Monthly Archives: August 2011

Learning About Love

I find love extremely confusing. I have been trying to process what it means to me for pretty much my entire life. At times I have an extreme love for something and less intensity for people. My special interests can seem to mean more to me. However, I am very caring and will give everything I have to give. I do love fully in what I am capable of, throughout my life though it has seemed to never be enough. Because of my constant focus on trying to make others feel loved and wanting them to be happy I have never had the comprehension of someone loving me. I don’t “feel” it, I can only use patterns and actions as my source of understanding of who loves me.

My thinking in this area is distorted.

I tend to have a black and white logic when it comes to someone loving me. If they do not follow the rules and actions that I perceive as loving then they do not love me and the relationship is void. If they come back and show me some sort of loving action then the relationship is flourishing. I have gotten very confused from my pattern of thinking because if someone has cared about me but treated me badly than I think they never cared about me and I am unsure as to why they want anything to do with me. Then if they come back and show any kind of loving action, I tend to forget anything that hurt me and everything is good. With friends and family I have felt this void after a disagreement or misunderstanding and thought that they would cut me off and never want to be in contact with me again. I would then be surprised that they did.

I am referring to friends later in life, not as a youngster.

I am unsure what is considered love and then the various degrees of love. How does one categorize loving? I have read all about the different types of love and still nope, don’t get it. (I didn’t just read from Wiki) No matter how much one reads, people still operate in their interpretations and experiences. I am going through a very hard time with all of this because in all of my relationships I have only had one that made me “feel” an emotion of love without feeling the need to mirror or to make them happy. I enjoyed making them happy but it was not the goal of the relationship for me. I do not know how or why it happened and I do not know why I was not able to recreate the feelings, emotions before or after. It was a combination of many things but some of them were, liking them as a person, having fun with them, being challenged by them, feeling freedom and feeling safe. I do not know why it all fell into place like that, they were my friend (still are) and love just poured out. It was easy for the first time, I guess I trusted for the first time.

Still I did not feel their love for me, I thought I did but then I doubted, it was the first time I felt it though.

Most of the time for me friendship relationship takes precedence over other relationships. I find love easier in friendships I think. Romantic relationships have been very hard for me because it can be so complicated to discern. There is a lot there for me to process but to make my life easier throughout my life I have told people who continued to bother me about dating or finding a husband that I was going to be a nun so I wouldn’t have to worry about it. Apparently not many 20 year olds say that so I would get some funny looks. It wasn’t just then I have pretty much made comments like that every time I have been single. I did not like to date and I found it rather pointless. I saw absolutely no reason for some guy to take me out and pay for me when I had no intentions of being with him and what if I didn’t like him? I know me, I would not have been nice. Plus I really did not see any point in going out with strangers or people I felt nothing for.

I know sometimes people talked me into going out with a friend or cousin.

But if it was a “date” it was very uncomfortable for me. I would rather be friends and then go from there, no expectations, no threat of having to fulfill needs, just being natural and having fun. Going over all of my past relationships, friends and otherwise has revealed something quite significant to me, they loved me. I cannot tell you how hard it is for me to say that or even to see it. My mind has wrapped around all of the negatives and negated any emotions they had for me because I did not feel loved by many of their actions and I was trying so hard to make them feel loved that I couldn’t feel for myself. I do not know how to be loved. I do not know who loves me. I do not know how to feel it or see it. I have been in protection mode for so long and the way I controlled “feeling” was by trying to be someone I was not.

I am starting to see what love is though.

It is easy for me to think of God loving me, He has to. I know that sounds bad but truthfully that is my thought process. When it comes to others I have been unable to see any of the qualities or things about me that they love. In my past relationships I knew they cared some because they stayed with me and even came back several times throughout my life. Why did they come back? I didn’t know. I thought they forgot me or that they hated me. All of these years I have not been able to see what they loved about me because I was always trying to change.

I didn’t think they wanted me.

I didn’t think that they enjoyed me, because in my mind I was always seeing them enjoy others qualities or character. Or I felt rejected for my actions, quirks and oddities based on my interpretation of their words or actions toward me. I wanted to be everything to them, I wanted to make them completely happy. Later in the relationship I mentioned earlier where I “felt” for the first time, I got confused and hurt by actions and words and began to dissect myself. I came to the conclusion that somehow I was not good enough, at some point I lost trust.

It’s an impossible, unrealistic task to be everything, plus I was mirroring in most cases.

During some of these relationships I drank, A LOT and when I drank I had no filters sometimes it was good, many times it was bad. Also I lived with a couple of them so they got to see my quirks, rituals, Aspie cycles (though I did not know that then, it may have been quite helpful had I known) so they did see a lot of me in many ways and still wanted to be with me. I believe that I wanted to be happy myself and I thought if I could make them happy then I would be happy. That is a huge part of who I am, I love making people happy but there has to be balance. I am seeing where I had some friends who cared for me very much now, but I didn’t believe it then. I didn’t see it. How could anyone love me when I had so many things wrong with me? My mind has been twisted. I am just overwhelmed right now with the thought of people actually loving me. I don’t know what it means, I have told myself for so long that they don’t. They couldn’t because of their rejection of me. But that is not true.

