My depression is not linked to any particular place, whether Stroud or London or Manchester. It is something that I carry around with me, regardless of where I happen to be. I have experienced depression in 3 of those places. It is where I have set my heart on being whatever person I wish to be. What is the common thread?
The only constant pattern is that I do not cope well with change and upheaval. My parents felt that they had to buy a trailer tent for whenever we went on holiday. They could not take me anywhere that was an unfamiliar environment.
How does this link to my relationships? I have always felt the need to attain stability and security. I have always thought that once I am in a loving relationship, I could tick that box and be on a plateau. I have always felt like I have come close to that but then something has gone wrong at the last minute. I do not know what that is. Perhaps it is finding a way to accept in myself that I am loveable. Not to view that status as such an unattainable condition of worth but as something everyday and pedestrian.
My parents recall me saying that "I have never been happy". I cannot remember saying that. Perhaps I have said it verbally at some point during one of my episodes. That reinforces the point that this is the depression talking - not "me" talking - and that this is something separate from me. My parents have taken this as a rejection. They blame themselves for the way in which I have been feeling. Has this had something to do with my upbringing?
The truth is, I do not blame them. When I said:
I was talking about myself, not them. I saw the way in which I was feeling and how it was affecting others. I decided that it would be simplest to short-circuit and have myself peacefully done away with. This would forego the need for anyone else to be affected by the way in which I am feeling. When I explained this to them in October, they said that this would be the ultimate selfish act. The void that I would leave in everyone's lives would be much worse than my depression.
It is a "chicken or egg" scenario:
It is almost inextricable.
The family counsellor who we saw today made it clear that this is not a "blaming" exercise. This notion of "blame" can have devastating effects on relationships. It is counter-productive. What we are working on instead is internal mechanisms by which we can accept something as it is (Mindfulness) and work on strategies for moving forwards. For example recognising something as "ASD" or "depression" and not "Rory".
What are the best ways in which I can move forwards into 2020? What do I need?
I require long-term psychological support to walk me through those micro-steps of a relationship. Even if it is someone on the professional side whom I can run messages by and talk through upcoming or recent encounters / interactions within that relationship. This can be as simple as an ongoing WhatsApp conversation to run message by and a fortnightly meeting. It is trivial, for sure. But the practicality, traceability and structure of this interaction would help me.
I must think carefully about the degree in which I would like my family, friends and co-workers to be involved in those conversations Recognise a point (Sympathy Fatigue) where it is too much for them and that I need to lean on professional support with certain issues.
ASD. I must to understand that my Autism Spectrum Disorder is a big part of my life.
I must not date unsupervised. I find that it helps to put whoever I am dating (the love interest) in contact with family and friends. All sides must know what is going on.
Whoever I am dating could be aware of my depression. Understand the reasons for it (that it is not necessarily "them", but it is the lack of "them") and be accepting of it after al. If they are meant to be by my side.
What went wrong with Avi is that he suddenly realised I had high standards / expectations of him. Through telling him that I loved him, I was showing him that this was not a game. What I was feeling was real. I had him on a pedestal. From knowing himself, he knew that he was not the "perfect person" he saw that I perceived him to be. He felt that he could not match up to my high standards / expectations. This is why he disappeared. 27/02/21
Where does this leave my parents? The truth is, I do not blame them for anything. My blame for them is to the degree of zero. My blame for myself is to the degree of 10/10. Remember, I do not do middle ground. With me, it is one or other extreme.
There were a few years (between the age of 18 and 32) where I was not particularly open with my family about various relationships. That is not something to be blamed. It was due to my internalised understanding of Sympathy Fatigue. These difficult topics and conversations have only opened up this year due to what happened with Avi in March. I took an overdose and was signed off work. My cousin and his girlfriend came and visited me at home. I told them what was going on. They told my parents. That is how my parents came in on the conversation after so many years. That experience with Avi in March has had such a profound impact on me through April, May and the rest of this year. It has opened up old wounds. Rejection. Low Self Esteem. These can be attributed as the root cause of my depression.
It is a constant pattern of feeling used and rejected.
Why, when I have so much close family, friends and a protective support network, am I constantly looking for something or someone beyond? Mixing with people in my Meetup groups. Why am I trying to forge these relationships (which are not "relationships" at all according to my parents) with these unknown faces on apps with whom I have nothing in common with? This is one viewpoint. My parents and brother do not buy into the dating app culture that is a way of life for so many Londoners. Could this be taken as a "rejection" of what I have already? Something to explore.
