Trying to find balance

Written by Ros her previous blogs have been about anxietykeeping goingbeing ill and capableautism and the question ‘how are you?’, more of her art can be found here.

I am writing this the day it’s supposed to be posted… well to be completely honest a week after it was supposed to be posted (luckily Meg saved the day last week with her excellent post).

If you know me you’re probably thinking that’s normal because I’m a bit of a disorganised mess. I am terrible at responding to messages, committing to plans, I am often doing things last minute, things that should be simple can take me weeks to get round to etc.

I think scatty or eccentric would definitely be words used to describe me, however there is a lot of time and energy that goes into being this disorganised so today I’m going to break some of that down for you with a glimpse into the world of my Autistic brain.

Behind the chaos:

  • Most of my blog posts are very well thought through, re-written multiple times (and in ideal circumstances proof-read at least once).
  • I have a system for how I rank texts and the importance of replying to them; there are multiple variables here and even those on my priority reply to list often get ignored.
  • I attempt to rank ‘daily’ tasks by importance, time and energy.
  • When I make plans there are many factors I consider, I often run them through with another person and my reply will have been thought through (even if its ‘I’ll have to think about it’).
  • Activities I have done before/places I have been have their own score, which intersects with my physical/mental state; I also have a system for judging new things and places based on this.
  • On that note I also have complex social systems which has people in my life placed based on my assessment of our relationship and multiple other factors (this influences my interactions with this person in relation to my current state).

I have often thought about drawing these out but it feels vaguely sociopathic to have physical representations of some of these concepts.

mail

I use these systems to attempt to organise myself; I have to-do lists dotted around, which try to take these into account. My to-do lists never look that complex and how effective they are is dependent on my mental state but I’m getting better, they can contain things like ‘shower’ (I put my towels on to wash today, if you have an estimate for the last time I washed them you can probably double it and you would still be wrong).

list

One of the reasons I need these lists (and also why they fail sometimes) is because often I am at the mercy of my own body/brain. I have come to realise that the greatest of intentions do not mean something will happen; I mean I can’t even clean my teeth twice a day and I keep a toothbrush by my bed.

I have come to see my physical form as a delicate eco structure as unpredictable and irritating as it is beautiful. One moment I can be buzzing with energy, practically bouncing of the walls; another I cannot muster the energy to get up and go to the loo, pick up the glass of water from the bedside table or even adjust to a more comfortable position.

The same is true of my brain, I can have brilliant ideas, be thoroughly engaged and interested in the world, then everything can disappear into nothingness suddenly I find it hard to access simple knowledge or care about engaging with anything/anyone.

existential

There are many shades of these states and they can interact in the strangest ways (being full of energy yet mentally aware that nothing matters and having no motivation to do anything, is a strange conundrum).

This is what I have to be aware of in the general scope of my life and it’s difficult; understanding my own emotions is not something I am highly skilled at, my concept of time is extremely fucked up and my processing speed can match that of an old school computer.

You may be thinking the number of systems I have is overkill, but this is how I maintain a life that is not predictable.

ecosystem

Without these systems I get to new places and I shut down, think of the worst pain you have ever been in, that brain fog that overwhelms everything, that’s kind of my experience. Or maybe a better description is that moment when you can’t think of a word it’s on the tip of your tongue, you can feel it in your brain but it just won’t let you access it. Now imagine things like how to start/continue a conversation, how to walk into a room (how to leave to got to the loo) are just on the tip of your tongue, it’s not great.

More to the point, without these I may not even get involved in half the interesting things/people that I do manage to engage with.

sane or lonely

While I don’t always pay attention to these lists and systems having them in place is useful and I update them the more I learn (as most of them are internal). I am constantly trying to figure out a balance, but often (even with my systems) this is like trying to control a see-saw when the other side is an over-excited child.

The more I think about this metaphor the better it gets: I mean as an adult you can sink down and stop the see-saw but what you’ll get is a child in the air in tears or jumping off: the inevitable injury. But also as soon as you push off you are at risk of the child pushing with the whole force of their body leaving your knees at severe risk. Sometimes you get off/fall off the seesaw and you take some time away but eventually you get back on and try and figure out this whole balance thing over again.

seesaw

I’m not sure if this made any sense or was even that accurate but I gave it a good shot and I still just about managed to post it on the Friday (just about).

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