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Monthly Archives: November 2015

Autism: Nothing Days

Though I knew it was coming, it never gets any easier. I held off for five days, quite good, all things considering. It isn’t that I did well those days, but I did something, and that was enough.

Today, however, I had to take the day for nothing.

I didn’t explode. That is a good thing.

I haven’t had a meltdown, though I have felt extremely close nearly all of my waking hours.

I haven’t yelled, screamed, or cried – I should maybe receive a prize for that, but then, no one would understand what it took to overcome in the last few days. It is less than most of them do on a regular basis, but for me, it was too much.

I am sure my week didn’t look all that great to them – but then they are not me, and it cost me a lot.

I know what led up to this, and it was worth it, but that doesn’t mean I am doing well after.

Today, though, I have been perseverating. For five hours I sat on one website, looking at the same things over and over.

There was a voice in my head telling me to move on, and do other things… I couldn’t.

My body was irritated being in the same position for so long, yet I could not move. It was as if I were glued to the seat.

When finally I moved on, I got up and made tea, then sat down to another website – where I was fixated for another hour.

It is the pictures that draw me in – when I can’t do anything else, and the words are too much, I turn to them for calming.

They do calm me, I think – but when I can’t move on, there is also this frustration within.

Why can’t I just be ‘normal,’ I think. Go to work, come home and relax, spend time with friends… do okay – but I don’t.

I chose to paint the kitchen, and I am really pleased with the result, but I am crashing now.

The phone rings like shots being fired, and I want to hide.

The cleaning will have to wait for another day. I can’t. Okay, so I cleaned it all yesterday, but I still feel the disorder, and struggle against it. I have to shut it out – I have to perseverate today. I have to.

And so while it frustrates me, and I wish it weren’t so, I have to allow it. I need these ‘nothing’ days, far more often than I would care to admit – but I do actually need them.

Yes I am crashing, and yes I am struggling, and while it doesn’t look it at the time, these days I feel so awful are still a necessity, and so I allow them – because the alternative would be so much worse.

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Posted by on November 30, 2015 in Autism: Mental Health and Healing

 

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Autism: Too Many Words, Not Enough Pictures

I have been crashing today. I knew it was coming, and I have been fighting it, for there was so much to do before life group on Thursday. My heart starts racing, and I get all irritated inside. Every time someone tries to talk to me, I want to scream – it isn’t what they are saying, the words themselves have just become too much.

After a day of painting, I went with my husband to a meeting at our church. Being members, we were expected to be there, but I was already struggling.

Then they started talking, and talking, and talking. I am sure it was important stuff, but between the words on the overhead, and the words being spoken, I just could not pay attention.

Too many words, not enough pictures.

When I start crashing, I need the pictures. The words lose nearly all their meaning, and just frustrate me, like a lot of loud static noise. Typically that is when I turn to Pinterest – or in the past, I would order dozens of books (usually interior decorating, or craft books) from the library, and spend hours pouring over them.

This week I ordered Autism Diet books from the library – but again, most of them were full of words… word, after word, after word, but no pictures. The few that did have pictures in them were of meat, and pasta, and mushrooms, which disgusted me to see, and were hard to get past (did I mention I have trouble with meat and pasta and mushrooms?)

I like reading fiction, and am able to picture the characters in my head. Once I read that we don’t actually see the characters when we are reading, but more feel them. That is not the case for me. I know this from the moments that I misread the words, and the pictures that came into my head…

Like once, I was reading the Hobbit to my son, who was maybe 7 at the time. When describing how Bilbo was looking for a weakness in Smaug, he noticed a part of the dragon’s underparts – only I read underpants… Well, all of a sudden I got a picture in my mind of the dragon wearing white boxers with red hearts all over them. I laughed for hours! I still can’t take Smaug seriously to this day because of that.

More recently, I was reading the Inheritance books by Christopher Paolini. There was a part in one of the books where Eragon straps a small dwarfish blade to his belt – only I read that he strapped a small dwarf to his belt! How I laughed at that picture!!! It actually took me a while to figure out I had read it wrong. I kept shaking my head wondering why the dwarf was strapped to his belt, as I could still very much see it there.

For non-fiction, however, I pretty much need the pictures, as I can’t picture it on my own.

The more I am crashing, the worse this gets, until I get absolutely bored in a meeting I cannot pay attention to – or get angry at my family for trying to talk to me because I can’t handle any more words.

After the meeting, I pushed myself to paint another day. I am glad I did, really I am, but I really can’t handle anymore.

I am anxious, irritated, depressed, angry… and for no reason at all, really – just because someone tried to talk to me?

It seems irrational, I know. I am trying so hard not to show it – as I haven’t the words to explain it out loud at this time, and I know my family would be hurt and confused if I allowed myself to respond.

So I have been on Pinterest most of today, looking at different ways to make vegan cheese and butter, as well as crafts, clothing, and interior design and trying to calm myself down.

Because in these moments, I need the pictures. I haven’t the energy to deal with words.

 

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Autism:Of Course You Were Right, Lord

Of course You were right, Lord. Always You are right.

The thought crosses my mind as I stand looking at the work I have completed over the past few days.

I am pleased. Perhaps it is not what others would want. Perhaps it is not some $25,000 kitchen makeover that I had once hoped to win. There are spots where I slipped with the brush, and the paint is not where I would have had it.

It isn’t professional, by any means – but it is mine. My style, my choices, the work of my hands – and I say, “it is good.”

We were born to work: to enjoy satisfaction in the things that we do. It wasn’t caused by the fall, this thing called work. No – the fall caused work to be hard, tedious, stressful… but it didn’t bring on the work itself.

Do you regret now that I didn’t allow you your wish to accomplish this through magic?

No, Lord. You were right. Of course, You were right.

I feel so tired and powerless most of the time. So weighed down by the laws of this world, and so overwhelmed by my environment. I spend a lot of time wishing for magic… wishing for wishes, to get those things done that I just can’t seem to do by myself – which is most everything.

A lot of the time I am depressed and exhausted just trying to accept that this ability hasn’t been given to me – to change my environment with just my thoughts – as if other people have that ability, and I have been left out. I know that isn’t true, but this world weighs me down, and most days I can’t even get up let alone get anything done, and it is frustrating.

And I wish, I pray so strongly, please Lord, allow me this. I know it isn’t possible, yet I wish it was. I wish so hard, that for a while, I can almost believe in the impossible – and then reality hits, and I crash.

I can’t do this anymore, I cry. I don’t want to stay here. Please, take me home.

And I cry myself to sleep, after hours of meltdown – and I wake up in the morning more surprised to find myself still in this world than I would have been to awaken somewhere else. And I take a deep breath, and get up, and try again. Just to make it through the day.

But then something will happen – wallpaper will appear out of nowhere – and after years of crying, and begging for a miracle in this, I find myself inspired.

And I work. For days, my focus remains on this. I am not paid for this – most of the things I have done in my life that have brought such satisfaction, I have not been paid for.

And I work, and work, and work, and finally I look up, and think, this is good!

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For that one moment in time I can fully see that to have won the lottery, or be granted my wish, I would not have this satisfaction of working to create something that was truly mine.

Work is not a curse – but this! This is what it is supposed to feel like.

Thank You, Lord.

 

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Argh, Finn, Noooo!

Sunday wasn’t a great day. It should have been. For all intents and purposes, it should have been. It was a day of much needed rest, church, movies… nothing really bad to set me off, but off I was.

Church was good. Okay, it was great, really. The message was very good. The worship team was amazing! I felt led closer to God, to praise, to worship, to sing, and pray, and draw close. It was a good experience.

And then things went bad. My skin itched – like hives, or mosquito bite level of itchiness, though I had neither. My scalp itched. I was irritated both physically and emotionally. My clothes were twisted, or wrinkled, or out of place… My hair wasn’t tidy, though I brushed, and brushed. My eyes were itchy. My nose was itchy.

The floor was dirty – Sundays are not my cleaning days. The couch cushions kept moving out of place. The blanket was twisted, no matter how many times I tried to fix it.

I was just off. It was a bad day.

Supper was greasy and fried – it was not my night to make. I can’t eat like that anymore, it upsets my stomach. I felt sick, and bloated, and smelled like fried food.