People do love you in their own way.

I am not saying that abuse or mistreatment of me was ok in any of those relationships I had been in. However, slowly the film over my eyes is getting clearer and I am seeing a flood of good in the midst of the bad. It hurts worse to see the good, bad I understand. Rejection and feeling incapable, I know. Being loved for me, seeing people who I thought did not care about me do good things for me, is hard. I had blocked out all of the positives because they cannot coexist in my thinking pattern. Either you love me by following the rules that I have never told you and are all locked away in my head because I think you already know or should know. Oh, and I am not even sure myself but when I see it I will tell you. Or I document every negative comment, ridicule, situation, and action that I may have misinterpreted because I do not know how to read body language, social cues and could be unable to discern what you are saying because of sensory overload which means you do not love me.

Wow! I have some things to process.

I am extracting any abuse or emotional trauma from these situations I am working through. I now understand what trauma and abuse are so I can process through these relationships with a proper mind frame. I need to see how people have cared for me and loved me. I have to process the positives with the negatives and bring balance. Somehow I need to understand that I am loved and I am loveable. I hope I don’t sound too cheesy! :-) Maybe I will just do this Stuart Smalley in the mirror. I guess my next processing adventure will be “What is happiness?” and maybe writing out some of these rules of mine that I have yet to express out loud. :-) I’ve been reading about unconditional love a lot lately, it keeps popping up in various and odd ways…oh, the irony of it all. I may be sharing about that too soon, especially since one of the things I read used the infinity symbol to represent the process of unconditional love, always love some infinity.


 

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Vestibular Issues & Exercise Helps

I used to be incredibly clumsy as a child, I would run into walls, fall, hit my head, hit my face and seemed to have two left feet. Though I can still be quite clumsy and get dizzy I have found ways to help me find my balance. As a child what helped me most was when I started dance lessons. Ballet helped me tremendously. I also did well in tap and gymnastics. I didn’t get to stay in my classes for a very long time but I learned everything I could and what I did not learn I watched on TV or got books and taught myself.

My family has always fed into my fixations.

So when it came to ballet they got me books about it (I still have my two favorite) and would find dance shows for me. I would practice all the time. I never did well on the balance beam though and I would use fallen tree trunks to try to get better. I used the couch for flips and the living room as my personal mat for my “floor exercise” routines. I also drove my mom crazy hanging upside down on couches and chairs. I still do this and did this at my work places as well. I had no idea why, I just knew I needed to be upside down.

Everything that I learned I have used my whole life to help with my balance.

Unbeknownst to me I was naturally helping my vestibular system by doing this. What came natural to me helped me gain stability in my thinking and with my vestibular system. I also loved riding my bike. I got a baby blue bike with a white banana seat one Christmas, I think I was around 9 years old. I wore that bike out. I was not allowed to ride far from our home so would ride back and forth, up and down the street. We were at a dead-end that had a turn and then would lead out straight to the street. I would get my bike going as fast as I could and then I would stand on the seat, like I was surfing. No hands! Yes, it was quite dangerous but I did not realize that at the time. I tried all kinds of bikes tricks.

At around 10 or 11 years old I got obsessed with a dirt bike.

It was candy apple red, with a black seat and awesome wheels. It was not a motorized dirt bike it was like a racing bike. I wanted to pop wheelies! And I did on the speed bumps that were on the road. At the end of the road where the turn was, there was a trail up to a huge mount of dirt hills that the boys in the neighborhood used to ride their bikes, four-wheel and use real dirt bikes on. It was awesome! I would sneak up there when I knew no one was there and I would ride my bike down steep dirt mounds and ride up dirt hills. I would wander all through the trees and find critters. :-)  But my favorite was riding my bike down those steep hills. At times I would fall and get hurt.

Actually, I got hurt often.

I got hurt trying out my bike tricks and have many scars on my knees, elbows, arms, and one on my face from skidding across the gravel road. The one on my face is not as noticeable as it used to be but if you look close you can see it. My mom cannot handle to sight of blood so I had to doctor all of my wounds on my own. I had no real sense of pain so it didn’t bother me at all. I found it fascinating to do “surgery” on myself with tweezers, like pulling rocks out of my knee. I am still like this and I am one of those strange people who enjoys going to the doctor AND I enjoy having surgeries. I know, I am odd but I think it is all so exciting. One of my procedures they gave me a video of it along with pictures and I thought that was the coolest thing in the world to see inside my body and what they were doing. I digress–sorry.

My love for bikes has not gone away.

I rode a bike pretty much my entire life, it is one of those things that helps my mind and body a great deal. When I was 19 or 20 up to about 22 I rode my bike to work most of the time. I think this helped me a lot with the stress of work and the my anxiety. I walked, road my bike or would roller blade to work and then about three or more times a week I went out dancing or I was dancing at my apartment. I also did a lot of physical work in my jobs so my body was constantly getting the deep pressure and physical activity it needed to help my mind stay calm. I was much more social and had a group of about 10 friends, only about three I was close to. Two guys were my best friends, well I was the closest to them for several years of my life, they both had girlfriends so I felt no threat and then one girl who I was fond of but would not categorize a best friend.

