Burnt out

Maybe it’s lack of sleep. Maybe it’s starting to get sick because I haven’t gotten enough sleep to fight sickness. Maybe it’s being in nearly constant pain. Maybe it’s not eating enough or not getting the nutrients I need because I’m afraid of being in pain from my reflux disease. Maybe it’s just stress from trying to figure out school and interviewing for jobs and working and everything else.

All I know is I’m tired. I’m tired of trying. I don’t want to celebrate holidays this year. I don’t want to wrap presents or go visit family or do anything. I just want to stay home on my days off and sleep. I want to wake up and not do anything for one day. I just want to disappear for one day.

Sometimes suicide seems like a good idea because life is too much to handle. Sometimes suicide seems like the only way to disappear. Sometimes suicide just seems like a break from life. Sometimes suicide seems like the only way to relieve the pain.

I know it isn’t. I know suicide isn’t a solution or even an option. But sometimes I wish it was. I just feel so much and sometimes I just want it to stop.

Day 1

Sometimes you just need to restart.

This weekend I went to a camp with my church. One of the speakers there talked about how much your health affects everything else. So I have decided I need to start over. I am doing good things in my life, but I am struggling with my own physical, mental, and emotional health. But maybe there’s something I can do to help myself be better.

Today is day 1. I’m not going to worry about the past feelings of depression or frustration or pain or anything else. I’m going to be a new person.

 

Just to keep me accountable to someone on this newness of life, I’m going to post my goals on here.

Here’s what I am going to do starting today:

  1. Go to bed at 9 pm
  2. Drink at least 2 bottles of water per day
  3. Eat 1 extra fruit/ vegetable 3 times per day
  4. Run from 5:30-6 pm
  5. Take a multivitamin

Silence

Sometimes you have to stay silent to keep from screaming.

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I have been switching between feeling depressed and lethargic to feeling somewhat hopeful, but for the most part I have just wanted to disappear.  I need a break from life. Luckily that break should come fairly soon. I am taking a week off of work and going back home. Hopefully it will be the break I need and I will be able to return to work without all this frustration I have inside right now.

Lately all that is coming out is poems of frustration or hopelessness. Inside of me feels like explosions of emotions that don’t fit in with my life. And I have no way of expressing those feelings without feeling like I am going completely insane. So, I am going to take some time off and just disappear from all normal activities for a while. Hopefully when I get back the darkness inside will have found an escape or at least will be quenched for a little while longer.

The Struggle for Sanity

The last few weeks I haven’t been able to do a lot of what I normally do because I’ve been sick and the temple where I work on Saturdays has been closed for maintenance. I didn’t realize how much all of this stuff helps me stay sane until I didn’t have it for a while.

I am generally very happy with my life. I have good friends, an amazing job, a supportive family, and lots of activities to keep me busy. For the last few years I have only listened to Christian music on the radio or CDs of books, talks, or uplifting music. And things are good, very good. In fact, things are so good that I forget how hard it is for me to stay sane sometimes.

I post on here about my struggles, not because I need to vent, but because people just don’t talk about this stuff. I post the secret hidden things that have been played out behind closed doors. The darkness and loneliness and thoughts that normally would never be said out loud. And I post these things because life is pretty good right now and I can look at the darkness without fear of becoming lost in it. I can step into the darkness for a moment to describe how it feels and experience the things I have tried to suppress for many years. I can remember because when I come out of remembering, I am safe.

It is interesting to me though how much everything I do really does affect how I feel. And I forget how hard it has been for me to get to this state of life. I forget that suicidal thoughts are still a reality and that I don’t just listen to Christian music because I enjoy it. I listen to Christian music because it makes me happy and I need to stay happy so I don’t focus on all the negative things of the world. I need to help people and go to church and read good books and listen to uplifting messages because that’s the stuff that keeps me from the dark. It’s all the good that I do and hear and see that keeps me sane.

