24 Mar 2020


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Levenslijn Weird word actually, lifeline. Yesterday I was in bed and very restless. Restless because of everything that’s going on in the country. The worries about people in my family who are among the “weakest” in the Netherlands. The past few days it has also been very difficult to hold on to my structure, my life rhythm turned back to living at night and sleeping during the day.

Last night I was restless as I wrote, I noticed it in my body. I also noticed it because I didn’t answer several chat messages and other notifications from the social media. Remotely I noticed that I pulled back and was in my head. It may not be easy for others to understand what this feels like, but I will do my best to describe it. I’ll get back to the lifeline :wink:

When I’m in the state I was in last night, I feel like I’m looking at myself from different angles. I’m restless and my thoughts are spinning through my head, through each other and over each other. And then there comes a moment when somewhere in my head there is some kind of distance. As if I take a step away from myself, I notice that my thoughts and feelings continue. But it feels like it’s happening to another person that I’m watching. Cool and clinical I am looking at myself, judging what is going on and how I am doing. Conclusion; not good. It became clear to me that all the fuss around Corona, the measures and the worries it brings, affect me more than I thought.

Thinking about life lines

There I lay; stressed, tense, angry, sad and with a thumping heart. Not a nice feeling when you sincerely try to sleep. My thoughts were rushing through my head and somewhere in the middle of that chaos in my head the word “Lifeline” surfaced. And I began to focus on it. I imagined what life lines could be. I started by juxtaposing the different kinds, from literal life lines (like throwing a rope at a drowning person) to figurative (the line people walk from cradle to grave). Although my thoughts kept storming around in my head, I had found something I could think about and use it to distract myself from the rest.

The thoughts of other things kept going. But I had found something I found interesting to think about. What’s a lifeline all about? What is the meaning of the term? Why do people need one? Is it a thing at all? In the end, it calmed my other thoughts, they were slowly being pushed into the background. I also began to imagine something else that I was beginning to amuse myself with.

Will you go with me in my head?

In mijn hoofd I like to read, and now I read books by Robert Jordan in the series called “Wheel of Time”. One of the things that plays in it is the possibility for some people to enter a dream world. Without giving away too much about the story, it’s a world that reflects the real world. However, this can change the world of the dream to whatever they want. If they are not practiced, this happens unconsciously and uncontrollably.

Why am I telling you this? Well during my thinking about the word lifeline, my idea of what it would be like for someone who would think with me began. Some kind of movie began to take shape inside me. What it would be like if someone in my mind could walk around like in a dream. Not that they could adjust or do anything, just watch and talk. What would that be like? I imagined how hard it would be for someone to follow me and my thoughts. That I was jumping from heel to heel on the branch, I was wandering around with sentences and comments. How I changed my mood like a frightened chameleon into a bag of Skittles. How I would show someone around in my thoughts. She’d warn them not to go to certain places, for their own safety. And she’d look apologetic if I saw the confusion in their eyes after a flurry of comments and thoughts.

At the same time it would explain so much for people to be able to take them into my head. Experiencing it is always much better than hearing people talk about it. This doesn’t apply to everything, of course, but it would matter. I do think people won’t find it a comfortable experience. People often have enough of their own thoughts and feelings, so they really don’t want to experience someone else’s in such a way.


Lifelines come in many forms. And in this time of crisis in the country, it is important to know your lifelines. I am now thinking about lifelines as means, people and/or animals that are most important to you. And for me at this moment that includes my internet connection. And yes that sounds rather “First World” of me. But the fact remains that I keep connecting with people around me. It means that I stay connected to the world. Of course there are people in my life who are also very important. I am also a father, and for my children I do everything. Yet I also call my internet connection a lifeline. Right now it’s the most important way to connect with the people I care about.

In addition, the thought occurred to me that you can be a lifeline yourself. There are people who might think of you that way. That led me to the question, “Am I ready to be somebody’s lifeline?”. A thought that made me stress for a moment. At that moment I wasn’t thinking it at all. But now, the day after, I know. There are people who see me as a lifeline, even if they don’t see it that way. My children may be a little too young to look at it that way and we’re not ready for these deep conversations yet, but we are. My parents are very important to me, and I know I am to them. And there are more, not even family members, where we count on each other.

After a short night’s sleep, I get myself together again and write another piece. The world is in turmoil, people are breaking through in some things and we have to support each other in this time. The best way for me to do that right now is to stay calm and follow the rules and advice as they are given.

From this place on the internet I would like to wish everyone strength in this time. We will get through it eventually, and I sincerely hope with as few losses as possible.

So in short;

  • Stay home if you can #FlattenTheCurve
  • Limit social (physical) contact
  • Support each other in this time
  • Wash your hands!
  • Keep a meter and a half away from people!

Above all, stay healthy!

Thanks for reading
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Tags: autisme crisis gedachtes fantasie begrip ritme 
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David Westerink
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I am David, born in 1984 and I'm autistic. I write blog posts and advocate for autism acceptance. I'm willing to talk to anyone about anything.

I have my own podcast (in Dutch) about autism and neurodiversity! Checkout the AutCast!

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