On the advice of the follow-up session I bought a book this half term because I have the money and why the fuck not? I bought Exploring Depression and Beating the Blues because, well, it was a recommendation and specifically deals with ASD and depression. I figured maybe I could do my own therapy to me, or at least learn more.
Alas, it is a workbook. I am not good with workbooks. They ask you to write in them, something I hate, and they also ask you to, well, do things. And, well, I'm not good at the whole doing of things - something that this blog does rather attest to. Anyway, I read the introduction, lots of slightly condescending but on-the-nose stuff about ASD and depression and why it may be that things that come naturally to NTs don't for ASD. It dove-tailed with some stuff that I was intending to write about here but never got round to (natch) a while back - the "Useless Eustace" thing.
A brief aside: as a child my mother often used to call me "useless Eustace" when I couldn't do stuff (like tie shoelaces or if I was particularly clumsy) and I would get very agitated and upset, crying "I'm not useless useless" because, as a child, I couldn't pronounce 'Eustace'. Naturally this became something of a family joke that persisted long after I learned how to say 'Eustace' and long after the events. I cannot really recall any of the actual events, but I recall the stories.
So, back to the tale, this is something I have clearly internalised, along with all the negative things that were said by bullies at school. I have long been aware of this. That and the stuff from my HoD back in the day (when I started this? Can't recall) about my teaching and about who I was. The stuff that Tilly has said, the stuff that Toby said... You get the picture. What I was not aware of was that, apparently, NT folk don't internalise these things as easily or, if they do, can be brought back to equilibrium by compliments from trusted friends. Now, not being NT, I can't vouch for this but that's what this book said and so I'm going to take it at face value. I was unaware that NTs had that capacity or that it was an ASD thing not to have it. Maybe that makes sense, maybe that's more condescending bullshit, I don't know.
I don't want to do any kind of course or whatever but I spent about £14 on the book and Tilly kind of flashed her eyes when I raised doubts about the efficacy, so I guess I shall give it a go. It also asks you to take an online test, and you know how much I love online tests. I got this.
The first section asked me to do a relaxation thing. But that just made it hard to sit still and did that thing to my waistband where I feel really uncomfortable to the point where I lasted all of about 45 seconds and had to bail out because I felt so horrendous. It's the feeling I used to get when my mother cut my nails as a child or I had something fiddly to do like thread a needle. I'd get all 'fiddly' and then have to hyper-move my limbs for a bit during or afterward. In extreme cases I would be physically unable to complete the task because I had to move and flap. I didn't quite get that far but... hold on, I'm going to do it and come back.
That's... better. Ish. I took a drink too. Anyway, yes, the stuff. I bailed from the relaxation thing, then it asked me to list abilities that I'm good at. So, initially, I confused this with personal qualities (which came next - always read the questions before writing anything, kids) but I got a little way. It then asked me to consider how they might help in making friends, in employment, self-esteem and self-identity (weee, fun) and, finally, in enjoyment of life. I mainly went with analysis, obviously. It asked me to provide examples of compliments I have received and so I did a couple - about abilities (eh, not easy) and personality (harder) - and how I felt about getting them (very uncomfortable, wanting to hide etc). How did I feel recalling them: less uncomfortable, but still a bit... 'fiddly'. Did I accept, enjoy and give gratitude for them at the time? Non, no and yes, of course, rude not to. But with self deprecation and reflection, duh. That is, I reflect compliments back to the giver of the compliment - it is a handy-dandy way to be polite and to prevent the flappy feeling making my skin itch and my trousers uncomfortable.
Then comes the block. I have to ask someone about abilities and qualities of personality that I may have missed. Bit... well, stinks a bit of fishing for compliments, if you ask me, and that's kind of a no-no. Maybe that's a cultural British thing but it's not something one really does in polite company, and no, this is not my way of asking either. I don't like it, I don't like it and I don't like it. I'm probably not going to pursue it.
I am then supposed to identify qualities in a family member I admire (hmm, not sure I admire a family member) and a fictional character (they, uh, don't exist, they are, well, fictional characters. Most of them are pretty badly drawn, ifyouseewhatImean). Yeah, this could be impossible. I'm not certain I really admire any family members that much - maybe friends? And the fictional characters thing... I get that ASD people in particular are supposed to really get into fictional universes and such but, and I'm being honest here, I've never really got into the whole character thing. I liked plots and world building more than I ever really got involved with characters. I sort of tolerated Jack whatever-his-name-is in the Clancy books but... Yeah, one of my favourite books, Q by Luther Blisset (read it), had two main characters. One who is known by many names, none of which is his own, and Q, whose name you never discover and who never really goes by another moniker. Soooooo, yeah.
Then it says to make a binder with qualities as headings to record stuff under each plus a compliment diary to maintain a record of compliments one gives (and receives, but I'm not so certain I shall be any good at that). I suspect a slight focus on adolescence over adults here, and a penchant for the 1990s, which is understandable given the age of the author.
