Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Who am I?

Am I a sum of my parts, greater than the whole; a deluded automaton in a predetermined universe, a firefly fluttering against the march of the universe; a trapped observer, or participant, in a hostile environment; a small child; or old man?

This was to be a post on my observations about identity and memory. It emerges from personal emotional problems for which I can find no resolution, and so becomes a more encompassing prostration of my being.

I am incomplete. This absence consumes me from within as if it were a raging black hole, and I helpless to stop it as I linger futilely on the event horizon called 'the moment' yet identified as life. But to define the aching need requires the context from which it draws. What is a hole but an absence of substance. So who am I?


We all recognise ourselves. We awake to the acknowledgement that it is an 'I' who has awoken. But from where comes this certainty? I would suggest that it is an accumulation of our memories and experiences that we hold on 'the moment' and defines us.

If we were to awake (as sadly there are some who do) with no memory at all, a clean slate, would we still be the same person we were the day before? Or does the 'I' we perceive create itself in that instant from the previous information? If this were so, then we are nothing but what our memory informs us to be.

This is an old and complex question that has vexed mankind for millennia and I am no more able to answer it than the great minds of the past, but what I can do is explore who 'I' am myself, to see if I can answer my question "Why must I endure?".

To begin this odyssey of self exploration, it seems reasonable to begin with my memory. As you may already know, if you have read earlier posts, I have come to realise that how my memory functions is radically different from the norm. I felt isolated and alone at this revelation, but have since come to realise that I am not a deviant of nature, but neurally diverse along with many others. My memory type even has its own labels.

Let me first explain, I have a form of synaesthesia called spatial sequence, or time-space. It is believed to be rare, but I doubt it. Just as my memory type felt unique, so too I imagine my synaesthesia. But what does this mean, and how does it impact my memory?

I have a hyperthymesic memory, sometimes called eidetic or photographic. What this means in practice is that everything about which I interact is recorded, and in great detail. Now there are variations of this as seen in some savants and others, as seen where mentioning any date results in the hyperthymesic instantly recalling the day of the week, weather, etc. Sadly I am more of the run of the mill type: I can't locate a memory using a marker as described, which makes me useless with remembering what day it is, tasks to do, and names. Instead, if something happens which correlates to a previous experience, then whether I like it or not, I experience it again from that original perspective.

Additionally, if I need to recall something, I need to 'rewind' until I 'see' the relevant thing. So if I see a face in the street that I recognise but who is unknown to me at that instant, I just can't 'recall where I have seen them before' but instead need to replay everything until I come across the face in a previous 'moment'. So if I had seen the face recently, then no worries. But if it hadn't been for a year for example, it would take me months to rewind to that point. In this regard, it could be said that I suffer from Developmental prosopagnosia or face blindness (which given I was a teacher was an extreme handicap for me).

So how does my synaesthesia interact with my hyperthymesia? It appears (at least to me) to be a fundamental part. Effectively, I see time in space.


This is very hard to describe, so apologies if it becomes incomprehensible. Hopefully, there are others out there who recognise what I am trying to describe within themselves, and maybe they can help inform. I can only describe my experience, and hope that it makes sense.

Firstly, time does not exist. As radical as this might sound, it is apparent not only to me, and those with my type of brain, but to everyone. I won't go into explaining it here, but may in another post. Suffice to say that I exist only now, and always. That is that I have no past nor future, everything is now. What I do have is a growing collection of experiences, which are manifest as changes to my circumstances, be it aging or writing this.

As such, I exist in a 'reality' that is multi-layered rather than sequential. For 50 years I knew no different and assumed this was the norm. I now recognise that most people view time as an arrow, with the past stretching behind them and the future ahead of them (or similar analogies) as if on a train track.

For me I am experiencing everything at once, and it is overwhelming. This may be connected to my autism, I don't know (all these areas are nascent in understanding) but it has taken a lifetime to learn how to deal with this 'reality'. So as soon as something triggers a previous experience, outside of my control I find myself back 'then' as well as 'now'. Don't misunderstand me, I am not describing re-living a memory from a current perspective, it is more like I have seen in regressional hypnotherapy where the hypnotised person can reenact an event while simultaneously speaking to the practitioner.

