498: Call Me Aspie: The first part of a thousand-page manual

I have Aspergers, and I tend to:

1. Fixate on a certain problem or puzzle, and process this for weeks, if not months, until some part of me reaches a solution. During this time, I may seem frantic, melancholic, elated, discouraged, confused, shattered, and exhausted. As soon as I have a sense of closure, I might feel bewildered and ashamed of my behavior. There will be a brief reprieve, until my brain latches on to another puzzle to solve.
2. Over-process certain events and happenings, particularly exact words used and sentences used by others, as I try to determine the underlying facts and supposed truth. This will reveal itself in multiple questions and inquiry on my part; sometimes the same questions over and over; the repetitive nature is involuntary and necessary, as it brings some relief to the messages circling in my mind. In such cases, it is best for me to confront a person right away and ask a brief question than to burden myself for a day, becoming incapacitated and virtually numb from all the over-thinking about feasible meanings and outcomes. The over-processing can and does burden other people, and leave them questioning their own ability to have patience. I will apologize and mean it, but will not be able to stop the over-processing, even as I am hyper-aware of my behavior and possible consequences based on my actions. Telling me to not over-think is not helpful and not feasible.
3. Lots of giggles. I will appear more childlike than most, and find humor in things that most adults won’t. I find the beauty and fun in many occurrences and statements, and can act a bit immature at times, focusing on little events that make me chuckle. I also will giggle nervously or crack a joke in an attempt to relieve tension and discomfort, even as it might appear nothing was said or done to cause unease. In times of nervousness, particularly when getting to know someone, I will make inappropriate comments, lacking the ability o filter my thoughts and having a desperate compulsive desire to share. On the other hand, others quite enjoy my company, and my smile can be contagious and enlightening. Cherishing the little things does have its benefits; and some will find this behavior refreshing.
4. Over-share. I will share more than most. It is part of who I am. It is difficult for me to determine what is appropriate to share, what is too much to share, and what is enough to share. I like to talk about myself, because I want to be seen and understood. I like to listen about other people, too. But if I am nervous or uncomfortable or preoccupied, these states of being will pull me away from the ability to focus on another. I have to be 100% there to listen to another; and if I cannot be, the attempt to be there seems a waste of time. It is better for me to get everything out and then return to my friend and support them fully when I am able, then to ‘pretend’ to be listening when I am on overload with thoughts. Initially, I might monopolize a conversation or become dumbfounded and not know what to say or how to relate. I survive, in conversation, by analyzing the other participant, and trying to match my style of communication with that person’s style. If I cannot see the person, such as on the phone, I might become nervous and uncomfortable, wondering how the person is reacting to my responses. This is not about people pleasing. But it is about adapting self, so that I do not drive people away with my tendency to over-expose self and trust fully.
5. Be Emotional. I am triggered a lot. Little things trigger me. A simple word, an expression, a reference, a link to a website, a song, a memory, etc. Because I am easily triggered, I might be very content and happy one minute and then turn morose and in deep reflection the next. These states are generally temporary and I can evaluate the trigger quickly. Once the trigger is noted, I have the capacity to take steps to analyze how to pull myself out of deep contemplation and to alter my state of mind. In other words, with practice and self-awareness, I can quite readily pull myself out of a ‘dark’ emotional state. If the trigger is extreme, I will need to talk and process the event to bring relief. Often a hug or human touch might help from certain people whom I deem safe; other times human touch is the last thing I want and any form of human contact, even attention, will actually cause me to retreat and pull away.
6. Be extremely loyal and honest. I have high integrity. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. I don’t take anything lightly. I have the ability to have fun and be light-hearted and to forget about my intensity, but my integrity and sense of being the best person I can be never falters. I carry extreme guilt if I try to deceive another and can rarely hold anything inside, particularly events that seem to demonstrate a semblance of betrayal or untruth. This inability to hide things can hurt another person without intention. Some things are perhaps better withheld. But secrets and lies eat away at my soul, and I can concentrate little if I feel I am not being transparent and authentic in my dealings with others. In some cases if I kept my mouth shut, I would feasibly come out ahead, with more gained than lost. Opening my mouth is risky, and can often lead to a loss. Regardless, I was born to speak my truth, and have yet to find a way to make this stop.
7. Love deeply and forever. Once I love someone, I always love someone. Once a friend, always a friend. I can pick up with a person I haven’t spoken with for years, and the reunion feels like yesterday. I don’t care why a friendship ended, if someone wants to come back into my life, my door is always open. I have learned to take some measures to guard my heart against those that might cause harm to me, but for the most part, I will love a loved one for always. There is little anyone can do to make me dislike him or her or to make me remove him or her from my life. I love easily and fully, and love to give. Receiving is sometimes difficult and feels uncomfortable to me, but I understand that the ability to receive is a gift to the giver, and work on this act often.
8. Get upset when others are emotional. Even as I am an emotional being and cannot stop myself from expressing my feelings, others’ emotions frighten me. It seems hypocritical, but the reality is I am not comfortable with emotions. I tend to overreact to simple displays of emotions, such as slight frustration, fleeting anger, or momentary confrontation on another’s part. While I long for passion and emotional connection, I also run from outward displays of feeling. I feel guarded, in a sense, to the deepest source of love inside of me that is afraid of being harmed or invaded. I would rather feel numb and dead at times than have to figure out what someone meant by their tone of voice, words, or actions. I will literally freak out from the slightest alteration in someone’s tone of voice or mannerism, if the upset appears to be directed towards me.
9. Second-guess my own statements and how I express myself. I re-explain myself and overcompensate for mistakes I might have made. I like myself. I like my mind. I am for the most part comfortable in my skin, despite my challenges, but I fear that I have come across the wrong way and represented myself in error. It is of upmost importance to me to clarify and to check for understanding; this action of revisiting a discussion to add clarification is a natural and instinctual part of my nature, as much as flight is to the eagle. I cannot suppress the behavior, even as I watch myself going through the process and doubting the effectiveness of said actions.
10. Dream and Imagine. I spend more time inside my head than outside of my head. Based on my intense ability and natural tendency to fantasize, I often create realistic scenarios in my head of what could or might be. I go down a thousand different avenues of feasible scenarios of a given situation. Over-analyzing each aspect and evaluating the possible outcomes. This is almost done at a subconscious-level, and continues practically nonstop until my mind has reached a conclusion that brings about some form of comfort. Uneasiness of mind is found in the ridding of possibilities, unknowns, and a state of limbo. If something is open-ended, my mind attaches to the concept of the unknown like one Velcro strip to another. I cling there, in this hyper-state of awareness, attempting, without much effort or detectable impulse, but tons of energy, to factor in each and every variable, in order to attempt to make sense of what seems to be the foundation below me slipping. I float here, in a dream state of possible happenings inevitably until closure is reached. During this time my ramblings, processing, and evaluation after evaluation is often processed aloud or in written form. These bombardments of thoughts manifested into visual or auditory form can cause feelings of discomfort to some. Yet, this is how I function.

This post is dedicated to Lisa, Alyce, Jennifer, David, and Ryan… fellow Aspies who never give up on me. Thank you. ❤

478: Off or Amiss

“I have the hardest time when I try not to be me. When I collect all the dos and do nots from the world and then try to act as if I am okay. To pretend and hold in my truth. I can do it for awhile; I take on this false persona and carry on, some strong soldier who is above it all and will get through. But then I collapse fast. Spiral downward and weep. I become lost and confused by what I had held onto as truth. I get tired of talking so much, of seeing so much, of frankly knowing too much; and I try to pretend my way out of it. To lie to myself and think I am like everyone else, and can make my way through, if I just release parts of who I am. And that is where I fail myself miserably. Yes, fail–in refusing to honor my authenticity and in imagining I am innately flawed and in need of alteration. In truth, in my true inner truth, I am perfectly me, and loved for me.” ~ Sam Craft

Distinguishing between who I am and who I am not comes down to my core values.

