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Excerpt for Autism Is My Super-Power by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Autism Is My Super-Power

Travis E. Breeding

Published by Travis Breeding on Amazon Kindle

Copyright 2018

All Rights Reserved



Contents



Autism Is My Super-Power

About the Author



Autism Is My Super-Power



I did not always think that autism gave me awesome super-powers. In fact, if you would have met me even a year ago you would know that I was often sad and depressed because I was autistic.

Life is all about beliefs and us as human beings often create our own beliefs and our own belief system. I grew up feeling very misunderstood and lonely. I wanted to have friends but did not know how to go about making those new friendships. Because of this I was left socially isolated with very few social contacts and this left me feeling very lonely, vulnerable, and depressed.

When I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of twenty-two I thought I might be onto something. I started pursuing different treatments that I thought would fix me or make my autism go away.

My first mistake was in thinking that somehow or someway I needed to be fixed as if something was severely wrong with me. My second mistake was in thinking that I needed to make autism go away. I was so sad, and I had this belief that it was the autism that was ruining my life and making life hard for me. I desperately wanted my autism to go away. But now I am glad that my autism never went away, and it is here to stay because I know understand and appreciate the fact that autism is a big part of who I am and makes me the unique and awesome person that I have to day.

Did I always have super-powers because I was autistic? Absolutely. Did I always see and recognize those super-powers that autism gave me? Probably not.

Without a great understanding of myself and who I was I did not have the chance to appreciate all the positive things that autism was bringing into my life. Being a positive thinker is a very challenging thing to do. My brain learned growing up to naturally think negatively and assume that life was negative. This is a learned style of thinking that became my default thinking method.

As I became a teenager and started wanting more social interactions and more positive social relationships with my peers I felt more and more rejected because I did not understand the social game or the nuances that it took to socialize with other people and form deep meaningful relationships with them.

As I became a teenager tremendous amounts of anxiety and depression started to set in. At this point I was not even diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome or autism yet but the depression and anxiety that I was dealing with had already became a bigger deal than the autism was, and I did not even know that I had Asperger Syndrome yet. I did not even know that I suffered from anxiety or depression at that point either.

Depression hit me like a brick wall. There are all sorts of kinds of depression. There is a chemical imbalance and then there is what I call situational depression. For me the biggest challenge that I was dealing with was the situational depression that I was dealing with because I did not understand how to connect with other people and form social relationships with them. By the time I was sixteen I had gone into a deep depression and I would spend much of my life there until the age of 32 or 33.

When you are depressed, everything seems horrible. No matter how positive other people try and get you to view the world you cannot seem to find anything positive about your life or the world that you live in. You must fight to take a breath each moment of the day because just breathing becomes exhausting. When you are depressed you are super tired and have little to no energy to go about your day. You start to withdraw from society and retreat to your own house being afraid to step out and take a leap into the social world.

I feared the social world not just because I was autistic but also because I was so depressed. I often found that other people could not relate my autism but also, they could not relate to how severely depressed I was, and they certainly did not understand my negative outlook on life.

Depression is a serious illness that effects many people and while depression can appear different in people with autism as I found out with myself, there are many faces of depression that appear to be the same in people with autism as it appears in the neurotypical population as well.

As you might imagine this deep depression led to me missing out on a lot of the amazing things that autism was bringing into my life. Autism had always given me a unique perspective at understanding the world and relating to things in life, but my depression covered up all that beauty. The negative thinking trumped all the positive in my life because I allowed it to because at the time I was not strong enough to be able to change my thinking and form more positive thoughts or beliefs that would give me a more positive outlook on life.

It was not until recently within the past year or so when I really began to challenge my thinking with help of a friend and a program called Sonrise. While I did not directly participate in any Sonrise program, I did have a friend who has been through the Sonrise program with her autistic son help guide me through the process of challenging some of my beliefs and changing some of my beliefs. This has been the most life-changing thing for me because it has allowed me to change the way I view the world and change the way I view everything in the world. This has allowed me to change the way I view and appreciate autism as well. That is one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given.

This deep depression and being in this negative bubble for so many years kept me trapped from enjoying the beauties of autism and all the super-powers that autism gives me. I would spend many years hanging onto hope of being cured from something that it turns out that I do not even want to be cured from. Depression will play with your mind and make you doubt things about yourself. When you are depressed you are desperate, and you want to be saved from your desperation. I cannot speak for everyone with autism, but I felt trapped in my depression and for many years thought and believed that I deserved to be depressed simply because I was autistic. I am happy to report that this is not the case at all and in fact I deserve to be happy just like everyone else in life does because I am autistic.

Autism is something I now celebrate. The negative thinking and depression covered up a lot of the awesome character traits that autism gives me for many years, but I am slowly starting to uncover some of those traits again and beginning to take my life back.

The irony in all of this for me is that I had always had autism. Autism did not become a problem until I was a teenager and went through puberty. Then everything in my world started to change and I simply did not understand how to embrace the social changes that were occurring in my life. I fell way behind my peers socially and emotionally during my teenage years and this is what I feel led me down a deep and dark path of depression.

Autism was not the cause of my depression, but I would say more so the cause of my depression rested with my inability to adapt to the social changes that happened in middle school and relate to my peers as we all continued to get older. It seemed like the older we got the further behind my peers I was falling and the harder it was for me to relate to them.

Before puberty I was a happy child and I did not have any idea that I even had autism even though as we know I did have autism all along. What I am pointing out is that autism only becomes an issue for me when my own perception sees that I am not fitting in or relating to my peers in the way that I feel I should be able to.

Before puberty and before my perception of how I viewed my life slipped into a very negative belief or outlook I had a lot going for me. I was an all start musician and I was involved in nearly every musical group that I could possibly be involved in at my school. I was in band in both middle and high school and I was in marching band and show-choir in high school.

Playing trombone was a part of my identity and a core of who I was. I had been playing trombone since the sixth grade and excelled at it. It was something that I could be proud of myself for playing and excelling at. I had a lot of friends or acquaintances because I was so involved in all these musical groups that it kept me very busy and active. I did not have time to feel bored, sad, or depressed because I was so busy and keeping myself involved in so many things. I was able to function because depression had not taken over my life yet.


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