So what does 'time' look like to me? It is hard to describe, but it is something like a giant bicycle wheel, with me at the centre with the spokes emerging out of my torso. between each spoke, along the rim, is an event, with each following spoke being a split second after. The wheel rotates and is also endless, in that I can't see what is behind me but can see everything to-date experienced now as then. But I am not 'watching' the event on the rim happen, I am instead drawn into it as the person I was at the time. So I am not 'remembering' nor 're-living' the event, but almost as if I have time travelled back to that moment, and doomed to experience it as I once did.

I don't know if any of this makes sense to anyone else, especially as it is more complex. For example, I can move my arms in real space and 'turn' the wheel around me. it may be more accurate to describe it as a giant pizza with me at the centre with each event running down the pizza piece, from me to the edge and beyond, with an overlapping event running down beside it. And I am drawn along each event from me to beyond the edge as well as rotating around the pizza.

If you're still with me, it expands further. So far I have described it in 2 dimensions. This is inaccurate since as well as moving backwards and forwards through an event and left and right through overlapping events, I can also climb up and down. The effect is more like a bucky ball, or being in one of those giant transparent zorbing balls people get inside and roll, though in mine, I stay still buts the three-dimentional pizza rotates around a single point somewhere in my stomach.

I know this sounds fantastical, even if you can understand it, but this is all I have known my entire life and is not only perfectly normal to me, but is how I interact with the world. This for me is 'reality'. However, I came to realise that not everyone's reality is the same as mine. So my only conclusion is that all of our 'realities' are in fact illusory. What remains is whom we perceive ourselves to be, in relation to our experiences in whatever reality we exist in. So in order to understand who I am and what is the point of my being here, I need to explore what is left after dismissing 'reality' and seeing 'who' or 'what' is experiencing change, and recalling it as memories.

This is an even bigger question than that which I began this blog, so to allow you to cogitate or assimilate what I have begun here, I will continue this exploration in part two.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Part 3 - What has it all been for?

Drowning, not sinking. This is where I find myself today. Parts One and Two may describe my futile grasping at the sides of the great aspie cavern as I plummet, weighed down by abuse and being taken advantage of, but at long last my journey is at an end. Final moments, or a final gasp of air before the ripples obliterate my ever having lived?

Some of you (if indeed anyone has had the stamina or the will to continue reading) may be thinking that this confession-trilogy is just self-seeking, self-pitying, petty lashing out et al, but you would be wrong. My only purpose of writing this is to explain why I find myself here, and to unburden what I have been carrying on my too weary shoulders, hidden due to how my autism was 'treated' as a child. But what of here and now... where I find myself today, sitting at the keyboard, typing what might be my last words? Be warned, it is a long, and painful (and painfully embarassing) record.

I honestly do not know how this final section will end. It isn't pre-planned... I am just letting go as I type to see where it takes me. I have nothing left, and can see no future. You may prefer to stop reading now, especially if you are/were part of my life.

So how does this 'symphony in three' parts conclude? Let's talk about sex.

Now this is no easy topic. It isn't gratuitous and is somewhat pathetic, but as with many in life (and I suspect true of other aspies) it is important in the specific, as well in a relationship. So where to start? What the heck, I may as well open myself for the whole shebang...

I don't know if I am typical or atypical, within the autistic cohort, when it comes to things sex related, but for me it has always been a very personal thing. If opening up myself to the world was hard enough, then sex would be the ultimate act of trust, love, faith and sacrifice.

I suggest you stop reading now unless you have a strong stomach or are into schadenfreude.

As you will recall from earlier, my first consummation of love with my wife (as well as being my first time) was a disaster that hit me deeply. But it was moreso crushing because this had not been the first time I had laid myself vulnerable to one I loved. The time described happened when I was twenty, but my first encounter with humiliation and pain was several years earlier. While at school I began a relationship with a girl. Now this was unusual given my autism and upbringing, but despite all these obstacles the relationship grew closer and closer... to a point where I allowed myself to become vulnerable for the first time. We were young, and obviously sexually charged, but we chose not to have sex "until the right time"... heck, we never even kissed open mouthed. Sounds cute? An "ahh bless" moment? Well it would've been had it not been for her having her first time (and more) with my brother behind my back. As you can imagine, this did nothing for my self-esteem, and feeling so betrayed, I was unable to trust any person ever again, let alone consider ever having sex.

