Sunday, January 15, 2017

Overwhelm In Florida

Part of the fun of being an adult diagnosed aspie is looking back at my life, and even remembering specific moments, and being able to explain to myself, or others, why things were a certain way for me, or why I behaved a certain way.

I thought of just one of those times recently, and I couldn't get it out of my head. So I get to put that to words now!

When I was in school, we got to take a band trip to Florida for an All American Music Festival! It was literally a once in a lifetime opportunity. They didn't return to Florida for that again until last year, 15-16 years after we went (or so). We had the band, choir and a smaller group of us in show choir! Basically, for a few years, or one year, they had a required class up against choir in the schedule. So many of us couldn't take choir, so we made up our own choir group that met in the morning before school, and we did show tunes and stuff like that. We sang and did choreography. It was pretty genius, looking back.

Well, when we went, of course it included things like Disneyworld, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom (if I remember right).

I think the moment I am thinking of was after a long day at Disneyworld. Now, it's March, but in Florida. We left Minnesota in snow, and came back to more sticky wet snow (which felt great on sunburns). So it was warm. And you've just stuck an undiagnosed aspie into a VERY busy place. I had a pretty good time, despite being hung out to dry by a friend. She teased me about calling my favorite teacher, really strung me along quite a while, then flipped the switch and started calling me a freak and really spazzing out on me. I ended up in my mom's room (she was a chaperone, luckily) and ended up wandering around with her. But still, as fun as it might have been, and as beautiful and exciting, after a long day doing that, I was pretty much exhausted. I wasn't just tired physically either, I was emotionally exhausted. Top that off with some overstimulation (which none of us would have realized was happening) and you have a pretty unhappy picture!

So, we get to the parking lot and something had happened with the buses, like ours wasn't there or the one there had broke down or something. I don't remember. But I know there was a long long wait for our bus. And because they were bored, they decided we would do some of our songs or something. Which doesn't bother me, until they wanted to do show choir songs and choreography. I DID NOT WANT TO. I don't know how long it went on, but I did NOT want to do it. I tried to tell them I was tired, I didn't feel like it, just do it without me, just leave my place open or whatever in the lines and just do it themselves. But they would NOT leave me alone and finally forced me to do it. I hated the fact that I was ignored and disrespected and it marred my experience. A lot of that came from the fact that no one understood my needs or why I felt that way. 

Looking back now, I know I was just overwhelmed, and forcing someone to cooperate or socialize, who's spent all day in a loud, noisy, sunny, hot walkabout isn't really a good idea.

I still to this day do not know what their problem was with just doing it without me. There is no reason that they had to force me to do it. I really don't. They could have done it without me while I continued to recover from the day. Then oddly so many people called it a highlight. Really? A highlight, but at my expense. Thanks.

I see my son all the time becoming uncooperative and overwhelmed and not wanting to participate. There are many times when it is unavoidable and he has to continue the course. But when there are situations when we can avoid it, we put him somewhere where he can be alone and get over it himself. That is very effective, actually.
Had they just left me alone, they wouldn't have aggravated me more than I already was, and I might have joined in when I was ready all on my own without their forceful coercion. That would have made the experience much happier, and comfortable, and memorable.

Which leads into just a general comment on respect. 

We as humans need to start paying attention to our own actions. We need to accept that people can only give what they give, do what they do, offer what they offer, whatever. We often have expectations of people that are not always fair. We can't expect everyone to be the same. Worse is when you have to realize that you can't expect everyone to be the same kind of person you are. I've lost friends over this. When you expect people will drive the same mile for you that you do for them, you will eventually be disappointed. And with some people, you will be disappointed OFTEN. 

We need to give people their autonomy. We need to be able to ask them to participate, and not force them. We need to accept a "no" for an answer, and let them join in when they are ready. Having an argument and forcing them will only lead to scars. I know it did for me. I don't lose sleep at night, but I can still hear their critical voices basically telling me I was stupid for trying to stand up for my own needs to recover. Their voices still ring in my head as clear as if it were yesterday.

Some people will remember things like that too. They will remember the scars you left behind, but not so much any good you did.

And again, teenagers have brain damage, and don't act rationally. :P 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Drowning In Illness:: Holiday Recap

I forgot to check the last time I made a post. But I can be almost certain it was before October 2016, right?
We have had almost non stop illness since October/November. Thanksgiving thru now has found someone sick on every single day it seems. Although, it takes me longer to recover from the stress and overwhelm of having sick kids, so I always feel like they are sicker longer than they are because I'm still forced to try to recover.

