‘You’re not that bad’

I remember, that was quite a few years ago, when I was under stress and tried to talk to someone and that’s what I’ve heard: You’re not that bad.

So I asked ‘How do you know?’

‘I can see that’ that person answered.

I don’t remember the situation but I know that happened in the UK but before I realised I’m autistic so I must have been between 30 and 37. I didn’t know what to say to that and was completely puzzled with the fact that someone else knew how I felt better than me, but I didn’t question that. I really believed that if that person could ‘see’ I’m not that bad, but I felt bad, it must have been because I’m just being dramatic. When I think about it now I’m shocked how easy it was for me to use that exchange to gaslight myself.

I’m writing about it now because I don’t know if I’m well enough to continue to work or whether I should go off sick. I’m scared that I’ll go to GP and hear the same thing: You’re not that bad. I can see that.

It is really surprising for me that the fact we, autistics, don’t use body language and face expression to communicate our emotions hardly ever gets mentioned. Normally you only hear about us not being able to read nonverbal signals, and that’s again gets taken too directly because we can read some of them. I can usually read expressions that ‘fit’ the situation, so for example if I know that someone may be surprised by seeing me I will be able to read from their face if they are indeed surprised or not. But if the face expression doesn’t ‘fit’ the situation, like for example I expect someone to be angry but they will be surprised, I won’t be able to read it, I’ll just be confused.

The problem with me feeling confused is that when I feel like that I can’t even ask questions about what is happening so there is no way I can end the confusion. I need to go home and think about the situation for a couple of hours and only then I can come up with alternative explanation and possible questions that I could ask to clarify things.

Those are the situations that make me feel like I really am disabled and I get to feel really hopeless about myself.

Anyway, I’m digressing I suppose. I only wanted to talk about the fact that I don’t know if I should go off sick or not. And that I’m worried that if I talk about it with GP I may not be taken seriously enough. I will then have someone else opinion to take into consideration and it will become more important than my own opinion about my mental health.

What I’m also confused about is that I don’t really think about my mum. I thought that grieving will mean that I will, when in fact I’m just sad. That then confuses me because I end up thinking that maybe I’m not grieving, maybe I’m just emotionally f***ed up?

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