The other side of me

I wrote the following to help me sort out my thinking, and I submit it here to inform, not to moan or accuse...

One thing I find that my Aspergers has brought me is the difficulty I find in doing something new. I love exploring the unexplored but it often brings much stress with it as my brain tries to sort it out. I know this sounds strange coming from someone who loves creativity and the unique! We are a bunch of contradictions.
I think the people activity is the stressor. Anxiety is common among Aspergians.

I am currently in the middle of falling apart over a wonderful opportunity to travel to New Zealand next month. I fall apart between dealing with the kids' school, finding animal/house sitters, organising the little details, and trying to ignore my fears that all will go wrong. Trying to pep talk myself that I can do it, and having confidence that I can cope with last minute emergencies like illness, especially the kids'.
Bushy has just discovered he is going to be in Sydney the two days prior, so I will be looking after the kids alone for two days, then packing and travelling to Sydney with the kids alone. Given my recent health problems I have become shaken in my ability to do it. And my confidence in this has never been firm! 

You lose confidence in your ability to cope when you have come crashing down and unable to push through. 
Imagine driving down the highway feeling all becoming too much, pulling over so you don't crash looking through tears, then ringing your spouse to talk you down to terrafirma. Then multiply this time and time again. 
Imagine doing this in front of your kids, time and time again. 
Imagine the horrors in your mind wondering how this is affecting them, seeing their supposedly in control parent crashing down. How secure do you think they feel? 
Imagine giving your son instructions for what to do if this happens in the airport. 
How confident would you feel embarking on the unknown?

I have difficulty prioritising. Everything comes at me at once and my brain struggles to make sense of it. This also relates to sensory experiences.
When I'm in the midst of my overload I can't get my brain to work enough to analyse what I'm really thinking, so it all becomes too much and I panic or become so overwhelmed I fall in a heap of depression. I really rely on outside help to keep my thought processes logical. Writing is useful also, hence this post, but has limited use in the busy moments.

I careen between blackness and brightness.



Sometimes the blogging business feels like standing by a busy highway waiting for a break in the traffic, and on finding it you surge forward to join in, and heaven help you if you slow down, so you paddle madly with your little feet going like Fred Flinstone. 
I often feel the need for a break from the cerebral action required in blogging the way we do, with meaningful comments left on each other's posts which lead to friendships. You know the other person is waiting for lovely comments as you are yourself. Tit for tat, in a good way. 
I know I'm not alone in feeling this pressure, as I hear others apologise for falling behind in reading and commenting. It seems a stress we all feel. Is it a good stress? Sometimes it is, but in my limited resources world it is often too much.

How to manage this? I have limited the number of blogs I read and comment on so I can keep up a meaningful dialogue, but even this becomes impossible sometimes. Woe betide if I stop, because I really can't catchup. When I return I madly run around reading and I feel the end in sight when I look to find more posts!
This is when I only comment on the recent ones and move forward, but then my brain niggles at me because I feel I've missed something!

The energy required to read and comment is immense because I have a very small processing memory (common amongst Aspergians). So while I am commenting on one part of a post, I forget the other things I wanted to say, so have to scroll back and forth. Maybe I need a pad to jot down as I go. Hmm good idea me!
But I think the weird thing is that when I read and comment I use as much energy as if I was having a conversation face to face. This makes it an enjoyable experience, but enjoyment can also cause overload! Did you know that? So when I read and comment on 10 blogs in a day, it's as if I've had 10 friends over to chat to. Something I would never attempt in real life!

I also stopped replying to your lovely comments on my blog. I'm not sure if this is sustainable as I really, really want to reply! This may be reassessed, but it seems a lot of energy required for something you may never read.

So there are times when all I can do is post, to add to the pool for you all to read!
And recently I'm even having trouble doing that! 
If I'm honest, I'm worried you will all forget me, just as I was becoming part of the group.
(Typical Aspie worry, am I part of the group yet? How do I become part of the group? Do I even like this group? Do I want to be part of this group?
Do I want to expend the energy required to join and sustain this group?)

I was attracted to the online world thinking I would be able to keep in contact with less energy than the real world. I also looked forward to exploring and sharing my creativity with others.
The reality has been that I definitely have shared my creative ideas, and they have grown. The part I have been surprised at is the genuine friendships I've made, and the people I have learnt from and admire. This I didn't expect!
So blogging helps me reach out in ways I wouldn't have dreamed, and helps me feel worthwhile in others' lives without leaving my house. It has helped me feel less housebound, and definitely added to my self esteem which badly needed a boost!

So thankyou my friends for your love, and joy spread into my little corner of the world, for the lessons learned and shared, and for the confidence you have given me. This is still a long project and I'm not giving up any time soon, but I wanted you all to know some of my thought processes, and perhaps inform a little more on the ways Aspergers can impact on you.
Of course it isn't all bad. Aspergers has given me many creative outlets due to my diffability...the different way of being.

Here, have a flower in thanks.



