Trigger Warning: Suicidal thoughts plus mention of eugenics
After I wrote my last post, I was surprised that a) I’d found the energy to actually finish a post and b) I felt a bit better. Just sharing those thoughts with the world, even if no-one read them, helped slightly loosen the stranglehold depression had on me. And people did read. Thanks so much to those who liked and commented. It made me realise I’m not as alone as I thought. I’m going to try to write more and see if it continues to help me so here I am. Apologies for the depressing content…
Anyway, whilst browsing on Twitter, I came across a Psych Central article: Suicidal Thoughts 10 Times More Likely in Adults With Asperger’s (It’s based on this 2014 study of people diagnosed in Simon Baron-Cohen’s CLASS clinic. I read it, looking for answers, help and understanding. But really it just highlighted the fact that while research may be finding out more about our lives, when it comes to help
It’s not a comforting read. It doesn’t comfort me to know that other autistic people feel suicidal too.
There’s a lot to say about the research that I don’t have the brainpower to write about but, as seems to be common when it comes to research about autism and mental health, the outcome is: yes there’s an issue, these people need support, someone needs to Do Something and develop therapies . But not us, we’re just the researchers.
At a time when mental health services are underfunded and stretched beyond their limit and there are few services for adult autistic people, it’s not very likely to happen. There seems to be more money for research but nothing to act on that research. The researchers recommend more areas for study but nothing to translate their research into practical support for autistic adults.
Also so much money goes into research into the genetics of autism and how to prevent people like us from being born and so little money goes into services, particularly services for adults.
This research came out in 2014 and in reality there’s still little understanding of any link between autism and suicidality and little support. I saw the nurse at the CMHT yesterday. She didn’t offer me anything more than a new antidepressant. I tried to tell her about all my suicidal ideation but it wasn’t as urgent yesterday as on Monday. So it was no surprise when I left with just a prescription for Trazodone and the crisis team number.
My first dose of Trazodone last night has left me tired and numb. It was meant to help me with sleep but it made me both sleepy and too agitated to sleep. Not pleasant.
Between the depression and the Trazodone, I have no energy to be angry and I should be angry.
I should be angry about the fact I took the risk of talking about my suicidal thoughts and all that was available was more medication. This is despite the fact I’ve tried six antidepressants before that didn’t work, plus other drugs. I’m not angry. I just feel guilty and that I don’t deserve more and they’re doing their best (which they are, the government is to blame). These irrational feelings of guilt probably contribute to why I’m depressed.
I should be angry because this is a familiar story for too many other people too.
I should also be angry about the fact that money goes to research which identifies things about autistic people like me but doesn’t lead to meaningful change; particularly when that thing is life-threatening. I should be angry about the amount of money that goes into autism genetics research compared to things that would actually help us. And about support for Autism Speaks which encourages this sort of thing, and all the Light It Up Blue bollox going on and awareness raising which doesn’t change a damn thing….
Oh well, I have no energy to be angry but I have no energy for suicide either. I’m going to try half a Trazodone and see if a smaller dose lets me sleep with fewer side-effects. I hope this post makes some sort of sense but I’ve run out of spoons so just going to post it anyway.
If you need help with suicidal thoughts please contact the Samaritans – I find emailing them sometimes helps (firstname.lastname@example.org) or you can call 116 123 in the UK. If you’re not in the UK, Befrienders Worldwide have information about worldwide help.