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Autism: Loads and Burdens

This sadness has been overwhelming me.

  • Does God want me?
  • Am I saved?
  • Why do I fail at everything?
  • Why am I so bad (why do I struggle with things other people don’t seem to?)
  • Will I ever do good (will anything I do have a positive impact on the world around me?)
  • Does anyone want me (will I ever feel like I belong anywhere?)

I think that maybe Christmas is a difficult time for me. Anyway, it has been hard this year, and I am feeling overwhelmed and shutting down, even though I haven’t done anything for it yet.

Time is speeding up, or I am slowing down, or… How did Christmas come again so fast? I am not at all ready, and I look at the decorations as if… as if people put them up in May or something, and it all feels so wrong.

Time is speeding up for me. I go to start something, learn something, research something, and suddenly the day is over though I have done nothing. It is very frustrating. Is it any wonder I wish this life allowed magic, or cheat codes to get through? I don’t expect to win any awards, or accomplish any great thing anyway, but I could sure use some help to get through the day and take care of what I have without being so overwhelmed all of the time, but then…

Loads and burdens.

My pastor talks frequently about loads and burdens – how some people have heavy burdens they won’t share with other people for fear of asking too much of people, and other people ask for help with loads that they should learn to carry themselves.

I have a lot of burdens, this is true. And sometimes I ask for help with them, but mostly I don’t. Other people don’t understand, and can’t seem to help much anyway.

But then I guess what I struggle most with – day to day living – people would consider loads. I know they are… loads, that is. I should be able to handle them. Other people do. Other people are able to do all I struggle with and so much more. I should be able – but I am not.

Loads and burdens.

I ask too much.

Having said all of that, I am struggling these days. I have been writing this blog for nearly 2.5 years – longer than I have ever kept going at any type of work in my life, without a break. But I have also been pushing myself really hard to keep going these past 7 or 8 months or so.

I need a break.

So in light of Christmas coming (and despite how hard this is for me to admit even to myself) I have decided to take some time off from writing my blog, and think that Christmas is probably the time I need to do that.

I am hoping that a month will be enough, and plan to start writing again in mid-January.

Until then I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year, and to thank all of you for your support over these years.

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Autism: Change of Perspective

Speaking of age, my husband said something to me one day that caught me off guard.

We were talking of things that need to be done around the house: water heater, window, passports… I said the passports weren’t exactly a rush as we had no plans to go anywhere, and the earlier we had them done, the earlier they would expire.

I mentioned that I thought they only lasted five years (as that is how long we had our last ones.) My husband said he thinks we can get them for ten years now and “that’d be my life.”

Ten years.

Ten years ago my youngest ‘foster’ daughter was sick and falling over. Ten years ago we were told about ‘our’ children’s youngest brother, and were asked to adopt him.

Ten years before that my cousin died from complications with her Cystic Fibrosis, and my grandfather had a heart attack and cancer, and died a few months later.

Ten years is nothing.

I focus on the idea that the world might end in a few months – just to keep going. Anything I do, however, is with the consideration that I have as long left as I have lived so far – so renovations, and even habits, are important considerations for carrying me through the future.

When I get overwhelmed with the renovations that need to be done, or the skills and habits I would like to form (all of which I fixate on often) I get a strong impulse to move to a home that would make these things easier for me.

My husband’s statement sent me into another perspective which I haven’t seen before.

It isn’t so much that I thought he would live forever, but… the idea of his death was in how it would affect me – and such thoughts placed a sense of urgency on getting things in place that would help me and my son to endure it (for thoughts of him dying bring me to a place of panic – how will I keep going on my own?)

But this thought, spoken from his mouth as such a fact, transformed that perspective to what he might be considering as a result.

With ten years left, there is no benefit to moving (even if he were someone okay with change; which he isn’t.) With ten years left, what is the point of altering his diet or his habits and thereby making his life harder and less enjoyable?

And the things around the house? Some – like the window (which has cracked in many places and is held together with tape) and maybe the water heater are necessary. Others – flooring, paint, decluttering, updating, or even getting a wood stove – I suppose would not be so important at this point in his life.

