Mountains are landmarks, a source of challenge and dramatic views. A tranquil sign of major turmoil deep under the surface. A seemingly eternal mass which in truth is always changing, simply on a timescale far removed from what we consider normal life.
This is also true of metaphorical mountains.
I am an autistic psychopath, my brain is wired differently from most people. This is because systems, which are built to be easy for others are full of obstacles for me. It’s like a road was built to make it easier to get around, but it has been built across where I need to go. Some people have a nice flat path to walk, I have to clamber up a steep embankment and back down the other side.
I struggle to scale metaphorical mountains and helplessly wonder why it took me so much effort. ‘Simple tasks’, have often led to autistic burnout. Put simply, the stress from desperately trying to keep up with people who didn’t have to scramble up and down mountains fried parts of my brain.
So now there are even more mountains than before, and the ones which were always there have gotten taller and craggier. Which can easily lead to a vicious cycle.
How to break it? We build more roads.
Recognising that people have different paths to walk, and respecting and supporting each path, means that nobody has to face mountains. And while we are building these new roads, we can be understanding of those who currently have to scale a cliff!
I hope that one-day metaphorical mountains will be something we tackle voluntarily. Not a commuter hazard that we are forced to dash ourselves against each day.
For now, I accept that there are a lot of slopes and potholes in my life. At MBS I am fortunate to be working with a team which understands this. They offer support and make adjustments as needed. They are flexible with hours and deadlines. Though these don’t shrink the mountains, they give me tools to make the climb easier – or even manageable.
One step at a time, friends. Just take it one step at a time. Reach out for help when you need it, and build roads where you can.
Below is a list of organisations that can support you with more information surrounding mental health: