grand moof tarkin (moof) wrote,
grand moof tarkin
moof

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asperger's, depression, my family, 'n' me. (long)

Recent events (which I'll go into at some other time) had prompted me to write my sister (and parental units, by proxy) about why I've missed several Xmases at home. Here's what I wrote...
> When are you going to realize that me, Mom, Dad, and
> Jamie will all love you no matter what? It doesn't
> matter what you choose to do in your life, we still
> love you and want you with us whenever you can be.

I've never doubted that. I've never felt lacking for emotional support from any of you. That's never been a problem.

I don't know how much of the Asperger's stuff I've told you about, but it means that I often don't have the energy to deal with people, or social situations, or driving, or anything like that.

The URL http://www.udel.edu/bkirby/asperger/aswhatisit.html has some OK info, but it doesn't really give the full gist of what happens, especially for me. For one thing, I empathize really, really well with people, and can usually read their emotional states without any problem whatsoever; also, I have a really strong drive to be gregarious and social. (Some of that comes from the ADD.)

The really perverse bit is that while I desperately want to be social, and interact, and not be alone, I just can't deal with the drain. It's an internal conflict that I have to wrestle with on a day-to-day basis. I drain really quickly, and end up curling up in a ball for a while and shrieking incoherently when I hit empty It's no fun, and it usually takes me a couple of days to recover to a more normal state.

My emotional makeup has changed rather a lot over the past 2.5 years; going on the Wellbutrin (and then the other meds) did a lot to open me up emotionally. Before then, I couldn't cry unless it was a really ultra-intense situation, and things bottled up for months and months until I imploded. These days, I'm much more aware of my emotional state - but I'm also more beholden to it, too, and a lot of the time I'm still pretty fragile.

That's the real reason I didn't go home for Xmas last year - it felt like it would have been way too much, with no respite, no escape, and I couldn't deal with it. It gets extra intense because I do feel close to you all - and I can read y'all's emotions extremely well - and so I can tell that you want to be close (and so do I) but because I can't, that hurts; that sets up a gigantic feedback loop where I'm draining and in too much distress to do anything but pull away, making you feel bad and thus making me feel bad, and causing even more drain.

The worst part about it is that when it happens, there's nothing anyone can really do for me. I need to be by myself for a while, and slowly recover. Physical affection helps, but trying to (verbally) interact just exacerbates things. That's why I've been so loath to try and talk about any of it. It's a gigantic burden on me to bring up, I often don't express what I'm trying to get across very well, and if I'm misunderstood it makes me feel alienated. Of course, y'all can tell when I get like that, and try to help - but that's about the last thing I'm able to deal with when I get like that.

I've only started to recognize much of this out within the past year or so, much less been able to put it into words. That's another one of the reasons I've not talked about it - I haven't known what to say, or how to answer any of the questions. I don't mind questions at all, but I've been at an utter loss as to how to answer them until recently. (It doesn't help at all that these sorts of questions also come up most often on the phone, when I'm least able to respond.) If you have questions, please ask 'em, I really want to be able to answer. I've had no idea how to even approach any of this, what you wanted to hear or not.

And then, my Dad replies to the letter...

Your mother and myself read the forwarded reply that you sent to Kate. We pretty much understand a lot of what you have been going through, as we've seen you from the beginning, and see a lot of ourselves in you, as well.

I guess the main central term for most of the suffering is called Depression. At least that is what our Stephen ministry training calls it. We suffer from it ourselves, in various forms and to various extents.

Anyway, we are in your corner -- always. I always recommend prayer, specifically for God's healing grace. It is right and good to ask for His help, whenever we suffer. It's helped me a lot, most recently with my strange heart condition, when I was getting angina pain, and after the surgical procedure. Now we are obliged to proclaim His love and power.

So you are invited to come visit for Christmas, if you are up to it. We certainly would like to see you, but didn't think we should chase out to California unless you thought that would be especially good for you. I know your empathetic nature also, because I have that, and react very much the same as you do, apparently. So life's a challenge and it sounds like you have done really well, assuming your job is decent and pays and so forth.

I really don't know wtf to say to this. Doing well for myself is defined by my job and how much I get paid? That the main point of my missive - explaining some of the underlying causes for why I act as I do, some of the core reasons for my feelings of alienation from my family - can be boxed up as 'Depression' and that praying will make them go away? It makes me want to scream, "No! No! That's not it at all!" or wonder if my powers of description are really that awful that things can get misinterpreted so easily. Describing the anguish I had in not being able to go to weezyl's BBQ (and why I had it) seems like it'd be utterly moot.

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