296: The Star of My Post

I panicked this morning. I pulled my husband out of the bathroom. He was stripped down to his boxers. And I was mean.

I don’t like to be mean. I hate it, in fact. At the core of me, I am nice. But this mean, panicky part of me surfaces at times.

She especially appears when I am feeling bombarded with change and sensory overload. When my normal routine is drastically altered I get a bit crazed and then my scale of unpredictable outcries is undeniably both potent and dramatic.

This morning, the birthday sleepover for my youngest boy was almost over. There had been much noise and upheaval as the boys celebrated together and tore the daylight basement apart with their slathering of snacks and soda. I’d not fallen asleep until nearly two am, and I’d cleaned and organized and shopped and prepared the entire day before.

My husband had been a great support, as much as any human could be who didn’t possess super powers, but by morning, he, like me, was exhausted. And unlike me, he was ready to get out of the house and start a course of errands. He headed downstairs to shower, as I was wrapping the party up, and awaiting the arrival of the two last guardians to pick up the children.

After twenty-minutes of feeling a kneading, unidentifiable discomfort inside, suddenly a shock of revelation hit me. Two strangers were about to appear at my door. As I thought about this fact, I was bombarded with what ifs, and what to say, and how to stand, and how to smile, and how to be, and how to stop my own very self-consuming fear of being seen by another being.

As I processed, and my anxiety grew, I realized I wanted to duck under a blankie, to escape, and to not face anyone.

Suddenly, and without warning, an all-encompassing fear bit at me like a disobedient hound leaping to snatch food from an innocent bystander.

I logically processed. I figured this biting and uncontrollable fear was part of my Aspergers, part of how my brain worked, part of who I was and had always been. The feelings weren’t unfamiliar, not even more intense; but I was more aware.

Still, even with the understanding, I could do little or nothing to calm myself down. At any moment the door would knock and a stranger would appear.

I talked to myself in silence. I reasoned. I tried to logically stop the worries and concern. I knew there was nothing to fear, but yet I feared. I knew there was no threat, but I felt threatened. I wanted to run.

The doorbell rang. It was the first stranger. She was kind and courteous, and we didn’t have opportunity for small talk, as her nephew gathered his things and left quickly enough.

I shut the door, wishing them well, and sighed in relief. I felt half of the anxiety leave. Only one to go. Only one to go, I told myself. I attempted to self-soothe, to talk myself into the fact that I was safe. But I couldn’t. Though half the anxiety had left, the remaining panic was newly fresh and alarming, clawing at me from the inside out. I just couldn’t do it. Not alone. Not by myself. Not with all the uncertainties.

I rushed then. I darted down the stairs in a state of meltdown. I was imploding and exploding all at the same time. The outside me, the observer that sometimes watches, and takes note of my behavior, and who is often able to laugh or offer sound advice, she’d been swallowed up in the confusion of my emotions.

I had to find my husband, make sure he was dressed, and get him upstairs, right away. There was no time to wait. My soul was on fire!

I found my husband in his boxers, doing something in front of the mirror. I don’t remember what. Everything was a jolted blur of rush and chaos. “Please hurry, he will be here any moment, and you know how I am,” I whined.

I looked my husband over and realized he hadn’t showered yet. It had been twenty minutes, and he still hadn’t showered!

“What have you been doing?” I queried rudely. “This whole time you could have showered, and you didn’t. Why didn’t you? Why did you leave me up there alone? Why? You don’t get me. You don’t know me. What do you not understand about Aspergers? What do I fear the most? What do I fear the most!”

My husband stammered with his eyes and braced himself against the bathroom door. I could see he was processing my emotional state. I could sense the familiarity of his experience: how he knew I was on the verge of freaking out and that his next move would either create a domino effect of me collapsing into hysteria or serve to bring me out somewhat from my spinning panic.

He stepped closer, and waited for me to finish my thoughts, waited in a way and with a skill I have not yet learned, and fathom I shall never learn. I felt a reckoning of sadness, a knowing I was different, odd, and displaced on a planet where my skillset had never been completed, where my tool box of communication skills was vastly depleted.