They made sure that I did not shut down and lock myself away from people.

We were constantly doing outdoor activities and I even got involved in several sports because of them. I played softball, volley ball, soccer and basketball because of them. I admit that I did enjoy myself as long as I didn’t get the competitive spirit burning in my veins, it is genetic in my family. :-)  Mostly I was able to just have fun and not worry about if I messed up or anything. They were a very good group of friends for me and helped stay active during some pretty hard times. Again all of the physical helped me mentally along with my emotional state.

When I moved back to my home town, I got rid of my bike.

I missed having a bike but did not get one again until a year and half ago. I am extremely happy to have a bike back in my life because it helps me so much both physically and mentally. In 1999 when I quit smoking, I started to work out on a regular basis. I do not like going to gyms or in groups of people so I used workout videos. I still do this, I have a ton of workout DVD’s, I do not buy the infomercial ones, except one Pilate set. I do not like to run, my dad’s side of the family are runners, addicted to running. I am afraid that I would do that too. They are into triathlon and marathons, they are serious about their running.

Why do I share all of this?

I share because exercise is very important to those who have problems with their vestibular system or other sensory issues. I feel the difference when I do not do something to help myself, I go in cycles where I do not want to do anything but sit around. I feel so tired and drained but if I do not do a little something like go for a walk I feel my anxiety or dizziness start to kick in. I am still prone to running into walls and doors. As an adult I have given myself a few black eyes, I am serious, from running into doors. I have bruised my arms and legs from walls. Daniel has the same issue. He will fall, run into things, trip, fall off of the couch, I have to help him get proper exercise to help him.

When the weather changes we feel it.

I will get heightened vertigo symptoms if the pressure changes and Daniel seems to as well but I haven’t been able to ask the right question to find out for sure. When I do my workouts, things like an exercise ball helps a lot as well for all of us, my vertigo symptoms drop drastically. I can dance and spin without a problem but I do have to be careful around flashing lights or fast-moving visual things. Personally, I do all kinds of workouts but I do have my favorites and I cycle through them depending on how I am feeling and how far I feel I can push my body. I will not add bike riding here because I ride my bike for fun and processing information. I do ride crazy fast sometimes but it is because I love the breeze on my face and the feel of the going fast while being embraced by the air. I enjoy the sky and looking at nature while on my bike.

Ok, ok I got all excited, here are my top five exercises.

  1. Pilates
  2. Ballet Workouts (I have a set from the New York Ballet that I love!)
  3. Yoga (I tried this before but wasn’t into it, this past year though I have given it another chance and I am enjoying it.)
  4. Zumba
  5. Circuit training

Updated 2014 Top Five Exercises 

  1. Cycling  (spin class)
  2. TRX
  3. Bootcamp
  4. Kravfit
  5. Kettlebell

I find it interesting that with the changes in the workouts that I do the more self-esteem I feel. There is something about feeling stronger and seeing different results in my body that has made me feel a bit stronger emotionally – maybe it’s testosterone??? I still the above workouts, not Zumba so much anymore. The circuit training is basically what I do in bootcamp only now it is called HIIT or W.O.D. (Workout for the day – yes, I laughed uncontrollably when I first saw the word. It made me laugh it sounds funny.)

I like to use dance videos with the kids because they are working out but having so much fun at the same time.

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Feeling Anxiety & Exhaustion

I have been working very hard on trying to process my feelings of anxiety right now but I am on the verge. I hit a moment of complete inability to calm my mind yesterday once, but I hadn’t even realized that I was in a frenzy until after I snapped at David. I was so angry at him and didn’t even know why. I had no filter at all to discern how I was talking. When he brought it to my attention, I just wanted to go away. I got physically nauseous and shutdown. I laid on the couch for a little bit but kept telling myself I had to get up and do something. I got up and did a workout to help get my heart going because once again I was freezing and could not get warm. I was much better later in the day but I woke this morning, feeling the dizzy head, shortness of breath, emotional but not emotional, I hate it!

I can list the logical reasons for my feelings.

I know that a lot of this has to do with the chemicals my brain released for all of these social things that I have been doing and now my brain is trying to balance the extremes that it used for these social encounters. Rational. I am going on my fourth day of not being able to sleep. I have been waking up all throughout the night and have been having some strange dreams that I cannot recall, which is strange because normally I remember them clearly. My head is still fuzzy but I do not have a headache, good. I haven’t been able to eat very much lately, I do not know why. I have put myself out there quite a bit lately, online and in the physical. I have to be ok for the kids, but because of this, I will continue to press down feelings until it gets too hard. Not good.

I am getting ready to do a women’s group with my mom in a week.

