Getting the #autistic help I need

Light shining down on the interior of a building
And yes, there is light appearing…

I’ve been sick, for the past several days. I’m calling it “post-election flu”, since it’s all aches and pains and fever and feeling terrible, and the stress after the US election really seemed to tip me in that direction. Not immediately, mind you. Oh, no… it took about a week to get a foothold. But I suspect that the stress and strain (and sleeplessness) after the US election really had a lot to do with it.

Anyway, even if I weren’t literally sick, this is pretty much how I’d feel, given the ongoing fascist takeover of my country. Actually, let’s just say “the country”, because it doesn’t actually feel like mine, right now.

I was still running a fever this morning, and I realized after I got up, that I had forgotten to get the neighbor’s cat in, last night. She went off to spend the weekend with her boyfriend in an upscale seaside town along Long Island  Sound, and as she sometimes does, she asked me to bring her cat in at night and let him out in the mornings. I was so sick, yesterday, I completely forgot to bring the cat in, last evening. And it rained overnight. I took a chance, this morning, and tried to get him in, so he could at least eat something and warm up. Fortunately, he did emerge from the bushes, and I got him inside to feed him and get him fresh water. So, that’s a plus. The cat’s still alive, and I’ve done at least a decent impression of completing the favor. I went over a few minutes ago, to see if he wanted to go out again, but he wasn’t interested. So, he gets to stay inside where it’s warm till she gets home later this afternoon.

Mission accomplished. My Aspie self is horrified that I forgot, last night, but I was sick. So sick. And at least I “topped off” my obligation by making the same number of trips over to her house that I’d promised I’d make. So that’s something. My partner couldn’t understand why I needed to make the last trip to see if he would go out. I had to finish the job — and by the time I got done explaining the logic of it to her, I was reminded, yet again, of how different my autistic self is from the rest of the NT world. I had to fill her in on the background and the potential issues I’m trying to avert with a lot of questions about what happened while she was away (which could easily lead to me admitting that I didn’t do, which would be awkward for everyone — if only I could comfortably lie to her… but I can’t. I’m hopelessly honest and confessional, woe be upon us all). Something tells me, another autistic person would totally get why I couldn’t just let the job go, without finishing it up. It just goes without saying.

It’s so very, very tiring, having to constantly explain myself to people, to get them to understand why I do the things I do… or failing that, get them to at least back off me and quit pressuring me to be like everyone else. What the hell is so terrible about how I do things? It’s just different from how others do it. It makes no sense to them, sure, but that’s none of their damn’ business. Leave me alone to do things as I need to, and quit pressuring me to do things like everyone else.

Stop expecting me to be comfortable lying to a neighbor who trusted me with a simple task.

Stop expecting me to slack off on obligations I promised I’d fulfill.

Stop expecting me to just “stop my mind from spinning” and “take it easy”.

Stop pushing me to be neurotypical, super-social, immune to the holidays, and oblivious to my environment.

Just stop.

It gets so tiresome.  Sheesh.

But I’m hoping I can catch a break, in the coming weeks and months. I actually found a therapist in my area who apparently has in-depth experience with Aspergers. He actually leads a bi-weekly support group for Aspies. I have a list of therapists who help folks on the autism spectrum and I did some research several of the choices, yesterday. Some of them look a little … cloying … to me. No thanks. Don’t want cloying. Just want someone who actually understands Aspies to discuss things with — in light of autism and its effects on my life.

What I wouldn’t give for that.

I mean, Twitter is awesome. No doubt. But it’s distant. It’s removed. And it’s not specific to my personal situation. Nor do I feel 100% comfortable talking about every single aspect of my life there. It’s more strategic for me, than tactical.

What I really need is someone I can talk things through without needing to mask or tamp down my autistic traits — just stim and let my head wobble and dip… just let myself sway and rock and jump up and dance around, if I feel like it…. just let myself off the leash. If only for an hour a week.

See, here’s the thing that neurotypical people don’t get about people like me — the whole physical “acting out” is part of how I process information. When my eyes suddenly shift left and up, and my head follows my gaze, as though I’m watching a fighter jet cross the sky above my head, and I clench my arms and hands and hold them stiffly in front of me, as my torso torques to the left and up… that’s me thinking. With my whole body. My whole mind. To the untrained eye, it might look odd — it might even look like a seizure — but I assure you, that’s just me thinking. It’s just me processing information in a whole-body manner that lets me integrate visual/spatial/kinesthetic information in ways that my brain alone cannot.

There’s a lot going on in my brain and body, in terms of info processing, and when I talk with people who believe that thinking only happens in the brain (and get freaked out when I “torque to conclusions”), I can’t access that side of my info processing. I’m so empathically sensitive to the negative reactions of others, that I literally cannot think clearly and fully. I have to torque. I have to freeze and stare and track my vision across the open space above me, “watching” a plane that doesn’t exist, holding the rest of my body stock-still, in order to fully process information.

I’m doing it right now, in fact. In the blessed privacy of my own home, with my partner fast asleep upstairs. And it feels so very, very wonderful. Ah, such a sweet relief, to actually be able to process information completely in my own individual way…

And I need to be able to do that when I’m talking with a therapist, a coach, or someone else who’s supposed to help me. I wish I could do it with a doctor/GP/PCP… and now that I’m looking for a new one, maybe I can find one who can deal with that… then again, who knows how autistic I’ll feel comfortable being around them, since their offices are typically awash in fluorescent light and overwhelming scents, sounds, and too many friggin’ sick people. Ugh. All that stress just tamps down my autistic traits, so I’m not hugely optimistic there.

Anyway, doctors aside, I’ve found a therapist who’s situated midway between my home and my work, who actually leads an Asperger’s support group, and lists Asperger’s as one of his specialties on his practice profile. I’m hoping this is a good sign. He looks like a nice enough guy. I’m going to call him tomorrow and see if I can line up an appointment with him.

‘Cause I really need to be able to just talk through the aspects of my life with another living, breathing human being, and make some sense of them in the context of autism. I have to hide and adapt everywhere else, just to get by. It would be nice to find at least one place in the world where I don’t have to do that. When I’m alone at home, I can do it. But to be able to interact with another person as I normally am… seems almost too good to be true.

Well, I’ll find out. I surely will.

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4 thoughts on “Getting the #autistic help I need

  1. Best of luck in finding someone to speak/share. The sad thing I find is that in my life is that I have to pay someone to listen and then it is hit and miss if they understand anything that I’m relating.

    An Asperger’s support group may be an answer … it will depend upon the individuals attending.

    Sorry that I’m not able to express enthusiasm, I’m very wary after 60+ years of being misunderstood by others… professionals included. They don’t really LISTEN.

    Liked by 1 person

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