Sleep Window

Anyone who has anxiety has probably had experience with the sleep window.  This is the ideal time, or rather the window of time you have to fall asleep and have it occur in an ok period of time.  Not anxiety free, but anxiety light.

If you go to bed too early, you aren’t tired enough to sleep.  It takes a while to drift off, and this allows you to have longer to let the 1000 anxious thoughts to come to the surface.  The time where you aren’t sleepy enough you get so riled up, that ultimately you can’t sleep at all. So sleeping when you are more tired makes sense.  Except…

You have now waited to long.  You are overly tired.  Now that one minor anxious thought gets blown out of proportion.  You are crying at the thought of your impending car accident tomorrow. All possibilities are worse case scenarios, you are having a panic attack.

So now you are aiming for an hour window where you have enough time to fall asleep without getting into bed too awake of too tired to get to sleep.  And of course still get enough sleep for tomorrow.

This makes it hard when, changing your schedule, or going to bed early. Overall if i have a week I try and do a hard reset, early in the week then allow my body to adapt to the new getting up time.  If not, I have given up on getting up early the day before, because if I have something important I almost never can sleep the day before, so I might as well only have one night of sleep deprivation rather than two.

I also use a routine:  Brush, teeth, pee, turn on tv to firefly episode one.  Take off glasses, blow nose, curl up under covers. If after an hour I can’t sleep, I get up, and redo the routine.  Rather than continue not being able to sleep, I start from scratch.  Sometimes if I am lucky, this will disrupt the thought train enough to sleep the second time around.  The regular routine tricks my body into thinking this is bedtime again. Which is just as helpful for those off days as it is the other times when the routine just works.  While this feeds into the OCD control issues, giving a little to gain a lot has always been worth it in my book.

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Normal- Living with Petunia Dursley

I have begun to hate the word normal.  I am not sure when, but at some point the word normal has seemed to have gone from something that is said to imply average, to something that is said only as a negative. Like to say it is normal to get up in the morning, and to have a normal schedule. To get ready at a normal time.  This is said, to imply that someone is doing something that is not “normal”

To that end I am left feeling that I am living with Petunia Dursley, the house must be kept clean, the shelved tidied, the dishes done, dinner perfectly on the table at 5 pm.  I screwed up last week, and dinner wasn’t cooked till 6:45.  It was a new recipe, but now I am resigned to a life of old foods, as failing at cooking is basically now a cardinal sin.  I must get up at a normal time, dress in normal clothes, and the more the term normal is used I interpret it to mean that I myself am abnormal, atypical, different, a freak, to use Petunia’s description.

I wonder when it is normal stopped having its normal meaning, when it stopped meaning usual, and started being used to point out how something or someone else is unusual.  Then I went on the internet, and realized, Petunia is everywhere.  Its normal to cover up when breastfeeding, its normal to breastfeed, its normal to stop at a certain age, normal to wear properly fitting clothes, to watch certain shows, to eat certain foods and I realize the word normal has been corrupted by a public who believe what they do is normal, and anything that is not normal can be bashed by the mob.  I am writing this wearing my “normal” shirt getting ready to go to Costco because I don’t want to hear one more time that I should dress differently. Petunia is winning, at least until I get my Hogwarts letter….

#Me Too – Not a story for Facebook

I don’t want to talk about it. When I was younger, an older cousin used to touch me.  He was only two years older.  He didn’t know better, and even at 3/4 I understood that this wasn’t good.  It continued until he was 10 and I was 8.  I tried to never get close to him after that.  Strangely we are still on pretty good terms.  I still feel uncomfortable being anywhere alone with him.

He is a really nice guy, but I still feel afraid that if we were alone something might happen.  Maybe its unreasonable, its been 20 years.  The memories are so fuzzy I am not even sure what exactly happened and how often.  Just a lingering feeling of “NO” when I am near him.

I feel kind of guilty about not sharing this story on Facebook, with so many friends sharing #metoo, but I am still not there yet.  This isn’t something I want to talk about with my family who are Facebook friends with me, with my parents especially.