But this wasn't the last time I was crushed. Years later, at the start of university, I entered another relationship. I was taking it carefully. Again, I found myself in a loving but asexual relationship. And yes, kissing was verboten. No matter how passionate we became, she always backed out at the last moment and I did not push it. I had too much respect. I was content (yet frustrated) to take things slowly as that was what she wanted. I told myself "one day she would be ready to kiss, and then touch etc.". What I did not expect, was to return to my flat early from a stint at the radio station to walk in on her and a man busy playing hide the sausage. What were the odds? My only two relationships where I felt safe enough to lay myself open, and both cheated on me, while feigning asexuality. Of course, due to my conditioning, I saw no coincidence but only saw that it was something about me that while happy to be in a relationship with me, when it came to anything sexual they were repulsed. And while I had thought that maybe they weren't interested in sex (especially as that was what they told me), it turns out they were very into sex...just not with me. Ergo, it was my being repulsive (it won't surprise you to learn that this truism has not been dispelled even today).

By now you will probably realise how crushing was the laughter from my wife, but I stuck with it... after all it couldn't happen again, right?

At first I thought that this was the real thing. Yes, she too wasn't into sex...but again I believed her (another aspie trait). And so began our 32+ year relationship. In the beginning it felt right... we were friends if not lovers. She earned money for herself, and I gave her mine, as we were a couple. After about eight years she said she was ready. She went on the pill and I finally lost my virginity (yes, I know how pathetic that sounds). I would be lying if I said it was worth waiting for. In fact, all she was interested in was me ejaculating inside her and nothing else. It was wank wank on my own, push once to cum then pull out, followed by her pulling away/pushing me away.

This made me feel like shit. And naturally I blamed myself. Surprisingly, she later told me that despite being on the pill, she was now pregnant. Wow! I never knew that I was so potent.

So we had our first child. He wasn't a sleeper...pretty hyper in fact. And to help my wife, I took on all the nappy duties (as she couldn't bear the smell) and the night shifts, as well as the feeds and the to-ing and fro-ing. I was able to devote my energies to him, giving my money to my wife to take care of the finances. Sex didn't come up again until two years later when she suddenly declared that our son shouldn't be an only child and needed a sibling. I was happy with this, though her attitude to our next offspring made me uncomfortable: it felt that she didn't want another child to grow our family, but only as another object for our son. Despite my misgivings (which expectedly gave way to feelings of inadequacies) we again copulated. As unpleasant as it was before, my 'super-sperm' were on the ball again and it only took once for her to get pregnant. This was lucky, as that was the last time that we ever had penetrative sex again.

Now during this second pregnancy, my wife's behaviour changed. She became recognisably nasty towards me, and cruel. I won't botther you with the details as this has already become a magnum opus, but I assumed that it wasn't me (as she was now behaving as if our entire relationship had been a lie) and that it was probably related to the pregnancy. But when our daughter was born, the first words my wife said to me were "I want a divorce but not until both children finish uni. We are to live as a happy family to give them stability then as soon as they fly the nest I'm leaving you". I assumed it was the PND talking, so I tried my best to be supportive...which turned out to mean hand over all my money, look after the kids, and leave her alone. All the while she bullied, humiliated, and controlled me. She did not mention the divorce again so I put it down to the post-natal blues.

So now we find ourselves in 2006 with me cutting my arms as I sat in a hot bath, but thinking about these same children, I stopped myself. No-one knew how low I had got, nor what I was about to do, so I decided to keep going, despite my disability and tragedies, to put up with being that 'victim in an abusive relationship'. After all, as my wife constantly reminded me, no-one would believe me as I was a 6'2 strong man, while she was a 'weak' 5'0 woman. I had no choice but to continue for the sake of the children, knowing full well that none of this was known to them. As far as they knew, their mother was the centre of their lives and I was a "useless and pathetic father that she heroically supported".

But this was even harder than I thought. My 'undiagnosed neurological condition with the symptoms of MS' continued to worsen, including loss of memory and bowel function, with bouts of paraplegia. What remained constant throughout was the neuropathic pain and spasms. My chronic depression escalated and developed into full blown clinical depression. And all this time I was alone... unable to talk to the only person I had (erroneously) felt safe with, nor my children (for fear of shattering their lives which was already fragile due to seeing my heath decline). More than once did I try to kill myself, only to find the thought of my children enough to stay my hand. But this all changed eighteen months ago.


