Dear Papa,

I wanted to thank you for being an amazing Dad.

I see your struggle with social interaction and touch and it makes me appreciate that awkward little pat on the back after my first cycling race even more. I feel and have always felt loved. I know you always want to protect me and I’m sorry I couldn’t spare you the pain of seeing me struggling with depression.

It pained me to see you fighting tears. It pained me even more because I know you feel guilty abut passing on autistic traits that contributed to my struggling.

But know this:

I learned so much from you. I learned never to let go of my passion, never to stop giving all I have for what (and who) I love. I learned that it’s ok to be passionate and playful and true to myself.

I learned to meet people with compassion and kindness, to always learn, to fight for what I feel is right and just, never to stand idly by when people are treated unfairly.

I learned that it’s ok to care for my needs, to be alone when I need to, to retreat to a quiet corner when the world is too loud and busy, to not be ashamed of my quirks and weirdness.

I learned from your mistakes too. I learned not to give up the hope for my perfect job, not to get stuck in a job I hate just to secure the current lifestyle. We had hard times when we bought that apartement and I never suffered. I was loved, I didn’t go hungry and you know I never needed much to be happy. I kept that. I learned that I can live a good life on very little. I will find a job I can be proud of. Your suffering in that horrible job taught me how important it is to keep fighting and looking for a better fit.

You did an amazing job, I am so proud of you, love you so much and thank you from all my heart for everything you did to make me the person I am today.

Love,

your daughter

 

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Aaaand it’s gone.

That’s the thing with a fucked up mental state. You’ll never be safe. While the last weekend was fine, I had a job interview on Monday and although it went ok (I think), apparently it taxed me enough to regress aaaaall the way down to suicidal thoughts. Undefined thoughts, just blinking pictures of a guitar string around my neck when thinking of playing and things like that. I called in sick for a day and did nothing but eat, stim and sleep.

The day after I bought a book about emotional regulation tools in therapy, skimmed the 250 pages and read the 2 chapters hitting closest to home and got really angry. I’ve been paying roughly half a monthly income for therapy and my therapist has somehow managed to not even mention the basic explanations about emotions.

One book – the price of half a session – brought me more understanding about my behavior and feelings, ideas how to make my life easier and subsequently a plan to get out of a pattern that has followed me all my life.

Since I’m still fighting to get my brain to accept that I HAVE the energy to keep on, I’ll ask my psychiatrist for medication. It scares me a bit, but I can’t go on fighting for scraps and giving it my all just to still have every bump on the way tripping me into a hole I have to dig out of.

So, 3 big steps ahead: Getting meds, quitting my therapist, learning to face confrontations and stand up for myself.

 

Vectors

There was an autism support group around here, organized by a NPO. It was cancelled and the regular visitors decided to keep on meeting.

I found them online and joined them. It’s an amazing group of people I very soon began to hold dear. Last time we met, someone mentioned the struggle of making sure not to be touched when moving through crowded areas. 3 people were talking at once and all said one word at the same moment: vectors.

We all watch the people moving, predict their most probable paths and walk around those paths to avoid running into someone else.

I realized that I do that on a bigger scale too. I watch media, social media and people around me and keep adjusting my estimation of the future. Since I tend to get stuck when I’m convinced I am right, sometimes I drown in fear, because my tiny little window to the world happened to show mostly pain, hate and isolation.

It’s these moments I’m trying to learn to cope with. Learning to remind myself that “all I see” is not “all there is”.

In exactly the moment I see someone insulting or threatening a stranger, somewhere else someone gives up something loved to help a stranger.

The world is not black or white. Remember.

Are those tracks I’m seeing?

It seems life’s getting a BIT easier.

Training has been consistent, diet works too. I’ve overeaten today, but did not lose control. Upping my carbs to ~130g/day seems to help fight binging.

