Anxiety, Fear and Guilt

Hey everyone!  It’s been a while since we’ve written–I’m sorry!  It’s been a pretty boring past few months, but the past few weeks have seen some changes.  I got an amazing new job close to home and have been adjusting to it, including a budget strain and being past due on EVERYTHING.  Next month Justin has his Social Security hearing and I am praying to everyone I believe in to help us out since he needs it!  So much of life is waiting, and I’m learning to appreciate every minute, like Justin does.

Recently, Justin’s car has been needing some repairs.  He’s amazingly talented at mechanical stuff (though he would never admit it), and has fixed our washing machine, dryer, my parents’ rug shampooer and can probably fix the TV that just died on us.  So he fixed whatever car issue (head gasket?  Valve?  Mainfold?  Hell, I don’t know) he had.  He had a counseling appointment on Friday, and hopped in his car.  He texted me to call him before his appointment and I knew it wasn’t a good sign.  So I did, and he said his car wasn’t working, it was smoking, and he was just about in meltdown stage.  So he drove it home, and the guilt and frustration ruminated all day.

I want to know if this is common.  Adults with Autism:  do they struggle with this much fear, anxiety, and guilt?  I know that anxiety is one of the biggest issues.  What makes him be so afraid of something that I have 100% faith in is fine?  He was already stressed and nervous (to the point of being sick) about going to the counselor he’s seen before a few times.  We’ve driven his car around a few times and it’s fine.  Nobody is giving him issues for missing an appointment or anything.  So what is it that makes him not be able to get out of his own head?

I struggle to help him with this.  I can’t make him understand that nobody thinks he’s a failure, or that nobody thinks he sucks for missing an appointment, and he’s not letting anyone down.  With his past and what he’s had to deal with his whole life, I’m amazed the guy can carry on a conversation.  He’s overcome so much.  He’s so freaking smart it makes me mad (lol).  He cooks, cleans, takes care of the house so I don’t have to, packs me lunches and encourages and supports me through everything.  He watches a video on how to fix a washing machine and he fixes it.  I’d still be staring at videos wondering which one to choose!  This dude is awesome.  Why does he think he’s a failure???

I’d love to hear some feedback about what you guys think.  Tools to overcome anxiety, fear, or guilt.  Do you or your Autistic loved ones suffer with this too?

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–Tara

Traveling with the Aspie

We don’t travel much.  Actually, neither me or Justin have ever been on a plane (or a train).  We do love to explore, though, and we often go for drives just to get out of the house.  We start getting crabby with each other if we don’t.

Since we are childfree (by choice!), we can go anywhere at any time and explore the amazing state of Washington without any problems.  We love to just get in the car and go.  But traveling with Justin has its issues.

Justin has a routine before we go anywhere (even the store).  He probably doesn’t realize he does, but I certainly do.  They say the women usually take longest to get ready, but I beg to differ!  He has to make sure he has the right shirt and pants and belt on, make sure he has the right hoodie, get his shoes, put on cologne, then smoke.  I can’t stand and wait for him, or he feels like he’s rushed and it annoys him (sometimes I am rushed, which I’m working on).  Once he’s finally ready, then I usually get ready, because chances are, he’s forgotten something in his routine, and he has to do it or he gets crabby.

We all know by now autistic people have routines and they have to abide by them or they tend to get irritated and that’s when meltdowns can happen.  But I wonder if this is something that all adults with autism struggle with?  Just leaving the house–does that require certain steps or they just can’t handle it?

Once we’re finally in the car, it’s usually me driving (hello, no DUIs here).  I get comments from him–a lot.  He probably doesn’t realize it, but he will make a lot of comments on the way I’m driving or ask why I don’t take certain roads or why I’m hitting the freeway instead of going through town.  Sometimes it really irritates me–but I remember that this his brain is probably just a little weirded out because it’s part of his routine to go a certain way or drive a certain way.  It’s his Aspie routine, and that’s how he likes it!  It doesn’t piss me off or drive like an ass just because he commented, but I’ve noticed it’s usually every time we drive he will comment on something that’s unusual or unexpected of him.

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I know Justin stresses a lot about driving, and he doesn’t drive by himself much.  He’s constantly stressing that his car will break down (even mine, which is completely under warranty and only 4 years old) and it’s the unexpected-ness of it that really freaks him out.  We’re hoping we can find him a specialist to help with this stress and worry he tends to have.

At any rate, I’m curious what it’s like for other Aspies out there to travel.  What is your routine of leaving like???

