Weaning off Lexapro: Day 2

Mostly blue sky, a hint of ocean, and a piece of tree

Beautiful blue

Today:

  • 15mg Lexapro, in the morning (with usual thyroid med)
  • 1 fish oil capsule, 1 magnesium-something-or-other-vitamin
  • Some exercise (walking)
  • 10mg Prozac, before dinner

Symptoms:

  • Actually, I had moments of happiness. Maybe I am very excited about this process
  • I did get angry at one point but not more than I have on previous days. It didn’t last long, which is unusual for me
  • I still have cramps (unrelated)
  • By around 4pm, I started to feel light-headed and a little dizzy. By 6pm, I took the Prozac because it was just getting worse and I was at a dinner party at my Uncle’s house with family and I wanted to feel okay. It worked very rapidly.

Alas, the dinner party started out fantastic. My brother told some growing-up stories I hadn’t heard before and they were amazing. I haven’t laughed that hard in AGES. But it ended with an ugly twist. I’m not sure if my uncle was just drunk or frankly, I believe, high. I don’t know. But he did say some very odd things, even for him, and for a while talked a lot about race and made someone at the table feel wretched and she left for a while and when returned, had been crying. Nobody knew what to do. It had been such a fun evening before things got weird.

Also, I didn’t study very much and tomorrow is my final. I’m probably going to fail. Since it feels hopeless, I find that I don’t care about it as much as I should. :/

Log: Aug 20 – Sep 11 (Thu – Fri) SCHOOL and life

This log is for Aug 20 – Sep 11. I’ll be as brief as possible. A LOT has happened but I’m so consumed by school right now, I just haven’t had the chance to write or do anything else at all, really.

Aug 20, R: School. Work. Stayed late, talking with someone from another company in the building. Ate out w/Peter (actually, he picked up food for us and we technically ate it at home) when we both got home; it was very late by then.

Aug 21, F: Work. Peter worked from home in order to be there when the furniture was dropped off. It seems like SO long ago now. SO long ago. That was my wardrobe and our new bed. It all arrived in many boxes. It looks like we ate out for dinner; I must have gotten back late again.

Aug 22, Sat: Put together wardrobe and …? Dinner w/ Peter’s folks, I believe.
Aug 23, Sun: Put together wardrobe and …? Cat sitting still

Aug 24, M: School. Brother in Fiji with his gf. Fell asleep in class inspite of caffeine. Went to get keys for another cat-sitting job; ate out there (it had gotten late again).

Aug 25, T: School. Work, I think. I learned what a percent sign means. You can laugh, but I’m serious.

Aug 26, W: Falling asleep in school again. Math homework and Accounting homework.

Aug 27, R: School. Work. I went home while Peter cat-sat until very late; the cat was too upset to keep food down at first, so Peter had to stay many hours until he was calm enough to eat and play a little.

Aug 28, F: Work. Went to Aunt and Uncle’s house for a while afterward. Then home.

Aug 29 + 30, Sat+Sun: Went on an overnight road trip with Peter, his mom, his sister and her bf. Very fun and many neat beaches! Peter quizzed me on Accounting when we were in the car.

Aug 31, M: My first Accounting test. I got a 90% on it. Termination dust has arrived for my folks, who live so far away from me. I took some really cute selfies of me and one of the cats.

Sep 1, T: School. Worked from home (really only had to do some faxing). Pollen is killing my sinuses.

Sep 2, W: School. Couldn’t stop bugging Peter because he seemed ‘off’ and I couldn’t stop worrying. He had a virus or something. I kept trying to figure out how it was my fault that he wasn’t feeling well. It’s a sickness in me. I need to get that under control!!! Stayed at school until late, doing more homework.

Sep 3, R: School. Peter took the day as a Sick Day. After my classes, I took the train to my workplace but ate at a restaurant before starting work. I had a margarita and work was much better then. Ate dinner out, too. Feel terribly guilty and anxious for eating out so frequently lately, but we’re getting home so late & I’ve been too tired to think of helping cook.

Sep 4, F: Work. Peter had the day off and came with me. He did work and such while I worked. We went to my aunt & uncle’s afterward.

Sep 5+6, Sat+Sun: Saturday…I can’t recall. Sunday, I did more homework with Peter’s help. Then we hurriedly got ingredients and made the dish I’d promised for the BBQ that evening at my aunt & uncle’s house. My aunt and uncle were there, as well as my brother and his gf. It’s kind of stressful. I don’t know how to be around everyone. My uncle is one way, my brother is another way. My aunt is another way. I get confused.

