Picket Fence’d

Note: if you have problems with self-worth or personhood, or if you, like me, have the tendency to absorb the brains of other people, reading this might be dangerous. The text is directly copy-pasted from my phone, where I wrote it last night, although I have anonymized some names for the internet. Since then I have begun to ask people for help in preventing this from happening again (and it was terrifying). I’m putting it here for archival purposes.

The quote in the last paragraph is probably my favorite one that I have ever read; it’s from the Pirkei Avot. And the title of the post refers to the picket fences R and I build around our own personal Pits of Despair.


How do you reveal weakness to someone else? The idea of being pitied is so awful—even worse, usually, than whatever the original problem is. Tonight I feel alienated, incidental, afraid; the burden is on me to keep up the appearance of strength. What’s the worst thing that could happen if I tip my hand? Literally nothing. The most likely outcome is that someone will comfort me. But the feeling of social threat is so strong, inescapable, telling me that the worst thing that could happen is that I could be seen my someone, that I could trust someone.

It’s got to have some kind of historical precedent, right? It makes me think of C telling me I made him feel alienated and unwanted in his own home. At the time I wanted to say, how do you think I feel? And, if I am afraid of you it is your fault, it is you who are doing something wrong. Now I want to say, you have broken me beyond easy repair. it will take years for me to trust anyone, or it may never happen, because you were not trustworthy. Your brain and actions were so inimical to my existence that I became multiply and chronically ill from having to live with you. I am not a person any more because of you.

And I despise myself for hoping that R will come looking for me, I despise myself for daring to consider showing them this document. Just the idea of trusting the person I love most in the world with my emotions is inconceivable. Wishing for them to demonstrate that they care about me. Is grounds for punishment. I don’t want attention. I don’t want to be seen or thought of and I hate it because I am so far from being anything like a whole, real person and I cannot see how it can ever be fixed. I cannot see a reason for me to try to fix myself, let alone a reason for anyone to help or support me. I don’t love being a sociopath but you know, I could probably deal with it if I were at least a goddamned person.

It seems so unfair that this is even a thing that can happen, that someone can do to themself. And it seems even more staggeringly unfair that I probably could have prevented it if I hadn’t treated neurosis like a game. I acted it out until it became real.

And anyway, I know concretely that telling R how I feel would hurt them. They already find it so difficult to balance on the edge of the pit, I cannot push them in by trying to communicate my pain. I couldn’t do that to anyone. There is no chance of gaining anything that is worth subjecting a person to my mind.


I am going to try to think of something positive. M says that if nothing positive presents itself you have to make something up. So here it goes.

It is hard work but I will continue to try. It is seemingly endless work with no certain reward but I am too goddamned cowardly to die. Building a support system took me six years last time, before I threw away everything I had. There is no reason to expect it to be faster this time. So I persevere. I live by mere inertia if nothing else and it is hope that carries me toward a future when I might be a person. I will do the tiny, painstaking magics that it takes to keep me alive every day because hope is the most powerful magic I know, the only magic that can truly matter. Every day that I can muster the courage to speak to a human, I build more of the mental fortress, the mental fortitude, that will fill in the missing pieces of a whole mind. My personal mythology is this: you are not obligated to finish the work, but neither are you free to desist from it. My personal mythology is this: to build stone by stone a whole heart.

On normality, and silence

I don’t want to be told I’m normal. I want to be acknowledged as abnormal, and I want people to make allowances for my abnormality to help me.

M and R have a habit of chiding me when I complain about Those Damned Neurotypicals. No-one is truly neurotypical! they say. All minds are on a spectrum! There is no normal! I’m unsure whether this is intended to make me feel better or whether it is just a passionate defense of their worldview, but I find it incredibly irritating. While it is true that there is no completely normal brain, there are typical brains, average brains that work very like the Normal Brain our society was and is designed for. Mine is not one of those.

I panic when I have to make a phone call. I use a truly egregious amount of energy processing noise and linguistic information. Sometimes I cry when I hear muffled voices or a vacuum cleaner. I don’t understand how to care about other humans, much less how to talk to them. I can’t usually remember what I did or who I was a few hours ago. I have to run out of a room if someone is peeling an orange or chewing spearmint gum. During interviews I stutter, make long awkward pauses, and omit important information. I sometimes want to kill myself because the future looks difficult, terrifying, and bleak. I am not a person who meshes well with American culture, and because of this there are a lot of things I am simply not able to do, like make friends, go to parties, and occasionally absolutely any of my work. I am disabled because of things that should not be disabilities. But because they are, sometimes I hate myself.

This is not a useful post. I am not proposing a solution, except the solution that I always propose (wholesale overhaul of American culture, the abolition of capitalism, speakers to be outlawed in favor of headphones, et c). I suppose I’m trying to articulate what bothers me about M and R’s arguments, which I am not usually able to do while they are making said arguments. There is an insidious cultural whispering that says, you’re faking it. You’re making it up for attention. You should be stronger and get over it. Be quiet. Be quiet. Be quiet.

Usually I am quiet, because people would probably be even more unsettled by the shape of my mind than they are by my words and actions, and might never speak to me again. But by god I am going to complain on my little-used private blog. Neurotypicals are awful and inconsiderate and I wish I felt that asking them to change their behavior to make my life easier would have any result. Down with neurotypicals. They’re just the worst.