Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Post Holiday Blues and Social Life

It would appear that I'm more sensitive than the average bear.

I always hated when the "holiday/weekend" was over. I hated when it ended.

This past Christmas was no exception; except that there WAS an exception: it did not last long enough.

My parents and brother arrived Sunday evening. My parents stayed nights with grandpa, and my brother and his girlfriend stayed with us. They left yesterday. They were here a short 2 days.

THAT SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Usually we had a nice holiday time. People were off work, we played games and had a fun time, and it lasted more than a weekend. Even though it was Sun-Mon-Tues, it felt like Fri-Sat-Sun. And that sucks.

Top that off with some good old family drama (not mine), and I've got a particularly bad case of the blues today. It is good I suppose that I've spent LITERALLY the past 5 hours sorting through LEGOS. We got our son a 3 drawer system for his Lego storage, and so I wanted to get them "organized" into that, and he mixed in a Lego game into his play legos, so I had to sort through and find those pieces and put the game back together. It literally took more than 5 hours to do this. I just finished, sore back, sore neck, tired, and cranky, but relieved that the job is finished and things are sorta organized.

I've still got the dominoes (on double 2) sitting out on the table, which still has both leaves in it. So I should probably take at least one leaf out, and maybe teach our son how to play dominoes.
My only thing I'm looking forward to in the near future is New Year's Eve and a dr appt on the 3rd. I'm hoping someone will join us for New Year's, but I have my doubts. It has been very depressing that no one has hung with us for New Year's Eve in years. Maybe my in laws will come over, but they don't stay long anymore, other things are apparently much too important (our feelings). We used to have a guy who was home every year and would come over - a friend of my husband's, but he hasn't been home for the holidays in a few years. My parents never were New Year's people. And I'm guessing that because we don't serve alcohol, no one cares to come over. It is really depressing.

My birthday is coming up next month as well, the big 3-0. I have these dreams of what I would LIKE to do (a limo, fancy dresses, dinner out somewhere, my besties coming from the far away states they live in to be here with me... yes, I'm talking to you Idaho and Oklahoma!).... but I'm going to guess I will be lucky to get cake and a dinner 2 miles from home.

People with Aspergers are "known" for not being the most social people. We are awkward, we feel awkward, we don't know what to say or do most of the time. Socially things are never easy. But that doesn't mean that we want to be left alone completely. I do crave the occassional game night and having people over and doing something fun. It doesn't take a lot, I don't require much out of a friendship, but somehow it seems that people are much too busy. Maybe they are taking care of those friendships that are more high maintenance? I mean, I know everyone struggles with money, and I'm pretty much an hour from most of the people I would care to have over, very few exceptions there. It is still lonely, and I still get disappointed that it never works out. We used to have people over a lot. We used to have great birthday parties and get togethers. I don't know why or how those went away. But it's disappointing. 

Anyway. The holidays can really suck. I wish I could go into a ton of details, but I hate when things get back around to people, when I just need to vent. But honestly, I am sick of it. We have tried as a family unit to make our own plans, control our own lives, and make it as fair as possible. We wanted to nix the running around thing when we were first married, so we had everyone come here, but that always ended up being stressful. When we were celebrating separately last year (due to circumstances beyond our control), it worked so well, it felt so relaxed and comfortable. So this year we thought we would work it out that way too, but we were STILL trumped. We were still forced into the stressful pain in the butt schedule that we've had to experience before. No respect for our schedule, opinion, feelings or plans, because they weren't scheduled by someone else.

Next year things will be different. We will do what we have to do, but if we end up having one Christmas on Christmas and the other on New Year's, then so be it. We are not playing games with our schedule, we are not going to be messing around when we've got 2 kids to deal with on sleepless holiday schedules, we are not going to let someone else control what we do and when we do it. There is going to be ONE family Christmas for one side, and ONE for the other, OR there will be one for both. Both me and my husband were distracted, frustrated and overwhelmed by the constant nagging, guilt tripping and passive aggressive behaviors that went on this Christmas, and we are not putting up with it anymore.

Anyway. It's easy to say that we've had it with the bull. I am glad that I am not the one who brought this up, and that I am not the one complaining (mostly because I'm not the one getting the passive aggressive phone calls). Next year will be different. I don't know how, I don't know what is going to happen, and I don't know how we are going to manage to get the rediculous behavior to end. But one way or the other, we are ending it.

