Lacking Sleep

So, at first I thought it was just me, but then reading the blogs I am following, it seems like no one is sleeping.  I got about 4 hours Sunday night, before a 12 hour shift, and while I did go to bed on time last night, the sleep debt is still screwing with me.

For some people missing a little sleep is nothing, with anxiety it can be everything. To start with for me, it makes my stomach a little acidic, sometimes gives me heart burn.

Then it seems like every little thing is completely grating, the ticking clock, running water, that guy two cubicles over that won’t shut up.  The computer screen and lights are too bright, the font is too small, and I narrowly avoided tripping over my own feet while talking to my boss on the way down for tea.  Well I tripped, but I recovered gracefully without falling and pretended I always walk like that.

With a little less sleep every anxiety is amplified.  That said, every emotion is amplified, someone forgetting to ask me if I am coming to lunch is something to almost end up in tears over.  The anxiety however is tenfold, as is the distracting effect it has, and man is that a vicious cycle. Did I lock the car, oh no i didn’t lock the car, I will click again hear the beep, I locked the car.  Now I am so focused on that I cant remember where I left the car.  Will I be able to find the car, where did I leave the car, what if I wander around forever looking for it, and I have forgotten to lock my computer.

With increasing anxiety I get increasingly acidic stomach, maybe a headache, and of course worsening heartburn which always makes me believe I am dying of a heart attack.  Tonight I skipped out on TV with the family, am reading early, and plan to be in bed, HOPEFULLY asleep in advance of ten.  I wish you all a wonderful night of sleeping.

Going to Fall Down the Stairs

I often feel like I am going to fall down the stairs.  While this does happen to me WAY more than the average person, the is mainly just another symptom of my anxiety.  The unwavering knowledge that something bad will happen.

I often sit, and its like my brain randomly flips through scenarios until one comes through and does that thing where my chest and feet clench, and a warm  feeling of dread rushes through  my body.  Some people get a chill, but for me its a warm flush of adrenaline as then horrible reality comes into mind.  Oh my god, I am going to fall down those stairs.  I cant find a way to avoid the stairs, I am upstairs, in bed, and unless I never leave, I will have to face the stairs.  I run through the possibilities, realize that the chances of this happening are low, but 10 minutes later am still laying in bed dreading the idea of going downstairs.

I usually try distraction then, read a book.  I mean, I don’t actually have to go down till morning, and by then, 99.99999% of the time I have forgotten the fear entirely.  I don’t have an actual fear associated with going down the stairs, unless I am actually in the process of falling, it doesn’t even process.

Sometimes distraction is inconvenient. But overall unless I can pull my mind to some other specific idea, I am not getting anything else done.  Not in the middle of the work day, and certainly not when trying to fall asleep.  Better to stay up till 3 reading, than be up till 4 staring at the ceiling dreading tomorrow.  And its not always stairs, sometimes its the drive, sometimes its my imagined “cancer” or other ailment.  Once my brain goes there, getting  it back is a process.

A workshop on social anxiety has given me a few tools, and I am trying to use them. But one thing this last few months of internet discovery has taught me, is that I really should give therapy another try.

16 signs of “X” you shouldn’t ignore

Who hasn’t seen one of these. Heart disease, diabetes, heat attack and most commonly cancer.  And I can’t not look.

It doesn’t matter that I know that I will find a syptom that fits, or make one fit. That I will spend the next few days, weeks and maybe months obsessing over it. The only thing worse is that dread I get from not checking.

Thinking that I might gave whatever the article says but I won’t know cause I didn’t check.  Half of them are half as attention grabs trying to sell some miracle cure or make money of ads. Which sucks, because a bunch of assholes trying to make money keep toying with me.

I try and ignore them, and some times I am fine.  But on days where I am tired, and it’s been a long week, it just presses my buttons.

 

Asperger’s and Anxiety

I worry, a lot, about everything.  This week has been a particular series of “Did I lock the door” moments.  Specifically the front door and the car door.  I have gone back to check more than once, and actually ended up 5 minutes late because of this.

I can try, but truly fail to be able to describe the feeling of dread I get at the idea of an unlocked door.  A forgotten item can ruin my day.  Not because the item it’s self is missing, but actually forgetting it is what bothers me.

