Due to the difficulties of navigating the world with ASD, many people on the spectrum do develop some degree of Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder. A lesser known form of PTSD is CPTSD (Complex-Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder) which is trauma resulting from prolonged exposure to repetitive and chronic abuse.
It never occurred to me that I was affected by it until triggers started popping up everywhere. My brain would start constricting on itself, burning up. I'd be looking ahead of me. Suddenly I'd have double-vision of what is actually in my line of sight and simultaneously experiencing flashbacks. To an outsider it may have appeared as though I was having a headache because I started frowning and putting my hand over my forehead, but what was going on inside my head was far worse. I brushed it off to myself as bad memories, but these memories were eating me up slowly. It felt like my brain was getting too heavy to carry. It was more than reliving something. I was feeling emotions about an event that I haven't felt before. It was as though I hadn't gone through the proper emotions the first time around; I had separated myself from the traumatic event (depersonalization). It felt like my assessment of reality was unreliable. I knew the danger I felt was an illusion, but I still felt terrified.
Pain is usually an indication that something needs to be addressed. Pain hurts. When you're having headaches you take Advil, but what do you do when the aches are emotional? Sometimes being suicidal isn't about wanting to jump in front of a train, but secretly wishing someone will push you in front of one instead. It's not eating right and taking care of yourself. It's acting recklessly because you don't care about anything anymore, let alone people's opinions. I could see how someone experiencing spiritual death would see taking their own life as their only option, but it's not. When you hit rock bottom, there's nowhere else to look but up.
Like the 'invisible strings' blogger pointed out, human reality is a Stage. He goes on to explain that The Stage is already set up when we come into existence, and just go along with it. Seeing life for The Play that it actually is makes things appear a lot less scary. Knowing myself to be an actor made me feel like I was living a double life. There's a Non-Stage aspect of me, and that's the part I value the most. A part of me feels like people don't know the real me, and if they did, perhaps they'd close the curtain on me.
"If you've ever had that feeling of loneliness, of being an outsider, it never quite leaves you. You can be successful or whatever, but that thing still stays within you."
- Tim Burton
After you come out of a dark hole like that, you become almost unsinkable (I say "almost" because we all know what happened to the Titanic). The thought of someone hating me stopped scaring me the moment I realized that no one could ever hate me more than I've hated myself. Turns out that the lowest point in my life was the key to unlocking my fullest potential.
Now, when I look in the mirror, I don't see an actor anymore, I see a playwright. I stopped reading my lines after the intermission. Now, I'm focusing on rewriting my script.
Referenced blog post: http://theinvisiblestrings.com/alkali-metals/#more-1535