If for a moment, you could step into my snow globe, I would draw up a log for you beside the fire, I’d put on the kettle and offer you tea. That is the polite way of doing things. That is the proper way to treat a guest. Of course, it is impossible, the point of my snow globe is that nobody else can enter it. Even if you could, depending on the day there is a high chance that I would hide myself away in the woods and wait for you to leave. I am not adept at doing things properly. If it bothered me less then that fact alone would matter very little. Yet, much like not being purple bothers me, not doing things properly bothers me. My attention fixates not on what is but on what isn’t.
At this point I intend to rant as I stomp through the wooded part of my snow globe and leave the safety of the path far behind. Skim with glazed eyes to the footnotes if you wish.
I don’t do people. Anyone who has known me longer than an hour or two will quite likely have heard those very words. I don’t understand body language. I don’t know what my own face is doing much of the time and I have next to no control over my tone of voice. I misinterpret things. I work on the premise that other people are false and don’t say what they mean. It’s automatic. Crowds are stressful. Loud noises too. The two in combination are almost unbearable.
Even so I am not properly autistic. I may have forced my put-upon family to read Thomas the Tank Engine cover to cover until the binding wore out, but I don’t do obsession to the highest degree. I don’t have every tiny detail committed to memory. I don’t spend hours fixated on one particular thing. Maybe I did once, but not anymore. I’ve lost that single pointed focus. I’ve lost that need to chip away at a topic until I’ve got right to the core of it. Far from focusing on details, details make me feel as though I’m drowning.
I’m terrible at sticking to routines. For a while I will but then somewhere a crack will appear and gradually widen until everything that was part of the routine falls through it and I’m once again lost. I make rules then ignore them. I’m not autistic. There are too many bits missing.
I’m not anorexic. It doesn’t matter that I’m underweight. It doesn’t matter that my periods stopped months ago. It doesn’t matter that the idea of putting on weight is horrific. It doesn’t matter that in the mirror all I see is the excess flesh. I am not anorexic because I binge. When I say binge I don’t mean two digestives, I mean the whole packet and then some. My default is to eat rather than not to. My mind switches off. Blanks out. Goes ‘fine then screw it, eat all you want.’ It doesn’t matter that I hate myself afterwards. I don’t purge. I don’t exercise and burn everything off because I’m too lazy. Because my brain switches into numb and lethargic rather than anxious and active. The only time I’m not anxious when I’m eating is when I binge. I don’t do eating disordered properly.
I’m not depressed.
At this point I have picked up a long stick from the ground and, much as my brothers did as children, am thwacking at stinging nettles with it. Oh yes, talk my way out of that one.
I’m not depressed because I smile. I’m not depressed because even at my lowest a laugh or a happy face or a momentary engagement in conversation happened every day. I’m not depressed because I always wanted to hope that tomorrow would be better. I’m not depressed because I try to be positive around other people. I don’t do depression properly because I can’t cut deep enough. Because when it came to it I couldn’t keep the pills down. I never did depression properly because there has always been a part of me that has wanted to get out of it.
What makes me so special? What is so special about me that I can lie around all day in my own filth eating uncontrollably and doing nothing? What is so special about me that I can run away from responsibilities because I feel like I’m drowning? Would I drown if I stayed and saw things through? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Perhaps I’d learn to swim. Is there a choice? See, here is the fear. Here is my biggest fear. Maybe that’s what makes me so special. There is a choice, but why choose what’s right when I can choose what’s easy?
I can do mad. But not properly.