7 Years on…

[Note: I wrote the bulk of this post on the evening of Thursday, 3/23/2023]

It was seven years ago tonight that my world shifted.  Knocked off its original position, even by just a minute bit, it’s never quite spun the same since.  It’s spinning, sure – just a bit out of its former mould.

Lines appeared in the sand that became canyons, separating my pre- and post-Asperger’s/autism discovery lives.  There is the Before, and there is the After.

One would think that discoveries like that are monumental enough in and of themselves, but apparently not.  My life kept getting earthquaked, in different ways.

I feel reflective tonight, which feels like standing on one side of that giant canyon and gazing across to the other side, at the life Before.  I remember so clearly seven years ago this evening, sitting on the steps with my phone in hand, a flame having ignited, the curiosity burning, feeling the white-hot need to Know.  Theories and ideas strike me much like that, and when they do, it feels like lightning.  This one did exactly that, too: was I Aspie?  I had to know, and immediately.

My partner (legally-married husband) was home, probably putzing in the kitchen of the big apartment, with plenty of big furniture, that we shared for a decade, and one of my best friends was staying with us for an extended time.  It was the time of year that, back then, was bliss for me.  I looked forward to the road trips we’d take, the places we’d go, the scenery we’d gaze at, and the wildflowers we’d see.

By day we shared an office location, with a receptionist to answer the phones that I avoided due to my own insecurities.  The office itself was vibrant and happening and psychologically-correctly-decorated (my doing, to have mercy on my overactive senses).  The receptionist was friendly and kind and outgoing.  My husband had the gift of dry wit.  Everybody insulated me from the outside so that I could do my work.  My work was everything.  The geeky aspects of it were even more fun than the meetings with the people.

After hours, there was little closeness between my partner and me, but we bantered back and forth with unrivaled magic.  We shared little in common, but what we did share was unusual and important, unlikely to be shared with anyone else.  We understood each other on that thin-but-special level, and only on that level.  But at the time, at least for a while, it was enough.

My Asperger’s/autism spectrum discovery was not a standalone event in itself, but rather the first in a chain of events that would completely metamorphose everything I knew, stripping it all away and replacing it with something I could never have imagined, over a period of about six years.  Which, was actually not enough time.  Yes, I’m still processing.

In that timespan since my discovery, I’ve weathered a tsunami of water under the bridge.  I discovered more than just my spot on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum; I also uncovered my Ehlers-Danlos issue, which explained my constellation of physical health mysteries, and I decoded my spiritual core, finally understanding who I am, once I’d been turned on to my True Sidereal Astrology chart.  I completed my Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner designation and a Master’s degree program.  I mourned the loss of one kitty, adopted two babies, and then mourned the loss of one of them.  Dad’s passing followed not three months later.  I moved offices (twice) and residences (once).  Many of you know that I’d made some dealbreaking discoveries about my then-husband, been going through a divorce, had already (mostly) moved out, when my would-be-ex-husband died.  Talk about a tornadic fury of emotions; as Farcebook’s relationship status option says: “it’s complicated”.  I powered through, pulling together my side of the practice and made it whole, and cultivating some awesome and fulfilling hobbies.

Taking stock of where I stand now, I’m in a space that, if measuring against previous metrics, I wouldn’t recognize it, nor would I ever have expected to end up here.  The only elements preserved between the Before and the After (as of now) are one of the three cats, my beat-up 20-year-old pickup, old clothing, blankets, some hard-core cookware, books, office furniture, and my line of work.  Everything else is gone – my husband, two of the other cats (I have two different ones now), my big music collection, the bigger apartment and all of its big furniture, the physical office location and most of its furniture and supplies, and practically all my electronic devices.

I’m still a doctor, that hasn’t changed.  Thank goodness.  It’s a saving grace, a bright spot–and a big, radiant one at that.  Focusing on–and caring for–others gets me out of my own head.  The people I get to work with are simply amazing; I’m in awe with gratitude that I get to work with such neat people!  I just work from home now – so getting out of my own head becomes that much more important.  Working solo, I answer my own phone; that just might warrant–and get–get its own post.

I live in a smaller-but-brighter space, with a different-yet-brighter person.  The smaller space is homey and it accommodates two people, three cats, and an integrative medical practice…and, usually, sprouts growing in jars!  I’d never sprouted before; I started about six months ago.  Fostering and facilitating life is the perfect antidote to the death that had become a stubbornly persistent theme in my life in 2021-2022.