They matter to me, but of course they wouldn’t matter so much to him: Ten years is nothing.

Obviously he could live longer, and that is the hope – but it isn’t like he will pass a certain date and the danger will be gone. Instead things are likely to become less important to him with time.

A complete change of perspective in just a few words, “that’d be my life.”

Easter 2015

 

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Autism: Like Losing My Children All Over Again

The week my mom left was an especially difficult time for me. It is so hard for my mind to understand the abstract nature of this world – such that, “my mom is gone; will I see her again; and… are my memories of yesterday(s) real?”

Above the difficulty I was having with her departure, I also happened to be reading a book that led me to question my faith. It wasn’t so much in belief, but in “faith without works is dead.” So I was overflowing with guilt and shame, regret, and fear that since I seem to fail at everything. Does this then mean I won’t have ‘works’ to show my faith is alive, and therefore God will reject me?

That same week, I must have been triggered by something (perhaps the dream in which I was trying to bring my children home,) for I was emotionally re-living the loss of my (foster) children, and the attack I had experienced at that time much like it was occurring again in the present time. My pastor says that the emotional receptors of the brain don’t understand time. Therefore, when a memory is triggered from something that was emotional (and that time in my life was very much so) it feels as if we are experiencing it again. Therefore the saying “Time will heal,” is not accurate.

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I tend to agree with him on that one, as it is certainly true for me. I frequently relive traumatic times in my life when memories are triggered, and it really hurts as badly now as it did then. I may not be living it every moment of every day as I did when it happened – but the pain is just as intense, and the hurt just as strong, as it was in those days.

And then I had another dream. And though the dream was extremely unlikely to be a subconscious reflection of reality; and though he has never given me any reason to believe this might be a possibility; and though I have not been suspicious, or jealous, or anything in our relationship – the dream still had a very strong impact on me.

In the dream, my husband was confessing to cheating on me continuously, and was mocking me for being upset, and for being too stupid to know he didn’t want our marriage to last.

It wasn’t even a very long dream, and when I woke up, while I still acknowledged such a thing to be extremely unlikely – emotionally I was aching, and responding to my husband as if it were true. I didn’t speak to him of this – it was a particularly ridiculous dream; yet perhaps if I had I would have been able to heal, and not fall apart in ways he couldn’t understand (not knowing where such things were coming from.)

It has been hard enough living with this idea that he doesn’t want me battling in my mind for several years – but to have this added to my mind: that he doesn’t want me because he has someone else (even if I know it to be untrue, and only the result of one nightmare) brought me to a certainty that he doesn’t love me, and doesn’t even want me around.

And while it was unfair to him, since it had nothing to do with his actions, and everything to do with my dream; I still responded to him as if it were truth – and it hurt. It really, really hurt. And he had no idea.

So he fed this belief he didn’t know I had, from a source fully outside of reality, by responding to my discussions about not being able to go to the lake since I had no solution for keeping my girls safe with (what appeared to me) indifference – and as if he really didn’t want me to go with him. And then he got my gloves wet, and I fell apart, and it was like…

It was like losing my children all over again.

 

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Autism: Fantasy or Reality

Last night I had the strangest dream… whenever I want to share I dream I have had, I think of that song we used to sing in grade school music class: “Last night I had the strangest dream, I’ve ever dreamed before. I dreamed mankind had all agreed to put an end to war.”

Well, I guess my dream last night wasn’t about putting an end to war. It was more, I suppose, in reflection to anxieties regarding my mental state – which has been… challenged, I suppose, with the departure of my mother (on an airplane, not in a grave.)

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At first I was in a building of sorts. I think it might have been my church in the area which is now being used as a toddler room, but used to be the library. My son and I were in that room, only he was a young child (as he was when it was a library) and he was playing hide and seek with another child who was somewhere down the hallway.

My son had hidden under a shelf and behind the book drop box that used to be in there. I was sitting on a chair reading, and waiting for my husband, I assume. He used to work there, and was on the worship team for a while, so in the past (when my son was young, and that room was a library) we used to wait for him a lot in there.

