Aspergers: Things That Sometimes Might Work, Maybe

Let’s face it. It’s pretty much hit or miss with us Aspies. We have to be in an in between state in the first place to be able to utilize any tools for psychological and emotional relief. We absolutely cannot be at one extreme or the other, in mindset or mood, when we set out to help ourselves. I mean the last, very last thing I need, when I feel like crap, is some perky fellow Aspie alien telling me that ‘Everything will be okay.’ Or some other well-meaning bystander reading off an invisible list she has collected in her brain about things that work for her.

When I am done, I am done. And there’s just no retrieving me until the crash is over. And if I am super happy, the other side of the Aspie pendulum—that elation we reach when we think to ourselves, ‘Hey, I feel kind of normal in my head. Hooray. Let’s party—then I don’t want a stupid list. I just want to be happy.

In the perfect world I could pull out a list and assist myself at any point in time. But this is not the perfect world. Still, it’s nice to have a go-to place that might help me some of the time; typically during that “I’ve-almost-lost-it-but-not-yet” teetering psychological/emotional point.

With that said, I dare not review this list (and you dare not) at my lowest point, because it only serves to make me feel entirely useless and hopeless, like I can’t even follow a list of suggestions.

So there’s that.

Just mentioning this incase you happen to be an Aspie, and happen to know what I mean. Kind of like my friendly (but not too friendly) warning label: Attention Aspie brains, proceed with caution. Only refer to this list if, and only if, you like yourself a little still, and aren’t entirely bombarded with thoughts and hating the world. If you happen to be beyond the tipping point proceed with caution and ignore, ignore, ignore.

Okay, that about does it for my lengthy introduction to a list of things that sometimes, might work, maybe for the Aspie when trying to avoid meltdown, confusion, or oblivion in the form of plummeting, free-falling thoughts.

I want to swear right now.

Not sure why.

The List:

1. Change the diet! That’s right, drop something that you already know, from your extensive readings and research, that isn’t good for you. For me it’s the bloating brain caused by gluten-overload, or too much sugar, or not enough of some supplement, mineral or another. This is usually my last resort. I know, I know, this ‘should’ (nasty uninvited ‘sh’ word) be my first approach to remedy. However, let’s be honest, being an Aspie has few advantages some days. And sometimes the only thing getting me through is Ben and Jerry’s Chunky something or another. Still, when I start to literally lose it in nonstop thoughts, my saving grace is to CHANGE something about my eating habits.

2. When I am about to lose it, I sometimes, if I am lucky, will ask myself what is way out of proportion in my life. Whether the answer be over-planning, over-thinking, over-doing, or clinging to one person or project, I will then try to look the situation over and bring some balance. Maybe the entire house doesn’t need to be cleaned in the time it takes the sun to reach the back of the house to the side of the house. And maybe I haven’t been resting, refueling, or letting go. Maybe it’s the opposite. Perhaps I have too much time on my hands and would do myself good to make some plans and get out of my house (and my head.)

3. Another effective question is: What self-inflicted rules have I established and rigidly enforced that are causing me undo stress and pressure? Ah-ha! This is a biggy. I do this all the time. I can’t stop it. I make strict rules for myself about eating or finances (or just about anything, e.g., chores, cooking, shopping) or about how I will respond to a person or situation; and then I follow them with loyal obedience, like I am a slave to my own inventions. I have done this forever and a day, part of my Aspie brainpower, I suppose. The downfall is I get trapped in this rigidness for days, sometimes weeks, until I realize I am the ONLY one who decided to do this, bought into doing this, and gosh darn it believes I have to do this! It’s okay to eat a piece of chocolate. Really, no one will hit your knuckles with a ruler. There is no overseer, beyond me!