When I am in a mental fuzz, processing through something I deem rather important, which occurs on average a few times a week, I always confide in my friends. For part of me must process aloud with another person to reach an understanding of my own thoughts. I don’t process out loud to hear myself speak; I’d rather be a quieter person than I am. I process out loud because I am driven to, almost to the degree I am driven to eat when I am very hungry or drink when I am parched, only with a pulsing demanding urge in my brain.

I have often thought and desired to talk less. I have tried to repress my words. I have tried to remain silent. But whenever I do, my need to process comes out as some form of angst.

I don’t just process with one friend about one event. I usually process the same event over and over with three or four friends through the stretch of one day. It is amazing to me that I can ‘hash’ out the same information repeatedly, sometimes the exact same phrases and sentences, and not get bored, overwhelmed or exhausted. This act of processing aloud is a direct way to lubricate my engine, to reboot, and to get my chain in my brain unstuck.

If I can’t process with friends, for whatever reason—perhaps I am very emotional or at a loss to what I am feeling or perhaps no one is available—then I process through writing. This is not what I choose to do. It is what I have to do. If I do not find an outlet for my thoughts, I feel for certain I will lose my mind. I have never experienced anything remotely as painful as bottling up my thoughts inside my head. As I have written on many accounts, the complexities of the ideas inside my head will overwhelm me and consume me, if I don’t have means of escape.

The very first point in which I find I am not being true to myself is when
1) I bottle up my thoughts and pretend I don’t need to process.

This stuffing process never ends well. I always end up in some type of breakdown, typically locked away in my room crying, pleading to God, and/or trying to sleep away my pain. In other words, angst manifested!

The second point in which I cease from being me is when

2) I take on for an extended period of time any negative emotion that does not resemble love, acceptance, patience, understanding, and/or letting go.

If I attach to any extreme emotion, for example anger over someone’s behavior, then I am not being true to myself. However, typically I have no idea initially that I have attached to an extreme emotion.

I have watched many people hold grudges and anger towards others, sometimes for a lifetime. I can’t do this. I don’t have the capacity. I have had reason to try; and I have repeatedly failed. I failed and failed, until I got to the point where I realized negative energy doesn’t suit me.

But I am still human, no doubt, and I experience disappointment, loss, rejection, and extreme hurts, like everyone else.

Just yesterday I was very upset with a friend. Normally, at my best, I can only hold onto upset over someone for a few minutes, if not a few seconds. But this was a painful experience. I became someone else briefly to process and escape the circumstance.

As I attempted to partake in my walking mediation around the lake, I had totally convinced myself of several things. I believed fully that:

1) My friend was unkind
2) I was worthy of more understanding
3) I would cut off all communication
4) I would not regret this decision
5) I would remain strong and steadfast in my decision

At the moment, which lasted a couple of hours, (long walk), I truly believed I was going to stay in this state of distance and judgment forever. That was it. I was done with this person. In order for me to think these thoughts, I become a version of someone else. I thought of myself as not having Aspergers. And I played random tapes in my head, in an attempt to rationalize my attachment to the feelings I was experiencing. Everything needs a logical reason, even emotions.

I told myself: “I deserve more.” “That person is a jerk.” “Get them out of your life.” “Stop focusing so much attention on this person.”

I morphed into this headstrong person that no one could touch or damage. A person who was damn straight in the right! I held this mental state for a while, but it took vast amounts of energy. However, I believed myself. I truly did. I had changed. At least for that moment, I was done being me, and definitely done being Aspie.

Yet, after exerting extreme amounts of energy, I absolutely crashed and collapsed. I broke down. I became lost. I cried. I, as one might say, ‘wigged out.’

For my true calling is not to begrudge anyone or hold ill-will towards anyone. I cannot house discontentment or hatred. I can’t even house regrets. What is is what is.

At the point of emotional collapse, I came to a sort of bridge of truth, wherein this falseness of being I created deteriorated and I was made to walk over the ruble.

I surrendered.

And then I did what I had to do: be me.

And who is me?

Well part of me is this very, very truthful spirit that feels driven to process through any sense of discontentment. And the other part is someone who absolutely MUST talk to someone when something feels off or amiss. If I don’t confront the person directly, thoughts take over, and pieces rattle and rattle in my brain.

After I reach the breaking point, I speak my mind. I generally message a person and ask a question or write him or her pages of concern. This is my way. People who I hold close to my heart know this about me.

Once I speak my truth, I feel like I am me again. But the truth has to come from a pure place of heart, without ego, without manipulation, without want or need on my part, beyond the desire for clarification and peace of mind. If I act in any other way, I don’t feel right inside, and have a tendency to circle back through a version of someone I am not. Perhaps choosing a whole new line of rationalizations and ways of avoiding the issue at hand: the source of the discontentment.

After I get my heartfelt thoughts out, I am returned to a balanced state and I can focus. I can finally get those random chores done or fill out that paperwork. Until I am done processing something vital, though, I am lost to the rest of my world, even my children at times, lost in my head and trying to swim out of the currents to safety.

I am learning to observe myself more readily, as I move through these channels of thought and transformation. Ideally, I would like to catch myself before I have a chance to begin holding onto anything that doesn’t resemble peace. Yet, I understand that my avenues of self-processing are uniquely set to the way my brain is wired. That of a person with a builtin ability and survival-need to process, evaluate and reach a perceived endpoint.

458: Morphers Anonymous; What is ‘Self’

I am wondering if the female with Asperger’s Syndrome could also encompass a loss-of-identity-of-self element.

I have always had a hard time understanding my own interests, likes, wants, and needs. My desires become obscured and distorted based on my current love-interest. This could be a love of a person, as in friendship and/or romance.

I seem to morph in and out of existence based on my current lifestyle and interest. I can hold onto certain elements of self, primarily my special interests since childhood, e.g., writing, drawing, poetry, nature, animals, music, but other interests and ‘trademarks’ of my personality readily change without much effort and without me even knowing based on my interaction with another person.

Somethings that hold true and steadfast for my character and sense of self include:

Honesty
Integrity
Great Love and Passion
Processing
Lack of Manipulation
Lack of Game Playing
Intellectual in depth Processing
Tenderness
Kindness
Sensitivity
Intense Introspection
A Child-Like Heart and Spirit
Innocence
Hope
Trusting
Sharing
Giving
The Desire to Serve
The Desire to Make a Difference

The parts of my life that alter when I have an interest in another:

Spending less time on a past special interest or activity.
Focusing on new relationship, sometimes with nothing else seeming to matter, except pleasing the other person by becoming akin to their likes and interest.
Vast amounts of emotional energy spent on the person, in comparison to the amount previously spent on self or another.
Partaking in future planning regarding the person.
Over-analyzing and focusing on aspects of my appearance, habits, behaviors, and goals; effectually comparing myself to the other, and wondering in what ways my self could better reflect the other person.
Revamping of what I choose for entertainment, recreation, and sometimes food/drink, clothing, etc.
Taking on the likes and interests of the other person, including book, music, and movie genres, entertainment, social events and various activities.
Taking on mannerisms, dialect, ways of speech, or other unique characteristics of the person.
Taking on belief systems, philosophies and/or personality traits of the person.

This is usually not done at a conscious-level. Typically, I am blinded to my own behavior, justifying what I am doing with some mind-conditioning or logical sequencing, such as rationalization or total denial. This morphing differs in codependency, as I remain intact in my self-esteem and sense of worth. I do not enable. I have clear boundaries of what I will not tolerate or allow in my comfort zone. I maintain a sense of joy in my own life and accomplishments. But it is similar in codependency in my want to over-give, transform based on another, and my tendency to obsess, fantasize, and make the person more important in reality than he or she truly is. In some ways the person becomes like my god or sun, and I the dependent mortal or planet.

Even with all my growth and self-reflection, I still get caught in the pull-push state of wanting to be myself in completion and wanting to figure out how to be what another wants me to be. Even with this strong awareness, this morphing of who I am transpires without warning or clear indication, until I am in the transient state of a chameleon of my personhood.

This morphing is a common part of the female with Asperger’s condition; the female with Aspergers molds her own behaviors and mannerisms in a way that she believes will satisfy the need of her beloved.

The downfall in this behavior is foremost: losing self-identity.