In an attempt to drag myself out of this suicidal cycle, I realised that I needed to get some time to myself, away from the horror of my home life. So I joined Mensa (they had invited me 40 years previously due to my 'uber-intelligence'...though as you have read, intelligence means didly squat when it comes to autism and relationships). It was through this that I indirectly discovered that I was Aspergic/high-functioning Autistic. Both knowing this, and being in Mensa, did actually help. Though still depressed and abused at home, I was able to function again. It was at Mensa where I came across a young woman who was in trouble. She was suicidal but reaching out via Mensa. I and several others detected this and tried to help her, but she vanished as suddenly as she had appeared. Fearing the worse, we tried to find her and alert her parents. In the end I informed the police who were able to track her down and she survived. I have to admit, this did me some good, and helped somewhat to deal with my guilt over the loss of my pupil's life a few years earlier.

Buoyed by this new optimism, I picked up a pencil again and started to draw. Before long I was exploring painting again, and was even going to have my first 'proper' exhibition. Though my depression remained a continual companion, I was able to push it to the background by keeping busy. It was during this time that the young woman I had helped reappeared, during a Mensa gallery trip I had organised. It was a good day in London, and as it was running late I booked a room at the train station so that the group could continue to talk (Mensans...and aspies...are wont to talk constantly). Before long it was daylight with me and this girl being the last to leave. It was clear upon meeting this young woman that she was severely disturbed. I urged her to seek help, and should she ever find herself in that dark place again to give me or a friend a call. With that I returned home.

A few months later (March 2012) the girl emailed me to ask if we could meet. As I was attending a Mensa visit to a Royal Institution lecture later that evening, I suggested we meet up for coffee beforehand. When I arrived she was waiting for me. As we drank coffee she enquired if my relationship with my wife had changed at all recently. It hadn't (not that it could get any worse, or so I thought), but surprised at her question I asked why she wanted to know, and the reason for wanting to meet me. She told me that she had just found out that someone she knew (she wouldn't say who or why) had emailed my wife to say that I and this girl had been having an affair. I assured her that it was just in her head, and that no-one could believe this bizarre story, as she was an attractive 17 year old model while I a repulsive fifty year old disabled cripple who was impotent, incontinent, and totally dependent on his wife.

I did not hear about this woman again until the time of my exhibition in November. She called me and sounded in a very bad way. There was something in her voice that frightened me, so I arranged to meet her at the Royal Academy. She turned up late looking like a ghost. She finally shared that she had been been repeatedly raped on the street the previous night. Moments later she collapsed and lost consciousness for several minutes. The gallery called an ambulance, and I confided with the female paramedic what I had just been told. She was taken to hospital, and later returned home to talk to the police. It wasn't until several nights later that I received a late phone call from her friend who introduced herself to me, apologising for cold calling, but added that she was aware that I had saved the girl from killing herself about a year previously, and asked if I could intervene again as the girl was again about to take her own life, and had cut herself off from her family and her friend. To her friend, I was her last hope. Suffice to say that the experience was traumatic, but resulted in the girl being saved from poisoning, hating me for stopping her, and a mutually supportive bond developing between myself and her friend...who  also happened to be autistic.

Although the exhibition had been a success, the strain of those last several hours drove me over the edge. My depression took a stranglehold around my throat and dragged me deeper down into an even deeper hell hole of despair. I became morose and erratic. I was clingy and frightened and didn't want to be alone. My wife had already evicted me from the beds in our house, and was spending her time away in swanky hotels in London. Terrified of what I might do, and a prisoner to my co-dependence, I went to London to find my wife. When I turned up, she allowed me to stay but didn't even try to conceal her anger at my turning up. After she left the next morning, I had breakfast and a shower, and as I was getting dressed, without warning the girl who I had helped through two suicide attempts and a rape unexpectantly turned up and started fitting. Collapsing on the bed, my wife returned saying that she had been feeling ill and had returned to "catch me in the act" with the "girl she knew I was having an affair with" To say I was totally confused would be an understatement. From breakfast and a shower, to minutes later my world come crashing down in some bizarre and unbelievable farce.

Now it was Christmas time but I was unaware of everything going on around me, consumed by my depression. This time I was sinking beneath the water, and this time there was no way I could break free. Returning home to get my things (I had been thrown out with divorce papers in hand...funny that she happened to have them at the same moment she fell ill and at the same moment this girl I had only met a couple of times over the course of 18 months expectantly appeared) with pills in hand, and the realisation that the thought of my children could no longer save me, I found no way to cope. Fortunately/unfortunately I was found by my wife. "Oh no you don't get out of this that easy" she shouted as she called the ambulance and accompanied me to hospital.

