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Autism: Fatal Flaws

This morning I am panicking, and I don’t even know why. I have nowhere to go. I did my cleaning yesterday, so don’t have anything today that must be done. My animals are healthy. My environment is tidy. Though I am not working at this time, I have enough to live on. Christmas is coming, but there is still time – nearly a month as I write this. I haven’t had recent social interaction that I am pulling apart and analyzing. Yet I am really anxious today.

I have been for quite a while in fact. Sick (nauseous), achy, exhausted, anxious, and not doing all those things that help me to feel better – like my lessons. Last week, Thursday I think, I did my devotional and about 1/3 of the final review lesson in Latin. It had been about two weeks since I had done any at all. I have felt too busy, though most days I am still at home. I have been too exhausted.

Even the good things don’t get done when I feel like this, and it can last such a long time. On my best days, I wonder what I am doing home, and feel guilty. It is as if I could conquer the world… well, not quite, but possibly I could do my old job okay. And then times like these come, and I wonder how I ever managed at all.

Except I didn’t manage; not really. For a time, I was able to hide my struggles, and suffer the fears and exhaustion alone – but in time it always showed up. I am not a great actor. I wasn’t even exactly trying to act, just… I knew that with enough time, I would heal, and be able to do this well again (whatever this was.)

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I told myself that if I could just get past this moment, and was able to come up with the right plan, I would be able to do these things that I loved (or at least felt good about doing – when I was doing them well.) For a while, I could lie to myself, but the lies couldn’t be believed forever, for always I would crash.

When I crashed, I knew that I have given more than I had to do this well – and failed. And I hated that I failed. It isn’t like I looked at it like an illness, or disability that made me incapable of doing even the minimum of what I saw others doing – I looked on it as a fatal flaw in myself: a failure. Others could do it. I wanted to, but couldn’t. Why was there something so wrong with me.

It didn’t help that when that failure came out, the judgment of others said, “you could have done that well, with some effort.” People were angry at me for failing. I was angry with myself. And the shame of that was overwhelming. Yet… they had no idea how hard I tried, or how much I longed to succeed. It isn’t like I let things go, and allowed the failure – I gave more than all of me, and I failed, and I hated myself for it. I didn’t need them to hate me, too.

So I sit at home these days supported by disability payments that come from public taxes, and I feel guilty. Guilty again that I can’t do what they think I should: work, and succeed, and do it well. I can’t.

But today at least my eyes are opened. This is can’t. This is not won’t. I would work if I could, but I can’t. I would succeed if I could, but I can’t. I would do well, I would have kept my children. I would have kept babysitting, or working at the motel, or something if I could, but I can’t. And this is why.

Sometimes I get so anxious, and so exhausted, and so sick, and I crash. It happens a lot! It happens more than not. But it isn’t because I don’t try, and it isn’t because I don’t put in the effort, and it isn’t because I am a horrible person… I have to remember that. For until I let go of the: “This is all my fault. I am no good. I hate me,” thoughts, it is unlikely I will ever be well enough to… do even part of what they expect I should have been able to do all along.

Go easy on people. You never know what battles they are fighting.

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Autism: The Life of a Housewife

In the mornings now I wake up and think of all of the things that I have to do.

Today I will:

  • clean the kitchen and bathrooms
  • sweep the floors like I do most days now
  • do a couple of loads of laundry
  • I should vacuum the master bedroom and rec room (if I can talk myself into cleaning out the vacuum canister that is full of spiders from cleaning the workshop the other day)
  • write a blog post or two
  • exercise
  • practice playing my keyboard
  • work on my book (I am now typing corrections and additions into the computer)
  • maybe I will wash the floors, too.

I think of all of these things that I have to do, and I am content with my life. I didn’t choose to be off of work – I was told it was necessary. It is a good lifestyle for me, though.

By 11am I have one load of laundry in the washer, the other is hanging on the line. I am still debating about the vacuuming – I don’t like spiders. The rest of my cleaning is done, and I am working on my blog. I look around my house, and it is clean. It calms me. I don’t have to block out my environment like I had to when I was working, and too stressed and burnt out to take care of my house, too. I am happy here.

I look forward to my planned activities for the afternoon. There is so much to learn, and to do! Life is interesting. I can feel my depression and anxiety lifting each day that I am home.

Considering the fall I think, for perhaps the first time, that I could handle hosting life group in my home. It is clean. I can keep it clean. Maybe I can do that. Maybe I would even bake desserts to share with people when they come. Maybe I can!

Somehow I have to find a way to contribute financially to my family. I really don’t want to go back to work. I am happy here, doing what I am doing. But I need the income. It is a battle. I love writing this blog, and working on my book. I want these things to be shared. To get some money from them would be nice, but I know that for me, I have to write for a better purpose. I would rather it not become something I had to do for the money, but could continue to be something I want to do because I have so much to share.

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Maybe I could learn to garden, and grow more than pumpkins and sunflowers. I could learn to can and dehydrate the food that I grow, to lessen our food costs through the year. Maybe I could do that – but it wouldn’t be enough.

I try to remind myself that God brought me here. I didn’t ask for it, but I sure did pray for it. If God brought me here, He can also provide for me to be able to stay. I try to trust in Him. Faith is hard! It isn’t something that just comes, and we walk pleasantly along, never worrying about anything. Faith is a lot of work, and needs to be strengthened moment by moment, day by day.

There are many fears that come from being here, but not like the ones I have from going to work. I could live like this. I could thrive here. My hope is that I will be able to stay.

 

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