It would be a whole lot easier if we would just be able to move, then there wouldn't be many choices in the matter. You come, you stay the "holiday weekend" and then you go home; none of this eat, presents leave garbage. It's like, its not even about family, its about the food and presents, and the heck with ya. That is not what Christmas is all about.

I'm glad we were broke this year and hardly bought anyone anything. Though I felt really bad about most of that, really honestly, a part of me didn't feel bad at all. Because we never get any quality time, just food, presents, and boom, over.

Just venting. It sucks to have to deal with this. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


I haven't posted in a long time again. I don't think I have been able to think of something new to say. It's been "the season" - and I've been feeling sick and very tired.

I have a very low tolerance to stomach upset. This is frustrating because for someone with Aspergers, depression, and generalized anxiety, stomach upsets happen frequently, especially with the anxiety. I will tell you, during these times, its pretty difficult to do anything. I feel completely disabled.

I recently read an article talking about the gut and the brain, and how they are connected. I wish I had saved the link. But anyway, the point of it is that if your stomach and gut is imbalanced, your brain is going to be off, and to flip that is also true. If your head is out of whack, your stomach and gut is going to be affected.

 This is completely true for me. If my stomach is upset, then there is an unavoidable reaction in the brain - almost to the point of feeling disabling. I am unable to function normally when my stomach is upset.

This isn't because I'm a wimp, or whiner, or something like that. Believe me, I'm a pretty obsessed person, and I like to keep my house in order and clean, for example. However, the state of my kitchen sink can give you a clue as to whether or not I'm tolerating or barely scraping by. And lately it's looked more like barely scraping by than tolerating. Because I am barely scraping by. I'm rather lucky to have a new cereal bowl when I happen to start to get low. It's a good thing I have a dishwasher, though for a while there we had no detergent for said dishwasher, and I had to hand wash... I did them all in the morning while I was still feeling good...

I'm not making this up.

There is a total connection between your gut and your head!

And therefore, also, a connection between your head and your gut!
If I'm anxious about something (which is often), I tend to get so anxious about it that I can have feelings of illness.
This might be what's going on with me right now, but I have to wait another week and see if I feel any better.

Christmas is coming. And with Christmas comes the stress of people coming (and not being here as long as I would like), and going (much sooner than I'd like), and important conversations to be had with certain someones, and nerves involved and upsets involved with certain conversation. Add to that the increased amount of stress of having people staying in my house (just my brother and his girlfriend, but I'm still in a period of getting to know this girlfriend, so though I like her, I'm still a bit anxious because I don't KNOW her or something...)... cooking, making sure there's food, and then there's the whole money situation, and gifts (See This Post and This Post) and the fact that I was not able, for the first time, to get everything I wanted to get for everyone.... There is a whole lot of stress going on inside my head, and I'm starting to think (and hoping, actually) that what's going on in my head is what is causing all the stomach troubles. This means that maybe in a week, it will all be gone. That would be nice.

I don't know why I'm an anxious person. From what I remember, my therapist indicated it is a "gift" of Aspergers. It just goes hand in hand with it. I feel guilty for not following "be anxious for nothing...", but I often wonder how much of that is under my control. After all, I cannot decide to not be autistic. I can't decide to not be reserved. I can't convince myself to be less socially awkward. If I could do all that, do you think I would CHOOSE to be like this? I'd like to be more comfortable in social situations, not feel like I have to "hold someone's hand" just to get through it. This is just the way it is. So is that the way it is with my anxiety too? It is just what it is. That doesn't mean I'm immune to the stress and physical symptoms of anxiety. Knowing I tend on the anxious side doesn't stop the anxiety. Knowing God's got this is a fact; and I know it. That still has not stopped it. 

I am pretty grateful, most of the time I function pretty well. I'm not "worldly successful" or anything, but I can run the house and keep things from dying. I have a lot of talent and passion for things, and stuff like that. But there are a lot of periods of darkness, and maybe this is just one of those times.

I have often found it interesting that I tend to not worry about things that other people worry about. Luckily, my husband and I rarely stress out at the same time. Usually when I'm anxious about something, he isn't. When he is, I'm not. In that way, it works out pretty nicely, because at least one of us has a hold on ourselves all the time.

