leo in bloom magazine


Anxiety, Depression, & Self-Sabotage

Friends, today I want to write about anxiety, depression, and self-sabotage. What fun, right? These are huge topics, and I am not an expert beyond my personal experiences. I want to share my own journey and insights, in the hopes that it is helpful.

I struggle with all three, especially anxiety and self-sabotage. This is compounded by the trauma that I have endured throughout my life as an overlooked, neglected, marginalized, and misunderstood autistic child and youth, despite the protective love of my family. This is also interwoven with the more difficult realities of my disability.

Even in writing this, my body is rebelling and my dysregulation is interfering with my spelling. This is beyond frustrating and ironic – I am being sabotaged as I write about sabotaging myself. My CRP Tara must put up with conflicting messages from my body and my words.

It is anxiety that keeps me sleepless on my worst nights. It swallows me entirely, drowning out any reason. It churns up my already-tortured gut, and my palms get clammy, and my body goes into a frenzy of frantic energy. It is a turbulent sea of fear and helplessness and panic. No calm land is in sight. And I just flail.

Depression is more rare for me. My doldrums often follow a bad bout of severe dysregulation, and usually are lulls of profound exhaustion, rather than depression. But I have experienced the total lack of motivation and hope and ability to pick myself up at times. In the past, before Spelling to Communicate, this was at times a chronic state for me.

Self-sabotage is a strange phenomenon that I am seeing pop up in a more noticeable way in my life. This is because I have only recently been able to strive for my dreams, and to set and share goals that I can and deeply want to achieve. Before Spelling, I had pretty much given up hope that I would ever be able to reach for my dreams; I couldn’t even share my more basic needs and goals.

But now my world is so much more open and full of promise! I am so eager to do all that I could only sadly dream of for so many years. I can communicate for the first time in my life, and I have an amazing support team. And yet… something often steps in my way. Fear. Fear of shining as brightly as I know I can. This sets off my anxiety and then dysregulation follows. So frustrating!

I have only recently started to think about and seek help for this terrible trio. After decades of not being able to share these struggles, I am starting to see some hope that I can work on my mind and learn to handle these trials. My support team is also working to learn alongside me, and we are making great progress in our strategies to help me. I want to encourage open and mindful discussions on mental health of nonspeaking autistics, and their support teams. I hope you will join me as I share more on this in the future!

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We welcome submissions from nonspeakers and will consider submissions from speaking allies. Our issues come out every 2-3 months; the next issue will be on TRAVEL for July 2023. Please feel free to contact us here to pitch a submission!

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