The other issue at hand is the female with ASD cannot ever meet another’s expectations in completion, because the wants and needs of another individual (aka her ‘best friend’) are in constant transition.

It is important to note that this act of morphing is instinctual in nature to many females with ASD. She is seemingly programmed in the brain to morph based on attraction or interest in another human being.

I repeatedly try to transform my own ways and behaviors to meet the needs of another, without even realizing I am partaking in this behavior. Once I catch myself in this chameleon action, I pull back and wonder why I have once again fallen into the trap of losing self. From here I question the sense of self in all aspects, and become boggled by the concept of simply being.

During the morphing phase, I live my life through the eyes of one person. I see myself being watched by this someone at a distance. I see myself adapting, conforming, and molding in an attempt to fit some faraway expectation or goal, I have subconsciously created. I watch my own self through the eyes of someone else. I match my movements, choices, and even sometimes my thought processes to what I think this individual expects or desires from me. I do this without much awareness or analysis, much like a robot following a pre-instructed and installed program. There isn’t much thought to what I am doing or why I am doing it, beyond doing.

Usually this perspective, the way I interpret myself being ‘seen,’ and how I respond in word, thought, and action, shifts every year or so, depending on the duration of a relationship. Everything I do, I imagine and I believe is seen through the eyes of a human being beyond myself (boyfriend, lover, husband, best friend, boss). My movements, my words, my way of being, revolve around this someone beyond myself.

It is like constantly having an overseer observing me. I question would he/she behave like this? I ask, “Is this bringing me closer to his/her liking?” It isn’t as much a need for approval as wanting to match myself to this other. Interestingly, at the same time this morphing is transpiring, I still maintain my own self-esteem and self-love. I like who I am. I want to be me. But I somehow get lost in the process of befriending this high-interest person.

High-interest in the keyword and key point.

Without the high-interest, I am not drawn into the morphing and adjusting of self. With high-interest, my brain attaches, much like it does with a special hobby or activity, and I become a scientist dissecting the person, as if the person were a project. My brain’s natural ability to dissect, take apart, and rearrange pieces of a whole into a new whole takes over. I become a detective of self and other; again, not typically at a conscious level; though I have some awareness of what I am doing, a cloak to my full reality remains. This cloaking action resembles some sort of protective mechanism and functions the same way as in my high-interest projects, (aka: fixations). I cannot seem to pull myself out, or properly analyze and confront my own behavior, until the passionate interest has subsided; the stopping point/tilting point usually being a new special interest. I go from one to the other, a child on the monkey bars of a playground, not letting go of the one in hand, until the next in hand is firmly grasped.

Through this way of being, I lose track of who I am. Yet, I wonder if I ever was to begin with.

If I take time to process this sense of being, and the ‘whys’ of the way I respond in passion to another, I become confused in thoughts of ‘what is being?’ and ‘what is self?’ I have no idea of who I am, beyond space and matter, and a reflection of the universe. I am ever-changing and transitioning substance. I adhere to the string-theory, to ancient philosophies and belief systems—that of being nothing but the combined perception of others. In truth, I know a thousand others would have a thousand interpretations of this self I am, and in a year’s passing even these opinions would all transition. I am never stagnant, and awaken a new person not daily, but minute by minute. I have no general sense of self or of being. I am that I am. In essence I am nothing.

Perhaps because of the ‘no self’ theory, I transform without intention when fixated on another. Perhaps, like some spiritual teachers have professed, I am merely taking on the characteristics reflected in the person I am observing because I am only, and will always only be, a reflection. Perhaps, I am wired in a way, spiritually or biologically, in which I am not a solid form made to stay stagnant and unwavering; or perhaps I am more keenly alert and aware of the changes and transformations inside of me, to a point that the changes distract from me recognizing a fully forming personhood.

Regardless of my hypothesis, I get trapped in the cyclical repetition of morphing.

In the last season of inquiry, I have reached a new threshold, in which I have questioned: What do I want in another person? What makes me happy? What are my true needs?

The only answer I hear is: love

Beyond unconditional love and acceptance, (and beyond Maslow’s hierarchy of basic needs), I don’t understand needs.
Any needs, to me, seem obscure and border on self-based, ego-needs. Who am I to claim a need without at the same time delegating to another how I wish him/her to be or respond (change) in order to please and satisfy me? And what is it inside of myself that is not complete and satisfied in which I need another to fulfill me?

With these thoughts, I become entangled in trying to contemplate the very basic nature of self needs and self-identity.

455: Love and Loops

I have been trying really hard to not loop, to not spin, to not take something that is nothing and turn it into a monster. The largest portion of this sense of self is lost in doing so, in succumbing to the voice of fear and believing what I hear. The greatest part of spirit knows that fear is all but illusion, and only love exists—prevails beyond the illusion of naught. Still I get lost in the murky waters of falsehoods, daily, if not hourly, trapped in a labyrinth beyond human logic.

Because I am vulnerable, I lose sight of my purpose. Because I succumb to this falsehood, I lose sight of the all. I become a pawn in some minions’ game of discourse and confusion as I stumble down endless reasonings leading nowhere.

I have watched myself as the observer and taken soul-notes, or more so delve through time for answers, and if not answers than at least a glimmer of insight. I have listened to my heart-mind, and focused on the powers that rest beyond intellect. And in so doing, I have found some peace. I have found some recourse beyond the dilly-dallying of the mind, beyond state of anguish.

I have discovered, with full vitality, a remedy beyond this place I am. I have seen a solution that is far more reaching than letting the pain play out to the end. I have seen: It is not that I need to seek the meaning and find the solution, but that I need to release the need for solution.

Before I believed this meant releasing to the process—to allow or give permission for my mind to go through the torment. Now I view the occurrence with new eyes. There is no need for me to wallow in this state of pain day in and day out. The truth of the mystery of release is found in not releasing, not focusing, not trying, but simply replacing.

Releasing through replacement is my remedy. And not replacing with the tools of busyness or distraction. For though they be sweet, the intermingling of heart-mind into a daunting or thusly thrilling task or adventure, they too come to a conclusion, an end that certainly leaves me back on the dock of gloomy comings. A place where I am once again triggered by an invisible made visible.

I’ve come to see that what I am sensing is not so much an intellectual attack as a spiritual attack. A dark nature of my own doing or another’s, I know not. A creation brought on by self-manifestation or a power beyond, I know not enough to ponder. But whatever the affliction, rather karmic, energetic, or simply part of my journey into greater peace, the affliction exists. A pain so palatable I can taste it—hold it in my mouth and bite down. It’s thick and dirty, and filled with deception. Trickery of what is and what isn’t. And mask upon mask of who I am.

In the end, at the bottom of all the lies is this desperation, this clinging, that makes my mind scream out. A lost woman forlorn and in destitute wondering about from that which she came.

To experience is to remember. To experience again is to cry so deeply in recognition of the unraveling loss of control that the tears become the enemy. The shell of self emptied too, so despite the remnants of what I thought I was, who I thought I was, I become something entirely altered, different even within the mirror I reflect upon. Wherein even the home in which I sought rescue and escape is shattered—no place to crawl back into, no matter if it be demolished or in disarray—no shell exists. I am left out in the open barren space of nowhere searching for a way back home to nothing.

And so I have put into practice a new approach, scouring over the teachings I have collected in my mind, and surrendering a gentle submission of knowing not enough to conquer this affliction. Instead, I retreat into a place in which I connect my heart and mind, and I give to myself the gentleness of love.

I let into my mind only one word: LOVE

And I repeat this over and over and over: Love, love, love

Love, love, love
Love, love, love
Love, love, love

That is all.
That is the all.

And here I rest, unable to untangle my own mind with any other words, unable to be the puzzle solver or mender. Unable to recollect what brought me here again—for one solution inevitably leads to further spinning and descending into the abyss.

Instead, instead of anything else in existence, I choose love.

And there I rest, repeating the source of light over and over, until the healing waters come, and I realize whatever or whomever it was that afflicted me, be it self, illusion, or other, I am whole still. Returned to the womb of discovery. Returned to the self complete and renewed.

