(My) autism and restlessness

There’s something peculiar about summer, besides the obvious concepts of higher temperatures and the longer daylight hours.  There’s an amped-up-ness, a summer zenith opposing the winter’s nadir, a yang running counter to yin.

And everybody “out there”, meaning outside of my apartment, is just a little more yang.  It happens every year; I wonder if they notice the pattern?

But patterns are my job.  I’m a Systemizer, after all.

I’ve often lived my life with the sensation of being an outside observer, living on the planet but not really in it.  Being human without being a member of society.  Being a classmate or a family member without being much of a participant.

My lack of social interaction permits me the spare time to notice things others miss, although the medical professionals would rather focus on that which others see that I miss.  I suppose I could put the “ire” back in “irony”, but it would be lost on most (of them), so it seems a futile gesture.

Speaking of irony, I suppose I could take a moment and turn any power of perception I might possess inward instead.  And if I’m perfectly honest with myself, I notice that my own “yang” factor bumps up a little higher around this time of year, too.

Normally, this results in a sharper, more intense laser-focus on areas of intense interests, projects, and the search for information and intellectual stimulus.  Normally I create more, produce more, advance more, develop more, and have more to show for the time I’ve spent hunkered down for hours on end without finding a stopping point.

I have usually found summertime grand, for exactly that reason.  My basal mental energy rises and falls with the seasons, and I’ve been quite comfortable with that.

This year and last year however, the whole year has been somewhat of a stopping point.  Hell, I’m not even sure I had a starting point.  Summertime came, and, like last year, I could not shift into that higher gear I’d come to know and love and flourish in.

For at this moment, and for the past couple of years now, I have felt somewhat stuck.  Stuck in what, I’m not sure.  I might describe it as a fog or a mist, or perhaps a slick, greasy film of oil coating my brain.  I’m scattered, my focus dissipated and disordered.

This does not jibe well with my Asperger’s/autism, of course.  It creates an antsy-ness that won’t subside.  My Aspie/autistic brain wants to catch onto a target-topic in its crosshairs, latch onto it, and fly.  It wants to learn, create, and produce for the sheer joy of learning, creating, and producing.  This damp, misty confusion only frustrates that energy, much like the bright setting on vehicle headlights only worsen nighttime fog and further reduce one’s ability to see the road and immediate surroundings.

But my AS brain only knows one way of operating; my “lights” are either on the high-beam setting, or they’re off.  There are no “running lights”.  There’s no in-between.  And yet, my brain won’t turn on its high-beams.

You see the conundrum.

You can imagine two pictures, side by side, of the same landscape.  One was taken on a bright, clear, sunny day, with deep blue sky and vivid color.  The other was taken on a dreary day with dense, low-lying fog that obscures everything except that which is closest by, which is then converted to some kind of depressing grayscale.

My brain wants to function like the first picture.  Instead, it functions like the second.

And if I attempt to look at the scenery through a pair of binoculars, all I see is the fog in finer detail, appearing closer to me than I would like it to.

So, scratch the binoculars.

Except that I want to focus.

Conundrums breed restlessness.  To remedy this, most people go to the beach.  If they’re “normal” people, they’ll go despite crowds of others with the same idea.  Somehow, water and shorelines have recuperation effects that make all be right with the world.

Not I, said the Wave.  (Which is pretty funny, if you think about it, given my blog title.  But waves are for surfers and social movements.)  I’d rather go to the desert.  It’s the antithesis of drizzle, the bright against the bleak, the dry against the damp, the perfect counter-strategy for me.

A good road trip to the desert would indeed be ideal in this situation.  Unlike the beach and the lake or ocean (I’m relatively close to either), the desert blows me dry, clears me out, gets me going.  I think.  At least, it has before.  It seems as though now, everything has changed somewhat–a glitch in the Matrix.

I wouldn’t know for sure, though, because I haven’t yet tried.  Although school will be back in session here in a matter of weeks, signaling the coming autumn, we’ll remain quite warm here until around late-November.  Perfect time to drive out into the desert.

But money is tight, and the traffic is intense at this time of year.  I’ll likely need to wait until school starts again, when vacation time is over and everyone scurries back into their daily routines, chained once again to their daily lives.

Until then, I bide my time, doing what I can, plotting my journey, getting through each day, trying to make out what I can through the mist, and hoping I’m seeing things as they appear to be.  I’m pretty sure I’m not, but it’s the best that I can do.

In the meantime, I can work out, which I’ve started again, I can devise plans for a time when my head is clearer and my mind sharper, and I can relax in the evenings to a Netflix marathon of BBC’s “Sherlock” series.  ๐Ÿ˜‰

The sun is bright, and brightness eventually burns away mist.