At hospital she told me how much she resented being there and that she now wished I had just died to make everyone happy. It was then that I met the on-call psychiatric nurse who concluded I was a danger to myself and, as I was now homeless, passed me over to the crisis team who agreed with her diagnosis and took me to a 'safe house'. As this was all rather sudden, I did not have any of my medication (in case you forgot, I already had undiagnosed and diagnosed medicated conditions). Not being terribly with it, I had broken down after all, it was left to the nurses to contact my wife and ask her to bring my meds. This she did, but under much protest. And worse, when she arrived, she would not hand them over unless I signed a 'quickie' divorce leaving everything to her, except the debts which I would assume. Suffice to say that I did as she asked.

When the nurses found out, they informed me that what she had done was not legal, as I was not "of sound mind" when I signed it, so it was void.

When I was released home, I noticed that my clothes and belongings had been thrown away. It was as if I had never lived there. I told my wife that the divorce was invalid and she hit the roof. I also said that I wanted a fair divorce. She insisted I re-sign the papers which stated that I had been having sexual intercourse (impossible due to my condition) and wanted to leave the house and everything to her, except the debts which I would take. I said it wasn't possible as that would be a lie, and I am incapable of lying (another aspie trait). She was not happy, and 'made me pay' for not doing as she wanted.

To wrap up, what followed was a very bitter, vicious and nasty no-holds barred divorce, intended to cause a relapse in me, I shall keep it brief (the details are still raw and painful).

Because my wife could not get what she wanted, she hacking my email and facebook accounts and planted some quite absurd 'evidence' there. She escalted her attack to a full-on onslaught. Nothing was sacred. She used the children, manipulating them with lies, to turn them on me. Even my own family and friends were poisoned with her words and used against me. She even stooped so low as to send emails from my hacked account to our children containing truly disgusting sexual descriptions, purportedly between me and teenage girls (all of whom she was keen to point out to our daughter were her age and looked just like her). This was beyond sick.

Naturally this destroyed my relationship with my children. I had hoped that the sheer absurdity of it all (like why would I forward sexually explicit emails to my children saying therein that I hated them and was only there pretending to love them because I was after their inheritance) would be obvious to them, as well as the fact that they had known me their whole lives. But I was wrong. My wife had been able to spin my illness, depression and everything into some convoluted and nefarious evil plot to hoodwink them, steal from them and my wife, to disguise a perverted lie. And the more it became clear I was innocent, the more devious I looked for "hiding it so well". My children hate me still.

Despite turning everyone against me, this still did not affect the divorce settlement, All that was left to her was to drive me to suicide. And she nearly succeeded had it not been for the aspie girl with whom I had spoken on the phone that time realising that I was about to kill myself, and saving me. Of course, this was spun as just another teenage whore with whom I was having an affair. At least this time the GP put me on antidepressants, and I was able to get through the court case.

In the end, my wife succeeded in taking everything from me, leaving me with enough money to buy this flat in Dover, but not enough to feed myself (despite her being instructed to pay maintenance by the judge) or pay the debts. So I am now blacklisted for credit, no cards and no security. I sit here alone with everyone believing that I was some demon that bled everyone dry, while the reality is that I was the victim of an abused relationship, with all my money taken over the years before kicking me out on the street with nothing to my name. Yes, I am out of this damaging relationship, but it was my life for over 30 years, and now I have nothing.

And still no-one believes me... I suspect that subsequent guilt for allowing it all to happen, the decades of abuse, the lies and dirtying my name, and joining the chorus to punish me further, would be too much for everyone that turned on me to bear. Better, I guess, to pretend that none of this is true and that the outlandishly absurd story they tell themselves is true.

And so this is where I find myself now. Alone and hated, in the middle of nowhere struggling to buy food. Betrayed my whole life, with no hope for a better future. And I have still never been kissed, nor will I ever. And as for a loving sexual relationship? More likely would be England winning the World Cup 2014.

Thank you (to all those who made it to the end of this mammoth exposition) for taking the time to read this. And remember how vulnerable children on the spectrum are, and how vulnerable they remain as adults. And be vigilant of damaging narcissistic behaviour. Yes I am a pathetic loser who probably deserves all I got for being too nice, but there but for the grace of God goes another autistic. Just because we look okay does not mean we are okay. Whether you believe what I have said or not, it is too late for me anyway, please think twice before you allow an aspie to let you in, or to fall in love with you...we are ill equipped to cope with anything but complete honesty and understanding.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Part 2 - or How I Got Here (almost)

When I began writing this latest post it was my original intention to expose myself, sharing what I have been through these last few years. What instead happened was a much longer expose covering my autism, and its impact upon me which has lead up to the more recent agonies of mind, body and spirit. I guess it is unavoidable, as I am my autism and my autism is me. So here is the second part of what I wanted to share. Some of it very personal and as yet not shared with anyone, and the rest probably too uncomfortable for those who were close to me.

