461: Before I Arrive… Aspie Exhaustion


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Day of event:

Takes a lot to leave house. The dressing alone is difficult; the contemplation about showering. The cold and hot extremes of cleaning. The irritation of today’s clothes. Nothing fits right, again. Why does it fit one day and not the next? Why does it bother me today, more than yesterday? I need to eat better. I need to… stop with the ‘I needs.’ You are enough. Yes, I am enough. Begin self-talk. I am enough. I am enough. Should I do my hair or put it up? It’s cold enough for a hat. Is this a hat event? What about the mess when I take the hat off? No, matter. It is of no matter. Yes. I am fine. I will put my hair up. My ears turn red when I am shy. I will wear my hair down; no hat. No risk of mess. A few curls. Not too many. If it’s cold and hats make me happy, why am I basing my comfort and pleasure over possible messy hair? Plus I look good in hats. So what. Wear a hat. Which one? Try on three. This one. I can’t believe I wore this headband the wrong way all day yesterday. I can’t believe I haven’t worn a headband until now. Burettes, I am still afraid to wear them. I am afraid of inanimate objects. Oh, brother! I can never put them in the right place. I don’t want to look like I am trying to look good. But I don’t want to look bad. What is good? What is too much trying? I am thinking so much. Breathe. I don’t want to be judged. But I will be. Sigh. I will be. It’s okay. It’s okay. This is the world you live in. You don’t have to judge others, but they will judge you; well, most of them will. You judge a little, too. You just let it go and recognize it. I am so much older than everyone that will be there. Some old lady mother joining in. It’s okay; this is good for me. Should I eat? That will make my breath stink. I just brushed my teeth. We need toothpaste again. I am too tired to go to the store. What store can I go to? That one is so small. So many people. So close. And that one. Yes, it’s on the way. I will go. Maybe I won’t. We have enough to last a couple more days. I can’t go to the store, today. I don’t have to plan now! I don’t have to think ahead. Focus on the present….the present… the present… OMMmmmmm. I would benefit from listening to my meditation music again. Most definitely. Why so many thoughts today? Is this my Aspergers or am I being empathic again? Are these my thoughts? Yesterday, I picked up exactly what my neighbor was concerned about. I knew it wasn’t me. Such random thoughts they were. I wonder if this nervousness about going is me? Maybe. Yes, likely my brain. Why am I nervous? Over and over nervous. It’s biological. It’s biological. Hyper-joint-mobility syndrome is documented to activate the fight-flight mechanism, and in the event of applied behavioral therapy, no improvement met. This is my body. I need to surrender; let the process happen. Heart rate fast. Breathe. What shall I bring? Where is my purse? I can’t remember where I put it. Why don’t I learn to put it in the same spot everyday? As hard as I try, I misplace things. Sigh. So hard. At least, I found my jacket. I wonder where my makeup case is. I don’t wear much. Do I wear too much? By whose standards? Whose standards matter beyond mine? I want a tattoo. I need to make a drastic change in my appearance. I am so plain and ordinary, fearful of standing out. I like hats. Hats are a good starting point. Accessories. Avoided them my whole life; didn’t want to make a statement of who I was. Or better, yet, didn’t know who I was. I know, now. At least right at this moment I know. But tomorrow I will feel differently. Shit! In a few minutes I will have likely changed my mind about the tattoo. I wonder how many people will be there? I wonder if I can figure out the social norms? Who else thinks these things before going out? I really want to just stay on the computer. I feel safe there. Well, usually I do. At least I don’t have to go through all of this. And no one cares. They expect me to be me and awkward. And I don’t have to explain myself, unless I want to. Is that weird? Who gets to decide what is normal to do on a Friday night? What if going out was not normal and staying in was normal? What if that becomes the new norm? Are we socially shifting? It sure seems that way. Crap, I need to take salt and water for my health condition. Maybe I can grab a coconut water and take it with me. Will that be odd? Are beverages allowed? Well, it will keep in the car. It will be okay. What am I missing? I have purse, jacket, water…my phone. Where is it? The ringer is on mute. How will I find it? I am running out of time. Is it charged? Where did I leave my phone charger? I am always losing things. I wonder if it is in my son’s car. I can’t believe he is driving. I hope he is okay in the snowy weather. He is a good driver. I am lucky to have three boys. I wonder if this is okay for me to go out, like this. Should I stay at home? I don’t do enough around the house. Stop beating yourself up. You are fine. You are beautiful. Stop the thoughts. Breathe. You have more thoughts because you are nervous and transitioning to a new activity. Just like Joseph. He does this. You watch him. You love him unconditionally. Love yourself the same. Breathe. This is somewhat out of your control. Remember to leave a note. Okay. Note done. Where are my keys? Man, I am running out of time. Why do I do this? Why can’t I remember to put my keys in the same spot? Each day panic attack. Keys missing. Wallet missing. Shoes hiding. Sigh. This is exhausting. Do I have my sweater on backwards? Yes. Okay, fixed. These jeans have stains on them. Oh, well. I will wash them with water when I get there. These socks are uncomfortable. I don’t want to wear these shoes. I am running out of time. Fine, these shoes. There are my keys. Focus. Lock top lock only. Put dog in crate! Almost forgot. Reopen door. Okay dog in crate. Door relocked. Balancing all this down the stairs. Don’t trip. Check phone. Time is good. Calculating eight minute drive. I will arrive five minutes before event. Perfect time to park and walk into building. Arrive right on time. Even with traffic I have a few minutes to spare. And I can be late. This is an event, not work or school. When will I need gas again? Soon. Gas goes fast. When will we run out of fuel in the world? I never have tried public transportation here. I wonder if it’s as good as everyone says it is. Probably. Does it smell. Probably. Is that stereotyping? I hope not. Oh, well, it’s just a thought, just a contemplation. Breathe. Drive. Drive. Focus. Focus. Focus. It’s almost over. You’re almost there. I am so tired.

