There’s a freedom that comes with finding out I’m autistic. Suddenly, the metrics by which I’m supposed to be measured undergo fundamental changes, I’m let off the hook for a whole set of attributes, the negative of which I assumed were character flaws and the positive of which I assumed were happy-accidental strokes of good karma that I didn’t deserve. In addition, there’s an entirely new cabinet of valid explanations and forgivenesses that I now hold the key to, to access whenever needed.
If I use this properly, for the ease of my advancement as opposed to an excuse for a lack thereof, then this is probably a good thing.
I am home, having rolled in at an obscene time of night as Saturday gave way to Sunday, and I finally had to admit: I’m a wreck.
Physically, it takes me several weeks to months to fully recover from a single tiny gluten exposure. It’s going to take a lot of chiropractic and acupuncture treatments to put my cervical vertebral disc back where it belongs. And it took me a long time to convince myself that I really did need to eat or drink something, activities I had grown weary of over the past three or four days because every swallow of any food or beverage burned at the base of my throat.
At least I slept well last night; I am thankful for the (not-so-) little things. And Mother Nature seems to be compassionate, taking some pity on me; she has dropped the temperature by about 20 degrees Fahrenheit, despite the presence of the strong sun, attempting to mirror coastal California weather so as not to add more shock to my frayed system.
But the calendar showed no such mercy. It ticked the hours by, flipping the weekday from Sunday into Monday, regardless of whether or not I was ready for it.
(Top Secret: I wasn’t.)
Because I had long finally given myself permission to give into what seemed like an irrational insistence at the time, I did have the advantage of not having many meetings scheduled for the day, save for one that is short, sweet, first thing in the morning, and probably couldn’t have been held on any other day, due to the schedule of the other person.
I got through that, much easier than I had gotten through other such meetings over the past couple weeks.
Now that that’s been crossed off my to-do list for the day, however, I’m going to try.
Try to what?
Try to catch up. Try to ignore the fact that my Aspergian/autistic executive function has become much more of a bane of my existence in the past couple weeks, and try to plan, sequence, and self-motivate anyway.
Try to keep tabs on all of my outlets: my inbox (affixed to the wall outside my office door), my email (several accounts), my social media (several accounts), my blogs (several), my to-do lists for the day and week, my texts (two apps), my upcoming meetings (must prepare for like eight meetings over the next three days), respond to post-conference addenda, post-event feedback surveys (boy, do I have a thing or two to say about some aspects of that!), and so on.
I’m continuing to progress at work, trying to be productive and pleasant to work with. I’m continuing to progress along my healing journey (tomorrow marks two weeks without kreteks, and without a brain) and although I still haven’t lost weight yet (in fact, I’m still gaining, although more slowly, I think), I can at least breathe better and sleep better and my skin has lost much of its paleness and puffiness, regaining some healthy color and tone. Someone said this weekend that they thought I was 31, which I’ll totally take as an encouraging sign. I feel pudgy, but it feels like more of a healthy pudge. (Regardless, in case there’s any doubt, for the record, it’s my pudge, so nobody pitch a fit; I’m entitled to scrutinize it and talk about it the way I see fit, and I think I’m pretty realistic-but-gentle on myself.)
I’m going to try and work. I’m going to try and prepare for my upcoming meetings. I’m going to try and respond to messages. I’m going to try to respond to blog comments and peruse the WordPress Reader tonight to check in on all my blogging peeps. If there’s time, I might pop into Twitter or Facebook, if for no other reason than to respond to my interacting lovelies on there.
I’ll try to remember to take all my supplements. I’ll try to walk enough. I’ll try to recall the last time I did more intense exercise (I’m sure it was more than a week ago). I’ll try to make some headway on other self-care, like making dental appointments, meditating, improving sleep hygiene, reading, reviving hobbies, keeping track of my snacking, and so on.
I’m probably going to be late in responding to clientele inquiries, blog or social media interaction, emails, and so on. I might be slow in cranking out work or plowing through my to-do list. I might forget something, especially when traveling between the office and the apartment, or getting groceries on the way home, or an idea that slips through the butterfly net that is currently my brain.
I’m so tired (something I hardly ever say), bound up in physical knots, and even teetering on the shimmering edges of depression. I say “shimmering” not because there’s anything magical or beautiful about it (there isn’t; there never is), but because it comes to me like a mirage, playing coy, engaging me in guessing games. “Is it depression, or isn’t it? You decide; place your bets.”
And because the “House” always has the advantage, the upper hand, a fact of life that is simply accepted without question, whichever way I swing when I flip the coin and place the proverbial bet, will likely be wrong. Wagering, even with myself, is useless, because I almost always lose, which in itself would be rather comical if it weren’t so close to a humdrum truth.
That’s why I was practically a ghost yesterday. I was home, alright, and with a blissful lack of obligation, except for calling three people. Which I did.
And then my brain promptly flatlined. Before I could check my email. Before I made it very far down my list of WordPress notifications. Before I could decide whether to blog or not. Before I could think about checking in on any social media.
It was rough, but it was non-negotiable. I passed out cold, unassisted by Benadryl or wine of any kind, while watching TV and repetitively perusing medical journal archives of lists of research paper titles.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost nodded off and started typing gibberish while writing a blog post. Lol. If that’s not trying, trying to push through fatigue, trying to be reliable, trying to come through and try to stay connected and engaged, trying to show love and trying to live a fulfilling life, then I’m not exactly sure what is (grin).
My brain and parts/systems of my body have folded their respective arms across their respective chests, and they’re threatening to protest. Hell, I think everybody (inside me) is threatening to go on strike.
I’m a strike-buster; my brain and body will be given no such option. I have a zero tolerance policy, devoid of leniency, when it comes to what I expect from myself.
But I might have to backtrack a little on the “leniency” part; after all, even steel has its breaking point. And steel that won’t bend is bound to break.
So, I’m having to write myself a few permission slips.
I’m also writing myself a few prescriptions…
Sleep at night without fighting it, without pushing to stay awake.
Get work done first; blog after that (or on break), and then I might could do social media in limited stretches after that.
Train coworkers at the office on tasks I can delegate.
Walk in nature, and be sure to sweat in the heat, humidity, and sunshine while doing so.
Talk with friends and family, but be careful for a while that it doesn’t begin to drain me.
Sing to music, preferably upbeat.
Read, especially philosophy or spirituality.
Blog at night when there’s time and energy.
And last but not least, keep trying.