RSS

Tag Archives: autism fear

Autism: Smoke and Panic

The last couple of logs that I put into the fire in the morning didn’t burn well. While I was making supper, I kept smelling smoke. Finally I figured out that it was from the logs (our fireplace doesn’t tend to smoke, so this was highly unusual.) So I moved the logs around, but the upstairs was still all smoky.

blog pictures 002

My husband looked into the fireplace when he got home, but didn’t see anything wrong.

I guess the bigger challenge was that I had only just realized that our wired in smoke alarms weren’t working (I wonder how long ago that started!) We didn’t even have backup battery operated ones that worked, so my anxiety was very high.

After all, I have known a few people whose houses have burnt down. My grandmother was one of them, and though the people were all out of the house at the time, she lost all 5 of her cats in the fire, and burned her hand when she tried to open the door to get them out (she was just arriving home when she saw the fire.)

If my animals died in a fire, it would be a trauma I would not overcome. It would hurt me for the rest of my life. This I know.

Well, the smoke filled the upstairs enough that it aggravated my throat through the night. That, mixed with my panic about the smoke alarms, set me into a panic that made it very difficult to get to sleep.

It was about 1am before I slept, and has been happening for about 2 months now, I woke up at 3:45 am unable to get back to sleep.

Though I am sleeping little, doing little, and functioning very slow, the days are flying by.

I feel detached from the world, and disoriented from the speed – like the roundabouts they used to have in the playgrounds when I was a kid (before they regulated the speed they were able to spin.) I feel like I am watching the world spin and waiting for my opportunity to jump on – but it is too fast, and I get dizzy just watching it.

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Autism: Future Blindness

I dreamt my son and I were doing some type of concrete forming on top of a highrise. We had to climb ladders in precarious positions to reach our work, yet even standing on the roof terrified me. I felt all the time as if I were sliding off, so I was lying down holding onto anything secure within my reach (so of course not doing my job.)

My son, on the other hand, was climbing on the ladder, and walking on the ledges 20 stories in the air as if they were nothing.

True to me I was panicking for the safety (or lack of) for both of us. I am sure the dream was the result of seeing a contractor climbing off a roof onto a ladder while my son and I were out for our walk the day before. I couldn’t watch, it scared me so much.

Now I know my son is not fearless – not like in the dream. He would never be found willingly climbing such heights, walking on ledges, or even doing that type of work. For a while however, I thought I could do… maybe not work on highrises, but construction of a sort anyway.

I had myself so convinced that I could do it, and would even like to do it, that I took two trades courses at our local college: A 12 week gateway program, and a 6 month Residential Construction foundation course.

ResCon

Yet I was so afraid of heights that I would cringe when other people in the course were climbing ladders, or walking floor joists or walls. I was afraid of the heights. I was afraid of the tools. I was generally afraid of the entire construction process.

I don’t know how I could ever have convinced myself that it would be a good career for me except that… I can’t see forward.

The older I get, the more I realize this.

I have a great imagination, and I am very good at dreaming things up, or picturing what situations might look like. I am also very good at seeing all that could possibly go wrong. The trouble seems to be that my imagination doesn’t take into account how I might experience these things.

Also, when I convince myself that something might be good for me, I have to block out thoughts of any fears that might come with it. I am always afraid. I am afraid of everything. So in order to convince myself that I can do anything, I also have to block out all thoughts of what could go wrong – which I am able to do so long as I am not actually in the situation I am dreaming up.

It is like any other fantasy that I dream up – like something impossible. As if I am as likely to be able to create a portal to another part of the country, or learn to fly (without the use of tools) or to alter reality with my mind as I am to get a job in construction, or adopt a sibling group of children, or…

So long as it is just an idea and not part of my reality, I am fine – but once I am actually a part of it, all of my fears, and failures, and limitations stop me from actually being able to continue on.

This makes it very difficult (if not impossible) to consider what I could do with my future as a job, or any other part of my life. Without the physical experience, I have no clue what would ‘suit me’ even enough that I could be successful in it – and now, after all of my failures, I am too afraid and exhausted to try.

After this I went on to dream that my son and I were in a cave with several other people sorting and categorizing turtles, and even naming them. This dream was definitely also connected to our walk the day before in which my son told me that the German word for turtle translates to ‘shielded frog.’ (My son has been studying German through the site Duolingo for several years now.)

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Autism: A Heavy Cross to Bear

My heart has been hurting all day, and the tears continue to flow. We went to the petting zoo and fed the animals again, as part of my husband’s birthday celebration. While it still felt natural to be there talking with and feeding the animals, it did not remove the pain.

I still haven’t been able to talk with my husband about ‘our’ daughter… I just can’t. He knows I am upset, but not why. Likely he thinks it is him and so is afraid to ask.

Instead I immersed myself into the life of Sims, building a new family; us really, with our kids, created much the same as we were when the children were first placed with us. The resemblance – especially for all the children, is remarkably strong to who they were then.

I only moved them in. I haven’t started playing yet. It got late, and I think I am afraid of them ageing – or worse, having the kids taken by the social workers (this happened playing Sims before when I couldn’t get the children to do their schoolwork – it was very traumatic for me and took me many days to recover.)