I’m looking forward to my training tomorrow, am sending out job applications almost every day and I have an appointment for floating this weekend! I’m SO curious how it feels to have (almost) no sensory input. If it is as relaxing as I imagine, I’ll try to integrate floating as preparation for stressful times (travel/family visit/job interview/exam/…)

All in all I feel like getting back on track is becoming easier. The differences between “uncontrolled” and “in control” are getting smaller and smaller and a huge step towards a healthy, balanced diet (and life) was actually… a podcast.

In some episodes of “Cut The S#!t, Get Fit!” Rafal Matuszewski talks about his experiences with binging – including the fact that he isn’t over it yet. Since he has a successful podcast and listeners, in my mind he’s a pro (yeah, my mind just works like that. It’s ok though. Most people kinda like being told someone’s looking up to them). Anyway, being told by someone you respect that they fight the same battle as you, and are not THAT far ahead… Suddenly something clicked and I finally GOT IT. It takes time. Getting rid of binging is not something you fix over the weekend or in a few weeks or months. It takes years to break out of a habit you’ve nourished most of your life.

Of course I knew that. At least my ratio did. I just didn’t “feel” it. I think I’ve finally accepted my binging as something that’s here now and will go eventually. So… thanks, Rafal, thank you so much – for your honesty and the acceptance you spread in your podcast.

Resolved.

I woke up and the day instantly sucked.

I’m bloated, my back aches, I’m tired and the first thing going through my head is how awful it is that I have too little time for the stuff I like because I work fulltime and need another 5-10 hours/week to de-stress from work.

So, the days starts horribly. Of course, since stress affects my fine motor skills, I drop every single item I touch and feel the tiny sting of pain in my back every time I have to pick something up. 30 minutes awake and I need to let out a short outcry of frustration. Husband comes running and asks what’s up. “Day sucks.” is all I can manage to say and leave the coffee to brush my teeth, get dressed and go to work.

He follows me, I just shake my head, turning to him but avoiding eye contact, talking isn’t possible anymore, finish my morning routine and leave without a word.

A few breaths and steps out, in the cold air, looking over a snowy landscape, I get my phone out and message “I’m not mad, I’m just frustrated. I’m sorry if it made you feel bad. The reason I didn’t say anything is because my mouth-brain-connection is severed when I’m that frustrated. Then when I try to explain to you what’s up, I get even more frustrated because I can’t find the words and get angrier and angrier until I break down crying. So I had to leave, because I don’t want to make you think you did something wrong while I have no chance to explain it’s not you, it’s my crazy noggin I’m angry about.”

And now I feel good. He understood. We might look for a handsign for me to communicate that I’m close to a meltdown and need to leave.

Sleepless thoughts

I woke up at 4h40am and just could not fall asleep for 2 hours, so when my alarm rang  after I had finally fallen asleep, I turned it off. I will be late for work today. Luckily nobody cares about that.

I started reliving the times in my live when I didn’t submit homework in school – homework has always been a challenge for me and I finally understand why.

Last night I realized that when people tell me, they don’t like working while being watched, it means exactly that. They don’t like it. But they can still keep on working. I somehow thought that everybody just freezes when they notice they are watched – like me.

Submitting homework is absolutely no problem for me as long as it’s finished. But I never could manage to submit something half-done. It might have helped my teachers understand which parts I struggled with, it might have helped to show I’m not refusing to work. But submitting half-done work felt like letting them look into the way I’m thinking and that’s too personal. MY thoughts. Imagine a “Samsa’s brain – STAY OUT!!!” sign. (while of course at the same time desperately eanting to be understood…)

Energy Budget

My selfhelp cbt-book for aspies has a new task for me: I am to write and keep an energy budget in writing. Just writing down what drains me and what energizes me is illustrating.

Drain:

  • Talking to people
  • Hearing other people talk 
  • Being near stressed/angry people
  • Nasty smells
  • Being touched 
  • Loud, erratic noise
  • Erratic lights
  • Tbc…

Energize:

  • Silence
  • Darkness
  • Being alone
  • Eating something mushy
  • Sleep
  • Being hugged expectedly/when asked 
  • Sports
  • Tbc (I hope)

Sooo… why is mushy food so great? 😀