Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Faking it. A quick guide for the literals.

You've never know real despair until you are forced to have a very candid conversation with your best friend (who is also your dog) (who is also your ONLY friend) about depression, as she she drinks bathwater off the floor after loyally following you to your second shower of the day. As you blatantly lie to her snout and tell her you are okay, when you are in fact, falling apart.

It isn't that you are in denial or embarrassed. No. You just cannot bear to have your furry counterpart bear witness to even an ounce of whatever this feeling is. It's my own fault anyway. I'm not one of those people who are unaware of the collateral damage of their actions. I am one of those who are fully conscious of everything I do as I do it. My mind has the ability to send thoughts in and out faster than the speed of light, so trust me when I tell you I have plenty of time when it comes to premeditation. And that is the very thing that causes me to come down so hard on myself. I can never say  I didn't know. I always know. I just do it anyway.

I think if I ever had to even attempt to explain to anyone just how extensive my thought processes extend, this would be a perfect example.

I have recently taken up regular meditation. It helps with so many things and I really do find that I get a lot of relief from my anxiety with  it. I am, for all intents and purposes, a natural worrier. A clear mind for meditation isn't something that comes natural to me. So to aid in that process, I started using some guided meditation videos I found on youtube.

So the way that works for me is that I lay down in my bed and press play and close my eyes, listening to whatever directions the narrator of the video gives. Sounds simple enough right?

Hmmmm...not so much.

So this new video I was using uses the Angel Gabriel as a point of focus. I'm not a particularly religious person, but I have always admired the Angel Gabriel since I was a kid. (he was just so cherubic)  So anyway, the narrator tells the listener to imagine the Angel Gabriel in front of them.

Ok here goes.

I close my eyes. Trying to imagine an angel making its way through my bedroom doorway.
Wait what? Hold up. An angel in my bedroom?   Has this lady taken into consideration the size of the average doorframe and the actual wingspan of an angel?

Golden light. Long Shimmering cloak.

My mind starts to wander again.

What if he knocks something over with his wings? Where will he sit? Will he want to sit? What will my dog think? Does he like dogs? Do Angels like snacks?

The narrators soft voice prompts me to relax and breathe deep.

 Um hello has anyone noticed theres an angel in my room.

You get the point. It's a disease. Call it anxiety. Call it paranoia.Call it depression. Call it anything you want. The wheels are always turning in this egg of mine, and I have come to accept there's no way I can pretend otherwise.

Until next time...

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Back in the saddle

I figure now is as good a time as any to start this up again. It's true. Writing is a form of therapy. Especially if you are someone like me. Too proud to succumb to the magic of big pharma, yet still too raw and vulnerable to be accepted by the outside world.

I stayed away for a long time. And honestly, I don't know why. I was scared I had lost my drive. And the thing is looking back, it wasn't just the drive to write that I lost, it was my drive to live. To keep going. I'm not saying I wanted to die, don't get me wrong. I'm saying that for a while, nothing really mattered in my life....(well one thing did and we will get to that later.) And if I had to be perfectly honest, if I had to imagine, this was a feeling probably far worse than the feeling of wanting to die.

I'm 37 years old and I just Googled "mid life crisis". I'm willing to bet that if I searched long enough, like past the second page of the Google search (no man's land), I could pull up some kind of article where someone my age fell apart.

I just want to get to my happy ending.

So where should I start? I think I read somewhere that the best place to start is actually right where you are. I'd like to think whoever said that was onto something, so here goes nothing.

(Insert cliche warning label to describe yourself here)

In order to really start writing I think a certain part of you, albeit a miniscule cell of your being, has to believe in you. Lets face it writing isn't for the faint of heart. It takes dedication, persistence and a shit ton of bravery to expose parts of you in any creative outlet for that matter. But there is something very deliberate and conscious about writing that enables you to continue the act over a period of time. In that exists the ability to trust yourself and be able to listen and believe in yourself enough to share your thoughts with the rest of the world.

Even if you actually suck in real life, a part of you must be totally convinced of the opposite in order to be able to pick that pen up and write.

