464: Triggers lead to Exhaustion

Triggers and ASD

Anything can trigger me; and it doesn’t matter the amount of self-studies, coursework, readings, spiritual meditation, or self-calming techniques that I incorporate.

I sometimes feel like the energy of something or someone actually jumps out at me; as if I am that electron that moves position inside vast space based on the stimuli (observer) that is in close proximity to me. I continue to feel less like a form and more liken to fluctuating matter.

Once I am triggered by an object, action, word, or person, the anxiety kicks in. My body responds in discomfort. Once I recognize the anxiety through bodily sensations, I can search back and find when the trigger started. Then I am able to pinpoint the stimuli which represents the trigger. At this point, I logically dissect what has affected my equilibrium.

This process of backtracking takes anywhere from a few moments to over an hour. This morning the trigger was a photograph of myself, from the winter of 2013, when I was five pounds lighter. Subconsciously, I held onto the thought of having gained weight, and somewhere in my brain I spun this data on the back burner of reasoning. My body responded with increased heart-rate, a sense of fight/flight, and nervousness. I then looped without complete awareness on being too fat and too ugly to be loved.

These are old messages sill stuck in my filter of self-acceptance and self-love. Once I identified the trigger (the photo), I was able to trace my anxiety back, to self-talk myself down from the negative messages, and to begin to reconstruct a more beneficial view of myself.

The issue at hand, for most aspies, is this triggering happens during waking hours continually, and the process of disintanglement becomes exhaustive.

The fact that the triggers affect us is a direct result of our neurological firing. We are born to make connections at high-speed; so quickly in fact, that the processing occurs without our constant recognition. I am tired, because ultimately, I have a bullet-train mind that takes off with me flailing in the air whilst gripping the caboose.

I believe, beyond the sensory processing of our environment, e.g., noises, textures, scents, bodily sensations, tastes in mouth, etc., that the constant processing of triggers leads to the need to retreat into isolation for a season, be it hours or days, perhaps even weeks. At first, I thought I was primarily being fatigued through various physical ailments (hyper-joint mobility syndrome/EDS), the sensory integration challenges, the need to be as honest as feasibly possible by choosing actions that represent the true self, and the constant evaluation and searching for adequate social skills (tone of voice, proximity, flow of conversation, exact verbiage, etc.)

I understand now another true facet of the exhaustion. While I am processing the direct environment about me, and trying my best to function and present myself in a beneficial manner, I am simultaneously struggling both consciously and subconsciously with the various filaments of triggers that have latched onto the factory in the back of my thought process and have remained there, continually spiraling and looping, until a part of me recognizes the presence and takes measures to spit out the residue.

14 thoughts on “464: Triggers lead to Exhaustion

  1. When I deal with a heavy day of triggers I find myself unable to sleep well which then brings about physical pain and discomfort which then cycles around to either triggering something for me or making it easier to trigger. I am very grateful to the certain few people in my life that understand that my exhaustion is not always about being tired but that the world in general has been at war with me and I with it. Thank you for post!