I am gray a-sexual, and don’t like to be touched.  I don’t want people to her this story and assume, ah, its because of.  Because it isn’t. The touch revulsion, for lack of a better word came first with the ASD, and I still have a libido, but again, I don’t like being touched.  I don’t want to let this event define me, and the interactions I have with those around me.  But I guess I wanted to put this out somewhere….#metoo

Panic Attacks

So I am on the end of a panic attack while I am writing this, ironically a few hours after saving an article on panic attacks to blog about tomorrow.  An article on cracked written by someone who actually has them gives the best description ever. Including why exercise and breathing exercises often cause as much panic as the relieve.

I say this is ironic because exercise is what has me on here right now.  I need to get to bed, and I was doing a little bit of running when I noticed my pulse was going very fast, then I thought “What if its a heart attack” and my pulse was through the roof.  I stopped and did my deep breathing, and in about 30 seconds my pulse was down, but now I was panicking.

What if, and then I got a twinge in my shoulder, OMG, arm pain, its a heart attack.  Do I have tingling in my fingers, is there tingling, yes, a jolt in one.  There was a larger, more logical part of my brain saying, yes, you are asking yourself this question 3/4 times before feeling it, even now everything is fine.  I am trying to to keep breathing regularly. When I stop thinking about a “symptom” for even a moment it goes away.

This is what its like with panic attacks, and I was very happy with the cracked article, as it pointed out that exercise getting the heart racing can make you feel like you are having a heart attack or stroke, or dying, and while being in shape is good and makes you less likely to freak out, getting there makes it worse sometimes.  So I am supposed to be sleeping and am instead jittery on adrenaline, worrying that I will die if I go to bed right now.  Resisting the urge to wake someone up to sit with me, or call 811 for health advice, or god forbid google racing pulse.  Because I know all of these things will make it worse.

This is living with anxiety…..

Hyperventilating

I don’t want this job. I went up a narrow rickety stair case after questionably parking my car. I am literally hyperventilating at the idea of going down the stairs after. They dont meet healtg and safety standards at all. Not even for a house. And possibly finding my car towed, not my ideal circumstances at all.

There arent even cubicles, just six prople sitting dead silent in a small room. The sad part is thisis my best lead right nowand 20 minutes ago seemed pretty great. I guess too good to be true really is a thing…

 

Head or Body?

So I have gotten over the diarrhea, and today have….nausea.  It could be that time of the month, it could be food poisoning, the flu, death.  Or it could all be in my head.  But which is it, and how can I be sure.

It comes and goes, its more so when I am hungry, or gassy, but it disappears when I am distracted by midsommer murders, or hit a good spot in my book. I think honestly it may be a minor actual problem being amplified by my overwhelming anxiety.  I am now overplanning my trip to death, and know in advance that there will be a meltdown tomorrow when I got to pack.  Right now i am actually panicking that I might have E-coli, or Friday I will have a migraine and be unable to drive.

I wish I were one of those people who could, if not enjoy travelling, at least be able to go out get in a car and drive without a week long panic in advance of it.  Will probably be updating again tomorrow as the panic really sets in.  Or at 4am if this go to bed earlier plan backfires.

No Company-Anxiety and IBS

When I get anxious, I have to run to the bathroom….a lot.  I looked it up once, and apparently it is an evolutionary response up there with fight or flight. No one wants to eat something that smells like pee and poop.  Its gross.  Therefore, in the wild, you panic, you go, and the predator is like, ya, not all that hungry now.

There are a thousand things that trigger my rather sensitive digestive system.  This week kicked off with KFC Monday night, Tuesday I thought I was going to die.  I still at popcorn though, major trigger when already having problems. Wednesday I went out for lunch and had caesar salad, and followed up that night with a handful of popcorn.  Still having problems Thursday and decreasing into Friday.  Friday I went to Macdonalds for a Happy Meal, and went out that night fr St-Hubert.  Saturday was okay, but by the time I had lettuce with dinner, I was no longer a Happy Camper.  Now its Thanksgiving Sunday, and I am having corn, and I know tomorrow will be bad.  Tuesday brings a lunch trip out which will be another no no.   Given that I have one more lunch out I wanted to do it early enough that I gave myself a few days to recover before a 9 hour road trip Friday.

All of this has been because for two weeks we have company, which screws with my schedule and has me eating things I usually wouldn’t.