I only know this because I've felt it, if only for a while. Which is what I was leading up to. This belief, this speck of blind faith and hope that is your lifeline to the rest of this God forsaken world, can actually vanish. In an instant. Just like that.

And not until it's gone do you begin to realize its existence, the importance of its existence, and how hard it is to get it back.

This is where my story begins.
This is where I am.

Start here .......

Thursday, February 4, 2016


It has been a while since I've written. I apologize if anyone missed me. One of the hallmark factors in my Aspergers is my ability to hyperfocus. Sometimes this hyperfocus can do more harm than good, unfortunately.

I am a doer. I write lists. Lots of them, because another habit I have been struck with is the unfortunate practice of misplacing things.

So for every 5 lists, I lose 4. I need lists to keep track of my lists when it comes right down to it.

I digress. I am avoiding the subject at hand here.

So back to my hyper focus. Here's the thing. It has, for the better part of my existence served me in many ways as a benefit.

Take for example my health habits. Circa 8 or 9 years ago you could find me digging for change at any local drive thru. While today, I wouldn't be caught dead eating anything that isn't labeled non GMO.

I attribute this shift in my eating habits to a documentary I watched on the food industry, and how it is directly related to physical and even some mental illness. That what I was putting in my body was causing detrimental effects and there were hard facts to prove that. That was enough for me to engage in a complete overhaul of my health habits.

My ability to hyper focus on the elements of healthy daily living was what essentially led me to lose 40 pounds, quit smoking, go off all anti anxiety and and antidepressants and become a healthy, active vegetarian. This...all at once, no turning back or slipping. I was all in.

I realize changes like this are not exactly easy for everyone. So in this aspect my hyper focus is an asset to my personality.

Sometimes though, I have the tendency to focus on things that are unfortunately not so healthy, like toxic relationships.

I haven't figured out exactly what it it is that draws me in about certain people, but I have been able to pick up on a pattern at least.

One of the first things that happens is all my healthy habits like writing, reading and exercise fall to the wayside and my hyper focus turns obsession. My existence becomes solely and completely about this toxic person. I refer to them exclusively as toxic here because the pattern has suggested that my healthy relationship do not produce these kinds of effects.

At first, its very subtle. I tell myself I'm socializing and at best, this is a positive thing. Right?

Then, little by little the excuses and rationalizations begin to trickle in. I find myself saying:

“Its okay to take a break”
“ I'll get back to it next week”
“Its good for my writing to have these kinds of experiences”

When, in all reality, none of this proves to be an accurate interpretation of whats to be.

This is, by far, honestly, the longest I have allowed myself to stay away and to be completely candid, it has been incredibly scary.

Those habits keep me healthy. Without them, things can get ugly very quickly.

I become depressed. Anxious. Disconnected. Groggy. And start to feel lost.
It's not easy.

It's also not easy to admit that I am capable of allowing these things to happen, being conscious while they are happening and not immediately forcing myself back on track because well, sometimes, it's easier not to care about everything, including myself.

It's hard for me to admit this.

It has taken years of self work to build up my resilience and in an instant I allow a single person to obliterate all of it.

But this is my reality.
It has forced me away from the person I try very deliberately to be, every day of my life. It happens more often than I like to admit.
As of today, I haven't made any moves in either direction. Where I want to be or where should be.
I'm still trying to figure it all out.
All I can hope for is that when all is said and done, I still have enough left inside to forgive me,no matter how long the process takes to get back on track to healthy.
Until next time,Stay weird.

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Hardest Part of Aspergers Isn't Always Socialization

Socialization isn't always the hardest part of Aspergers for me. For as long as I can remember, I have had a harder time with the period immediately following a social encounter, than the actual encounter itself.

For example, recently, I met a new guy. We spent the night together (no funny stuff just a sleepover). It was a renewing feeling. I felt happy. Save for some minor confusion in body language and intention, I thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent together.

I noticed that about an hour after he left, my mood began to decline. I went from cuddly and euphoric to melancholy and volatile.