Sep 7, M: Looks like it was a major study day for me.

Sep 8, T: School. My first real Math exam! I got a 100%! I didn’t feel happy or anything upon doing so well. I’m worried that I’m depressed. Then remembered I had an Accounting test the next day, and absolutely panicked. Peter helped me for hours to study for the test and try to remember all of the homeworks I’ve done for it, but I was panicking so much, my mind was a complete blank. I think this is when I decided Peter must be getting really frustrated with me. And started obsessing that all of this study time together would change our relationship dynamic and put him as a tutor and me as a student instead of 2 people in an equal relationship.

Sep 9, W: School. My 2nd Accounting test. I got a 100% but was shaking the whole time. I blame part of that on the cup of coffee that morning — since then, I’m off coffee. Stayed at school late, doing homework. Helped make a simple pasta dinner.

Sep 10, R: School. I finally got caught up in one of my computer classes! FINALLY! I worked from home again, thanks to remote access to my work computer! WHEW. I’m too exhausted to keep doing the back-and-forth between school and work — they are not in the same city. I don’t know how people do it. Anyway, after school, I got AHEAD in my Math homework! Yay! But last night, as we were trying to fall asleep, I started to nit-pick on Peter. I don’t know what was bugging me. I started saying how I felt like we were not talking much lately (I meant about serious or relationship things, or something), and I felt emotionally disconnected, etc. I then said something else picky that came out really hurtful. I think that deep down, I am having very bad anxiety issues lately, and so I can’t feel content. I feel like something must be wrong. I have tons and tons and tons of body anxiety and sickness anxiety and I’m terrified to tell anyone in my real life because I don’t want to be [insert a better word for ‘diminished’]. I don’t want people to label me the very stigmatized word of hypochondria. But I have a bad anxiety disorder flairing up right now and don’t know what to do about it.

Sep 11, F: Work today. It hasn’t been busy today. I probably could have left hours ago, but since it’s the only day I’ve come to the office all week, I figured I should stay the whole time. I am sick today with a head cold. I’ve had a sore throat for a week. I thought it was allergies (pollen + cats). For three nights, I’ve had a TERRIBLE time sleeping. I was actually sleeping okay for a while there. But right now, terrible insomnia, and restless leg. The minute my legs stop moving, I start to feel panic and the burning and urge to MOVE them again. I’ve slept on the floor twice again (we haven’t had the time to put the bed together, yet). I’ll post this although I won’t be able to add the many pictures until later, from a different computer.

Log: Jul 17 – Jul 20 (Fri – Mon): Catching up on sleep / trying to function

Jul 17 (Fri): Work;
Jul 18 (Sat): Work;
Jul 19 (Sun): Long walk with Peter & his mom 10:30a or earlier @location;
Jul 20 (Mon): Work;

Friday: Work. Later, I slept on a new floor mat with a machine-washable sleeping bag and I felt like I slept better.

Saturday: Peter and I chilled in the morning and then went to work for about five hours because an important deadline is coming up and I had a ton to get done. But I slept on the floor again and felt like I slept better.

Sunday: Very excellent. Fun day, looooong walk with Peter & his folks. Potentially a couple thousand of people total. Lots of dogs there. It was fun. I slept on the floor again and think I slept better.

More Brain Fog

More Brain Fog

Monday: General malaise x 1 million!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YUUUUCK feeling today. It’s kind of a combo thing. I’m trying to get caught up on sleep but now my period’s started, too, which always wipes me out. And I forgot to take my iron tablets for several days leading up to it, but I took some today. But my mind has been like MUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUD all day. I did get done a lot of really important things at work today. OH! That’s what I did on Saturday.

Frustrating: My facial herpes is not only back, it’s also spreading. I’m being so careful not to scratch it or touch it and to wash my hands all the time. But it’s spreading anyway. Maybe I scratch it in my sleep.