421: The Center

“I trust and accept where I am in this moment. I refuse to be my own judge and jury. I love me in all of my emotions. I respect my journey and trust in my own inner strength. I believe in a purpose, a power and a guiding light within and beyond me. I am enough. We are enough. And in both my joy and in my sadness, I shall choose to shine. Not hoping for a better future or to resurface my current existence; but surrendering to the process, while moving through the seasons, within and about these cyclic moments of rebirth; a willing presence to be that both ripens me into the fullness of now and forges a grand adoration of self and all.” ~ Sam

bridge

I am a bit confused. I have been visualizing a diagram in my mind, similar to the cardinal directions of the compass: the compass points of north, south, east, and west. On the right I see obsession, on the left fixation, to the top the future, down the bottom the past. In the center is a circle, indicating the present.

Where in I spent much of my life in one direction or another, now I am practicing living in the center circle. Here is my refuge. Only I don’t know what to think about.

I find what seems to be relief in glimpsing the future of hope; but I know too well even glimpses of the future eventually cause me grief. A suffering of sorts. I find what seems to be release in sparring with the past; yet, I know too, the past is done now, and often is marred in my own disillusion of reality.

I used to naturally, almost instinctually, grasp onto a project or special interest, and here I would leap into a state of retreat. The world around me seemingly vanishing as I rose into a protective cloud of focus and revenue, reaping the sum of the parts I had envisioned in mind, and watching as the product of my creation came to life.

I used to unwillingly dance in the cyclic burden of obsessive thought, tiring myself up much within the first hours of the day with either wishful thinking or dreaded fear of illness and death. Now, this too has simmered in my mind. The tragic demise of self tango I forged through daily, hour upon hour, and wrapped myself in, with ribbons of torture, is missed. Not missed for the pain and agony I felt in doing this to self, but for the routine, the normalcy I created for escape.

The dreaming of the ways it could be and what could be, who could be—there I still slip into the easiest—a psychological and spiritual combination of desire, want, lust, love and yearning all tied into the knot of future that shall not be.

I am searching, without actively searching, for a way to be that requires nothing but the center moment.

A journey that is absent of requiring, in essence, and fills me with completion of self. However, I live in a world of constant wants and needs and unfulfilled dreams. Everywhere I look, everywhere I travel, is a someone reaching or inquiring, searching or instigating. People planning, constantly, for the next moment. People reliving, continually, the past hauntings of life they seem to think are real. And all around I am surrounded by this wild charge of inhabitants who are grasping my hand in an attempt to connect; whilst all about I feel entirely alone and isolated.

There is this burning longing in me, so tender, and at the same time so ravenous in its want, that destruction seems inevitable. I have this glow within that aches and burns and turns me to the direction of naught, repeatedly; this growing passionate flame I want someone to see, to hold, to recognize, to soothe. And still, there is no one.

This is an isolation new to me. A finding of self and of purpose, and a recognition of love of being singularly countered with the unyielding desire to be joined as no longer one.

I think of the moments. Of how to live in the moment, without wandering in any direction.

Though, I do wander.

In so doing, I recognize my humanness again and again. Something that is neither a frailty nor curse. Something that simply is. I recognize my confusion equally. Struggling in the freedom of travel. In the choices of now. In the ache of deep carved out awareness. And as I struggle with the need to connect, I also struggle with the need to protect, to hide in a delicate corner and retreat into self for rescue and reprieve. I hover in this in between space of wanting to reach out and find the connective bridge of recognition and longing to remain untouched and unmoved.

Each encounter in which I am present, I am equally vulnerable and exposed. In some ways, I feel as if a boulder is momentarily slid across to expose the cavernous depths of self. And in so being exposed, I am excavated and explored and evaluated. Then, without effort the boulder is placed back. And upon my return to being, I am neither beneath in the unseen dark nor above observing the gigantic barrier. I am equally not the boulder itself. I am nothing.

I am this searching that doesn’t search. I am this wandering that doesn’t wander. Like the circulating air I feel. Only with a voice that whispers: Find me. Hold me. Love me.

And I am left in the center. In the circle of creation, waiting for the bell to chime. To ring of both completion and beginning. To signal my unification with all and bring me to the someone with open arms who in my presence alone is home.

***
After reading this I was led back to this post: Day forty-two: On Leadership. The words helped greatly to ease my mind. ❤

The introduction to this youtube is wonderful as well.

259: Sweet Fantasy

I have a very active fantasy life. I live more inside my head than outside in the “real” world.
I am in control in my fantasy world, and no one can get me, can see me, or judge me, unless I say so. And I always look fabulous!

Outside of my fantasy world, I am vulnerable.

I create very elaborate fantasies, more often than not, about the future. It is not living in the future or goal-planning; it is living in the present and in the now, only inside my mind.

My fantasy nurtures me and fuels me. I am motivated and calmed by repeating the same scenario over and over; perhaps a conversation in which I picture the people and their exact dialogue. Often I am very aware of what I am doing, meaning I know I am fantasizing, and am an actual observer of my own behavior.

Sometimes I can live inside of my head for over an hour; basically rerunning the same images and conversation repeatedly. I start from the beginning and then do the whole thing all over again.  Kind of like being on an endless ride that loops. The fantasy could be a minute long or a few minutes long, but it is replayed so many times, that it feels much, much longer.

My emotions match the fantasy; sometimes I physically feel the fantasy. The fantasy is not typically sexual, but more than likely involves a deep emotional connection with another or an elaborate design, such as reorganizing or decorating a room.

I am coming to understand that when I have a fantasy I can turn to, whether the fantasy is a future job, vacation, friendship, or other, I do not focus on the concepts of illness and death, which are normal triggers for me in real life.

Sometimes the fantasy is of an upcoming real event. For instance, before we moved into this house I spent countless hours organizing and rearranging all of furniture and belongings into the house inside of my mind, including what went in what drawers and cabinets.

For me, I see this as a type of mental stimming, a way of relaxing and calming my whole being. I have seen people do this with words, where they have to repeat the same few sentences aloud over and over; for me, it’s the same scene over and over in silence.

When a fantasy ends, typically because a future event I’ve imagined comes to be, or because reality sets in and the fantasy no longer seems feasible, I am left unnerved and searching for cover. If my fantasy is about a person, as was common when I was in relationships when I was younger, and the person disappoints me, this is detrimental to my fantasy. If I lose a person in real life who was an active part of my fantasy life, then I feel a deep loss in all parts of me. I feel a loss of the real life relationship and I also feel a loss of the fantasy relationship. Always, without fail, the loss of the fantasy is harder than the loss of the real person. I mourn over the images I created in my mind, and who I made the person to be in my mind. I then might confuse the fantasy person with the real person, inflating a person’s image. I do not mourn over aspects of the real person as much; except in unusual circumstances, perhaps after a very close connection or a long time together.

I mourn over what could be more than what was. In fact, I could feasibly mourn over what could have been for years after a romantic breakup. A part of me believes the fantasy was attainable and very real. A part of me knows it was not realistically ever going to happen and that I would have been miserable. But the fantasy-seeking part of me typically wins out, creating havoc and heartache.

The worst type of fantasy involves death and illness, in which the worst-case scenario plays out in my mind, over and over again. I slip into that illness/death fantasy-type when I don’t have a more positive fantasy to focus on, when I am under extreme stress, and sometimes when someone else is sick and I pick up on their stress.

Another reason I fantasize is to avoid the stimulation of the environment. I often have sensory overload where the sights, sounds, smells, and textures are putting me into overdrive. Inside my fantasy world I can momentarily forget where I am and what is happening. In addition I can forget my physical pain or pending unnerving plans or upcoming events.

I can be engaged in a conversation, and like a robot turn on “standard communication mode for humanoids” and still be deeply involved in my fantasy. I will nod when appropriate, smile, make occasional contact, and come up with reaffirming and validating statements, or perhaps a question, yet still be in my fantasy world.

I don’t see this as rude. I see this as necessary. I liken this process as me entering an oxygen chamber ever so often so I can continue to breathe, and if I don’t enter I will die. If someone wants to talk to me while I’m am rejuvenating my very breath, then so be it, but I cannot stop rejuvenating to give focus to a current predicament or circumstance. I do not view this is selfish or uncaring. I care and love people, and value them enough to want to listen. There are simply just times I cannot be entirely there.