Much love,
Jazzy Jack

15 comments:

  1. I agree with you on everything - the stress, the self-imposed pressure, the fear that I'll be forgotten and, ultimately, unloved. If I am totally honest, I feel all of it too. Blogging takes a lot of energy, but I think the beauty of it is that you actually CAN take breaks and then pick up where you finished last time, no need to run back and read everything if you don't want to, or have no time. Or you can read, but don't comment. At the end, it is much less energy than having 10 friends at your house, because you can just unplug when you feel overwhelmed or just not in a mood to have a conversation this particular moment. I think a lot of what you describe here is also very common for many women. We are sensitive, and we all like to be liked, to be included, to fit in (even those of us who don't want to fit in, we actually also want to fit in, but only with the amazing people - kind, intelligent, compassionate, creative, sensitive)... I am amazed at how much response I get from my blogging friends. In real world, I have never ever got so much response, and no one can say that I did not try. I think the uniqueness of this particular blogging community is just in that - that this is a group of highly individualistic creative people who are at the same time very sensitive and compassionate. That is SUPER RARE. I have not seen it anywhere else. To find it is a miracle to me.

    I'll never forget you. Even in many years when blogging for whatever reason will be over (everything comes to an end, right?) - I will always remember and love you in my heart. :) I don't think we stop loving people, even those with who we are separated, love does not know an end...

    Can anyone help you with kids and driving? I would panic too! Don't be shy and ask for help!!

    With love xxxxxx

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  2. I also think that it is good to not be a superhero for our kids. It gives them a real, not pretentious picture of life - where parents are just as much human as kids, and vice versa. We just need to stop blaming ourselves for everything. Full stop. Be as kind and gentle to yourself as you are to your children.

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    1. Thankyou my dear! On the basis of your response I got up the courage to ask my parents to come to stay before the NZ trip to help me pack etc. I have to get up so much courage to do everyday tasks I don't know where the ask-for-help line is. So thanks for that! And for your be kind to yourself message:-) How much easier to be kind to others.

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  3. my dear jazzy jack! lots of what you wrote is familiar to me, of cause not to the extreme that i find myself completely trapped. but i can comprehend how the pressure to be perfect builds up....
    then i have a mantra "courage to the gap" (you don´t have to be/do perfect) and - from great grandma - "above is heaven, below is earth, what is to happen".
    it does´t prevent me from break down in tears if i have a bad day and nothing works. but it helps in most cases :-)
    can you take a bus/train to sydney with your kids??

    and i will be here - anyway how and when you post or comment!!!!!
    hug you!

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    1. Thankyou Beh-ah-teh! for the reminder that my perfectionism is showing! Something I struggle with. Yes, I am flying to Sydney. It's just the marshalling of the troops,packing for three, organising all the bits and pieces. I need someone to run interference on my obsessive tendencies, help me laugh and see how crazy I'm becoming! Something you have just done for me. Thankyou. And thanks for staying available when I can manage to keep in touch. It means the world! Hugs back, JJ

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  4. Beate and Natalia have expressed everything so much better than I ever could.
    Post when you can, do what feels right, we'll never forget you. xxx

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    1. Thanks so much! I always think you have this balance down. You manage to leave meaningful comments to so many people. I admire you:-) xo JJ

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    2. ....likewise, my dear friend. You write beautifully and truthfully with a passion for life. Keep it up. xxx

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  5. Dear Shawna,
    so many situations and things I felt exactly like you. I worry too much, I think about all the things might happen too much, what could happens, what should I do when it happens and what when nothing happens or something completely different?! What will other people say or think about me? How will I feel in the future in all the situations? Will I manage it and what if I don´t?
    I know in your situatiion it´s a little bit different but so many people said to me... I worry too much and I think about to much.. I should stop thinking that much and let it flow.. 99 % of all the situations are positive and nice and it don´t make a sense to get bad mood or get sick because this 1 %! My heas said.. yes.. so true! But when I stuck in such a situation, or days before, my head will not stop thinking about it. But today I know that and stop with this thoughts doing something what will distracts me from thinking.
    What a pitty.. we are living so far away from each other.. I would love to be near and visit you from time to time and help you if needed! :)

    hugs
    Dana :)
    http://danalovesfashionandmusic.blogspot.de/

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    1. Yes, it's good to learn our triggers, and what helps. I think age gives us this. Thanks for your lovely comment. The one downside of blogging, too far awaaaaay! Xo JJ

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  6. Thank you for this honest, courageous post. It helps me understand you better. We all have difficulties and limitations; what counts is not what we don't do but what we do do. I cherish every interaction I have with my friends and don't worry about ones that never happen. Maintaining online friendships can get overwhelming if we set our sights too high. I've done that and suffered. Now I focus on the small group of people I like and savor the connection with them. We don't need to be everyone's friend. I hope you find the right balance for yourself.

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    1. Thanks so much! I must remember that...it's not what we don't do but what we do do. Finding balance is a daily task that swings so much. Good thing I like swings! I appreciate your comment given your small group focus. JJ

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  7. Dearest Jack thank for painting an inside picture of yourself and of the situations all around full of texture and colour. You are very courageous living in a happening world which so enriched by you being here.....and don't we know it !!! Your dear blogging friends have said many wise and compassionate words. Our love and hugs. D&M xxxxxxxxxxxxx ooooooooooooo

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  8. Much of it I understand very well, sigh!
    New situations, planning something, do, overload ... I can not do nothing more -

    If you visit my blog, I'm happy about your comment, but no need to do, I myself can too not always comment.
    I never felt part of a group, feel like I do not know.
    But I know with reason, some bloggers might be hurt if I do not return comment - this is often a difficult and stressful feeling (no, I myself am not hurt because I judge with reason and not with feelings) - sometimes I think to give up blogging because it takes too much real life time what I need to do real things).But then remains only insulation -

    Wish you good luck to manage all and a great and quie travel :-)

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If a topic has special significance for you, or touches you in some way, I'd love to hear your story! I will return the favour and we will gently touch hands across the miles...or kilometres :-)