Having touched upon my childhood and how I became who I am today, I will skip forward to the 21st Century, with flashbacks where necessary. Why jump to this century? Because this is where my current travails find their genesis, with tragedy, betrayal, illness and a return to suicidal tendencies. But before describing these changes in my life, which have left me vulnerable and alone, some previous milestones need to be shared.

I successfully finished school, 'passing' as an NT (Neuro-Typical / non-Autistic), and began university. It was the promise of a 'new start' away from my past that helped spur me on, through chronic depression and loneliness. Yes, I had 'friends' and family, yet I was alone unable to be just myself, with my authentic self unseen by everyone. This is why I can fully understand the topical 'Virgin Killer' although my depression was turned inward, to a place of self loathing, rather than outward as was his case.

I had systematically built a protective cocoon around myself, unable to let down my guard, but also which left me alienated and alone. It was at this point, at university, where I met my future (and now ex-)wife, and my future (painful as it turned out to be) was mapped out.

This might be a good place for anyone who was/is close to me stops reading

This was an incredibly traumatic time for me, insecurities abounding and experiences new. Not only was I a naive innocent, but this was an incursion into an alien world in which I was emotionally defenceless. I was extremely fragile and vulnerable (something with which I suspect others on the spectrum can identify), and ill-equipped to deal with it all. To survive meant that I would have to place my life in the hands of someone I could totally trust. The woman who later became my wife presented what I perceived as this safe guide. However, as I would subsequently come to recognise, I was simply following the scapegoat narcissism pathology (as codependent) and replacing my narcissistic mother with my wife. And for this I was totally faithful and loyal...despite how I was treated. Now because of how I had been 'cured' of my autism, I was conditioned to feel that I was always at fault in every situation (and only yesterday a friend wanted to criticises me...for always saying "sorry"). So when the time came to lose my virginity, it failed to happen, due to my being laughed at. Apologies followed, but the laughter continued. At the time, and for decades after, I believed that this was something I deserved (which is understandable if you have read Part One). This laughter, mocking and humiliation was to continue for the next 32 years.

I am asked today why I put up with this, and other abuse. The only answer I have is that this was what I had been conditioned to accept and deserve, and that as this was a 'loving relationship', which if left would plunge me into an unbearably hostile environment (a combination of the effects of the narcissistic behaviour with my autism. So I endured. I took the abuse. And I hid it from everyone...including my family and children, all for what I perceived as the security of a 'normal' relationship/life. This, I now realise but way way too late, was a mistake.

Hypocrisy in action: Narcissism Revealed

Here is a Facebook post from my ex-wife, promoting #CarersWeek. Such a martyr, she clearly has deep empathy with others who care for their partners with disabilities. It is ironic then (or just plain narcissistic and hypocritical) that while promoting this 'side' of her, she has just ditched her own disabled husband, who had devoted the last 30 years supporting her, rather than care for him. As for obligatory financial support, she went to extreme ends to ensure said disabled husband had nothing, and left unable to pay for care (which she refused to do). Well at least her FB persona of a loving caring person is intact.

Returning to this century I now had a wife, and two children whom I love dearly. Although my chronic depression was increasing, and my loss of any self-worth completing, I had settled into a way of surviving. At times it became unbearable and when my parents died, my unstable emotional state shook violently. It was at this time that I also became disabled. My eidetic memory started to become damaged as I started to lose cognitive function, and bodily control.

I won't bore you with the details (they can be found elsewhere herein) but it was at this time that my older brother, who had been aware of my treatment in childhood, contracted Motor Neurone Disease (ALS for my US readers) a horrible and cruel fatal disease. His death, and the subsequent breakdown of my family, along with my condition remaining undiagnosed, occurred while I was being attacked in my place of work by a vengeful headmaster who took advantage of my physical and mental collapse.