Top that off with an extra dose of naughtiness (maybe due to the sickness?) and it has made for one heck of a fall/winter so far. We don't normally get sick very often, so this has been very unusual and taxing. And we don't seem to be alone, so many people are sick, even up to the Queen.

I managed to get most of normal Christmas stuff done. However it took me much much longer than normal. One kid won't stay in bed in the morning, one kid won't stay in bed at night, and yet another won't even go to sleep or stop crying long enough for me to wrap presents. It was interesting, having to spread it all out over several days and weeks. I don't like it. 

I still have a few presents to wrap. Luckily, my siblings didn't come for Christmas, so all their presents are still here, even if some are unwrapped. I hope to get to them, but it's really hard. I even had to finish a present for my dad and was kinda glad I didn't see them on Christmas because I couldn't finish in time. 

It was hectic.
I was stressed.
I've been and continue to be overwhelmed.
I don't like it.

My husband is being patient with me about the tree being up. I don't want to take it down before my siblings have been here and done presents. It is fine to maintain it being up. But with undetermined plans for my siblings whether they will come up or not, I don't know how long we will have to wait.

Part of the problem too has been the weather. With a huge Christmas day storm, and then a storm New Years night - 2nd as well, it left pretty much little to no travel safety for them to come here. My brother was off all week but his girlfriend wasn't, so they couldnt come up either when the weather was good.

It's hard to not feel as if I'm just not a priority to some people. This isn't just about Christmas or New Years, I feel like this often. If someone hasn't talked to me in a while, or something like that, I get all confused as to what the "rules" are of our friendship. I mean, to me, a friend should talk to you, think about you, post silly things to you (see the online friendship rule there?), and send you pictures or something. They should be interested in what you are interested in.

When they aren't, I just automatically assume our friendship isn't close, or worthy of paying attention to, or something. Like, distance (which is true of 99.9% of all my friendships) keeps them from being an actual part of my life, but online should help, shouldn't it?

I hate when things are always one sided too. Many a friendship ends because it's only one sided. If you are doing all the driving, all the present buying or card sending, all the talking.... and they are never responding, it's not worth it. At least, not to me. I mean, if people are on social media, and you comment on their stuff, shouldn't they at least 'like' your comments or your own posts or something? Something so that you know they are communicating? 

I'm kinda getting away from my talking of the holiday overwhelm,  and illness overwhelm, but alas.

I think we had a really good Christmas season anyway. We got great presents for the kids. Hubby's working for himself really afforded us the ability to do things we wouldn't have been able to before. My favorite part of Christmas isn't what I get anymore, but seeing people we know get things from us, things we bought and chose for them. Hubby's parents are so great lately, and I've taken a new appreciation of them or something, and we really got them quite a few things this year. The typical ornaments and pictures we would get usually, but MIL likes tablecloths, and usually only has the ones that hang down. They slide all over, and it's pretty difficult to use them with our kids around. So we bought them some with elastic in them, even a clear one so they can use it over their old tablecloths, as well as over their pretty table if they wanted. And puzzles. They love puzzles, and usually get quite a few of those going over the winter. One I had given to my grandma before she died, I gave to them. We actually put it together here at the house Christmas day. That was fun. :) We don't do puzzles much anymore because children, fingers, and pieces finding the floor. :P

Anyway, I keep trying to refocus on the joy people have had with the things we (I - since I do the shopping) got them. I just LOVE getting things for people and really the only excuse I ever get to do it is Christmas.

It's sad that it didn't turn out with as much family as normal, and that we still are waiting for my siblings. Still, it was happy, and full of those blessings we often take advantage of. Food, Warmth, Strength, Good Health (despite slight illnesses which in perspective are really no big deal), Having Enough and THEN SOME. 

We are truly lucky. Some days I realize that we are really lucky. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Yes, More. Friendships SUCK

Have I mentioned yet that I have huge trouble with friendships?

First of all, meeting people and making friends. Pretty much impossible without some kind of outside intervention. I don't seek out social opportunity. And usually I try to avoid talking to people when I am out. It usually takes them being completely outgoing and unconcerned that I try to not talk to them. And I suppose most of the time that is why us introverts get called things like "snobby" or "stuck up". Trust me, that is the farthest thing from what we are. All those terms do is shove us back into hiding, and reaffirm our fears that people suck.