34 thoughts on “461: Before I Arrive… Aspie Exhaustion

    1. Forget the tattoo, they’re too painful, and many people regret getting them! I totally understand becoming exhausted just getting ready to go somewhere, very challenging! The faster I try to move, the more things will go wrong! I start dropping things because my fine motor skills are poor. My large motor skills aren’t great either, I’m always walking into things!

  1. Hahahaha it’s no wonder I’m exhausted by the time I get home, when this is the kind of thing I do before even leaving the house! I love this post. I’ll have to share it with those close to me.

    1. Yes we have all these thoughts too (son Aspie, hence why Im here x ) We can often Change clothes / shoes etc a few times before heading out if the event is something we have never done before, but we do have all the same concerns and thoughts. So whilst it may be heightened for Aspies, its still happens for non-aspies. Although admittedly I do have a spot for my keys :p

  2. This is exactly how it goes, except I go through the entire process in my head before I even wake up. Especially when it comes to race day (I run marathons). Soo many people and sounds and noises. I think for being so anti-social, I keep throwing myself into social situations to prove to other people that I’m “normal”. But then once it hits a month before the event, the internal fight starts up in full swing every day.

  3. I just figured out what aspergers is last night. I want to laugh and cry and scream, your brain is my brain, your thought patterns are my thought patterns. I am amazed and thankful the term Aspergers exists as now I know I am going to be okay. I am going to exist. 🙂

  4. I thought everyone went through these thought processes, alongside the social phobia, the fear of gatherings, parties, crowds, large supermarkets, new people, exhaustion after social interaction, going out in the garden, leaving the house, the slightest sound of a base beat thrumming through a wall, the scratch of a bra, the feeling that no-one really understands me: I told myself, this is the human condition and everyone is alone but most people learn to deal with it. I was 60 last year, a shock that I got this far on the multiple roads of life but still believing there might be love, good relationships, a novel to publish (I’ve written four), photographs to exhibit, if I could but force myself to be different, to put myself out there: just like other people do, seemingly effortlessly. Then I heard a radio programme about Asperger’s and women and how it is largely undiagnosed; as one of the participants spoke I had a jolt of understanding, ‘that’s me’ I thought, ‘that’s me.’ I found your blog and the more I read the more obvious it is. Thank you.

  5. Wow. Like Pauline I thought everyone did this! I have a monologue inside my head and out loud to try and remember everything I need when I leave the house. Having two small kids certainly compounds the situation!! I’m just discovering my Aspieness, wondering about getting a diagnosis, terrified that it will be negative for Aspergers! I’ve felt so at home reading your posts, so understood. Hours of endless reading online on the female presentation of AS. Obsessive, I need to take a break and get back into this world. I want answers so badly though, proof I’m not crazy! So many stuffed down memories bubbling up… Or am I just looking for stories to fit the profile so I can be special? Different? Hypochondriac? Did you have these questions? Is this how other Aspergirls feel? I do know I’m tired of trying to find the perfect hair/clothing/something to make me feel normal. I wonder what others think. Is this how other mothers feel about their children? Do I love my kids as much as other mums? Do I look at them enough? I need to look at them more. With love in my eyes. Make sure they can always see how much I love them.

    Exhausting. I haven’t fully tapped into my thought patterns in detail. Time to become aware of what’s going on.