Conversation alone is often too sensory overloading for me. Not only do I have the nonstop chatter in my head telling me how to act and what to say, but I also question if I’ve done the communicating job right; all the while reminding and critiquing myself inside my head. I’ve done away with the critical voice, thank goodness, by the expert coaches and evaluators are up in the bleachers shouting their observations. Take that along with the feel of where I am sitting, e.g., hardness/softness of chair, temperature of room, humming noises from electricity or fridge, clicking clocks, children talking, music playing, air fresheners, and the feel of my own body (pain, taste in mouth, tightness, cramps, etc.) and I am struggling stupendously just to remain inside my body. Add following the conversation so I can reply in the appropriate way, and I’m ready to collapse.

Plus, I always have this little voice in side my head that says, “Boring. Can I talk now?”

I know it’s rude, and I am not more important than the person talking, and what I have to say is likely boring, too. But I feel so much better when I am talking aloud, because I can process so much, and relieve so much tension. And when someone else besides me is talking, her voice and tone and pitch and ways are likely hurting my ears and adding to my inability to pay attention. In addition, besides monitoring my own self and communication skills, I am monitoring the other person’s skills, and noticing miniscule “flaws” both in communication skills and in physical attributes. Even the tiny hair on that freckle can distract me for a full minute. Then I have to come back and figure out what the person was saying before I was pulled into a freckle. Then I worry about his or her expectations and if I am a good enough friend or listener. And then I wonder, over and over: are you this distracted and bored when I talk to you?

In addition, each word a person says triggers an avenue of feelings and possible alternative avenues for me.

For example, at mention of dog, inside my mind this might happen: Did you say dog? Oh Scooby; I miss my dog Scooby; have I told you Scooby died. Why did he die? Maybe it was……Oh no! She is still talking and I missed most of what she just said. Should I tell her or just nod? If I nod is that lying. I should remind her I have Aspergers. Or maybe I should just pretend.”

That’s just one word. Typically a conversation has much more than one word.

That is why online communication is better for me. I can forgo a huge section of people pleasing. I can pause when I want to, skip sentences, reread for clarity, and take a long time to process information. Heck, I can ignore the person, go grab something to eat, and come back later. I can even scratch, fidget, or even doodle or work on something else, and the person isn’t offended at all!

In person, I concentrate better in conversation, if I can draw or listen to music or look at my computer or do the dishes or walk. I don’t want to try to give my full attention. I slip away too fast when I try to give my full attention.

I dislike when my husband comes up to me to tell me about his day, if I’m not in the place to listen. I might need more time to process something, to listen to music, to slip into my fantasy world or to write things out, before I can actively listen. Otherwise, I too quickly slip back into my own thoughts and barely hear the first sentence spoken.

This can be hard on him, as he feels rejected, ignored, or unloved. But I really cannot help it. I need my oxygen chamber. I just do.

My easiest moments are with my middle son who has Aspergers. We get each other to a degree people without ASD cannot. On our walks he will say to me: “I will likely talk a lot about video games, and probably repeat the same things over and over, and you might be bored, but I need to talk, and you don’t have to listen to everything.”

As he is talking, he doesn’t check in to see if I’m paying attention. Pretty much whatever I do, my son will keep chirping away, unnerved and unbothered. At home I can turn my back to him and do the dishes while he talks, giving him no validation and not engaging at all, and he still talks. He doesn’t care. He just needs to get it all out. He understands this, and I am happy to be available for him, even if I’m only catching the bare bones of what he has said.

Sometimes I think people demand too much in communication. They expect someone to be their everything, to validate not only what they are saying but also their worth and existence as human beings. It’s all wrapped up in confusing innuendos and masked self-doubt.

For me, it is easier, if someone is just really honest and speaks from the heart (for example): “I think I’m ugly and unlovable, will you tell me you love me and I’m pretty,” instead of rambling on and on with only hints of inner turmoil.

Like I said, I get bored; especially of boundless surface talk, when the heart longs to speak.

I don’t get bored with deep philosophical conversation or conversation filled with emotion and fantastic news, only with the dull mundane. I really don’t like to hear a review of someone’s day, unless there is something of importance or something I can help with. I don’t mind listening. I’ll listen for a long, long time. I just will check out and back in again.

Of course there are times I can truly hyper-focus on someone, especially when he or she is in need. I will do my very best and likely pick up most of the conversation, but the cost will be utter exhaustion. Last time I was a listener to a friend for an hour on the phone, I spent the entire next day in bed. It’s more than the words, it’s the energy of the person, too.

It’s a paradox and a half, as I long to be listened to and understood, but lack the skills most time to reciprocate. That is why writing is so very necessary and vital for me. I can write and write and not have to loop in my head or ask someone to listen to me.

