Hey guys, Erik Johnson here, I want to talk about the top three mental health issues that Asperger’s have and suffer with. So it’s been a wild ride, guys, I’m just learning a lot about this myself, I just got diagnosed about a year ago, and I’m 48 years old. So I’m just fitting the pieces together. Thank you for watching me on this channel and supporting me.
So we’ll get right into the Top 3 Autism Mental Health Issues we are dealing with.
Number One is PTSD
So you already know what that is. But it’s basically from any kind of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse of our past. It could be as sensitive as our inner voice bully, you know, you have that inner voice that just keeps reprimanding you and saying you’re an idiot for doing this, or you really look stupid for doing that, that can literally cause PTSD.
The other thing is that if you have any bad memories, there’s a feeling that you can’t block them – same with voices. For instance, recently, I’ve been really trying to become a better person, and wanting to be more of a Christian, and when I do prayer, for instance, at the end of the prayer, I hear this voice that says “Satan.”
It’s almost like a mental Tourette’s Syndrome, where I want to say something nice then another voice comes in and says something else. I know that’s more like a compulsion than PTSD. I’m just saying that, you know, the bullying voice inside our head can actually cause PTSD.
A couple of memories. When I was a child, the first really bad memory I had, that I suppressed, you know, my mom told me about it a couple of days ago. But first day in class, or, my first year in school in kindergarten, I had a teacher that was really mean to me, she wouldn’t let me go to the bathroom, and one day I wet myself.
I just remember being so embarrassed, and I think other kids noticed that I wet myself, and she was just horrible. I told my mom I couldn’t stand her. I didn’t like her. I was only four or five years old. But being laughed at, in that setting, with all these kids laughing at me, and the teacher being against me basically, was tremendously traumatic for me.
Another time, when I was five, I was driving to the boathaven with my dad and we stopped to go to the bathroom on the side of the road. He saw that I was looking at some fiberglass, and if you touch fiberglass it makes you itch for a long time. And he knew that and he was like don’t touch the fiberglass. But what does a five year old boy do? He does the opposite. So I went and I touched it, I picked it up.
And all of a sudden, my dad is flailing me around like a rag doll spanking me super hard. I’ve never been spanked so hard in my life. I remember that memory. And I remember getting back into the car, crying and looking at the back of his head.
I don’t know if this is true or not, but I remember saying to myself, I’m going to get him back. No matter what it takes, no matter how long it takes. I just lost trust in him after that point. And I don’t know if that’s necessarily true, what I was thinking. But looking back, that’s kind of what I thought.
So, PTSD comes in many sizes, shapes and forms and basically it’s from trauma. Another time that I caused PTSD on myself, was being fearful of going to work while having alcohol withdrawals. So this was later in my life. This is when I worked in the restaurant industry, and I would have to work at 6am but I was drinking all night.
And when I’d come into work, I would start withdrawals and I would turn red, I would start sweating and I’d start shaking. I didn’t want people to know that I was you know shaking. It got to the point where I would just rephrase my questions to coworkers to one sentence or less because I didn’t want them to hear my voice trembling. Really bad stuff. So I got a lot of PTSD just from my alcohol use.
Number Two is OCD
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. 25% of Asperger’s adult Asperger’s have OCD, and it’s basically unstoppable negative thoughts, bullying thoughts. 10 to 12 years old is usually when OCD starts, its obsession with interests. It’s obsessive, like washing your hands, doing things, you have to do things a certain way before you go to bed. It’s kind of like superstitions. You know, you have to count to 10, before you do something, or all these things are like OCD.
They’re usually negative things. So they’re not really helping you get in the way of your life. For instance, I believe my stimming of rocking back and forth, 14 hours a day was basically OCD. Another thing is checking my inbox for new emails every five minutes, stuff like that. It’s definitely OCD. So that’s number two.
Number Three is the biggest one most popular with Asperger’s and that’s Social Anxiety
That’s where we’re acutely aware of our social surroundings. In fact, the first time I had a panic attack, it’s because I was talking to my dad at the dinner table. My mom was in the kitchen, but she could overhear me. And I just felt this incredible silence in the room, I felt like there was a spotlight over me – kind of like stage fright.
And I just stopped talking, and all of a sudden sweat started rolling down my face. My dad looked at me, he’s like, What’s going? Are you okay? And I felt like I was having a heart attack. I was like, No, I gotta go lay down. And I laid down and he came in and gave me a little Valium, and I could eat dinner after that.
But I mean, I freaked out. And then after that, I developed panic disorder, because I wanted to avoid that situation again. So I was scared to go see my parents after that panic attack.
But social anxiety is basically you want to avoid social surroundings, you want to avoid self criticism, and criticism of others. So you rather isolate. So most of my life with Asperger’s, I’ve isolated myself because I don’t want to be ashamed or embarrassed. I would rather be alone than be awkward, and feel shame or shy in a social situation.
My mom said, when I was four years old, I was super shy. I didn’t speak in class at all because I did not want to embarrass myself, that was the scariest thing ever is to feel embarrassed. It’s not a big deal for normal kids. But when you are highly sensitive with Asperger’s, the last thing in the world is you want people to laugh at you, or you don’t want to self criticize yourself.
Autism Mental Health Issues Summary
So these are the top three mental health issues. Now what can help all of these is basically CBT therapy, counseling, and learning not to be so self critical. Okay, so CBT works. Then you can also try CBD oil, natural supplements, you can learn meditation, cut out sugar, alcohol, caffeine, anything that causes nervous energy, you can cut those back and stop smoking cigarettes.
I know they feel it may make you feel good temporarily. But in the long run, they actually take more away from you and leave you more nervous and more scared of people.
For instance, alcohol used to make me feel awesome and invincible for like an hour or two. But then the hangover or the withdrawals made me feel even more scared of people. I finally just wouldn’t leave the house and I just became drunk.
I would drink twice a day, get drunk twice a day, I almost lost my job and stopped eating just because I didn’t want to be around people and feel awkward. I almost destroyed myself instead.
So it’s pure insanity. If you have any of these problems, you gotta seek help and do the things that I recommended, and you’ll be on your way to a better use. So hit that subscribe button. And thank you for watching. We’ll talk to you soon.
Here’s more Resources for Asperger’s and Addiction
Erik C Johnson