I haven’t led a bible study with adults for a long time, especially with women. It always goes well though, but it is the anticipation of it all and having to get to know new people. Plus the added anxiety I have about making sure I do not say anything offensive with my beliefs around here – it is very conservative. Even though I do have a knack for stirring up people and getting them thinking about what they believe, it still is not fun. I never like to make people shaky about their beliefs. However, I also do not like seeing people stagnant and only believe what they have been told their whole life without question. Something in me will not let it go and I start thinking in my head “Wake up! Get your spirit stirred! Wake up!” Then my mom’s response is sitting in the back of this perpetual loop of trying not to stir the pot but knowing I cannot control myself! She normally doesn’t respond badly but I get the look to “tone it down” as to not scare the natives.

I have been working through some intense emotional things.

I guess I haven’t thought of the physical and emotional working together there. I feel good though, something clicked for me and I do feel really good in that area. I do not feel good about feeling exposed. The feeling exposed part is what freaks me out when I am already being quite social. It is giving too much of myself at once and I need to limit that to help me not go into full blown panic attack. I am just rambling I think. I wanted to write this to help me observe my patterns and also maybe it will help someone else. I have a couple videos that I thought were good and helpful to share. When I am in a state like this or looping terribly, I tend to forget that anyone else has similar or the same experiences.

When I remember, I go looking for videos of  fellow AS people sharing.

This helps me tremendously. I am normally not able to read well when my mind is all fuzzy like this, only emails, the stuff I write and few blogs that I am comfortable with. So the videos really help me find peace in knowing that I am not alone, it will pass, and I am not making it up. I know that I am not making it up but sometimes it feels like I am because no one around me seems to understand what my problem is and either do I. If anyone is feeling alone in what you are feeling, let me just say that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! THIS TOO SHALL PASS! YOU ARE NOT MAKING IT UP! I am not yelling, well maybe I am yelling that at myself. I am sure someone else needed to read that too. :-)

And now for some videos. The first two have some good tips. 

Autism, Asperger’s & Anxiety!

Asperger’s: Struggling with Anxiety and Depression

Donna Williams – A tour of Exposure Anxiety  Wow, this one explains a lot. I highly recommend this one for parents of children with autism.

Asperger update This one was beneficial to me because of seeing that I am not alone and she explains well the similar feelings I have (do) had of getting upset at myself for feeling like I should be “normal”. Realizing just how “normal” I am not is a bit overwhelming at times. I do not mean that in a bad way – it is that at times I feel like I understand the world then to have the carpet yanked from under my feet and fall flat on my booty comes to a surprise and it is sometimes hard to take.

Now I am going to try to focus on some positive things.

BUT please keep those in the UK in your thoughts and prayers. Here is a poem that Lisa from Alienhippy wrote that I would like to share: Riots in England.

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Aftermath of Adventurous Me

Yesterday, morning I wrote a post about me stepping out on Saturday by going to a philosophy MeetUp group. It was a positive experience, however, today I am feeling all of the overload. I am emotional, my head is fuzzy, I feel sick, I am tired, I didn’t sleep well last night and my body is kind of achy. I am freezing and cannot seem to get warm even though it is 90 degrees outside. My head hurts and I cannot concentrate on anything for long. It seems that a positive social experience takes a bit longer for my body to respond.

If I would have had a negative experience, I would have felt confusion immediately.

Since I did have a good time socializing, though limited, I did like those I talked to and I did not get hit with a flood of confusing feelings/emotions. I liked the group’s feel except for a couple of people and it felt as comfortable as it could be for me in that setting. Had it been a negative experience, I would be looping about every single word that I said and that they said. I would be fixated on certain words or events and wouldn’t be able to let them go. This would send me into anxiety and then the loops would get worse. I would finally come to the conclusion that I could never go again and I would be finished completely. I would then either resort to forgetting trying to be social or I would look for another group to try out.

That scenario is not the case.

That doesn’t change the fact that I had a major social encounter. It also doesn’t change the fact that both my body and mind are recovering from sensory and social overload. I need to recover. Yesterday, after I wrote my post, I submerged myself in music. That is what the kids and I did all day. First part of recovery. Writing. Second part of recovery. Music. I danced and sang crazy loud. Today, music is making me emotional, too emotional (except for a few songs) so I had to go back to step one. Writing. After I get all of this out, I will have to go to step three, workout, which most likely will be Yoga today. I need something not too intense but will help me find some peace. Though Yoga is a great workout, I am referring to weights or high impact aerobics, which sometimes is what I need. I am also feeling that I may need to go on a bike ride this evening. I am not sure the Yoga will cut it.

I already wrote in my journal, wrote out some prayers.

I cannot read right now because my brain is too fuzzy and hurts. My eyes are fuzzy too and everything looks a bit cloudy. (This may stop after Yoga.)  Everything is extremely loud and the Lego’s clanging right now feel like daggers in my ears. I am having a hard time understanding what David and the kids are saying, my ears are not connecting to my brain. I was too drained to paint or draw or anything. I wrote a few poems and Ariel and I worked on her new blog together for most of the morning. She had an old one but she wanted to change it and change the name. She is not ready to share it yet. She said she is too shy. :-) But the title involves wild cats and dragons. I did a search and didn’t find it so I think it’s safe to share those words.

I’m writing this to remind myself that even if I have a good social experience I still get overloaded. REMEMBER!

