My dear readers and friends. I am alright, but must take a break.
My dear readers and friends. I am alright, but must take a break.
I’ve been in hiding. Desperately trying to conserve the energy that I have left at the end of the work day. Being in an offices is extremely hard, despite having kind coworkers. At the end of the day my head is pounding and my energy is drained, leaving little left for more pleasant things.
Hidden away from the world, I turn down almost every invitation. Navigating the social aspects of my workplace leaves my social mussels overworked. I’ve push almost everyone away because I literally can not handle anyone or anything extra at the moment.
I’ve stopped checking my personal email. There are so many emails and so much information being shared at work. I get to the point where I just need all input to stop. My brain has become bogged down and slow, as I try to process my days when I get home.
My brain is like a sponge, it sucks up everything until it is drowning and oozing. Covered and dripping with too much information this most important organ can no longer function, so I shut it off, preventing meltdowns.
This is burnout, this is me in self preservation mode. I am holding on but some days I am barely here. I try very hard to always stay positive because I know sinking into a depressing would be the worst thing for me at this point.
In the meantime it’s many solitary walks in the woods, counting my breaths, less commitments, and as much creative down time as possible.
That is why I have gone into hiding, reclusive, in quiet stillness. I’ve got to take care of myself, there is nobody to do it for me.
I don’t want to be domesticated.
Chained to a home and a mortgage.
Having a job is a necessary evil,
although I am painfully aware
many WISH for the chance to work.
The endless cycle.
Work to pay for the house.
Work to pay for the things.
The house you cant enjoy
and the tings you don’t really need.
Spend all your time working.
Living just to work.
Careers don’t suit me.
I walk to my own beat.
Walking alone, quiet, with nature.
Walking for hours by the stream.
Someplace comfortable and calm
Maybe one day there will be time.
When I no longer have to work.
There are times when my anxiety takes over, these are the days when I feel stuck. There is so much to do and too many things depending on me. Looking around at the mass before me, my life seems completely overwhelming.
There is too much to do, where do I even start? I am so stuck.
I get lost, perfectionism takes over, or my inspiration simply vanishes. Being productive becomes impossible but in not being productive I am only making my life worse. The endless loop of chores and work bury me alive and I can’t get out.
Drowning in all of it. Adulthood, responsibilities, work, family, people who depend on you. Some days I just want to run, run away. Maybe if I run far enough, if disappear without a word in the night, I will escape my troubles.
I want to be invisible.
What troubles would I leave behind? So much suffering for the people who love me, who need me. Still I fantasize about starting over, vanishing without a trace.
I realize that I haven’t really spoken about something that has a huge impact in my life. Its something a lot of us take for granted. Most people look at a face and know what it means but when I look at faces I am most often confused.
I can’t remember people’s faces so I try to pick one very distinctive feature and try to remember that. If they change the feature I choose then I am out of luck. This was often questioned when I needed to describe shoplifters in a convenience store I worked in when I was younger.
In addition to my inability to recognize people out of context I also have a hard time reading the intentions or feelings of the faces in front of me. Of course there are certain emotions that are easy, even for me, to recognize.
If someone has a huge smile with teeth they are generally happy. A crying person is obviously sad. Those emotions are easy and universal but everything in between is a mystery.
There are ways around this. If I am around someone long enough eventually (after years of practice) I can start to learn them enough to read more of their face. It is a lot of work and I don’t have that much time with most people.
Something people take for granted. I just feel like there are too may faces and my brain doesn’t want to take up useful space storing them. For me it is a lot of work and is NOT an efficient use of my time.
#ActuallyAutistic #SheCantBeAutistic #InvisibleAutism #AnonymouslyAutistic
To my beloved readers, I feel I must confess something that a few of you may have noticed – I have email anxiety and I haven’t checked my email in weeks.
With work emails it is almost easier because I have to answer them or there will be a consequence but sometimes I open my personal in-box, see more than 2 or 3 emails and immediately close the browser because “I just can’t.”
It seems like a huge task, one that requires focus.
Sometimes I get so overwhelmed just trying to figure out where to start that I cant. Then I have guilt. Guilt for not responding to my readers and friends in a timely fashion. In addition to the guilt there is the nagging that something in one of those emails might be important.
After a few hours, or a day or two, the shock wears off and I log back in to read an email or two (no guarantee if I will respond unless something is urgent). Most of the time I will shoot back a quick response if I open a short email but sometimes a long email will send me back to the little gray “X” on the top right of my screen.
At that time the entire cycle starts over. Some days I may only respond to one email – or none at all. It’s like I’m waiting for the perfect circumstances to arise so I can read and respond to email – but very rarely does my mind cooperate.
The worst part is I realize it would be better if I just forced myself to get them out of the way – so I can stop obsessing over my unread emails. Maybe I should go check my email.
#ActuallyAutistic #SheCantBeAutistic #InvisibleAutism #OCD
It’s hard to write about meltdowns, they are very difficult to describe. The most frustrating part of having one is the fact that I have very little control over it. In fact while I am having a meltdown it feels as if I have lost control of everything.
I become very much like a child having a tantrum, but the reality is at that point I can no longer think clearly so my cognitive abilities may not be far above that of a child as the episode comes on. I am completely overwhelmed by everything.
Many of my meltdowns are tied to anxiety.
