Saturday, October 19, 2013

99 Problems-Number One. Don't touch my shit.

Big problem. Huge. Huge Problem.

I have a friend on Facebook who's been posting these "Problems of an Aspie" for a while now and given the "lens" I see through they all ring true for me. I usually laugh when I read them because they are so familiar, but immediately after I laugh I feel a twinge (sometimes an intense twinge) of anxiety that each of these problems create. I thought it would be interesting, fun, a little scary and possibly therapeutic to elaborate a little more on each one and how it effects me personally. 

Problem #1. Other People touching my stuff. 

I hate this. I've always hated this. Even when I was child.  I knew I had to share my toys with my cousins, and being the agreeable, soft spoken little girl who never wanted to do anything wrong, I did. Still, I hated it, and god forbid  something ever got broken. There were inconsolable tears. It was the end of the world. The voice in my head would keep repeating, "I knew I shouldn't have let them play with it", over and over and over again. No one was responsible. No one was careful.  Honestly it was torture. I see these same tendencies in my son. He shares because he has to, but if it's something very important to him, he's started "hiding" those toys or objects so no one can get to them. 

I still have this problem as an adult. Luckily I don't have to share too much anymore, but even when my own child uses my iPad, I feel it. The anxiety. If he should happen to leave it on the floor that voice starts in again. It's automatic. It's involuntary. It just is. I simply don't like it. If I'm working on painting a doll, many times someone will come over to look at it (which I also hate, but working in the dining room leaves me little choice) and they will pick it up. Pick. It. Up. And I think...who does that!?  Who just puts their hands all over someones work?  I've voiced my discomfort with it a few times, but usually it comes out as "please don't touch that...or please don't ruin it."  I end up seeming like a crazy person who is extremely over protective of her vinyl heads. And I guess, in a way, I am. What I would like is for people to respect that and just know that they aren't supposed to touch my work. Ever. It won't hurt them at all not to touch something that doesn't belong to them. And for me, it would eliminate a tremendous amount of anxiety and an overwhelming feeling of invasion. Its almost as if a complete stranger has just touched me. Without asking and without warning. To sum it up, it just plain sucks. 

Just this afternoon I had to attempt to reel in my reaction to another incident. I say incident because to me that is what it was. To my BF, it was probably nothing. I also say "attempt" because I'm sure I wasn't completely successful. The back story is I had blood drawn this morning, which turned out to be difficult because I'm dehydrated. I have been on and off for the past month and I'm trying to fix it. Water alone isn't doing the trick so I got Gatorade purposely on my way home. The back even further story is I do this often, BECAUSE I know I'm dehydrated and more times than not my BF takes it, drinks it, or gives it to his son before Hockey. To give him credit he usually does ask first, and because, in many ways, I'm still the agreeable, soft spoken little girl, I say Ok. But it is torture. Today, I couldn't say Ok. I said something like, "I bought that purposely because I'm dehydrated. I don't mean to be a bitch, but..." I think he said something's no big deal, relax. And most likely for him it is no big deal.  For me, however, it results in a full-on, internal Aspie Rant. 

You can't keep taking my Gatorade. I keep buying Gatorade and you keep taking my Gatorade. I take the time to plan and go to the store and buy what I need and you can't just take it because you don't want to take the time and plan and go the store. If you want Gatorade then say you want Gatorade when I ask you what you want at the store. Or leave early so you can stop and get your own Gatorade. If you buy something that you need I don't take it. I would never think to take it. And I hate it when you drink my water. 

Yeah. This is what happens. Luckily, it mostly remains internal, because, really, who would understand this? I sound like a crazy person going on and on about fucking Gatorade. It takes a tremendous amount of energy and restraint to keep these kind of thoughts from spilling from my lips. But unfortunately, the fact that I can't just let this out, is what makes the anxiety worse. I have to suppress my Sheldon Cooper like tendencies, because in real life, it's just not funny.  There is no laugh track. This type of ranting and raving will get me nothing but a diagnosis of certifiable. 

