Thanksgiving Overload.

I’m having a hard time today. Holidays are always overwhelming even if they are nice. Yesterday was actually very pleasant but I’m paying for it today. Everything is bothering me. “K” is at max volume today because she’s excited which means I’ve spent most of my morning wishing I’d remembered to buy ear plugs the last time I went to the store and grinding my teeth. She is also in seeking mode so she wants to be hugged every 5 minutes. I feel guilty because she isn’t at a point yet where she understands sometimes people need a break from hugs. She gets very upset and I worry that she thinks I don’t love her. 

She has come such a long way. Today I asked her if she saw the baby’s bottle, without skipping a beat she said “The bottle, where is it?” and started to search for it with me. Then after I put the baby down for a nap she looked at me and said “(insert baby’s name)’s crying, wake up baby”. The baby was not crying, this was her way of saying she wanted me to go get him, she missed him! 

I remember someone telling me “K” couldn’t be Autistic because she liked people and hugs, and was very affectionate. There seems to be so little known about the sensory seeking side of Autism. I believe it adds to the reasons why some children are diagnosed later than others. 

“K” is primarily a seeker, she loves touch, hugs, running into walls, jumping, rubbing her hands, feet, mouth on random objects, listening to several noises at once and making sounds or talking all day long to help meet her auditory needs. It makes her happy so as long as she isn’t hurting herself so I try to find ways to distract myself from the assault on my sensitive senses…. like writing this post as she watches Disney Jr, rides around on the baby’s ride on toy, pressing the music buttons and switching between singing and screaming. Usually I hate the our home doesn’t have an open concept layout but today I am thankful as the wall between us helps minimize the sound a bit.

 

My stomach was/is also overwhelmed by yesterday’s meal. Some of this might be because I’ve had an even harder time sleeping, more than usual. Last night I gave in and took a Benadryl to make me sleepy, I couldn’t take not sleeping anymore.   

The perils of being undiagnosed.

The main reason “O” and I have lived our lives so long without a diagnosis is because we’ve both been able to “get by” but that’s getting harder. From what I’ve read a lot of us don’t realize where the real difficulties arise until we pursue a dream or have kids. For “O” and I, having to consistently provide not only for ourselves but 2 kids is beginning to make just how not “normal” we really are. 

For me it’s the constant assault on my senses and the difficulty in understanding what my college assignments are asking of me. For “O” it’s finding the balance between needing to be precise/honest and efficient on the job. 

I failed an embarrassing amount of classes when I attended a traditional college, not because I didn’t understand the material (except for math– I can’t do math) but because I did what my friend(s) did, which at the time was skip class and go to the beach. In retrospect I can see how that didn’t make any sense, I wasn’t particularly fond of that group of friends, I actually enjoyed class and the beach was difficult for me in a variety of ways… I usually ended up with a migraine afterwards. It was never a “big deal” though, I couldn’t see how it would affect my future and as independent as I thought I was (I wasn’t) I always had my mom to fall back on. 

Now I’m back in school but due to “K’s” needs, I have to attend school online. I like that I can go at my own pace and it’s more interesting that just taking a midterm and final (there is actual work involved) I am having trouble. One of the biggest issues I’m having is that, at least for this last class I took, the terms are not consistent. For instance the chapter will be about the different perspectives in psychology about motivation but the assignment will ask that you refer to the different models of motivation. It seems simple enough but for whatever reason, even if I’ve read the chapter twice and no that it doesn’t use the term models I will still look for it. I waste time and get confused and overwhelmed, then depressed because I’ve always considered myself an intelligent person and I get upset that I have difficulty with something so simple. This could be easily solved by sending an email to the professor but that involves it’s own issues. Anxiety sucks. 

