Thursday, May 26, 2011

Anti-Hallmark Moments

... when you just don't care enough to send the very best.

I am seriously crispy with all the chaos and personal interaction lately. Individually, none of the events would be that traumatic or overwhelming or unmanageable, but everything all at once like this has put a serious dent in my mental state and ability to function. My anxiety is riding just below panic attack levels consistently, my ability to eat and sleep is all jacked up, and I basically feel like a hollowed out dry husk right now (albeit a quivering, vibrating one). The least little thing is enough to set me off, and I just want to go hide in a deep, dark cave for a few weeks to recuperate. I have zero energy reserves, despite any frantic/OCD motivation I may have to get things done.

I'm already starting to have difficulties dealing with people... the first sign that side of things is going downhill is when I can't parse what they're are saying anymore. Yup, already there! It's like trying to follow the bouncing ball on screen, but the words are moving too fast and nothing makes sense, and I keep losing whole chunks of what their saying like the audio is cutting out. Add in all the phone conversations (which I already have a hard time parsing) this week, and my little noodle is thoroughly over-cooked. Even though I'm home alone right now in the relative silence, even Ripley and Charlie's little noises and comments are tweaking me out and I'm about ready to go kill the friggin' song birds who are twittering outside non-stop... if those loud squawking ravens come back, they're going to be .22LR target practice for sure! I literally cannot deal.

These past few weeks are probably the most trying on the anxiety front since we got out here. I seriously, seriously, seriously, please God have mercy, hope that it's not indicator of a permanent change of state around the place... or else I may have to move to Greenland or Antarctica. I feel bad because it's not that I have anything against people personally, or that I am Scroodgey and don't want to be helpful, or that I am angry/frustrated/feel taken advantage of or whatever.... I just can't physically/mentally/emotionally deal with it at these levels for long durations. I mean, there are periods when even just having my husband and animals around is too much!! I just hope my new neighbors and everyone in town can understand and not take it personally or hold it against me because I'm a bit broken and wired funky. I don't want them to disintegrate, nor do I feel like they are a burden... I just need a bit more quiet space and time to recharge between interactions. Maybe I'm just oversensitive, but I have had so many issues with folks getting angry/upset with me because of the Aspergers and anxiety before... I just don't want it to happen again since I plan to be here permanently and don't want any troubles.

Flip me over and turn down the heat, cuz I'm certainly burnt on this side!


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a serious situation that you are having to deal with. Hope you find a solution.

Sam.... said...

Sorry that your world is on the frazzled side these days. Just wanted to say hi and that I often think of you guys and wish you well.

Urbancowgrrl said...

You have my sympathy. :(
I want to say "Fuck 'em if they don't accept you the way you are!" but I know it isn't that simple.
I need lots of time to myself too or I feel drained and anxious and I'm not even on the autism spectrum so I can't imagine how uncomfortable you're feeling right now. Just remember how you feel is valid and you have a right to have as much alone time as you need.

becky3086 said...

Try meditating several times a day. Only takes a few minutes. I know, sounds stupid but it helps. Also take one task and get it done, once you fix one thing, it will empower you to do more and get things straight again.

Plickety Cat said...

Thanks everyone, talking about it when I recognize it's happening is part of my coping therapy.

I normally don't have any problem organizing my time and projects, just powering through each of them in order. The difficulty lies in that I can cope with humans or problems, but not both at the same time. So when a lot of things are going on, especially if they are unpleasant surprises, adding human interaction into the mix is the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.

Human interaction requires a good deal of fore-brain energy for me... nothing about dealing with people comes naturally or goes smoothly for me. No part of social interaction and human behavior is intuitive, I have to really concentrate and focus on conversations and etiquette rules and deciphering body language/facial expressions/verbal tone... just like most people would have to focus on a particularly difficult project with many intricate and unfamiliar parts.

I find most face-to-face interaction demanding and challenging, since most people are used to and require a much higher level of interaction than I. What someone might consider light chit-chat can be a gauntlet for me. I fake it well most of the time, but when things pile up on me like they have been my "human mask" starts slipping.

Urbancowgrrl said...

My dad - who has Aspbergers - finds light chit-chat to be the most exhausting of all social interaction. I don't like it either but it just annoys me, my dad literally can't stand it.

Dani said...

I find that when I can't take anymore (of anything) I just plug in my iPod / MP3 player and go for a walk. Soothing classical music or a dose of good rock is just the ticket. I have even been known to keep the MP3 payer on when I'm back home again - until I feel I'm nearing "normal" again.

Nothing like a session of your favourite music to set the world to rights. :-)

Plickety Cat said...

I can use music to block a more irritating sound if I catch it in time since I am unable to ignore background noise and tune stuff out (I may not be concentrating on it, but it's still filtering in twanging on my nervous system).