4. Rethink it without rethinking it. This is a tough one. You see a tiny touch of cognitive reasoning works, but only a touch. This is vital to keep in mind. Just a tiny, tiny, tiny bit. Like adding salt to cookies. Just a pinch. Otherwise the whole batch of the mind is entirely spoiled. It’s beneficial, at times, for me to allow myself to remind myself that my thinking is out of control, and that I am being a bit irrational and catastrophizing, and that my thoughts might feasibly lead towards self-abuse. And then to maybe spend a minute, or one or two sentences, explaining why my thoughts are damaging to me. In example: ‘You know just because she isn’t available does NOT mean your friendship is over, and doesn’t negate the entire last year of companionship. And, she does care about you, and you have plenty of proof of that. So let’s let it go. Okay?’—but then I need to stop there. Otherwise the actual self-talk is a trigger for over thinking and a free-for-all for my brain. ‘Oh, Look! A possible challenge or problem. Let’s dissect it until it’s solved.’ That’s when I need to come in with a giant halt of the hand and scream: ‘NO, we are NOT going there!” You see it’s good for me to give myself a short little pep talk. However, it’s super bad for me to allow a short little pep talk to be the opened door that leads to obsessive, spinning out of control no-end and no-point solution hounding. (See previous post: The Whipping Girl).

5. Remove the trigger. A trigger can be anything, really. You name it and my mind can turn it into a trigger, if it’s not already a pre-established trigger to begin with. And by trigger, I mean anything that potentially sends me plummeting into a loop of endless thoughts or emotions which I cannot control (even with all my might, and incredible genius ability.) What I do in regards to managing triggers is to prepare and slightly analyze the triggers. I think (not too much) about what is triggering me and how I can avoid or remove that trigger. For me, a trigger could be, and has been, notifications (or lack of notifications) on my phone or computer, the actual bell sound or whatever sound, for notification triggers me. Yes, I am like that salivating dog! Gosh darn it. What I have learned to do to help myself is to remove the trigger, in this case my phone or computer, from the room. I simply (with sometimes agonizing resistance, which is eventually overruled by extreme will power) will have to shut down my electronics to help my sanity. My solution might only last thirty minutes or a few seconds, but in those moments I know I am protecting myself, and that alone makes me feel empowered and good. If the trigger is a person, I give myself permission to not talk to them, if I can, or to wait until I am feeling in a strong state of mind. And if a trigger is unavoidable, whether a situation, event, or person, then I accept the likely trigger-hood of the matter and prepare myself like I would for any catastrophe. I ask myself: What is likely to happen? How will I respond? How can I take care of myself? What has worked in the past? And, this is vital: It’s okay if I go into shutdown. It’s okay.

6. Something else to keep in mind: “Oh, Yeah! I have Aspergers.” This is a tough one. I often forget to give myself a break. I forget that my mind sometimes, (well kind of a lot of the time), doesn’t work like my fellow neighbors. I forget I might scream at noise because it feels like stinging nettle in my brain. I forget that I might not be able to let go of something because my mind is Velcro, basically. And I forget that I will have mood swings prompted by things that seem out of my control and are likely unpredictable and unexpected. I forget the world scares the hell out of me, and that just the action and effort of getting out of bed and showering is a triumph in itself. I forget I can only hold it together for so long, and then I need a huge break, and time to refuel.

7. Enjoy the little moments. I am learning to ignore and not feed the voice in my head that says: ‘Yes, you are happy, but it won’t last.’ I am realizing happiness doesn’t last for any human on earth. Everyone has good moments and bad moments. I just happen to be Aspie and feel the world at an extreme intensity. So while it is a true fact that my happiness and relief of anxiety for the moment, though wonderful, will not last, this truth is okay. I have to wrap myself around that fact like a brand name saran wrap (the generics generally don’t work). It’s OKAY. I have to just allow the happiness to exist, without over-analyzing the peace of mind, and without buying into the fear-based thoughts. Sometimes, many moments indeed, I must allow the party of dismal pessimistic thoughts that dingle-berry in the background (giggling) to completely live. Because, as soon as I fight them off, I am disengaging from my own happiness. So, like in the movie ‘A Beautiful Mind,’ when Nash allows his fellow self-manifested friends to carry on but choses not to interact with them, I allow my negating doomsday thoughts to be there, while I choose not to engage them further. They are like trappings you know—gooey sap dressed up as enticing honey. It’s best not to wade there, if given choice.