I wept inside, until the fear rose. I went on fast then, and with an unrelenting urgency. I knew what I was doing and what I was feeling, and it all felt so ridiculous and unnecessary and unfounded and just plain stupid, but I couldn’t help myself. I was trapped in a prison of jumbled thought and worry.

I said more, my words not chosen carefully, my panic taking the wheel. “You abandoned me. You abandoned me. You say to me ‘You take it from here; I’m going to shower,’ and you leave me to face the strangers. You know how I am? How could you do this?” My eyes were welling with a mixture of tears and rage.

I was on the verge of flipping my husband off. About to mount the stairs, and with a quick turn of my back, turn and give him the finger. I was so confused. My emotions all jumbled and twisted into a crisis.

I stood my ground, even as I saw another path of what I might have done, how I might have taken off as I told him off. I stared past him, fighting back the urge to yell, “I hate you!”

He didn’t move or even flinch, but looked at me with such profound and unattainable patience. I knew I was being childish. I knew at that moment he was the only adult in the house.

“Your worst fears are talking to strangers, especially at the door, and to men,” he replied. He then said, with a sigh, “I’ll wait to shower. I’m coming upstairs. Be right there.”

Within two minutes, I was back on the couch, hiding behind my laptop and my husband was in the leather chair twiddling his fingers and playing with his cellular phone.

I said, “Stop picking at your lip. That bugs me.”

I said, “I don’t understand. Don’t you care? Why did you do this to me?”

He looked at me blankly, and replied. “I didn’t shower. I came up here for you because I love you.”

I waited for him to be triggered or upset or to show emotion. I needed him to be emotional. I needed him to take me out of my emotional state, by means of his emotional state. For me to be able to focus on his wavering feelings, and to blame him, so I could escape self-blame. I punched at him with my words.

He didn’t care. He didn’t. He didn’t know how to show me love, is all I could think.

“Our problem is the Language of Love. You show love in service and duty; I show love through emotion and affection. I really need a hug right now and compassion.”

He got off of the couch and came to my side and held me. But I didn’t feel release. I’d wanted to blame him and make him act a certain way, thinking his behavior would relieve me. But it didn’t.

He stayed at my side and looked over at me as I maneuvered through the stream of my Facebook wall. He was watching the posts, watching me, and in my space. I looked at him and said, “Thanks for the hug. Can you go away now? I don’t want you near me. Please leave.”

I recognized the cruelness and impatience in my voice. I sensed my selfishness and sporadic ways. But I couldn’t help myself. I was in the middle of a breakdown, and nothing my husband did or said or offered could help me.

My husband rolled his eyes and shook his head. And I offered some half-apology for my behavior, knowing I’d been terrible. I tried to make him laugh. “Well at least you might be the star of my post,” I offered.

I don’t think he smiled.

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50 thoughts on “296: The Star of My Post

  1. Love your posts. They are so helpful for me to feel okay with who I am. There is a box inviting one to follow your blog that hovers over all your posts and can’t be closed. I wish you could get rid of it. It is in front of your words. Very annoying. Hoping you will remove it. Thanks

    1. I don’t know why the box is there? Something new with wordpress. It’s acting odd today, the formatting is off… might be a glitch. Not my doing or intention. Hope it goes away. Thank you for your kind comment.

  2. To the first person who posted, those boxes usually mean you have a virus or malware of some kind. It’s not WordPress’ fault. (I don’t have any of the boxes showing up).

    Anyway, I wanted to thank you for this post. I was recently married (1.5 years, almost), and I never realized how difficult it would be. We have no children, so I can’t imagine how difficult that addition to life would be. I never realized my “irritation level” could be so low.

