Sometimes being Aspergers sucks royally. My brain has been in melt-down for months now. Thinking and writing feels like wresting my feet from mud. Coherency is optional.
I know why this situation has come about. It is one that cannot be changed but must be lived with until it resolves itself. That’s the thing with life. Sometimes we are in control and sometimes circumstances control us. As anyone knows who knows anything about Aspergers, predictability is incredibly good. When I have to go through longer periods of unpredictability, melt-down is inevitable.
This is one such period. Blogging has become impossible. I can tell my reviews and articles are impacted, and writing drags me further into the mud. I’m not giving up, but I am giving myself space to come back to some sense of control.
This post from October 2014 has been moved from my book-blog to Identities.
Saturday I had my first major melt-down in a long time. I was at a family gathering. My family is loud. So am I. All of that loudness over a long time becomes confusing. I cannot help but hear everything that is going on, and concentrating on one conversation takes a lot out of me. Add to that strong emotions from a few of the participants and visual stimulus and I was teetering. The thing that pushed me over the edge was that I had been overly optimistic about the time my medication would last.
All of a sudden I knew I had to get out of there. If I didn’t I had no idea what would happen. Major melt-downs are like that for me. Thankfully, my husband saw that all was not as it should be and we got the crew going. Driving home I had to keep my eyes shut tight, put my fingers in my ears to lessen the volume and bend forward. Then I breathed as well as I could and kept on trying to get myself back on the edge. When we got home, I took my medication and went into my room, wrapped myself in our duvet and read a book.
That was when it hit me. I had kind of guessed that this was my method of handling the world when I was younger. But the feeling of desperation and pain that I felt Saturday evening and the relief it was to hide brought back memories of childhood.
My parents had no idea I am Asperger. Whenever I tried to hide at parties (i.e. hide behind a magazine or book) they thought I was being rude or pouting. At home I had to get away at times and hid in my bed all covered up and behind a book. My family thought I was out of sorts and would try to cheer me up. The thought was kind enough but just made matters worse. I was often accused of pouting. Looking at it from an objective point of view, I can see how it would seem that way. But pouting was the last thing I was doing.
I hate being dependent on my medication, but I dislike melt-downs even more. I love parties and noise. But once my level of stimulus tolerance is reached, I need to leave or find a quiet place. Being reminded of how long my strategy has been used and how comforting it is to me was interesting and educational. I wish I could have avoided my melt-down on Saturday. At the same time I am thankful for the trip down memory lane and all that it taught me.
This post by Annie describes perfectly how my life was before medication. The past five years, have brought amazing changes to my life and that is due to the right combination of medicines. Annie’s post helped me see how the symptoms I that are part of my life are also part of my aspergers/autism-depression combo (learned two years ago that I was one). People who post how the inside of their heads work are an aid in understanding myself.
The trouble with autism/aspergers is that often we struggle to recognize emotions, often we outwardly display common signs, and will even wonder aloud, “why is everything so irritating? Why am I so on edge? I don’t know why I feel so irritable about everything, I can’t pinpoint a reason why, I have no patience for anything.” Not realizing the power of the emotional storm surging underneath. We become more aspie in a way, displaying flat emotional reactions, and even a perceived general disinterest in others, or even a feigned interest because that is all we ‘can’ do in that moment because anything else will send us over the edge. Stress, even over little things that may seem like nothing, is enough to shut us down completely. Verbally silent and unresponsive, it takes every effort just to mutter the words, “I can’t right now.” Feeling exhausted, yet charged with emotions, every sound is a jab, yet a distant fog. It hurts, like a slice deep into the soul.
Depression, it sneaks up on us, usually from doing too much and feeling overwhelmed, combined with feeling like we are not doing enough. Feeling maxed out, and yet not wanting to let anyone down. Doing our best, but failing to meet even our own expectations because we simply can’t ‘do it all’, as much as we really do want to. Trying to take some downtime and feeling guilty all the while. That’s not downtime at all. Constantly riddled with anxiety, social anxiety, anxiety about food, about routine and breaking out of routine. Anxiety about unexpected changes in plans with no time to mentally prepare for it. It’s exhausting. Yet, we are extremely resilient. We take the emotional roller coaster in stride because this is everyday life for us.
We get knocked down and bounce back time and time again because what else is there to do? Sometimes we get knocked down a little longer than usual, and sometimes we need help to get out of the hole we managed to get stuck in, without even knowing how or when we got in that hole. Sometimes we don’t even know that we are in a hole at all. Add social order to everything, trying to navigate relationships and all of those subtle and confusing social rules, it’s difficult and a lot of pressure. We sigh in relief when we finally find someone who allows us to be our true selves, when we can relax and just be. But, that never seems to last long…………