Thursday, August 9, 2018

Some Thoughts About Depression, Autism and Being an Introvert

I think I may have mentioned this before – I’m not going to go back and look – but over the last several years I’ve wondered if I have mild autism. It was once called aspersers, but I think they just say you’re on the spectrum now.

Here's a pretty good digestion of what Asperger's
 is or was, depending on your approach. It doesn't
 fit me exactly. For example, I think I'm a fairly
 sympathetic person, but I do have many of the other
 characteristics listed here; enough, at least to think
 that there's at least a light spritzing of Asperger's
 on my brain.

Semantics aside, I was thinking about that this morning. I definitely have depression. That’s well established. I’m certainly an introvert, again, something that takes no argument if you were to meet me. And I’m a pretty good candidate for autism. If one were to draw a Venn diagram of this mess there would be a big pile of me sitting right in the middle.

What does this mean? Well, if you subscribe to Temple Grande's way of thinking maybe - see below - I’m not damaged. Maybe I’m just on the spectrum of being a human. Depression, obviously, can cause damage in the form of self-harm and suicide. Being an introvert and/or mildly autistic, however, of themselves don’t cause damage. The problem with those two is how our society can make them harmful in the way individuals are treated.

In my head, all three are holding hands. It’s more than a Venn diagram; it could be called a coexistence. If I have low-grade autism it could lead me to be an introvert and that leads to the depression which further feeds the autism and being introverted. And, so, the snake continues to eat its own tail.

This doesn’t really produce any kind of solution, at least not for me, but it’s something to think about. If it’s a global problem – my depression – maybe there’s a global solution. If St. John’s Wort only helped for a while maybe I need to tackle all three problems at once. I don’t know what that looks like. I don’t even know if it’s realistic. Still, there might be something there.

All we can do is lie down and give up or keep looking. It's hard not to get tired. 

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