My ‘cross’ is a very difficult one to carry. Here is another trauma, which I must experience on my own for in ‘their’ eyes I haven’t the right to be told. If ‘my baby’ dies, will I be told that?

wii

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Autism: Trust and Lies

The challenge was they were going to be there. I wanted to be okay with that; really I did. But I was afraid.

I was afraid something would happen to get my ‘girls’ (chihuahuas) in trouble – like last time – and worried about what they would do. Worried about what she would do.

I was afraid that the forgiveness I had assured myself I had towards the past wasn’t… wasn’t strong enough to be in the same place as them. After all, thoughts of visiting the city where they live (one of my favourite places in the world, though I have only been there twice) brought me to panic. I mean, if we went, they would expect a visit… and could I visit them?

Forgiveness is all well and good in the abstract (notice I am not saying it was easy) but how would it hold up in such a close environment?

And trust? Now, forgiveness is one thing – we all struggle with something, and I know… I know that the failure and shame that I have had in my life wasn’t experienced without a lot of prayer, and study, and energy, and – everything I had really – given to succeed; yet I failed. Do they know that?

I wonder if those looking at my failures actually knew how hard I tried. Frequently it seems they don’t, for they are so angry with me for failing – as if I chose to fail! Really? When I say that I gave everything I had to do well, I actually did give everything I had to do well. So I have to believe that is true of everyone else, too. I have to.

So I forgave them. It wasn’t easy. What they did… what they set into motion… it broke me. Years later I am still broken from it, and I am not certain it can be healed this side of heaven, but… I forgave them.  Over and over again I forgave them – for it seems to me that forgiveness isn’t a one time thing. What was done hurts over and over again. It effects my life over and over again. It comes to mind over and over again.

And every time, I have to forgive again. And I do. I am convinced I do – yet when I am faced with being in the same place as the one who hurt me, I fear it isn’t true.

Trust is even harder. They hurt me once, or twice, or over a period of years, and it was… the worst thing ever. The very worst. And I know they have it in their power to hurt me again, and so I cringe from the contact – for it hurt so very bad the last time. That thing they did? It hurts still. Not a little bit – time doesn’t heal. Time gives perspective. Time lengthens the distance between the waves of pain. But it doesn’t heal it. This still hurts as much today as I think of it than it did then.

I forgave them believing that people fight their hardest to do well – and when we see their failure, we can’t know how hard they tried. But trust is harder for their battle hurt me so much, and I know they have the power to hurt me again.

So as I prepared for my trip, knowing they would be there, the panic grew moment by moment and day by day.

I wrote to my therapist who said, “they can’t take anything away from you but your sleep,” which I know not to be true. They can hurt me again. They can hurt me badly. I cannot lie to myself. I cannot accept other people’s lies – even if they mean well. Even if they are trying to help me find calm. A lie is a lie (whether they know it or not) and it makes the panic worse.

For maybe the worst doesn’t happen to other people (it seems therapists are trained to say our worst fears don’t often happen, and they use that to try to calm people) but my worst fears have happened to me. Again and again. And to tell me that doesn’t happen, or that can’t happen, only makes me feel more alone, misunderstood, and afraid; for the worst does happen to me, so I know it can happen again.

020

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Autism: 365 Days

The day… I was aware of it. Of course I knew it was coming, only… I expected the sadness. I expected missing him. I expected that I would think of him a lot, and wish he was here, and wish he never died.

But he did die.

And as the one year anniversary of that date quickly came upon me, I did feel sad. I did think of him a lot. I did miss him. I always do.

002

What surprised me was the panic. The irritation. The feeling of being completely overwhelmed and powerless in this life.

I don’t know why it surprised me. These emotions are nowhere near abnormal for me, but…

May of 2017 was a good month. A really good month. Better than any I have probably had. I had energy. I was (mostly) calm. I was content. I was happy.

As June 8 approached, I expected to cry a lot. Instead I shook. My mom is still here. I am thankful she is still here. But I haven’t been visiting well. It has been hard to talk. When I am so anxious, I retreat inside myself. Inside my head it is so loud, that I forget the sound doesn’t carry forward into ‘real’ life.

I have been so quiet, and I feel bad. “It is a hard day,” I explained to her (even before the day arrived.) She acknowledged the words, and we remained mostly in silence.

And then we reached the day before. I was washing the breakfast dishes, and she came in to talk to me. Her words were ‘off.’ She seemed ‘off.’ She sat down on the dining chair and I kept looking back.

“Are you okay?” I asked her.

“Just dizzy,” she answered – but her words were slurred. Slow. Like she was answering from a dream. Not like her.

The panic grew, but I couldn’t figure out what to do.

So I asked again, “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Just feeling really dizzy,” she answered. Still ‘off.’ Still ‘slow.’ Still not like her.

I finished the dishes, and left her there to deal with her dizziness. I shouldn’t have left her, and worried about leaving her – but I really had to go to the washroom, and couldn’t wait.

While I was in there, there was a huge crash, and my dog started barking excitedly. I thought maybe my mom had tried to get to her bedroom, and had knocked over the baby gate leaning on the wall in the hall. That happens often.