Scary: My dad had a terrible incident while on one of his camping trips. Horrible. We don’t know if he was drugged or if he really did “just” drink too much. TOX and CAT scan came back clean, but those weren’t done for several days after the incident, I think. He came back bruised and bloody. He hadn’t known where he was or the time of day or anything for a very, very long period of time. His car was in a sort of ditch but was fine. He was 3 miles from camp + car and on foot when he sort of came to some awareness, but still not knowing where he was or when he was. He thought he was walking in Death Valley, which is not even the correct state. There are some very strange facts around this incident. My brother called the campground host, who thinks my dad was “just” extremely drunk/an alcoholic because there was an empty 5 gallon wine bottle left behind after my dad left the next day. But this is nothing like anything he’s ever experienced and he was scared / thought he had a brain tumor or something. His audio recordings from the time period are very, very strange (he always keeps an audio log during his trips). Before he really lost touch with location and time, he’d been eating at a restaurant, where the waitress asked if he was all right because he’d been looking at the rain for so long and was behaving oddly. He feels like maybe he was drugged at the restaurant and they were hoping to rob him or steal his car. He got his car stuck after that, although he has no recollection of it. There are more details, but you get the general idea. Something weird happened and I think he is lucky to be alive, whatever it was.

Misc: I’m getting very, very, very stressed/anxious about school. Trying to get hold of the textbooks is sort of killing me. It’s not 100% the money, although every time I see the price of the books, I feel sick and like quitting. I think it’s also the idea that I’m going to have to get through the books somehow. There are so many. The 1-credit vocal class has 2 required texts and 1 recommended. I’m dropping that class. There’s no chance in hell I’m paying over $200 for textbooks for a 1-credit vocal class that was just supposed to be fun. What are they thinking?? Forget it. Okay, I’m leaving. I’m going to go to bed SO EARLY.

Mood Ranking for Days: 4 – 5

Differences in effects of alcohol versus other drugs?

Can any of you post me some good information links on the differences between being drunk and being drugged? I don’t have time to write about it now but I believe a loved one was recently drugged but there is no way of knowing. I am just curious what the differences would look like.

We have bits and pieces of information including audio recordings made during the blacked out time. Two or three days later, a CAT scan and TOX screen both came out clear.

If you have good, solid info about the effects or behaviors of being drunk versus high / drugged, please post in the comments. Thank you.

Reblogged: Codependency 101 (Topic#017)

Two Ducks

Two Ducks

[I am REBLOGGING this post. It is called “Codependency 101” (that is a link to take you directly to the original post) written by Victoria Berman in the blog, “800recoveryhubblog“. I am reblogging it in an incorrect way because I want to add my own comments to it as it pertains to myself (and my own photo). I will add all of my own comments in brackets and in this blue text. EVERYTHING else is written by Victoria Berman.]

Codependency is sometimes called “relationship addiction”. The definition is broad and varied. Actually, the meaning of co-dependency is in much dispute. The term is relatively new. I was surprised to read that the term came from recovering alcoholics, to describe their husband’s and wife’s. The most basic definition is: a relational pattern in which a person attempts to derive a sense of purpose through relationships with others. I have read others say: it’s a pattern of behavior in which you find yourself dependent on approval from someone else for your self-worth and identity. Personally, I feel, if you are in an emotionally destructive or abusive relationship, you have a co-dependent problem. Now, I realize, most people have had a bad relationship or two .… yes that would be me. But, it is not just having one bad relationship, it is an overall issue that prevents you from acting in a healthy way, with others. Many times it is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another.

Do you think you have a problem? I think it can be tricky to determine. Look at the following list of questions.

