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Showing posts from 2012

Pressure, pressure, pressure.

Okay, I'm going to mention the 'P' word again...yes, Pressure. Also, Stress and Responsibility, as I've come to realise those two party-poopers are just the bodyguards for Pressure, who is always the main problem.

Now, for those of you who have mulled this one over, usually late at night or at one of those awkward moments when you have a sudden epiphany in a crowded place, yes, I realise that you can also argue that pressure is secondary to stress and responsibility; that it's better to say pressure is the feeling you get when the other two are dancing up and down on your head.

That's the way I thought of it too, and there is some truth in it. Rather like a woven blanket, it can be hard to see where one thread ends and another begins. Is it even worth trying to separate them, as they're so closely bound together? I believe it is and I'll tell you why.

I've spent many years trying to face up to responsibility and struggling to recognise stress when …

After Christmas...New Year looms

So, Christmas is over for another year. The decorations are still around, the tree is languishing in the corner, the cats are still hopeful that there may be turkey in the fridge and there is a pile of presents waiting to be put away. My favourite time of the year is coming to an end. Soon the lights will be taken down and I'll have to look at a dark garden again. How I hate the New Year!

I have to say, although I love Christmas, I did suffer this year. I think I realised for the first time that I love the build up to it, the child-like anticipation, and I love Christmas night onwards, including the days leading up to the New Year. What I've discovered is that I'm not very keen on the day itself.

In my last post, I discussed how to cope with the stresses of Christmas in general, with some tips on the big day. Readers, I found myself using all my own tips and trying to remember the advice I gave to others.

I spent some important time loitering in the kitchen; I sneaked ont…

An aspie at Christmas-time

Okay, this is often the big one for many families, aspie or not. Christmas can be a time of fraught emotions, high temper and stress caused by so many different things at once, you end up wondering if it's all worth it. The cosmic rule is that there must be at least one Christmas argument, and this can be like the single match in a box of fireworks.

Of course, there is the good side too. As I've mentioned before, I love Christmas - adore it in fact - but no matter how I love it, I'm still prone to the stresses of the season. What I've described could be any Christmas in a lot of homes, but imagine all these difficulties combined with the aspie mentality. If a normal day can stress you out in strange and unusual ways, then it's safe to say that Christmas is a front runner as a spectacular problem area.

When I was little, my mother and I would do the Christmas run-around, the one where you visit all the relatives you barely ever see and catch up. It's a good thi…

The aspie effect

I had one of those moments yesterday, when someone looks at you, looks closer, then seems to try not to flinch backwards. Does that happen to other people too? It always worries me as, in real life, I think I look quite safe.

I don't wear my special llama hat to go to the shops, I do wear all the items of clothing people usually expect to see. I don't talk to myself when people are close enough to hear, I try to remember not to pull faces when I'm distracted.

Yet sometimes, seemingly through no fault of my own, people behave as if I might attack them, bite, suddenly sing or maybe just tell them a personal anecdote. I tend to think of it as my witch-effect. It's how I imagine they'd look if I turned out in full regalia - black cloak, cobwebby dress, holey stockings, scary shoes, pointed hat, cat on my shoulder, broom under my arm. Then I'd expect people to cringe or change direction.

As it is, I'm what I think of as ordinary. I'm short, I wear glasses, …

When you should doubt yourself...not trusting your emotions

Sometimes life can seem like it's full of slamming doors - and you're the one slamming them shut. You have a clear idea of what you want to do and how you want to do it, then something happens and BANG! you just slammed another door shut in your haste to deal with one of life's hiccups.

This one may be a little mysterious to non-aspies, as it is one of those aspie traits that is very hard to describe. Not the slamming of doors part - we're all too familiar with the aspie who marches off, door crashing shut behind them. We're also familiar with the metaphorical door slamming as the aspie goes off on a tirade of high feeling and you wish they would march out of the real door and shut up already.

What I'm talking about is when those emotions aren't in the middle of a meltdown, or a torrent of passion, good or bad. I'm talking about times when I've felt calm, Zen-like, able to see for miles and make rational decisions based on solid emotional reactions…

The sane and sensible aspie - one day only! Special offer!

I've had one of those days when I feel like my head was swapped with someone else's and I want it back! Somehow, between going to bed a normal, functioning aspie, I woke up and had to be the voice of sanity for the day. Me, the voice of sanity! I was so taken aback by this turn of events that I spent two hours in an emotional panic.

