Relationships

Relationships

I have been considering writing about relationships for a while but kept changing my mind because my track history of relationships of any kind is not exactly good!  But I am sure I am not the only one with negative tales to tell about this subject, so I hope some of you at least can relate.

Firstly, parental relationships; in actuality I could probably write a book about how awful my relationship was with my parents!  This is in part because my mother was abusive towards me.  However, I never felt that I could connect with them.  I remember when I was three, watching my mother in her bedroom (whilst awaiting a telling off).  She was kneeling on the floor peeling off a face mask and I thought she was like an alien and we were completely different types of beings.

As for friendships, I have always struggled.  I don’t know if it’s because I say the wrong thing, act inappropriately or am just not reciprocating time and caring efficiently.  I have always found friendships intensely difficult to maintain.  Even when I was four I would prefer to be on my own, preferably being creative or reading, than being amongst my classmates.  Consequentially I love Facebook, via which I have numerous lovely friends!  I find it easier to communicate online and there is far less pressure with online friendships.  I don’t have to present myself a specific way, put on the mask that I wear to pretend I am ‘normal’ and part of society.  I don’t even have to fake a smile!

Finally, the most difficult one for me: romantic relationships.  I can’t seem to meet the ‘right’ men and I frequently confuse friendliness for a more romantic interest in me.  I mean, how do other people know these things?!  I like romance, I like affection and the security of being in a relationship. So how do I end up getting it so wrong?!

Sadly I don’t have the answers; I really wish I did!  There are probably a lot of neurotypicals (non-ASD people) who wish they had the answers too, at least I think so.  It is a very common problem for Aspies.  Real life, and real relationships of any kind, are very confusing to me.  I think this article should include a suggestion box at the end!

All joking aside, if you are having difficulties making and maintaining relationships, you are not alone.

Love and peace to you all.

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Depression

Depression

Well, it has been a while since my last blog.  There is a reason for that: depression.  Yes, I know it’s an ugly word, most people don’t want to hear it or acknowledge it, but it exists in all its vulgar glory!  It is a frequent unwelcome companion to those of us on the spectrum.

A lot of people have been using the analogy of the ‘black dog’ to describe depression.  I have a problem with that: dogs are gorgeous!  My dogs make me feel comforted on my darkest days, so how can I equate something so awful to something so loving and giving?!

As a child I lived in Kuwait.  There was often patches of tar on the beach, if my sister and I accidentally trod in it, there followed a lengthy and painful process to remove the sticky mess from our feet.  Well, that to me describes depression better.  It is dark, sticky, unwelcome, uncomfortable, painful.

So far in 2016, I have been stuck in the midst of a thick dark pool of this tar.  My head has felt thick and heavy, as if the tar has pervaded my very being.  It is difficult, particularly when well-meaning people frequently ask if I’m feeling better or suggest that I will “feel better in the morning”.  If only it were that easy!  Depression is not a choice, it is cruel and complicated.  It is also a liar.  Depression makes you doubt anything good about yourself and convinces you that you cannot be good enough – for anything.

As I said, depression is ugly.  However, the more we talk about it, admit when we’re weighed down by it, the more we can help each other in the right ways.  Mental health is a hot topic politically at the moment, as services have become further restricted.  So let’s talk about mental health; if you have depression you are most certainly not alone.

Love and best wishes (and spoons) to you all x

Closure.

I had several topics to choose from but something happened last night which made my need for justice burn within me.  I was kicked out of a Facebook support group for anxiety, depression and agoraphobia for posting something about homeless people on my own wall (my wish that no one was left outside suffering in the awful weather we have been having).  I was given no warning, although I can only assume this is because the person knew she had no valid reason and would have to face up to her own prejudice.

The irony of this being that she is the sole admin in a group for people suffering with mental health difficulties and she has caused my anxiety levels to rise and I have been left feeling very low.  I have no closure, there irons nothing right in the way this person has behaved.

Closure, right and wrong, justice – these are all important issues for an Aspie. It is very difficult not to think about a situation until closure is reached. It leads to a feeling of unrest and disquiet as there is insufficient understanding as to why the situation has happened.  This in turn leads to overthinking and becoming overwhelmed. In some cases, certainly in mine, it can increase anxiety and exacerbate depression (and agoraphobia). Of course, feeling like this I would have turned to the group…okay, do you see how this leads to a downward spiral without closure?