The Whipping Girl

I am guilty of gluttony, and I don’t mean that double-scoop mint ice cream on a sugar cone, followed by cheesecake and chocolate bits.

Gluttony has changed meanings from its original origins. At its roots, gluttony was referred to as self-punishing, self-pity, and self-affliction associated with the act of harming oneself in hopes of making amends to a higher power, most prominently represented as the remorseful priest whipping his back in a brutal attempt to make amends to God. It was viewed as a sin because even as the action is perceived as a sacrifice and admission of wrongs to God, it is in actuality the highest from of ego-based self-focus. It sets one’s agony above everything else, and the person becomes the focus not God.

As an Aspie, I am gluttonous as I whip myself mentally, damaging my self-esteem whilst under the guise of ‘wanting to be better.’

I think many Aspies are glutton for punishment, not because we desire to be but because our brains are instinctually wired to over-analyze, pick apart, and find inherent flaws. Typically, and ideally, we would be suited best for work as engineers or solvers of planetary problems; yet, most of us don’t have something to occupy our minds continually that is directly related to problem solving for a company or the whole of the world. In actuality, most of us experience several hours of the day, if not more, in isolation, trapped in our thoughts revolving around problem solving that doesn’t do anyone any good.

My thinking is: when we don’t have a BIGGER solution to solve, we set about to solve ourselves or someone else.

My trouble starts when I focus on someone else and what he has said or done or when I focus on myself and what I have said or done, or a combination of the aforementioned (aka Double-Whammy).

Because my mind is a vast endless landscape—think bland canvas upon blank canvas in repetitive mirrors beckoning to be painted—I can create havoc if I focus on an individual, especially if that someone is out of sight. In my case, out of sight does not mean out of mind. In my case, out of sight means trapped inside the hamster wheel of my mind: looping.

My gluttony, (self-affliction/whipping the mind), happens when I set about to focus on someone else but I can’t find answers about someone else, I can’t find a solution, and/or I can’t reach an endpoint. Given the obvious fact that people are not stagnant beings, and are creatures constantly changing in emotions, outlook, opinions, and behaviors, (not to mention biologically, aka cells shedding, blood pumping, microorganisms, etc.), the quest to reach an end conclusion with any particular person is a ridiculous rendering to begin with. Even if an accurate, or semi-close-to-accurate conclusion about someone or self is reached by said Aspie, the answer will not stick. It’s an impossibility to know an outcome of anyone because we change. Unless the person happens to drop dead right at the moment of discovery and all conclusions are said and done. Morbid, but true, and the only likely scenario in which my over-thinking and resulting theorizing might feasibly match a singular moment in someone’s life. People aren’t objects. They aren’t things. They aren’t puzzles to be solved, but somehow my brain thinks they are.

I feel like a tracking device set down on earth that narrows in on some subject and then dissects and gathers information, and then takes the data and internalizes it and digests it and then attempts to reach conclusions, without noting that the subject at hand is both impossible to understand in completion and that I am not a robot or machine. I forget that. I truly forget that I can’t reach a conclusion with people which will lead to a predictable outcome. I mean, like rolling dice, there is always that chance that my choice will match what’s in front of me; but even then, eventually the dice will be rolled again. I can’t seem to get this fact to compute though: that no amount of thinking, and re-thinking, and re-working will relieve my crushing anxiety and solve the problem.

And that’s at the core of it all: Anxiety.