So here’s to staying sane and all the things that keep me sane. Here’s to another week of happiness because I choose to fill my life with goodness and positive things. And here’s to all the people that help me on that path. Thank you. Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place.

It’s All About Timing

The past few weeks I have had a lot going on and it has been pretty stressful. But the added stress, has reaffirmed to me how important timing is when you have autism. Well, timing is always important, but it can be an especially important factor for someone with autism.

I talked about timing before in a guest post that I did a while back. In that post I emphasized how important timing is in preventing a meltdown. (You can read that post here if you’re interested.) With the stress of the previous week, and the accumulation of stress over the past few months, I have been reminded why timing is so important.

I’ve heard it said that we all have buckets and that when those buckets get too full, we overflow and the result is meltdowns or blow ups. For me, I can tell that my bucket is getting full when things become harder to deal with- when sounds that I can normally ignore feel like jackhammers in a closed room, or when a gentle touch feels like unbearable pressure. I don’t know how most people feel when they get stressed, but for me it’s like all of my senses are magnified and it becomes very hard to deal with sensory input.

However, by taking some time away from everything and refocusing myself, it becomes a lot easier to deal with the world again. It’s all about timing. If I don’t have time to regroup, even simple things can seem like impossible barriers. But if I have the time I need to relax and refocus, I can often handle the more difficult things.
Sensory Blog hop

Loneliness

Not everyone with autism struggles with being able to make friends or being lonely, but I do. I have always struggled to make friends. Since I was in second grade and left the first group of friends I ever had because I didn’t feel like I belonged anymore, I have struggled to make and keep friends.

Sure I’ve had people who say hi to me or sit with me every once in a while, but I’ve had very few people that I could call if I needed help and even less people that I felt actually enjoyed my company and wanted me around.

I’ve written on here before about my best friend and I’ve told our story on my blogs before. Having a best friend has changed my life and has kept me from feeling lonely since the day we met. But now… my best friend is homeless and so we hardly talk anymore because it is too stressful for me to think about her situation all the time. I help her when I can and we talk every once in a while, but it is not the same because the shadow of her nearly hopeless situation is always there.

And so… I have rediscovered my loneliness. I wish I had someone to talk to again. I wish I had a friend that could just have a normal conversation with me or just spend some time with me. I know it’s not my friend’s fault and I don’t blame her for her situation, but it is hard to go back to a life of loneliness again. And I wish so desperately for someone to fill that loneliness.

I met my best friend when I was 19 years old. By that time I had attempted suicide multiple times and thought about death since the time I was old enough to open the car door. I haven’t contemplated suicide since we became friends. And I don’t want to again. I don’t want to long for death again. I know I won’t ever do it because I couldn’t do that to people, but I need people. I need friends. Without a friend I feel lost, hopeless, abandoned, alone. Would you be my friend? If you knew how badly someone needed a friend, would you try harder to be their friend?

It seems like such a simple thing, such a simple solution. And yet, for someone like me it’s the hardest thing in the world.

Hate is such a strong word

People always say that hate is a strong word. But I think when you have autism, sometimes there is no other way to describe how you feel.

Merriam-webster dictionary defines hate as:

a :  intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury

b :  extreme dislike or antipathy 

I often think to myself that I hate something because of the first definition. There are things, stupid things, things that normal people wouldn’t hate, that I feel like I hate. Some of these things are the look of sagging skin on someone, the way someone breathes, or even people sometimes.

This is kind of hard to explain, but I realize that it’s normal to say you hate these things. It’s normal to strongly dislike these things and so you say you hate them. But for me, it’s not a strong dislike that makes me hate these things. My definition of hate is closer to the first definition.

When I say I hate something, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I dislike it. What it does mean is that it makes me feel a sense of anger, fear or injury. I say hate because I feel hate. Whether the hate is justified or not, doesn’t change how I feel.

When I say I hate something, I mean that it makes me want to explode inside. It makes me want to become violent or run away or try to comfort myself. I couldn’t tell you why certain things make me feel the way they do; sometimes they just do. It doesn’t make sense that I feel so strongly about something that really doesn’t matter, but it is the reality.