My parents note that I have been going after all these "foreigners". Without meaning to sound "racist" or "discriminatory". They are alluding to LV in Brazil. JR in India. Or Avi from Israel. In their opinion, the lack of something in common is in our background. To me, there are many more topics to have in common besides merely country or religion.
I have taken what my parents have said on board to some extent. I am now dating someone who (to them) at least shares a common nationality. While I agree that a common background does help to some extent, it need not be the make-or-break-all of any relationship. Love transcends all boundaries. Perhaps that is my naive, fairytale opinion?
I have grown up being mildly on the spectrum enough for people to think that I am "different" and for me to think that I am "different". Therefore, I have been susceptible to bullying. I have been on the receiving end of bullying from my contemporaries at Wycliffe, Marling and Stonehouse Court Hotel.
People sense that I am different. My supervisor at Stonehouse Court Hotel picked up on my gay vibes and vulnerability. At the time, unless I was severely autistic, the notion of being slightly "different" is what makes me vulnerable and susceptible to bullying
The outcome: I withdraw more into myself. I am less confident. I experience depression. I take comfort and security from my stories and my writing. I do not work on the realities that I should work on. I go out with London Lads. My mum observes that I am a little wary and anxious of them. That is why I look "tense" in those photos.
My sense of being "different". My sense of "otherness" in not engaging with football, rugby and all of these other traditionally "male" pursuits. These childhood experiences made me feel like an outsider. I have developed an ingrained vulnerability. I have experienced discrimination (simulated, intentional, unintentional or otherwise). I have internalised that discrimination. It has led me to believe that I do not belong anywhere, with anyone.
Black & White
St Luke's Therapy Centre
Thank you for referring Rory to our service for assessment of possible Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Rory was assessed at the Behavioural Genetics Clinic (BGC) on 9 June 2017. Prior to the meeting Rory completed an Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) assessment, (see attached appendices) and a psychiatric assessment. Rory also completed an Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R). Please see attached appendices for more information.
Rory is hitting the town with his girl Victoria!
Another disappointment. Mateusz spent the whole evening flirting and smiling at me. We kissed. We exchanged numbers.
Mateusz did not reply to any of my messages. Later in the week, I confronted him via Facebook chat. The original conversation has been lost, but this is a reconstruction.
Looking at this, it seems that by "confronting him" I judged him as a fool by saying "Oh, you are another one..." I might have sealed my fate in sending that message. If I think that someone is ghosting me, the likelihood is that they are ghosting me. The trick is to not let on that I think that they are ghosting me by acting completely innocently. Also, practise empathy. How might I feel if someone sent that message to me? I might have felt that it was a little aggressive. I might have thought, well, in that case, be it on your own terms. It is much better to use the Last Message rule. Take the non-response as an opportunity to show how positive and caring I can be. I can always chase it up 5 or 10 years later if I feel like doing so. 05/03/21
Self Fulfilling Prophecy
1/26/11, 12:48 PM
Rory: Oh, you're another one...
4/18/10, 12:57 AM
Dan added me on Facebook having attended Diáspora @ RNCM 26/04/2010. I could not remember how we got in touch. I noticed that he was a mutual friend of Abi. For some reason, he was sending me messages on Facebook. We were chatting.
He invited me around to his flat for drinks. He lived in Medlock Place, where I had lived previously between 09/2009-02/2010. He said something about his flatmates being away so we had the whole place to ourselves.
On the night, as we were making arrangements, he said that he was going to jump in the shower first. I arrived at the flat and knocked on the door. When he answered, he seemed self-conscious and slightly flustered. He did not make eye contact and scurried away quickly.
We spent the evening having drinks in his lounge. We were discussing music. I told him about the struggles that I had working with various musicians in Diáspora. Dan said he was into Michael Bublé. I said that I was into Latin music. He was alone. His flatmate was out. After a few hours, he took me into his room. I thought that he wanted to show me around his room. I noticed that he had weights. We discussed the gym and working out. Somehow, we ended up lying on his bed. Dan noticed that I was trembling. I said that I was cold. His arm brushed against mine and somehow we had our arms resting on one another. We kissed.