I attribute this disturbance to two things. First, the extreme exhaustion of having to carry on like a NT around a person unaware of my diagnosis for any extended period of time, and the added fatigue from the expended effort of censoring my thoughts, words and actions in their presence.

The second aspect I attribute to this difficulty is the transition from being in good company then going back to lonely. This all but kills me.

I know how it could look like I don't enjoy being around other people. But in reality, it is the feeling that directly follows time spent that forces me into hermit mode and discourages me from future encounters.

It is frustrating. I cry. I feel overwhelmed. I question every word said and every action wondering if I have said something to make them never want to come back again. I feel confused. Lonely. Wonder why I can't just be normal. I become angry with myself for not learning faster and understanding better.
I feel guilty for slipping. For not staying on top of my symptoms. Pretending to be normal. For allowing myself to become distracted. For thinking for a minute this may actually be the time things work. I feel angry for being vulnerable and convincing myself I would finally feel understood and loved and accepted for exactly who I am when nobody's watching. For letting my guard down. For thinking this was the only way I would find somebody who would actually be afraid to lose that version of me. The one I try so desperately to be comfortably.

I snap a ribbon around my wrist to stay centered. My wrists are always the first place I look for answers. I've never tried that route. I'm lucky for that. The ribbon reminds me.

That is the hardest part of Aspergers for me.  

Monday, January 4, 2016

Tweezer Happy

I have a habit of being a little tweezer happy. My kids make fun of me saying my eyebrows are disappearing. I try and defend my actions but really I have no explanation. Maybe its just my love hate relationship with perfection.

Maybe it stems from my need for clear lines to be drawn. I cant say for sure. But every time I stand in front of my mirror in my 5x5 beach themed lavatory hideaway, I am inundated with the urge to tweeze.

I wasn't always a plucker. Not until my sister introduced me to the tweezers anyway. I used to have caterpillars resting on the folds of my brow bones and truthfully, I was quite fond of them.

Growing up I was the kid with a million faces. (not the schizophrenic kind) I was hard evidence there was a physical, tangible expression for every known emotion.

One year, when I was about 12 , my parents sent me to a church sleep away camp somewhere in the middle of Illinois. I hated every minute of it. I spent most of the time being sick because of the kitchen staff's inability to acknowledge my lengthy list of dietary limitations.

At the end of the two week stint in the middle of nowhere, when all my canteen money was sucked dry by a sneaky staff member for her cigarette stash, the only thing I had left to look forward to was the award ceremony on the last night before departure. Surely I could salvage some small bit of memory to pass down to the future generations that would follow me.

That night, the entire camp staff and campers piled into the mess hall for the ceremony. I sat at the table closest to the exit so I could receive my award humbly, and make my immediate getaway. Little did I know I would be leaving the mess hall minus my dignity.

The ceremony dragged on like all those ear piercing events have the tendency of doing. Since I was in the upper echelon of age brackets, we were three hours in when they finally called my bunk. I waited with patience and excitement for my chance at fulfillment.

Turns out, I was so busy trying to imagine how I would look standing on the stage, I almost missed them called my name.

“And the award for the craziest bunch of faces goes to....Emily Klein”

Wait what? Craziest faces? Not the bravest? Certainly all my solo trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night had to be recognized? Was I being mocked? Or was my collagen elasticity really a call for some kind of celebration?

I was so stunned I forgot all about the way I rehearsed my procession to the stage, and I stumbled up and ripped the blue ribbon from Sister Bernadette's holy fingers and returned to my seat to recalibrate.

Ever since that day, I developed a new appreciation for my ability to morph my face to match any given situation, considering I'm probably one of the only people to be able to merit such recognition. I like to think my eyebrows have played a role in this.

Somehow, I cant help but think the state of my changing faces has more to do with my confusion than my ability at mastering anything.

Nobody needs to know that though.
So I'm just going to keep on plucking as I see fit. After all, I have a reputation to keep up with.
Until next time, stay weird.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Hopeless Holidays

As far as holidays are concerned, they can more or less kiss my ass. This, of course is just a temporary fleeting thing. I hope.

