High Functioning Autism And Me
High functioning autism explains most of my life. From the time I was young, I always felt a bit disconnected from others. As a young kid, I was homeschooled and did unaware of high functioning autism altogether. My parents and peers never had any suspicion I was on the autism spectrum. Most of my days were spent fairly disconnected from the world… I would spend hours and hours in my basement playing World of Warcraft, Age of Empires, Empire Earth, Warcraft 3, Halo 2, or whatever other video games I was currently obsessed with playing. High functioning autism did not really show its face until I got married, joined the Army, and moved away from home. I attended college first at Howard Community College (still living at home) and then transferred to Lycoming College in PA where I completed Army ROTC. Lycoming College is an extremely small College with about 1400 students total. Honestly, the reason I chose to attend such a small college was because I felt overwhelmed by the noise and environment at the larger Universities I had visited. In hindsight, this is one of those situations where high functioning autism certainly reared it’s head a bit to influence my decision making process.
Overall, my life prior to moving overseas was easy.
I had no idea what was waiting in store for me when I shook up my routine and began to venture into the “real world”…
Before we dive more into the story of HOW being autistic has affected my life, it is important to share how I came to realize that I’m autistic in the first place. I feel this part of the story is crucial to share because it involves a substance that is about to be debated more publicly in the next few years: the psilocybin mushroom.
Psilocybin mushrooms are currently a schedule 1 drug in the United States of America. Despite continued research showing the long-lasting benefits of psilocybin mushroom in therapy, our fungal friend continues to remain highly illegal. However, there is a chance this could shift in the 2020 election. In the state of Oregon, there is a significant possibility that voting for the legality of psilocybin-active mushrooms will be on the ballot! Although we are still a ways away from having the actual law on the ballot, there is good reason for optimism. Oregon has a history of open-minded thinking towards recreational and medicinal drug use and it seems like the legalization of psychedelic mushrooms would find many advocates in the Pacific Northwest of the USA. However, obviously, there will be opposition towards this legalization from across our host of usual suspects when it comes time to actually vote. This is why it is important to share stories of the MASSIVE benefits of psychedelic mushrooms to pre-empt the case for their legalization when the time comes.
You see, psychedelic mushrooms saved my life.
High Functioning Autism Discovery
It all began when I was having troubles in my marriage.
After graduating from college, I got married to my girlfriend at the time and we moved overseas to Germany. Problems began happening almost right away. You see, I became a different person almost overnight… My now-Wife felt trapped in a new situation with a person that she felt she no longer recognized. It was as if I had transformed from a kind, well-meaning, and relatively “put together” person into a scared child practically in the blink of an eye. Over the course of a few weeks, I became increasingly selfish, self-centered, and borderline neglectful of my partner. Alone in a new country, she felt helpless.
I thought it was all the fault of this 9-5 lifestyle that “forced” me to wakeup early, go to a job that I hated, and come home frustrated. I blamed everyone but myself. At the end of every day at the office, I would come home to my Wife in a terrible mood and take out my frustrations on the relationship. Typically, I would either come home and rant about my day or I would just stew silently while she made an attempt to have a good time and a “normal” relationship with her husband. Over time, she began to speak up about what was happening and how she felt. When she told me, I felt terrible. I felt like I had wounded the most important person in my life.
I would promise to change and then immediately go back to the same pattern.
I would make excuses for why we did not have a good sexual relationship.
I would constantly think of myself, my own needs, and not even realize what emotional support looked like in a relationship.
When she would try to explain what she felt was missing and have an “adult conversation”, I would just break down in a fit of crying. I would not even be able to have a conversation about what was happening because I was so emotionally overwhelmed by a situation that I did not understand.
You see, it was as if I could not even understand what was missing from the relationship. At the time, I felt completely overwhelmed by new job, adjusting to moving to a new environment, changes in my relationship status, paying bills, and the shift towards adult life… I could not even begin to comprehend more “high level” aspects of life such as emotional support or understanding for my Wife… This cycle dragged on for about a year. This was certainly the hardest part of both of our lives. Our internal states truly reflected out into the world around us: we had few friends, no purpose, and we lived in a small German village where no one spoke english. We were becoming desperate for a better life.
High functioning autism was still completely unknown to me. I had no clue that this was the root of so many of my problems…
In order to give myself some purpose in life, I started Podcasting. It began with the Mat-Tricks BJJ Podcast focused around Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Although this gave me some purpose and momentum in my life, it actually caused my relationship with my Wife to get even worse. I began to use the podcast and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in general as an excuse to not deal with my relationship problems. At this point in the story, we had moved to a larger German city, gained some more friends, and I had moved into a slightly better job. Suddenly, times were not quite so desperate as they had been… In my little autistic brain, this meant that I could somehow spend LESS time with my Wife (where the problems were at) and MORE time “making a better future” by podcasting and going to Jiu-Jitsu everyday.