I need to take it easy and not feel bad for taking the time to recover from it all. I am also documenting this for me to see how long it takes to recover if I do things to help myself and if they actually help. I used to be able to take time when I was alone. I usually spent my Saturdays all alone and Sunday afternoons/evenings. It gave me my much-needed quiet downtime. It is pretty much impossible to have that now. David has offered to watch the kids so I can take a break tonight but I am not sure I want to go anywhere. Maybe the bike ride will work. I don’t know maybe I will go to the beach in the evening, I haven’t done that since I was in my 20’s I think! I know I haven’t done it since we lived here so it would have to be that long ago. WOW!

Maybe a bit of Yoga and evening beach time is what I need. :-)

I wrote this earlier but didn’t get a chance to post it yet. The Yoga worked. It started to rain so no bike and no beach. Bummer. Will try another night this week. Still a bit achy, head feels much better though and able to listen to some fine music. :-) And now writing some other things.


 

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Boundaries=Punishment?

I have had several moments where things have just clicked for me, lately (finally).  I had another moment like that with boundaries, for me they have always been a form of punishment. Since my mom would treat me as an equal until I did something to upset her and then she would set a boundary say grounding me or taking something away. I had connected boundaries as rejection. Whenever someone would start to set personal boundaries with me I automatically assumed that I had done something wrong. Then my mind would loop around every word I said and every action I did, thinking that if I could only make it right then I would be back in good graces with them.

Having this knowledge makes a lot of sense for me.

It would also explain why I would be alright as long as I knew the reason. I needed to know why someone did not want to be my friend and if they told me clearly then I was alright. I might have been hurt or confused but at least I had an answer and I wasn’t spending time full of anxiety. My anxiety would stem from not knowing what I had done. As I look back through events I see that putting all of this into perspective actually lifts off a lot of self-condemnation. I know that my main reasons for wanting to know if I had done something wrong was whether I had hurt them or not. If I had hurt someone I would be devastated and I would like the opportunity to apologize or explain my actions. If not given the opportunity then I would think about it and loop over and over until finally I could give it up. At times though, even now things will loop from unresolved situations in my mind. Not as bad as when it took place but some things will pop up.

It is very hard for my mind to let those things go.

Having the freedom to not care if someone likes me or not is quite exhilarating. I mean of course I would like for people to like me but not everyone is going to and OMG! it is ok. Really? Yes, it is and OMG! It doesn’t mean that I have done something wrong. Seriously? Who knew? :-)  I know that I will most likely have issues in this area again but at least I have this as a reminder. I completely understand other people’s boundaries but I still may violate them. However, it is up to them to tell me and if they don’t I cannot take on the fear of being rejected. I haven’t been rejected, even if I am who cares! That is my new mantra. Kind of, cause I don’t really want to sound mean when I say “who cares!”.

The connection that has been in my mind with boundaries=punishment is huge for me.

I can see with my own children how proper boundaries are very beneficial. I see how boundaries and setting certain rules have helped Daniel tremendously. In many cases all of the kids have had improvement in their behaviors when we follow our routines and stick with what we say. I do not rule with an iron fist, but there are set times and schedules and rules that we follow. It is actually quite normal around here, it is the life I tried to give myself. My mother was not horrible she was/is a great mom in many ways but if you ask her she will tell you what she has to everyone else throughout the years “Angel raised me, I didn’t raise her.”

I think that sums it up in a nutshell.

I will say though that my childhood has helped me be a very observant mother. It has made me extremely sensitive to letting our children have a childhood and just be children. I really want them to feel free and feel safe. I want them to learn to set their own boundaries and be able to express what they are feeling without worry. I never want them to associate boundaries with punishment. I want them to understand what healthy boundaries are and how to protect themselves. I do not want them to enforce boundaries out of fear but to understand the positive and how to discern who should be in their close circles and who should be on the outer circles of their personal, emotional and physical space. I am not saying that I learned these in the best way.

BUT at least I did learn and I am able to equip my children.


 

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Adventurous Me

Yesterday, I went to a philosophy meet up group. Well, David and I went it was kind of a social test for me. There are not many common interest groups around here for me but I am interested in philosophy so when David mentioned that he was going to that one, I thought I may like it too. He is going to a writers group also, but I do not feel like I am supposed to go to that one. We need our own ventures anyway but I have yet to find another one of interest. Actually, I am quite happy at home doing my own thing but I see the value in meeting new people so…baby steps…it’s been a while for me. I do enjoy people despite my social issues and anxiety issues.

It is all new anyway venturing out as myself, you know.

It was planned about four weeks ago, I still was not sure if I wanted to attend but David had planned on going. I went to the group page when he mentioned it and read people’s profiles, I freaked out! I could not think of what to say about myself and when I saw all of the credentials of people, I panicked and shut it down. Keep in mind I was going through some serious emotional processing/confusion as well.

My mind went blank.

I convinced myself that I could not go. I have spent some time on philosophy, reading books, websites, dabbling a bit. I have enough knowledge about the topic to feel comfortable enough to talk to people about it, ONE on ONE. After weeks of being freaked out about the profile thing, convincing myself that I could not go because I did not have sufficient credentials and telling David why I could not go, he told me that he could just put that he was bringing a guest.