As I was reading, I looked up. At the other end of the room was a double closet (which is not there – though my son has something like it in his bedroom at our house.) In the closet was a large pile of laundry, dirty sheets, and such. Suddenly several of these were lifted up by invisible hands, and flung at me. Not only were the sheets and other clothing being thrown at me, but heavier objects as well, such as a lamp, and books.

I got my son, and fled.

When people asked me what had scared me so badly, I told them of these objects coming through the air on their own. “The wind,” they said. “Demons,” I responded. I took them to the room and showed them the heavier objects that had been flung at me.

As a result of this, I was encouraged to check myself into a mental hospital. I have been in that hospital several times in my dreams – though I have never been to one even to visit in reality. This building was really nice. It had hardwood floors, lots of plants, a few indoor gardens, an atrium, and even the rooms were well decorated. Above that, they had activity rooms for crafts, and other things of interest to me.

In past dreams, when I have gone there, I decided not to stay. I needed to be with my animals, and couldn’t leave them behind. Above that, the rooms were often shared, and I couldn’t bring myself to a place where I would have to share a bedroom, and especially a bathroom. So I filled out the paperwork, and I left.

This time, however, I knew I needed to stay – the outer world was becoming too dangerous for me, and I couldn’t live well in it. So I walked up to the admitting desk, where I knew the man behind the counter (a man from my church who is in his 80’s I think.) He was sure I was there for someone else, but I corrected him, told him my paperwork was completed, and that I was Autistic.

What got me most about this dream was not that I was questioning my mental state (which I do) but the fact that I finally admitted it was bad enough that I was willing to stay in a place where I had to share a bathroom in order to be treated.

Since my mom went home five days ago now, I have been really struggling again with abstract concepts of time and distance. She was here, and now she isn’t. Not only isn’t she here, but she can’t be, as she lives to far away to just come back. Try as I might to recognize this as truth, it just doesn’t fit as such in my mind. So things like this bring me to a space where I am questioning if anything from the past (including the visit from my mom) was real – or was it just a dream?

And I suppose with that comes the fear that each time these things occur, my sanity slips a little – and that fear that my memories are but a dream carries into my dreams to tell me some day I might need extra help in seeing the difference between dreams and reality.

 

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Autism: Time Flies

Well… I didn’t do so well, and that is the truth. I pushed myself, and tried, and tried again, and failed.

At least when I gave up, I was still a week ahead of ‘the end.’ They may not have been my best posts, either – since thinking wasn’t an easy thing during that time. They may not have been my best, but I do know I did my best. I guess that is supposed to help me feel better knowing that or something, but… it just is. A failure is a failure, and while I am pretty good at giving grace to others who tried (even if they failed) I am not so good at giving the same to myself.

Well the time is over, and things return to ‘normal’ I suppose. So I will try again to write, and I will try to get ahead again – and since I am mostly alone, I guess that will work.

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Those were probably some of the fastest eight weeks I have ever experienced. It seemed so long at first, but…

Today we dropped my mom off at the airport. A little over an hour to the airport. A little over an hour back. And as I sit typing, my mom begins the 5 hour layover in Calgary. I know she made it there. 40 minutes ago. I know. I checked the flight status.

When we booked the flight, the layover was supposed to be less, and the entire flight was supposed to be earlier. But then it changed. And it changed again. And just when we thought we knew what was going on, we reached the check in kiosks and found her second flight was delayed again. I believe she was supposed to reach Ontario mid-afternoon when we first booked the flight, but now she won’t get there until after 2am!

Well, it is only a day – and we had eight weeks.

I am thankful for those eight weeks. I really am. But… like all good things, it ended too soon.

And once again I look around and wonder how I got here – and why I ever believed it was a good idea to move so far from home. And my mind can’t seem to understand. Was she really here, or was it just a dream? And if it wasn’t a dream, how is it possible she is gone now?

Time and distance. Two abstract concepts I have all but given up trying to understand, for they are well beyond me.

