Today is National Suicide Prevention Day. With that being said, my feature post talks about autism and suicide, so be warned. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, help is out there. Reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
A recent story stated that 66 percent of newly diagnosed adults with Asperger’s syndrome contemplate suicide.
Let’s think about that for a moment.
Amidst all of the concerns about the numbers, I found an article that has really good ideas about why we contemplate suicide.
I officially received my autism diagnosis at 14. And for me, the suicidal thoughts come because I feel like a burden. And I’ve always felt that way. My first suicidal thought was when I was 10.
Mostly, I thought of a plan of completing a suicide, but have used it as a device to be a attention grabber. There were a few moments that were grappling, such as jumping out on a four lane highway out of a family members car for attention and wanting to be ran over by a tractor trailer, this was after a very bad day, nonetheless the grace of God and the sound of distant sirens got me away from that situation.
It’s easy to think, I’m the problem. I can think of so many people in my past who made me feel like I wasn’t worth their time. I can think of situations in the present that I’m not prepared for mentally. Sometimes, those make me think I want to take some kind of action like that. I understand this to be a chemical imbalance, but a lot of people don’t.
I’ve acted in ways during meltdowns that’ve made suicide seem like a viable option in my mind. I’ve had short thoughts like, just jump, do it, quick, and long thoughts: Does life insurance pay out if it’s obvious you killed yourself?
I learned early, though, that suicide is never the answer. I saw the effects that taking your own life has on loved ones on TV, and I reasoned that if so many shows posed the experience as, “How could so-and-so be so selfish?” then that must be how suicide is viewed — as a selfish act. I decided to never put my family through that. While I know now that suicidal ideation is a symptom of a larger problem, I’m glad I learned this lesson early.
Every single time the thought has crossed my mind, I’ve conquered it — to the point where it’s just a “helpful” reminder that I’m still alive and thriving in some ways. Particularly in the way of surviving myself. I refuse to allow myself to self-sabotage. Basically, I just think about everything twice before I do it, then I think of the most probable outcome. This has led me to be successful for someone of my disabilities.
Our brains and subconscious work differently than others , and our thought process involves word processing in lieu of subtle cues. The conversational problems involved with this type of thinking can lead to semantical disagreements and misunderstandings.
We desire connection, probably more so than those not on the spectrum, and the anxiety of confusion often causes us to be misconstrued as maybe aggressive, annoying, or intentionally confusing. (Side note: Sometimes we can be interpreted as funny.
Self-esteem is based off of what you think of yourself. If you derive your self-worth by what others think of you, it will be forever dependent on your behavior. This means that when other people judge you negatively for having a meltdown, you’ll feel bad about yourself. You’ll feel terrible about yourself for something you can’t control. What sense does that make?
By accepting yourself, you’re letting go of the illusion that you can psychologically control a neurological problem.
For me, I have accepted myself as being autistic, always have, always will. Its just that times things don’t go my way or I don’t want to do something other than what my narrow attention span is honed in on at that very moment, thus the autistic traits. Therefore, I use ideations as a attention grabber to those that I am close to and I know I will 90% will not carry these thoughts out, however I know I need to work on this when in my comfort zone and make a positive learning environment for everyone I am currently residing with.
It is stated in the studies that many autistics camouflage or mask their true selves to fit in. I have to vehemently admit that I do this quite often outside my residence, so when I am in my comfort zone, that is what I am feeling at the moment, and I need my space and to take a breather and be alone and just chill out and regroup. The fact is, we want to fit in and oftentimes we want to fit in so much and be accepted but we don’t realize that in turn it is a detriment to our mental health as a result of the excessive masking and wanting to be a part of something,
In addition to suicide, this week I read online that others pass due to illegal substances or assault just to “fit in.” This is a shame! We as a autistic community need to do more to reach out to others. We need more opportunities so that while the spectrum is a wide array, it needs to have just that a wide array of opportunities for individuals to socialize and be a part of something that they feel good about.
Don’t give up! Life’s worth living! Reach out if you need to, if you know someone struggling, reach out to see if they are OK or there’s something that you can do for them.