Brain Dump – End of Winter Edition

I write this post for several reasons; some are valid, more are beyond my control and so I’m left with unloading things in text and i can’t write them by hand since my brain moves too fast for my hands to keep up and typing satisfies the desire to hit something (keyboard).

So we are now into a Saturn retrograde after spending half of Sat in Cap season putting edges and boundaries in place, to having things go backwards and retrace the step i’ve been plodding in for the last few months. Which, considering my goal for this astrological event was to get my life in some semblance of order, is working?
My life is just as chaotic and disorganized as ever but at least now i have a written record of all the stuff i’m trying to keep track of. Shit’s still messed up but now it’s obvious why – THERE’S SO MUCH OF IT.

I know better how to prioritize tasks, how to set up blocks of time to get things done to completion rather than start 5 things and finish nothing.
still struggling to stay on task at work with distractions, and then there’s setting up an evening routine/ tasks for working from home on my days off.
I DID learn the difference between procrastination and executive function, and that’s been a huge game changer.

Over the winter i also followed a rabbit trail of research into figuring out how my brain works (or rather doesn’t) and learning hacks or tricks for working around this deficit. In following the research and executive functioning guides, a nagging feeling that I’d stumbled onto a deeper mystery kept me going farther.

I had suspicions that it was more than dyscalculia, more than ADHD (which runs on my dad’s family like dark eyes and high cholesterol), more than just a failure to adult. There was more to the strange ways my brain worked and filtered input from the world. There was a method under all the madness and coping skills for executive dysfunction opened up a world of diagnostic possibilities, if I had the money and time to demand tests from a doctor. But I don’t have either of those and my health insurance doesn’t need to know that shit either…

So I dove into the realms of self-diagnosis. I trust my intellect and method of learning/absorbing info. I’ve had 30 years to perfect it and I know my own internal BS detector is very strong. I will subject any piece of dubious info to full scrutiny and if i don’t find any plausible research or anecdotes to back it up to my satisfaction (95% resonance or higher) then it gets scrapped.

It didn’t take long for searches for “Female ADHD” to turn up “Female ASD” and “Female Aspergers” in the results. And just like that, a massive chunk of my Life Puzzle fell exactly in to place.

I am Aspie.
I am autistic.
It explains EVERYTHING.

There were things I never told my parents about how my mind worked because I literally had no words for it, or rather I had the vocabulary but not the grammar or syntax to describe what i was experiencing. When your brain regularly shuts down from overload, stress, emotional short-circuit, or just because the wind blew out of the North east it’s nearly impossible to explain to someone badgering you for a coherent response.
Emotional outbursts are a regular threat, that I manage to control by keeping myself in tight check. It’s not emotionally healthy, but it’s what I had to do. (CANNABIS HELPS ME *EXIST* WITHOUT JUDGEMENT)

Not knowing if the tightness in my chest is anxiety or excitement, because whenever I reacted to either as a child i was told to settle down. No one explained or described what emotions or feelings PHYSICALLY FELT LIKE, so when they asked “What’s wrong? Are you OK?” the only answer i could give was “I don’t know.”

I will never “grow out of it”, it’s how I’m wired from birth.
But I can be more compassionate with myself.

The only reason I “understand” body language and sarcasm is because I studied facial expressions and dynamic posture TO MAKE MY ART MORE EXPRESSIVE. Manga art books were full of exaggerated expressions (which is kind of the point behind the whole art style) and it gave me a reference to at least what facial contortions could be interpreted as emotions. I was still just guessing when it came time to practice.

I WAS diagnosed with physical sensory issues when I was little, and got PT to help put those filters back in place. I remember being so uncomfortable in a physical body, everything in the world had me overloaded and itchy tags or tight shoes were like painful brain static that made me lash out. So I got help to dull the physical sensory overload, but they forgot about visual/auditory/emotional overloads.

Just the other week, Mom-in-Law flipped out on me when I took her seriously when she “joked” about having thrown my dinner leftovers away. It was such an incongruous thing for her to say (and b/c other people have actually pulled that shit on me in the past) that my brain came to a screeching halt and for a few moments I believed her. She didn’t know that I take the people I trust at face value BECAUSE I KNOW I CAN TRUST THEM. Her “joke” threw me back into an instant PTSD-replay of everytime in my life that I fell for a move like that. It happened A LOT. I didn’t want to cry, but was powerless to stop as I fully realized that it wasn’t my “not getting the joke” all those years, it truly was other people being cruel to me.
(Am I “too sensitive” or is the world that callous? I’m beginning to believe the latter.)

Wearing a Normal Person mask is exhausting.
Being able to take it off and accept my default Aspie setting is nothing short of a RELIEF.
Having a partner who not only accepted my tentative self-diagnosis, but backed up a list of symptoms that “describe you perfectly and makes total sense!” Is a BLESSING.
Coming out as ASD to my favorite nephew (the Diagnosed Autistic member of the family) and having a wonderful bonding moment over ‘Wtf are emotions even GAUH’ was a VALIDATION.

Now I know how to identify when I’m overloaded and what some of my triggers are. I know when I’m more susceptible to melt-down feelings and when my diet/environment/hormonal cycle leaves me vulnerable.

Like today, apparently because i wrote ALL OF THIS before lunch, and then ate a few peanut butter cups and I’m feeling better. Guess I needed to process everything and read it a few dozen times.

Well, it’s a surprisingly comfortable shoe and it fits.