The last week has been torturous for me. After coming so far with fighting depression and trying to lead a happier stable life, I have found myself falling behind. It’s odd because I can now read myself a lot easier and can see the tell tale signs of depression trying to get in the way. I now know the reason I have been feeling like a complete mess and it’s down to a side effect of a pill I take. So I will be making changes now rather than shy away from seeing my doctor I will get to the bottom of it.
I used to find that in these dark depressive times my creative buzz but, lately it’s been the opposite. Today’s post is based on the subject of Empathy which pops up a lot when discussing Autism. Many believe that people with Autism are unable to feel empathy at all. I personally have found that we are all so different within the spectrum. Some of us can empathise with people and some really are unable to.
I have never really been open with people about empathy and how it bothers me. It was only the other day whilst in deep conversation with a close friend that I told her how I actually struggle with empathy and always have. So today I will be very open with you all and talk you through my experiences with empathy and how it effects me.
When I was a toddler I was obsessed with animals. I always wanted to be a vet just so I could be around them all the time. I remember feeling genuine heartache over a dying animal on the TV, but when it was a human I just couldn’t feel anything. I didn’t even realise it wasn’t classed as not normal until my teenage years.
It was only when I reached junior and secondary school I really picked up the ‘rules’ and what was acceptable and what was not. I never really cared about anyone around me, only my dog which sounds selfish but as many know Aspies can be very self centred. I remember hearing about friends relatives passing away and not feeling a thing. I would sit and comfort them but never really felt any different.
It was in secondary school when I really had to pretend. I had friends cry to me with their problems and I still couldn’t empathise. If a friend was upset and felt really low I couldn’t feel that way. I was still bouncy and hyper on the inside. If anything I felt annoyed that I had to pretend to understand or care as it is very draining wearing a mask all the time. Now, this all sounds very harsh but this is the harsh reality of how Aspies can be. Even after hearing my grandfather had passed away and seeing my own mother in tears everyday was hard for me. I would hug her and tell her I was there for her but I couldn’t feel upset or sad. Within hours I would be my normal loud self, repeatedly belting out some echolalia whilst my mother was still feeling sad.
On the TV you see a child go missing…. I am unable to think of that family or the poor child but, if it’s a missing dog, I find myself feeling very sad and wanting to find that dog. One thing I do find myself empathising with is poverty and disability. It’s always made me very sad to see people suffer this way. It’s very hard to explain to people without Autism that I struggle to care sometimes. Over the years of pretending I noticed a lot of my depression is from acting over the years. Trying so hard to be normal and accepted.
Just because I find it hard to empathise with people it does not mean I do not care about those close to me. If anything over the years I have found myself opening up to those I feel accept me as I am and genuinely caring about them and their life. It’s been tough trying to explain to some people the empathy issue as many don’t take too well to it, hearing it’s something I lack. I mean is it ‘normal’ to care more about an animal than a human?
This post is very to the point, just how I intend it to be. Just because I lack empathy in ways does not mean every Aspie does. We are all different even though we have similarities in other ways. I will probably do a second part to this post as there is quite a lot of stuff I haven’t covered yet but I will get round to it eventually! If there is anything you would like to ask, please feel free to comment below.