  3. What a wonderful post Sam ~ thank you for sharing – your posts always make me feel like “it’s not just me” === your hubby sounds like a pretty amazing man– and so, he deserves to be the “star” today ~ YAY for him 🙂 ~ Yesterday, here we found a 35 year old love letter from my husband wrote me when I was in college (cleaning out attic)… omg ~ I asked him if i could post it… Blew my mind……. doubt I will but flipped me out… Not sure he is the same guy now who wrote the letter but ….love him no matter 🙂
    xxoo Big Hugs ~

    1. Your comments always make me feel safe, accepted and loved. My husband is amazing… I just have a hard time remembering that and showing my appreciation…sigh….. Old love letter…oh, do post it… so wonderful that you are happily married….. he is lucky to have such a sweet and caring lady… and I’m sure you feel lucky to have him as well. hugs to you beautiful sea sis xo

  4. This is interesting … makes me think, about me mainly. Because you just wrote ‘me’ when I feel um, invaded? .. yes, invaded is definitely the word. We had old friends over recently and before they came, I was a mess and upset and so didn’t want it to happen and just needed him to wrap me up and hide me away and make excuses for me to not be there. But did I share my worries? No of course not but to me, surely he knew because he knows what I am like as you say. I like these people and they like me (I think .. that was half my worry). It went ok, I spent lots of time with their adorable kids! But It makes me think about how I blame my hubby for not understanding what I need. But maybe its me. Maybe I am confusing and mixed and hard to understand even though it seems clear to me. Given many reasons, maybe I need to think about the possibility of Aspieness in myself. Which is ok, I just need to figure out what it means for me and us and your posts help. I might not comment often, but they do because they and others make me feel ok, whatever it is in me, I learn from them and other similar ones. So thank you.
    If you don’t mind, can you have a look at my blog? Just some poetry and writing. Its okay if you don’t. Thanks Samantha. x.

    1. I’d love to look. . If I forget, please remind me…. I’m still flustered from the morning and want to visit when I am in a better headspace. Just post the link.. that will remind me. 🙂 Your words help me much. Thank you. hugs Sam

  5. Hi, Sam! There are no hovering boxes here. 🙂 At least, I can’t see hovering boxes. I understand your panic. I used to have severe panic attacks very much like you describe here. To this day, I want to hide and am very afraid of people showing up at my door. Actually, I am intensely uncomfortable about any situation with which I am not completely familiar. I suspect this kind of response is far more common than we realize. Loved the post. Hugs!

    1. So much unspoken between humans… the more I share, and the more people tell me they relate, I wonder why so many people never told me, why so many keep stuff inside to the point of boil over…. I hope our world can become a safer place to just be in our trueness and authenticity. Thank you so much for sharing your world with me. I suspect your suspicions are spot on. hugs… so glad you enjoyed. Much light and love to you ~ Sam

  6. Ugh. I HATE that feeling! Being completely aware of how rude or cruel I’m being and being completely aware of why I’m doing it and STILL not being able to stop. Bonkers. (And using the word ‘being’ too many times that I stop to look, but yes, they make sense where they are lol). Love you x Not that it helps, but try not to be so hard on yourself – everyone who knows you even a LITTLE knows how kind your heart is and how deep your soul. So someone who has vowed to spend the rest of his life with you … I’m pretty sure get’s you more than you think. 😉 x

    1. I took your words to bed with me last night… lol… in a totallly platonic way. lol. I am so happy that you can see my beauty and light beneath the madness that sometimes seeps up and out of me. You are a rare person. I hope you know how lovely you are. xo Have you thought about volunteering; you’d be good at working with the needy and those that need more love. 🙂

      1. If we’re counting my many failed relationships – I’ve already worked with the needy. LOL! Yes, that’s actually something I’d love to do. Once Nic graduates and spreads his wings, I’ll have time to offer to others. x

  7. So many people have these qualites, me, my husband (To a degree) my siblings, a lot of my friends, varying degrees of course…maybe Aspie is the norm, and “regular people” are the odd ones

  8. Great post. 😀 Is this how you experience meltdowns? I’m not actually sure if I actually have meltdowns or not, but this sounds like the most similar description that I’ve read about.