 

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Autism: Time Distorted

A sound interrupts my sleep: a cat meowing, a cupboard being opened, the flushing of a toilet. I turn over, and am instantly pounced by squiggling, wiggling balls of fur. Right up in my face… ‘are you up, Mom?’ Time to get up. Typically it takes an hour for me to properly wake up and get out of bed, no matter how long I have slept. These girls depend on me however. They need to be fed, and they need to go outside, and so up I get.

Rubbing my eyes I go to the washroom and brush my teeth. Despite the rush, my routine must be followed. The cats are waiting for me in the kitchen. I pull out four bowls: two get wet cat food, canned; two get homemade dog food, warmed in the microwave (they aren’t quite thawed from the night before.)

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My girls eat fast, and look longingly at the cat bowls. My feline friends eat slower, daintily. I take the girls outside, and hope the cats are done by the time we come in, for Clara and Molly will not be deterred. They dive for the bowls the moment we come in, before I have a chance to get my boots off.

Grabbing my breakfast, I head towards the living room, turn on my computer, and sit down. The moment I do, two little girls leap into my lap – I have learned to be prepared. They lie down, in their favourite place, and fall back to sleep. Sometimes Ditch joins us, sometimes he doesn’t. While on the Internet, I head to Swagbucks to attempt a survey. I have made about $100 since September (5 months ago.) I used to make that in a day at my old job, and wonder if there are better ways to earn money.

Turning to the news, I quickly check to see what is happening in the world before continuing on to my emails. Several are deleted without opening them, and I am left with maybe 5 or 6 each morning that I am interested in. After reading them, I head towards Facebook, and quickly skim through the feed of ‘nothing’ posts to check that everyone is well. Of course, not everyone shows up in my feed. Instead I get several stories from groups I never asked to follow, and multiple shared posts coming mostly from the same sources.

It takes too long to go through it all, and I start to get irritated by the time I reach the last of the posts I read yesterday. By this time I am feeling overwhelmed, so I play Facebook games (Candy Crush and Farm Heroes Saga) to try and calm down. More often than not the level I am on annoys me further. My son asks me why I keep playing, and I wonder the same myself, but I am compulsive – and I have gotten so far. If only I could just make it to the end, but they keep making more levels.

Often it is already close to 10am by this point, though my girls get me up around 7:30. I realize it is not a great use of time, but when I don’t follow through my routine, I feel it heavily, and it makes the rest of my day harder to get through. Time to go outside again. At this time of year, they don’t stay out long. I guess the routine will change once spring comes.

The next few hours either go to laundry and cleaning, or to my fixations (Pinterest, the Realtor website, online research…) I need to have my days of fixations, or I am unable to function at all on cleaning days, and not able to visit when it comes time to go out. I need many hours free for this on an almost daily basis, or I will fall apart… even with this, I frequently get overwhelmed.

In the middle of my ‘free’ time, I have to get lunch for myself and my girls, and take them out again. It is hard to pull myself away.

Mid-afternoon is time for my girls to get their walk. In the hot days of summer, this will have to change. I think of that constantly. For now, though, it is the best time for us to go. Part way through the walk, they get cold feet, or something scares them. They won’t walk any further, and I have to pick them up and carry them home. Clara frequently asks for ‘up’ by the time we reach the end of our (not particularly long) driveway.

At home again, I go into my exercise routine (twenty minutes on the elliptical machine while watching a documentary on Netflix – cast to my TV on Chromecast) followed by a time practising my keyboard. From there, I check my email again, which reminds me it is time to practise Spanish on Duolingo. I had a really hard time getting back to me after my last visit with my Psychiatrist, when she dismissed the things I do as part of my routine, and told me I should look into work, or volunteering, or going to school… everything I was doing to improve myself became harder after that.

Suddenly it is time to make supper, and feed my girls, followed by an evening watching Netflix videos and writing in my journal. The day has felt really busy. When I have more to do: Go to church or Bible Study, or even go out to a hockey game, or to watch a play – I have to brace myself. One ‘extra’ event (including appointments) can feel overwhelming.