And I don’t know what comes first—the anxiety (generalized anxiety disorder) or the perceived problem. I know that my body is predisposition to respond to stress in a fight or flight manner (as a result of Post Traumatic Stress, and as a result of the way I am genetically structured with a joint mobility syndrome that affects my autonomic functioning). So at times it is the anxiety that comes first, like trigger-chemicals that put my body on high-alert, and then from there I search for the actual problem. I get scared first, and then I try to figure out why. It’s a fact-seeking mission. Danger! Danger! Will Robinson. I am the robot on high alert; I am Will; and I am Danger. That’s the way it goes.

From there, whether it is an actual trigger that comes first—aka something someone said or did, a thought, a symbol, image, etc.—or my body’s biochemical makeup (fight or flight), I dive bomb into an oblivious state of confusion. I become a master puzzle solver, a master puppeteer of self, too, as I set about to dig myself out of where I have been buried. On alert, I feel walloped, cornered, and frightened, and I set out to search for answers, with my little stick with the bundle at the end, a hobo with her knapsack thinking the travel will bring me to some destination that spells RELIEF. But the truth is, I ought not set out. I shouldn’t. I should just set up camp and stay where I am. I shouldn’t just tramp or jump train. But I do. I do. I do.

I become lost then, on an endless destination, wanting to forge through the muck of data—some thick ivy-laden forest—to reach the other side in order to feel relief. I want nothing else but to end the anxiety. And my mind thinks if I think enough I will end the anxiety. It thinks: I got this. It says: Let me take over. It shouts: Just rethink it one more time! And I go round in this circle, nonstop, grabbing onto any semblance of information, any speck of hope for absolution. I just want to stop the pain inside of me, this nervous panicky feeling that resembles being abandoned, kicked out of my only home, and left naked on the floor of a monster’s adobe, all at once. I want to run and run through my mind’s files to find the answer, to bring anecdote, relief. Only I can’t. I can’t!

And still I find myself doing this—tramping, train, forest, file-finding—whatever. Just moving and moving and forging and forging. I get so tangled up in thought that the immobility sets in, and from there any tiny task seems impossible. Forget doing the dishes or leaving the house, the prospect of bending over and retrieving a piece of rubbish from the carpet seems as difficult as climbing Mt. Everest. I can’t bend. I can’t move. I can’t function. I shutdown, literally, like a computer on overload, overheated, and with her memory overstocked.

That’s it. I am done for. And from there I start to wonder what is wrong with me. I begin to brutally beat myself up. The whipping begins. It’s not so much: WHY can’t I solve this. It’s more so: WHY am I trying to solve this? WHY can’t I shut off my mind. WHAT is wrong with me. I AM flawed. I AM wrong. I NEED help. And there is NO ONE that can help me. The whipping continues on from there. I am good for nothing. How can I go on like this? How do I turn off my brain? And then the really redundant thoughts set in, that most humans suffer through, the ones based on childhood trauma and drama, all the negative messages we collective like to lick at like old wounds that won’t heal. I become that dog—lick lick lick—needing a cone over and about my head so something can save me from hurting me. But there’s no cone. Just me and my brain, my glorious brain.

Everything eventually leads to gluttony. Unless something stops me midstream, like an unexpected event or calling, something that catches my eye or heart, then I am okay, leaped out of the cyclic pain by a momentary distraction. The only thing is that my monster mind is still lurking in the background, that part of me that likes to munch at data and delete any sign of sanity.

I have yet to find a way to make any of this stop. Sure, I am getting closer as I delve into deeper and deeper analysis, bringing along a fleet of fellow Aspies with me that nod their heads and delirious gorgeous hearts in recognition. But it seems the deeper I dig the more grand the journey becomes—like opening up a jar and finding a universe inside. I just can’t seem to get to the end of me. And then I remember it’s my mind again, taking what it perceives as solvable and spinning the endless webs into oblivion.