We made love. Dan had Michael Bublé playing the whole time. And then "Sway" came on and we realised it was the perfect song for both of us because it combined our interests. Dan asked me if he was doing it right. I said that it felt "so nice".
"Is this the furthest that you have got with a guy?"
"You are so beautiful."
Dan laughed and said,
"Shut up. I am a complicated guy."
Afterwards, we went back into the lounge. We stood on the balcony for a bit. It was dark. I could not stop smiling. I had a boyfriend, My lonely days were finally over.
Reconstruction (original conversation has been lost).
I had already told my flatmate HN. He asked me if this "Dan" was the guy who I had been sleeping with.
I posted on Abi's Facebook wall about having left her music stand at my flat. We arranged for her to come and collect it next time that I was at the flat. Unexpectedly, Abi turned up with Dan. Possibly to check me out and decide whether or not to pursue it. I was smitten with him. He had come back from a holiday in Greece. While Dan was in the flat, HN asked me (in front of Dan) if that was my fake tan lying around.
A few days later, I passed Dan in the street. He blanked me. It was like I was not there. None of what happened on 31st August had actually happened.
11/9/10, 12:27 AM
Reconstruction (original conversation has been lost).
If someone kisses me or tries to have sex with me, I might think that this person loves me. I am likely to develop feelings for that person. I feel led on. I would not kiss someone or try to have sex with them unless I were in love or saw myself in some sort of relationship with them. I would not lead anyone on. Unless we had agreed beforehand that the experience does not go beyond one occasion.
Unfortunately, this is part of the way in which I am programmed. Despite how many times I have taken peoples' advice and tried to change myself, there are certain aspects of my personality that cannot be changed.
This is my low Self Esteem talking in the way in which I use the word "Unfortunately" and mentioned about all of the times in which I have tried to change myself. Have I not considered the possibility that there is nothing wrong with me? And that it was the things that were bugging me that I needed to make sense of? 06/03/21
Grant Russell was my friend and colleague. I never wanted anything more than that. I never wanted to be entertained into feeling about him the way in which he made me feel. A fool who led me on.
Grant Russell was a fellow music student (bassist) and jazz musician at the RNCM in Manchester. He was close friends my flatmate HN. He spent a lot of time at our flat, often sleeping on our sofa.
Grant observed that I have never moved forwards with anyone in terms of romantic relationships. My love life (or lack thereof), perceived chastity and his seeming bemusement frequently came up as an intriguing topic open for discussion. Such discussion is initiated by someone else, not me. One evening, he was asking me why I do not have sex and why I chose to remain single. I told him that I had been hurt in the past. I explained that any time that I have developed a connection with someone, they lead me on and drop me cold. I was alone.
Grant spent the entire evening giving me a pep talk on how little confidence I had in myself. How it was such a shame that I am young and not experimenting. How I should get myself out there in the world or try with people. He did not understand. I had tried. It had never ended well. I said that I was happy as I am. He made an observation that I am not happy. He said that I am an attractive guy. Why am I hiding myself away? He said that he would "do me right now" if he was not straight. Perhaps he was trying to boost my confidence?
11th July, 2010. World Cup Final. Netherlands vs. Spain. A group of friends (including me and Grant) went to the Footage, a local bar across the park from our flat, to watch the game. Grant got drunk (again). I walked him back to the flat so that he could sleep on our sofa as he often does. I thought that he was my friend. I was trying to take care of him.
When we arrived back to the flat, Grant started staring at me. He told me that I am beautiful. He seemed to act like he was aroused. I was too naive to understand what was happening. He kissed me. I reciprocated. We made out on the sofa. He tried to have sex with me. He fell asleep. I went back to my own bed, slightly shocked. Processing what had happened.
Over the week that followed, I began to develop feelings for him. I could not stop thinking about him. We have been friends for a couple of years. All of these questions were swirling around my head. I had no guidance. What did he want with me? Maybe we wanted more than friendship?
A week later, I attended his birthday party. Suddenly, just before I got on the bus, I was seized by a strange, uncomfortable feeling. "Is this a good idea?" I did not know what it was or how to process it. It was like my heart and mind were trying to battle it out. The part that did not register consciously was "have I been here before?" I had listened to all of the advice from my friends. Listen to your heart. Trust in it. My heart wanted me to do this. I thought that the mind was playing tricks on me. I thought that the denial would further drive me into seclusion. I needed to be around people. To get away from myself. One person in particular. Without further speculation, I jumped on the bus.