For “O”, he is dealing with the reality of our culture; faster is better. He is technician for a popular telecom company, he is still considered a “new” employee because training was 3 months long, he’s only been out on the field for 2 months. The other issue is that we both ( I guess because of being on spectrum) don’t really understand the accepted practice of saying one thing in training for appearances but really meaning something else. The technicians are taught that the must be thorough and customer service is number one but when they get to their areas their supervisors demand efficiency above all else.  “O” takes longer to perform each call because he is practicing what he learned in training and because he’s doing his job but the numbers don’t reflect that effort and he’s being reprimanded for it. He called me today and he’s very upset about it and wants to quit. He can’t. I hate to hear him miserable but we have home to care for and children. My mother already helps more than anyone should have to help their adult child with children of her own.

I sometimes regret having my son, not because I don’t love him or don’t him, I do. It is because I feel that I have limited him in some ways and made life harder for my supports (mainly my mother). I am an extremely capable person but at the same time I’m not. I worry about being able to effectively provide for him and  my stepdaughter. I worry about “O” and being able to keep jobs, maintain our lives and give the kids the best life possible. 

Most of all I worry about “K”. I know it’s impossible to tell the future of someone on spectrum when they are young but I feel in my heart that she will always need round the clock support. What if we can’t provide that? What if we try to be completely independent and crash and burn? 

I’ve always wanted more children but I realize now that I probably shouldn’t have anymore. We likely survive when my mother is longer their to help us but there is a difference between surviving and thriving. My children right now are thriving but if I were to add another, I don’t know that would remain true. 

Can’t I just win the lotto? Then I could hire someone to help and money wouldn’t be an issue… oh to dream. 

Sleeping babies!

Sleeping babies!

People (sadly even professionals) like to say that kids on Spectrum, particularly kids with “K”‘s level of function, don’t ever play with toys. Or that if they do it’s not “appropriate” and with no imagination. “K” has an amazing imagination, she may only have a few words but she’s been a witch, a fairy, cooked a grand feast and put her babies to sleep 🙂

One of those days.

Today is the last day of my Psychology as a Natural science class. I have to write a 5 page paper about the connection between emotion and motivation as it pertains to the achievements of someone I chose. I can’t slow down long enough to read the source material on emotion and motivation and the clock is ticking. tic. toc. tic. toc. 

My body doesn’t want to slow down, it wants to run. 

My brain wants to think about the novels I started 4 years ago and never picked up again…great timing brain. 

My eyes are making the words dance and I’m getting dizzy. 

I’m trying. tic. toc. tic. toc.

I’ve made threw three 6 week classes and now when the paper is worth half my grade my body is fighting me with everything it has. tic. toc. tic. toc. 

Women and Autism – How one woman’s letter to a psychologist finally helped her receive an ASD diagnosis after years of personal invalidation.

It’s like the writer took every thought in my head and wrote it down. I worry all the time that I’m not exposing my children to enough in the world because of my anxiety. How can I tell them to of overcome obstacles in their lives if I’m trapped in the comfort of being alone?

Seventh Voice

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This amazing letter was written by a woman who suspected that she may be on the Autism Spectrum, prior to meeting her psychologist for the first time. Here’s what she had to say.

“Dear Dr L—

I hope in this letter I can give you a more thorough explanation of how I feel, the way these feelings affect me and why I think a diagnosis and continued support would be beneficial to me.

I have an over-active mind and experience high anxiety.

I constantly see things at multiple levels, including thinking processes and analyse my existence, the meaning of life, the meaning of everything continually.

Nothing is taken for granted, simplified, or easy.

Everything is complex.

Being serious and matter-of-fact has caused me many problems and I have been told on numerous occasions that I come across as rude and/or abrupt.

Every year my work progress development…

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Relationships and jobs (because I can’t tell one story without the other)

I don’t like to socialize but I don’t like being alone in the world (only alone in my own space). That makes for a serial monogamist. I was engaged once before this, it crashed and burned faster than jetliner full of combustible weighted bricks. I loved him and when it was over I agonized over what it. What did I do wrong? Am I not good enough for a relationship?

