re: autism, schedules, logic, anxiety, mania

I’ve decided that I need a writing accountability space and that will be this blog. It’s gonna get scattered and unedited in here, so I take no offense to unfollows.

Litaku1

I’ve realized that the part of me that avoids writing (something I love) is the same part that avoids all sorts of things in my life – and that is all tied up in traits I link to my autism. I have no desire to ‘cure’ or ‘fix’ being autistic, but I’m still figuring out how to be my best autistic self.

For a lot of us on the spectrum, scheduling is super important.

For me, I need an external schedule because my natural inclination is to avoid everything (Uranus conjunct Moon). I will burn out doing the one thing I’m most passionately obsessing about at the moment, which usually also involves dissociating from my body to play entirely in my mind(Pluto opposite Mercury, both ruling planets).

Since learning I’m autistic a couple years ago, my awareness of how I function and behave has skyrocketed. But altering behaviors to work in my favor has only seen slight progress. Apps like ToDoist and ATracker have been immensely helpful – I just need to remember to actually use them.

What it looks like when I’m most disconnected from a schedule:

I’m reading non-fiction voraciously. I’m taking notes in three different journals. I’m fake checking in – with the moon, cards, etc. – but I’m not really connecting that check in to any other facet of my life, so it immediately floats away. I’m completely forgetting to eat, and I’m probably ignoring my need to go to the bathroom without consciously realizing it. I’m extremely resistant and cranky if someone, even my partner, wants me to do something or go somewhere. Anything, anywhere, I’m a hard ‘No’. Any responsibility that I *know* needs to be addressed but I’m not addressing, I begin to increasingly panic about until I want to cry just thinking about it. Oh no, changing the propane can is going to be SO HARD! Oh my, where do I even BEGIN with that email response! These seemingly mediocre tasks become tremendously difficult for no logical reason.

(This is an extreme example. If all of this is going on, I’m in overload and close to meltdown – where with zero conscious agency I curl into a rocking ball, screaming and crying, hands pressed to my ears for 5-20 minutes. Thankfully, I meltdown less than once a year. However, I do tip into overload every few months.)

And that’s part of what I’m unraveling. I’m reorienting what ‘logic’ means to me while simultaneously opening myself up to what it means to channel irrationality, the dreaded beast. How do I carve and construct a life where my seemingly irrational qualities function rationally and logically?

Part of the panic comes from not sorting thoughts.

Until I get something added to my calendar or to-do list, it loops in my conscious mind. Shit that slips into the subconscious after a beat for most folks, just loops for me. And that looping is often called anxiety. If I stay in the anxious mode for too long it spreads like cancer into depression. I can look back and see this deep cycle over the course of my life.

While I seem to have broken the deep cycle, a minor cycle remains. Thanks to a handful of personal practices, for mind and body, I’ve alleviated most of my anxiety – but somehow I’ve not fully harnessed or re-routed that energy. Nowadays, when I slip out of a schedule into free-fall time, I’ll swing into a period of mania. I’m hyper energized and optimistic and impulsive – but my priorities are all off, and even though I feel positive, I set up a lot of extra work for myself in the future. Anxiety and mania have that same-but-different feel. What is this energy that sometimes makes me think/feel I can’t do anything and other times makes me feel I *can* do anything? How do I harness it, dance with it?

 

Image: WoW screenshot from 2007

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