Aspergers Hell

I share the same camp with a mind that goes out of control in its quest to search. It is like my mind goes bungy jumping without my permission. It sees an avenue of escape and jumps. Boing! And I am left somewhere in between the launch pad and the landing ground, midstream in the air, flailing, and screaming for rescue. My mind literally pours into multiple dimensions of jumping thoughts. The Energizer bunny overdosed on caffeine skydiving without a parachute.

And what does my mind pour? Everything. All the data I have collected from being. Everything I have taken note of during my waking and sleeping hours: each person, each face, each smell, each droplet taken in by the senses, and even the liquid data beyond the common senses. Everything I have ever learned, seen, contemplated, deduced—all brought to the same over-crowded table for dinner, and each wanting a turn at conversation. It’s loud. It’s annoying. And it’s uninvited company.

I am sensitive to my world like none can understand, unless born into the view I see; unless transmitted in completion into the suit I wear, and forced to walk as I walk.

Being on the spectrum which includes neurological differences leads to challenges that the typical person just doesn’t seem to grasp. And how could he? I mean for the most part we, as a collective, we look ‘normal.’ In fact, many of us are quite successful at one endeavor or another, high-achievers and/or proficient in a vocation or skill. In fact, many of us are quite charming despite our peculiarities. And most of us aren’t ‘handicapped’ on the outside at all. Most of our disabilities, if not all, beyond our clumsiness, are entirely invisible.

The typical person usually doesn’t understand how the multiple traits of Aspergers, sometimes reaching a hundred in totality, quickly add up. While it is true one singular trait taken out of the pool, such as dysgraphia or dyslexia, might be manageable with effort, when one takes into account the multiple traits all combined and compacting one person, one can more easily theorize how overwhelming the condition can be.

Still from an outsider’s view, we really ought not have too much to complain about. I mean everyone suffers. But that’s exactly the point! We suffer like all humans but the suffering is accentuated and multiplied at every level. We are experiencing life at hyper-speed in hyper-sensory overload. And we take in life to the tenth-degree compared to the average person. We also take in other people’s crap! We feel their pain and their suffering. In truth, sometimes we can’t tell if we are feeling our own stuff or someone else’s pain. And if that weren’t confusing enough, we feel profound empathy for the suffering all around us.

But not OUR OWN suffering. We beat ourselves up about our own suffering because we believe we should know better, be stronger, be wiser, and have control. We hate that we are sad. We hate that we are depressed. We hate that we are again in a place of discomfort.

But the most extreme confusion is not knowing when to stop the thoughts. We can’t tell which thoughts are actually doing us some degree of ‘good’ and which of our thoughts are merely a result of our minds dive-bombing off a bridge. And to top that, we can’t even tell what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad.’ Everything seems to be able to prove its own point and hold its own ground. Except us of course. As we are in a constant free fall.

Yet, from an outsider’s view, we complain too often; we are self-focused; we pity ourselves; and let us not forget that we take life too seriously.

The key word in all this being: outsider.

If we wore our traits on the outside, things might look a bit different to the outsider. If all the challenges were dangling off our bodies, perhaps blinking words or metaphors. If all the pictures in our minds were on display, if all the thoughts trumpeting, if all the pain made concrete that was brought on from sensory overload, if all the mixed emotions could stampede in parade fashion, if all the questions could be bull-horned in an amphitheater, if each and every one of the close to one hundred traits could be corralled and put on display, maybe, just maybe, the outsider could grasp the enormity of what we experience in simply being.

For us life itself is a challenge. Forget the other stuff, e.g., Maslow’s hierarchy, relationships, health, and finances. For us the challenge is just being alive another day—just opening our eyes and getting out of bed. Give us an hour and we’ve lived a day. Give us a day and we’ve lived over a year. We are exhausted, and yet we carry on. We are terrified, yet we smile. We are confused, yet we forge through. We are lonely, yet we offer support.

We are—and some days that in and of itself is enough to make us not want to be.