If you are Aspie, it is perfectly okay to need closure but be aware that it isn’t always possible. The difficulty being, what do you do when you can’t reach that point? I can only recommend that talking things through with an understanding person and finding something positive to focus on instead can help, hopefully enough to feel more positive.

I have a very black and white way of thinking, particularly when it comes to right and wrong. I have a need for justice. However, I have had to learn that others may not share this need or have such a strong sense of right and wrong.  This can leave me feeling frustrated and confused. I have to find positive strategies to help me cope, such as writing, drawing or listening to music. It doesn’t end the need for closure but at least I can aim to feel calmer about an injustice caused. So, if you need me I shall be writing whilst listening to music and then drawing!

Many thanks for reading 😊

Processing…

I was going to follow on from my blog last week but, as is typical, life has got in the way!  I have had a difficult week, including a teenager creating arguments (of the kind only teenagers can!); I have felt incredibly betrayed by people I thought were friends; finally, I have found out that my gorgeous son, who has epilepsy, is at very high risk of SUDEP (Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy Patients).  Considering that it was such an eventful week emotionally, I felt that I should write about how difficult it has been to cope with one of these as a female Aspie.

Obviously the event which had the most impact was the news about my son.  When his epilepsy nurse phoned me, I was not prepared to hear her confirm what I already suspected but didn’t want to face up to.  In typical Aspie fashion, I didn’t process the information straight away.  I had already done a lot of research on epilepsy and SUDEP (well, isn’t that something a lot of us with ASD do rather well: research?!), so the next thing I did was find a support group on Facebook for people affected by SUDEP.  Well, that’s when it started to have an impact; I felt like I had been hit by a bus!  The reality is harsh.  Five days later I still feel numb, like I’m in shock and unable to think with clarity.

I have managed to avoid a major meltdown, although I have had a few shaky moments.  I guess I don’t know how to understand this; are NT parents able to process such information any better?  Does everyone feel so confused and bewildered when faced with harsh news?  I still feel incapable of dealing with anything other than the most basic of functions.

Ok, so this entry seems to be a lot abut epilepsy and its personal effects on me but here is the point: processing information is difficult for me.  My executive functioning skills aren’t great at the best of times, after such a traumatic time, it’s as if my executive functioning skills have become nigh on non-existent!  Support…the right support…is definitely the key to coping!  Love and care to all.

 

The Lonely Aspie

Introduction

Asperger’s is a lonely place.  It’s like living on an island with no control over the ferries with access.  It is very easy to feel isolated… and incredibly lonely; other people don’t seem to understand my desire for company when I have a need for solitude!

Yes ok, I am a quandary! Seriously though, isn’t everyone?  You see, the human race is confusing!  I can understand my animals with greater ease than I can people!  I can’t seem to have friends the same way other people do.  I remember watching my peers when I was a child, wondering how they managed to have such good friendships with each other.  I had ‘friends’, people who I spoke to, who wanted to share my notes or even translate the Shakespeare play we were studying.  I even went to one or two of their houses on very rare occasions.  It just felt so awkward, so forced.

By the time I was in primary school I was a good actress.  I knew how to observe, to learn certain patterns of behaviour and try to be like the person or persons I wanted to create a friendship with.  Sometimes this method would fail; I went to a boarding school and I would be teased for ‘trying so hard’ to be like one of my peers.  For me it was difficult not to copy them so completely, so I was frequently teased and bullied.

Learning how to fit in wasn’t easy but I did have a good friend in secondary school.  We even called each other ‘best friends’; I felt more like my peers at long last!  The difficulties arose, however, when my best friend wanted to ‘hang out’ with other people or when there were times which she wasn’t talking to me.  I didn’t seem to understand how or why I may have upset her – or even if I had!  I just felt weird, isolated and lonely and as if everyone could see I was different.  Did everyone feel this awkward, as if life needed a script for it to make sense?  Was I the only one who felt as if I didn’t belong anywhere?

I still feel like this, even in my mid forties!  But this is just the introduction today.  I hope you enjoy my blog; I will write more of my journey through my Aspie life soon 😊