After we broke up I tried to do everything as grown up as possible, I got a respectable job, moved out of my mom’s house and forced myself to socialize. I was enjoying myself but I had to drink before going out and then because of the alcohol and constantly being on guard while out, I would be useless for 2 to 3 days afterwards. My job performance suffered and I lost my job. I was crushed, I loved working there because it was a small office and I was left alone most of the time. I was also 1 of only 2 girls so I felt comfortable and accepted by the majority of the male employees. It was hard to leave. After this I didn’t go much at all and took to hanging out with a man that was in love (obsessed) with me. I thought (perceived) that if I was honest about my lack of reciprocal feelings for him that it would be ok. I could not see that I was breaking his heart everyday. I enjoyed spending time with him because he let me go on and on about whatever I needed to, he didn’t need to go out and well…shamefully he cleaned my apartment after I landed another job and was gone most of the time. 

The job I started was possibly the worst I could have ever picked for myself. I was a recruiter for several busy beach hotels. It was brutal, the hours, expectations and no one ever tells you this but employment/hiring laws are not followed…this goes against my very nature. It was so bad that on the 21st day of employment, I started to slur my speech and then proceeded to lose consciousness in my friend’s car. At the hospital they found nothing wrong and told me I just needed to rest. My boss demanded that I come to work anyway. I couldn’t take it anymore, the job was killing me. Even my mother who is usually the person yelling at me not give up, begged me to resign, I had no choice really. I left 2 weeks later, because I filled out my unemployment form honestly, I was granted unemployment pay based on the fact that they had required me in the job to forge federal documentation for new hires (that was 2nd reason why I left). 

I was home all the time now and the male friend started to encroach on my alone time. Like I said before, I don’t like being alone in the world but I NEED to be physically alone sometimes. We would argue about this. Finally after a few months it dawned on me that I needed to let him go because 1 he was annoying me and 2 I finally realized I was hurting him. I told him to go and he did but he didn’t leave me alone and even harassed me until “O” came into the picture. 

I met “O” in highschool, I thought he was great but never approached him. A few years later after he married, had a child and then separated from his wife (she was unfaithful) we found ourselves living in the same apartment complex. We started hanging out one day and never stopped. He moved in officially 2.5 months into our relationship but really we only spent one night apart after the first night of intimacy. 

How my relationship with “O” managed to survive our first year is a mystery to me, perhaps it was the need to get his daughter the help she needed. I don’t know but it was terrible. We were horrible communicators, constantly misinterpreting each other’s wants, needs and expectations. I didn’t suspect had HFA until a few months in so I was very hurt and confused when he would jerk away if I touched him unexpectedly. I also didn’t understand his mannerisms and quirks since they are very opposite to me. He was always making some kind of noise whether it was loud clapping, humming, whistling, singing or scripting. It drove me to the brink of insanity because I crave silence. Somehow though we managed to figure out how to work around our differences, there are still some days where one of us is having a bad day and I end up covering my ears and shouting “No, no, no!” at him. We have both grown, matured and molded to help the other. It’s interesting and funny, our issues are the opposite but the means so are our strengths. We help each other and it really has created something beautiful. 

Which brings me back to my first engagement. As I said before, I loved him (though it was an incomplete love) and I wanted to know how it could crumble the way it did. Now that I understand more about myself, stress and Autism, I can see what went wrong. My ex and his extremely (kind of creepy) close family where social creatures.  “O” is social too but in a different way and doesn’t expect/need me to participate. My ex would argue with, he made me feel horrible because I didn’t want to constantly attend his family functions or church gatherings. I am and so is my ex, Hispanic. That means that we are expected to hug and kiss at every greeting. I love tactile input from the people that love but HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE ( did I mention hate?) to be touched by someone I don’t know very well. It made me physically ill. I also came off as rude because I couldn’t participate in casual conversation and didn’t understand that there was female hierarchy and certain rules needed to be followed. His mother was on the top of the social ladder and it was as if she could smell the difference in me. She has little tolerance for me and made it painfully obvious, she mean and crude. She would purposely use words I found offensive and even tried to ruin the proposal but unfortunately for her the subtle way she tried to disclose/ruin it, went right over my head. This made family gatherings even worse so I attended less of them, his mother used this to her advantage and would tell him that his family must think I didn’t love him if I wasn’t showing up. This led to more fights until I had a horrible panic attack and then several at work the next day. After this it was like something in me broke, I just shut down. I rarely talked, I would cry for no reason, I became irrational and eventually his love for me faded away. 

