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Why is it so hard to be with my thoughts?

autism recovery

As an autistic person, “relaxing” is a foreign concept to me. In fact, it’s so difficult for me to “just be” that I constantly find myself drowning in activities and tasks. I believe my autistic and ADHD ability to “hyperfixate” is a way for me to escape my tornado of thoughts.

When I have lots of energy, this desire for stimulation can be a wonderful thing. The influx of positive thoughts allows my productivity to be guided by seemingly automatic mental jumps. When I’m writing (or engaging in another special interest), the result is transcendence…movement into an alternate reality in which I am fully immersed.

When I’m tired or burnt out, however, my inability to hyperfixate causes incredible anxiety. It’s in these moments that I wish I could escape, which perhaps by design, causes my physical body to feel foreign. It’s in these moments that I wish my spine would dissolve into a zipper so that I can pull out of the vessel that is trapping me.

Being present in the moment without distractions or numbing agents causes me to realize in what a state of fight or flight I am. This is something I don’t want to be confronted with, because it confirms how trapped I feel.

Our bodies cannot transcend, but our minds can. We latch onto anything that helps us escape the moment, even if it’s just an illusion. But isn’t life itself an illusion? Aren’t our experiences, beliefs, and thoughts all merely stories we tell ourselves?

Whatever life means to you, I believe sitting with our thoughts is so difficult because it confronts us with realities we’re afraid to face. It confronts us with the existential questions that can never be answered, and confronts us with our state of being – one that we will never consciously be able to comprehend.

Any kind of escapism or transcendence is merely the result of altered states of consciousness, that is to say, travel within one’s own mind. Something I’m working on a little extra lately is viewing my mental travels as more of an adventure. Accepting that turbulence doesn’t necessarily mean the plane will crash. How can you reframe your mind’s ability to venture?

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