Oh, hello? Gosh, it’s been a while since I last posted anything here. If I don’t do something soon people might get the impression that I’m inconsistent. Though why they should think that about me, I have no idea. It’s not like it’s a part of being autistic, or having ADHD... is it? It is? Did I miss something there? Oh. Is that why, despite all of my best intentions, I have not been able to stick to my initial goal of writing at least one blog post every month? Seriously?? And here I was thinking it had something to do with me being lazy, self-willed, and just plain contrary. After all, what else would it be, when I say I really love writing, am given the opportunity to do it, but then don’t, choosing instead to sit and trawl through the virtual world of the internet. And, laughably, seeking out, amongst other things, blogs about writing, in the vague hope that they might fire up my brain and imbue me with some motivation.
Amazing how time flies when you’re busy doing ... well, nothing in particular, other than being distracted. But despite the fact that I have been obsessed with looking on the web (not a good thing in itself), and have trawled through a lot of not-very-helpful stuff (like writer’s blogs, and sites devoted to the art of decluttering and minimalism – which are not designed with autistics in mind, but I can’t tell the difference when I’m locked into one of my obsessions), I did search out something of value and relevance to myself, and found in the process some interesting stuff about ADHD, which has helped shift my perspective somewhat.
In fact, that’s probably a bit of an understatement – it’s more than somewhat. I think it may have radically altered my whole perspective on it. Though let’s not get too over-excited here, counting my chickens – after all, it’s highly likely that I’ll completely forget this earth-shattering revelation in about a week, in the midst of some other world-redefining epiphany. My brain’s like that, you know; something to do with being autistic, and having ADHD...
But, in light of the last article I wrote where I lamented the fact that I couldn’t seem to figure out how to accept my Asperger’s (and the rest), or apply the AA programme, or find a place in life where I fit, I do feel like I’ve had a major paradigm shift, rather than simply one of my all-too-frequent light bulb moments – you know those things, where the light goes on for a moment, and then it goes off. On, off, on, off, on, off, on... Kinda leaves you feeling a bit dizzy, not to mention fuzzy-visioned ‘cos you don’t get the chance for your eyeballs to adjust and focus for very long. Sounds familiar... Oh yeah, I think that’s how my brain works.
So, (extended metaphor moment continuing) in the light of this new information, I can see how pointless and futile it is for me to keep trying to fit myself into a neurotypical mould, and to continue to view myself from this perspective, in a misguided attempt to ‘fix’ what I see as being ‘wrong’ in me. Of course, true to my nature (read brain-wiring), having the realisation and then using it to change what I’ve been doing, in order to bring it into line with the new perspective, is a slow process. But here’s one of the really important things I’ve learned over the last month from what I’ve been reading – people with ADHD (and autism) don’t do transitions very easily.
What? You don’t say? That’s it?!
Yes, I know: it’s hardly earth-shattering news, is it. At least, not unless you’re completely new to this whole thing, in which case it could be wildly exciting. But consider this: if, like me, you have a very literal mind, and words are very important to you, then that statement is news. What I’ve read, heard, and said myself, hundreds of times, is that autistics don’t LIKE change. What I haven’t heard is that we don’t DO change very well, or why.
‘Like’ and ‘do’ are two completely different words, in my world – ‘like’ is an emotional/psychological word, and ‘do’ is an action one. The context of the sentence changes dependent on which one is used – at least, for me it does. But to other people who don’t think like me there is often no real difference, and the words are frequently used interchangeably. This can often cause confusion. It can also lead to being classed as someone who is just being picky about semantics. Well, I’m not being – not intentionally, though it may look like that to a non-autistic. And it has done – caused confusion, that is.
You see, the fact is that my experience does not concur with the statement that, as an autistic, I don’t like change. But, because everyone seems to say that this is the case, I have taken it on board and made it my own – like the good, absorbent Asperger that I am (I really would make a great toilet roll, you know. I could give Andrex a run for their money). If I don’t like change, then why is it that I cannot stick to the plan I have, but seek instead to tweak it at every opportunity? Why is it that I have on there a list of activities so long that I almost don’t have enough time in the week to do them all? Why is it that I have to have a variety of different things to engage my attention, otherwise I just lose interest?
Because I like change. Sometimes I even lonnnnnng for it. I cannot bear things staying the same. If I didn’t like or want change then I never would have set off on the journey of recovery that I embarked upon nearly twenty-five years ago.
No, the problem isn’t that I don’t like it – though, over the years, I have come to feel anxiety and fear about it, and to not enjoy the disruption that it brings because of not being aware of what it was, or would entail. There was no-one to guide me, to reassure me that it was okay, that the world wasn’t about to come to an end. Instead it felt more like I was constantly plunging into the depths of the Amazon rainforest - before anyone even named it the Amazon rainforest.
The problem is that I have been looking in the wrong place to find an answer –approaching it from the traditionally psychoanalytical point of view, and looking in my mind. But the ‘problem’ is actually in my brain – it’s in the very fabric of my biological make-up, just like the colour of my eyes, or my gender. You can’t counsel or analyse it away, though you could, perhaps, convince me that it isn’t real and I’m just making it up, or that it’s actually something else entirely (which is the delusion I’ve been living with for the last twenty-five years, the idea that it’s all to do with being an alcoholic). No, the truth is my brain really is different. And it’s my brain that cannot cope with change very well: it’s not wired up to be able to deal with it easily, or quickly. But I insist that it should be able to, ‘cos where’s the big deal? After all, I’ve analysed it, and come to the conclusion that there’s nothing to fear about change.
Yet here I am, still seemingly displaying resistance to it. Except that resistance is in the mind, and for most of the time I cannot find any when I look in there. So I offer up the age-old explanation I’ve learnt in recovery – I’m in denial! In fact, I’m so far in denial that it’s buried deep, deep, DEEEEEEP within my subconscious (or unconscious), and requires more thorough investigation and analysis.
Well, I have to tell you, I’m a world-class analyser, and I have analysed everything to death ‘til there’s nothing left to analyse. But still I’ve analysed the nothing, just in case I missed a bit. Sometimes it really isn't "all in the mind".
So, now I’m tired of doing it that way, and not getting very far. Therefore I’m going to try this way, and see what comes as a result. This way? Yes, it’s the one that involves embracing (rather than disgracing) that which makes me different, and trying instead to adjust the way I live my life to make it ADHD/autistic-friendly, rather than attempting to squeeze the life out of them in order to make myself fit into a long-held vision I’ve had of what it means to be a well-recovered, well-balanced, happy individual.
From inaction to action, hopefully with a bit more speed now that I’m heading in the right direction. Perhaps tortoise-pace, rather than slug’s? We can but hope.