Tied up in knots

Dearest readers, 

I hope this finds you well. I have been very busy this week helping team lead a study over the weekend (finished 9 pm last night) as well as working on my case study and research project for my degree and dealing with a very exhausting scenario on social media which has continued to leave me drained today still. People are so draining and social media is just literally a quagmire of opportunities for misunderstandings and jumping to conclusions. Some may say 'look only at my words', however I must add in, even in my experience as an autistic person, I am very sensitive and do read into things. People confuse me, irrelevant of my diagnosis, and this is all people, including autistic people. It has always frustrated me that I can't give people an HDMI cable and they can't just plug it into my head and I can't plug something into their head. Context is so important - not just body language BUT ALSO background, what has lead up to these things, each of our own experiences of people and how they interact with us. Currently I still feel like jelly: I feel like I have a constant tremor and anxiousness is bubbling, finding it hard to focus and my muscles are sporadically feeling tense (even though I am doing nothing, with this 'trigger' being yesterday so maybe more of a delayed reaction? Who knows) - so I thought I'd write about this in a post and how this impacts me, further down describing what I call 'quibble state'. 

I have to admit, I've also got my case study on my mind as well as potential projects for next year and trying to sort everything out at once and I've not got the energy to stop them, so sitting here writing will not only explain to readers but also be a discovery for myself. Anxiety like this is not foreign, we are well acquainted. In fact many autistic people are well acquaintanced with anxiety. But this is my experience, my voice and not a general voice. I have ownership of this experience (although there may be overlap) Giving this flow a voice may help make sense of this and also help me move through.  This also raises this phenomenon out of being taboo and into the open. We should not be fearful of speaking up. I acknowledge that I feel like this and know this is not made up. This exploration is a journey for readers - often I find showing people directly so they can see what is there makes it less of an unknown so therefore less of a fearful entity. 

A good place to start is the shaking - even though it might not be obvious that I am shaking (I mean, I'm hitting all the keys on my mac!) inside I do not feel relaxed or calm. This shake isn't necessarily a physical shake, but more of a unsteadiness and tension shake feeling like it is coming from inside of me. Can I stop it with deep breathing? I could try - sometimes it does help me relax but other times I find focusing on my breathing only speeds my breathing up. Tetchy is a good word to use here. 

The next place is the thoughts running through my head - I've effectively worked 20 hours between Thursday and Saturday excluding study, which has fitted in small gaps here and there. I hope to get back to more of a stable 'routine'. I have been out of routine but not only that, even busier than usual. This busyness mildly stresses me that I haven't got time for my case study; that I haven't got time for my project; that need to get some bits in Superdrug and I keep forgetting and needing these things is important for consistency and predictability. I have names from exam papers I was sorting, papers I've read, papers I need to read, parts of my case study I am stuck on and unsure how to move forward with and data from interviews from last week. As I am feeling behind I feel guilty for boxing them up but also when one set is put away, another group comes out. It's a cycle that won't easily break. I've also today heard of a potential change to one of the projects I'm working on which has increased my anxiety somewhat, even though it will not be for another year. I find this worrying as I cannot plan for that far in advance  (consistency and predictability again!) but also that the change my entail me working alone to some degree, which I find quite scary. 

All if this information above decreases the ability I have to focus and stay focused as everything is jumping on top of each other. I'm finding it hard to make a decision on what to do next and where to sit in the house: bit of background - I'm currently in the dining room but need to move and get some socks on and pick up some books but I'm finding it hard to prioritise doing just one thing at a time. So for example instead of thinking in a linear way:

i.e socks -> books -> sofa/table

It's coming through as:

socks <-> book <- > case study <-> PhD ideas <-> autism project work <-> conference on 25th <-> email work <-> transcribe <-> reread paper on active support <-> get drink 

With each part having equal importance and all sparring for attention and a larger level of energy than normal being needed to war between the sparring activities. It almost feels like children saying "me, me, me!' but shouting on top just adds more noise. I find harnassing one and pushing through it helps one become louder, almost like barging through something like a hedge against the pressure and coming out the other side. The amount of time I spend in 'quibble state' (list above with multiple <->, sounds like a CD when it's trying to read but stuck - hence the name) can vary dependent on how anxious I am, who is available to talk to, how much energy I have and how stressed I am. Sometimes everything needs to come crashing down first before I get out of quibble state. Other times it's easier. We keep pushing through!

What can you do to help? Not saying 'we all go through this'... that's not helpful and can make someone feel even more alone. Yes we all experience anxiety but we should not minimise a cry for help. Sometimes just giving space and letting the individual know you are there, whether verbally or not. What I have described above is so internal, it is so hard to really get to know what is really going on from the outside yet it is so real to the person experiencing it. 



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