I am an all in or nothing kind of person. If I want to be your friend, I'll want to dive in headfirst. I'll want to invite you to things, talk to you about anything, tell you my life's story pretty much.

And again, I think that makes people think im "pushy" or "nosy"... so I've gotten to the point where if you don't offer up the information, I probably am not going to ask. Or, I'll have to spend crazy amounts of time convincing myself that it's okay to ask something. Then I'll probably chicken out a million times, and end up asking you over social media. Because #introvertsrollthatway

Then there's distance.
And even when there isn't distance, there's busy-ness. Being too busy. 
Then there's the lack of return communication. That could mean either they don't respond to me in a conversational way (like, they answer questions so briefly that I feel embarassed I asked them anything), or they see the message AND DON'T RESPOND AT ALL! CURSE YOU SOCIAL MEDIA FOR LETTING US KNOW WHEN PEOPLE VIEWED THINGS!!

That is the worst. I mean, you KNOW that social media shows me you saw it. And you don't respond?

There are rare occasions when I would not respond after reading something, and one of those is when I'm having a bit of a rough time with someone. I have learned, the HARD WAY, to step back a couple of days when having an issue with someone. I get it, I hate it too when someone doesn't respond when they viewed my message.

And don't get me started about not returning text messages, ever. (BROTHER!!!)

But the thing is, friendships suck. I can't stand it. There are all these unspoken rules, there are all these expectations, and I get let down all the time. I think someone is my friend, then they seem like they are completely ignoring me! I can't figure it out! Then they act like they're my bestie for like 5 minutes, and then again we're back to the doubt and the inactivity and the ignoring, or something. 
Seriously.

I don't consider myself a high maintenance person. I don't expect people to hang around me all the time or something.
But a little interaction couldn't hurt, right? 

I think part of friendships is to make each other feel good, right? And there's the not so good parts where they help you grow.
But the ignoring? The half answers?

I feel like I can trust someone, then they just leave me hanging? I mean, I come to you for help, or advice, or something and you just give me nothing, or you give me barely something?

I end up feeling like they hate me. Like I'm just an annoyance taking up their precious time. 

I guess in another post tonight I touched on the fact that I shouldn't expect people to act like I would act in a situation.
But what if I can't help it?
What if I prefer to think people would take the time, and they don't, and I still end up hurt?

I feel like I bond with someone, and they don't agree. Like, unrequited love or something, only this is unrequited friendship.

It is very frustrating and heartbreaking. 

I'm really tired of it.

Processing Speed, Decision Making, Changing Your Mind Pt2

So, where I really intended to go was to the point of decision making.

We all make decisions every day. Won't dwell on that more than I have to. Sometimes, in some phases of life, decisions are harder to make. Side note: I've been having a really hard time making decisions lately. I think my brain is all used up with raising a family. And for now, that's okay. So if I forget you, or something important, just remind me. Sometimes I will take longer to decide on whether or not to do something, or what to do in general. I'm working on it. :P 

But what I really wanted to get at is this..
When you make a decision, be confident in it! 

Don't worry about what your friends are going to say, or your family, or your doctor, your neighbors, or the stranger on the street.

It shouldn't matter.

Obviously, you have a spouse, then there's two of you and it might be harder to come to decisions on some things, but you still have to have a united front.

But to anyone else outside of your spouse, it should not matter what anyone thinks of your decisions.

Just. Make. The. Decision.

Once you make it, it's done. Right? Isn't that the way it is with everyone else? Maybe it's just me?

Like I said in my last post, when  I was diagnosed she said because of my SUPERHIGH processing speed, I tend to make decisions and I make them FIRM as concrete. It's gonna take some really hard info to make me change my mind about something.

And, for the most part, I can't think of a time when I (we) chose something and it ruffled my feathers when someone else thought the opposite of my (our) personal decisions.

I'm not the only one, this I know. 

The thing that drives me crazy is people who can't seem to get that confidence I think they should have over their own decisions. They get mad at me, tell me that their decisions are theirs to make, whatever. But they are not confident in their own decisions. I mean, if they were, wouldn't they not be bothered no matter who was telling them something the contrary?

I guess we are all probably guilty of the same thing: thinking that others tick like we do. I do see how many different ways I think others should be like me. Wow, that sounds like a terrible statement. Who am I to think I'm so special as to think anyone else should be like me?
Logically, though, if you make your own decisions, should it really matter what anyone else says? I guess maybe it's just me who thinks that.