I have a runaway brain. I have a machine inside of me that knows how to twist reality, so I never am quite certain of my own emotional state. I know fear. I know love. And the rest is a jumbled mess that seems illusion.

My mental and emotional state play teeter-totter all day long. I have no bearings. I have no idea how I will respond to the next over abundance of stimuli or the next trigger. I have no clue what pattern my brain will choose to latch onto next, what puzzle it will try to solve, or how it will manifest some data as proof of why I should be fearful. I am watching myself constantly, and knowing my brain is its own entity, and knowing I have a heightened awareness to everything and everyone I will come into contact with, and everything and everyone I will think about.

Having Aspergers is like jumping into a river and not only feeling the cold stinging water, but feeling everything that leads to the water’s arrival and knowing everything that might feasibly come after the arrival. It’s time travel in thought, all at once, why boggled down with emotions that make no sense. Life is complicated by the simple act of thought, and to not think seems mostly an impossibility, without the aid of extreme measures, strength, and endurance. Every ounce of energy might be used up on just controlling and stopping thoughts. And then depleted, every ounce of resistance is wiped clean, and we are left infantile.

Next the self-blame rolls in for not having had been enough—strong enough, normal enough, in control enough. We twist the thoughts into a labyrinth-mess. We pity ourselves for pitying ourselves. We become our enemy in hopes of becoming something other than self. We fake confidence or we hide out. We try to escape who we are. We try on different personas and personalities. We try on different skill sets and activities. We change interests. And all the while we watch ourselves in confusion.

And then someone says: Everyone suffers. Stop pitying yourself.

And I think, shit, I see his point. But how the hell do I stop wanting to not be in hell?

Bipolar or Aspergers?

Sometimes people on the spectrum have a comorbid diagnosis of bipolar. In other words experts inform a person with ASD that he or she has both bipolar disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome. While in some cases this is likely true and substantiated by symptoms and behaviors, in other instances people on the spectrum receive an inaccurate bipolar diagnosis. Often a ‘rapid-cycling’ version is diagnosed. I won’t pretend to be an expert about bipolar because I am not, and I don’t experience the condition myself, but I can abstract the differences between Aspergers and bipolar based on some readings and interactions with people with rapid cycling and/or manic/depressive episodes.

For me, there are some distinct differences between bipolar and ASD, the primary being that I can predict, analyze, and understand my emotional states. I am aware of how I feel, not some of the time, but all the time. I can watch myself get happy, and I can step back and analyze the direct reason, and even theorize when the happiness will end. My behavior is not unpredictable. In retrospect, after I experience what might be seen as a ‘high’ or a ‘low,’ I can always find a trigger; sometimes the trigger is as simple as something I ate or someone who showed up at my door. In addition, much of my feelings of frustration, despondence, and discouragement are directly related to my executive functioning ability: the way in which my brain organizes information or doesn’t organize information. My executive functioning challenges can result in an inability to perform simple daily tasks, such as showering, dressing, errands, phone calls, or cooking. My lack of being able to perform simple tasks will cause sadness and disappointment, feelings that can easily spiral into a form of depression—a depression with an exact cause, other than biological.

My moods are determined by my environment and my ability to function in said environment. They are affected by people around me, foods, interactions, the list of things I think I must do for the day, and my inability to cope with the overwhelming amount of information I process. My moods are triggered by endless thoughts that leave me immobile and perplexed by almost anything in my world. Everything is complicated, and in this complication I either become motivated to solve or motivated to hide.

There are always triggers. For instance, I know in talking to a particular relative my sense of esteem and self-worth might be triggered, and as a result I might quickly spiral into a place that resembles depression, but my state is actually more of a withdrawal from others until my wounds are healed.

There are times I can control my emotions and avoid a certain mood, (hyper-creative or despondent), with self-talk, intervention from friends, and by employing a very strong will. But I have to have energy to do this.

