Part 59: From the Brink

Hello, and welcome back to The Autistic Writer. How are you? Thanks for coming back. It’s been a hell of a mixed week for me. I’ve had some very low days, where it felt like nothing was ever going to go right for me, and I was in a very dark mental pit. I was kind of teetering on the brink, and the brink appeared to be giving me a middle finger salute. But I’ve also had some great highs, and reason to be optimistic. Last week, I explained how the sale of my house had fallen through at the final moment. Thankfully, on Monday of this week, almost a week after the deadline and when I thought the deal was dead, we were suddenly able to exchange contracts. The deal is done, with a completion date set for later this month. Great news. But this then brought further pressure…

All through the house selling process, we had problems from the buyer, and I had no confidence at all the sale would go through. I’m not buying another property – for various reasons, I want to rent instead. But I couldn’t commit to signing for a rental property if there was a danger my house sale would fall through, because paying a mortgage and rent would have been financially ridiculous. This meant I had to wait for an exchange of contracts before applying for rental accommodation. I’d had properties shortlisted, of course, and I’d done some viewings, but I wasn’t in a position to commit, and the properties were getting snapped up quickly. Unfortunately, I did have to commit to a specific date for moving out of my sold property, so once contracts were exchanged this left me with an extremely short time frame in which to find a suitable rental property, view it, apply for it, get accepted, and move in! I naively thought it would be a simple process, but I hadn’t reckoned with the fierce competition for rentals…

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I started requesting viewings for properties that were advertised as available, only to find they’d already been filled. I viewed some that looked ideal, but I lost out to other applicants. I viewed an absolutely perfect property, applied, and was told the owner wanted a few days to think it over; days I didn’t have. I also viewed some very grim properties that I didn’t want to live in, but I was starting to think I might have to take one like that just to ensure I had a roof over my head! Fortunately, barring any last-minute hitches, I think I’ve landed a really lovely flat where I’ll be very happy. I just hope it doesn’t fall through at the last hurdle. Why would it fall through? Absolutely no reason I can think of, but my mind works a certain way, and that way is always to ask, what if this goes wrong? What if this doesn’t work out? It’s just the way I am. I sometimes describe myself as a pessimist, but actually, that’s not an accurate description. I don’t expect things to go wrong, but I’m not a blind optimist who just hopes/expects everything to go right, either. Whenever I’m doing anything, I work hard to achieve the best result, while trying to think of what could go wrong, and how to mitigate against that. That’s a long-winded way of saying I’m a realist. And yet, you’d be amazed how many people do describe it as pessimism. People also say I’m always looking for problems which, strictly speaking, is correct but they mean it in a negative way. There’s nothing negative about hoping and working for the best, while analysing and planning for the worst. It’s just sensible, I think. It freaks me out when I hear of people, often neurotypicals, going through life with no attempt to plan for the worst; with literally no backup plan. Sometimes they get away with it, and they seem to assume that because they got away with it, they’re doing fine. And then you see the ones who get caught out, and end up with their lives in tatters. That’s not for me. But of course, there is one problem with my approach…

I stand by my opinion that my way of thinking is the right way, but it can have an unintended effect for someone like me who is prone to depression and anxiety. You see, the thing that could have gone wrong in my property scenario would have been that I couldn’t find somewhere to live, and thus ended up effectively homeless. That would have been a catastrophe for me, and it was, for a while, a very real possibility. That triggered anxiety, which in turn triggered looming depression, and it was at this point that I felt like I was on the brink. This could have ended horribly, but in the end, the flat I’ve been accepted for is perfect for me, and has a great landlord. I feel like I’ve flirted with disaster, and narrowly avoided it. One reason I stayed fairly grounded throughout was the support of my son who is a terrific young man. I actually don’t deserve him, but he’s stuck with me! Unlucky, kiddo! (He’ll tell me off for this.)

Interlude: A brief message

I will never put this blog behind a paywall. I want anyone, anywhere, to be able to access this content at any time. There are costs incurred running this website, however. So if you like what I’m trying to do here, please feel free to show your support with a small contribution via Okay, back to the blog.

As I’m writing this, I have to keep breaking off to deal with people coming to buy furniture that I’m selling because I don’t want to take it with me. Two bedrooms are gutted. There’s clothing and half-packed stuff piled up everywhere. It’s going to be a stressful time, but it will be worth it in the end. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to do a full-length blog this week, with everything going on, but I’ll be back with you next week, possibly in my new flat. Just one last autism-related thing before I go, though…

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I’m sick of coming across people staring down their noses at those in the autistic community who have self-diagnosed, or self-identified. I personally have an “official” diagnosis, but before I got that, I was self-identifying. I didn’t become more autistic just because I got an official diagnosis. Some people are unable to go through the official diagnostic process, for a variety of reasons. They might not be able to afford the cost. There might be social or family pressure preventing it. There might simply not be a diagnostic process available, or a really long waiting list (I waited nineteen months). Or a host of other reasons. One accusation I’ve heard is that some people are falsely identifying as autistic because they see it as trendy and think they’re a bit quirky. If anyone really did that, they’d soon get a shock. Coming out as autistic is fraught with difficulty, and you can expect a lot of discrimination and ableism being directed at you once your out. The idea that some people who have gone through the traumatic process of self-diagnosis, with all the heartache, soul-searching, and uncomfortable research that comes with it, and the resultant discrimination and ableism, are somehow not valid as autistic people is absolute rubbish, and I’m not putting up with it.

That’s all for this week. Until next time, take care, be good, stay proud.


Why Do I Write This Blog?

When I first found out I was autistic, I was a middle-aged adult and I knew nothing about autism.  I quickly learned that there was a serious shortage of information and resources for adults in my situation.  With this blog, I aim to inform about autism and autism-related issues as I learn, hopefully helping people who are on a similar journey of discovery.  Like anyone who writes a blog, I want to reach as many readers as possible; if you like what I’m doing, please share it with your friends and followers.  I will never hide this blog behind a paywall, but running the website does incur costs. If you would like to support, feel free to make a small contribution at BuyMeACoffee.Com.

You might also be interested in David Scothern’s blog, Mortgage Advisor on FIRE, which covers a range of topics including mental health issues and financial independence.

3 thoughts on “Part 59: From the Brink

  1. I know an autistic person who had a psych tell her that she definitely sounds autistic. But an official evaluation/diagnosis would cost over a thousand dollars. (I don’t know the precise financial details but I know she said over a thousand.)

    So she just takes the psychologist’s educated understanding and her own common sense and tells people she’s autistic.

    Not everyone is even lucky enough to get to see a psychologist in the first place. Goodness knows how many undiagnosed autistic people are out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m in a similar situation where I have received two independent opinions that I am autistic – one a psychologist and one a mental health specialist. As I was 60 years old at the time, both advised that an “official diagnosis” would be very expensive and possibly inconclusive as I have managed to develop a comprehensive set of coping mechanisms (understandable after 60 years). It would provide me with absolutely no benefits but cause some issues with less enlightened people, including some in the medical profession. More importantly it might affect access to things such as rental accommodation in the future or even aged care if I ever needed it.

    Liked by 1 person

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