So, how do I deal with these feelings of hate? I focus on something else. If I focus on the object I hate, I will probably get upset and may even have some sort of meltdown. Instead, I have to change my focus to something I like instead. Then, I can usually “forget” what I hated and move on.

I know that when I say I hate something people tend to question if I really mean that I hate it. But like the dictionary says, it gives me a strong sense of “hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury.” Whatever it is that I say I hate makes me feel some sort of pain or anger and therefore is by definition something I hate.

I don’t always feel this way about things, but it does happen every once in a while. It’s not really something that you can just stop either. It’s an automatic reaction. So if someone with autism says they hate you or they hate something, try not to take it too personally. It’s just that we feel uncomfortable, in pain even, and that’s why we say hate.

Sympathy and Empathy

Do you sympathize or empathize with others?

Probably… but most likely not all the time. There are things that we just don’t understand. If you have never known someone who died, it’s impossible to empathize with someone who had a loved one pass away. If you have never had the experience of being teased or bullied, you can’t really empathize with someone who goes through that every day.

So… why do we ask if people with autism can empathize?

I don’t understand the dichotomy between what questions are appropriate to ask of people with autism and people without it. If you feel sympathy, why wouldn’t someone with autism feel sympathy? If you can empathize, why wouldn’t someone with autism be able empathize? We’re human too… We may not sympathize or empathize in everything, but no one can. We all have different experiences and can only understand what we’ve somehow experienced.

Anyway… rant over… I just had to get that out.

My best friend is homeless right now and just had her phone stolen… and I am definitely empathizing… And I just don’t understand how anyone could not empathize at some point. Empathizing is part of being human. Just because I may not be able to express my empathy like others or relate to certain things doesn’t mean I don’t empathize. I empathize as much as anyone I know… and I think everyone else with autism does too…

Blaming the Cheese- Part 1

I think sometimes we fear the wrong thing or we blame the wrong thing or we try to fix the wrong thing. I have a hard time understanding why people blame autism for the hard things that happen to them or their kids. I mean, is it really autism itself that’s the problem or is it something different? For example, if you almost died from eating a piece of cheese because you are allergic to it and didn’t know, you might be tempted to blame the cheese. After all, the cheese is what caused the allergic reaction. The real problem though isn’t the cheese, it’s the allergy. Cheese is delicious and fairly healthy for most people, but if you’re allergic to it then it can be a problem.

So my question is “Is autism really the problem or is it something else?”

My sense of hearing

I was talking to a coworker the other day that wears hearing aids. She had just had her hearing aids adjusted and said that sounds were too amplified and were hurting her so she was going to get them adjusted. I told her that my hearing is pretty much always like that. I have very sensitive hearing and little sounds can seem extremely loud.

Things like the ticking of a watch, the sound of electronics humming, and the padding of someone’s steps can be debilitating at times. I can’t fall asleep with a watch on or next to the bed because the ticking is too loud. I have been known to take batteries out of clocks because I can’t tolerate their ticking. And that high pitched sound you sometimes hear from the sound waves of electronics is all too well known to me.

On the other hand, sometimes I can’t hear well at all. My ears produce too much wax sometimes and it becomes hard to hear certain sounds. When this happens I have a hard time hearing people over the phone or understanding what people say in person.

Sometimes I can even have super sensitive hearing and not be able to hear other things at the same time.

I really don’t know what triggers any of these times. They just kind of happen.

The hardest part of all this is trying to filter the sounds that come in. When things are too loud, I try to focus on something to try to filter out the excess sounds. When I can’t understand someone because I can’t hear them very well, I try to focus on what they’re saying and filter out the background noises.

For the most part, I do pretty well with dealing with sounds. Sometimes it is harder than others, but I do my best to remain calm and ignore the sounds that are overstimulating. It just gets harder when other things add to the stress of sounds.