–TARA–

Autism & Loneliness

Hello everyone–happy new year!!  So sorry for the delay in blogging.  The holidays and everything else that comes along with them really threw us off !Capture

Justin wrote about loneliness and Autism–something that a lot of people don’t understand, I think.  I hope you enjoy reading about it and can relate! I know I can.  I’d love to hear your thoughts about this and if you struggle with this.  What do you do?

Loneliness is something that comes with autism; at least I feel it does. It sucks to be surrounded by people who love you, but you are too scared to even speak to them or even approach them. That’s how I am.  I have an older brother and an older sister who I look up and love immensely, but if it wasn’t for my wife, I couldn’t speak to them.  I get too scared to talk to them, which is ridiculous because obviously they love me.  But as soon as they walk in the room I shut down.  I’ve scripted conversations in my head to them, ask them questions, tell them I want to spend more time with them, but then I actually see them, and I shut down.  I can’t speak.  My brain stops me from being able to do anything, so I start talking about random shit that doesn’t make sense or they don’t care about.

This is when I really understand other autistic people when they say you feel like you’re on an alien planet.  In social gatherings, with people I know and love, I feel insanely lost and start sweating.  I just don’t speak at all, and then they probably think that I’m mad or irritated, which is definitely not the case.  Sometimes I just want to crawl into a cave when I feel like this, or hiding in the corner.

It gets worse when I don’t see them often, too.  I lived with my mom for about 30 some years, and when I’m around her, I don’t really know what to say.  She loves to talk, so she usually does, which is great, because I have no pressure to say anything.  This is like this with my best friend.  We’ve been friends since grade school, but I don’t see him enough, and then when I finally do, I feel like an idiot because I don’t know what the hell to talk about.  I end up just being quiet and being weird.  Thankfully he’s weird like me, so he doesn’t care, but I feel stupid.

I love reading and biographies are one of my favorite things to read.  One of the most impactful things I’ve read about musicians’ biographies are that they can be surrounded by people and want nothing but the best for you and love you, but you feel like you are completely alone.  That’s one of the biggest reasons I want counseling; I want to get over this.  I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels like this.

Does anyone else struggle with this?  How do you overcome it?  What do you do?

More Words from the Aspie Mouth!

I like it when Justin writes blogs for me to slaughter.  I mean–edit (ahem).  I hope that you can find some relation to what he feels, and vice versa.  I’d like Justin to know he’s not alone with this weird brain he’s got, and that I love him no matter how hard it is to get him to speak to people (or to stop talking!!!).

Shit Justin says:

I don’t know how it is for other people, but for me there is more than one factor as to why it’s hard for me to speak to people. One is if I don’t know the person, I will first notice their mannerisms and how they speak.  Then, however they speak, I will mimic them and their cadence because I don’t know how to speak to them.

From beginning to end of a conversation, I really don’t know when to start and when to stop, so I have a tendency to start a conversation and then I will trail off. Sometimes I feel like my brain’s moving so fast I can’t slow down my thoughts.  I do know that when I get excited, I will talk really fast, and that also happens when I get really nervous.  It drove my wife crazy when she first met me because I had so much I wanted to say I had to slow down how fast I was talking.

It’s also hard to know what to do with my hands, and I don’t know if other Aspies have that problem.  I try to focus on their body movements and try to copy them, but if they’re not moving, I start to fidget and play with my phone or goatee.

I also HATE eye contact.  It’s the worst thing in the world.  Okay, well, I take that back. It’s not THAT bad.  But it’s really stressful.  I try to look people in the eye because I know it’s rude, but when someone looks into my eyes, I feel like they can see into my soul or memories.  I know they can’t, obviously, but that’s what it feels like.  I barely look at anyone in the eyes, and if I do, it’s my wife, and only for a minute or two.  It’s not me trying to be disrespectful or being a dick—that’s just how it is for me.  I also feel like a creeper if I stare at peoples’ eyes too much.

Socializing is a weird thing for me—if the conversation lags or if I don’t know what to talk about, I’ll bring up random crap, like family memories or something else weird.  I just don’t know what to talk about.  This happens if I don’t see someone for a while, too.  My best friend in the world and I barely see each other, because it legitimately stresses me out because I haven’t seen him for a while.  I worry what to talk about (though my wife says we don’t ever shut up anyway).

I feel like avoiding socializing altogether is easier.  The day after I socialize or play games or just hang out with people I’m exhausted.  It’s like a physical thing for me.

Are any other Aspies like this too?

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