Anyway, I got off track. Basically, the holidays are driving me nuts, and I'm seriously considering taking a vacation next year. Going away somewhere. Somewhere warmer, perhaps with a bit of color. I look outside the past few days and with the heavy snow covering everything, and the trees in their dark winter coats, and the sky in a blanket of clouds, it could easily be said to be a black and white photograph. I need some color! That's why I painted my living room an odd bright blue for a while. Anyway. Here's your "black and white" pictures of the day....

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Another Holiday Post/Blog Referral

Let's move some traffic over to Aspie Writer again. This post she wrote, also on gift giving, is exactly how I feel. And yet, somehow I feel as if there's still something wrong with me, as if I have a choice whether or not to feel this way, as if I should "just relax" or something. It isn't about relaxing, or not being relaxed, it is about the fact that I know me and what I want more than anyone else, and there isn't anything wrong with that. Honestly, to me, surprising me with a gift I actually want gives me more pleasure than something I don't want or care about. This should be an easy choice then.

I think I am probably better off than some people. I can "make do" with things I am given, and there are some things (like Christmas ornaments for example) that generally don't have any negative effect on me even if I haven't said I wanted one. There are those general things that don't matter to me. ;P

But there are other things where I won't compromise. For example, if I want something in a certain color, don't try to pull a fast one by buying something similar in a different brand or color. It won't work, and it will likely get purged (I'm a purger, if I don't use it, it goes).

Anyway, great post again aspiewriter. :) Keep it up!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Driving, Floorplans, Space

I'm not a very good judge of space. 

The number one example that I can think of is driving. I am not a poor driver, I just have a poor ability to judge the amount of space I have around me. To me, in my eyes, every vehicle takes up all the space from the center line to the white line. That's how it looks to my eyes. It's like a brain teaser though because I KNOW that there are very few vehicles that are that wide. The ones that are have to have "wide load" signs! LOL

I'm just a poor judge of space. It really feels to me as if I'm taking up all the space. This doesn't bother me until I have to drive with vehicles on both sides (such as in a big city or when someone uses a left turn lane and I'm passing in the left lane of a 4 lane highway or something) OR if I'm passing some sort of truck on a 2 lane highway. Otherwise, I just drive normally, meeting cars usually doesn't bother me. In bad weather it bothers me to meet a semi truck or something similarly huge, but otherwise, it's no big deal.

The other thing I'm not able to comprehend is floor plans. My husband can look at a floor plan and it seems as if he totally gets it. I do not. Sure, I can see that the bathroom is adjacent to X room or whatever, I "get" that its showing placement and the like. but as far as showing room space, or whatnot, I get lost. It is just a bunch of lines and spaces to me. Totally not meant to be an architect (unfortunately!). 

These things don't bother me in everyday life. Most of the time, my husband drives, so I literally do not have to worry about road space, though sometimes he does make me nervous with certain turns in a parking lot or something. But as long as I don't have to drive, I do just fine. And even when I do drive, I just have no shame in going super slow if I'm feeling a bit out of place or nervous. ;) 

Just a quick note today, so much to do!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Gifts, Holidays, Surprises

A fellow aspie wrote this blog:

And I'm LOVING it.

See, I'm the kind of person who makes lists. For gifts for other people, and for gifts for myself. I actually don't write my own lists anymore really, I think I am past that for the most part, but I do tell my husband what I want, and he gets it for me. Or I will say "hey, i would like......" as a "hint" to people. My husband eats it up, he LOVES when I tell him something I would like, it makes it a lot easier on him. He hates trying to pick out gifts. And if you think about it, most women say "Pick me out something from your heart!" or some variation of that, and get mad if the gift they are given doesn't add up to their expectations, when they gave NO indication of what they wanted, but yet they expected others to "know" what to get them. That is a game I refuse to play. I'm simple. I know what I want, and I have no problem telling you and getting that. I find it a great surprise to get exactly what I'm wishing for!

I have asked my son to make a list for others. We do have people who have specifically requested that, and I love it because its perfect! He loves looking through catalogs or on the websites online and picking out things. I give him a limit, he cant pick out a bazillion things, and I explain to him different values that we have, and really he isn't interested in most of the toys that we don't agree with because of values or whatever. He seems focused about what to ask for, and he usually asks for one specific thing more often than others, and that makes it easier to get him something off his list. Usually its pretty clear with him what he is really interested in!

