there was nothing else when they said they did not get on with or like their therapist on the NHS so going private is the only other option. Its just that everyone who talks about mental health nowadays says go and get help like there is lots of it out there and its easy to do.

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