At the party, I saw Grant. He behaved strangely cool, casual and distant towards me. At one point, we were alone in the room together. I tried to behave towards him as he had behaved towards me. He said that what happened was a mistake. He said that he not want anything with me. I took off into the night. This experience opened up all of the old wounds that had happened in the past. He betrayed my trust. I never wanted to see him again.
By this point, he was already booked on a jazz quartet gig with me. I might have paid him off and told him not to come. Instead, I honoured the commitment, to the detriment of my mental health. Being a man of my word, I went ahead with the booking as planned.
Throughout the evening, I isolated myself. I went out into the garden at night. I was half expecting him to follow me out. He did not. I was alone again. At the end of the evening, we were paid cash in hand. I had to pay the musicians face-to-face. Grant walked up from behind me. I did not turn around. I handed him the cash over my shoulder. He left without saying another word. On the way back, I could not find the words to describe my depression. Andrew (pianist) kindly drove me back. He noticed that I was not speaking. As I exited the car, he expressed that he was sorry to see me feeling this way.
The following day, Rick (drummer) tried to call me several times. I said that I was not in the right mindset to talk to anyone. However, we did meet up for tapas a few days / weeks later. I told Rick what had happened. Rick observes that I take things personally. Both in my personal and professional life. Perhaps I need to develop a "thick skin"? Rick understands me. He is a good friend.
It took me months to recover from this experience.
Eventually, I confided in my flatmate HN about what happened. Having dodged endless questions from HN about why I seemed downcast. Grant was a mutual friend of ours. I told HN what happened. He seemed surprised. He said something about Grant insisting that he is straight but seems to be into guys. I asked HN not to invite Grant back to the flat and meet him elsewhere. I asked HN to respect my feelings.
HN was initially understanding. Afterwards, he turned my feelings into a running joke.
I could not be in the same room as Grant. I avoided him in the corridor. At one point, Grant said "I am sorry". But that was it. No explanation.
One morning, I found Grant asleep on the sofa. I had a fantasy about boiling a pan full of water, chucking it over his face and warning him never to come near the flat ever again. An idea that I got from EastEnders. My mind was reeling. I realised that if I did that, I might get into trouble with the police and prosecuted for causing grievous bodily harm.
I never wanted anything with him to begin with. All I wanted was to be friends. I was perfectly happy in my chastity bubble of blissful ignorance.
But being the literal person that I am, someone flirting with me, telling me that I am beautiful, kissing me, making out with me and trying to have sex with me tells me that this person loves me. I was prepared to take the advice of my friend and allow myself to open up one last time. It did not work. Once again, I was brought out of my box and hung out to dry. It only served to draw out my loneliness. Further cement those convictions that I had before. Love is transient. Love dies.
Worse still was the shame element. HN made me the butt of all jokes. I was ridiculed for it. This is the other residue of love. In addition to the pain of rejection, there is the additional shame that comes with it. The shame of believing in something that was not meant to be. Once again, I hide myself away. My convictions only stronger.
9 years later, my ex-flatmate HN used a photo of me as a comment on one of Grant's Facebook posts. Grant also cut me out of my jazz quartet photos. The photos that I paid for. He used them for his own purposes. I did not mind about the cut-out photos. What bothered me is that I had given him my trust and that he had betrayed it.
Curious online behaviour and somewhat ironic given what I had told him in before about being hurt in the past. One more lesson.
This is a classic example of not being able to share my feelings. And instead (without my knowledge), exploited for the entertainment of others. Undignified splattered all over the walls and trickling shamefully downwards into pools of humiliation, irony and Superstarlight. I was wrenched to the nth degree.
Yet another reason why I could not trust anyone.
Grant Russell asked me why I never moved forwards with anyone. Now he knows.
Listening Place 4
Rory spent the first few years of his life in an ice cave, carving out his palace of wonder. He's a bit of a love doll, but he who melts the ice shall have his reward.
332 Brixton Road
Samaritans, 24 hours, on 116123 or email:
I have been recommended to acknowledge and process all that I have been though, where it all started from how it has affected me.