To Be or Not to Be

That is the question.

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep–
No more–and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to.

……

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? 

This is a rather obvious choice when it comes to famous quotations about suicide or the contemplation of life and death, but I think it’s still worth using. Mainly because it is still applicable in any age, despite it being in Elizabethan language.

I went to see Hamlet today. I do enjoy going to the theatre and I enjoy Shakespeare’s works. Obviously, there wasn’t much of a choice of whether I was going to see it or not- I was going. I am familiar with this monologue and other famous quotations from Hamlet and I am aware of the issues it raises in this. Mainly, I am aware of the flickering nature of contemplative suicide from Hamlet throughout the play.

Those moments were very poignant to me and actually made me very uncomfortable. Why? Because I myself have considered whether life is really worth living.

In one way or another, I guess everybody does. Sometimes you wonder about what it would be like if you weren’t there anymore or if you hadn’t been born, or even what the purpose of life is. More importantly, what is the purpose of your life? I thought about this a lot. I thought about whether I wanted to continue living a life where I wasn’t happy. A part of me told me I was being ungrateful. I had a place to live in, regular meals and a supporting network of family and friends. But I still wasn’t happy.

What is great about this, even though Shakespeare tends to concentrate on nobler characters anyway, is that Hamlet is not unfortunate in terms of his background. He obviously had friends and a loving family. He is a prince and evidently has education. I guess you can say his father was murdered but apart from that, you generally wouldn’t associate him with someone who is suicidal. And that’s what’s so great about that. You don’t have to be the poorest and most miserable person on Earth for you to want to stop living. Sometimes life just isn’t for some people.

At the time, I didn’t think life was for me.

I saw life and I wanted to live it, to love it. But I couldn’t. I saw these happy endings and beautiful places and amazing adventures and they never quite added up to me. I would never have those. What would I have? What if I didn’t have anything? What would I get out of life? I probably wasn’t going to get anywhere. You can find happiness, beauty and chance in anything. But can you? I had a lifetime to live my life but I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to. Sometimes I would curl up in bed and lie there for as long as I could. Maybe if I told myself I wanted to live then I might believe it.

It’s a strange thing to explain. Some people can’t understand why someone would want to end their life. What would you say? For many reasons or for none at all…. It can be just a feeling and there be no reason.

You could come up with a list for wanting to live and another for wanting to die. Morbid, perhaps, but true. It wasn’t the fact that I wanted to die either. I just didn’t want to feel that way anymore. My feelings were the equivalent of watching paint dry. I hardly ever felt anything and when I did, I was sad or angry. No positive emotions there. That’s why sleeping seemed like such a good idea, because you’re not conscious and you don’t have to feel or think anything else. Eternal sleep sounds like a very good idea.

This is where Hamlet hits the mark again:

What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how
infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and
admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like
a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals—and yet,
to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me.

And for those who feel that way, they should never feel alone. I would highly encourage you to speak or communicate with someone about your problems, particularly in whatever way is comfortable for you. Or these can be helpful too.

Samaritans: 116 123

Childline: 0800 1111

PAPYRUS: 0800 068 41 41

Depression Alliance

Students Against Depression

Bullying UK

Please contact any of these if you do. It may seem like a cliché but life does get better.

Advertisements

To That Girl

I really need to get this out so here goes.

These past two weeks have been full of high school drama, and in all honesty, I didn’t come to university for this. There are a few things that I’d like to point out.

Honey, you don’t own me. My body and my actions belong to nobody but me. That rule applies to every single person so please don’t think otherwise. I can do what I want. Also, I owe you nothing for being nice to you. Please don’t mistake that for flirting. I am not flirting with you and I don’t know how many times I have to reiterate this.

I honestly have no words. You know when you’re in a situation and you have tried every way possible to get out but you’re still stuck there? What the hell are you meant to do next? I don’t know what else I’m meant to do to make it any clearer. I’ve told you I have anxiety issues, that I don’t like to be touched, that I need space and I’m still getting message after message. When I’ve blocked every form of contact, I get knocks on the door at 4am. Honestly, I’m trying to sleep.

No, I don’t want you to come into my personal space. Yes, we are just friends. I don’t know how to make it any clearer after the thousandth time of saying so. I’ve said it nicely. I’ve said it horribly. Literally, the only thing is left is to kill that person……. But I can’t do that. As far as I’m aware.

Just please, for the love of God, leave me alone. I’m really starting to lose it. I’ve been very calm since I’ve been here and I’ve been annoyed a few times but this is really starting to make me angry. I don’t want to be like that. I came here to make friends and study a subject I’m interested in. Not worry about how I’m going to have to avoid awkward situations.

I don’t know how else to make this any clearer. Just leave me alone. Thank you.