Listen, I'm all about rituals, predictability and repetition. The thing is, even as consistent as a calendar date can be, the holidays themselves are never this way.

Let me start off by saying I have recently come to the realization that a shitty dysfunctional family is better than no family at all. I have operated under the assumption that everyone's family was just so much more put together than my own for far too long. I have many friends (people I know actually ) with no family. No parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, grannys or gramps. This has started to, however unwillingly, snuggle me under a blanket full of guilt- terribly uncomfortably I might add-every time I think of uttering the tiniest bit of complacency about the barren branches of my family tree.

I am 36 years old and since 35 is the new 25, I feel its not too late to turn over this new leaf.

But time changes people. In the same way I finally made my dive into deliverance, I unexpectedly encountered some twists in my family members allegiance.

It all started Christmas Eve with an exchange of gifts that well, didn't include me. I'm old enough to understand that its not all about the gifts, but honestly I would have been happy walking out with a toothbrush at that point. Leaving empty handed made me feel a particular kind of sadness-not the no gift part-but feeling like nobody really thought about me. To add insult to injury a few things I purchased for an unnamed member ended up crumbled up in a ball behind the lazy boy- directly next to my rekindled hope for family and holidays.

So after Christmas Eve was a wash, I decided to shrug it off and start new bright and early-5am to be exact-until my son decided he had other plans and woke up sick. On Christmas. Such a disappointment.
Turns out that a few of us came down with food poisoning from a pie that may or may not have been past its expiration.

At any rate, I spent the whole day in my pajamas sulking. My plans were derailed and that sent me into a kind of downward spiral common in Aspies. Not only had I already been let down the day before and made the attempt to boost my own spirits purely on a new days expectations, it was happening all over again.

I sat in bed thinking of all the ways everything around me sucked, scrolling through social media news feeds with my jaw clenched bearing witness to the rest of the world's happiness while simultaneously reminding myself to stay grateful and present. So much for that.

Good news is I got over it. With some extra sleep and cookies things started to return to almost normal over on my end of the spectrum.

I am not looking forward to the next holiday, however, and will be making an attempt at a real life disappearing act-at least until after the ball drops. Because once the media driven madness comes down to a dull roar, I can return to my musings and my life as a cynical spectator. Until next time. Stay weird.

Monday, December 21, 2015

When heavy feels like lucky

I got the message sitting frozen on the bleachers at my daughters soccer practice. The little girl who was hit by a car around the block earlier this week died today, my daughter text. My heart shattered, even though I didn't personally know her. She went to school with my son. That was close enough. Too close almost.

In the five years we have lived here, six children have died from either terminal illness or tragic accident. That's the thing about living in a small town. Tragedy is condensed. There's only a few degrees of separation between everyone. News travels fast here. Sometimes its for the worst, others the better.

It's times like this that really get me thinking. I feel guilty about any kind of complaining. It makes me take a longer harder look at my own blessings, stare them straight in the face(always a challenge) for a reality check about the things I should be grateful to have.

Society doesn't make it easy. We are inundated with tv ads and social media telling us who we should be. Telling us what should make us happy. I'll admit, I've been guilty of it. Resentful of the girl with the job she loves, the gorgeous home, loving attentive husband and well behaved kids. Hell yeah I'd want that.

That's also what society wants me to think.

It's human nature to want the next best thing, it's what keeps us moving and prevents stagnation.

The truth is, in times like this, more than ever, my eyes are wide open. As bad as things may seem, someone always has it worse.

It's like when I was little. Every night before I went to sleep my sister and I used to tell each other one thing we had to be happy about or look forward to. These were the thoughts we fell asleep to.

I think back to those days and say maybe we weren't that far off. But I wonder at the same time, if as a society we spend too much time fantasizing and worrying about the future we lose sense of the present. We miss those moments, and we cant get them back.

A family within a few miles of me is mourning the death of a child. Every time they drive by that telephone pole in town they will think of their daughter. The last place they saw her. I'll jog past that same pole everyday and think God damnit I'm lucky. I'll still feel a heavy sadness, but I still get to go home to my kids. Honestly, I cant think of anything else that's more important.