When we were given this gift of autism, we received other things as well. You see, I have yet to hear of someone on the spectrum who didn’t also deal with some form of or combination of OCD, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and a variety of mental health issues.
I call them autism’s bitter spices and trust me; they’re not wanted in any recipe. To be clear, they’re not gifts. They’re unwanted things that got knocked in the pot.
Each autistic person has his or her own special blend. In mine, anxiety is a main ingredient and is one that gets to me on a continual basis.
I can honestly say that I often times don’t know why.
To someone who hasn’t experienced it before, it sounds fake to say that I don’t know why my heart is racing, why my fingers won’t hit the right keys on the keyboard and why I suddenly feel extremely overwhelmed.
Then, when I get overwhelmed, I start second-guessing. Only, I second-guess myself all the time, so this is really third-guessing.
Then I start feeling even more panicked because I’m feeling overwhelmed. After that comes more doubt and then the low self-esteem kicks in, which leads to me not wanting to do subpar work, so I procrastinate.
As my deadline draws closer, the procrastination feeds the feeling of being overwhelmed (and by now I probably am overwhelmed) which leads to more panic.
And the cycle churns on and on until I finally burn out. My brain feels like it short-circuited and the only thing that will restore the wiring is to rest and let the brain “heal.”
When my brain reboots, it’s usually two or three days of sleeping about fourteen hours a day, though not fourteen straight. Then at some point during that second or third day I wake up and it really does feel like a reboot.
Today is day two of a brain reboot and if history is any indicator, even though this week was horrible, tomorrow I should wake up at some point life should be good again.