Oh, problem solved, I had no problem with that.

I do not like people knowing about me, especially when I first meet them. I need to go in and feel safe and observe. Having the freedom of no one knowing anything about me made me feel safe and able to go. I was not that anxious about going, I was rather excited. I automatically felt safe in the environment because I knew that it was going to be in a used book store that had a cafe in it. Perfect. I feel safe surrounded by books and in quaint coffee shops. I also knew that if the group was too much for me I had a plan, I could always get up and walk the isles of books. Safe. I knew that in all bookstores there is one place that I can find that is quiet if I get overloaded. Safe. I also knew for the first time that if I was uncomfortable I could get up and leave and not worry about what another person thought. Safe.

It was about a half an hour drive.

We planned on going early to scope out all of the books. I did enjoy the walls and walls of books and went about my wandering. They had an entire upstairs as well and it was quiet. Sometimes I just like looking at the books all neatly put away, the lines all even and fronted. I enjoyed looking at the multiple titles that seemed to be of no interest to anyone. The rows and rows of books that seemed so frivolous. I laughed when I saw the “Paranormal Romance” section. What does that mean? There were tons of books on poetry and biographies, I liked looking through them. There were local artists painting and drawings featured on the walls to purchase. I enjoyed looking at them as well. At one point I felt like I got scooped up into another dimension and realized all of the words trapped inside the covers of these books. It made me ponder on the importance of words and the defame of so many as well.

I was surprised at how calm I was.

I was a little nervous about how the group would be since I had never been there before and there were going to be new people. We sat at a table outside of the group. There were about 25 of us crammed into a little space. There was no way I was getting any closer. I was close enough to the people in front of me, less than a foot away. I freaked about that a bit, luckily they did not smell or anything. One guy was kind of loud, obnoxious and thought he was clever. I wanted to ask him if being clever was working out for him. Overall it was good, there were a variety of people there, mainly older people though. I surprised by that, I thought there would be some younger folks but only a handful were there. I was extremely distracted by many things I will make a list later.

At one point there was a “discussion”.

I will not bore you with the details. Basically, it was just the wrong time and got off topic. I got bored with several of the “arguments” that seemed to be rather trite. If we are going to argue let’s do it for real. Again, I was in observation mode and it was all new so I had selective mutism. I could barely get out any of my answers. BUT I did!! Yes, I did participate a little bit. The whole experience was a great lesson for me in being ok with being wrong. I watched others get a wrong answer and they were fine with it.

WOW!

I was wrong with two of the answers from the questions he had presented,  although I will add had they been worded better and been clearly stated direct wording, I may not have gotten them wrong. I was so free, I was wrong and it was ok and no one thought that I was stupid. Or least they didn’t make me feel stupid and others had the same wrong answers as myself and….and…and…it was alright! At one point though I had to check out, I was getting seriously overloaded and frustrated with their silly bantering about numbers, the question had been resolved several minutes prior but someone wanted to be “clever” and continued in circles.

At that point I was ready to get up and go, but by chance?

A black cat did appear, he roamed through the crowd and made his way to me. Actually he made his way to the ledge of a window opening to the bookstore. We were sitting in a built on portion of the store, there was an old window that looked into the office that was also opened to the bookstore part so when I got overloaded I would look at the bookshelves through the window. The cat was sitting there looking at me and I hadn’t noticed, David kicked my foot (not hard) and said “look”. I looked up and his BIG green eyes were staring at me. I went straight to him and started talking to him. I pet him and he gave me kitty kisses all over my face. He was clearly scared, his eyes looked like they were going to pop out of his head. Poor guy.

It was just what I needed to bring me peace from the silly bantering going on.

He laid down on the window for a while looking at me and I continued to talk to him, but then someone scared him and he ran off. The owner came up to me later and told me that the cat’s name was Willy and that he stayed in the apartment in the back. He also said “Willy usually never comes out but for some reason he came out today”. Hmm….Thanks Willie the cat. Plus he was black. I love black cats! All in all it was a good experience I plan on going again. I learned some more things about deductive, inductive and abductive reasoning. I plan on doing my own research because I do not learn very well in those types of settings. What I do learn are things about social dynamics and how to be myself in those settings. I am an experiment in action. I enjoyed myself and I felt comfortable for the most part.

Although the woman heading it up kept asking if we wanted to move our seats.