Do you have a hard time asking for something you need? [IT DEPENDS; I HAVE WORKED ON THIS]
Do you sometimes feel compelled to help someone solve a problem? [YES, I ALWAYS FEEL COMPELLED TO HELP; HOWEVER, I TRY NOT TO INTERFERE UNLESS DIRECTLY ASKED; I WORK ON THIS ONE]
Are you afraid of what people may think of you? [YES, ALWAYS]
Do you lie to protect other people’s feelings? [OOHH YES; I WORK ON THIS]
Do you take care of others before you take care of yourself? [SOMETIMES; I HAVE WORKED ON THIS A LOT]
Are your loyal, even when the situation is harmful? [YES; I WORK ON THIS]
Do you put aside your own interests in order to make someone else happy? [YES]
Do you have a hard time receiving compliments? [SOMETIMES; I HAVE WORKED ON THIS; I USED TO DECLINE ALL COMPLIMENTS VERBALLY. NOW I SAY ‘THANK YOU’ BUT DISMISS THEM INTERNALLY]
Do you feel guilty doing something for yourself? [NO. YAY!]
Do you apologize excessively? [I USED TO; NO LONGER]
Are you afraid of making mistakes? [YES, ALWAYS]
Do you accept sexual attention, as a substitute for love? [YES, STRONGLY]
Do you have a hard time believing, the people around, you can do things for themselves? [IT DEPENDS; I HAVE WORKED ON THIS A LOT]
Do you offer advice and direction, when it’s inappropriate? [I USED TO; NO LONGER]
Have you ever compromised your values to please someone else? [YES, OF COURSE; I HAVE COMPROMISED ALL VALUES BEFORE UNTIL I HAD NOTHING LEFT AT ALL; I’M AFRAID I HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO STILL DO THIS AS ‘NECESSARY’ FOR THE SITUATION. FOR ME, PEACE/NON-CONFLICT IS THE NUMBER 1 PRIORITY.]
Are you a victim of abuse? [HAVE I EVER BEEN ‘ABUSED’? YES. AM I A ‘VICTIM’ TODAY? NO. THAT WORD DOES NOT DESCRIBE ME]
Have you ever lived with an alcoholic or drug addict? [I DON’T BELIEVE SO]
Are you overly sensitive to criticism? [OH YES; I WORK ON THIS]
Do you ever “self-harm” as a way of punishing yourself? [YES, I HAVE; ESPECIALLY IN MIDDLE SCHOOL]
Do you believe a person can change, even though they have proven that they can’t? [UGH. OF COURSE I BELIEVE IT’S POSSIBLE, IF ONLY THEY’D CHOOSE TO GET HELP… OKAY, I DO WORK ON LETTING GO OF THIS]
Are you often a victim in a relationship? [I CAN’T SAY YES TO THIS, BUT I ALSO CAN’T ANSWER NO]
Do you feel inferior to most people? [YES, ENTIRELY, 100%, ALWAYS, IT’S JUST A PART OF ME NOW; I DON’T BELIEVE THIS CAN CHANGE; I HAVE TRIED AND TRIED BUT I THINK IT’LL ALWAYS JUST BE THERE AND I AM NOW WORKING ON IGNORING THE FEELING]
Do you manipulate people in order to get what you want? [I USED TO; IT USED TO BE THE ONLY WAY; I TRY NOT TO EVER DO THIS NOW; I HAVE LEARNED MORE ASSERTIVE, CLEAR, DIRECT WAYS OF ASKING]
Do you allow a person to engage in an addiction, even though you know it is harmful or even deadly? [YES, I HAVE NO POWER OVER THEM]
Do you cover up for people’s mistakes? [YES, OF COURSE I HAVE]
Do you give to others as a way to deal with emotional pain? [I DON’T KNOW.]

Hmmmm, so you skimmed through the questions and thought (a) awesome … this stuff does not relate to me, or (b) bummer …. this seems to “hit a little close to home”.

The bad news is that codependency does not cure itself. Like many addictions, it is a progressive disorder.
Codependency does not just go away. It is a progressive disorder. The good news is that it is treatable. There are tools to learn how to live in a healthy way.

If you think you have a codependency issue and you want to get help, here are two options:

• Go to a Twelve Step meeting for codependents, such as Codependents Anonymous, called CoDA, or Al-Anon for family members of alcoholics. [I’VE ATTENDED TWO AL-ANON MEETINGS WITHIN THE PAST 7 MONTHS AND THEY WERE WONDERFUL! ❤ I LEARNED SO MUCH ABOUT LETTING GO OF THAT DRIVE TO CHANGE OTHER PEOPLES’ BEHAVIORS. I WILL ONE DAY ATTEND MORE.]

http://coda.org

• Get counseling. This can come in the form of a treatment center, psychologist, psychiatrist, family therapist or social worker.

I will end with a quote from the CoDA website “No matter how traumatic your past or despairing your present may seem, there is hope for a new day in the program of Co-Dependents Anonymous.” I like that!

[NOTES: I have been in several exceedingly unhealthy relationships in the past. The first was actually in elementary school, where I was literally, blatantly “trained” to please the other person (complicated, long story I won’t go into here and now). In another, I had inadvertently become a care-taker of an extremely mentally ill person (a great person inside, but extremely, extremely in need of professional help). I can see it from a distance today, but at the time, it consumed every aspect of my entire life and I faded away completely and became extremely mentally ill myself. And in another, I think we were equal in some aspects, but the anger outbursts definitely put me in a position of total lowness, trying so hard to make you happy again to stop the anger, to take care of and cover up any external damages to the apartment, to try and arrange things to go as smoothly as possible to prevent any possible outbursts, avoid certain trigger topics at all costs, etc. etc. Today, I work very hard not to repeat the same mistakes. I work very hard to make sure I am never, ever again in these circumstances or treat the world in this way. It will be a daily effort.]