    1. Hi Maria – I sound a lot like you! Also just realising that I think I have Aspergers, also waiting for a diagnosis (and hoping that this IS what I have, terrified it won’t be, and that this amazing new understanding and explanation of me, will in fact all be wishful thinking, and that I will be back to searching for a reason to explain myself…), also a mum to 2 wonderful young children – and worried I am not good enough for them, they deserve a more ‘normal’ mum who wants and can cope with doing the things that they want to do. And now they are at school the scary prospect of them wanting friends to come to play – other children fill me with dread! I cannot work out how I should talk to them, what they might want to do or what they are thinking…

      I am spending far too long obsessively reading books and online stuff about Aspergers in women, just want to be diagnosed so I can think ‘yes, this is me’ and move on to another interest!

      Hope you get your diagnosis without too long a wait!


  6. Amazing! – I would never have thought to try and write down the hundreds of fleeting and unrelated thoughts that appear from nowhere over even the most ordinary occasion, but you have articulated it wonderfully!

  7. Nail on head. Thank you so much for getting this all down on paper! I never was able to finish creating something like this because it stressed me out to write all the fleeting thoughts. I’d start having additional ones about the writing itself (I had a counselor once who asked me to journal my thoughts as I went through the day as they naturally flowed…. it was to laugh). Anyway, awesome job!

  8. I so relate. Especially about the store, I hate to go, in a million ways it is exhausting. I will put off also and come up with some very creative meals just so I can avoid the store as long as possible using just what I happen to have. And for me I always think everyone thinks as I do, that we all go thru the same thing to get out the door, but if you look closely it is different in a “million” ways, and how do you explain how overwhelming it can be just to leave the house. The anxiety with aspergers is just exhausting when it comes to going out there with all the people, and intense emotions that you know can come up so unexpectively. I hate that the most maybe. Most the time when I go out I am feeling quite stressed, so it’s difficult to be sociable when so much is going on inside, and I hate to pretend I am ok when I’m not. But I also know that I like myself, I still have an ongoing battle with all the thoughts that I am so not ok, but over the years I have learned to enjoy my sense of humor, when I am not super serious, haha, I know someone gets that. And I love how freeing it is for me to write, especially when my life is swallowing me up. And I love that I have more compassion and understanding for others because of who am and who my son is. So I always feel I live my life on this edge, that’s why the solitude and quiet and having time without others all the time is necessary. Some people I know think it strange of me to not like anyone to come to my house, but I need my time and space all for me and on my terms, because going out there is like a thick strange energy depleting uncomfortable jungle to put it mildly. I for one cannot understand for the life of me how most people I know, it’s normal and not even an issue if people come by unexpectedly and often. How can they relax being with people all the time and no space alone???? I am a crazy chaotic mess when I have had to live my life on another persons terms and lifestyle. It is so so difficult to live with anyone. It dsounds crazy even to me, but I literally would do better to live alone with my son and have the few really close people visit when I felt up for it. It’s the only way I can keep myself rested and feeling well. There’s a lot that could be said to explain this….but that could literally be one whole book. And sure I have imagined being able to entertain in my home, I do like and love people very much, but the stress it would cause me is not worth it so far.. But I still hope for that and if I get to a place that I have that headspace and energy I am sure I would enjoy it very much…..well as long as everyone left before I got to feeling stressed. That’s the trick….how to combine fun with others while not stressing myself out. I mean the point is to relax and enjoy others. Still contemplating that one….but I am alive and my son and daughter are well, and I have love of a few close people and I am very grateful for that. At times I want to run away from these same people, but love keeps it from totally failing.

  9. You mean this isn’t normal? It’s all I know.

    I heard a report on NPR one morning about “decision fatigue” and realized that was totally me. I can’t just load the dishwasher. Every.single.step. is a decision. (Survey the counter. Survey the sink. Which dish should I put in first? Where should I put it? Now look at the counter again. And the sink again. Which is next?…) My psych had never heard of decision fatigue and seemed to discount it, but it explains why I am mentally exhausted so soon in the day. Since hearing that report, I have tried very hard to stop thinking so much about unimportant things…but the process of trying not to think so much leads to a whole different conversation in my head about whether I am overthinking!

    So, my question to you: Is this overthinking truly an Aspie trait, or is it more related to a co-morbid diagnosis like anxiety disorder or ADHD?

  10. i’m the same I usually spend the day on the computer and don’t get anything done including today when its warm outside so i feel ishould be out there but haven’t got round to getting dressed etc.

  11. Thank you, Samantha. Though I share many Aspie traits, I don’t run through my daily list anything like your post. I guess I’m a mixed breed. I do SO value your insights and feel honored that I am learning just as much about Aspergers from you and your posts as the research I’m doing. I feel for your struggles and will continue to share your thoughts shedding light on the struggle and celebration that makes an Aspie life. You are impacting people much more than you realize. You are a precious gift to the world. Keep writing!

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