520: Far: Aspie Thoughts

Far

I think far out in advance and I often lose myself while in the process. When I am in deep thought, I might appear unaware, aloof, standoffish, and entirely uninterested in my surroundings. In some instances I might seem hypersensitive or over emotional, but in truth I am somewhere in the background of the contemplative process, almost absent to everyone, including myself.

Much of the contemplation happens in a cohort fashion. There is a hidden part, a machine that constantly evaluates, and somewhere I, or my conscious awareness, sits behind the machine. This ‘machine’ is why all of a sudden I might ‘check out’ mentally and leave any company behind. This ‘machine’ is why I might eventually have a strong impulse to exit a particular person and/or environment. This machine is why sometimes I start to cry and do not know why.

Sometimes certain environments will lead to deeper thinking. Other times I will be practicing so hard being present and alert that when an event is over I collapse with debilitating fatigue. When I am in an over-stimulating environment, (such as new surroundings, new friendship, new people, crowded places, unexpected happenings, confrontation), I become overwhelmed with data. Part of my brain likes to collect, another likes to organize, and still another relishes itself in connections. Sometimes whilst collecting, organizing, and connecting information inputted into the ‘machine,’ I soon become an exaggerated version of myself, some downtrodden detective who has dug up one too many clues and needs an extensive reprieve from her vocation.

In moments of ‘too much data,’ which could be the result of something as simple as one text message, I might appear aggravated, sad, confused, or even angry, but inwardly I only feel one thing: lost.

My mind is constantly solving. Much is taken in and processed through the senses, but I also cipher through and digest past collected facts and personal memories in three-D picture form. I make constant connections, experience acute and distinct bodily sensations, monitor hunches, respond to my instinctual fight-flight internal mechanism, and more. With all of this processing, being in the moment and in the now, is vanquished by merely existing.

When I find myself outside the sanctuary of a safe place or beyond structured familiarity, the internal processing intensifies, and in defense of my own machine, I slowly slip back into myself. Even when I am in safe and familiar surroundings, my mind is still on overdrive. For what appears to be not-so-important choices, (what to eat, when to get gas, when to make a phone call) feels like life or death decisions. I know logically ‘to not sweat the small stuff.’ I know logically most things are not a big deal. But somehow I get carried away into thinking each decision is a big deal. I know easier choices could be said and done with barely a thought. But to me the choices feel insurmountable. Even the choice of how to walk, the speed of how to talk, the way in which to breathe, play out like a drum corp. Sometimes the choice becomes buried under other choices, as I reason my way through something, pulling out random tools from a series of toolboxes varying from nutritional know-how to spiritual belief systems.

In relation to choices, I also have this ever-building blueprint inside, as if I am writing out a series of steps as I go about every minute of my day. Even the way in which I brush my hair, load the dishwasher, or unload the groceries is broken down into strategic steps, occurring simultaneously to when I move. I don’t just DO anything. The same goes for my thinking. There is a director overseeing my thought process, constantly. There isn’t time for rest, because even as I seek retreat, some part of me is remaining at work and on guard.

I can become stuck in a state of inertia when the director gets stuck inside the data, or stuck within the elements of the live-blueprint, tangled in a labyrinth of what he/she deems actually right and wrong. Here, every choice gets tricky. Here the ‘how much,’ ‘when,’ ‘why,’ and such play out. Here the voices of how to be come in, and how to be the best me.

Everyday life choices are many, sometimes reaching hundreds in the matter of an hour. This creates the data overload, this creates the retreat, this creates the sinking into myself, and the need to escape and/or find relief. Often my only relief is found in a special interest, fixation, or hobby.

When I am in a state of contemplation, I also have a frozen-time-bubble that serves as a vehicle, like a time travel machine. Inside those thoughts, I have the ability to stop time. I have a sort of super power in which I can visualize my thoughts as flash images at fast speed, and jump ahead and live visually through possible choices and events. I can do this at a rapid rate—let’s say projecting into the future and seeing ten feasible scenarios almost all at once, within seconds. Because of this, to the onlooker, I might not appear as though I have a reason to support a decision made quickly; when indeed, to me, I have taken ample and proficient time to evaluate a given idea.

This happens all day long. Even a lonely drinking glass on the kitchen counter has had a half-dozen feasible futures, just from my quick glance—he could be used again, he could have been used by someone in the house with an ailment and needs deep cleaning, he could be rinsed and placed in the dishwasher, he could be soaped up and put in drying rack, he could be used to pour water into the fern plant, he could be thrown out because of that small chip—now or later?

The way I process also makes me sound like I am purposeful being more argumentative during a disagreement because I say several things at once aloud and come off like rapid-firing. I don’t mean to do this, but I do it just the same. I make fast and abundant connections based on what the other person is saying, and then speak what I am seeing. I am thinking so fast, and processing so quickly, that I barely have time to examine my thoughts myself. But it all comes out in one giant heap of me sounding like I have all the answers, or looking lost, or acting overwhelmed.

When I am in a state of continual over-processing and bombardment of information with little relief, particularly in what I perceive as a fight/flight situation or a confrontational situation in which my actions or words have made another person frustrated in any manner, then I start to doubt who I am as a person. I doubt that I function normally. I doubt that I am ever going to be able to be happy. I doubt that anyone will have the patience for me. And from there I spiral downward.

