Sunday, June 5, 2011

Meeting the Challenge

Patches, the Hypersensitive Quat. Yes, this is really kind of what it feels like.

This morning the Anxiety was more like an amlulance wail than a smoke alarm, which was confusing, because I didn't have to be in to work until 11:30, and so I was able to sleep in. Usually those mornings are the better ones. On the other hand, the quality of my sleep this morning wasn't very good. In and out of consciousness, half asleep, half awake, crazy dreams that made no cognitive sense, you know the drill. Perhaps that had something to do with it.

Whatever the reason, I could feel it on my back like a physical thing. Knowing what it is (at last) helps to deal with it on an intellectual level -- but nothing dulls the hypersensitivity itself -- except alcohol, and I'm not going there.

I've started to make some changes, though. I've gone back to shaving and showering at night, instead of straight out of bed in the morning. As soon as I read back the post in which I described the effects of morning showers on me, I felt like I was living the old joke:

-- Doctor, it hurts when I do this!
-- Well, don't do that.

It means that I have to take more frequent showers, but this morning I was able to remind myself of the benefits: today would definitely been one of those where my morning shower felt like assault & battery. I patted myself on the back for that one, and thanked whatever it is we're thanking when we thank the Powers that Be.

I'm making the time to read; not every day, but that's the goal. Much more so than any other activity, including watching a good movie, this is calming, aids in decompression, soothes the spirit and fills up the empty places. Reading is a pleasure that I had mostly forgotten over the last six years and longer. The books piled up, but there was never the time for them. I've determined that has to change.

And, just today, I've begun making lists. In my current job, the only way I have been able to survive for the last four years has been to write everything down, make lists of every task that needs to be accomplished, sometimes with details of how to do it. If I didn't have these lists in front of me, work would be hopeless. If it's not on a physical sheet of paper, it falls out of my mind and doesn't get done. I really botched up a special order for a customer last month because I neglected to write anything down while I was on the phone with her. I ordered the book, but as soon as I'd done that some other thing popped up that needed my attention, and the mental note was gone the way of the Dodo. When the book arrived, we thought it was stock and it got shelved. No paper trail is the easiest way for me to get into big trouble.

And I found that, here in my new life, some of the same things were going on. I'd spend heaven knows how much time every day spinning my wheels, trying to think, for the third or fourth or fifth time, what it was I wanted to get accomplished.

Today at work, before my short shift ended, I took some scrap paper, made my first list for home, and tucked it into my pocket.

I've only checked off one and a half things so far, but it's more likely I'll get there if I don't have to waste time re-thinking the same stuff over and over.

If Asperger Syndrome is in part about making order out of chaos, the best thing I can do is try to live more "mindfully." I'm sure that I won't make it all the time, that there will be lapses. But the past year has been all about putting one foot in front of the other, and that I can mostly do -- even on a godawful morning like the one I had today.

-- Freder.

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