Tag Archives: autism

A final fork in road

(I actually thought I finished and published this at least six months ago. Apparently I got distracted….)

Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised but I do tend to believe I’m more observant than what is really the case. I’m well under the six month time period of understanding the reality of autism and the variety of differences that can exist between two people on the spectrum. My view was admittedly narrow because of how little I knew about ASD.

I titled this “all but the last piece” because only the barest shreds of doubt exist in my mind. I’m autistic, and though it does not make the reality easier, at least now I understand a bit more about who I am.

My spouse recently came to believe that the category/title of Asperger’s fit me and that I wasn’t just trying to excuse certain actions/behaviors. That was a relief beyond words but the biggest surprise was how soon. I figured that the process of getting a diagnosis would bring about the same result.

What was not expected was in talking to my parents was learning that there was some suspicion when I was a child, that I had undergone some testingb but that the results were inconclusive. There are signs now that I think about it, that shed light on events in the past. So now there is one last fork in the road. In one direction, I go for testing and perhaps get answers. The opposite way leads to relying on the answers I’ve found and the understanding I’ve gained. Either way, I must accept who I am, my limits, and that either decision impacts more people than just me.

Candle, Mind, and Body

Behold! The match is drawn and struck. The spark is made and the flame ignites, as it moves towards the wick. The fire takes hold and the candle steps into the flow of time.

The candle illumines the stillness and the tasks that lay undone. The restlessness within is revealed in its flickering light. See the one in motion, unable to remain at rest until the body says enough.

Another day, there’s more to do, and so the other end of the candle is found by the flame.

Two steps forward, then three steps back. Falling behind as the pace is increased.  Searching for another place a flame can take hold while fearing the time when the candle will break.

The body cries out for rest, but the mind refuses to let go. It wants to but the work is not yet done.  It fears the voices that come in the quiet of idleness. 

The mind desires stillness but the body cannot remain at rest.  The energy within must go somewhere.  The tension must be released but there are too many choices and where to begin…

Then, in the blink of an eye, the light from the candle is gone. There is nothing left to burn. The mind still plans as it calls out to the body to remain and let go. Yet, it is drug down into darkness and stillness as the body has nothing left.

The mind lets go at last and descends with the body.  It knows it must recharge. If the coming day is to be faced, the wax must cool and the new wick trimmed.

Can I clone myself

(This was written a few weeks ago around the time I went to the PA Renaissance Faire)

I almost wish I could clone myself today. Then one of me could be home away from almost everyone and the other could be out.

I’m torn between this desire to go out on this beautiful day and go home and hide a away from everyone

I know I should be out but I was yesterday. I know I should enjoy being with others but I was out with others yesterday; (and surrounded by a bunch of strangers).

At least if I could clone myself then the part of me that wants to go out could go out and the other half could stay in.

But then what would I do with myself when the day was done?

More evidence

I didn’t think I needed more evidence to but I guess at some point I’ll be grateful for that confirmation.

I’m still just a self-diagnosed autistic. I don’t have that official “label” and may not ever get it but what happened yesterday (it’s now past midnight) has removed the last sections of doubt. A few small sections remain but even with an official diagnosis I’ll probably still have moments of doubt.

It began when the place I was going to get supper at had closed the location I had come to. I should have checked but I had no reason to suspect anything had changed. I was forced to go to an alternate store. Though I had been in there before tonight felt wrong. I wasn’t anxious but I felt like I wanted to be anywhere else. I pushed on and after having the screen ask multiple times if I needed more time I had chosen my sandwich. Just as is was finished something started beeping and it took way more than I expected to calmly walk to the checkout and leave.

In the car, I sat there and started shaking a bit. I didn’t understand: I wasn’t cold or afraid yet I tried to hug myself and close by eyes for a few minutes before pulling myself together and heading to the church for the service. Had I recognized what was going on, I would have most likely gone home instead of heading to the church.

Once I arrived at the church, I thought whatever was going on had mostly passed. In retrospect, it was probably the controlled, safe, environment that existed in the solitude of the drive over (including the Christian death metal playing).