  2. COGNITIVE CLARITY FIRST then reprogramming can be done. I am a neuro-typical husband. My beautiful wife is an apsie with OCD. I have been able to CORRECT the main cause (this is a neurobiological issue). All of our boys have a piece of the aspie as well. The corrective measures are from the use of supplements (not meds). I did all of the research on my own and made observations for over 2 years now. It has been incredible what the benefits are with the supplements. It has basically fixed the audio processing problem that they all have and some of the over-thinking from intrusive thoughts. They now all have cognitive clarity and are able to work out daily conflicts or misunderstandings. CBT and biofeedback are now affective. And, it is a current and forward working progress. The past, in many cases, will work itself out. This has been easier with the younger boys age 17 and 20. All aspie family members are taking 2 Omega-3 and 4 Nuerolinks from Amen Clinics. They take this dosage 3 times a day and sometimes a “booster” (half dose) late afternoon. Please go to Amen Clinics website and click on the store button and read and read and read. Go get their books. Learn the functions of the brain and how aspie brain wiring tends to be different. The main benefits that my family receives is “brain food”; the omega-3 assist in the general overall health of the brain. It’s like oil for a car engine – just gotta have it, it makes the car or brain run smoothly. The Neurolinks have to roles: the first are the calming affects to areas of the brain that are overactive, it takes away the “noise” and calms it down; then, the other ingredients, amino acids, pick up the activity of the areas of the brain that lag. As one of the Amen clinic doctor’s told me “imagine a person with poor vision who then puts on a pair of prescription glasses for the first time”. Please note that the dosage stated was not taken immediately. We worked on that amount over a couple of months. However, effectiveness was immediate! And, noticeably, with each dose, it takes about 3-5 minutes to get the nutrients to the brain. The next 3-6 months bring remarkable improvements! FYI… if you are not sure what the heck this is all about then please call the clinic and pay for one of their consultants and ask questions! This may not be an answer for all of you, however, I know it works first hand!!! My statement to aspies is to simply know this: today’s science is all about the brain and we no longer just focusing on nourishing the body to be the best athlete or in good health. Also, a side note, we recently started taking one NeuroPS from Amen Clinics twice per day, more brain food. In addition, if this does not phase you or seems expensive then experiment on yourself with foods that may do the same. Example, how do you feel after eating a big piece of salmon (omega-3) and maybe avocado (tryptophan)? Also, another side note – D3 is very affective for Alzheimer’s!!! Mom is taking 3 doses per day of 2000 IU from Bluebonnet Nutrition, another great source of quality supplements. Again, a side note, most psych and medical professionals are way behind in this stuff. Please benefit from this! God Bless!

  3. Thank you for this blog, I have just found you, through a link to the checklist you posted a while back relating to women and Aspergers. This recent post about the triggers that exhaust sums up so well what I have been experiencing for a long time, but especially as I discover writers who put into words so accurately what I am going through. In my journaling in response to what I have read over the past few months I expressed it at one point as feeling like I was living inside a pinball machine. As I read of others experiences that mirror my own, I have flashes and explosions of recognition and resonance, I bounce from one to another and I am left reeling and exhausted by it. Your description of the bullet train also fits perfectly.
    I know I need to do this, to go through this process to better understand, but the process itself is gruelling and exhausting. My story is a long and complicated one, which I won’t unpack here now, but I am in the process of trying to decide whether or not to pursue formal diagnosis for myself, and with or without that to understand where I fit on the spectrum and what that means for me. Along with that I see elements of Aspergers in my children, my partner and his extended family. So I have a whole shed full of bullet trains taking off simultaneously, in all directions.
    In the context of your description of triggering, do you have any advice for surviving this intense and complex journey while still getting on with day to day life, with my sanity intact?

    1. thank you for sharing. For me, having a place I can retreat has been helpful, my own room. Also, I read a lot of Buddhism, Wayne Dyer, Other ‘being present’ literature to help me be the observer of my own actions. I practice telling myself it will pass. More and more watching myself and accepting the process helps me. Also being rawly honest with others relieves the pressure, too.

  4. Thanks for your comments. I agree, the ‘place’ to retreat to is important for me, and I need to work on building that into my day. One of the huge challenges is that in order to find my way through this I need to read and analyse, but with my intense, overthinking it nature, this can spiral out of control and become the issue rather than the solution. I think a key factor for me right now is to find the right professional support, which I am working on, to walk me through this process, but help me to contain it.
    I also think your point about honesty is a critical one for me, but tricky. I don’t even want to begin to try to explain this to the family members who are a significant source of stress and pressure, but I can see that what I have been doing is being more honest with them, carefully, when I can without disclosing what I am not ready to disclose. I think the honesty starts with being honest with myself, understanding and trusting myself, even when I choose not to be explicit with others the honesty is informing the choices I make and what I do say to them.

  5. I think this is why CBT never worked for me. My psychologist would say “You start with a thought, then a feeling… so when you have a negative thought stop yourself and analyse it” LOL!! I can’t so that… By the time I’ve even registered that I’ve had a negative thought I’d had about 500 other thoughts go through my head. It is impossible for me to stop a thought in it’s tracks and de-construct it right there and then 😦

    1. YES, I agree. we have to find other soothing ways to help ourselves, naps, going to our room, writing it out, art, calling someone, support groups. You aren’t alone

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