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Troll days




Hmm, I did quite well yesterday, considering it offered itself up as a day of trolls and ogres, all running about with axes, ready to take a swipe at anything I wanted. So, considering the axey activity, I came out of the day feeling pretty good.

In other words, it was one heck of a day. No, nothing major happened. I have no significant events to report, I was just reacting, as usual. And when you start from the position of being a sorry-for-yourself aspie, who feels very delicate at the start of the day, this compounds, drawing in everything around it, to make an utter fright of an aspie by the end of it.

I was having the kind of day when I could have done with seeing no one. No trolls, no ogres, no people. Cats were fine, dogs were okay, IT and RT Teen were bearable in small doses. I got the cats and dogs fed first thing, shuttled RT Teen to college and then the day began.

As I say, I'm not able to report anything bad to you, not really. The thing is, it doesn't matter how fragile you feel, the world carries on and it has people in it and they expect you to be the same person from one day to the next. Funny, because to me, other people are different nearly every time I see them.

So I avoided social stuff in the morning, then couldn't avoid it in the afternoon. At this point, I was faced with the necessity, readers, a proper need, to be sociable. I had to be nice and pleasant and...all those things which become meaningless when you're in aspie lock-down.

On the inside, I was making a pretty good go of it. I knew how my face should be and how my voice should sound. On the outside it was a different story. My face and voice had decided Enough, and were presenting me exactly as I felt: like one of those trolls I mentioned earlier, made of stone and carrying an axe.

It didn't matter what the inside me tried to pull off; the outside me glowered, stonily, hand on the axe, voice monotone yet menacing. I'm sure you get the picture.

The visit ended with me thinking I should feel glad to be alone again but instead assailed with that terrible guilt which comes when you have Failed, yet again, to behave in a reasonable, caring manner to the blameless people you love.

Cue a headlong slide into dreadfulness. All the delicate, fragile feelings of the previous hours came together and carried me off down the hill, with Guilt as the sledge. No stopping, no hard-edged drop at the bottom to halt the descent. Just a catapulting ride, down, down, down...

Except then I had to go to work and be a sane person who can do things for money. This wasn't too bad, once I forced myself out of the door. And I mean forced. I managed work and it took my mind off things for a bit. The downward slide was temporarily halted on an outcrop of rock and I was able to view things from my precarious stopping-place, waiting for movement to re-start.

After work, I had to go to my beloved Tesco. No, I can't say I love Tesco, but it is one of my significant relationships.

By this stage, I suddenly realised that my downward descent had ended while I wasn't looking. The cloud had lifted and the guilt had abated enough for me to give myself a firm shake and stand myself up on my feet, with a little push to get me started along the road.

I sat in the car for 40 minutes, waiting to be human enough to go into Tesco and face the inevitable noise, bustle and self-service tills. After this time, I was finally able, finally, finally able, to go ahead and do things in a more normal frame of mind. It had taken until 8.40pm to feel like I could start my day.

And there we are, except it wasn't quite the end. I did the usual jobs of going into the shop, then doing supper when I got home. RT Teen and I took the dogs on a dark walk as we were too hungry to do it before we ate. We walked along the cycle track, using my phone's torch, watching giant, terrifying moths and dragon flies come across our path and dance in the light. Even my best friends, the midges, came to say hello.

The dogs enjoyed their forage in the darkness and then we went for a dark drive too. I spoke to my mother, the blameless person I had been a troll with in the afternoon and all was well again. As it turned out, she was feeling something of a troll herself, so it's not always all about the aspie, is it?

Then back home in the warm night, feeling at peace with things again and wondering, like I often do, if this calm sensation is what other people feel a lot of the time.

Readers, I went to bed wishing it was the start of the day instead of the end. I felt like I could have stayed up all night and done the things I missed from being trollish. I reflected on the day and realised we can't win them all and I had the great blessing of being able to go to bed happy, knowing my fragile, difficult, tortuous day had been soothed and put to bed too.

Sometimes, all we can do is put our days to bed and hope they'll wake up feeling better in the morning. Other aspies and wise people will know that it is a blessing to be able to feel you resolved a bad day before you go to sleep and wait for another one.

Often, we lie there, still tortured, wondering what happened, where we went wrong, what we should have done and if we'll ever manage life in the right way. It's so easy to do it.

Try not to let it win though, this feeling of blame. We sometimes are to blame, don't shy from it. The important (and difficult) part is to accept you did it that way and to understand why. And the other thing, readers, is to make peace with yourself about it before making peace with the people who got hurt in the process.

Unless you make peace with yourself, you are trapped in the cycle of guilt-blame-sorrow which stops you from growing and learning from the bad days. It's a struggle to rise above it but it can leave you unfettered by the end of the day, able to see it all from above.

And if all else fails, put yourself to bed, wipe your brow like a little sad person and then give yourself a sharp nip on the end of the nose. You will not wake up tomorrow feeling sorry for yourself! Put the whole thing to bed and decide that, tomorrow, you will not be a troll.

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