More recently with my new job I am trying to make a good impression on the people I work with.  Basically the idea is that people you like, you are more likely to hire later.  So I worry, do they like me.

Am I boring them?  Am I talking about something too long?  Am I repeating myself?Am I making weird gestures?  Am I biting my nails?  Am I compulsively checking things? Do they think I am strange?

The answer to these questions some people find in reading body language, I don’t.  I can’t tell until someone is physically moving away from me, if they are being bored.  I often tap a finger, twirl my hair, shift awkwardly, and 99% of the time I don’t even realize I am doing it.  And when we walk together I spend most my time trying to follow small talk well enough to laugh at the appropriate moments, while all the time paying attention to my feet so I don’t trip.

When I get home at the end of the day people ask why I don’t go out, date, spend time with friends.  Its hard to explain I just spent 8 hours using every bit of energy I had to do what seems to come naturally to everyone else.  Basically, I want to curl up with my book and read until bed.

Off Day

So today started with my alarm going off an hour early. I tried to go back to sleep but had an intense tension headache. Couldn’t take meds because I needed to drive to work. The advil didn’t even rake the edge off till halfway through my drive to work.

So I took a Robaxacet,  which has a muscle relaxant wit my coffee break.  It hit me like a ton of bricks today. I have been slightly spaced out all morning, which has lead to quite a bit of worry of various medical conditions I may be dying of. My hope is that I am back down to earth by the time I drive home, and still pain free

Aspie with Anxiety, Diagnosis Free

So I have tried a few support group sites to talk things out with some fellow Aspie’s and have found a divide in the community.  Those of us who have a diagnosis, and those who do not.  A large number of those who have been diagnosed seem to be quite angry at those referring to ourselves as having Asperger’s without a diagnosis. I find this sad, as you don’t necessarily need a diagnosis to know you have Asperger’s, and there are reasons to and not to get a formal diagnosis.

Some of us were lucky, and were found when we were children, and were treated early with therapy and given the tools to work though life.  Other’s lived in rural areas or were a little too old, and were given a stricter definition of autism, before the spectrum was well known. I know my parents were given an autism checklist, and checked all but two items on the list, having trouble in school, and I am not sure what the other was.  These two items were considered to be definitive of the diagnosis, and without them checked, you weren’t autistic.  Now we know that when you check 18/20 of these things without the definitive aspects, that’s Asperger’s.  I was born in 1986, and in 1990 in a small town, no one had really heard about Asperger’s yet, so I was labelled not autistic and life moved on.

I only ever had one of two friends, and hated change.  My mother set a routine up in stone, I ate the same thing in my lunch everyday for over 10 years, and I learned how to “fit in” on my own.  I was teased and bullied, but I pulled though.

The first time I heard of Asperger’s I was 16 years old, and what I heard definitely wasn’t what I had. The son of  my mothers friend was diagnosed in childhood as having Asperger’s.  He was violent, non-compliant on his meds, and intermittently institutionalized.  He refused to eat anything but pizza, wouldn’t go to school or work and spent all his time gaming.  With my mom’s friend having never ending trouble with him, in my house Asperger’s became known as, lets call him Chris.  Chris who hit his mother, Chris who got angry when his mother didn’t obey his every whim, Chris whose mom moved a few years ago and though goes to visit him often, hasn’t given him phone number or home address out of fear. Basically my parents feel that is Chris had been given less leeway due to his diagnosis, and more rules, wouldn’t be who he is today.

As you can imagine it never occurred to me to think of myself as someone with this condition.  Even though I read and collect compulsively, have problems making friends, recognizing face, judging facial expressions, keeping track of multiple conversations, problems with taking on the phone, knowing when people are bored, sensory issues with my clothes, food textures, poor coordination, poor fine motor control, intense issues with change, and anxiety, and a bunch more little things, it never occurred to me.