***

(Image Credit: Danny O’Connor)

โค

โค

โค

 

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69 Comments

  1. “This damp, misty confusion only frustrates that energy, much like the bright setting on vehicle headlights only worsen nighttime fog and further reduce oneโ€™s ability to see the road and immediate surroundings.”
    Laina, I have seldom heard a state of mind so well described, in terms that I can understand. The analogy of the high beams worsening the fog is very relatable, and I hope the “sun” burns it away for you soon.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you so much, my friend! ๐Ÿ’— I’m relieved that it made sense, as I was feeling pretty cognitively murky when I wrote this post ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank you for your reassuring words ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ

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    1. Yes! I can relate, my friend. My own motivation, usually in healthy supply, has taken an extended hiatus ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s almost like stepping on the gas but something is clogging the air intake to the engine and I just can’t get going. Do you experience that too? ๐Ÿ’—

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      1. Yeah. I mean, I think everyone sort of gets that bleh feeling once in a while, like it’s one of the ways of having an off day. But, I’ve felt it for a while, like all summer. I have projects to do, some that I’m being paid to do, and where there used to be a natural desire to dig in there is now just, why bother? Honestly, it hurts.
        I sat in front of one project, just putting electronics in a box, and just couldn’t bring myself to do it. All the things are programmed and tested, so I literally only have to connect a few wires and glue pieces down. But, I just stared at it for a while then put it away next to another project in the same condition.
        I looked up going back to school because I would still one day like to finish even if it doesn’t lend to a career. I read one article, and just couldn’t.
        I put myself to doing something, but there’s just no spark. I feel like I am just existing.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. “But, Iโ€™ve felt it for a while, like all summer. I have projects to do, some that Iโ€™m being paid to do, and where there used to be a natural desire to dig in there is now just, why bother? Honestly, it hurts.”

          My dear friend, you have just summed up practically all of my 2017! And much of my 2018, too, except where I’ve pushed hard to stubbornly change it. โค

          This, too:
          "I put myself to doing something, but thereโ€™s just no spark. I feel like I am just existing."

          You totally nailed it. 100%. I couldn't've said it better. Honestly.

          All I can say is that I really, *really* feel you. I can absolutely relate, on an extremely deep level. If you're into astrology, I might have a theory. (If not, ignore me ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) I finally figured out a metaphysical reason as to why this might be happening to me (to us?), and I'm happy to share if you're interested. But I know that areas of intense interest/focus vary widely, so I won't say more until I know it's OK. ๐Ÿ™‚ The door is open anytime โค

          Either way, I hope it passes for you as soon as possible. Mine's going to take a while, I know that now. But hopefully it'll be much faster for you! Big love and hugs in the meantime, my lovely โค โค

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          1. Yes, the moon dominates my energy and I try my best to begin and close my projects accordingly. I am in a bit of a Purgatory right now, and I feel there is something I’m supposed learn before I can move on.
            Something about the super blood moon, perhaps? My energy usually runs counter to the main flow, I’m happy in winter when it’s dark and cold and holidays aren’t quite as uplifting as an off season camping trip to the middle of nowhere.

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you bunches, Kenza! I’m stoked that you enjoyed it, as I kind of felt like I was grinding my brain gears while writing this post lol ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I’m relieved that it was clear enough for readers to understand. Thank you for reassuring me; I really needed that right about now ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ’“

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Laina – You say many things are relate to. So it is me that should thank you as it is always a relief to see that one is not alone feeling off center compared to the rest of the world, and yet so clear inside. So thank you.

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        1. I love your projects! OMG dollhouses are amazing! I’ve never built one, but I’ve seen some super-cool ones. What an exciting idea! And poetry of course–what would life be without that?? ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ’–๐ŸŒŸ๐Ÿ’–

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  2. Laina Eartharcher…what an interesting name, or, well, sobriquet. I feel like an observer too, often, but ironically I’m terrible at it. Your description of being stuck and frustrated resonates with me. I’m always planning and thinking and moving ahead, even if only in my own mind, but if the drive’s taken away from you, you’re sort of like a sportscar with no gas, I guess. Sitting there all red hot in the driveway, able to roar from 0 to 100 in 2 seconds – but, not. I would hate that.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes! You described it so well. Perpetual Planning Stage! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ Fellow Terrible Observer here! (hi!) With one foot on the gas and the other on the brakes. Thank you so much for commenting! Your blog is an enchanted place, I tell you; I love the way your brain works! โค

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  3. I think I know what you mean (don’t I always?). My motivation is taking a sabbatical. Last year was mostly meh, I thought this year was better, but it’s just more meh. But I can’t even get up the energy to be restless. Everything has been dialed down to a minimum, geared towards surviving day by day. I’d like to make plans, but they just scare me at the moment. My intense interests have gone dull, I’ve got nothing to really lose myself in. That’s probably what I miss most, but you can’t force it, I find, those interests have to come to you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “The sun is bright, and brightness eventually burns away mist.