I’d like to say I’ve grown a lot as a communicator, and really enjoy someone’s company, but the truth is, even when I’m with someone in person, I’m still inside my head 80% of the time. I think this is why Aspies are naturally drawn to other Aspies as mates. There is an unspoken acceptance of one another as is and a forgoing of all the typical social standards, and this creates an environment of rest and retreat.

~~~~

Post 250: It’s Raining Men

Anyone else roller skate to this music?

Lately, I’ve been admitting love.

I post love on my blog, on my social network page, and admit love to my friends.

It’s been very freeing and healing.

I’ve also been processing through past relationships with men.

Until last week, I saw myself as a real victim in love relationships.

In the beginning of my “dating” years, which actually started at age five, (No kidding; I always loved boys. My first “date” was at Keith’s house, where he introduced me to his favorite delicacy, peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches. I politely gagged.)….

In the beginning of my boyfriend-girlfriend years, I attracted very safe males: sweet, kind, friendly, and truthful. I was fortunate to have two boyfriends in high school (at separate times), after I moved back to California, that treated me with the up most respect and love. But something shifted at about the age of twenty. Perhaps it was being away from my extended family and not having a father that adored me. Or perhaps the shift was brought on by insecurities surrounding college or finally “growing up.” Regardless, at the age of twenty I began falling for whomever paid attention to me. For seven years my relations with men were bleak and tumultuous.

So often, in my twenties, the man I “chose” was addicted or abusive or both. I felt used physically, and was often dumped out like last week’s beer bottles—left clanging and spinning down a steep hill of depression. For years and years I blamed these men for their character and callousness. I cringed at the thought of these people not loving ME! How could they not? What was wrong with me?

A few days ago, I suddenly had a knowing. I suddenly saw in full picture, a truth. I wasn’t a victim. I wasn’t used and tossed out. There wasn’t a right person or wrong person in my sexual drama. I attracted men at the same level I was at spiritually and emotionally. (I had to leave out mentally, and just giggle. I was always smarter! Lol.)

But most telling, I realized at the center core of me the profound truth: that in fact I USED THEM.

In my mind I had thought that their “crime” was using me physically; and how could any crime be worse than that type of invasion? However, my crime was equal. I was a “villain” too. I used them. I chose to be with a man I didn’t like and didn’t respect, in order to not be alone. I used men!

Suddenly this ah-ha moment swept me away, and time stopped. I traveled back to a dozen relationships, and revisited and swept clean the energy attachment. Within seconds, I’d forgiven the men and myself. The labels were released. The words of scumbag, loser, liar, addict, etc. that I applied to the men, vanished. And then, presto, the labels slut, stupid, blinded, desperate that I’d branded to my energy field disappeared too! I began to see the men as other spirits on their journey. I began to see I was never victimized. I understood that using is using, whether it be of flesh or emotion. And then I released the using label, too. We weren’t using. We just were. We were existing, surviving, journeying. We just were. And so it goes.

Here is a prior entry about my experience with men

(reposted from past entry)

The Dance with Don

(notice the tone of this…written before my ah-ha moment.)

The highlight of my dating career had to be the season I spent with the habitual lying, sexually addicted Don—a spineless man five years my senior who behaved ten years my junior.  At first glance I’d fallen head-over-sandals in love with Don.  The summer day he confidently strode through the Catholic daycare where I worked, I’d tucked myself halfway behind a shelf of books and drooled over his perpetually sun-kissed skin.  He was everything I’d wanted, dark and handsome, and tall enough to look down at me with his bedroom eyes.

The times Don and I were together weaved in and out sporadically through a span of half a decade.  When I first met Don he was separated from wife number one; when I last reunited with Don, he was struggling to patch it up with wife number two.  I was the in-between, but one Don swore up and down he intended to marry.

The majority of our relationship played out like an ill-plotted soap opera, with me as the dimwitted, star-struck mistress and Don as the notorious villain.

There were definite reasons I stuck around. With Don came a familiarity of unpredictability.  He was my locomotive, the one I could catch a ride on and speed through the world with a view I remembered—one of constant change and chaos.

For a long while, I’d do anything I could to win Don over. I’d forgive his shortcomings and mysterious disappearing acts, and demean myself in different ways.

In our first months together, when I was still hopeful, there’d been major red flags.  Don had no home phone number or address.  His scorned, soon to be ex-wife, had warned me to have nothing to do with Don.  And Don’s truck was mysteriously breaking down, in an accident, short on gas, or had a flat tire, many of the nights he was supposed to be with me.

I was good at rationalizing his actions and taking his lies as truth.  I found reasons to stay, like the fact that Father liked Don and that Don eventually showed up.

I was twenty-years-old and newly accepted into the teaching credential program at the university the weekend I learned of Don’s other woman.  It was either the Saturday I’d scrubbed Don’s toilet, or the time I’d obsessively lined his kitchen shelves; no matter, it was the eventful afternoon I came face-to-face with a woman out for blood.

I’d been oblivious of course, hadn’t a clue Don had flirted with a seventeen year old outside of the construction site where he worked, slept with her, and possibly fathered her baby.

For some time there had been hints of another woman.  All along Don had pushed back our framed photos or even turned them face down, forgetting to place them back up in their right position when I arrived.  And I love you posters and cards I had made for Don had been rearranged on the wall or re-taped in another room of his cheap apartment.

The one of many climatic events of our relationship began with a loud knock at the door, an initially startling noise that momentarily displaced me, until I assumed Don missed another rent payment or lost another spousal support check.  By the second series of knocks, I’d headed toward the front door, and would have unlocked the knob, if Don had not, in one swift pull, yanked me backwards by the tail of my shirt and whispered, “Don’t.”

It was then I heard her voice for the first time, a high-pitched scream to the tune of:  “Open the damn door, Don.  I know you are in there.”

I wasn’t that far gone in my oblivion love state, not to recognize the voice of another woman.  With immediacy I scowled at Don like he’d taken my only prized possession, and pushed my palms into his chest, wanting to hurt him like he’d just pained me.

Don stepped back, taking my hands into his, and mouthing, “I’m sorry.  I love you.  I only love you.”  He then released my hands and tugged down nervously on his neon-green tank top. “I meant to tell you.  I swear,” he said, widening his dark eyes in remorse like I’d seen him do a dozen times before. “If I told you, if you found out, I was afraid you’d leave me.  And she was a horrible mistake.  I didn’t want her to be the reason we lost such a good thing.  I love you so much.  You know I do.  You have to trust me.”

Before I could make up my mind about what to do, there was one final series of knocks, and the voice came again, only louder and more determined: “If you don’t open this damn door, I’m going to kick it down!”

What happened next still amazes me, and proves once again the strength that can be found in pure rage.  Within a few seconds of her last knock, there was one heavy kick of her foot, followed by several more, and then, without warning the door broke off of its hinges, the side paneling splintering, and the whole of the door slammed down inside the apartment.

There, amongst the settling dust, in marched a skinny girl, no taller than five-feet, cradling a screaming newborn in her arms.  Boiling with revenge, she charged Don like some creature from a Japanese horror flick, with her arms outstretched growling for revenge.  On reaching Don, she punched him once in the chest and then shoved the baby at him.  “Take her!” she ordered, back stepping and turning her head with a whip of her dirty-blond hair.

From behind the couch, I tracked the baby’s wrinkled arms flailing, and then gasped as the girl moved towards me.  Her eyes were on fire as she shouted at full-throttle, “I’m going to kill you, Bitch!”

Without thought, I ducked around Don and attempted to make my way to the doorway.   Don didn’t waste anytime.  Before I had a chance to maneuver myself around the girl, Don had tossed the baby on the couch, grabbed his bike, carried it down the apartment stairs, and rode off.

For a few seconds both the girl and I stared out the doorway with disbelief, and then we stared down at the tiny infant crying on the couch, until the girl’s raging eyes met mine, and she roared, “You’re dead!”

From where she stood, prepared to launch, I could smell my scent on her, the expensive bottle of perfume I received from my father for my birthday, which had recently gone missing from my bathroom shelf.

As the girl stormed forward, I managed to swerve around her.  She lunged at me, barely swiping my shoulder.  I jumped over a small ottoman, snatched up my car keys and practically flew down a flight of concrete stairs.

In the narrow carport, I started my sedan and backed up.  Just as I was about to turn out of the apartment complex, the frenzied girl’s enormous boat-of-a-station wagon came charging forward and blocked my way out.

Seconds later, leaving the baby wailing on the front seat of the car, the girl marched across the parking lot to my car window and ordered, “Roll down your window!”

Caught between a place of disbelief and hysteria, I shook my head and whimpered, “I didn’t know.  I didn’t know.”

The girl’s face turned from one of frozen-ice to empathetic-disgust.  She tapped on the glass of the window a few times, and then rolled her eyes up letting out a long heavy sigh.  Finally, seemingly understanding my predicament, she waved me off with a shake of her hand, before stomping back to her car.

After she sped off, I remained in the parking lot, uncertain of what I’d gotten myself into, and more uncertain of how I would ever find my way out of my contorted labyrinth.

Day 197: Ten Traits

This post has never had the honor of its own day. So for day 197 I am reposting this. This post has brought hundreds of people together, and has been viewed by thousands and thousands of people all over the world. To see hundreds of comments go to this link, where the original post can be found. https://aspergersgirls.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/aspergers-traits-women-females-girls/

