I am a young woman in her 20s who happens to be on the autism spectrum.
I also happen to be a long-term sufferer of Depression which I am sure many who read this can relate to. In my past, I have felt lonely, hopeless and anxiety-ridden. Relationships with family and friends were practically non-existent and I didn’t have a strong connection with anyone I knew; This can be made worse when you feel completely unable to communicate effectively enough with anyone around you!
Verbal communication comes as a struggle and a challenge for me, and it is exhausting. I may not LOOK like I’m struggling, but I always am. It’s called “Masking”. It’s what some people on the spectrum do to ‘blend in’ with society so we can be deemed ‘sociably appropriate’ because let’s face it... No one wants to feel like they’re a burden, do they.
When I found a friend that I don’t need to chat to or make small-talk with, when I found a friend who allows me to communicate with them without feeling frustrated, confused and utterly and completely exhausted, my world changed!
I realised that I could have someone close to me who wouldn’t zap away my energy. I felt free, relaxed and able to finally have a social interaction that didn’t hurt my head or make me upset and angry out of pure confusion, and didn’t have me second-guessing if my actions were ‘sociably acceptable’.
My friend lets us use body language as our main form of communication; This allows me to understand our interaction without having to guess any hidden meanings that can come with conversations I have with neuro-typicals1. I was introduced to my friend in 2016 and we have slowly learned to trust each other and build a happy, stress-free relationship.
my friend is ghost the horse!
She has helped me learn new, easier forms of communication; She has helped me see that I can learn to interact with my peers and form healthy relationships with them and my family.
To this day, though, Ghost is the only one who I feel I have a strong emotional connection with. She doesn’t need to ask me questions or guess how I’m feeling; She knows, and she understands.
She helps me re-charge from social exhaustion, she helps me feel human again. She helps me feel alive.
And trust me, when you feel like you are all alone on this god-forsaken planet... You need a friend who helps you the way Ghost helps me.
*Name changed for anonymity