I do this every once in a while. Now seems a good time to do it again. I’m about to go through a big change in my living situation, it’s only fair that people know why.
To begin with I should admit, (well it’s pretty obvious), that I’m not the same person I was 5 years ago when I moved into my current residence. Five years ago, I was tired. I was tired in the way a person feels like they’ve lived all the life they could and there was no point in going any further. My physical exhaustion was second only to my spiritual/emotion exhaustion.
Then, I got into housing, with the help of case management. This case management also offered to help with other aspects of my life. The first major accomplishment by case management was arranging for me to see my children, whom I had not seen in years. Things were certainly looking up. I had been blogging for several years already, and one of the main motivators for doing so, besides the obvious need to tell the story of homelessness, was that, if my children ever decided they wanted to find me, I wanted to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. This blog has always been popular, so I knew a simple google search of my name would send my kids directly here. And if they so chose, they could contact via my email address.
Sadly, things did not progress well with my kids. There had been too many years between us, and with them living 90 miles away, there was little opportunity for us to develop a relationship. After a few visits and some facebook messaging, my kids and I drifted apart.
With the idea of reestablishing a relationship with my kids all but gone, the next productive thing to do was to get into therapy. If I was to move on and create a better life for myself, I would have to deal with my depression and anxiety issues. I had more success with this than with my kids, for a while, anyway. In the past several years I’ve come to understand my psychological issues, most of which are associated with Asperger’s Syndrome and my parent’s misunderstanding of me and my condition. Much of what my parents did to me as a child, which in their eyes was supposed to make me a better person, were actually the worst possible things anyone can do to someone with Asperger’s.
On another front in the effort to improve my life situation, I searched out alternative ways to make a living, since my Asperger’s prevents me from doing the normal 9 to 5 type of employment. Most of my efforts in this regard were internet based. And with varying degrees of success, each attempt eventually failed.
Much of my failings was due to my lack of actual skill. And not understanding my lack of skill was due mostly to my living a life in denial. It was a philosophy I learned from my parents. I understand how it can work for some people – overcoming an obstacle by denying that the obstacle exists. The problem for me is, Asperger’s is a problem that no amount of denial is going to help. Asperger’s cannot be cured. The best anyone with the condition can hope for is to develop good coping skills. No one with Asperger’s can hope to live a decent life without those good coping skills. And people wonder why I’ve spent so much of my life homeless. Now you know. And now I know.
Much of my time in therapy was teaching me those skills, but although I have the knowledge, I’ve been unable to apply them successfully to life. Most of life is about connecting with other people, and other than meeting with people on the most cursory level, I still can’t bring myself to engage people on a meaningful level. My social phobia is strong. I hit a wall of sorts and could go no further in therapy. I began withdrawing, even more than my usual withdrawn life style. I stopped making progress. I was stalled out.
Then, out of the blue my case manager came to me with a job offer – a job with the state. It seemed as though this was going to be the answer to all my issues. It would harness what skills I did have, and my past job experience. And it would pay enough for me to have a normal life. The job was handed to me without having to jump through the usual hoops. Everyone was so supportive. Training for the job was hard but I was handling it. I was getting along well with my co-workers. Things were looking good. But when it came time to do the actual job, something went askew. Just at the point when the job started in earnest, the demand for the particular task we were assigned with dropped dramatically. Because of this, we were given another similar but different job to do. And this change, this new job for which I was not prepared for, became my undoing. The stress was more than I could deal with, I started having serious anxiety issues, I couldn’t sleep, and I couldn’t do the job. After a month and a half, I was unemployed.
This defeat took a heavy toll. Though on the outside I kept up a good appearance, I was crumbling away on the inside. A few short months later my case manager informed me that the case management company was dropping me as a client. Although they used other wording to make it seem less offensive, the reality was I was no longer going to have the kind of case management that I needed. My new case manager wasn’t really providing me with case management. Instead, he began the process of securing my disability – which he did, successfully. My psychological history, along with case management files and mental health examinations, I was deemed disabled for my mental health condition. Along with Asperger’s, I have some serious bouts with depression and my social phobia is no joke.
So, what am I to do with this new reality? Well, it’s not really new accept to me. I’ve dropped enough of the denial to accept more of what I truly am. What I should do, what I am expected to do, is to just accept charity for my living, including living quietly in government housing, and just wind down the last of my years. But the thought of that bothers me to no end. I’ve known too many people who just decided, at a relatively early age,, to resign themselves to sitting in an easy chair and watching Wheel of Fortune for the rest of their lives. Despite the many and often severe obstacles in my life, I have to do something with myself. And there’s nothing that I can do just sitting in this dumpy little apartment. So, when my lease is up at the end of this month, I’m moving out. Yes, initially this means going back to living on the streets, but it also means freeing myself up enough to do something with what few years of my life I have left. I’ll be lucky if I have 10 good years left in me. I might as well make the most of them.