Ten Traits

1) We are deep philosophical thinkers and writers; gifted in the sense of our level of thinking. Perhaps poets, professors, authors, or avid readers of nonfictional genre. I don’t believe you can have Aspergers without being highly-intelligent by mainstream standards. Perhaps that is part of the issue at hand, the extreme intelligence leading to an over-active mind and high anxiety. We see things at multiple levels, including our own place in the world and our own thinking processes. We analyze our existence, the meaning of life, the meaning of everything continually. We are serious and matter-of-fact. Nothing is taken for granted, simplified, or easy. Everything is complex.

2) We are innocent, naive, and honest. Do we lie? Yes. Do we like to lie? No. Things that are hard for us to understand: manipulation, disloyalty, vindictive behavior, and retaliation. Are we easily fooled and conned, particularly before we grow wiser to the ways of the world? Absolutely, yes. Confusion, feeling misplaced, isolated, overwhelmed, and simply plopped down on the wrong universe, are all parts of the Aspie experience. Can we learn to adapt? Yes. Is it always hard to fit in at some level? Yes. Can we out grow our character traits? No.

3) We are escape artists. We know how to escape. It’s the way we survive this place. We escape through our fixations, obsessions, over-interest in a subject, our imaginings, and even made up reality. We escape and make sense of our world through mental processing, in spoken or written form. We escape in the rhythm of words. We escape in our philosophizing.  As children, we had pretend friends or animals, maybe witches or spirit friends, even extraterrestrial buddies. We escaped in our play, imitating what we’d seen on television or in walking life, taking on the role of a teacher, actress in a play, movie star. If we had friends, we were either their instructor or boss, telling them what to do, where to stand, and how to talk, or we were the “baby,” blindly following our friends wherever they went. We saw friends as “pawn” like; similar to a chess game, we moved them into the best position for us. We escaped our own identity by taking on one friend’s identity. We dressed like her, spoke like her, adapted our own self to her (or his) likes and dislikes. We became masters at imitation, without recognizing what we were doing. We escaped through music. Through the repeated lyrics or rhythm of a song–through everything that song stirred in us. We escaped into fantasies, what cold be, projections, dreams, and fairy-tale-endings. We obsessed over collecting objects, maybe stickers, mystical unicorns, or books. We may have escaped through a relationship with a lover. We delve into an alternate state of mind, so we could breathe, maybe momentarily taking on another dialect, personality, or view of the world. Numbers brought ease. Counting, categorizing, organizing, rearranging. At parties, if we went, we might have escaped into a closet, the outskirts, outdoors, or at the side of our best friend. We may have escaped through substance abuse, including food, or through hiding in our homes. What did it mean to relax? To rest? To play without structure or goal? Nothing was for fun, everything had to have purpose. When we resurfaced, we became confused. What had we missed? What had we left behind? What would we cling to next?

4) We have comorbid attributes of other syndromes/disorders/conditions. We often have OCD tendencies (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), sensory issues (with sight, sound, texture, smells, taste), generalized anxiety and/or a sense we are always unsafe or in pending danger, particularly in crowded public places. We may have been labeled with seemingly polar extremes: depressed/over-joyed, lazy/over-active, inconsiderate/over-sensitive, lacking awareness/attention to detail, low-focus/high-focus. We may have poor muscle tone, be double-jointed, and lack in our motor-skills. We may hold our pencil “incorrectly.” We may have eating disorders, food obsessions, and struggles with diet. We may have irritable bowel, Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and other immune-challenges. We may have sought out answers to why we seemed to see the world differently than others we knew, only to be told we were attention seekers, paranoid, hypochondriacs, or too focused on diagnoses and labels. Our personhood was challenged on the sole basis that we “knew” we were different but couldn’t prove it to the world and/or our personhood was oppressed as we attempted to be and act like someone we were not. We still question our place in the world, who we are, who we are expected to be, searching for the “rights” and “wrongs;” and then, as we grow and realize there are no true answers, that everything is theory-based and limited, we wonder where to search.

5) We learn that to fit in we have to “fake” it. Through trial and error we lost friends. We over-shared, spilling out intimate details to strangers; we raised our hand too much in class, or didn’t raise our hand at all; we had little impulse control with our speaking, monopolizing conversations and bringing the subject back to ourselves. We aren’t narcissistic and controlling–we know we are not, but we come across that way. We bring the subject back to ourselves because that is how we make sense of our world, that is how we believe we connect. We use our grasp of the world as our foundation, our way of making sense of another. We share our feelings and understandings in order to reach out. We don’t mean to sound ego-centered or over zealous. It’s all we know. We can’t change how we see the world. But we do change what we say. We hold a lot inside. A lot of what we see going on about us, a lot of what our bodies feel, what our minds conjecture. We hold so much inside, as we attempt to communicate correctly. We push back the conversational difficulties we experience, e.g., the concepts of acceptable and accurate eye contact, tone of voice, proximity of body, stance, posture–push it all back, and try to focus on what someone is saying with all the do’s and don’ts hammering in our mind. We come out of a conversation exhausted, questioning if we “acted” the socially acceptable way, wondering if we have offended, contradicted, hurt, or embarrassed others or ourselves. We learn that people aren’t as open or trusting as we are. That others hold back and filter their thoughts. We learn that our brains are different. We learn to survive means we must pretend.

6) We seek refuge at home or at a safe place. The days we know we don’t have to be anywhere, talk to anyone, answer any calls, or leave the house, are the days we take a deep breath and relax. If one person will be visiting, we perceive the visit as a threat; knowing logically the threat isn’t real, doesn’t relieve a drop of the anxiety. We have feelings of dread about even one event on the calendar. Even something as simple as a self-imposed obligation, such as leaving the house to walk the dog, can cause extreme anxiety. It’s more than going out into society; it’s all the steps that are involved in leaving–all the rules, routines, and norms. Choices can be overwhelming: what to wear, to shower or not, what to eat, what time to be back, how to organize time, how to act outside the house….all these thoughts can pop up. Sensory processing can go into overload; the shirt might be scratchy, the bra pokey, the shoes too tight. Even the steps to getting ready can seem boggled with choices–should I brush my teeth or shower first, should I finish that email, should I call her back now or when I return, should I go at all? Maybe staying home feels better, but by adulthood we know it is socially “healthier” to get out of the house, to interact, to take in fresh air, to exercise, to share. But going out doesn’t feel healthy to us, because it doesn’t feel safe. For those of us that have tried CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy), we try to tell ourselves all the “right” words, to convince ourselves our thought patterns are simply wired incorrectly, to reassure ourself we are safe…the problem then becomes this other layer of rules we should apply, that of the cognitive-behavior set of rules. So even the supposed therapeutic self-talk becomes yet another set of hoops to jump through before stepping foot out of the house. To curl up on the couch with a clean pet, a cotton blanket, a warm cup of tea, and a movie or good book may become our refuge. At least for the moment, we can stop the thoughts associated with having to make decisions and having to face the world. A simple task has simple rules.

7) We are sensitive. We are sensitive when we sleep, maybe needing a certain mattress, pillow, and earplugs, and particularly comfortable clothing. Some need long-sleaves, some short. Temperature needs to be just so. No air blowing from the heater vent, no traffic noise, no noise period. We are sensitive even in our dream state, perhaps having intense and colorful dreams, anxiety-ridden dreams, or maybe precognitive dreams. Our sensitivity might expand to being highly-intuitive of others’ feelings, which is a paradox, considering the limitations of our social communication skills. We seek out information in written or verbally spoken form, sometimes over-thinking something someone said and reliving the ways we ought to have responded. We take criticism to heart, not necessarily longing for perfection, but for the opportunity to be understood and accepted. It seems we have inferiority complexes, but with careful analysis, we don’t feel inferior, but rather unseen, unheard, and misunderstood. Definitely misunderstood. At one point or another, we question if in fact we are genetic hybrids, mutations, aliens, or  displaced spirits–as we simply feel like we’ve landed on the wrong planet. We are highly susceptible to outsiders’ view points and opinions. If someone tells us this or that, we may adapt our view of life to this or that, continually in search of the “right” and “correct” way. We may jump from one religious realm to another, in search of the “right” path or may run away from aspects of religion because of all the questions that arise in theorizing. As we grow older, we understand more of how our minds work, which makes living sometimes even more difficult; because now we can step outside ourselves and see what we are doing, know how we our feeling, yet still recognize our limitations.  We work hard and produce a lot in a small amount of time. When others question our works, we may become hurt, as our work we perceive as an extension of ourselves. Isn’t everything an extension of ourselves–at least our perception and illusion of reality? Sometimes we stop sharing our work in hopes of avoiding opinions, criticism, and judgment. We dislike words and events that hurt others and hurt animals. We may have collected insects, saved a fallen bird, or rescued pets. We have a huge compassion for suffering, as we have experienced deep levels of suffering. We are very sensitive to substances, such as foods, caffeine, alcohol, medications, environmental toxins, and perfumes; a little amount of one substance can have extreme effects on our emotional and/or physical state.