I’ve occasionally, had moments recently where I’ve questioned this self diagnosis. Maybe, even though it made perfect sense, I was wrong with this understanding that I was autistic. I had not experienced the type of meltdown of unexplainable crying, difficulty speaking, and with near total exhaustion following.

Initially, things seemed fine once the worship service began. The lighting wasn’t bad and there wasn’t any auditory issues that I recall. Yet, it wasn’t too long before I could feel the pain in my sinuses and eyes. I put on my sunglasses and hoped that this would be the end, and beforehand it had been. That night, it didn’t end. I could feel the tears coming, and the first echoes of discomfort became more evident. I remained standing for a bit but once I sat down, I could not stand up, the energy wasn’t there. I wanted to curl up, to compress myself, to, well, honestly, I don’t know what I wanted at that point. I was squeezing my arms, pressing my fingers against myself, trying to understand what was going on and what could make it stop. Thankfully, my wife was there and it seems like it was constant contact with her, that steady, gentle pressure, which seemed to start slowing this descent and bringing calm.

Though it wasn’t long in reality, hours felt like they passed. We met some friends from our church there and I felt like my interactions were typical. A part of me still was insisting on finding some place of quiet but it wasn’t overwhelming the rest of me.

We left and I did try to explain what I was feeling and what happened at that point but I was still rather unsure. I still am for that matter. I am certain it was a meltdown but as this was a new experience, I have nothing to connect it with. I’ve had the “angry” meltdowns before but never this.

The next two days gave me ample evidence that what I experienced was indeed a meltdown. I completed much of what I expected to but it felt like the mental cost was higher and even physically I didn’t feel like I was my usual self. Perhaps, I should have done nothing Saturday or Sunday but I prefer to be in motion and keep my mind from focusing on what I should be doing.

As I finish this, I’m left with two thoughts. First, I can no longer deny the self diagnosis of being autistic. Second, I have to assume this will happen again and I have to do as much as I can to be prepared when it does.

Volume 1 of unfinished works

Here it is, if you care to read it.
Maybe you’d find it of interest after all; though to me it’s both depressing and frustrating.

Do you want to know of those dreams, desires and hopes I arose with. Would you find more interest in what I accomplished or what was left unfinished?

If you want the first. Find someone else, I’m sorry but that doesn’t matter to me that much. Most of those will repeat tomorrow anyway. It is the unfinished ones that cling to you and refuse to let go. Those are what I think about and wish I could stop.

If you want to read this book I’ve written, please sit down. The volume is long and book one has, drat, I forgot to number the pages; well, it’s a lot.

So maybe tomorrow’s will be shorter but it’s Monday so probably not.

All In My Head

I almost want to ask, but I don’t think I will. It might be okay if I did, but I’m not sure if it’s normal or even what the reaction would be. Yet, here I sit wondering if I offended or upset someone else without realizing it.

All I can base this on is one side of an overheard conversation. It seemed to relate to the work I had volunteered to help with. Nothing was said and no reactions given. So maybe it’s all in my head. Perhaps, that was not the environment I work well in and out felt awkward to the one I was helping.

So I choose not to beat myself up anymore for that time. I choose to forgive myself as well. Most likely, it’s as it usually is, all in my head.

I wish I could explain it

I reach for the shadows,
fingers stretched towards the darkness
Desiring to draw it around me tightly and disappear into its embrace.
I want to fade away,
to allow this weariness to overtake me
and forget about everything else around me.

I get up, get dressed, and endeavor to simply push through this fog. I’m not strong enough to hide it away this time but I can’t explain exactly what I feel either. I’m not depressed, not really, but I rest on the border of “done”. I’ve walked in depression’s valleys before and this is different somehow.

I wish I could explain exactly how I am feeling right now but the right words escape me. Right now, it would just sound like I’m fighting a cold or allergies. Maybe you’d say I didn’t sleep well. Though all those may be true, trust me, what I feel is more than just that.