She asked three times and I said “No thank you, we are fine here.” I know she thought it was strange but there was no way I was going to be in the middle of those people and trapped! I have to breathe. I would have been too overloaded by being surrounded by people and feeling stuck. It’s different when I am outside but if I am in a building, it feels too closed in. I will not go into detail about every thing that overloaded me but I am going to list them as to give the understanding of what it is like to be me in a setting like that with all of the sensory and what my brain is processing along with trying to be social and “fit in” so to speak. I did stim without realizing it until later or if someone looked at me. I found myself biting the inside of my mouth and my lips. I was “caught” twirling my fingers, rubbing my fingers close to my ears to listen to the sound, and tapping my fingers rapidly, in my head I was counting 1-2-3-4 over and over again. Those were a few I noticed. I did make good eye eyebrow/forehead contact with people. :-)

List of distractions:

  • Speakers eyebrows-He shaved them and they were awkwardly shaped. Very black and thick in some places.
  • Sauerkraut/sausage smell-It was not on the menu board so I have no idea where it was coming from.
  • Buzzing machines-Ice, refrigerator, coffee maker, freezer all of them LOUD.
  • People talking-Everyone talking making a blanket voice sound that made my head fuzzy
  • Temperature-I was freezing and left my jacket in the car. :-(
  • Paintings on the walls-There was a giraffe painting that had small black broken glass for the giraffe body. I wanted to touch it the textures looked so cool. I really like the painting and thought it was a interesting idea. I may try it.
  • Isles of books-Enough said.
  • Sounds of moving chairs across the floor-OUCH my ears!
  • Big clock on the wall-Super cool.
  • Exit sign-Red and annoying.
  • Fluorescent lights-They dangled from tiny chains, swinging from the air, they blinked and buzzed. No likey.

Still it was a good experiment and I shall try again, better equipped. :-)


 

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Art Therapy Gallery

Here are some things that the kids and I have been doing with painting, drawing and doodling. I didn’t put them all on here, I tried to limit myself. I know, I know! It’s still a lot. :-)


 

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Some of Daniel’s Progress

I am trying to document all of the things that Daniel has been doing but he has had such rapid progression in some areas and it is kind of hard to get it all down. I also need these to remind me because sometimes when we hit a rough patch or a hard cycle I can be reminded of all that he has achieved. I will try to note some here so that I can remember his developments during this summer since I most likely will be in a blur about it for a while. :-) Yesterday he wrapped his arms around my neck and said “I love you SO much”. That was a first and it makes me smile A LOT.

About joining.

The other day at the beach, I was standing farther back from the kids and my mom, I wasn’t quite ready to get all wet. Daniel turned around and walked back to be, he grabbed hold of my hand and said “Come on mom I want you with me.” This is significant because once at the beach, normally no one else exists to him but in recent weeks this has changed drastically and his entire ocean/sand play has involved Ariel and Joshua. It was a special moment for me to have him want me to participate. He acknowledged that I was not “joining” and he came and got me.

He has continued to do this with all of us and Grammy too.

He had a whole conversation on the phone with Grammy. It was the first time he has had a conversation on the phone like that. He did not repeat everything back to her that she said. I did not have to prompt him with what to say, he asked her questions and answered hers. When he was finished he said “Ok, I am done. Bye.” He didn’t cut her off there was a break in the conversation and he decided that he was finished. My mom was pretty excited about the whole interaction.

It was a big deal.

He got angry with me the other day and voiced what he felt and why. He wears a plastic ring on his finger and says that he and I are married. He also calls us twins and says that we are alike. He connects to me in some way by saying that we are married and if he loses his ring, it turns into something terrible around here. He lost his ring, it fell off behind the TV but I couldn’t see it and he was so upset that all he could do was point and yell at me.

I searched all around.

I pulled out everything next to the TV and went through everything, I couldn’t find it. By this time he was screaming and rolling on the floor, I got up to take a break for a moment and he started yelling “Why aren’t you looking?” Then he started hitting me. He hasn’t done this in a while but he got pretty rough and I told him that he couldn’t hit me and we went into to 2319! mode. I walked away while he sat, I use the word “sat” lightly, in time out for hitting me and then came back and sat next to him trying to help calm him down. As I sat there I happened to look behind the TV and there was the ring.

It was clear on the other side hidden in the shadows.

As soon as I gave him the ring he changed immediately and was happy again. I asked him why he hit me. He said “Because I was angry”. I asked him why he was so angry with me and he said that he just was. I then thought about what would I think and my feelings would have been in that situation. For me I would have felt like my mom didn’t believe me, I would have been so distraught about losing my ring that I had been wearing for several months and also is a connection to my mom that I would have been extremely upset and felt like she wasn’t listening or didn’t care. I have several experiences in my life with people to parallel here….several billion. :-)  I asked him these questions and he told me that yes, that was how he felt and that is why he started hitting me. He did not feel understood or heard. It is huge that he was able to talk to me about it and he told me that he was sorry on his own and gave me a hug. Self initiated hugs are new.

He is giving and requesting hugs on a regular basis along with telling us that he loves us or likes us.

Imaginative play. He has taken on a whole new dynamic with imaginative play, he is coming up with his own ideas to play with Ariel and Joshua. Some of his play looks quite different but he considers his play the same as Ariel and Joshua. Joshua is a “leader” (Ariel is too and there is some serious sister/brother challenges but that is for another time) and likes to tell everyone how and what to play, in a way this has been very good for Daniel. He has been given rules for playing and is now venturing out into his own ideas. He took to playing with puppets and can be found having them talking to him and just talking while walking around the house or sitting in his room. He came up to me the other day with a lion puppet and started talking to me as “Mr. Lion”. He asked me questions and laughed and told me about his rainbow mane. When he was finished he said “Ok, I am done. Good night Mr. Lion” and tossed him on the floor. :-)

He has been practicing drawing on his own.