To cut a long, and ugly, story short this resulted in me becoming a vulnerable adult under the care of my wife, who rather than be supportive chose instead to keep it secret (and as I was to subsequently discover, describe my condition as my being lazy and a sponge on her and our children). In retrospect this response was predictable, given my wife's narcissistic traits. And when a vulnerable 13 year old child I was mentoring at school was told by the headteacher that I had abandoned him, he returned home and hanged himself, my world collapsed and I attempted again to kill myself. There was really nowhere else to turn, I had only myself, who was no-one, so it was no longer enough.

As the razor cut my skin, I became hyper-aware of my young children...innocents in a terrible world. I had up to that point given them all of me: my wife took everything I earned, I paid bills and mortgage, and endured all the crap I suffered at her hand while protecting my kids. She would let them down at every turn and it would be left to me to cover it up, protect the kids from the truth, and most times take the blame upon myself.

Sadly, so successful was I at protecting the children, I came to discover that this too was manipulated by my wife, and that they believed that I was the 'bad guy' she portrayed, despite the evidence of their own experiences. Please be aware of the long term and deep and lasting damage a mother (and partner) with NPD causes to those in her family. It is often unrecognised by those who are the victims. Despite my having supported the family up until the point I became a dependent, my wife was able to turn everyone against me through lies and misrepresentation, using my condition. She had decided, upon my becoming dependant, after 20 odd years of her taking everything from me, that she no longer needed me now that I was unable to continue supporting her. However, ever one to preserve her carefully created image, she felt unable to divorce me without the truth becoming known. So with resentment (which continued to build) she feigned the role of dutiful wife and carer, while enacting her frustration on me in private. And so she waited for an opportunity to cast herself as victim, abusing me in private and portraying herself as a saint in public and to our kids. And this opportunity presented itself to her around 2011.

Now this seems like a good point to take a break, as the final instalment is heavy and long. It will not be pleasant reading, but hey...that's my life. So if your stomach is not easily turned, or you are okay with talk of sex (now don't get all excited), then go to Part Three for the conclusion of what is my sorry pathetic life.

A long time has passed, but the end is now in sight

It's been a while since I updated this blog, so please be patient if, or rather when, I start to ramble. The intervening period has been a difficult one. Depression, suicide attempts, loss and emptiness were my only companions at that time. So, does my writing today mean that a metaphorical page has turned for the better? Sadly, no.

I am tired. Scratch that...I am exhausted. And I don't mean the "been up all night and haven't slept" tired, nor the "been carrying rocks uphill all day" tired, nor even the "just had twins and they won't stop crying" tired. No, my fatigue is because I have been struggling for over 50 years to adapt and survive in a world that neither accepts nor wants me. Despite adapting and persevering, it has been overwhelming - thus there would come a time when it would be beyond my strength to continue. This is how tired I feel today.

I expect that should anyone be reading this, they will have already clicked to another, more interesting, blog. For anyone masochistic enough to keep reading, I will do my best to bore you.

For those who do not know (don't worry, as I didn't know for the first 50 years of my life) I am autistic. Now I am not saying that this is the cause of all my agony, far from it. Autism is who I am, it is not something I have. But it is in trying to survive in an anti-autistic world, that I have found myself dying a little bit each day.

I am not trying to suggest that there is an agenda to wipe us out, and much of the abuse comes from a good but misinformed place. But it is a reality that I and others of my ilk suffer daily, even though we choose to hide it. And most of us are unaware why we suffer, and are isolated trying to understand. I will speak for myself, but I have come to realise that I am not alone, and my experiences are not unique. This is deeply saddening. If it were just I, then I could perhaps shoulder the blame for my predicament myself. But what has become clearer is that I am but one of many (1 for every 88 non-autistic persons), and our suffering shows no signs of lessening, but in fact to me appears to be on a upward trajectory.

I am not whining, nor am I seeking to blame others. I am not attention-seeking, nor do I think of myself as special or better than anyone else. I am just a lone voice in the wilderness, one amongst a billion similarly lost and alone voices, trying to make myself heard, and to stop the pain.

Contrary to 'belief', autism is not something that can be caught via vaccinations. Nor can it be 'cured'. It is not a set of behaviours, nor is it mental illness nor psychopathy. And no, it doesn't make someone a serial killer. It is a lifelong description of who I am. As integral as my being right-handed (actually I'm ambidextrous but that isn't important), or being a man, having hazel brown eyes, or being gay (as it happens I am not...maybe a tad bi-curious - but that's another story). It is just another aspect of what makes me me. However, my being as I am should not be victimised, demonised, or 'cured', any more than left-handers were 'cured' by tying hands down and punishments (beatings) given. Most will say: "Oh this can never happen today", yet one only needs to listen to the vile 'Autism Speaks' based in the US, or look into ABA to 'cure' aspies (those like myself on the spectrum).