I consider again my Psychiatrist’s advice to find work, or volunteer, or go to school – and it overwhelms me. I become anxious, and shut down, and my routine is broken. How could I possibly find the time? I remember when I was working, though it was only part time, I wasn’t able to accomplish most of the above. My house stayed messy, I didn’t exercise or try to learn anything… any attempt at routine was met with failure. I just couldn’t do it, and I felt anxious, overwhelmed, and irritated just about all the time.

My sense of time is distorted, I think. It seems to take me longer to do just about anything, and I need a lot more time than others seem to in between each activity in order to recuperate. For that reason, though it likely seems to others (who are able to work full time, keep their house, study, research, enjoy a hobby, or otherwise improve themselves – and still find time for church, other activities, and time with friends) that my life is very slow – I actually still feel very busy, and am overwhelmed by that busyness much of the time.

 

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Autism: Hindsight is 2o/2o

My son was looking for more pictures of China today, so I went through a couple of DVD s which had pictures taken off of old, dead computers several years ago. I found a couple of pictures and sent them to him (most of them were from our trip to Ontario in 2008 with the kids, and Christmas of 2008 and 2009, so didn’t have cat pictures in them as she wasn’t there.)

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Looking through the pictures left me once again wishing I could turn back time, and save the adoption before it failed. As I went through them, I stumbled upon a page of emails that I had copied from the months leading up to the first time the children were moved.

I was surprised by how much I have forgotten over the years regarding the children’s behaviours. I knew they did these things, yet with passing time forgot the frequency and intensity through which we experienced them.

There was just so much struggle with all of them, and while I did remember it wasn’t easy, I really did forget how hard it could get.

As I read those emails I realized a few of things that I didn’t notice before:

  1. I should have journaled rather than share our challenges through email during that time – for had I been reading these things about another family I would have thought the children were way too challenging for any family (I also forgot that upon placement we were told the social workers had thought our middle girl was unadoptable) and that the situation was hopeless.
  2. Looking through the pictures doesn’t tell the entire story; so while I knew by looking at the pictures when the children had been struggling just before they were taken (by the pure exhaustion on everyone’s face) and I remembered the struggle they were having, the intensity wasn’t accurately portrayed in the photograph.
  3. If I could turn back time, and do all the social workers told me were essential to a successful adoption with these particular children, and did everything `right,`we would still have been at severe risk of adoption disruption – for the emails, though I know every fact was true in them, tell of a family who was doing all they could to `hold it together,`and couldn’t possibly hold on much longer.
  4. Unless I kept all of those facts presented in the emails to myself, I would have found myself one day standing before the ministry and having them tell me it wasn’t going to work – and it likely wouldn’t have been much longer than we had with them.
  5. If I did everything `right` and never emailed or spoke much on any of our struggles, we might have succeeded in adopting these three children, but I still would have been completely burnt out, and I still would have isolated myself from other people, who would have always judged me, and who I could never please with the children I had. I was doomed to feel I had failed in some way.

I wanted my children more than I can express. I loved my children more than I can say. Losing them was a huge trauma I have yet to overcome. But I think now that even if I had done everything `right`, the adoption was still doomed to failure.

I hate that that is true, for I put all of myself into succeeding with them, and it still breaks my heart that I couldn’t do it. It breaks my heart that they are gone. And I miss them so very much.

 

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Autism: Death, Time, Loss

China died last night.

The news doesn’t seem real. For nearly nineteen years she has been in our home. My son had just turned two – a small, blond, curly haired boy full of energy, and full of love for this small kitten who (out of fourteen kittens born to three cats on the farm) claimed him as her own, and decided she would be coming home with us.

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Now a very tall, bald-headed man (whose hair turned to dark brown sometime around the age of 3.5 years) who has little energy – and still a lot of love for this shrunken, blind, deaf cat who had stayed loyally by his side for nearly nineteen years had to come to me in tears to say the words, “China died last night,” and he broke down sobbing.