8) We are ourselves and we aren’t ourselves. Between imitating others and copying the ways of the world, and trying to be honest, and having no choice but to be “real,” we find ourselves trapped between pretending to be normal and showing all our cards. It’s a difficult state. Sometimes we don’t realize when we are imitating someone else or taking on their interests, or when we are suppressing our true wishes in order to avoid ridicule. We have an odd sense of self. We know we are an individual with unique traits and attributes, with uniques feelings, desires, passions, goals, and interests, but at the same time we recognize we so desperately want to fit in that we might have adapted or conformed many aspects about ourselves. Some of us might reject societal norms and expectations all together, embracing their oddities and individuality, only to find themselves extremely isolated. There is an in between place where an aspie girl can be herself and fit in, but finding that place and staying in that place takes a lot of work and processing. Some of us have a hard time recognizing facial features and memorize people by their clothes, tone of voice and hairstyle. Some of us have a hard time understanding what we physically look like. We might switch our preference in hairstyles, clothes, interests, and hobbies frequently, as we attempt to manage to keep up with our changing sense of self and our place. We can gain the ability to love ourselves, accept ourselves, and be happy with our lives, but this usually takes much inner-work and self-analysis. Part of self-acceptance comes with the recognition that everyone is unique, everyone has challenges, and everyone is struggling to find this invented norm. When we recognize there are no rules, and no guide map to life, we may be able to breathe easier, and finally explore what makes us happy.

9) Feelings and other people’s actions are confusing. Others’ feelings and our own feelings are confusing to the extent there are no set rules to feelings. We think logically, and even though we are (despite what others think) sensitive, compassionate, intuitive, and understanding, many emotions remain illogical and unpredictable. We may expect that by acting a certain way we can achieve a certain result, but in dealing with emotions, we find the intended results don’t manifest. We speak frankly and literally. In our youth, jokes go over our heads; we are the last to laugh, if we laugh at all, and sometimes ourselves the subject of the joke. We are confused when others make fun of us, ostracize us, decide they don’t want to be our friend, shun us, belittle us, trick us, and especially betray us. We may have trouble identifying feelings unless they are extremes. We might have trouble with the emotion of hate and dislike. We may hold grudges and feel pain from a situation years later, but at the same time find it easier to forgive than hold a grudge. We might feel sorry for someone who has persecuted or hurt us. Personal feelings of anger, outrage, deep love, fear, giddiness, and anticipation seem to be easier to identify than emotions of joy, satisfaction, calmness, and serenity. Sometimes situations, conversations, or events are perceived as black or white, one way or another, and the middle spectrum is overlooked or misunderstood. A small fight might signal the end of a relationship and collapse of one’s world, where a small compliment might boost us into a state of bliss.

10) We have difficulty with executive functioning. The way we process the world is different. Tasks that others take for granted, can cause us extreme hardship. Learning to drive a car, to tuck in the sheets of a bed, to even round the corner of a hallway, can be troublesome. Our spacial awareness and depth-awareness seems off. Some will never drive on a freeway, never parallel park, and/or never drive. Others will panic following directions while driving. New places offer their own set of challenges. Elevators, turning on and off faucets, unlocking doors, finding our car in a parking lot, (even our keys in our purse), and managing computers, electronic devices, or anything that requires a reasonable amount of steps, dexterity, or know-how can rouse in us a sense of panic. While we might be grand organizers, as organizing brings us a sense of comfort, the thought of repairing, fixing, or locating something causes distress. Doing the bills, cleaning the house, sorting through school papers, scheduling appointments, keeping track of times on the calendar, and preparing for a party can cause anxiety. Tasks may be avoided. Cleaning may seem insurmountable. Where to begin? How long should I do something? Is this the right way? Are all questions that might come to mind. Sometimes we step outside of ourselves and imagine a stranger entering our home, and question what they would do if they were in our shoes. We reach out to others’ rules of what is right, even in isolation, even to do the simplest of things. Sometimes we reorganize in an attempt to make things right or to make things easier. Only life doesn’t seem to get easier. Some of us are affected in the way we calculate numbers or in reading. We may have dyslexia or other learning disabilities. We may solve problems and sort out situations much differently than most others. We like to categorize in our mind and find patterns, and when ideas don’t fit, we don’t know where to put them. Putting on shoes, zipping or buttoning clothes, carrying or packing groceries, all of these actions can pose trouble. We might leave the house with mismatched socks, our shirt buttoned incorrectly, and our sweater inside out. We find the simple act of going grocery shopping hard: getting dressed, making a list, leaving the house, driving to the store, and choosing objects on the shelves is overwhelming.

This list is based on workshops, videos, literature, personal accounts, and my own experience. Females with Asperger’s Syndrome present themselves very differently than males. This is not an all-encompassing list. It’s not a criteria. It’s limiting and bias-based, as it’s only my view. It is my current truth. I don’t claim to be an expert or professional….but I do know an awful lot about the subject. I hold a Masters Degree in Education, have Aspergers, one of my sons has Aspergers, and I have several graduate-level classes in counseling psychology…I guess I am sort of an expert, after all. ~ Sam Craft

© Everyday Aspergers, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.
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Day 195: Where I Stand Naked

One un-deep thought by Sam Craft: “I had such a good hair day yesterday, I just don’t know how I can live up to that today.”

And now the deep:

My fixations consume me. They bring me to a place that no one else can reach or touch. A place I feel safe and not vulnerable: a place of discovery, of grand interest, of dreams, of dynamite thoughts and imaginings, of newness and possibilities. My fixation is like a light switch to me. With my intense focus, I am able to turn off the rest of the world—particularly the problems and woes. I can at last breathe in and stop fretting.

For the most part, when I have an intense focus I feel alive and with purpose. There seems to be a reason for living. When I do not have a fixation, I feel lost and unprepared for the day. My special interest is like a backpack filled with vital life supplies for me.

Trouble is, eventually, about every three to five months, my fixation/special interest switches. Just out of the blue. Bam! I wake up, and the fixation is entirely gone. Wiped clean. Think window cleaner to bathroom mirror. One swipe and the toothpaste splatters that you’ve been staring at for ages are gone. And you wonder why you stared at those splatters for so long! Unless you are anal and wipe your mirror everyday…which is so not me.

With the clean wipe, every bit of desire and hunger to learn or study or explore the topic is gone. It’s like a thief in the night came and stole my impulse.

I’ve gotten to the point now that when a fixation starts, I can step back, outside myself, look at the calendar, and track pretty much exactly when the fixation will leave.

This tendency to fixate made relationships with men when I was younger rather difficult. I’d have a giant crush on someone. Hugely so. Bleed out poetry and breathe lust filled thoughts, and then wake up to discover (usually after winning a guy over) that I truly didn’t even like the person. Then the challenge began, as I was so desperate to not be alone, that I’d stay with the guy even though they now gave me the creeps. Nothing like kissing a guy who makes you cringe.

Since being married my fixations are typically not other men, which I’m sure my spouse is relieved to know.  However the fixations are still there, and strong as ever. I move through interests like one might move through fad diets. One month this, three months later that. The funny thing is, that each time a new fixation comes, I think: This is the one! This is what I’ve been waiting for. Kind of like I did with men.

Truth be told, my latest fixation was blogging. And wouldn’t you know it, about five months have passed, and I woke up yesterday with this void and lack of desire to post. A new fixation has taken over. That of walking and photography. And the old fixation, that of blogging, has ended up in a pile with some of my other past interests: Farmville, slickdeals.net. I’d like to add cleaning to the list…to put it in a pile, too. But cleaning has rarely been a fixation for more than a day, and that’s typically when the house is so dang messy, I have to clean to breathe.

Last year my fixations included reading over a hundred spiritual books, Buddhist studies and retreats, turning a room in our house into an office for my spiritual coaching business, planning retreats, and studying techniques for spiritual readings. I lived and breathed spirituality. Until I woke up in late May of last year and the fixation was entirely gone. Presto…Emptied of all desire. Then I switched to getting a degree in counseling. And that became my fixation. In my first college course, I read twice the required readings, and delved into every project, spending ten hours on an assignment, when clearly one hour would have been adequate. The counseling fixation ended in February. And then the door opened to blogging. Blogging was like a whirlpool that I gladly leaped into. And now I find myself, just coming up for air, and standing on the shoreline all sopping wet and confused.

I don’t want to blog anymore. The desire is gone. The fixation vanished. And I think my swimsuit is still in the whirlpool. So I stand naked, confused, and unaware of just where the heck I’ve been, or at least where my brain has been for the last four-plus months.

Odd sensation. I explain some of this feeling of emerging from a special interest in this well-read post

And so today, I am sharing where I stand naked—on this shore utterly perplexed and baffled, finding myself once again in awe of how I am consumed in something, and then seemingly spat out by the vortex and set back on my feet, only to wonder where the heck I’ve been.

The good news is, with my new current fixation of walking and photography, you are bound to see more photos of the great northwest than you ever signed up for. And, of course, photos of my good hair days!

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*** I am still going to blog…just not everyday.

And music isn’t a fixation; it’s a way of life. So that shall always be, as my love for you!