Processing Speed, Decision Making, Changing Your Mind Pt1

I was told when I tested that because my processing speed is so high, that I tend to make firm decisions very quickly. And when I make those decisions, because I make them so firmly, I am unlikely to change my mind.

Usually, I make decisions based on a lot of research and a lot of logic. I don't just make careless decisions. I can't tell you the exact process of how I may change any of those decisions. I know it isn't going to be because someone argued with me about it.

Which is a point all in and of itself. No one is going to change their mind because you argued with them about it. Which makes things a bit more complicated than you would think at first. First of all, usually someone tells someone else off because they are trying to get someone's attention to their thinking or whatever being wrong. You see this in movies all the time, where one character finally tells off another character for whatever flaw they have. 

This doesn't work in real life, not really anyway.

The thing to consider is online communication, and new friendships.

The thing is, what's missing from online communication is tone.

People often say that people with autism don't notice or understand tone, that we have a lack of change in tone, we speak rather dryly. I don't think this is the case, not really. We might have a different way of speaking, but at least for me, I am very sensitive to tone. Just like with empathy. It's just that I don't know what to do about it.

I can hear a tone in someone's voice, or hear something in their face (yes, hear their face), they are trying to hide it, but I end up feeling VERY uncomfortable. I can just tell something isn't right. And since they aren't opening up and sharing it, I feel very awkward. I don't know what to say, do or how to act because they aren't letting me know whats wrong or how they need me to act. 

Online, there's no tone, just words.

Even if you know someone well, and especially if you don't, you will not be able to hear their tone. You will not be able to feel for whether or not they have good intentions in what they say. 

The problem is, apparently, humans are really really good at picking negative tone, and we can apply that tone to just about anything anyone says, and make it feel negative. Then we can go on and on about how hurt we are, or how we feel pushed, bossed, rejected, put down, ignored, or not heard. The list goes on and on too. We can quickly and easily put all kinds of meaning and inflection on someone's online words. Then, we think we have a reason to go on the defensive, and tell them off for "hurting our feelings" or something.

What ever happened to thinking the best of someone? What ever happened to the thinking that a friend is just that; a friend, and someone who is just looking to help you, not enter into a verbal fistfight? Why don't we assume to the good, not to the negative? 

I'm just as guilty as anyone else of making wrong assumptions. I have a very wise 6th grade teacher that had something to say about assumptions; that they make an a$$ out of you and me. Pretty clever, I guess. 

We really need to stop putting words in people's mouths. We need to stop assuming based on one line here and one line there that we know their intentions. We need to stop assuming we know their thinking, their opinions, their life, their hearts, their relationship with Jesus, their family values, or the meaning of their words, based on the little we see. It isn't fair to your friends to assume that their intentions are to hurt you. It isn't fair to YOU to make those assumptions either. There is no reason to get all upset, get your body physically worked up, and risking ruining or scarring a friendship over something you assumed about someone else or their words. 

It just isn't fair. Life's too short. Life is hard and we could use all the opportunity for friendships we can get. Especially when you have aspergers. I can't count the number of times I didn't realize what I had with a friend. Sometimes it takes years for me to realize how good a friend I have with someone. Sometimes what I think is just a causual friendship is actually something more to them, and I just didn't realize it. I wish and pray for a deep best friend, and then I realize I have one. At least, for a time. Getting upset over something isn't worth it, especially when you're assumption is faulty.

And, to be honest, we need to really watch it when we do the same to our Bible's. We need to stop assuming we know everything, first of all. There is always something new to learn. No one is all knowing except God, and He can and will keep teaching you something about His word every time you read it.
But more than that, we need to watch out that we aren't taking a line here or a line there and putting our own spin on it. We need to be sure we aren't making assumptions about things God does based on what WE think of something. 

We need to be more careful. We need to be more kind. We need to constantly pursue thoughts, feelings and interpretations of others that are higher than they deserve. Think the best of others. Think of how much they must love you to have picked you for a friend. Whether it's a friendship of decades, or days, they saw something in you that they wanted to be a friend. Even if love isn't the right word, you have to think they don't mean to hurt you. Even if they do, who wins? You do, because you are taking the high road, feeling good about yourself and your choices, and you aren't sitting around wallowing in self pity and self doubt! 

This post when in a completely different direction than I intended. I guess maybe I make two posts tonight! :P 

Thanks for listening.