Big Picture Thinking

Big Picture Thinking

Attention to detail is a great strength of mine but also a weakness: so often I fail to see the forest for the trees. This is not unusual for autistic people.

I have spent the past few weeks largely absorbed in my own thoughts, stuck in a loop, following the same chains of logic over and over. No new insights were forthcoming from this exercise in futility.

State of mind affects thought, affects creativity and the ability to invent. Perhaps this change in me is a sign that the light is beginning to pierce the veil of depression. Because I am beginning to feel the stirrings of hope; the birth of fresh, new thoughts.

My feeling had been one of being stuck in a featureless limbo: no path visible through the mists, any sound deadened to oblivion. After the initial pain there was only a numb emptiness. Such numbness that I did not even recognize how lonely I was feeling.

It struck me last night: an aching loneliness as if my chest were being torn apart from the inside. I realized that I had merely been marking time, walking round the same circles again and again. Lost in the minutiae of my situation.

I have been talking to a few close friends recently, both face to face and online, and out of these conversations has emerged a path. A way forward. A goal that I can work towards. The details are unimportant: I have the overall “big picture”.

Thanks to my friends, one especially, I have found my direction, my purpose. I see the forest.

7 thoughts on “Big Picture Thinking

  1. I’m glad for you that “the light is beginning to pierce the veil of depression” and your friend(s) has(have) helped you find a path forward.

    Your writing is a beautiful gift, which has helped me to accept things about myself and my situation, and then to begin to move on, through the pathless mists of my own depression. I haven’t been able to describe it to anyone as well as you do here: walking in the same circles, marking time, being lost in the minutiae – those words could’ve been written to describe significant parts of the past several years of my life.

    I just went back and read your post “to my friend,” and realized what a great gift it is to have a true friend… in my life, right now, I think that the only “friend” (in the sense you’ve described) that I have is my wife, who continues to be very supportive through this period of my intense self discovery and reflection. There are perhaps, at most, a handful of others that I consider to be somewhere between friend and acquaintance, who would probably drop most things to come help, and for whom I, too, would put aside many things, but whom I am also not completely comfortable relaxing and being myself around. Beyond these few people, everyone else is but an acquaintance.

    Best wishes as you move forward along your path, toward your goal, through the obscuring mists and beyond the oblivion. May your friendships continue to be a source of strength and light and what is good in life. And thanks, again, for sharing!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. I do not have many people whom I consider friends rather than acquaintances. Making friends does not come easily, and those few I have I value highly.

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  2. I recognize that. It’s the combination of depression and autism, I suppose, that makes you go round in circles. No new ideas, because you’re just following the same logic circuits, pondering the same issues with the same arguments. I do think it helps in a way, though. At least, I feel that I needed all that time gonig around in circles to process things, even if felt bad. I don’t think new insights could have come sooner, even if I managed to talk with people about things. But I’m not sure.

    It’s really great you have this friend, these friends, and that you have found a direction to go. Trees can be great, but wandering around lost among them sucks. It’s vitally important to see a path, especially when you’re trying to get yourself out of a depression. Good luck with that!

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    1. Thank you Petra. I find the repetitive cycle of thought frustrating because I feel a need to break out of it, but I find that so difficult without some outside influence to inspire a new line of reasoning.

      As much as I love trees and walking through the woods I do not enjoy feeling lost. Yes, it is so important to see a path, to feel a sense of direction.

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