I got back to her as quick as I could, and found her on the kitchen floor, covered in spilled cappuccino. She was just starting to get up, and seemed highly disoriented. Our guess was that she had fainted – a mix of Gravol and Valerian she had taken during the night before seemed not a good mix for her. It was the first time she had taken the two together, and only the second time she had taken the Valerian at all.

Maybe that was it. She didn’t want to go to the hospital to be checked out. Instead she rested, and I worried for the day.

364 days. Three hundred sixty four days before, my Gryff also started falling over in the morning. I also looked at him in concern that morning. He fell, and I rushed him into the vet (well… I rushed, they left him waiting in the waiting room for his appointment, though they could see he was in obvious distress.)

He fell. I worried. He died anyway.

A year later, my mom fell. I worried…

Am I sad? Extremely. I absolutely did not want to lose my dog. Who does?

A year later, I was reminded once again how quickly everything could change – and that sadness grew to panic that has been with me ever since.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Autism: If The World Ends

If the world ends this year, or I am taken out of it, what would happen to my girls? To my son? To my mom? Death comes to us all, and I long for a world that is good. I long for a world in which I am good, and where evil had no place. Yet I fear abandoning my loved ones to a life of loneliness, terror, torture, despair. I fear abandoning my loved ones to a life or eternity of hell. This is not what I want for them.

For not knowing God, is that the life they deserve? It is the life I deserve, and it causes me to tremble. Yet by grace I am saved, and I pray that grace to cover them, too. This life may become so much worse than the pain I have known, and I am very afraid; for there is no promise I will be spared such things. I have no illusions that I should be spared when millions before and many beside me were not.

Yet this hope remains: that however this ends, and whatever I experience, my eternal future is secure in him that gave his life that I might be welcomed home.

How should I be awarded this surety when others were denied? Am I more righteous than any of them? Truly I know that I am not. I am saved because I believed the one who saved me. Saved. By grace and grace alone. And I long for the same for a world hurting, and dying, and lost.

If I had the words, I would shout it from the mountaintop. Yet the words that tumble from my mouth are rarely understood, and frequently cause offence.

So I whisper it quietly with tears pouring down my face: “Lord, please save them too.” For if God could love me through all of my sin, shame, and failure, I am fully convinced that there is nothing another has said, or done, or failed at that would deny God’s love to them… if only they would believe.

So I pray again, “Lord soften their unbelieving hearts, teach them of your love, and save them.”

And Lord? Please come quickly.

Vacation July 2016 014

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Autism: What Change May Come

It has been a cold, wet spring. I am not sure what to make of it as thoughts of ‘typical’ are replaced with an idea that things are changing and perhaps what once was will no longer be. I must prepare myself to accept what changes may come, for I know that flexibility is not natural for me – yet can be survived, perhaps even well, should I accept ahead of time that “all shall be well.”

All winter, for instance, we had our bird feeders hanging from the maple tree in the front yard, filled with seed – but the birds didn’t come. “Oh well,” I thought, “we can take the remaining seed up to the lake in the summer, and feed the squirrels and chipmunks.”

Then, a little over a week ago, the birds started coming. I have refilled the feeder twice since. True, it was meant to help them survive the winter, and there are many other things they could be eating now, but it sure is nice to watch them at a time when I am able to sit outside (even if I remain undercover, bundled in a sweater.)

It is a change, but I am okay.

There is another change that I am considering for this year. It is not so much the change itself that causes me to hesitate, but the ability (or rather inability) to express it well… the need, that is. The idea – and one vocalized as a suggestion from a friend, and confirmed as a… sensible choice from a relative – is that I not go up to “the lake” this year.

Vacation July 2016 014

The more I consider this, and the more I observe “my girls” growing calm and content in the safety of our yard, the more I come to believe this to be the most logical course for me to take. There are just too many things about that trip which cause me stress and anxiety:

  • food issues which have always lead to meltdown and humility there
  • eagles, osprey and other wildlife that actively seek to eat my girls
  • where I will sleep (tents are no longer suitable as I fear for safety for my girls)
  • how to stop my girls from barking and chasing neighbours, family, and their dogs
  • cows – yes, cows! Clara will chase them, which also becomes a danger, and they are free range up there
  • how to safely contain my girls when I go swimming, kayaking, or playing games with others up there
  • a more than 2 hour drive each way to get there in a vehicle without air conditioning (again, safety and food issues, and there is the motion sickness on top of that)

As I consider all of these things, and my anxiety grows, I return to the comment from my friend. “Wouldn’t it be better to stay home?”

Is it better to stay home? Pretty much always!

And the truth is, I live in a beautiful tourist town where my pastor frequently reminds us, “people save all year to come to a place like this.” And he is right!

My house is a short walk from the lake, and two beautiful nature trails. I live maybe a five minute drive from a really nice beach. I have a fully fenced yard, with many shade trees and bushes, a lawn swing and a freestanding hammock, lots of wildlife (though easier to keep my girls safe) right here in my own home.

My girls are happy here, and I am able to relax, so… why would I want to leave?

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: