Just be different.

What are the messages that you have received throughout your life?

 

A few that reflect my life:

  • Just be different.
  • Just try harder.
  • Just do it .
  • It’s not that hard.
  • It’s not that big of deal.
  • Stop being so loud.
  • Stop scaring me, you are too loud.
  • …….etc etc.

So, I’m going to tell those, and all the people who have minimized my struggles or discounted my feelings (family included) to shove it.

Here are a list of things that I WANT to say but can’t. Or WANT to verbally explain but somehow can’t . They might be easy to write but not to get out in a way that makes sense, and me being in the same space as a person. I can’t do two things at a time (explain, express, and be present with you)

When  you are dealing with someone who might have difficulty with communication whether it be intermittent, or just when there are feelings triggered-keep a few things in mind.

Take sadness, discomfort, extreme happiness, grief, anything really except for “regular” neutral (flat) feelings. Does it appear the person suddenly is not engaging with you? Have they disconnected? I often feel a wash of extreme difficulty and can’t get words to my mouth and out. This doesn’t mean I’m shut off. Things are much more active in my head (a lot of thoughts, connections, patterns, considerations, etc) and just because I’m not engaged doesn’t mean I don’t care. It means the exact opposite often. It means I care terribly, and hurt, or  am upset, or affected, or am experiencing feelings along a more pleasurable level (respect someone, grateful, appreciative, nostalgic, etc).

I feel if people would ask me yes/no/i don’t know questions then there isn’t much “emotion” involved in those answers. I might not be able to manage a “I’m upset right now, and need some processing time, and disconnect from light/noise/people/expectations” but if you ask me if I’m having some feelings, I might be able to say “yes”. I won’t look at you or if you try to get me to stand in front of you while asking me, I won’t answer. I will leave, react angrily, or other and make it so that you stop doing what you are doing to me  . That might mean being in my space, intently looking at me, observing me, gauging what is going on, asking me open ended questions, being reactive/defensive, intruding on my thought process…etc.

Keep a comfortable distance. Ask do you want to be alone? Do you need processing time? I can’t always say yes and no, and sometimes I ignore you and shut it out. But the answers are happening inside my head. It doesn’t go down the right path to my mouth to get “out there.” If you step closer I might turn away more as if to hide. If you step away you might see me calm down a bit. I always feel like it’s like being claustrophobic but of people, of their questions, of their being around me, of noises, of smells, of expectations.

When things affect me I don’t want to gauge how or who I am. I want to process and work through how I know best. It means I want you to drop the expectations of me to be however I am supposed to be (what is the social norm or appropriate) and adapt to me and what I need.  I want space to be myself without feeling bad that I can’t be just like you or others or what is “expected” of me. It causes anxiety. Remove expectations of me to be a certain way or different. As long as you are around me I feel there is an expectation that I have to hold it together, and I will ultimately do things that are displeasing to you. Just let me be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fear of stupid.

Fear of being viewed as stupid.

Acknowledging all these things I can’t do. Well, not consistently. They aren’t “difficult” things. They are more mindless, annoying, and boring things that remind me of cardboard. Flat and uninteresting. Adaptive or independent functioning. Hmmm. I’m not stupid! (I want to yell). I can DO these things just not all together, and not all the time, and not today, and I don’t WANT to do them because they are soooooo boring that I will feel like gauging my eyeballs out if I have to. Well, not that far but you get the idea. And some of it…it’s too hard to keep track of all these little things that I should do. If I have to “think” about it and it not be automatic, then things are hard and difficult.

Routine, established creates music. A flow, a dance in the day. Gently gliding to the next expected thing. But, it is not routine. It is not automatic here. It’s chaos. Internal, and sometimes external. It’s too loud. There is too much movement.

I struggle and say I need help. Not with everything but a “somewhere” to start. I need a bit of a director/leader. Someone to help me start and say hey, let’s map out (brainstorm/mind maps) all the major things going on, or what we have to do and get a good grasp on where we are and what direction to take. I can’t “start” and “organize” enough to get this done from step 1 to step done. I tell my spouse I need this. Not that over there, but this. Please help me. I want to feel I can accomplish something. That I am in control of something. Don’t do all that other stuff, please. Help me feel empowered. But…there is anger and defensiveness. I can’t express what it is that I need, and why and how that is different from just doing things “for” me and giving me “breaks” from our family life, time to myself….

I wish I could print out detailed flash cards of pictures in my mind to show him. That would be so much easier. Flash, flash,flash….then you have enough information to “understand” what I am trying to explain in stupid english words. God, I hated English in school….(yes, English is my first language).

Back to being stupid. It’s my biggest insecurity. I could not express myself, and felt dumb. People thought I was “dumber” (haha) or just shy, or not that smart. I hate that. It’s because I don’t have a need to show off myself and also don’t have the verbal skills to really demonstrate things that I know or understand or see.  I have anxiety over being viewed as stupid. As being “low” and “dumb”….I’m tired of people being condescending…

And lately I have to admit that I can’t do certain things. But, I can…in certain times….I struggle to accept defeat.

 

 

 

I promise I care.

I don’t want you to feel bad. I don’t like to make anyone feel bad. I can’t help but make you feel bad. 

I do care. I know out there it doesn’t seem like it. I do all the things that make you feel I don’t care but I do. I care intensely. Somuch that things get too fuzzy, and I don’t have words to put to things I feel and see. I care. I know I care about me more. I am not a narcissist. It’s something else.

When you talk to me about important things or difficult subjects-it feels like there is lightning flashing out there beside me. I have to look at it. It’s distracting me. It’s taking my attention away. It’s so fascinating that I can’t get down to you, in front, focused, and feel something about what you are trying to say to me. I hear mumbles of the words and nod my head and try to glance at you like I am paying attention. I am cut off from those feelings in this moment. I try not to go there. I hate that intensity. I don’t want to open that door right now. I can’t adjust after. I need to just do things. I can’t have all those “things” (emotions and complexities) clogging my brain up right now….I must survive today. I must accomplish something…please stop.

I’m busy, I say. Sorry, I care but I’m just so distracted today. Oh, ugh, can’t concentrate right now….remind me in a few, Ic an’t manage this right now. I’m trying to do xyz. I’ll do this first then be able to listen. Or talk. I can focus later….not right now please…can you go do xyz please first, do you mind? You see, I have an art of distraction….it has and serves a purpose.

For myself, and for others.

I distract you so I don’t have to deal with what was going to come. I panicked. I appear aloof. Busy, distracted. In my own little world. I try to come out sometimes. I hate when you try to pull me out. Exhausting. Hard. I want to stay where I am. It’s cozy. It’s comfortable. I hate that cold space out there. The unknown. The exhausting. I hate gauging.

Myself, and others. I just want to be myself. But, I hurt you. I hurt others. I appear I don’t care. I don’t do the things I am “supposed” to do. To make you feel better. To drop my things in my head and care. To feel that. I don’t understand. I can feel my things more. More intensely. I don’t want to be unkind. So, let’s just not talk about it. I hate to feel I am selfish. That I am not empathetic. Because I do care. I care. I care. I care. 

I just don’t seem like I do. No one knows me.

 

 

A day full of crying

I don’t want to “talk” about the difficulties of participating in “outside life” because you wouldn’t understand. What may appear to be just trivial, frivolous, silly, child-like, or over exaggeration to you-it is piercing high in difficulty for me.

I feel stupid that these things are barriers for me. I don’t want to tell anyone about them. It’s embarrassing. I have to admit that although I sometimes feel that I could have been someone, something, or participating in things that I enjoy (research, analysis, policy-creation, etc)-I could not demonstrate my understandings and knowledge very well. I can’t “show” what’s inside. Then, I have these things-these “barriers” that I have to dodge at all times while trying to manage those wants (higher education, purpose, continued focus in things that interest me). Like playing Pacman…. It’s exhausting.

I give up. Often. It’s easier to not “try” to be outside, and something that I am not (but secretly really want to be). I am tired of feeling invalidated, discounted, “stupid.” Why even my Drs act in a way that tells me they think I am “mentally handicapped” (“focus on your breathing when stressed…. all people feel this way….it’s not so bad”) They just don’t “get” it.

I love outdoors. I love nature. I love the sounds of birds, and the smell of the trees and fresh air. But, I hate the slight wind on my face. The irritation of wind in my hair, or on my skin. Or the bright light even on a cloudy day. I can’t move without sunglasses. Then, my fingers and toes are frozen and I can’t concentrate. Wait, that wind is just slightly brushing up against my cheek and a strand of hair falls out of my bun and hits me near my mouth. Raging anger over things needing to stop. Stop, bugging me. Stop, interrupting me. Stop, feeling so entirely disgusting and upsetting, and volatile. It’s either too cold out or too hot. Then, my sock feels funny, and I can’t concentrate while trying to tend to my  little ones (children) . It’s so much work. I just want to absorb into myself.

I hate the guilt I feel. About not wanting to deal with anyone else’s needs. Of just barely able to look after them. Of not being able to be that person I so want to be : energetic, fun, organized, not scattered. Not stressed because I can”think” and also because these sensory things are driving me so up the wall that I break down. I can’t manage well.

Where does one go when they have realized that they just can’t do life. I can’t “do” work, school, motherhood, basic daily things I can’t look after. What does one look forward to when all those little dreams are gone because for my entire lifetime of struggle, I didn’t get anywhere.

I couldn’t become different.

The chicken or the egg.

In the past I thought it was inattention, or what I call “scattered” brain. AKA “I can’t think…” (a common spoken phrase).

Whether it’s a fairly new friend, or someone I haven’t seen in awhile, or someone I am meeting for the first time, or the Doctor, or someone in my space (home) for some reason….I have always been like this : I end up moving about, hard to make small talk, don’t look at the person much, appear busy or thinking about something, can’t maintain intense face contact/eye contact. What I realized is that I used to think it was my “nerves” (anxiety) that caused that behaviour but suddenly it’s becoming clear that it’s not, and the anxiety is because I am doing “this stuff” and I can’t “not” be like me, and it’s what makes me feel weird, disconnected, like a non-human robot type person without a nice “flow” to conversing. Is it the newness and nerves that cause the lack of being able to connect with small talk etc? I hate it. I WANT that, to feel like what I see other people do and see on tv shows etc. But, I can’t. And I feel “squirrely” about it, then I get nerves because I know it’s happening and I feel someone is going to pick up on it. My saying is “being weird.” I have self-esteem issues pertaining to (or an internalized thing) feeling “weird” and people noticing it.

I have always had anxiety. I have always had mass quick processing but slow verbal output or ability to show those “smarts” (or knowledge for example). I think a huge amount in patterns, pictures, diagrams, stills from a movie scene (like). Summing up a bunch of things that I recognize as pictures (say an uncomfortable meeting, shyness, etc) but can’t quite eloquently describe what I see/feeling.

So, I am wondering: did the anxiety response come after I experience or interpret things in a certain way? I , possibly naively thought that nerves and anxiety just “happened” with me and that the end result was my “weird” stuff. But, I have moments where I am not feeling like that inside. It takes a lot, trust wise. I can’t quite put my finger on it but it’s something that I have only just noticed and realize I have always done this but surprised I didn’t realize that anxiety  is the response of something else…maybe I’m just overly confusing and scattered today.

One of the things that it resembles is my huge phobia of people focusing on me, paying attention, analyzing me, watching me. If I think I am being evaluated, performance-wise or other…I have an intense block.  I can’t speak in front of people, I have hard time in groups but often, better in  a small group because I can sense other people’s nerves or things like that and not all the focus is on me. I have serious issues with compliments, and am considered quite modest. Not conservative, mind you but modest. I don’t liek any attention to me except for some small things that my partner pays to me, but as long as it’s not too much, and when I have moments that I need a particular type of closeness (not too touchy, but lean, and relaxing, no expectations). As soon as I sense a change in expectation, normal with relationships-I get this huge block. Like, I’m that weird robot person not sure how to act right now. If I don’t know what to expect, say in a group or meeting or something-I cannot go. I don’t know how to act, talk, be. The funny thing is that I never considered myself to be one that took on other people’s personalities. I don’t. I have  a distinct “me” personality. It’s more like trying to connect and be part of like other people, sensation? Like adjust and adapt a bit of what I can, and if not-I have to run. (bolt) and not be there, or not have too much.

I get this funny picture in my head. Like the chicken or the egg saying. Which came first? Is this me, and my anxieties, behaviours come as a result of “me” or is it anxieties, and inattention, distractibility that are there first and cause “me” as a result. Hmmm. Maybe writing it out makes it sound like I’m crazy. Another such issue with describing these feeling picture things.

Screenshots. A working copy.

Letters float out of my mouth and out into space

Rising to the top, bursting and disappearing like bubbles

They aren’t describing my pictures

Pictures like screenshots

Quick snapshot pictures

Sometimes layered together quickly

Movie-like

An lengthy novel of feelings and opinions, patterns, and realizations

Exemplified in a series of short screenshots inside

10 seconds in, I’ve read that 500 page novel.

I understand a lot. Feelings, Relations, Circumstances, Errors…

Can’t summarize my screenshots well. How one makes letters to words to feelings to come out -floating from their mouth to someone else’s mind and they understand what you are expressing. Slim.

Using analogies and metaphors, and waving my hands and fingers in the air to draw examples in front of me off to the side to the left. Like right here (drawing diagram).

Trying desperately to not sound crazy.

Back to our..

Difficulties in our communication (together)

My pictures and screenshots layer faster. Your words don’t match my inside flashes, like stills from a movie. I get confused. I’m trying to clarify. Unsuccessfully.

I can no longer look at you. I need to go now.

To look and concentrate on my stills, my screenshot pictures, my simply drawn diagrams that express a multitude of experiences or feelings that add up or get mixed up.

I can no longer be interrupted. Do not touch me. No, do not hug me. No, I’m not needing reassurance. No, I’m not needing affection. Yuck. No, I can’t talk with you, no. Stop looking at me. I’m getting anxiety. I need to run. Away. I need my safe space. Where is my cat. Why don’t I have an area free of things, free of people, free of too many colours and sounds. I can’t express these things. No, you haven’t made me feel bad. I’m having difficulty inside, to get it outside. I don’t get why I can’t be different. My frown on my face is back-deep concentration inside. I don’t see things around me anymore. Was I cooking? I can’t even remember to ask myself this.

Trying to avoid sympathetic overly intense , gone on too long eyes. Stop. Let me do my own thing. Leave me alone. That ticking inside the dryer. Is driving me crazy right now too. Shooting at me like darts.

All I can muster besides slight grunts and sound effects is “I’m FINE”…I know I am not. But, I this is every day. I’m tired of it. I just don’t want to be around humans. No, I’m not crazy, I feel like sometimes they clog my head up with too much information.

Us, people. Too complicated.

The Doctor

Good morning, Theresnoquestion. Take a seat. How have you been? Tell me what’s been happening since the last time you were here.

(Remember to face body towards him. Appear interested. Don’t wiggle. Don’t look like I have shifty eyes. Look somewhere around his face. This is important to describe.  You want him to listen to you. The spiderwebs inside. Not sure where to start. Difficult. Can’t express emotion verbally. Wish I could write you instead. Oh, try not to look too distracted. Look at his mouth moving when he’s talking. He’s sitting there with his notepad. Appears relaxed. Okay. Maybe it’s okay. I need this. I want this. I need someone to understand. The complexities inside. Impacting everything since forever. I want someone to tell me why I can’t be different. Oh, shit, don’t zone out. Look at face. Wow, his mouth moves not very much when he is talking. His eyebrows go up and his head tilts a tad. Oh, I am supposed to answer a question. What did he just say? Stop looking at me, I can’t think. Um….Okay, look to the left so I can concentrate and think.)

I’ve been okay. Can’t function very well. (the rabbit hole. Words are unimportant. Tell him about being at the bottom of the rabbit hole. The weight above that keeps my arms and legs tied, and my mouth gagged, and at the same time how something is yanking at my hair, my skin, that I just want to learn to be up top, different. I want to learn to be close to people. I don’t want to be weird, or scared, or overwhelmed by sensory stuff. Tell him that. How I can’t be warm like people are supposed to , well when it matters. Faking it. Masking things. Taking on persona when needed. About, feeling incompetent. And really want to just do “my things”. I don’t want to look after children or myself or my home or the world stuff I should try to do. Wait, am I talking? Did I just zone out? Is he looking at me strangely? Glance over to him. He’s looking a bit like he’s waiting for something. Maybe I just stopped talking. Um…I’m feeling really like I want to run. Like the room is on fire and I should run. Oh, um. okay.) I’m just having difficulty and can’t manage very well.

I see. Tell me more about how you feel you are’t managing very well.

Okay. Well, I have all these sensory things. And I can’t stop doing these things.

What things?

Oh, like…ugh, I don’t know. Like I can’t stop researching things I like, and I don’t want to deal with people. Including my children. And I feel guilty about it cause I know I should be different. I just want to zone out. And pull my hair or pet the cat, or be by self.

I see. How long have you not been working or out of the home?

Um….five….five years. ( Oh shit. he thinks I’m complaining because I’m bored. His legs shift. A slight sigh escapes from his breath out. I see a slight movement from his mouth . I think he is thinking about how to respond in a not-so-direct opinion/way. He is looking at his paper. He asks if I ever meditate. Why is he asking me this? Doesn’t he care to go deeper, help me dive down, I have  issues with explaining, or describing, or what the feelings are, or the things I have issues with. Why did he turn his body away towards his desk. He is writing something. I think he’s annoyed with me. He looks up. I take it for a second to make it look like I care and pay attention. I glance away and look at bookcase. Wow, I would like to read those books. Why can’t we talk about something more interesting like that book. I wonder if they pay for those. That dmv dvs or whatever it is called. I wonder if he even uses it. I wonder if the library has that, I never thought to look. Shit, I forgot to bring those books and dvds back. Ugh, I’m never going back in there. I lost three items the past month. I just want to pay for them and forget about it but I guess I have to go into the library to pay and then I would have to try to like shower and get dressed and think too much of how to be out there and it’s exhausting and ugh…I might have a panic attack for having to do all that and I hate feeling even more crappy than I am………)

So, what medication are you on? I see we adjusted it back in October. Have you ever tried medication A, medication B, C, D, E, F , G, H or any of those types on top? Do you have trouble sleeping? They can help. 

Um…no…..I don’t want to try those and I’m sleeping fine. I actually have hypersomnia so I don’t want any more reasons to be more tired in day.  I want to find out why I’m having so many issues, and have always had them. I don’t think adding more meds are going to help me be intimate, or responsive, or want to participate out there in the world more..it’s not going to quiet things down. Things are too loud. Too bright. Too fast. Sickening. I feel sick, nauseas, like carsick . 

(He thinks I’m just having more anxiety. Ugh. Why is he talking like that? His pitch sounds different. He’s annoyed with me. Maybe I’m over reacting. Reading too much into things. Nope. His brow looks frumpled. His legs and his arms are different. He’s leaning towards his desk and paper. He does these things. On sides of face, in the wrinkles. In hands, and body parts and his voice that was like this—————— is more like this —-____——_____—-_____. Well, a bit different in the picture but my keyboard won’t draw it like I see it. He lets out a big breath like he’s tired or I’ve made him annoyed. Those are weird socks to wear with those pants at work for a dr. Look his shoes are dirty. Maybe he isn’t such a type A perfectionist. I wonder how he got through all this schooling without being a perfectionist. Maybe he just doesn’t have time anymore to have clean shoes because there are so many people to see. I wonder if they think I’m dumb. I hate that. I have to play even more dumb for them to listen to me. This is pointless. Once again. I feel like crying. I can’t explain why. I want to go in a room by self and cry. No one understands. I can’t explain things. They are in pictures. I’m sad.)

Okay, well let’s just leave your medication at what it is now. Try to deep breathe and maybe look into meditation. It can help. I’ll see you in say about 6-8 weeks for a follow-up.

Okay. But, what do I do about all the sensory things I have. Always had. I don’t know how to make it stop. I’m having  lot of issues with them. (ugh, I can’t explain anything to him. Or anyone. The touch. Sounds. Lights. Temperatures. Movements. Talking. I hate words floating out there bugging my brain. Can’t they  know I’m trying to learn something? Hate talking about emotional stuff, ugh excruciating.)

(Sigh.) Meditation can stop the …..thoughts. The constant thoughts. Practice it.

Okay. I’ll do that. Thanks. (Smile. Look appreciative. Look towards Doctor. I don’t want him thinking I’m being hostile. Another useless appointment…I feel sad. Confused….embarrassed…..why bother talking…..)