What I/we have is a place of companionship and contentment.  My roommate is on the spectrum, too.  In fact, we met here on WordPress, visiting each other’s autism spectrum-themed blogs, a little over six years ago now.  (I may write a separate post about that, too.)  It’s hilarious how different–and also yet how similar–we actually are.  We fit together seamlessly under one roof, clearly two people that almost form a syncitium.  The core elements are shared in common – neurotype, politics, culinary tastes, daily rhythms, affinity for cats, board/dice games and other pastimes, places to go and things to do, etc.  And everything else?  Is at least compatible –  extracurricular interests, TV shows and movies, and sometimes even our worldview.

We are very close and deep, although there is no romantic relationship.  We’re not a couple, so we each live our lives, financially independent, our life goals and paths autonomous.  We make household decisions together, but we make individual decisions solo.  He Does Him, and I Do Me.  I’m now widowed, and single for the first time in 30 years.  I’m living financially autonomously for the first time ever, at age 45.

A typical day involves wearing many hats in my practice and then calling it a day sometime between 5 and 7pm, pivoting (literally) from my work computer to my personal one, turning on the YouTube playlist and/or watching instructional videos, bookending my days with the rinsing of whatever sprout crop I’m nurturing at the time.

My life right now isn’t too much different as an Aspie as it would be as a neurotypical; I answer my own phone, converse with potential new clientele, meet with my own existing clientele, hang out with friends, and so on.  I work from home, which means I don’t really get peopled out or socially fatigued like I used to.  The conversation topics I discuss on the phone are those within my specialty, and my procedures are all long-standing, so all my words are familiar and at the ready when I explain things to others.  Meeting with patients by Zoom (telemedicine/telehealth) removes the pressure to make any eye contact, as that’s a lost cause on remote-meeting platforms anyway.

Never did I imagine that my life would be what it is now.  It’s a plume of drastic changes to get used to.  One glaring area of my life that is still hilariously obviously Aspergian/autistic: I’m still processing.

Processing the moves and transitions.  Processing the transformation/metamorphosis of my identity.  Processing the drastic shifts in rituals and routines.  Processing the complete remodeling of my environment and surroundings.  Processing all the torrential mixed feelings of having been the one to call the ambulance (I knew better but my hands were tied), being the one to institute a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate), being the one to ultimately pull the plug.  Processing the additional notch on the stick of racked up losses and heavy grieving.  Processing the pure terror and trauma, followed by the catharsis and healing.

Processing the emotional trigger of seeing the word “ventilator” come up in my word suggestions (auto-suggest, word-bank) when typing any word on my phone starting with a “v”.  Processing the fact that I don’t practice in that happy, vibrant place that was our old office anymore.

Processing the memories and the fact that my only right to them is the memory only; those happy times aren’t mine to have anymore.  Processing the opportunities and potential that my new life holds.  Processing the fact that it’s still….processing, in progress, not yet done.




  1. The only certainty in life is change, right? It seems that each layer we peel back reveals yet another. I think the processing is ongoing, always, for all of us. I’m glad to hear you’re generally moving forward, with plenty of bright spots amongst the processing trauma.

    I’ve recently begun to suspect that I’m on the spectrum, though I haven’t really pursued investigation because I don’t think a diagnosis would change much. Much of that is due to reading content from others on the spectrum and recognizing myself in the words, so thank you for sharing so openly. I can relate so much to your description of not getting “peopled out” working from home and managing to talk about a topic you’re familiar with (yet feeling lost when comes to small talk).

    Wishing you all the best on this next leg of your journey, Laina!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you, Laina, for sharing this post and filling in what has happened since you last posted. You are experiencing so much and processing so much. I can only imagine how exhausting it must be. I hope you continue to look forward and ahead and retain hope for each new day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for the reflective update….Sending you a virtual hug. The last couple years have seen worlds turned upside down for many of us, but being widowed is on its own level. I am glad you are still practicing, and moving forward. I finished my MSN and am gearing up for Family Nurse Practitioner certification exam in a little over a month.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Thank you for the reflective update….Sending you a virtual hug. The last couple years have seen worlds turned upside down for many of us, but being widowed is on its own level. I am glad you are still practicing, and moving forward. I finished my MSN and am gearing up for Family Nurse Practitioner certification exam in a little over a month.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s good to hear from you. You have managed quite a lot in a short time.
    I’m so happy you found a roommate and how exciting it is to know you met on WordPress.
    Life is ever changing. The sprouts are fun to grow.
    I have 6 new baby chicks. I’m loving bonding with them. I also have 3 hens left from the last flock. It’s very sad to lose a pet.
    Keep on focusing on your new practice and get outside and enjoy the beautiful Spring we are finally having.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Laina,
    I’ realized I hadn’t seen your blog in a while; for some reason, it hadn’t gotten ‘delivered, so I came looking for you. I missed you! You are persevering and creating safe nurturing space to live and work in. It was good to ‘catch up’ with you, and Wow! you’ve had a lot on your plate.

    Liked by 1 person

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