I realised I haven’t written an update on my progress for a long time now. I keep using my personal blog as a soap box for self-advocacy. I still have one thing more to talk about but I think that can wait. Caring too much for these issues has led to many heated disputes and these intense leftover emotions reverberate throughout me like Earth’s magnetic core is shaken by a violent geomagnetic storm – and you all know what that does to the human body…right?
In these last four years since my diagnosis I have learnt a lot about social skills in particular. I have learnt that others have different views than me that I may not agree with, but even then this knowledge gets swallowed up in a sea of mixed sensory signals and emotional bombardment. It’s easy to see that in such a chaotic world I can forget about things pertinent to effective communication with others.
Even out of that environment there are still some things that I just don’t get. It’s like there are two different kinds of minds involved in an argument: systemisers and empathisers. Systemisers are solutions type of thinkers. They plan and organise in a step-by-step way and when they reach a problem quickly work out the best possible solution. When someone tells them about a problem they will offer a solution first than lending a sympathetic ear. Empathisers want their problems to be listened to not just heard, they have an inherent empathic ability and are sensitive to body language and emotions without becoming overloaded by it (if they have no sensory processing issues that is).
I am a systemiser. I try to offer my support by giving people ways to overcome their problems rather than just listen to them. Many times my methods are attacked for being too cold or thinking I’m better than people. All I want to do is help and it has come to my attention that this isn’t the best approach and even though I know I find it hard to stop. Some people find my methods helpful and some take them as a down-right insult.
This type of determination works for me to overcome many obstacles. Instead of getting down on myself I have a try-again-next-morning approach or even next week. I look to psychology and neuroscience to better understand why these things happen in the first place and use my knowledge to help me overcome them.
I have a terrible hormonal disorder called pre-menstrual dysphonic disorder which makes me even more argumentative and very literal minded, gives me explosive meltdowns and leads to severe drop in dopamine that it leads to self-doubt and suicide ideation. And even suicide attempts. It’s important I get this disorder under control. It has left me unable to move in the past. And my medication doesn’t always work when going through it.
The drop in productivity makes me depressed. This is probably why I never want to deal with any kind of mental illness again. I love to write and I love that sense of accomplishment after completing a task. I want to share that joy with other people but as I have learned that’s not always as simple for others to accomplish as it sounds to me.
I understand that others experience symptoms in more severity than I do and haven’t found the right method of dealing with it yet. Five years ago I was nothing like I am now. I never could clean up after myself, even if it was just a few chip wrappers. I often forgot to hang out the laundry and my God did I ever hate cleaning my bedroom. I hated reading and writing because I hadn’t worked out a system that worked for me yet. I didn’t even know more of half than what I know now. I was so committed to changing who I was then that people would find it impossible to believe I could ever be any other way than what they see now.
That’s just who I am. I have a great deal of will power. I can leave a box of chocolate in the cupboard and only take one square a day. I used to do that when I started to diet. I went completely off chocolate and then when Easter came would only pick off little bits of chocolate a day. My egg eventually got eaten by someone else. And when my sister tried to tempt me with a Krispy Kreme donut I just turned the other way. I didn’t care for it at all – it was 300 calories after all.
Anyway, I hope I don’t sound like I’m saying that I’m better than people who can’t do that. I just found a way to be able to do that. I’m usually severely strict on myself. My damn brain does this thing where if I put something off and then go to do another task, no matter how productive it is – I have to do that task I’ve been putting off for so long. It gets in the way of writing my science fiction and is usually about me buying groceries, reading a book I’ve been putting off or writing another blog, which is why I’m writing this blog and not editing one of my chapters.
I hate when it happens but I accept it, get through that task so I can later go back to doing the other task. The thing with writing is I’m easily drained by it so I’m probably not going to get back into my science fiction until tomorrow, and if I’m still burnt out…guess I’ll be spending the whole day reading or researching or watching science fiction.
When it comes to procrastination or working on something that is not a top priority my brain will make me feel guilty about not doing it. My bedroom needs to be vacuumed which calls for more motivation and energy I have been able to muster these last couple of days, so I feel like a messy slob. It will be done though. The way I go about it is pick up every item off my floor (and I have a lot of boxes) and put them on my bed, vacuum the floor, put the items on the ground, shake my quilt cover, vacuum that up and make my bed all over again in the exact same way I do every morning.
This calls for a lot of planning and an effective dose of medication, or fish oil supplements, depending on whether it falls on a weekend or not.
I’m a factual person and if someone says something I know is incorrect I will correct them in the most technical manner…and then get caught up in an argument that usually started because I unintentionally offended somebody. It’s not just that I’m correcting people but I am stating the fact for myself to know that it’s right, and it’s not always right. I get embarrassed when caught out but I do like to learn the truth and will eventually accept it, and maybe even do some research on it just so I know for sure it is factual information.
I like to think of myself as a teacher too. When people ask for my help I jump at the chance and get busy braining storming up some ideas pretty quickly. My reason for talking involves both to share information and have my many curiosities answered.
So, many of the arguments I get into are mainly misinterpretations about my intended purpose for saying what I said and are usually caused by a lack of equilibrium between my emotions and there’s – mine are low to non-existent at that moment in time and there’s are off the charts. I can get over emotional too usually when I realise somebody attacks me after I’ve said something completely rational to me and they’re just taking it the wrong way. And so the flame war begins.
During face to face interaction there are no arguments, at least I never notice them. People think my automatic corrections are arguments but really I can’t argue because my emotions get too tense resulting in an inability to talk about anything related to the issue at hand, and either getting close to meltdown, already gone through a complete system shutdown or trying to get as far away from the conversation that led up to it. I’m a master avoider. There’s even a personality disorder named after it.
This post was meant to be more emotional but never got there. I don’t even have my own voice in my head. This writing style is not mine, though these are my words.
It’s so damn confusing talking to people sometimes. Sometimes I don’t even want to bother because it will all end the same. Forgiveness only works when a person changes and doesn’t make the same mistake again, only it’s difficult for me to and the other person won’t change. As much I don’t want to be known for having a disorder when people treat you like you should know better or they talk to you just like anybody else (not taking into account the dramatic deficit in theory of mind – difficultly understanding what it’s like to be another person, i.e having a basic knowledge about how people think and feel) it’s damn confusing and damn insulting. When people say that they probably have the same problems well they aren’t actually as impaired to be diagnosed with autism and you should know how I feel about a lack of impairment – not a disorder – something else that gets me into a lot of arguments.
So, how do I deal with this confusion and the intense emotions that accompanies them? I turn off. I watch hours upon hours of science fiction and I work on my own science fiction novel. I go into forums like Wrong Planet and ADD forums to find people who relate to the situation that caused me so much distress.
These emotions get in the way of my productive life. Sometimes being angry can help me write my science fiction, not by putting anger into the story but by having such an intense amount of focus on it. People don’t seem to understand that it’s easy for me to turn off of people. I’ve severed friendships over a differing in political opinion, religious bias or smug atheism, and even over criticising my favourite folk singer. I don’t feel like I have a connection with people even when we are enjoying each other’s company. It goes way back to my childhood when I never used to think about people or want to be near them.
If this post offends you then I give up. I don’t know if I will work on changing my ways or if that is even possible. It seems on one side there are people who like me even though I am an insufferable auto-fact-corrector and absent-minded arguer. And there are those who think I’m arrogant and shoving my accomplishments in people’s faces to make myself feel better.
I work best on overcoming my obstacles by coming to quick results with a sense of all-or-nothing determination and I share that with people because I want them to succeed too. If you don’t want it, then fine, I’ll move on to the next person.