There are some who say that Autism, or Aspergers, is a "childhood disease". It is neither a disease, nor does anyone 'grow out' of it. No. What you find in society are friends, co-workers, parents and teachers, or even the person sitting across from you right now (or even you yourself) who are on the spectrum and 'passing' as neuro-typical (non-autistic). This is a tiring but learned behaviour so as to 'fit in'. As controversial as what I am about to say may sound, it is akin to a black person 'whitening' up so as not to stand out; or a gay man marrying and having a family. These are obviously ridiculous demands to overcome ignorance, yet for we aspies we have to contain who we are. Those like myself who 'pass' are not 'cured', we are forced to go against what is natural to us and it is difficult, tiring and painful, and all we ask is for a little understanding and acceptance, and not bullying nor hatred. We live in a neuro-diverse world, and there should be no prejudice based on neuro-typicality.

But what of my own experiences, and why am I here now writing this (that is if anyone is still reading with an open and non-judgemental mind)?

I suspect much of what I have experienced will echo experiences of others. And by writing that a misunderstanding, or sometimes hatred, of autism is at the heart of these problems, I am not detracting from similar experiences for different people in the neuro-diverse community. These experiences are not being 'kidnapped' by an aspie, but for me they are a result of my being born who I am.

Some people believe that aspies have some special 'gift' such as shown in the movie 'Rain man'. These people are actually Savants. I am not going to explain Aspergers, or Autism, etc. You can go to the hidden aspie website to learn more, or check out the rather excellent Ask an Autistic YouTube channel. Suffice to say that I am "one of the lucky" ones in that I am high-functioning (though I dislike the label as regardless of functioning levels, we all still struggle in the same way, just that the 'higher' functioning appear to be coping better) as well as being a polymath with hyperthymesia (an eidetic memory, though if you are followers of this blog you will know that this is now compromised). It is these two gifts/curses that have helped me survive most in the world. The memory in particular is why I am able to talk to you now of my childhood.

You can choose not to believe what I will say, or to re-interpret it as you want, I don't mind, as I have no agenda other than explain myself

My memory begins prenatally. It is hard to describe these first memories as they are more abstract, and emotional. I remember vividly being born, and every moment thereafter. I say this only to describe the world I knew and assumed shared with others.

If I were to be born today, I would have been recognised as having autistic traits, Amongst the other traits, I did not speak, but when I did it was not "dada", nor "mama" but in sentences. So what happened? My parents could tell there was something different about me, but then, as now, it was seen as being wrong. So my parents, "for my own good" beat me repeatedly until they had 'cured' me. This was all the more so since my mother was narcissistic (though Narcissistic Personality Disorder was yet to be recognised at that time) To her deathbed, this was one of the things she was most proud of doing 'for me'. I could not tell her that they had broken me, and caused irreparable damage.

I was asked recently when was the first time I had actively tried to kill myself. The answer came as a surprise to the questioner, as the answer was that I was 3 years old, and that I had attempted it 3 times in succession.

I had locked the bathroom (an engineering feat at that age) and drank bleach. I was taken to hospital to have my stomach pumped and to be treated. All assumed it was a mistake (that I didn't know it was dangerous) so I did not correct them. This happened twice. On the third attempt, my parents became more wary and got someone to scale the house and break the window to stop me. Yet still, no-one could accept the truth, that I was trying to kill myself. And the reason? A means of escape from a hostile world that I couldn't understand, and which I received only beatings for being myself. Those children of narcissistic parents will already know this, and those aspie kids undergoing ABA will come to know this too).

(video: Ask an Autistic - Compliance training facilitates child abuse)

Now I am not saying that my parents were bad, it was a different time in the 1960s and this was the way of the world: what one perceives as deviant behaviour, one would beat the person so as they would choose not to behave aberrantly in future...as if choice had anything to do with autism, homosexuality, introversion etc., which is why it wasn't till later that the narcissistic disorder was recognised. But it moulded me into the person I became, and who sits here now with verbal diarrhoea.

I began this thread intending to explain my current (lack of) expectations, and disclose my recent history leading me to this place of darkness and destitution, but I have taken too much time already just establishing the foundation. If I am still here later, I might try to finish this post in a 'Part Two'