6kinds_of_crazy: stupidity demons (Default)
You know, I walked into this whole "oh, hey, I'm autistic" thing thinking I was, you know, not really autistic, or not very autistic, because I, ladies and ginglefins (two attaboys and a cookie if you can identify that reference), am a freaking idiot.

See, I know how often Hollywood (generic term for "visual entertainment," easier to type than "TV and movies") screws up... well, everything they touch. I am extremely aware of how badly they misrepresent every sort of law enforcement and issues of Criminal Justice, and more than a little aware that Hollywood as a whole fails all the sciences, forever.

And I'm aware that they screw up medicine and medical issues, badly, constantly, even (yes, I'll say it) dangerously.

Yet... want to know where I got most of my ideas about Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Yup. "Idiot" I said, and "idiot" I meant. My ideas about Autism Spectrum Disorder and those who deal with it mostly came from Hollywood.

So I thought, "hey, I'm not autistic, maybe. Or not very, or not typically."

Thing is, I'm more and more sure that these thoughts were those of a man who was, if you will pardon the expression, full of shit. Except maybe the last part, because I don't have what a couple of medical professionals consider the most common symptoms of ASD, difficulty with eye contact and a huge, single-focus obsession with... something. (Apparently, gaming is too broad to count, as are heroes, reading, writing and even superheros. If it was "D&D and ONLY D&D," or reading the works of one particular author over and over to the exclusion of all others, or "the Flash and no other superhero" etc, so forth and so on, maybe, but none of my real-world obsessions actually qualify as an ASD thing.)

Only, I'm suffering a couple of things that... I dislike talking about, and that are probably symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder. They can be, I know, and they're odd enough that I suspect that they are.

I used to love comic books. Superhero comics especially. I have an insane number of trade paperbacks collecting comic book issues, usually one or two storylines per book, and I recently got back all of those. And I started re-reading them, working through them in an order that was pretty much "favorites first." Then... I stopped. Not because I don't like the stories any more, that's not the problem-- if you've heard me rant about "the Flash," you know that's not the problem.

It's the colors. The action scenes. Those things... bug me, almost hurt, nowadays. There's too much to follow, too many obnoxious color combinations, too much BRIGHT vs. too much DARK. I can only read a couple-three pages before I have to put the book down and go do something that's more... blah. Less riotous, less insane. So far, I haven't had trouble with TV and movies, or not MUCH trouble. I do get a bit overloaded after some things, and I very, very rarely watch two hours of anything straight any more. (Which at least makes it easier to avoid binge-watching things on Netflix. Not much of a silver lining, no, but I'll take it.)

It's not just that. Last weekend, at my grandfather's funeral, I got badly overloaded-- and I only went to the graveside ceremony. But that was held in a tiny little cemetery out in the country, and there were too many people crowded too close together. Despite the somber occasion, there were some bright colors, mostly coats and jackets. And the sounds, the sounds of fall and wind and a whole lot of people murmuring and talking before the thing started, and some people crying, and then the damned prayer, and my brain needed to separate out each individual voice when the "amen" came, and of course I couldn't even begin to do that, not with one two-syllable word. Hell, even my clothes were... were not right. The textures of the slacks and shirt felt too slick, too not-right, and the tie, despite not being very tight at all, felt like it was choking me, and the whole thing just sent me damn near round the bend. I went to my car as soon as it was over, as fast as I could move, and I... well, let's just say that my driving away was not a thing of dignity and decorum, and leave it there.

I sometimes think that this is at the root of my crowd issues, but... no. It doesn't help them, no-- crowd noise, colors, motion, those aren't making things easier, but they aren't the root of that problem, just an exacerbating circumstance.

So, I'm trying harder than ever to avoid crowds, and I'm pretty much giving up something that I really, really loved for a long time. Or mostly giving it up. There's still prose superheroes to be had, thanks to the likes of Peter Clines and his Ex-Heroes series, Seanan McGuire and her Velveteen Versus stories, and, of course, the best of the prose super-beings books, the Wild Cards series, by many and varied, under the leadership of Melinda Snodgrass and George R. R. Martin.

This damned sensitivity to over-stimulation of the senses is not what I would call a good time, but so far, I'm dealing with it. Or at least, I'm trying.

6kinds_of_crazy: stupidity demons (Default)
Seriously.  I've been subject to mood swings at various points in the past, but this is getting ridiculous.

One second, I'm fine.  Relaxed, and, if not happy, not upset.  The next second?  Bitterly angry.  Or sad to beat the bleakest blues man.  Or-- and my least favorite-- uncertain about EVERYTHING.  Couldn't make a choice between French fries and tater tots if my very life depended on it.

Then I shift to something else.  No apparent trigger, no rhyme, no reason.  All of which tells me that, whether I like it or not, it's time to tell the counselor I'm seeing that I'm maybe fighting depression, on top of all the other shit I don't want to be dealing with.  I've got so many of the symptoms that even I can't deny it, anymore.  

I don't want to be suffering from depression.  That's something that a couple of relatives that I don't like much have suffered in the past, and I dislike the idea of being like any of my uncles but Ed, who isn't depressive.

Hell, I really don't want to be autistic, even the apparently mild variety that I am.  Or agoraphobic, or paranoid, or ANY OF THIS CRAP!

You know what the worst of it is?  I mean, seriously?  It's something that I know-- intellectually-- is damned stupid, and yet... my emotions refuse to get the message, and I sit around feeling ashamed of all of this shit.  Deeply, mind-numbingly ashamed.  Like I've committed some horrible, awful goddamned crime, something like... shit, I don't know.  Maybe like I stand accused of "twelve counts of murder in the first degree, fourteen counts of armed theft of Federation property, twenty-two counts of piracy in high space, eighteen counts of fraud, thirty-seven counts of rape... and one moving violation."

Okay, that probably wasn't funny.  Sorry.  Just trying to deal with this, and probably doing it wrong.

Point is, I feel ashamed.  And guilty.  And ashamed of feeling guilty, and guilty about feeling ashamed, and I guess this is one of those vicious cycles.  Oh. Joy.

I'm trying to get past it.  Failing pretty badly, most of the time, sure, but trying.  It's making me feel like Sisyphus got off easy, which is dumb, because there are people dealing with this (and far better than I am) all the time.

I want all this crap to go away and leave me alone.  I want to sleep like a normal person, not three hours one night, four the next, then two, then four again, etcetera and so on, until I finally give in and take an Ambien, sleep ten hours-- and have some of the most SERIOUSLY *&#%ed up dreams in the history of humankind.  (At least, I freaking HOPE SO, because if dreaming about flying planes you steer with your feet  [like runner sleds] over deserts of dried spaghetti, all in order to drop super-glue bombs on a group of human traffickers who specialize in air-traffic controllers is NOT *&#%ed up, then we're probably doomed as a race.)  I want to be able to understand why, exactly, Monty Python is supposed to be funny, why people watch reality TV, and-- no, never mind, I don't really want to know that one-- why it is that it's a problem for anyone that there are girls who are gamers, why anyone thinks the Three Stooges are funny, how it is that Kevin Anderson keeps getting published, why Deadpool isn't considered a villain, and how it is that country music has fans.  

I have a funny feeling that I'm screwed on most of those issues.  But if someone were to come up with a non-drug cure for insomnia, that'd be a nice damned start.

So, yeah.  Depression isn't much fun, and mood swings actively SUCK.  

I suppose that's all for today.  I feel like I just ran a marathon through a sea of Jello, so it's gonna have to be.

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