“I didn’t know books could do that.”
“Take me away from this place and make me forget who…what I am.”
"We have something in common, you know."
"In the town where I come from, people think I'm odd... So I know how it feels to be... different. And I know how lonely that can be."
Sometimes people ask me how I'm doing. My brother has cancer. I have major depression that sits at the edge of my reality and taunts me. Maybe I make a difference in society, but I'm nowhere near having a family. I still fight the same temptations I did years ago. And I feel totally alone in the world.
Most of the time, I can make the effort to overlook it. Turn on optimism, grit a bit, and have enough faith to let God salve the frustration that is my everyday life. I learn to deal with what life gives me... and, for the most part, I go through with only shadows of what I'm missing. And find ways to appreciate the moment even when it seems impossible. Like right now. I feel awful, but it's probably so that I can write this post for someone who needs it in his/her own life. And that's worth it, right?
It's sort of like being color blind. You know it's happening, and that there's a world of color out there... but does it really change your quality of life if you never see the difference?
I think the problem is that sometimes I do get a glimpse of what life would be like without the depression and autism... and then I just want to curl up in a corner and cry. Like Beast in the quote above, there are some things that have the ability to take me away, and make me forget the things I face each day. And then coming back to them seems an insurmountable task. Am I really in this much pain? How can I live like this? Do I have any other choice? It's like walking in the snow for weeks and finally coming in from the cold to a warm home... then, half an hour later, having to pull on your soaked, freezing clothes to go sleep in the snow yet again. Maybe if you'll never have one in this life, it would be easier if you didn't know fireplaces existed.
And then the questions come back. Most people with autism have a hard time getting married. So do people with same-sex attraction. So do people with bipolar. Mix them all up, and am I ever really going to be good enough to make it over those hurdles? To even make real friends where I can feel the friendship? Do I want to take someone with me on that journey? And is there anyone who would want to go?
Tonight the impetus was a Christmas concert. It was at West Jordan High School... and at one point the choirs sang "There's So Much to Be Thankful For." They also asked us to give what we could to support a local children's hospital. The vision of a thousand people working together, opening their hearts, made me feel for a moment like I was part of something greater... but ten minutes later it was gone.
That's how it always is. The things that can make me forget - really forget the woes and frustrations of life - are always too good to be true. They work for a few hours, and give me a glimpse of what life should be. What I'm striving for, and the reason why I'm pushing to change the world.
But at the end of the concert, at the end of the book, when the music is over or the credits begin to roll, I still go home. Perhaps surrounded by family and friends, perhaps with a dozen heartfelt thank-you letters in my email box. But those don't change the fact that, even surrounded by people who love and support and accept me, I still feel totally alone.
So I usually find myself just crying as I try to figure out my life again. Or writing. Or both.
I wonder if it will ever go away. Or if this - a feeling of being alone... whether from the autism/ssa/bipolar mixture or something else - is just one of the things I'll always have in life. I hope that someday it will.
But if not, I think I'll be okay. While coming back to reality is painful, being able to see in color every once in a while - to understand what God has in store and taste that for a moment - is enough to keep moving one day at a time toward the light.