Songs lyrics can be poetry. Some of them I’ve carried so long inside me, they have become echoes, repetition that carries me through the day. I used to think they were just a masking exercise – to obscure and hide the tinnitus, the rings and clangs of sound my brain makes. But is that true? I sing internally to myself all the time, a comfort blanket of words.
When I tried to think of something to call this post, the song Come Out of the Woods by Matthew and the Atlas came to mind. ‘Come down from the trees, you’ve been gone too long’ – perhaps because I feel I have been gone too long. I wrote a long post about being autistic and then didn’t come back to write more. A lot has changed since February this year. I had a pre-diagnosis assessment with a service that instructs the GP to make a referral for diagnosis if their tests are positive. In this case, she told me not to wait to find out more about my autistic, ADHD self, because diagnosis can take years on the NHS.
Although I have taken up that advice, found community online, learnt more from reading and advocates, it seems to me that not knowing for so long means that there are things I think about the world and myself that need rethinking. I need to live and do things differently. It doesn’t help that life has sent a few seismic shifts – my parents are moving and therefore so are we, to be closer to my sister, our new nephew, and my brother-in-law.
I’ve lived here almost my entire life – 33 years out of my 37 (although I spent 4 of those living in York for degrees). I think for many autistic people, where we call home is our safe space (at least those of us lucky enough to have safety). Or at least it should be. We live in the attic room and are lucky to have a separate bathroom. I know it’s just a space. Logically I understand that, and I know we can make a home elsewhere when it comes time to move. But I think the stress and the uncertainty have definitely shaken things up and made it a lot harder to feel that essential sense of safety.
My health has not been very good over the last two months. I know it’s partially a reaction to stress – my sensitive nervous system goes into overdrive when life becomes stressful – the house viewings, the ups and downs of offers and withdrawn offers (or offers that turn out to be not offers), the stress of getting the cat out of the house with us – it’s all a bit much on top of health issues triggered by the situation. I’ve been trying to be positive, but at times it’s been difficult.
Another thing I’ve worked out is that I’ve most likely been dealing with autistic and ADHD burnout over the last few years. If you try doing things in the same way that neurotypical people do (or are told to do in specific ways), and think that you’re falling short and trying to push yourself to reach those standards despite not fully being able to do things the same way and at the same intensity, you may just crash and burn out.
But the kind of burnout that I have can also be because the world has become so overwhelming, and/or you’ve had a number of life events that you haven’t been able to process or recover from fully. A kind of emotional nervous system burnout. It explains a lot and why it’s been hard to do things that I didn’t have a problem with a few years ago. And of course our needs fluctuate over time.
It’s hard to give yourself the grace to recover when another part of you wants to move forward. What I dearly need is to stop trying to race ahead before I’m ready. So much of what we’re taught are things like ‘no pain, no gain,’ or that the ideal is constant doing, when really, rest is essential in life, especially when our bodies are telling us to go slower. We’re also human beings – just being is good. If you’re also neurodivergent, sometimes our pace is slower than the rest of the world, and that’s okay too. In my case, accepting that slower pace and need for rest is my challenge.
I’m attempting Nano Poblano (National Blog Writing Month but looser and with a wonderful community) this month. I say that most Novembers – but this time I want to commit to trying. I’m not particularly reliable at the moment, but I want to at least try. There’s a lot going on but this month should be calmer than last month so that is at least hopeful!
‘Come down from the trees, you’ve been gone too long
Return to the house that you came from
Turn back on the road you traveled upon
I stand where you stood,
Come out of the woods.
Hey, winter has gone and the leaves weave through the forestCome Out of the Woods by Matthew and the Atlas.
I know that you believe and through these hands I will receive
A gift all golden and bright
And it returned to me through the morning light.’
6 thoughts on “Come down from the trees”
Ah it seems so much is in flux. I am wishing you gentleness and healing and joy. Looking forward to reading! Happy Peppering!
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Happy Peppering lovely! All the same to you too 💜✨
I love this post. “We’re also human beings – just being is good”. 100% Yes! I think it’s so easy to forget we’re human beings, not human doings. Happy Cheer Peppering, looking forward to reading more of your writings! 🙂
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Happy Peppering! Yes, it’s so easy to forget sometimes 💛
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I hope writing is supportive for you. Trying is all we can do and it’s often good enough. Thank you.
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Well, this was for your Day 1. I hope you are dealing with life better now’ How’s the writing coming along?