Things began getting much worse for us. Although our friendship remained strong, the romantic side of our relationship was completely dead. Furthermore, because of my new obsession with podcasting and going to Jiu-Jitsu everyday, she felt increasingly more neglected and felt as if I did not care about our relationship.
Continuing to be tormented by not understanding what was happening and why I continued to fail in my attempts to improve the relationship, I became desperate. I was looking everywhere for answers.
She would continuously tell me that it seemed as if I had no empathy. Honestly, when she would say this, I struggled to even wrap my mind around what “empathy” actually meant. In hindsight, this should have been a bit of a clue as to what was really happening…
I turned to the psychedelic mushroom. I had heard through the Joe Rogan Podcast and the Warrior Poet Podcast with Aubrey Marcus about the power of mushrooms (and psychedelics in general) to change lives, hyper-speed personal development, and increase empathy. It sounded like something that would really help me to achieve what I wanted.
I managed to acquire some psychedelic mushrooms. Over the course of a few experiences, I gradually increased my awareness with my emotions and began to unlock certain aspects of my personality and process previous traumas that had happened throughout the course of my life. We were moving in the right direction. More importantly, suddenly, I was acting more emotionally connected with my Wife… Suddenly, I began to understand more about what she was saying during our talks. I was beginning to see things from her perspective and understand how that was actually supposed to “work”.
It all changed around my fourth or fifth experience with the mushrooms…
This experience changed my life forever.
During the experience, I suddenly was able to “know” intuitively that my Wife was another person.
I realized in an instant that a part of my mind was somehow “cut-off” to the idea that she (and everyone) was her own person, living her own life, with her own story, her own life that happened when I was not around, her own thoughts, and furthermore that I was a character in HER story just as she is a character in mine. Most importantly: I had the overwhelming sense that I need to respect her story, her experience, and her thoughts. I realized instinctively that my thoughts are not more important than hers… That my story is not more important than her story… That my life is not somehow more important that hers. If anything, hers is more important than mine! That is the meaning of love, after all, right? Placing someone else before yourself.
Of course, this is all stuff that I had previously known LOGICALLY… However, I had never FELT any of this before. I had never had the intuitive KNOWING that a “Neurotypical” person apparently walks around having 24/7.
During the trip, we hopped on Dr. Google and began to get to the bottom of what’s going on.
Over the course of a few hours of learning all about this new thing called “High Functioning Autism”, we got to the bottom of what this thing is called:
“Theory of Mind”.
Have you ever heard about “Theory of Mind”?
It’s the intuitive KNOWING that other people are people too.
It’s that connective sense that Neurotypical people possess that helps them understand that they are existing as pieces in the puzzles of another person’s life. The intuitive expression and understanding that they are not alone in this world… That everyone else is also involved in this “game of life”. This realization completely changed the course of my life because it helped me understand that I’m on the autism spectrum. Without this clear example of what I was “missing” from life, I would have never made the effort to change… Without the experience of realizing that my Wife and everyone else is also here living their own life, I might have never changed. I probably would have just stayed set in my ways. I would never have realized my purpose in life, accepted that I’m gay, and gone onto having a healthy and loving relationship with my Wife (who has now become just my best friend).
High Functioning Autism Prevented Me From Realizing My Sexuality
High functioning autism did not really effect my life until I got married. You see, I had been doing Army ROTC during my time at Lycoming College and had commissioned as an officer in the US Army Military Police Corps. I was going to be stationed in Germany for three years. At this time, my girlfriend and I decided to get married so she could come. After all, she was my absolute best friend and we wanted to continue having fun together.
We got married and moved to Germany. Almost immediately, high functioning autism reared its head and the real problems began to emerge. Keep in mind: I still have no clue about high functioning autism or any of the details of how this works… All that I know is that my life SUCKS. For whatever reason, It’s difficult for me to function at my new job.
Meanwhile, my relationship is falling apart practically right from the beginning. Although the friendship between us is still strong, I’m realizing that I’m not a very emotionally supportive spouse.
High functioning autism was at the root of so many of the issues that I had… Now, when I finally found out about it, things clicked… For the longest time, I absolutely hated my life. I was miserable, things were just getting worse, and it felt like I was cursed with a terrible life. This is about 1.5 years ago. My marriage was getting worse and worse.
It wasn’t until I unlocked the ket to evolving my mindset and connecting with my spirituality that things began to shift. I learned about the Law of Attraction, I learned about self love and acceptance, I began to get to the root of some serious limiting beliefs. So many limiting beliefs around self acceptance, self approval, and self love began to emerge. What was the result of this intense period of self discovery?
Well, I’m gay. It explained so much… It explained why my emotions were always overwhelming me. I had blamed this high functioning autism thing but really it was unexpressed sexual emotions that were locked up inside. Once I began this period of self love, self acceptance, and self realization, everything changed. High functioning autism is a superpower. All that needed to change was ME and how I view the world, myself, and my “disorder”. My life radically changed. Share this video with someone in the event they’re fighting a battle you know nothing about.