I often want to say: I don’t mean to be the way I am.

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18 thoughts on “520: Far: Aspie Thoughts

  1. Sigh. every word of this rings too true…and while I am glad you put words to it so I can read this to my hubby…it also seals in that it is obviously from my Aspie mind and will be my constant companion. One thing that pulls me back…I will often be lost in this way and my husband will notice and touch my hand, stroke my face or play with my arm gently and it always pulls me back into reality for a few blessed seconds…then I go back but I find that only that sort of tender care or touch brings me into the moment fully for a few seconds…or when my children suddenly give hugs…also compliments…it sounds so narcissistic but its actually because compliments baffle me because I am usually thinking upon on all these things and not meaning to be the way I come across that I am so astounded when someone appreciates those aspects of me. It literally stops me in my reassessing tracks and I ask “why?” I always seem to have a ready “why” for any genuine compliment from my husband because I want to know WHY he thought that way in a moment I felt I was not at my best or even present…I want to see me through his eyes and see what it is that I portray…if that makes any sense? So compliments are a big deal to me and I treasure them but it sometimes look like its all about me…when its all about wondering about how I come across and if it is what it is…and I want to know if I should repeat that behaviour and if it affects others positively or negatively..I dunno. I just know that I do all of this. Your glass example was excellent because that is EXACTLY what goes through my head every time I see a glass. Anyone who does not experience this with a simple glass could just imagine how many moments per hour this can happen with anything and how exhausting a simple normal day is.
    Also the example of coming to a rapid decision…they have no idea how I have already lived the conclusions in my head and I almost always choose right…and for others I can also do this…but I look like a know it all…or people will say to me “But you don’t even know him…” or”you can not make that conclusion of others relationship or choice when you don’t know them well or are not living their lives.” But 95% of the time…I CAN because I can almost BE them for a moment if that makes sense
    ? I can perceive their traits and patterns of behaviour based on simple body language from pictures or what people have said about them…I CAN mostly predict most outcomes…but people like to make their own mistakes so what good is this wisdom when people do not want to hear it? Thats what I don’t get…why do we have these gifts if most of the world does not want to use them? Sigh….

    1. EVERY single word you wrote is ME! EXACTLY. ^^^ You enabled me to feel what others feel when they read my blog. It’s like we are one in the same. Also, I adore you, so that enables me to adore myself, too. Thank you. You are very special and endearing. Such honesty and authenticity. Wonderful. Oh…. and we have these gifts because we are evolving and have a purpose 🙂

      1. I loved this:) I read it to my hub and have come back to it over the last few days when I was down:) Thank you and I agree…adoring you also helps me adore myself:) You are genuine too and authentic and articulate:) Thanks for being you!

  2. There is some semblance of a me, there is the observer and now you have named another, the director plus the machine sorting and filing and flinging out memories and insights. No wonder we crash sometimes. Great post Sam. x

  3. I find i also like to retreat into past memories. I can recreate very vivid scenes if my childhood that i can retreat into. I remember tiny details, smells etc. Its very comforting. I identify with everything you said too. My husband can be a bit irritable and it will send me into several worrying scenarios of doom and divorce. That spiral requires him to balance it out with 5-6 nice actions which of course no human is always able to do. It can a great strain to always be worrying like that.

  4. This is my world too Sam…and Kmarie. The speed of thought and the constant images. The way I constantly have messages coming at me from people I know and perfect strangers seated at a table next to me. No wonder we seem to not ‘be here’. Thanks for sharing all of this it greatly helps my life to not feel so lonely in it all.

  5. I’ve been reading “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman and never have there been so many moments where I think to myself: “This explains so much”. I have this theory, no facts that I can discern to support it mind you, that we are more aware of our subconcious minds inner workings and how it processes information, and also that we use more of our concious minds to process the world than other people, which in turn could help explain why one feels so tired, all of the time tired.

    I often say to people “I don’t what I’m going to say before I’ve said it”, my fiance gets tired just by the ammount of information I can give out in a conversation. It’s like being in the world and being connected to something else, I (half) jokingly say I have alien antennas picking up information seemingly at random and storing it for later use.

    And thank you for your words, I am in the process of trying to learn to express my own inner workings more accurately in writing, it’s a (I suspect lifelong) process. I often find myself quoting you, because you say what I sometimes lack the words to. Continue being you, for you are awesome.

  6. YES! I wanted to jump into this from up above like it was a large bouncy cushion that would catch me and spring me up softly because it felt so much like home. No one who doesn’t live this has any idea what it is like to live in this processing machine of multiple personalities who are jumping ahead and handling so many functions at once. I cannot imagine what others do who simply sit and “be”. I often wish I could simply go to a “sleep” function but I don’t know how, I am in constant “scan and assess” which makes me remarkably good also with figuring out situations and people, but you are right. They don’t want to know and are suspicious that you have figured it out. I am grateful for you and the others here. My closest sister tells me Asperger’s doesn’t exist and I can’t even talk to her about me having it (or my husband and son having it also). Her and her family just think we are weird. Thanks for being here.

    1. Yes, no one could possibly know… worse though, for me, is they think they do….. they think they understand and it’s no big deal or we can control it…. it’s very frustrating at times. Thank you for sharing.

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