If I can understand what my body is telling me then I’ll explain. I’ll tell you what I need as I realize it. Until then, just be there for me. I’m sure it’s hard for you feeling so helpless. Just please remember one thing, I didn’t choose to feel this way but I’m choosing to never give up.

It’s not that I can’t…

It was a familiar sensation. The calm of certainty to the all to easy “put on the mask of calmness before the panic and fear shows through” moment. I didn’t have time to explain that the helpful suggestions were making it worse for me. I had tried before but failed, mostly because i didn’t understand why the question of ” can you make dinner?” would cause such distress. I could see it in my mind finally. Each main dish led to multiple options, almost all at once. This basically led to me mentally going in circles. The other part is my sense of time with cooking. Without a recipe and clearly laid out steps, something always gets rushed. On top of that, frustration from both parties who are tired and hungry. If those times didn’t lead to a meltdown, it at least led to an intense discussion. I expressed my frustration at not being able to come up with anything and her frustration that after a long day she had to suddenly come up with dinner.

I recognize now the paralysis that came with so many choices and the inability to express my need for help. That was the most frustrating thing, to know I’m capable, that I can function in the kitchen, but to be unable to get started. I was incredibly disappointed in myself and I’m sure that amplified the disappointment she was experiencing.

For the first time, I was able to recognize and even more, acknowledge what I was experiencing was valid. With that, came the freedom to admit the need for help. The relief at the response of two choices is beyond words. I can handle two choices! All I had to do was settle on one of those choices and make sure I started on time.

It was a great feeling when she came home to have supper nearly done and to know she could focus on unwinding and not on what was for supper.

On a rocking chair, in the dark, wearing sunglasses

I have to wonder after today. How many times did I misread the signals my body was sending me before today? How often did I wonder why everyone else could sit for what seemed an eternity (in reality was often 30 minutes) and as far as I know be completely engaged. If I stayed focused, as far as everyone else was concerned, it was a struggle most times.

I realized today at church, I started to have second thoughts with the training that was going to occur there. Was I wrong to decide to stay instead of going home? This weekend had a lot of social interaction/involvement going on and little down time.

On Saturday, between my morning event (volunteering with others) and time with my friends in the evening. I did have a short shutdown. My brain just locked for a lack of a better word. I laid down on the bed and did not move for 10-20 minutes. I had things to do. “Up, get up! You can’t just lie there.” I didn’t move much as I wanted to. Then the dog barked and that somehow jolted me out of it somewhat. The few “must do’s” got done but that was it. The feeling carried into the evening as it took a while to engage without feeling it was forced.

So back to that training session. This time I started listening, not to the speaker, but to my body. Discomfort from the eyes, the urge to “move”. Conveniently, our church nursery was unoccupied and dark. Also, a rocking chair is in the room. There, I found the relief I needed.

There I sat, in a rocking chair, rocking, with sunglasses on, and listening to the training session on dealing with drug addiction in the family. There I sat, knowing that I would have been constantly moving, looking at my phone so that I could ignore the lights. Instead, I rocked quietly in the dark, wearing glasses, and listening better than I expected I would.

I wish I could explain it….

I know it’s irrational, logically it makes no sense, but why does that matter?

I use this plate and this bowl; every single time, I specifically use these items. I thought you knew that. I want to ask you why you didn’t make sure they were clean for today, but I don’t. I don’t have time to explain why it matters to me, but it does.

Logically, I could use any bowl, any plate and use another utensil to serve. But that’s not how it’s supposed to be. I’m sure I can find it, wash it and still use it but then I have to explain myself to you and “just because” is probably not enough of a reason.

Time marches on and besides that they are waiting, quietly staring. If I take to much longer they will start vocalizing their displeasure. Oh, and I do still have to get to work on time, so I’ll settle on the alternate bowl I’ve used but I’m washing this utensil so I don’t have to make an extra decision.

Everything is done at last but the issue with not having the right bowl still bothers me. I wish I could explain it to her and ask why she didn’t wash it. However, then I’d have to explain why it bothers me and simply put, I can’t…