      ***” how beautiful is that?! I love love your energy and honest here and that you can write about your fascinating beautiful world. I have a blind son who is learning to cope with life, now he shows disturbing signs of Tourette’s . He is an amazing fun loving humorous person, also a musician. His gift of humor keeps us all going. Reading here, reminded me of the earth’s beautiful people like you who make earth’s burnt colours, actually go burn out. Till a ray of light soothes with healing. Thank you for being so beautiful..

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you so much for your comment, Little Sparrow, and for your kind words! Your son sounds like an amazing and beautiful soul (as do you!), and it’s people like the two of you who make the world a brighter and richer and more exquisite place ๐Ÿ˜ Wow, what a profile of neat gifts he has! And your ability to recognize and treasure those gifts is a rare and beautiful thing in a world like this. I can empathize; my husband is legally blind (although not completely), and I, too, am a musician; it’s often a primary way of communicating with others when my thoughts or emotions are too complex for me to express them with words ๐Ÿ˜Š Thanks again for reaching out ๐Ÿ’“๐Ÿ’“

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m amazed to read this.. you awesome
          person, what a life you live, no wonder what you write resonates such wealth. THought of you as this one happened https://raeindia.wordpress.com/2018/08/03/gravity/ I am so grateful for the dark days and the light they birth. I love the way you write about your life, and husband, My son … yes, he is a true delight, full of humor. I get what you say about ” communicating…” arent we each like that, and this whole question of life is about communicating well enough to not be misunderstood . Oh love chatting with you. Immense hug. I have three kids ( 23- 17) its a beautiful riot :))))) and God, I suspect, loves it that way.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. You do! (Always know what I mean). How do you do that?? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Words like “sabbatical” and “meh” are *so freaking perfect*!! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ. Surviving day by day, yes! Amen, my friend! So true, too, that interests come to you. I think part of my drive to go back to school has stemmed at least in part from the fact that I, too had gone dull in my subject area of previously-robust intense interest, and it scared me. I didn’t want to lose it completely. It does help, simply because now there are due dates and deadlines and accountability because others are watching and grades are on the line. But even with all that, it doesn’t come as naturally as I had hoped ๐Ÿ’œ It keeps me in the game until I can rekindle it from within, though ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ. Which I’m sure will happen someday ๐Ÿ˜‰ Keep on keeping on, luv, and congratulate yourself on getting through each day, because that indeed is an under-estimated accomplishment in itself! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ’—

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  4. I have thought some more about this and I’ve realised that I get the restlessness as well, but it’s not seasonal. I get this every few weeks, a sudden feeling that I want things to be different and my life to be different and me to be someone else. Often I don’t have a clear idea of how it should be but there is a restlessness. I feel like I ought to do something but I don’t quite know what. It’s very frustrating. Sometimes this energy can be channelled into something useful like tidying up. Sometimes it compels me to buy items of stationery (mmh, stationery ๐Ÿ˜‹). This is also why I fall for books like “Weekend makeover” and “be a better/more efficient/all round fabulous person in 7 days” etc. (I get these from the library so at least it doesn’t cost me anything.) But soon enough I realise that any hope for change is futile, that it is pointless to try, and I sink back into my old apathy. This cycle repeats every few weeks. I’m just coming down from a fairly restless weekend…๐Ÿ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “I feel like I ought to do something but I donโ€™t quite know what. Itโ€™s very frustrating.” Omg you too?? Yes, you described it perfectly! It’s like I’m all ready and raring to go, but in no particular direction, or maybe all directions at once ๐Ÿ˜‚ It *is* frustrating, though. It’s like “I have all this cool energy and nowhere to go with it!” I’ll have to keep a lookout for any particular cycle or pattern…maybe it’s hormonal at least for me, and hormones have huge impact on neurotransmitters, so… Maybe at times like this my brain is bursting with a dopamine rush? Hehe don’t mind me, just thinking out loud lol ๐Ÿ˜‰ These are times when, if I can’t do a road trip for the day, I end up doing something like going on a research study or digital art-collecting spree or I go a little overboard on blogging or something ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•

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    1. Oh wow! I had to look that one up! I’ve had restless leg (due to advanced, chronic iron-deficiency anemia), but somehow I don’t think that’s nearly the same thing. Kind of like comparing your leg/foot falling asleep to being paralyzed. Pale in comparison โค I really, really feel for you, my lovely โค Thank you so much for bringing this up! Increasing awareness is always good. The "research" I started on this topic only began today, but it will not stop there. I will become more and more familiar with it, because I'm going to keep going on it. In the meantime, big hugs to you! โค