Autism spectrum disorder and fatherhood. (Topic#016)

Natural Beauty

Natural Beauty

My dad. [I’ve revised this post now that I’m calmer.] It is split into two main sections: First, I describe my brother’s current behaviors, hurt, and blame toward my dad. Then I explain my dad’s behaviors and how the two relate to each other.

The impetus for this post: My brother is currently unwell. He recently went through several major life changes. He moved across the country, changed jobs, had a very intense but abusive relationship that he put all of his energies into, got out of the relationship as it imploded but lost himself very much. His relationship had caused him to sever all ties with friends and be unable to connect with coworkers at the new job. So his support network was pretty threadbare, really. He’s become depressed and extremely, extremely unhappy with himself and his life (it does seem to be on the verge of a turning point, though. He has met a young lady who seems to be clicking with him, and he might have a new job offer soon in a better location).

One of the things he is doing now, though, is blaming everything wrong with himself and his life on our dad. He’s doing this out loud to our whole extended family. He is poisoning our whole extended family against our dad. The worst part is that everybody is hearing his words and becoming quite upset with and full of blame toward our dad, but I don’t feel it’s entirely fair.

For starters, why can’t people look a little more closely at the source? My brother is a wonderful and amazing person but he is very depressed right now. With depression comes an inability to recall positive life events. I’ve seen studies on that before. Also, he is so desperately reaching out to find some kind of explanation for his feelings, some kind of meaning and validation. He’s decided it’s all his dad’s fault (with a little blame for Mom, as well).

But even besides the fact that it’s possible his extremely vocal character smears could be stemming strongly from his depression, at least consider the fact that this is all Second-Hand information by the time it reaches you. How can you know what is truth when you weren’t there and didn’t see it? There are two sides to every story. So don’t tell me to my face that my dad is awful when you’re basing your opinions on information you didn’t actually see for yourself.

It kind of sort of feels like my brother is trying to get my mom to divorce my dad. I do understand a little of where my brother’s blame has stemmed from. Our dad is not warm and fuzzy. He does not cuddle you or say the words, “I love you.” In fact, he expresses very little emotion verbally. He certainly won’t do it physically. He avoids conflict so he doesn’t set boundaries. In fact, although he often observes the situation, he will pretty much not do or say anything at all to influence it. He’ll leave the vicinity if voices raise. And yes, he is not “empathetic”.

My dad is on the autism spectrum.

How can I help people understand my dad better? My brother honestly believes my dad does not love him. I didn’t know that until recently, and it really shocked me. I mean, I suppose if you don’t understand the autism spectrum, and kept expecting him to behave the way “other” dads do, you could certainly misconstrue his behaviors and lack of emotional words as unlove or uncaring.

But look at what he’s done for us. Look at when he recorded your sports games and your track meets on VHS tapes. Look at when he took you and taught you how to dog mush. Look at when he read to you at night. Look at all the hiking trips he took you on. And the overnight trips and the backpacking trips (I was soooo envious). He spent special, quality time with you. Look at all the times he’d rouse us to go outside and watch the Northern Lights as he photographed them. Look at all the special times, the caves he built, the jokes he played, the long family car trips. Look at the computer games you guys used to play so competitively. You’d get a high score and he’d spend hours into the night trying to beat it, only to have you beat it again the next day. Look at all the times we trekked out to the cabins in the middle of winter and how special that time was. Look at the Tooth Fairy. Look at all the holidays spent together as a family. Look at all the skiing and beauty of the Natural world we have gotten to experience. All the lakes we’ve seen, all the streams, all the mountains, all the Northern Lights, all the trees and grasses and wildflowers. All the tents. All the card games. All the dry-sense-of-humor joking he’d do and say. He LOVED (and still loves) you. He CARES about you. He WORRIES for and about you now. He WANTS you to be happy.

How do I know? Because I lived with him for many more years than you did. I lived with them through my high school years and again after my college mental breakdown time period. I’ve SEEN how he expresses his emotion. And especially, I lived with them during my own Asperger diagnosis and all the research and therapy and even getting to see Temple Grandin at a two-day conference I attended on the subject.