How to solve Problem Number One: Stop touching my shit. 

Hope, who lives in a place where nothing is simple. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

One tiny step for me. Mankind won't even notice.

Bonjour, mon petit poissons!  As you can tell, High School French didn't take me too far.

I am finally on the mend physically, I think. I'm finding some wood to knock on as we speak. After my first bout of sickness, I dove straight into a second, which has lasted much longer. If there was ever an argument against getting a flu shot, I would be it. I still have a little ways to go to be back to "normal" but the coughing has subsided and I'm sleeping. Can't really complain about that. Friday will tell if I'm in need of something stronger than just time to heal my raw and tired lungs. 

On the mental front, I'm still far from being mended. My stress level rises and falls with the tide it seems, but I'm sure it's because the situation with my parents is still unresolved and I still have no desire to think about it, let alone take action. 

Today, in therapy, we finally discussed another topic that has consumed my thoughts over most of this year, and has also seemed somewhat unresolved. Up until this point we have focused mostly on the anxiety and what causes it and what revolves around it and how to deal with it. Today, we finally talked about Asperger Syndrome. I've gotten to the point where I do feel a certain level of trust with my doctor and I value his opinion as a professional as well as a person. When he thinks something is bullshit, he's not afraid to say it. 

The subject was brought up originally in relation to Jack, because although he is doing much better this year at school and in life in general, than he was when we made and chickened out of the appointment with New England Mental Health, there is always something. That little something, in what he does, or what he says, or in what upsets him...that always brings it back to forefront. Not necessarily negative things. Just things that bring it all back and leave me questioning if I really am doing the right thing, by essentially, doing nothing. This weighs on me heavily, and I'm sure adds an invisible layer of stress and anxiety even when I'm not fully aware of it. Mostly I just needed an opinion. A professional opinion for once, to help me with the constant internal debate of " to diagnose or not to diagnose."  What I got was some long awaited peace of mind. 

Although, the discussion began with Jack, I could see the pieces of the puzzle falling together for him, almost the same as they had done for me months ago. To be honest, that didn't surprise me. What did surprise me, was his negative opinion of places like New England Mental Health, that focus their whole evaluation on deficits and problems and looking for what is "wrong".  This was one of the main reasons we backed out of the eval in the first place. I couldn't stand the thought of putting my child through that and somehow making him think there was something "wrong" with him. It really helped me to feel better about the decision to forgo the appt. Up until now I've felt like we just kind of "dropped the ball" and maybe did the wrong thing out of fear. After today, I don't feel that way anymore. I feel like we went with our "gut" and we made the best choice at that time. 

After giving him some of the background information as to why I've suspected it on and off since he was two, we talked more about how and when and if to make the decision to diagnose. What are the negative aspects? What are the benefits? Is it the end of the world if I don't pursue it for him now? I can't say I walked away from today's appointment with any information that I didn't already have, but I can say I walked away feeling much more confident in my instincts and my gut feelings. I walked away with a much lighter cloud hanging over my head.

My doctor did say, as I've already figured out myself, that one of the benefits of having a diagnosis is gaining knowledge to help you understand yourself better, and to help others understand you. To which he added, "But YOU already see things through that lens. You are helping him understand himself better than any team of therapists." And there it was. That was my answer. And that was my permission. My permission to stop doubting myself, and to keep on keeping on.

Hope, who feels validated and much less like a Crazy Muthah, after all. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Mind Body Connection

This past week was a real pain in the ass. I reached a critical point in my anxiety where my mind basically took control of my body. Aside from feeling sick and not being able to stay hydrated. I had head to foot muscle tension, tightness, pain...basically they were hard as a rock and tightening everywhere. From my legs, to my back to my head to my chest (making it hard to breath), to my throat (making it hard to swallow.)  To say that it sucked doesn't give it justice. I'm 90% sure this was a result of the past months activities and is proof that healing or sickness really does begin and end in the mind. My doctor believes it is possibly Myopathy, which doesn't dismiss the fact that it was brought on by chronic anxiety.  She also mentioned Neuropathy, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, other Autoimmune Disorders, and My Thyroid. All of which, in my opinion, can be exasperated by chronic stress. In any case, blood work is being done to at least find out once and for all what is going on. I tend to link everything to anxiety, and then once in a while I will think..."but shit...what if it's not?" I have real physical pain here. What if it's something else?  What if it's something that may even produce feelings of anxiety?  I try to keep these thoughts at bay because it ends up becoming a "What came first? The chicken or the egg?" scenario. So hopefully, answers will be on the way soon.