      Liked by 1 person

            1. You’re very welcome girl! ๐Ÿ˜ Yep, it looks A-OK from here; no issues loading or viewing at all, at least that I know of ๐Ÿ˜ I’m really enjoying your blog; when I found it, I had the feeling that my partner, although a wonderful guy, has some narcissistic tendencies – not full-blown, but some of the traits are there. He’s neurodivergent in some way, I just can’t quite pin down how, because he has so many different traits from so many different categories. But I can relate on a certain level, and I have a good imagination for the rest ๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’žโ˜ฎ๏ธ๐Ÿ’•

              Liked by 1 person

              1. There are different levels of Narcissism. He might not be a full-blown pathological Narcissist, but maybe have higher than normal Narcissistic qualities. Just a thought! If you ever want/need to chat some more about it, just let me know. ๐Ÿฆ‹๐Ÿฆ‹๐Ÿฆ‹๐Ÿฅ๐Ÿฅ๐Ÿฅ

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Wow, thank you! That would be very helpful; I think you have some *fantastic* information ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ. I’d love to chat sometime! ๐Ÿ˜. I’m around mostly in the evenings and weekends; I’m in the US – in case that helps! ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—

                  Liked by 1 person

                    1. Sure thing! I’ll show up as an email with consciousness in the name as soon as I get a nice chunk of consecutive time ๐Ÿ˜. Thank you so much in advance! I really look forward to it ๐ŸŒŸโ˜€๏ธ๐ŸŒŸ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’™

                      Liked by 1 person

              2. Oh! BTW, thank you for letting me know that my blog is working okay. I seem to have trouble with the pictures downloading for some reason… ๐Ÿ˜Š

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  5. This world is a harsh confusing place, even for a “normal” mind. Just know that even though you/we may feel isolated with our problems, we aren’t alone. But, putting your experiences and thoughts out here are an excellent outlet. I definitely know what you’re saying.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re absolutely right, luv ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘. It’s comforting to know that I’m not always as alone as I usually feel ๐Ÿ’• Writing has proven to be a very therapeutic outlet indeed! Thank you for visiting and hearing me and for your kind words ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’œ

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Although autism and Asperger’s don’t relate directly to bi-polar your describing summer reminds me of my friend who has a few different things going on. She feels summer and the sun help her mood and she functions better so that even sounds like seasonal depression (in my totally non-professional opinion).
    In the winter she says she goes into “hibernation.” She is less active and doesn’t like to shop or go anywhere during the colder months.
    Anyway, I may ask her about the mist and fog image and how no running lights are on. I liked this and may have to just read this to her!
    Hugs, Robin ๐ŸŒž๐ŸŒธ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Robin! I’m honored that you would share this with her ๐Ÿ˜ What you described sounds a bit like what I experience ๐Ÿ‘ It definitely seems to be a seasonal cyclical activity. Perhaps mine is more pronounced than the establishment would have us believe, or perhaps people like me are actually more in tune with nature/biology and the establishment has unrealistic definitions, seeking to pathologize something that occurs naturally (wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened; just see what’s been said by the medical establishment about menopause! ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜‚). I tested negative for bipolar disorder in the conventional textbook sense, but I do sometimes feel subject to various forces both internal and external ๐ŸŒธ Who knows lol ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜˜โฃ๏ธ

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Laina, I am definitely not saying you two are alike. ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’œ
        Just see or hear similar thought processes going on. . . We all try to relate people’s stories to others or ourselves. It is part of being human.
        You have a beautifulโ€‹ soul. ๐Ÿ’–
        Since I only have a few adult friends with something unique going on in their perspectivesโ€‹ and life journeys. . . I was just extrapolating, beyond my own experience. ๐Ÿ˜€

        I think she felt glad I was thinking about her and we had a good conversation.
        Yours may be more pronounced as you expressed, while having some of the same sadness or feelings of being different being a common denominator.

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  7. Oh, how nice to hear about your gravatar’s origin and your cool name. I think it can also be called your “nom de plume.” You are like Mark Twain and others who took on another writing name. Samuel Clemens isn’t as great sounding as M. Twain. ๐ŸŽˆ
    Peace to you, Laina! ๐Ÿ’ž ๐ŸŒˆ

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  8. Gosh I feel like you wrote exactly how Iโ€™ve been feeling this past year. Almost stuck in limbo with an odd energy in the air. I find that going to the desert is where I feel alive too. ๐ŸŒตI love everything about the silence and sand. Lucky for me a walk to open desert is just a half mile walk for me. Hoping you feel inspired soon. Great post love your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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