"I’m 5, plucking honeysuckles off of the backyard bush, squeezing the tiniest drops of what tastes like sweet nectar into my mouth. I pluck another one as there are plenty, hundreds more budding in the spring time.

I’m 6, singing with my sister, recording ourselves on an ancient silver cassette tape recorder, playing drumbeats on upside-down Tupperware containers. We giggle with pride listening back to our music on the cassette.

I’m 7, riding my bike for hours up and down the neighborhood roads, feeling the cool breeze against my face.

I’m 8, dancing in my favorite, faded pink costume dress…

I appreciate the effort gone into this. This must have been difficult -- not only to write, but to share, too. Thanks for letting us into your soul.

Being diagnosed with ASD almost 9 years ago gave me the keys to feel less frustrated with myself. Yet, I still get frustrated and continue to beat myself up. I need to stop it. Thank you for sharing this with me. Your story speaks volumes about how far you have come. I hope presently you're doing well.

Such a beautiful piece. I'm not going to burn you like other comments. I simply want to say that I respect you in writing such a vulnerable piece such as this. You're brave to put this out there. Well done to you.

Incredible story! I am so happy that I read this. Thank you for sharing this. Your grandmother sounds like a tremendous character who would light up, not only a room, but a whole city. Sending my love to you and your family!

That. Was. Beautiful. The way you told this story gave me chills. Your dad was an incredibly brave youth. Although he didn't have a choice, he battled through life and struggled through the torment that was given to him from the war. I'm certain your dad's memory will live on in every person your dad encountered. Thank you for sharing this touching and enlightening story.

I have struggled with mental health for the majority of my life. Having ASD, it has been difficult for me to progress in my life due to the insecurities my mental health has given me. Thankfully, at the age of 33 (soon to be 34), I am making some kind of progress in advancing my life and gaining a good amount of self-confidence. I hope you and your daughter find the progress you need to achieve back some normality. My love goes out to you, your daughter, your friends and the rest of your family. I have my fingers crossed for you.

Fantastic piece! I thoroughly admired this and I think other writers will too! Thank you for sharing this personal experience with us. After all, it is the personal stories that create a more thrilling experience. Thanks again!

Through the darkness, there is always a hand to guide us

Photo by author

“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end. The fog is like a cage without a key.” —author Elizabeth Wurtzel

Ever since I can remember, I have harboured this being inside. I call it The Beast, and this beast has a voice. Every time it speaks, it uses its words to puncture holes in my heart and soul.

Oh yes, The Beast enjoys sabotaging my hopes for the future. It…

Aiden Riley

ASD community. Depression sufferer. Anime lover. Lover of reading. Writing from the heart. Riley_48@hotmail.co.uk

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