Then more and more characters started showing up on tv, with quirks and eccentricities that I had, and were being occasionally accused of having Asperger’s.  Last year I actually looked it up.  It fit, okay.  Then I read an article on women with Asperger’s, and for a second the world stopped.  That was me.  So I took a quiz, and another and another, and ya, I am not neurotypical by a long shot. So I looked into diagnosis, and realized that it wasn’t easy as an adult, it would probably involve my parents who didn’t believe in it, and be expensive, drawn out and hard.  It could affect my ability to find work, who wants to hire an engineer they “know” will be bad with people.  So I decided to put it off, start with a little CBT for my anxiety, and maybe look into diagnosis a little down the road.

CBT didn’t really go well.  I am not comfortable sharing intimate details of my life. I wasn’t even comfortable saying why I was there. I couldn’t express how my anxiety felt, or that I believed I had Asperger’s.  10 sessions later I felt that the therapist was patronizing me because she didn’t think the anxiety was so bad. I can’t explain how I feel, I don’t know the words, I rambled and put on my “everything is okay” face because I was uncomfortable.  She took this to mean I was wasting her time, I didn’t really have anxiety.It was humiliating in a way, and while I want to get some help, I won’t see her again.

I have great respect for those who managed to get an adult diagnosis, but not all of us can get there.  For a variety of reasons, and while I know an entire world of help could open up to me with one, I just am not there yet.  I couldn’t even get someone to realize I had anxiety, and this is going to be so much harder.

On Edge-Happy International Women’s Day

So I woke up this morning and for no reason at all I feel on edge. Like anxiety is just bubbling beneath the surface and at any point I could completely snap. As the morning progressed it got worse, I couldn’t get comfy in my chair.  I was sitting, fidgeting in my chair, I couldn’t focus on anything.   I started worrying about what was wrong and then right when I couldn’t take it anymore I realized….It was my period.

I know that a lot of women have no problem with their periods, but as a woman with Asperger’s and anxiety, some months, mine can take my body for a ride.  The backache, cramps and bloating are the standards.  What you don’t expect though is the ramping up of everything else.  That proprioception problem you usually have, load up on the right kind of hormones and it gets to the point where you literally have to consciously think of stepping onto each stair or fall.  No this isn’t my stair anxiety talking, I have correlated the abnormally large number of accidents I have (stair related and otherwise) and realized that during my period what little ability I have to perceive my body location, can go out the window, or off a staircase, or walk you into a door. You know how embarrassing it is to have a bruised face and try to explain to people you actually walked into a door.

Then there is the weird food taste.  I am very picky about my food texture and taste, and sometimes, about 2-3 times a year, along with aunt flo I get a dramatic taste change.  My butter taste metallic, the bread tastes moldy, the cucumbers taste like dirt.  I have no idea what it is, but it takes my limited palate and makes it minuscule. Which sucks because…everything I eat thats even remotely acidic irritates my stomach.  If I eat too much fibre, I get diarrhea.  And that’t not my normal too much level, its my “does it say fibre on the package, that may be too much” level.  Even if I don’t set this off I will still be in the bathroom every hour, because I have to pee….for like no reason at all.  And of course not all of my cramps are menstrual, some are gas, because really, this process couldn’t get more humiliating. Between these and the varying tenderness and lumpiness of my breasts, which makes me think I have cancer, at this point it officially sucks.

But that’t not it.  It puts me through an emotional roller coaster. I almost cried today at work because I went to get coffee and everyone else had already gone, not together, just individually over the last hour. I prefer to go alone, I don’t know why this upset me,  or any of the thousands of little things that have had me near tears.  I have been overly anxious, depressed, psychotically happy, and sometimes within minutes of each other.  I often wonder if I am the only person who has thought “Am I losing my mind? Oh, no wait, it’s my period, I will see if I am still nuts next week”  And I am not saying this is every month, some months I only get one or two symptoms, but this month has been the works,  and it may be international women’s day, but today is not the day I celebrate being a woman.

Not Dying

I have spent this week thinking I was dying of a blood clot.  As it is, I realized yesterday that I have been reading while lying down, which is aggravating my spine, making my leg hurt.  This has happened before, and if I hadn’t been panicking so much all week, I would have realized it sooner.

I have given in to the weather and went to work late two days this week. Which ended up being great, because I got an extra 2 hours of sleep two days, which I think is what brought my anxiety down to stop reading laying on you stomach moron, levels.  Nothing much else to report, been binge watching Chicago Med, and slowly farther and farther behind on my reading challenge