Do you need me to spell it out? Even a single sentence sums this up about our dad:

“Two core features of autism are: a) social and communication deficits and b) fixated interests and repetitive behaviors.” (from http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/asperger/detail_asperger.htm)

Yep. Need I say more?! Really?! Okay. I’ll list out a few of his ‘symptoms’:
(Chosen from this website)

  • Difficulty in expressing emotions
  • Insensitivity to the non-verbal cues of others (stance, posture, facial expressions)
  • Perseveration best characterized by the term “bulldog tenacity”
    [Well, if he has something on his mind, it’s not going to go away.]
  • Literal interpretation of instructions (failure to read between the lines)
    [Right. If you want him to do something for you, then spell it out.]
  • Difficulty in understanding rules for games of social entertainment
    [I’m not positive what this is referring to – he is certainly good with card games and board games and such, but if they’re talking about social-rules, then nah]
  • Missing or misconstruing others’ agendas, priorities, preferences
  • Compelling need to finish one task completely before starting another
  • Rigid adherence to rules and routines
  • Difficulty in interpreting meaning to others’ activities; difficulty in drawing relationships between an activity or event and ideas
  • Exquisite attention to detail, principally visual, or details which can be visualized (”Thinking in Pictures”) or cognitive details (often those learned by rote)
  • Concrete thinking
  • Difficulty in imagining others’ thoughts in a similar or identical event or circumstance that are different from one’s own (”Theory of Mind” issues)
    [100% truth]
  • Substantial hidden self-anger, anger towards others, and resentment
  • Difficulty in accepting criticism or correction
    [He’ll just ignore it completely 😉 ]
  • Difficulty in offering correction or criticism without appearing harsh, pedantic or insensitive
    [If you don’t understand something he’s trying to explain, his response is, “It’s easy! What’s wrong with you??” But even then, he has NO intention of hurting anybody’s feelings and would be shocked to find out it had.]
    [Related memory: Hahaha! The best compliment he ever gave me was to say, “You have more mechanical abilities in your little pinky than Mom has in her entire body.” He had NO idea he had just insulted Mom. I took it as a damn huge compliment, coming from him.]
  • Difficulty in perceiving and applying unwritten social rules or protocols
  • “Immature” manners
    [I thought the “Symphony of Odors” was a brilliant idea for a cassette tape]
  • Lack of?trust in others
  • Shyness
  • Low or no conversational participation in group meetings or conferences
  • Scrupulous honesty, often expressed in an apparently disarming or inappropriate manner or setting
  • Bluntness in emotional expression
  • Unmodulated reaction in being manipulated, patronized, or “handled” by others
  • Low to medium level of paranoia
    [I’m only adding this from all the conspiracy theories. Any family members that get his emails will know what I’m talking about.]
  • Low to no apparent sense of humor; bizarre sense of humor (often stemming from a “private” internal thread of humor being inserted in public conversation without preparation or warming others up to the reason for the “punchline”)
    [I’m putting this because so many people don’t understand his sense of humor, but I think it’s awesome. Except when he laughs when seeing dogs fight.]
  • Difficulty with reciprocal displays of pleasantries and greetings
    [HAHAHA that’s hilarious to picture!]
  • Problems expressing empathy or comfort to/with others: sadness, condolence, congratulations, etc.
    [BINGO! And I would bet money that this alone has hurt my brother a lot.]
  • Difficulty with adopting a social mask to obscure real feelings, moods, reactions
    [Absolutely cannot mask at all whatsoever. 🙂 ]
  • Abrupt and strong expression of likes and dislikes
    [Yup. Offend people much?]
  • Rigid adherence to rules and social conventions where flexibility is desirable
  • Difficulty in forming friendships and intimate relationships; difficulty in distinguishing between acquaintance and friendship
    [The former]
  • Social isolation and intense concern for privacy
    [Ooohhhh yeah]
  • Limited clothing preference; discomfort with formal attire or uniforms
  • Preference for bland or bare environments in living arrangements
  • Limited by intensely pursued interests
    [I wouldn’t say limited! His interests are awesome! But yes, they can be more important than other humans, if that’s what you mean. 🙂 ]
  • Difficulty with “teamwork”
  • Sarcasm, negativism, criticism
  • Difficulty in accepting compliments, often responding with quizzical or self-deprecatory language
  • Discomfort with competition, out of scale reactions to losing
    [He quit tennis because he was too competitive]
  • Low motivation to perform tasks of no immediate personal interest
    [Me too, Dad. Me too.]
  • Oversight or forgetting of tasks without formal reminders such as lists or schedules
    [Right, if they’re not interesting.]
  • Perfectionism
  • Reluctance to ask for help or seek comfort
    [I cannot picture him requiring comfort. Or help. Hmm wait. He asks Mom for help on the computer sometimes.]
  • Low sensitivity to risks in the environment to self and/or others
    [BINGO, BABY CAKES!!! Who doesn’t recognize THIS one?! Haha. He’s only almost gotten a couple of people killed on his backpacking trips (literally)…]
  • Stress, frustration and anger reaction to interruptions
  • Difficulty in negotiating either in conflict situations or as a self-advocate
    [Bingo bingo bingo]
  • Ver[y] low level of assertiveness
  • Reluctance to accept positions of authority or supervision
    [could have owned the whole practice at work, chose not to]
  • Often viewed as vulnerable or less able to resist harassment and badgering by others
    [Only viewed this way by myself and my mom; my brother has poisoned the whole family against him at this point and so I cannot allow him to come down and visit me here 😦 !!!!!]
  • Avoids socializing, “hanging out,” or small talk on and off the job
    [YUP]
  • Difficulty expressing anger (excessive or “bottled up”)
  • Bad or unusual personal hygiene
    [Does wearing a single pair of socks for skiing every day ALL WINTER LONG without washing them at all count as bad personal hygiene? Haha 😀 ]