Some Things You Need to Know: Cognitive Learning

Since I have been diagnosed with Asperger’s, I’ve been able to understand myself better and progress at a much easier rate for me. Yet I am perfectly aware that other people don’t understand Asperger’s or the traits that come with them. Because of this, some people are confused about how I have Asperger’s or how the traits are evident in me.

My mother usually says: “Well, we always knew she was socially inept.” People laugh and say it’s true, but this goes far past that. There are more to people with Asperger’s than being socially inept, and even if it was, there are tiny traits that lead to that. It isn’t something that can easily be tucked into a box and left, to assume they are only one thing or another.

So hopefully, this will lead to a small line of posts that cover a range of traits and how you can recognise them in me. As you can see from the heading, this is a post about the cognitive learning traits evident in those who have the disorder.

One of the first traits of cognitive learning for people with Asperger’s is for them to have excellent memories in specific topics. Well, I know about 76 musicals off by heart and to be honest, for those who know me, is it really that much of a shock? I can tell you the whole cast of Waterloo Road, particularly in season order. I also remember nearly every book I’ve ever read, which is a lot. So, yeah, I guess I do have excellent memory. Before I got diagnosed, it wasn’t a secret that I was interested in these kind of things and that I knew a lot about it, but a part of me was always embarrassed. I was perfectly aware that I had a talent for remembering facts about my interests rather than school subjects, no matter how hard I wanted it the other way. It was also embarrassing to me that I did know those things, even though they made me happy. But now, I just don’t care. It’s a talent. Different to other people’s maybe, but still a talent.

Secondly, there is the issue of unregulated fears. This is usually caused because Aspie’s have problems with judging situations, causing them to be fearful and perhaps less fearful in dangerous situations. For example, talking to someone I’ve never spoken to before. What will I say? Shall I start the conversation or should I wait for them to? Do I answer with a short answer or long, and if long, would it be relevant? If short then what if it leads to an awkward silence? Can I appear upbeat and happy? Am I coming across as uninterested, bitchy or abrupt? Am I standing in the right way? Do I look awkward, intimidating, relaxed? How should I stand? How are the rest of them standing? Should I get a drink? If I get a drink, how will I leave the conversation or will I invite them with me to be polite? So, as you can see, the list is never ending and I can think of a hundred more questions. This happens every single day, even with people I am completely familiar with.

I guess you can say people feel this way frequently and are common questions that people wonder about, even if they haven’t got Asperger’s. The difference is you get the anxiety with it. Always. My autistic tendencies always come out more when I’m anxious. I get the usual symptoms, such as chest aches, migraines, tremors, heart palpitations, muscle aches, and sickness. Every time I wake up in the morning, I get that and every time I even do anything, I get that. In fact, there aren’t many times in my life when I’m not anxious and this comes from my fear of social situations. Not even that, just feeding myself, when I’m going to shower, when I should check my emails, etc… When I get these fears, some of my autistic tendencies tend to come out too. I hum to myself, I can cover my ears sometimes, rock a lot, pinch and scratch myself. You can imagine how that looks. I don’t tend to do it unless I’m alone. I am very conscious that it isn’t something you should do in public so I usually just scratch myself lightly.

Another thing is that people with Asperger’s are very detail-orientated. This can apply in two ways: having difficulty seeing the overall picture or situation or applying the same level of detail to a situation whether appropriate or not. Now, when this comes to work, it gets a bit of a nightmare. I have no idea what constitutes as appropriate detail or not. I don’t think I’ll ever know. I don’t know when to start or stop and everything else in-between. Usually everything I do is too detailed. I am a sucker for accuracy. This can apply to anything and everything, such as representation in the media, what I write, what other people write, and cooking. If it isn’t the right detail for me then it will continue to bother me.

Another example of this is when I go out for a meal or a party. I never know what to wear. I either underdress or overdress. It’s never clear to me what is appropriate or not. I either get it right or I don’t and I can never tell until I get there. Sometimes I’ve turned up in a dress and heels when they’ve been wearing jeans and flats. Sometimes I’ve dressed as casually as possible and found that they’ve been dressed up. I just have no idea.

People with Asperger’s also have exceptionally high skills in various areas but low in others. My best example is always my GCSE results. I loved English and Music. I didn’t revise either and still left with an A* and an A. Then I revised Science and Maths for two months beforehand and practised past test papers and still came out with just about a B and a C. If I love it, I will know pretty much everything about it. If I don’t, well, then I’ll never know because it never seems to stick. This can be a little frustrating, especially as I did work hard and I didn’t get the result I was expected to. I guess it’s going to be one of those things in life that I’m always going to struggle with.

So these are under the cognitive traits of Asperger’s. I hope it makes at least a little sense and helps you understand it a bit better. I know some of these may apply to people who do not have Asperger’s, but it all comes together to create only a few of the traits that are evident in this developmental disorder.