Don't know why I'm recording this here, but there you go.
Words of warning and welcome:
This is very much my blog, so don't be surprised if this doesn't follow accepted patterns and norms. It is a place where I can be anonymous and honest, and I appreciate that.
It will deal with many things and new readers would do well to check out the "Story So Far" Page above this and the "New Readers" tag down there on the right. Although there's nothing too bad in here there will be adult language, so be careful. If you think this needs a greater control, please let me know. Thank you!
Friday, 16 February 2018
I had characters, I used to have large numbers of them residing in my head and telling me how to write them. They were people, they had emotions and they functioned in the world but one of the biggest criticisms of my work was the lack of character. I always reasoned that I preferred to write plot but I did a tad despondent about being unable to crack what it was about my characters that people seemed to think was missing in my writing. So it was that I took another look at this fine piece of niche erotica on a whim, to try and confirm something that has been nagging at me since I found out for certain that I am ASD. Sure enough, it confirmed my analysis over the last few months: here we have a writer well in command of their craft. They take a subject, in this case a blind woman, and capture something of what it is to be a blind woman in the word choice - look at the descriptions of colour and style - and they do so in a way that I would wager that blind people would recognise. The emotion is felt, it radiates from the prose so that it can be seen rather than read an inwardly digested. No prizes for guessing that I am a visual thinker.
|It's always the watch, isn't it? Rarely the person.|
Read here long enough and you'll know I have a thing for
and theory about watches. How one can make judgements
based on the choice and style.
Now we know why.
As an empath, I understand emotion. I know how it can be displayed and I can describe in detail the kind of body language that takes most people by surprise, but this is a laborious process and leads to the density of prose to make it more like reading a headache. What I cannot do is empathy. I cannot predict how emotions are connected nor how best to respond, so it is with my characters who feel without knowing exactly why or where it will go next. Hence the navel gazing and the monologuing as they look inward and try to ascertain what they are doing. The kind of useless inward analysis that I spend my life doing as I had always assumed that other people did as well. Now we know why.
|Stout or ruby ale?|
Don't care. I want her eyes.
Solace can be taken in beer. It often is.
|This pack is my favourite.|
I haven't worn boxers, except for twice, since Christmas. It has been nice. The boxers I wore yesterday were crap compared to my now normal underwear and, frankly, I see no reason not to wear knickers all the time. Not even the apparent correlation between boxers and attention from Tilly. It's almost impossible to imagine us resuming carnal relations and, to be honest, I can't actually imagine me getting what I need from sex with anyone else. I think my porn addiction, and it is kind of that, has finally robbed me of the ability to physically react to other human beings in an immediate sense. Eventually, Tilly will have the emotional energy and eventually I shall convince her to find what I cannot provide with someone who can. There is every reason to expect that she will stay in the house and will hang around - companionship will be maintained - but it is time for me to prepare to give up hope for anything more for myself.
Tuesday, 13 February 2018
I had the appointment requested by work. It was an hour long and offered... nothing really. Work incidents were shared and the advice was that I could be inappropriate without realising it - suck it up - and be aware of red lines that will shift and change over time. No, there isn't anything that work could be doing to support me in that really, it was something I would have to work on and be ready to make mistakes in. Be in a union, be prepared and be ready to get it wrong again in the future. Maybe pause before doing anything, take time to consult colleagues before acting - sacrifice speed and decision for safety. And dial back on my humour, share less of myself generally, actually. Huh. Well, professional opinions.
Tilly has bought me flowers, a week back, on a day when I was observed getting dressed and so went with boxers and applied male anti-antiperspirant because not in view. I was, of course, pushing it the other day when I thought Tilly was asleep when I was getting ready for bed and took my knickers off - she wasn't asleep and decided I was punishing her. I digress, flowers were bought with a beer. It was gratefully received. And followed by an admission that we shall never do couples therapy because, locally, therapists take the view that ASD people are not going to change and so the world must adapt to them. And if Tilly were to be told that everything were her fault she might explode, she's adapted enough as it is, frankly, and ASD people can all just fuck off. Huh. Okay then.
This weekend and Tilly bought me some rather up-market beers for Valentine's as it's a sexist annoyance (I think she thinks it's my view, I have never expressed any such sentiment, I'm something of a lover of the day and the sentiment behind it, actually, so there) and I don't drink on a weekday and I have a beer festival coming up in the half term. I'm not complaining, I'm not, just confused. No, she doesn't want me to get her anything for the day either - I did ask - maybe a bird table(?). I will, of course, get her a bird table.
Still behind with work, still struggling to keep up, still waiting for the next parental complaint. In amongst reports and mock examinations and counselling students - there's bound to be one soon. Who knows from what source or over what. I shan't see it coming.
I believe the phrase is: and so it goes.