  9. Thanks again Sam. Im going to get my husband to read this post as I do on so many of your posts. I’m sure he will relate 100% to you and your husband in times of a meltdown crisis involving people coming to the door! ( and my blaming him for my out of control fears!). Good thing they love us so much 🙂

    1. Thank you, sweet you. He was raised in a household in which he developed extreme tolerance for people… so I am blessed he doesn’t blow his top or freak out at me. I love how you “get” me; you are such a lovely person. We are coming down the week after April. Tea? 🙂

    1. I don’t consider you an outsider, but I can understand how you could feel that way. I love your outlook. Way to spin a hard emotional post into something positive. What a great gift you have. 🙂 thanks a bunch

  10. Have mixed feelings about this today… hope when your feeling better you put Hubbie at ease, and tell him how you really feel about him… which is obvious love…
    I find your posts so educational and I wonder how many people go through life not knowing they are actually suffering from something that ,makes them react like that…. feel for you…

    1. Hello Bulldog! How are you? Thanks you for your insightful comment. I texted my husband after reading your words, and did tell him. So thank you so much! That is my soul intention, to help others through my own experience; that’s why I put myself out there. I hope to help someone’s suffering and help them to feel less alone and more “normal.” Hugs to you. How is the weather and photography? 🙂

      1. Watch my blog… just got back from the hottest spot of South Africa… been there for a month and had a wonderful time, such an interesting area of Africa… and the photography was a dream come true….

  11. you was mean.. i have panic ..attacts can often be sick all over myself.would help more if you was not thinking of yourself so much. I ALL SO HAVE M.E. THINK WHAT THIS IS LIKE..SO PAINFUL MOST DAYS

    mark

    1. Your comment “thinking of yourself so much” was a great topic for my support group. I don’t view it that way, but really enjoyed processing your comment. I will keep you in thought and prayer and am so sorry for your challenges and pain. Much light and love to you. 🙂 Sam

  12. Wow, we must me kindred Alien souls! The more I read about you and your journey with Asperger’s the more I wonder if this is what I have struggled with all my life. So much of what you describe is SO ME! My nephew is a diagnosed Aspie. My 4 year old son is showing traits and my 9 year old daughters intelligence testing has me questioning whether she is número typical as I always thought. Thanks so much for all the time and energy you have put into your blog. It definitely makes an impact in others 🙂

    1. Yes, alien we be! Take me back to my planet, now! Sounds like a definite genetic component to me. You are most welcome. This journey is helping me, too…… Best wishes and lots of light to you ~ Sam

  13. I read this to my kids and hubby and they thought I wrote it! They were astounded when I said someone else did. My hubby says that his fellow comrades married to aspies are both lucky and may get some rewards in heaven- that is his joke- although he adores me too:) My kids are all under 9 and they thought it was mummy speaking. Wow. That says a lot to me. You explained it so well…that is exactly how it goes and how I feel and what I wait for…Thanks for this insight yet again!

      1. Thank You… I don’t have Facebook…at the moment I wish I did! But I just could never keep up with it without getting overwhelmed!:) I am now going to catch up on some of your newest posts…I find it uncanny sometimes – I thought I was unique!:) I guess I still am in my own way and you are! …I can’t believe you were a cheerleader! My dyspraxia tendencies ruined any opportunity for me that way!:) I have always wanted to be a dancer:) Maybe my hubby will get that special spot in heaven or whatever is after…and I can be a dancer!:) Lol.

  14. Sam, thank you for your posts. I can totally relate to this post (as I do many others). Your blog is the best find of 2012, as far as blogs go. I appreciate your honesty and openness. You help so many people!

    1. What a grand thing to say! Thanks for the smile you brought me and for taking the time to say so. I am so elated to be helping. That is all I want to do, to help and connect. hugs and love ~ Sam

  15. Hi Sam,
    My wife (an aspie) linked me to your article. I had to laugh a little because I can absolutely relate to your husband in every action and reaction he had. Relaxed and calm men like us are built for Aspergers women; we’re a special breed for those special women. Don’t forget to give that man a hug and let him know he’s not the only one! 🙂

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