Okay, does this give you a better understanding? Getting closer? 🙂 Here are a couple more select traits from this website:

  • average or above-average intelligence
  • difficulties in empathising with others
  • problems with understanding another person’s point of view
  • difficulties engaging in social routines such as conversations and ‘small talk’
  • a preference for routines and schedules which can result in stress or anxiety if a routine is disrupted
  • specialised fields of interest or hobbies.

That website also explains:

“Emotions of other people

A person with Asperger syndrome may have trouble understanding the emotions of other people, and the subtle messages sent by facial expression, eye contact and body language are often missed or misinterpreted. Because of this, people with Asperger syndrome might be mistakenly perceived as being egotistical, selfish or uncaring.

These are unfair labels because the person concerned may be unable to understand other people’s emotional states. People with Asperger syndrome are usually surprised when told their actions were hurtful or inappropriate.”

Dad LOVES you. He’s INTERESTED in you. But when you two speak over the telephone, and you ask him questions and he responds, but never asks you a question, it’s not from lack of interest. He WANTS to hear, he WANTS you to tell him, he asks Mom for the details later when he realizes he still doesn’t know them. He just doesn’t know how to ask for them.

He worries about you. It eats at him. You have no idea but I have seen it, touched it, felt it, heard it. It’s as real as anything, just expressed differently.

So how about those childhood abuse stories you’re telling our family?

  • Child: He shoveled out one entrance to the snowcave, put you in it, and then blocked it off and shoveled out the other entrance but it was more difficult than he expected and you’re now saying it took hours. And when he had put you in there and blocked it off, he said, “Bye M!” Like he was leaving you there forever.
  • Child: How about when he left you in a tent to go for water, and the wind picked you and the tent up and almost blew you off a cliff?
  • Child: How about the time he put you on a sled and you started to pick up speed going down the mountain, until you were just a dot and headed straight for an open river?
  • Teen: How about when the black bear was following you guys down the mountain and he left you at one point to go back for his camera equipment, and the bear continued to advance on you?
  • Adult: Because he was obsessed with the stock market, lost a TON of their money, including having pulled from sources he wasn’t supposed to have touched, and tried to hide it from Mom?
  • Adult: Because he sent you a very rude email once, basically demanding you repay the school loan now that you had the money? And he was drunk when he wrote it, it was apparently VERY hurtful and rude, and he called you immediately to ask you to delete it without reading it, which was one of the only two times he’s ever called you on the telephone.

I get it. I’m not saying your points are invalid. But I’m sorry you take all of this and find he does not love you. He STILL talks about how awful he felt about the sledding incident, and how scared he was watching you get smaller and smaller. Additionally, his eyes bug out when he tells it and the skin along his neck flushes. He laughs while telling it until he almost cries. But it’s not his comfortable, humor laugh. Don’t you feel the difference? It’s the horror of it all. It’s the emotions he doesn’t express to you. It’s later that same evening of telling the story when he drinks alcohol and expresses to us how it haunts him to this day.

