Walking away from it all




I'm thinking of making a spectacle of myself. Isn't this what it's called when you lie down on the ground, kicking and screaming?  I'm not sure I want to fall flat on the floor and have a toddler tantrum, but I do feel a little bit of a scream would do me good.

It's been a week of minor frustrations which have climbed up the back of the sofa and niggled me on the head when I try to sit down. Nothing major, nothing that would keep me awake at night (if I needed an excuse). Just the usual irritations of life.

Except I've reacted by creeping back under the blanket and this is not a good thing. In a few weeks, my tuition will have died down for Summer, leaving me with an unlucky handful of students who don't get rid of me over the holidays. This is the time I can take stock and recharge a bit. So why should I be under the blanket now?

This is what I've been trying to work out. I like to have a reason for things. I don't like to say, I don't feel like it today or just that I'm having a bad day. That's what I might say to other people but I almost always know why I'm feeling muddy, even if I don't share the reason.

I often start with the muddy feelings and then have to work my way back to the reasons. This is an aspie thing, to not understand why you feel like you do and have to re-trace your steps or have someone explain it to you.

I've been re-tracing my steps all week though and am still lost in the woods.

Yesterday I had to face the scary idea that I might just be having a bad week for no particular reason. How woolly! So many loose ends, so little logic - I don't like it. I tried afresh to work things through and see what had happened but came up blank again.

I fell against the stalwart reason, often put forward by friends and family, that I'm tired. I am tired a lot of the time, it takes a great deal of energy being this annoying on a full-time basis. My energy is channelled into the minute detail of life and used to make things more difficult, for me and other people. It's no wonder I'm worn out.

So, last night I looked at myself in the unforgiving, traitorous close-up car mirror and wondered if I was just tired. Is it possible, readers, to have a week full of muddy emotion and blame it all on tiredness? Being tired always seems like a symptom to me, rather than a problem in itself. Unless I'm falling off the back step out of sheer exhaustion, I don't accept tiredness as a reason it itself.

I tried this new thinking on for size, glowering at the grumpy face in the car mirror. Tired, pure and simple? No big problems, no hidden agendas, no atmospheres between me and my loved ones, no new worries, no current worries I didn't know about.

You see, the list was whittling down and I was having to face the prospect of tiredness, in and of itself, being the root of my sad, grumpy little week.

I'm still undecided. I hate to admit defeat and accept that there isn't more to it. Am I not missing something here? I know tiredness can change mood but, to be honest, when I reach a certain stage of tiredness I actually feel better as I've disconnected from reality by then.

Could I just need a break sooner than expected? Can Summer not come soon enough? Am I not tired, as such, but weary?

There we have it, I think. The conclusion is a simple one, that can't really be solved. I want a break, not from tuition as much as from everything. That's why I'm under the blanket at the first whiff of trouble. I need to step back and hide, out of the way of all complications, until I feel able to swing life's pick-axe again.

What does an adult do when they are weary? In the real world, we can't just let go of everything and hide, can we? I've often advocated the need for temporary relief, to be able to take yourself out of your current situation and hide from trouble until you can cope again. What about when you need more than the temporary but aren't in a position to find it?

Well, in my situation, what happened was that I bought a Yorkie bar and had chocolate therapy on the way home, then had home-made spaghetti bolognese therapy once I got there. This explains a lot about my coping mechanisms, they seem to revolve around blankets and food. Oh dear!

For the longer term view, I'm uncertain. I recognise in myself that if I don't address this weariness, if I don't deal with if properly, I'll turn tail and Walk. Fellow aspies will know exactly what I mean by that. I will be in danger of abdicating responsibility and letting the weariness have its own space.

In real terms, this means I'd be landing myself in it, yet again (and again, and again). It's logical to say this is not a good thing, I can't be bailing on life whenever I feel like it.

I don't, though. I often carry on, regardless of how I feel. The exit strategy is a simple one - you reach a stage, often in an unexpected moment, where you turn and leave. That's it, all done, Bye Bye.

Some time later, hours, weeks, months, you have to stage a return and try out normal life again. How difficult that can be, especially when it was your own fault you went outside the loop. But how necessary it feels at the time.

Readers, I am not about to walk out of my normal life, pack up the cats and go live on a hillside somewhere. Nothing so dramatic. If I did that, I'd have to set up a whole new routine and it's a break I need, not more work.

What I want to do is close that front door and not open it unless I want to. Expect the boiling oil above the lintel. The dogs will be primed to herd and corral any wayward visitors. The cats have their ball bearings ready and catapults in back pockets. I have the spare broom out, ready to sweep away bigger visitors, who make it past the pet army.

You see, the moment when you come out from under the blanket and are ready to walk away is when you get your fighting spirit back. You glimpse the freedom beyond the present moment and you'll do whatever it takes to reach it.

Afterwards, I may regret arming the cats and training the dogs in defensive shepherding, but I'll know how good it felt to ward it all off and be rid of it. The trick is in managing this feisty approach to life without then trapping yourself amongst the battlements and finding you're stuck in a siege of your own making. If that happens, you have to surrender and return to a place close to where you first left.

Readers, no one wants to surrender and admit defeat, but sometimes you need the in-between phase, the break away from it all, the defences against everyone and everything, to make you feel human again. Without it, you come to the point of no surrender, no return and the permanent move, physical or otherwise, up the hillside in a tent.

Amanda

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