My son was with her in the end, and had to deal with her alone as we were in bed, and didn’t know. It is fitting that he was with her when she died, for in life they were hardly ever apart.

It breaks my heart to think of her without him now, and I pray that is not the case. I hope that she is there with him still, though he cannot see her. (Oh how I wish we could see them still, though their bodies are gone; how I wish we knew where they went.) I pray she is young once more, and free of pain, and right by his side – as she has always been.

China died last night; nearly 5 years to the day from when I lost my Chiku – and just over 7 months from the loss of my dog, Gryff. When will the pain end?

I fill my moments with small, unimportant tasks, and push the grief away. I can do that for a while, because for years she spent nearly all of her time downstairs with my son, and the loss isn’t so noticeable up here. When I go down to see him, though, her absence is heavily felt. The very air seems to cry that she is gone; even as I still see her in the places she has recently been.

I go to comfort my son and end up in tears myself. I am not sure he feels better when I go down; then again, I am not sure he wants to. Perhaps he is thankful to know that he is not alone in his pain. Yet, he is alone, for she was his. For nearly nineteen years I loved her, and the pain of this loss is great – but not as great as his, for she was his.

And maybe that is true of all of us who mourn – though surrounded by a crowd of people hurting from the loss, the pain is still our own, and we are alone in it. I don’t have words of comfort for my son – all I can share with him is my own grief, and my own lack of answers.

Were it up to her, she would be right there with him still – now and forever; and maybe she still is. I pray that she still is – and so much happier without a failing old body in the way. I wish we could see her still. I wish we could see all of them.

As I stop with the movies, and the games, and the distractions of the day, my tears flow. But how is it even those things can distract me? One would think for all of these losses, the tears would go on forever – and sometimes they seem to. So how is it I laughed today?

This world, this life… it is so wrong. I wonder how we carry on at all.

I used to long, so full of regret, to return to the beginning and try again. The more I lose, however, the more I long for the end – for the possibility that when I arrive, I will see them there waiting for me. And the pain will be no more.

 

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Autism: Late Phone Call

People who know me know that if they are going to call me, they need to give me the details of the call: time, date, reason…

I don’t like phones. I mean, I really don’t like phones. It starts with the unexpected ringing. Loud noises. Never a good thing. Then there is the unexpected: who is on the other end of the line? Why are they calling me? Are they going to make me feel bad about something (like not sponsoring another child in the world who is struggling – which I would if I could, but…)

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Are they going to try to sell me something? Am I going to have to hang up on them, or find some excuse to get off the phone (like how people wanting to do surveys tend to choose the moment I am really busy making supper to call?) Am I going to end up resenting them?

Will I know what to say, or how to respond? My processing isn’t as fast as people seem to expect, so they get… annoyed, maybe, while waiting for my answers. That is why I like to know what the call is about – at least then, I can try to plan some things that I will need to say. Often I will write things down then.

Will I even be able to focus on the conversation? Likely not. Verbal is quite hard for me – that is why I prefer email. Often I will start saying something, and lose my train of thought – or I will try to listen to them, but a word sets off a series of pictures in my mind, until I forgot what they are talking about.

If it is important for me to remember what is being said, I will often have my clipboard with me so I can write things down as we are talking. That helps – but if I don’t know the call is coming, I probably won’t have that. Even then, if the person is talking too fast, I won’t be able to get the important things down – I am not good at note taking.

If they tell me they are going to call, it also gives me the opportunity to let them know if I won’t be available to answer. Maybe they don’t care if I miss them, but I will – and it will make me afraid to go out next time. Best to let me know.

On this day, I knew the call was coming, and I was prepared – or so I thought. We don’t have cordless phones. We did, but it broke, and the new ones we got to replace it were no good – I gave up on cordless for that reason. I suppose they expect people to be buying cell phones, or smart phones or whatever every year or so, and they don’t put much into cordless landline phones anymore.

Typically I have been answering in my dining room, and since I don’t talk to this person often, we end up talking for hours. The dining chair is hard, and I spend most of the time with my dogs trying to figure out how to get up on my lap, and stay comfortable. That makes it very difficult for me to concentrate.

