Monday, my first day where I will go back to work post my 2 weeks in a Psychiatric Hospital.
I shower and get dressed in my black company-branded golf shirt, my favorite pair of jeans and my trusted black Salomon trainers. I have breakfast with my daughter and head off to the office in my Land Rover Freelander 2.
I am cautiously optimistic about what they might say:
- Will they be glad to see me?
- Will they understand?
- Will they see the reason why everything happened?
- Will they take pity on me?
- Will they judge me?
- Will they support me?
- Will they fire me?
I park my vehicle and enter the main building. I walk straight to my office and start typing an e-mail:
It came out that I have a rather high IQ, and started to develop my own Theory of Mind from a very young age when I noticed that I didn’t fit in. It was my coping mechanism for my survival. I would study human behavior and emulate the behavior of others in social interactions in order to fit in. I would learn to memorize various acceptable responses to millions of social ques that others were sending in order to map the correct response in each situation. I managed to create a public persona over the past 3 decades in order to live my interesting life. However, this public persona started to drift away from my own personality. I also started to ignore ego-states that were detrimental, malevolent or hampering my social standing and success. This caused these ego-states to dissociate from my personality, be destructive and almost form their own personality. They started surfacing when I consumed alcohol. I started losing the ability to recall certain memories over the past couple of months, and I was about to split up into various personalities and ego-states.– Me on my first day back at the Office
The battle for control between my public persona, the good me and the bad others in me ended up with an attempt on my life by myself?!
Apparently, people with similar symptoms to mine don’t often make it past 15 years of age and die by suicide.
It is astounding that I have made it this far in life without ever being diagnosed or without any medication.
My intellect and creativity helped me in laymen terms to recognise that I was different and figure out quickly which skills I needed to function as a human. It also assisted me in using my afflictions to my advantage.
My ADHD assisted to help me pick up multitudes of social cues and map them to acceptable behaviour patterns. It also kept my serotonin and dopamine levels in check by figuring out how to self-regulate and top-up these chemicals in my brain until I couldn’t anymore.
My Obsessive-Compulsive disorder helped me with understanding order and hierarchical structures and using them to my advantage in order to reach high levels of accomplishment.
My depression gave me the darkness and hopelessness to activate my fighting spirit which I used to slay all these dragons. Again, I just thought life was one big adventure! Never knew others didn’t have it this bad…
My left and right hemispheres are both dominant. I am as analytical as I am creative. This probably saved my life!
I am extremely relieved that I am sitting here typing this post to you, where there is life there is hope.
I am thankful that I have answers to questions I have been asking since childhood.
I am not a danger to myself or others. I am now only one person and a better version of me.
I am on chronic medication for:
- ADHD so that I can focus at work.
- Anti-depressants to regulate the serotonin in my brain.
- Anti-psychotic mood stabilizers to regulate the dopamine in my brain.
I am in therapy to reintegrate all the ego-states into my one personality.
I am high functioning with Autism (previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome) so I can cope with a healthy balanced life.
I am not allowed to have alcohol ever again.
I have a scar on my wrist that might freak people out, but I am comfortable to explain the significance.
I have mental illness and I have received help.
I am okay.
This is the beginning of a whole new adventure!
‘To know oneself is to study oneself in action with others’– Bruce Lee
The e-mail was sent to all our Group Directors. I wait for the backlash but nothing happens. 5 minutes pass and still, nothing happens. I hear a knock on the door, first person to see me face to face, my direct superior enters my office.
I start explaining everything in a calm and controlled manner. I realize that being on the spectrum have impacted my entire career: I can feel the anxiety (now I know to call it that :)), I can feel my hands shaking, I can feel my body rocking slightly (stimming), I realize I don’t make eye contact, I realize I shouldn’t make too much eye contact – it freaks people out!
I can hear that the tone in my voice hardly fluctuates, oops, I forgot to mimic normal people and their speech patterns, dammit! I’m losing it, I’m not the same chameleon I used to be… My masking techniques seems to be forgotten, I feel flustered, and rushed and forced and uncomfortable. I feel out of breath!!!
I see my Manager just sits and listens and I decide WAIT….
Close your eyes.
Compose yourself, you can do this.
I calm down, open my eyes, look at my Manager and say: ‘I am still getting used to the new me, I’m sorry. The old Me does not exist anymore and I tried to bring him back to life just now but its just not possible.’.
He smiles and says: ‘Take your time, I just came here to welcome you back and to see that you are okay. We are glad you are here and we’ve got your back. Take your time to settle in and let me know if you need anything’.
He gets up and leaves my office. I just sit and run the episode through my mind again. Did I freak him out? Did I freak ME out?!
I decide to let my subconscious figure it out and I open up my laptop, log in and start going through my e-mails.
And I exhale….thinking: ‘You’ve got this…’
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