I got all of the kids a doodle pad a few weeks ago. He didn’t want anything to do with but recently with all of the doodling and drawing that Ariel and I have been doing together, he grabbed his and started joining us. Making circles, lines, squiggles, 8’s and mushrooms. I am not sure why he likes making mushrooms, he has never eaten them but he does have a plastic mushroom in the play food. He must be fond of the shape. It is really cool to see him draw a specific object on his own. Mushrooms, who would have thought?

His language is just blowing me away.

His vocabulary has increased in a major way and his sentences are much more flowing. He is talking all day and asking us what we are doing, why we are doing it, telling us why he is doing things, sharing his favorite things and why. He is expressing himself and being much more animated as he talks. He came over to comfort me the other day, I was crying, they just came I couldn’t help it and he sat next to me, put his little hand on my back, leaned in to look me in the face and asked “Why are you crying mom?”. I told him that I wasn’t sure and sometimes we just get overwhelmed with emotions. He smiled at me, then laughed and said “You are not sad, you are happy.” Then got up and left. Maybe he read something there about me. I wasn’t really sad, I was just overwhelmed with thoughts that made me cry. But he was right, I wasn’t truly sad and after that I laughed so hard that the tears stopped.

I get overwhelmed with joy at times too with the things that he is doing.

It is amazing how much he is interacting, socializing and communicating. I say amazed because there were times that it seemed like it wasn’t going to happen. We would have to go down different routes, actually we have and the different routes of communication and reaching out to him have opened it for him to feel comfortable to move in these new areas. As I am writing this, he just started shouting ‘I fixed it by myself, I fixed it by myself!” He put together a play dough toy by himself. He then said ‘I wish I could do that Ariel” these are some great things to hear. He wants to try things on his own, his anxiety has lowered substantially, he feels confident in himself and his abilities, he is not afraid. He is happy and willing to try new things, currently (cycles, you know). He said to me the other day “I want a friend.” AND all of this is awesome! I am working on finding a group that would be a safe place to find a friend but the mere fact that he is ready for a friend is huge.

My heart leaps to see him so happy and free in being himself.


 

 

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Random Videos, Topics and Such

I watched the movie “Mary and Max” a while ago after reading a post about it on The Other Side. It has been such a while that I forgot all about it but while watching another video today, I saw this clip Max Explains Aspergers Syndrome and remembered how I enjoyed the film very much despite the sad parts and some parts that can be a bit too graphic for me at times. I was not in a “supersensitive” mode when I watched it. It really gave a great realization to being an Aspie in this world. I like finding similarities with others when I am feeling kind of alone in my world.

I really liked this poem “You Don’t See It” by Nicole Nicholson from Woman With Asperger’s blog.

Besides the bias toward aspie husbands, NT wives, the generated voice and the pitch for the book at the end I think that this video Help for Aspergers Couples  could be helpful in some ways for people.

I saw this video Autism and Wandering: An Important Message the other day about wandering and thought it would be a good video to share as well. I am not sure about my own position on the topic, I think there are too many things for me to try to wade through to try to make an opinion at this time but the video has some very good points. I have always been a wanderer, I still am. If my environment is too intense I wander. Whether it be emotionally, socially or sensory I will wander off and many times I do not even realize that I am doing so. As a child I scared my mother many times because of my wandering off, she later became extremely protective because one minute I was there the next I was gone. I won’t go into my sensory issues that caused me to wander but the are significant.

Growing up, I did not have the words to express when adults or children were treating me badly, I would wander away from them, I would get in trouble but not be able to explain myself and I was perceived as being disobedient. At times in the playground, I would wander off into the giant soccer fields and do my gymnastics, there were several times I refused to go back into to school. I didn’t want to go back in with the kids who had just made fun or me or mocked me for whatever reason. I could not explain that to my teachers because I had already been labeled as a trouble maker and I didn’t know how.

As an adult, I managed to help myself at work places by leaving for lunch or walking around outside during breaks to help the sense to get up and go throughout the day if overloaded. If I was focused nothing else would matter but if I was overloaded and unable to get out of the environment I would have meltdowns. I did not know then that it was from the stress of my sensory issues or the stress of social situations. I do not wander if I have the kids because I am focused but if someone else is with me and I feel the kids are safe, I may be seen wandering depending on the situation.

I read these articles and thought that they were beneficial as well.

This one I Feel for You is an excellent read and it articulates many things I have not been able to about my own Aspie/emotion relationship. This happens to be the biggest thing I am working through right now, trying to understand my emotions and not “feel” others.

Leaving The Ivory Tower Of Asperger Syndrome

Yesterday & Today: The Top Women Scientists (A special interest topic)

Understanding Behavior Through Social-Emotional Development

SOCIAL PROBLEMS: UNDERSTANDING EMOTIONS & DEVELOPING TALENTS

Who Cares What Women (or Men) Want—What Do You Want?

 


 

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