I don’t often bang my head against walls but if I do, it is because I am in a very dark place, sick, or in pain. This is a last resort scenario, when something is too much and I just “need it to stop”.
Not encouraging this behavior just trying to shed some light on something that doesn’t get enough discussion.
Every time I have a meltdown I write a poem. Here is one I wrote a while ago.
Banging My Head Against the Wall
The worst of meltdowns.
Trapped with my own anxiety and sense of dread
swirling endlessly inside my head.
I can’t escape.
Please make it stop.
Curled up rocking my back to the wall
tears and eyeliner pouring down my face.
Stop! Stop! The panic continues
while I bang my head up
against the wall.
It’s gotten to that point
where everything falls apart.
You think I am overreacting to something small
but this is the result of holding things in
hours, weeks, even months.
It’s always the same.
I reach my limit.
Eventually that one thing happens
and everything just becomes too much for me.
The weight I’ve been carrying comes crashing down hard.
Desperate, panicked, and alone, I am stuck beneath it.
“Get a hold of yourself! You are acting like a child!”
The words don’t help because I can’t
make it stop.
I would if I could
but this has to run it’s course.
Once the meltdown starts it overtakes me.
All I can do is run, make irrational choices, and cry.
When a meltdown hits I am lost and tormented.
You may be here with me but I am alone
and feeling helpless
Someone asked about how I was in school.
I was in special education when I was young (early elementary school) and had tutor a few years later. I was a b-c (sometimes d student) with poor social skills. However, I still feel I was “smart” just not smart AT school.
Things that bore me go in one ear and out the other while things that catch my attention and interest me I can learn every detail about. That’s just how I learn.
School wanted me to learn boring things that seemed completely irrelevant and I had a lot of trouble with that. My other problem at school is that we were expected to sit still for long periods of time without fidgeting. At home I had fidget toys all around me (pinwheels, kaleidoscopes, silly putty, and more). At school no toys were allowed
Teachers saw me as a problem, something they did not want to deal with. They wanted to send me away or pass me along. I even had one teacher tell me I “should have failed her class but she passed me just so she would not have to see me again next year.”
I started school young, excited, and ready to learn. I’ve always had a passion for learning but school almost beat that out of me. By the time I left school I didn’t even know who I was anymore.
School didn’t want me and college was never a real option for me. I was dismissed over and over again by people who should have motivated me.
Every day I am grateful that I am self motivated. When I want something I push myself for it. I know not everyone has this skill – I wish I could share it with anyone who needs it.
Growing up in my own little bubble, the world in my head is magical and bold. My whole life it has felt as if people are constantly trying to pull me out of that bubble – but the bubble is where I want to be. I am the bubble and the bubble is me.
School wanted me to be a cube but all my edges were rounded. Why could I not just be myself?
#ActuallyAutistic #SheCantBeAutistic #AutismAwarenes #AutismAcceptance
As you may or may not know April is Autism Acceptance / Awareness Month and this year I am putting out a plea that everyone read, share, and encourage anyone talking about Autism to read blogs, watch videos, and learn from actual Autistic people – not big organizations like Autism Speaks.
If you are an Autistic person with something to day, or anyone with something positive to say, I would like to encourage you to write, share your experiences, and be a light of truth in the world. We need more Autistics Speaking and less Autism Speaks (and other organizations about Autism run by Neurotypical people) speaking about Autism.
Finally, thanks to the internet, many of us can no speak (I use that term loosely since some of us prefer to type) for ourselves and it’s time to speak up (and share). If you can’t share publicly, I’ve found anonymous blogging amazing.
Support the online Autism community. Share and connect with other Autistic bloggers – remember some of them may have social anxiety and may not want to meet face to face. It feels good knowing that you are not alone.
Remember there are many diagnosed Autistic people in the world, waiting to be woken up. Many of us did NOT understand Autism until we read the words of other Autistic people. Some day when you google Autism, I dream the works of actual Autistic people will appear on top.
People know about Autism but they don’t understand what it really is or Autistic people.
If you want to learn about Autism, why not go straight to the source? – an Autistic person.
#ActuallyAutistic #AutismAwareness #AutismAcceptance #SheCantBeAutistic
Phone calls have always given me anxiety but did not know why until I really looked at myself. For many years all I knew was being on the phone, unless with someone I am close with, caused me great stress. I hated talking on the phone, something most girls love, but why?
Since my Autism diagnosis many little truths about myself keep popping up. Little things that were always funny are starting to make complete sense. I see myself and my actions through a new light and spend a lot of time really digging into my motivations and the reasons behind my anxiety.
I get anxious on the phone because I have a verbal communication impairment. I have hyperlexia which means that my comprehension for reading, writing and typing far exceeds my verbal comprehension. People who are used to corresponding with me via email would never guess this. On the phone (and in face to face conversations) I am often confused.
I also have Sensory Processing Disorder. People are hard to hear over the phone and when you add ears that don’t filter out any background noise things can be impossible.
Phone calls confuse me because I miss a lot of details because my brain can’t keep up. Because I am Autistic my face to face communication is impaired.
Also people tend to talk faster on the phone and don’t like when you pause to think about your words – because they think you hung up. However, I need time to think before I speak. The entire thing is very stressful.
That is why I hate phone calls.