I wasn't sure how to respond to this new turn of events. I'm so used to it being the other way around - people wanting me to be reasonable and cope with things but me not being able to - that when I realised I was the only one actually being reasonable and coping, I did feel I may have slipped down a quantum side alley.

So, by lunchtime, medicated on tea and biscuits, I turned my attention to the matter in hand and decided to use my new-found stability and clear-headedness to do some good. I reasoned, I talked, I worked things out: I was a whole, real person! Readers, you would have been so proud of me!

I had points to put across and I rem…

Chaos in the home

Now for once I'm not talking about chaotic relationships or chaotic emotional meltdowns - though it's all linked. No, today I'm talking about a physical chaos, the scene that meets you when you walk in my home. (This post will probably go some way to ensuring me a peaceful Christmas!)

Let me be clear: I've never been tidy. Obsessive, yes. able to organise Stuff, most certainly. More than able to see other people's mess, unfortunately a definite yes. How about able to see my own mess, organise myself and keep it all clean and tidy? Erm, am I alone in this No?

I am better than I used to be. You no longer fall over last week's shopping bags as you walk through the door. There is a whole floor in the living room, rather than a path through to the sofas. You can tell my carpets are not collie-coloured.

I shop better and am less likely to find we have no milk in the morning. This does mean I'm back in Tesco at 11pm the night before, buying the milk, but this is …

Why can't you do it?...Explaining aspergers to friends and family.

I was trying to explain to IT teen last night why I couldn't go out and get full-time work. He said that with my CV I could be earning mega-money. I would only have to stick it for a few months and build up some cash, then I could do what I liked again (translate to 'whatever it is you do when you say you're working').

I pointed out that my CV was lovely, but had giant holes in it, or lots of little holes where I had started and finished lots of little jobs. He waved a hand and said that could be glossed over, I don't need to tell them everything. Yes, he knows me well - how many of us, when job hunting, tell them everything?

He pointed out how much money I made years ago when I did 'that full-time job' - fill in details of the job I mention as being the catalyst for finding out I couldn't cope with normal life and was the real beginning of my aspie journey.

This was something I'd covered before. I've occasionally tried to explain to IT teen, an…

I want it, I need it...what's the difference?

Need and want are different things, right? How many times are we told as small children that we can't have something because we don't need it? Do you remember looking at the beautiful thing and thinking, 'But I do need it...' The feeling washed over you like you couldn't live without it and there were probably tears and tantrums when it was denied.

As adults we learn the difference between need and want, often in more uncomfortable ways than just being told. Small ways like wanting the pizza, but kidding yourself you need it because you've had a rough day. Bigger things like deciding you really, really need that car and will do anything to get it; then spending months, if not years, paying the price for buying something you wanted at the expense of things you actually needed.

Relationships can follow the same path, want over need, telling yourself you can't do without a person. Some dramatic Victorian hysteria creeps in where other people are concerned, I …

The ice cold meltdown

We all know about the aspie meltdown, that complete lack of control, loosening of inhibitions, the inability to hold back all the feelings that must get out and now. Yes, the meltdown is familiar territory. But what about the aspie at the other end of the scale? What happens when you have had enough of something, just enough, no more will be taken, nothing more will be said, but you follow a different route from the traditional meltdown? What happens then?

It's what you might call the emergence of the ice cold meltdown. Let me explain.

If something is bothering me, then it's bothering me. There are no shortcuts to peace of mind, I can't 'just ignore it', I can't 'get over it' and I sure as heck don't feel like talking about it. Not after the other times I've talked about it and been told I'm over-reacting, or everyone goes through this or, instead, had to hear about how I've always been this way and it's about time I learned to deal …

Living with an aspie

Oh dear, how often must the non-aspie have thought, 'I can't do this anymore. It's like I'm going mad, nothing makes sense!' I understand. It's hard enough when you are the aspie in question, so I can imagine it must be impossible at times to cope with an aspie from the outside.

Things which have no meaning are important in the aspie world. Noises the non-aspie has never even noticed are magnified and become an unreasonable stress to the aspie. Little routines, recognised by the non-aspie. seem to hold the key to the day's happiness. How can the toast being the right colour have a bearing on a person's emotional health? What does it matter which spoon you use to eat your cereal?

So many mysteries, so many ways to drive the aspie mad when, it seems, it should be the non-aspie who gets in the van and goes off to happy land. After all, what better way to push someone off the brink than by dancing along it beside them?

I think a word that must often rise u…