He wanted me to be something I could never be, the more he tried to fit me into his world the more I withdrew. 

Still at the beginning and not being able to walk away.

I am still in the process of accepting my newly (well not really new) idea that I’m an Aspie. I’ve always been different, always been on the outside looking in and I’ve always thought I was missing something others had. Like everyone was given a manual on how to be a girl except me. 

I always toyed with the idea but I felt like I got by well enough not to really qualify or identify as Autistic, then when “K” came to live with us Autism became my new special interest. I needed to know everything I could about Autism in girls, toddlers and people who were non verbal, I spent months poring over information to the point that I failed that semester’s classes(that should have been a clue). What caught my attention most was the information on sensory processing disorder, there were so many things that made me stop and go “Huh…maybe”. I should say that I knew a little bit more than the average person going into all of this. I have 3 cousins on various ends of the spectrum, 1 with a textbook mainstream media type of Aspergers, 1 with a less recognizable but still there High functioning form of Autism and then 1 who was classified as PDD-NOS but really met all the criteria for Classic. Only my cousin with Classic Autism has sensory issues and they are so extreme that I never made the connection between what was happening to me and his issues. So at very least, after all the research for “K”, I thought maybe I just had SPD. 

Fast forward a few years, I start researching HFA and Aspergers in women because of something dealing with the custody case. I found Rudy Simone’s website with 2 charts depicting traits in women. I was crying by the time I finished reading the last chart. I fit almost every single trait she listed. I felt like the room was spinning and I had to get up and pace (really I no one in my family noticed?). When I was done I sat back and decided to look up more information, that was 3 months ago and I haven’t been able to deviate away from it. I have this need for information, for answers and I can’t stop. The last 2 days have been the worst. I spent all day yesterday, aside from tending to the children, reading blogs, articles…anything I could find. I paid for it though… by 5:30pm I was overloaded. My son threw his dinner plate on the floor and it made this loud clang and I was DONE. Thankfully “O” got home not too much later, sent me upstairs and took care of the kid’s baths and put them to bed. I didn’t stop though… I was suppose to go upstairs to recharge but instead I took the laptop up there and kept reading until 11:30, then “O” came upstairs and asked me to do squats and leg lifts with him. I couldn’t sleep, I felt disconnected from body but too connected all at the same. I wanted to get up a run 6 miles ( I can’t run 6 miles), my whole body felt prickly and my mind was racing. This was my fault, I spent all day sitting in front of a computer overloading on information I had to pay the cost. I think I finally fell asleep sometime around 5 but I had to be up at 7:00 this morning to get “K” ready for the bus. 

I really need to try and clean today and not sit here. It’s already mid day and I haven’t done anything, I really need to get up and move if I’m going to sleep tonight. “Keeping House SUCKS”. I can clean but “O” does all the organizing and folding, I can’t do it or rather I can but it takes a lot out of me, I get grouchy and it never looks as good as his finished product anyway. There is so much I want to say but I really need to pace myself. 

*Sorry for any typos or grammatical errors* Proofreading doesn’t work for me, I see what I’ve memorized when I was typing, not what’s actually there. It’s a painstaking process and this blog is suppose to help me not cause more stress. (actually I might come back a few hours later and read through but it still wont be perfect)

Rudy Simone’s website where I found the female traits

http://www.help4aspergers.com/