Ironically during this pain in the ass week, I was really attempting to help myself, or at least help my body. Green drinks, eating well, Yoga, walking. Perhaps I sent my own body into shock and it was all, "what the fuck!?  Where's my cake and Starbucks?"  And then it just got so pissed it just decided to attack me. That's a real possibility, so I've slowed it down a bit. Still marching forward with what's good for me, just doing it at a slower pace, to maybe let my body acclimate.  Time will tell, I suppose. 

As for my mind...still crazy. I'm at the point where I almost need to shut it off. I think that's the only way to regain some balance and good physical health. And that means medicine. UGH. This the exact point I get to every time I decide to go back on the one pill a day regimen. I know I'm better off not resisting but I still can't help but hate the fact that I can't be like other people. That I just can't "calm down". That I can't "relax" and "stop thinking" and "stop worrying" and just be fucking normal for Christ sakes! Yeah. I hate that. And by normal I just mean...the NORM. That baseline place where people are people and they get to have good days and they get to have boring unimportant days and they also get to have stressful days when they are called for. I want that. I mostly only have the latter even when it is not called for.

On the family front, I have still done nothing. I'm still angry so I suppose that means I care? But I'm also in a delete and repeat mood. This can be a dangerous mood for me because it's when I tend to just cut ties. I will try to rationalize it so that it makes sense to other people. I also have this sudden urge to purge my facebook friends as well. It's almost like cleaning house. Most people hate to clean house, but ever since I was a child I actually liked to clean and organize. In fact, when I had to eat all my dinner, I would imagine the food was my room and I had to clean it. The food alone did nothing to entice the eating. The cleaning of the plate was my motivation. Clean Plate. Clean Slate? I feel the same way about a lot of things in my life. I hate too much stuff. I purge often. And I feel the same way about people in my life. This may seem cold. Maybe even mean? But it's not. There really is no bad intention here. It just is. Where the rest of the world (generalising here) seems to get off on having the most friends and knowing a lot of people and adding more and more people to their lives or their lists...I am the opposite. More people always seems to equal more stress. More unknowns. More interference. More pain. More disappointment. This might not be true for everyone, or maybe it is, but they have these magical things called coping skills? Not sure. For me, though, less is more. And the older I get the more I'm realising this and the more power I seem to be giving myself to make my life more like the way I want it. I remember riding in the back of the car on the highway as a child. I would always imagine myself jumping out of the car and running into the woods and staying there and living there forever. In high school, when I read, Walden by Henry David Thoreau, I was blown away. I thought it was the most fantastic brilliant thing in the world. So, this desire for less people isn't anything new. What's new is, for the first time in my life, I have no desire to pretend to fit in with the masses. I have no desire to pretend to be more social than I actually am. I have even less desire for approval. This is a good thing, because I'm getting very little approval from people in my life and expect to get even less as I continue this journey. This can also be considered a good thing because they are, in a sense, weeding themselves out before I have to do it. 

This past month isn't one I'd want to relive by any means but I did learn a few things. I learned the most important thing I have to do is to take care of myself. I learned that I get to put myself first and deserve consideration from the people in my life. I learned that if I don't get that consideration or respect or honesty then they don't have to be a part of my life. I learned that I have a choice. Not in the sense that "I have a choice to make", but that I have a CHOICE. I get to choose who I want to invest my time in and give my love to. And I get to make these choice without guilt, without remorse, without regret. I get to make choices that are good for ME and I also get to be happy about that. 

Hope, who is signing off now before my body catches up with my mind...