Liken to the process of bipolar rapid cycling, my moods are fairly mild, and rarely extreme polar opposites. I am not super high and then super low. More so, I always have this silver lining inside of me: a mixture of hope and melancholy. And in all ways, I either have vast energy and the ability to accomplish a lot or a lack of energy and the ability to accomplish little. But even in my states of inertia, I am accomplishing something—I am recuperating from a period of high-production and/or high-intake.

Living on two extremes of the spectrum of emotions is a trademark of the Asperger’s condition. Often, we, as individuals with ASD, long to find the middle road. But, we are typically, if not always, either in a state of one extreme or the other, energy-wise. In example, we are hyper-motivated, fixated, and great accomplishers or we are in state of reconfiguration of our emotional and intellectual well being.

We are similar in characteristics to particular breed of nocturnal animal that needs to seek refuge in a dark, isolated space to rest for a season, until ready to go out and bare the elements. This is evident in all on the spectrum. From an outsider, it would seem we have extreme mood swings, but inside, at least in my experience, the moods don’t seem that extreme. And, as stated before, I don’t just become happy or sad, there is always an exact event or experience externally or internally I can pinpoint as a trigger.

All-in-all, I live in two polar places. I have two halves: the one who can do a lot in a short amount of time and the one that is immobile. But neither one is irrational or thinking thoughts that are grandiose, illogical, or the like. In fact, when I am in super-woman mode, I am very aware of my thought processes, my actions, and my intentions. I am watching myself create and indulge.

There is a high that comes as a result of creation and producing, and finally accomplishing things that I was unable to do before, because of exhaustion. But all the highs are a direct result of accomplishing. It is a huge relief, the euphoria of finally having the energy to produce and contribute. The high doesn’t come first. Energy is given back to me, and I am happy and ‘high’ because at last I am not couch-bound, nor lost in an immobile state of over-analysis of self.

Essentially I have been given two ways to live: one as a creative entity and one as the creative entity on pause. I am a computer that takes time out to reboot and clear up junk. I need time to take all the garbage, and digest and restart myself. What might look to be manic is the creative me indulging in life, and using the high-intellect I have for a greater cause or good. What might look to be depression is the tired me, exhausted from creating, and on overload from a world burdened with so much information.

When I am in overload, I can get depressed. Mostly, this is a result of over-thinking and over-processing and not having an outlet, nor energy, for my creativity. I can’t just turn my thoughts off, and so, with inertia, they have no place to play, and thusly they, these thoughts, often cause havoc in my mind. It is during overload, I slip into overdrive of self-analysis, which leads to a form of self-punishment, pessimism, and feelings of not good enough. This will lift when something triggers me, e.g., a new project, a new challenge, a new person, a new hope, a new reason to get up and move.

I don’t just click on and off from happy to sad, from sad to happy. I am stable underneath, an observer watching me swing from creativity to exhaustion. One side of the swing makes me happy, one side makes me sad. And still, I am driven to create.

There Needs to be A Name

There needs to be a name
There needs to be a name for what happens
Because always with happiness
Comes this shadow
Some dark figure behind closed doors

When happy rings
I open
I envelop
I take in the colors, the smells, and desires
I become that which is: calm, giddy, and hope-filled
The world mine, for a moment
Free
Anxiety lifted
Somewhat ‘normal’
And yet…
And yet…
And yet…

The Shadow
There—waiting, watching, wanting
To devour

I am these two: Split
Yes, split
I am momentarily happy, and I am perpetually sad
Half sees the other as weak, dismal, and pathetic
Half sees the other as over-bearing, tiring and exhaustive
Melancholic one, concurs
Happy sweeps up the messes and sets things straight

Some other piece, long forgotten
Wants nothing more
Than to crawl into a space of no halves
No me’s
Where there is emptiness
Tranquility
And the absence of extremes

Somewhere between
Over-exertion
And under-confidence
I wobble, this lonelier non-version
Frightened by the chime of happiness

~ Everyday Aspergers