Where does anxiety come in, you may ask.  Well throughout this food gauntlet I have been planning next Fridays trip, which has been going poorly.  Between potential rain, ticket upgrades, and bad info in google maps, I have been freaking out about my trip M-W, F/S.  And its screwed up my sleep cycle at this point. I honestly think its whats pushed my digestion for sketchy into full rebellion. I have most my stuff sorted now, and I am hoping that everything will calm down.

The problem is now all this bathroom running is triggering its own anxiety.  While I can see a list of causes there is a part of me that worries that this won’t stop.  That I have food poisoning, or something more serious wrong, despite no other symptoms.  That I will have to stop too much on my road trip, or have problems at the festival.  That anxiety is only helping perpetuate the cycle, and despite knowing that, I still think, what if I am actually dying?

Atypical-A word stuck in my head

Has anyone else watched the new show on Netflix, Atypical?  While some say it isn’t an accurate representation of autism or complain that their child isn’t like this, I have to say I was very impressed overall. Yes, it is a very narrow view, of a single teenager with an autism spectrum disorder, but thats the thing with ASD and people in general EVERYONE is a little bit different.  A second complaint was that while you got to see the main character interact with his family, therapist, and a work collegue, you didn’t see him interact with other people on the spectrum.

That’s the thing though, every family deals with this differently, and depending on where you are and who they are, you may not have a network of autistic children, maybe he played with them when they were younger and didn’t like each other.  Maybe for his particular disorder this combination of elements in his life worked.

This drama focused not only on the autistic teen, but also his family, as they tried to find ways to interact with the character. A sister who never took priority, a father who never got to do the “normal” dad thing with his son until now, and a mom who sacrificed everything to define her life around a son whose decision to try to be more independent has left her adrift.

While there are some things I didn’t get or experience like the main character, there were a few habits that resonated with me.

  1. Clothing-In the show they are buying a shirt in bulk because of the way the fabric feels.  When the character wants to “redo” his wardrobe to get a girlfriend, dressing nicer isn’t easy.  This has always been a huge difficulty of mine with dressing up.  I recently got the first suit jacked I have ever worn more than once, and then a second, because the materials lets my shoulders move the way I want them to.
  2. Stuck in My head-  He yells Twat. At an inappropriate moment, because its been stuck in his head since he heard it the day before.  I sometimes wander with a word in my head for days before I finally find a way to use it.  I don’t yell it at random, but the word cycling in my head, or often an idea gets stuck there.  Some of my best writing starts as stuck ideas.  Other times, its weirdly specific and inappropriate anywhere.
  3. Sensory Overload- The character is very upset at one point, and then gets on a bus, and the noise and sights on the bus push him into a full meltdown.  While I have never gone full non-verbal rocking, when I am stressed I have had that moment when the sound of the ticking clock, or the reflection off a piece of glass is making me insanely upset.  The moments leading up to this meltdown were a pretty close approximation of how I experience sound and light when I am on the edge of a meltdown.
  4. Lists-The character uses lists as a way to breakdown more complex issue.  He uses a three point checklist to determine if he is in love with his girlfriend.  When I don’t understand something I list it.  Breakdown each points into sub points until I understand them.  I also use them for planning, travel, things I have to do and things I have to buy.

While it was one narrow interpretation, I found overall Atypical was a pretty awesome show.

Travel Panic

So I have booked an oil change, car wash, car inspection, verified my reservation, checked the parking situation, plotted my stops.  My trip is on the 13th of October.  10 days and I have already gone completely crazy. I spent the night tossing and turning with the idea that I might end up getting hurt or sick before my trip.  Or during my trip. So far compulsive listmaking is taking the edge off.

Fun Sucking Anxiety

So the big Harry Potter event I have been both looking forward to/worrying about is coming up on the 13th of October.  I even got a part time job, which I quite after two days because I couldn’t handle it, to help pay for the expense.  I made enough to cover my ticket, gas and hotel share  because I was so anxious about running out of money.

Now its two weeks away and a thousand potential problems have cropped up for me, and its making me so anxious now that there is literally nothing that seems fun. Like I am bored, and nothing seems appealing cause there is a big warning bell in my head going TRIP ANXIETY.  Anyone have a way to deal with this unending anxiety?