So this time, I was ready! The call was coming at 1pm – we had arranged that. I went to my bedroom, and had my clipboard with me, and a good pen (and a pencil, just in case.) My dogs came to the room with me, and got lots of attention right before 1pm, so they were sleeping on their pillow on my bed.

I was prepared! Then 1pm came, and the phone didn’t ring. Did I somehow knock it off the hook? Nope. Was it plugged in right? Of course, if it wasn’t, the dining room phone would have rang. Did I get the day wrong? No – it was Thursday, and we had only arranged it the day before.

Every minute that passed brought more anxiety, until 15 minutes past the hour, I was in a full panic attack – sure that something was really wrong. Maybe she was angry with me. Maybe she was trying to figure out a way to say ‘no’ to my (really important) request. Maybe something happened to her. I started out really excited to talk to her – even on a phone – and ended up believing my world was about to come crashing down around me… again!

And then the phone rang, and we talked for two hours, and everything was fine.

I don’t think I will ever understand how someone can arrange for something at a certain time, and then be late for the meeting. It just isn’t who I am.

And if I am ever that late for something, or late at all, really – there is likely something very wrong!

 

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Autism: Thankful for Thanksgiving

Due to how difficult my birthday, and the days surrounding it were for me, I especially wanted to have a good Thanksgiving. The trouble was: same people, same plans, nearly the same food… my family is still so far away. I was just coming out of a very long time period of crashing, and it had been dark and rainy for days.

In my own strength, and depending on those closest to me, it was unlikely that Thanksgiving would be any better than my birthday; any better than any day, really. All I could do was go into it hoping and praying, as I had a couple of weeks prior for my birthday, that something would be different; something would be better… and then try not to hope for too much.

Well, as I wrote in my last post, my husband did take me out the night before Thanksgiving. We went to a hockey game, and despite the rain and the crowds, I had a really good time. In itself, that helped to life my mood from the strong anxiety and depression that had left me struggling for most of about three weeks.

On the morning of Thanksgiving, we went to church as usual. However, unexpectedly I met a friend as I walked through the door. Although she had told me she would try to get to church that weekend (they just moved back to town) her intention was to go to a different service. I had no idea that she would be there, and there she was.

Normally I don’t like surprises, but this was a good one. I sat with her through the service, hoping she would enjoy it (everything has changed since she was there last – mostly for the better, I think, but still…) and thinking, “I am sitting with my friend!” Obviously that doesn’t happen often. Usually I sit with my husband, and since we sit at the very front (not a popular choice) we sit alone. I was thankful she was there; I was thankful she enjoyed it; I was thankful to have a friend.

After church, I went home, and nothing was much different than on my birthday. My husband went to his thing, and I went to mine. After lunch, however, when I asked him to come along for my dog’s walk, he came. The weather was beautiful, a really nice autumn day, and I enjoyed that time spent with him.

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When it came to supper, I made the food, but he peeled the potatoes – just as I like it. It isn’t that I think I am such a great cook or anything, it is just… I can’t handle different. I would love for other people to make most of my food, if only they would make it just as I like it. Since that doesn’t happen, I’d rather do it myself. I am much less likely to have a meltdown that way.

Supper was pretty good. I enjoyed it much more than any (mostly) vegan has a right to enjoy meat – I didn’t say I don’t like meat, I would just rather it didn’t come from animals is all – and vegan ‘meat’ is often made with wheat, soy, and mushrooms, which I can’t or won’t eat. Plus it doesn’t taste the same.

Anyway, I agreed to eat meat for holidays, birthdays, and when away from home – because it is just too difficult not to. Yet the very fact that I enjoyed supper left me feeling guilty, and sad for the turkey.

After supper, we each went back to our thing. It is exhausting after all to spend too much time together. Even though there was very little different from my birthday, those few little things made all the difference. I am not extremely needy or anything. Just a little care, and I am content.

And so for all this, I am thankful for Thanksgiving.

 

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