Bad, bad day.

Monday I started painting again, though I didn’t want to. Can’t this project be done already? But Thursday is coming fast, and things needed to be finished; so I started painting.

Once I began, I enjoyed it. Painting is fun – especially when I am not concerned about “painting in the lines.” It is my kitchen, after all.

The first coat was dry mostly on time for everyone to have lunch. I planned it that way.

After lunch, I put the second coat on.

My husband had gone to the library to get my pile of books that I ordered, and I thought it would be a good time to clean – while I was waiting for the paint to dry…

Did I mention it had snowed last night? We had snow once before this season, but today there was quite a lot, and it stayed – so the cats were in.

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I forgot about the cats.

I vacuumed the bedrooms without any trouble, and I didn’t think about them. My dog watched me from the bed, but decided he was safe, and stayed.

And then I did the hallways, and stairs. Still no trouble.

As I moved towards the living room, suddenly a streak went whizzing by me.

“FINN!!! Oh no, Finn, Noooo!!!”

She headed straight for the kitchen where the cupboard doors were drying on the floor, and I chased her – first one way, then the other… Mistake. She ran back and forth across those cupboard doors until she decided she didn’t know where to go, and plopped herself down right on top of them.

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I even tried to pick her up, it was that exciting. Finn is our Siamese cat, who took years – and I mean years to settle in. She has sharp claws, and is quick to defend herself. I have only tried picking her up once before…

I think she is hiding under a bed now – blue paws and all.

So, back to painting I went. Those paw marks may never completely come off, they are deep in the wood.

And now I wait again for the paint to dry.

But I will not be vacuuming today!

 

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Autism: Waiting For The Paint To Dry

The kitchen has been tidied, the tools are away, and the paint is drying. It has been another good, busy day.

Today I painted the rest of the cabinets, and the walls behind and beside the fridge and stove. I finished the wallpaper along the back splash, and on top of the cupboards, and the rest of the doors are off and waiting to be painted.

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I had no music on, no person to talk to. The fan was going constantly, but I had to tune that out as a necessity. I never even thought about putting music on until the day was almost over, and then decided not to bother. It would have been nice, maybe, but I didn’t need it.

The whole day I spent alone, save for the few moments my son came up to get his meals. I liked it that way. I don’t work well if other people are around, as I get distracted, and even worse, I freeze up and am unable to move. It has always been that way, and I have always known that about myself, but it is hard to work alone in a world that values teamwork.

It isn’t that I am not able to work as part of a team, it is just that I have to be provided with my portion, and be allowed to work on it alone. I am quite capable of ‘pulling my weight,’ so long as I am given my space and freedom to do it.

As per usual when I take on any type of project, my day was spent in a cluttered environment. Typically, I can’t handle clutter at all. It irritates me to the point of tears and meltdown; when I am cleaning, or renovating, however, I can push the feeling aside as a necessity. I feel it, and it is really hard for me – but at the end of the day, when I have put everything away, it is as a weight has been lifted, and it feels really good. I am not sure what feels better – the amount I have accomplished, or removing the clutter.

Once more I worked from breakfast, right through until my husband got home. I am not done, but I am thankful for what I have accomplished.

It was another good day.

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2015 in Experiences of an Autistic

 

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Autism: Patchwork Projects

It has been an immensely satisfying day for me! I feel better than I have in quite a long time. It isn’t that I am better, but I felt better, and that is a step.

Yesterday I had to bike downtown to get my written contact prescription from the eye doctor (who agreed to provide the prescription, despite being nearly two years old – thank you.) so I decided to visit the thrift store for their bag sale as well.

I love the thrift store! Have I mentioned that before?

When I worked in the motel, I would have people traveling from out of town, and asking about the thrift store they had heard such good things about – it is that good.

Anyway, I went to the thrift store, though I really wasn’t in need of ‘new’ clothes, as I had got a couple of bags last month. Still I was able to fill up two bags with sheets and pillow cases and such.

Then, as I was walking past a bin, I saw a Hug-a-bunch doll. When I was a child, I loved these dolls, but never did get one. I collect them now. I have 2 with pink hair, 1 with purple, and yesterday I found a brown one. I was sooo happy!

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I also got a rag scarf, which I know from when I had my children is good for sensory issues – so into the bag it went.

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As I was standing in line at the back till, I saw two bins full of wallpaper. It is always there, but I rarely get any as what is the point of having only one roll of a pattern? However, there were several rolls that caught my eye, and I thought they would make good shelf liner. I got about 7 rolls, plus 6 rolls of border. The wallpaper didn’t match, but it was pink, and it was pretty. There was even a blue patterned sheet of contact paper. Into the bags they went.

Quite a good deal for $4 – which I didn’t even have to pay, as my husband gets store credit in addition to his salary.

When I got home, I was incredibly achy. I am not use to biking so much – especially since my bike was stolen a couple of years ago, and my husband only brought me home a ‘new’ one a couple of weeks ago.

I didn’t think that after that I would be up for anything today, but when I woke up, I felt I absolutely had to start on my shelf lining project – which turned into a remove the doors, and repaint the cabinets and counter top day as well.

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Obviously I didn’t get the entire kitchen done today, but I did get a section done, and I am very pleased with myself for it.

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It is a big deal for me to do projects around the house. As I know that I am unable to meet the standards of other people, I won’t work on my house unless I feel I am going to stay.

As I have moved so much in my life, it is very difficult for me to feel settled anywhere, and I spend a lot of my time looking for my next ‘home.’ I think it is kind of like children with attachment issues seeking out their next family, and it is a compulsion I have had most of my life – only for houses instead of people.

I like the work I do on my house. I love the way it turns out, and I very much enjoy doing it. The thing is, however, I know others wouldn’t appreciate my work as I do – my home is more like a patchwork quilt than a well thought out design – and I like it that way. Because others won’t like it, though, and because my energy is always so low, I won’t put work in a home when I feel I am going to be leaving it.

Today, however, it has been nice to feel anchored. I haven’t felt that in years. I am thankful that for no money at all (we had the paint and rollers at home already) I was able to create such a transformation in my kitchen.

I almost didn’t want to stop to write my blog, but – the paint needed to dry.

 

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The Cost of Dependence

So I talked with disability.

I didn’t choose to be off of work, or to be home, but I was told to by my Psychiatrist and Counselor.

It scares me to be here, without an income of my own.

I had a lot of stress going in to work, and they were very likely right to take me off, but I am still afraid.

It is hard to be dependent on another person.

The beginning of my struggle with being dependent on someone was my childhood. “Would you do me a favour,” my father would ask. I hated that word – favour. I still hate it.

The word meant I would be asked to do something that I hated; something so fundamentally wrong that I have never been able to overcome it. Completely detestable, and inappropriate.

I would shake my head, “no,” and my stomach would turn. Sick, overwhelmed, angry, disgusted, confused…

I was twelve before I understood it was wrong. Fifteen before others found out. But it had been going on for years. Horrible, terrifying, wrong.

I hated it. I hated it like I hated the macaroni and cheese he kept trying to force me to eat, though I knew I was allergic to it. Hated it like I hated the sound of the TV being on constantly, or the darkness in the house in the middle of the day. Like many foods, sounds, smells, experiences of my childhood, I hated it – but I didn’t know it was wrong.

I would shake my head, “no.” No, I don’t want to do that for you. No, I don’t like it. NO! Please don’t make me. But the words never came.

“After all I have given you,” he would say, “I buy your food, and your clothes… I work so you can have a roof over your head…” Ungrateful child that you are, why won’t you do this for me?

Ungrateful, hateful child that I was…what is wrong with you to not want to do this for him?

“Fine,” he would say, “I guess I just won’t buy you food anymore.”

So I would. Of course I would. What was wrong with me?

Dependence.

If you do this for me, what will the cost be? Will it be more than I’m willing to give? Will it hurt me to give it? Will I hate myself for it?

I talked with Disability yesterday. “It will be twenty-six weeks processing time,” they told me. Six months just to find out if I qualify.

Meanwhile I am dependent on my husband for all of my needs.

He is a good man. He is not my father.

I am dependent, and I am afraid.

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2015 in Autism: Mental Health and Healing

 

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