Nearly every day, my mind plays the same draining tape: “You are lazy. You accomplish nothing. You should be ashamed.”
Eight or nine hours worked six days every week? They don’t count. Any preparation for my masters program this coming autumn? It wasn’t enough. Any cleaning or other task? I should have done it weeks ago.
Taking some time to slow down and relax while the snow falls
Whether struggling to put a seat belt on or not understanding a cash register at work, I face numerous situations that leave me feeling defeated and ashamed. I hate looking stupid or incompetent. When others are around and (potentially) judging me, giving myself the grace to make an error becomes even more challenging.
“I’m not an idiot.” I repeat that phrase to myself daily. Is it because I truly believe it, or is it what I want to think?
Sometimes the mistakes I make can be attributed to my ditsy side. Other times, my desire for perfection and fear of making someone upset makes me so anxious that I struggle to focus. Interestingly, my struggles can also be traced back to sensory overload. When someone else is talking in the same room, I struggle to hear anyone speaking to me. If an item isn’t exactly where it should be, I can search fruitlessly as all the other objects around me start to overwhelm my brain. Or if I try to do a task in a new order, I often stumble over my words or forget an essential component of the task.
Do you ever over-analyze a situation? Think about it until you have exhausted the ways to view it?
This seems to be my life. Why did he say that to me? Why is she looking at me? Are they thinking this? What if they really mean that?
These are the thoughts that continuously run through my head. Every moment of my life seems to be analyzed by myself.
Part of this is my Aspergers. To understand others and adapt socially, I taught myself to pay close attention to small details. Forgetting the “littlest” thing could lead to teasing or being abandoned by my peers.
However, some of my attentiveness seems to have gone overboard. Now, I no longer know how to control it. One word or glance might make me miserable for days. On the other hand, a positive interaction can make me elated for the rest of the week.
So does anyone else (especially those on the Autism spectrum) deal with this? How do you manage to not read too much into everything? Is this even a bad thing?
I am proud to share this post, which has been written my daughter. It is comprised of a series of paragraphs she wrote for her English class. She is a teenager and presents her perspectives on how we sometimes view kids who behave unexpectedly, as well as how we “do” inclusion. I believe her voice is important, and I wonder, when we are asking our youth their thoughts on education, are we remembering to ask their thoughts on inclusion? Because their answers just might surprise us.
Author: Courtney Copeland
The room full of children screeching and yelling was deathly loud. Sadie sat still and emotionless. She could not focus. Her tiny legs started to bounce up and down as her eyes trailed around the black and white room. A room that was once full of colour. While her thoughts wandered from topic to topic, the prickling sensation in the…
Being agreeable and getting along with others has always been important to me.
Sure, I was the shy, antisocial girl who answered too many questions in class and barely talked in the hall. Peers stopped talking when I entered the room, believing me too naive to handle anything slightly inappropriate. Others giggled at my lack of social skills or complained to my face about strange traits.
Still, I wanted others to like me. This continues to be a goal of mine. The more people who like me, the better. Even if I do not like the other person, I hope he or she respects and enjoys me.
Why is it so scary to leave the house? I might be running to the grocery store, going to Universal Studios with friends, or heading to work. Each time, terror fills me and makes me want to stay rooted in my home.
There are times in my life when these fears diminish a bit. Yet, they always pop back up few months or years later.
Is this social anxiety? Aspergers? PTSD? Depression? A mixture of everything?
I wish that I could explain to others how scary this is. I want friends and to socialize but need people to come to me sometimes. Instead of always going out, I long for someone to enter into my bubble and just be with me.
Maybe someday there will be someone like that in my life. There were some people back in Minnesota perhaps, but now they are gone. Once again, I am forced to emerge.
I am sorry, neighbors, that I look at you with terrified eyes when you try to say “Hi” while I am walking. That I rapidly turn and scurry in the other direction when I see you even begin to leave your front door. That I would rather pass by a huge black snake than you and your dog.
I am sorry, neighbors, that social anxiety seizes me and propels me away from other humans. That my heart begins to shake whenever I see a car drive by me. That I envision each person around kidnapping, torturing, and killing me.
Be quiet. Do not complain. Remain strong like nothing is wrong.
Those are voices in my head. Sometimes those messages are helpful. Usually, however, these words create more drama and pain in my life. Instead of being honest about difficulties, I try to manage by myself until I end up sobbing, feeling alone and defeated.
Being in Orlando has taught me a strange fact: I draw people to myself.
Writing that means that I must admit it which is hard. Me, a people person? Me, someone who others like? Me, friendly?
Yet, it is true. Whether chatting with a stranger on the bus or the new person at work, I enjoy knowing people’s stories which they, in turn, enjoy telling. When numerous people are asking to hang out, I must admit that something I am doing (or maybe who I am????) is making friends. Strange how I have changed over the years.