I remember growing up, the best present that I ever got was Shakespeare's sonnets. The reason it was the best gift? I specifically asked for it. I wrote a list, emailed it out, and I actually got it. Not only was I surprised but I loved that book, and it was really fun and exciting for me. It made me feel honored and respected for having my own likes and wishes and it made me feel that the person who got it for me (an uncle and aunt) really valued who I was. 

Although I am the kind of person who loves seeing people receive a gift from me, I prefer that the gift be something that they want or at the least need. I won't budge on certain values I have; for example I don't like violent games or movies, so therefore I won't even buy them for someone else, even if that is what they tell me that they want. I will have to get creative and think of something else or just wait and see if they come up with another idea. I am usually pretty thorough about what I buy. See, I do not want to waste my money. I want to buy something that will get used and appreciated.

In recent years (due to a specific circumstance), I have started giving "money" gifts, like gift cards or certificates to restaurants. These are things that I know people will use, and they don't clutter up your house, they don't get thrown out or not used. They are like the perfect gift! Almost everyone these days usually just buys whatever they want when they want it. A horrible characteristic, I know. But especially when it comes to buying for parents, how do you buy them something that they don't already have? Sometimes (RARELY) I make exceptions to that, but for the most part, I try to give people something that will get used up and that won't add to the clutter of daily life. We Americans have TOO MUCH STUFF, and buying some new trinket or knick knack for someone to put up on their shelf is just ridiculous. Exceptions are photo gifts/framed, but that's obvious. 

I enjoy these same gifts in return. I am a stay at home mom (especially now with an upcoming pregnancy/infant coming in the summer!) and I and my husband have both decided we prefer me to not work, and stay at home with our kid(s). So things do get "tight" in comparison to other families who have 2 incomes. I don't agree with these situations because I (and my husband) believe in parents raising their own children instead of handing them off to child care for thousands of dollars a year or even month! The costs are horrendous and I can't believe people think that it's worth it. But that's another topic... moving back now....
So, I love getting gift cards too! Not necessarily from someplace like Target (unless I have a baby registry to fill like I do now!) because that's only going to help accumulate more stuff. I guess even Target has food now, so I guess I could be sensible about it there even! But a gift card to the local grocery stores is awesome! Or something I have sitting on my amazon wishlist! Anyway, I just love getting something I will actually use, not purge to the thrift shop in a month. I have very little guilt about purging something I don't use, so beware of that, and remember that if you bought it and I didn't use it and I purged it, you have no reason to be mad at me! :P

Anyway, its complicated because "normal" people like to "surprise" others. (Except guys who know that it's probably not safe to surprise their wife with a weed whip or tool, but have no clue what to get!) "Normal" people love "the search". It's a part of the "high" of shopping. I enjoy the "high" of shopping too, but I know it just promotes more shopping and overspending, so I try to avoid it. That, and I can't stand actually shopping, I can't stand the crowds, the people, the noise, the lights, the long drive to town, having to keep track of my son, worrying about losing my phone or something like that, and then there's hunger. Because town is an hour away, there's always hunger that happens. And overspending. And worrying about money. And feeling guilty about money. It's all such a pain in the butt, that I'm done doing that kind of stuff if I can help it!

So I make lists. I give myself ideas about what people want. I write down something I know they need or have wanted. I write down what they tell me they are thinking of wanting for Christmas. I write down something that they did this year. I eventually end up figuring something out. But those notes are really important to my ability to do it. And you wouldn't believe the online coupons you can find for things! Or, like I said, gift cards/certificates to a place they frequent. Spot on. Can't go wrong with a favorite meal and a favorite restaurant!

So basically, this is just a part of who I am. This is just how I work. I don't micromanage so much that I tell one person I want one thing and someone else I want another so I'm controlling who is getting me what. I just mention things that I want in a list or whatnot, and I am still surprised with what a person chooses to get me. However, I'm always disappointed when it's something I know I will not use. Those are really tough presents because though I appreciate the thought, it's a waste of their money too. Money wasting is not something I am a fan of. It's like, if you are going to get me a cruddy present I don't want, I'd rather have the 20$ because that would do me more good. And thankfully, my hubby is on board with that! Maybe he has Aspergers too. ;)