But take all of these things and forgive him, for your OWN sake. He loved and still loves you and only ever wanted the best for you. HE ISN’T GOING TO BE THE ONE TO REACH OUT TO YOU TO SMOOTH THINGS OVER. HE DOESN’T HAVE THAT SKILLSET. ONLY YOU HAVE THIS ABILITY. IT IS UP TO YOU WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO DO NOW. He’s something around 65 years old and has lived his life the way he’s wanted to live his life. He’s not going to change now. I choose to enjoy any time I can get with our dad, and love every moment of it. I feel there is not enough time in the world to spend with our parents (but that’s just me). ❤

(((Additional quote from this website, for how my mom potentially could be feeling (I did not hand-select bullets as I did above):

“Some common issues for partners of people with Asperger syndrome include:

  • feeling overly responsible for their partner
  • failure to have their own needs met by the relationship
  • lack of emotional support from family members and friends who do not fully understand or appreciate the extra strains placed on a relationship by Asperger syndrome [Instead of support or understanding, she is now getting blasted with the family members my brother has vented to, telling her how awful her husband is!! That’s not support or understanding. It’s actually stressing her more and making her feel more responsible and more like she needs to protect him from the rest of the family. He already suspected that the family thought of him as an oddball. Imagine if they knew how much they hate and blame him now. 😦 ]
  • a sense of isolation, because the challenges of their relationship are unique and not easily understood by others
  • frustrations, since problems in the relationship do not seem to improve despite great efforts
  • doubting the integrity of the relationship, or frequently wondering about whether or not to end the relationship
  • difficulties in accepting that their partner will not ‘recover’ from Asperger syndrome
  • after accepting that their partner’s Asperger syndrome cannot be ‘cured’, partners can often experience emotions such as guilt, despair and disappointment.”)))

I think it is important that you talk with someone about how you feel and work through things, but I think it needs to be a professional, rather than the entire extended family. We are here for you and we love you and we support you, but please get help so you can start to feel better about yourself and your life again.

KICK-ASS DAY! (Journal#004)

Flowers

Flowers I bought for the dinner party

Last night was actually my first ever party! I don’t mean just a dinner party, but I guess I mean a party with some altered states of being (i.e. drunk), loud music, people dancing and being crazy, doing things that would be considered embarrassing the next day. I HAD SO MUCH FUN.

It included myself, my mom, my brother, my uncle and two cousins. My mom will drink a glass or two max, and I only drank a tiny bit. In advance of this party, I had told myself it would be okay to get wasted, but then when last night came, I didn’t drink a drop until after dinner, and then only had a little– just enough to feel it but no more. The reason is because I’m so scared of it making me depressed for 4 days after I drink, like what has happened in the past.

The rest of them had plenty and the dancing was so much fun, and the singing, and the music, and just being a part of something I’ve only ever heard about before. My cousins just make everything so POSITIVE and UPBEAT. My mom went to bed first, and after a while other people started falling asleep. I was still wide awake but eventually went to bed too, around 3:30a.

SO the start of the dinner party was a bit shaky for me. I hid a lot, out of sight. I visited the new gal (dog) a lot. There were SO many people. But eventually clicked in with a group of the people there. And we got to go on a walk afterward, about 10 of us!!! And I got to lead the new gal (dog in previous post’s picture). I’m just going to call her Maddy although that’s not her name. I’m so in love with Maddy!!!!!

Anyway, so now a bunch of us are going to go on a beautiful walk! And I’m NOT DEPRESSED EVEN THOUGH I HAD ALCOHOL LAST NIGHT. And I’m going to get to bring Maddy. ❤ Their other dog is still in the hospital, having so many tests run. It’s scary. Nobody knows what’s wrong with him still. But I hear his temperature is much lower today, so that sounds promising!

It’s going to be a kick-ass day today!

Update: So, it was a great day. The walk took hours, Maddy was SUCH a good girl, and I got to alternate talking with the three other people with me. We took another walk this evening, and my feet are very sore now. The only blip at all was that at one point, somehow That Topic got brought up, and my mood INSTANTLY crashed. I almost cried. This, after and during a WONDERFUL day. Is it just my jealousy/feeling left out? Is it just because what was supposed to be ‘our’ thing became yours alone? Or is there more? Because my reaction is insane in its strength. Is it partly because you have started to try and control my actions in This Topic? Oh, well. I will be putting an end to the topic soon. I almost did today but we were interrupted. I’ll just request to never speak of it again. I think that at this point, my reaction is too intense to be reconciled. I’ll need to just avoid in order to keep my mood stable.

BUT I no longer feel alienated from you. You talked to me about the antidepressants last night, and I feel secure again that you respect me. Everything feels at peace now. Of course there are a million loose ends and things in progress, but when you respect me, I feel like I can handle anything.

These have been good days. I’ll definitely miss my mom and my brother’s presence. I might see my brother again soon, but I don’t know when I’ll see my mom again. Or my dad, who couldn’t make this visit. And definitely not my dog. I miss him to the core but he lives a very happy, loved life with my parents.