I guess the best comparison I can make would be turning on everything TV, radio and appliance in your house all in the same room and then trying to talk on the phone and to people in the room while the neighborhood kids are screaming, someone is mowing their lawn, the garbage men are backing up their truck outside and everything is exactly the same volume. While sound doesn't actually come through at the same volume for me, it does come through at the same priority level and gets the same amount of brain time whether it's soft or loud, common or unique.

Unfortunately, once I'm already overstimulated, silence is necessary because *any* sound (even pleasant) is too much sensory input. Hence my desire to commit songbird murder earlier in the day.

Since I also have these sensory kerflooeys with sight/light and touch/tactile you can just imagine my Hell being in a bright, loud area while wearing uncomfortable clothing. As I mentioned before, my anxiety attacks are more a matter of having more sensory input than my synapses can handle, to the point where it becomes physically and psychologically painful and I start to decompensate.

If any of you have seen the movie "Rain Man" where the toast is burning and the smoke alarm goes off and he starts freaking out and beating his head... I know exactly how that feels, I can just tolerate a little more input than Raymond could. But you can bet I don't let any alarm in my house go off for very long... and beeping screamers that won't stop usually end up in the yard eventually.

And that's just THINGS... do you know how much noise HUMANS (esp. CHILDREN) make? Good Lord!! And then they want to touch you, or turn on lights, or talk to you... no no no run away flee!

Dan Lynch said...

I wish I could help, PC, but if I were up there, I'd probably get on your nerves like everyone else. :-)

I find walking helps to relieve stress and gives me some quiet time to sort things out.

Of course, you probably can't go for a walk these days because of the mud ! ! ! Maybe on the highway ?

In any event, good luck, and feel free to post more rants if it makes you feel better. We're pulling for you out here in the internet tubes, even though we don't always know what to do or say to help.

Plickety Cat said...

Thanks for the sentiment, Dan :)

I'm doing lots of walking now that the mud makes vehicle transport problematic -- up and back, up and back, up and back that mile of muddy trail being eaten alive by mosquitoes in the heat (90F today WTF!?!?).

Maybe a nice leisurely stroll in a climate controlled indoor botanical garden would be stress relieving ROFL

Anonymous said...

I completely understand your people exhaustion. I can also get into this state without being considered having Aspbergers. Though I think I have a touch of it myself. It was really nice seeing you being able to explain your stress to others. I can only hope those close to you physically and emotionally know to read your blog. I think your comments should give them a good insight to understanding what's going on inside for you so they do not take offense when they find interaction lacking. Best of luck and good wishes. I'm sure some quite time will have you recharged in no time.

Plickety Cat said...

Ever since I was properly diagnosed and learned that everyone else doesn't experience daily life the way I do, I've been trying to describe and explain to NT's (neuro-typicals, non-autistics) how I experience things. I hope that it helps them understand why I do some of the freaky things I do and how I'm not intentionally trying to be cold/distant/hurtful/embarrassing/unreasonable/frustrating/obtuse.

I'm very glad that I'm an uncommon "verbal" Aspie, one that is in love with written language, instead of the more common math and science types. I think this allows me to communicate my inner workings in a way that helps the people close to me, and those who read our blog, to get a better appreciation for life on the Autism Spectrum. We're not handicapped/crippled/diseased, we're just wired differently and thus experience the things around us a bit differently.

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who does a blog for introverts on Psychology Today's site. It seems like it helps a lot of her readers come to terms with social overload. Here's a link to it. Maybe it will help you feel better at times. My husband is what I believe to be an undiagnosed aspergers person. Seems to help him some.

Geneva in Missouri said...

I'm sure I don't have Aspergers but I do read a lot of people wrong and sometimes what I say as a joke (what I think is funny) isn't taken that way. People think I'm being mean when I'm just teasing. I'm not a people person but with the various jobs I've held I've had to learn to fake it and man does it wear me out and stress me out too. People think I don't like them when I refuse basically all requests to hang out after work (when I was working). But all I want to do is go home and crash and be alone. That carries over to my weekends. They are MY weekends and I have stuff I have to do and want to do and if you're not gonna help and do it my way then go away. I guess I'm just anti-social. That's one reason why I love where I live now compared to other places. No close neighbors. But being rural also means easier to hide the drug labs, I've discovered. I'm pretty sure there's drug dealing/ making up the gravel road from me and the pisser is that everyone has to drive by my house to get there. It's bad enough that I can't take walks by myself or with my dogs up the gravel road. It was the perfect exercise for us all but now it's too dangerous with all the traffic. The stress from my last job and how hard I was working but still unable to make ends meet got real bad ~ my normally almost too low blood pressure is now high enough that I have to take medicine for it. I developed really bad irritable bowel syndrome. I'm on a anti-depressant/anti-anxiety pill. I haven't worked there since August and I still have nightmares featuring various people from there. I went from taking one pill a day for pain to taking 11 pills a day. It's crazy the effect other people can have on your life despite your best efforts to not allow it to happen.

I hope things get better for you soon!!!