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Sunday, 20 October 2013

Family frustrations


Days like today, I really hate.

Wife has been up early, since before 6, with DD2. And as a result she is already feeling tired. Which is fine and understandable. 

But she is also doing a lot of huffing and harrumphing and so far today between then and now, when she is going for a shower, she has not got off the couch, leaving me to do all of the dressing of the kids, the breakfasts, the chasing around after them etc.

All of which would still be fine if it didn’t feel like she was also being grumpy and disapproving at me, like I’m doing something wrong. I really don’t think I am. I’ve been doing household chores and playing with the kids and I just feel like I am being constantly disapproved of.

Maybe its just paranoia, but it doesn’t change the fact that this is how it feels.

To be honest, all I want right now is a little peace and quiet in my room, just a few minutes reading to try to change my mind’s focus, but now she’s in the shower I can’t do that, so instead I am trying to get everything down in this blog post whilst trying to fulfil kiddy requests for snack, juice and cuddles.

I know wife is very tired at the moment ad she has taken on a college course and I don’t think she realised how much work teacher training was going to be. She has spread herself too thin, and at the moment it feels like I am the one losing out, and I am being seen as a distraction and a source of tension.

Edit: and in a strangely ironic twist, it turns out her issues are not about me at all. She was humiliated in class by a lecturer yesterday and is obsessing about that.

This, combined with the worry over my upcoming surgery on my “good” hand means that I am currently not in the best frame of mind, and I’m feeling a little abandoned and taken for granted.

I find it hard to speak to her about these things however as we don’t seem to be able to have discussions like this without the becoming fights about something else.  I am very poor at keeping rational when talking about my emotions, and I know she feels very frustrated about living in a house where 3 people have asd and her needs always come last.

Its frustrating, miserable and depressing, and I really don’t have a clue how to go about addressing it positively, so I have no doubt when she comes out of the shower I won’t talk about it, and will try to simply put up with her silent disapproval father than end up speaking out and “causing” a fight.

Friday, 18 October 2013

The scourge that is Helpful People


Whether its part of my nature, a product of my environment or just something to do with being aspie, I have trouble asking for help.

Mainly, I just don’t feel I need it. Whatever I am attempting to undertake, I am perfectly competent to achieve, or I wouldn’t have started it in the first place. Simple, pragmatic fact.

Except its not a fact.  In what I know is a very aspie way, my view of the world is very black and white. I have trained myself over many years to perceive the almost invisible shades of grey that NTs see in everything.  And I can now, when I try, perceive those shades of grey in most things, but almost never in myself or my own abilities.

After a very long day, I was having trouble using the computer at home; simply selecting the option on a drop-down menu in Word was proving a hell of a challenge but, because I know that I am competent at using Word, when wife started making suggestions and, worse, pointing at the screen and showing me where to click, I verbally lashed out at her. I finished what I was doing and went to the kitchen to put the kettle on to make tea – my classic move of “I’m leaving the room, leave me alone” – and have a bit of quiet time to calm down.

Which would have been great if wife hadn’t then came in and said that when she tried to help it would be nice to have some gratitude.

Cue fight.

Now I’m sure any aspies reading this will understand the problem. Its not about someone helping, its about someone effectively questioning your competency, and trying to “help” where help is not necessary – even when it is!

The fight was brief, and I did explain to wife my frustrations at my own performance and the perceived criticism, but that I did appreciate that she meant well, and so its all sorted out.

Until next time, when virtually the same thing will happen again and we’ll end up having the same fight.

So, I need a solution; how do I convince myself that someone’s offer of help is not about criticism of me or my ability but a genuine offer of assistance with no agenda, particularly when I am rattlin’ (a good colloquialism for on the edge)

For now, I am simply going to watch for these instances and make a note of how often they happen and what my response is, how often it becomes a fight.

I suppose sometimes letting someone must be better as it will keep the peace, and there are days where its better to keep the peace than make a point, right?

 

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Fab fun forgotten fiction found!

I can't believe it!

After 5 years of neglect, my old LiveJournal account still exists!  I am shocked.

The best thing about this is not LJ itself but the fact that I had short stories that I wrote years ago attached to it. I am so excited.

Each of the short stories was inspired by background characters in an RPG I used to run set in White Wolf's World of Darkness, a setting that I think is largely responsible for the current obsession with Vampires in pop-culture.  I loved it so much, and i loved the act of creation.  I couldn't just create the city or set the stories for the characters, i felt I needed to give more depth to my city, and these stories were part of that.

here's an excerpt from Beyond any Measure, a chapter in the story of the hulking ex-con Monk, who works as a doorman/ muscle for one of the major characters, but has no idea that his boss is a Vampire.  In this story he was on the trail of whoever killed his friend with lethally cut heroin.


********************************************************

“Well shit, it really is you,” sez Eddie the Ear. “I ain’t seen you since…” his face screws up as he thinks
“… night before the Spinozzo family had an accident in Harlem.” I supply.
Eddie’s startin’ to look like an old man. His face is getting’ flabby. I guess he’s put on about twenty pounds in the last few years. He scratches at his greyin’ stubble.
“The Spinozzos, yeah,” he sez lookin’ thoughtful. I take a look at his office. Eddie’s workin’ out of an upstairs apartment above the pawn shop he owns downstairs. I don’t know what angle he’s workin’ these days, but it’s guaranteed whatever it is ain’t legal. His nephew Vinnie is sittin’ on the edge of a table glarin’ at me. I recognise the type immediately; he looks about twenty, still wet behind the ears, and that sneer he’s carryin’ says he wants to make a name for himself, and maybe thinks I’m the man whose corpse to make it on. Eddie sends him out to get a beer for me.
“So why you turnin’ up here after all this time?” he asks me, “I thought you stopped workin’ for The Family.” I nod my head, relaxin’ down into a chair.
“I talked to Old Mike Gravano when I came out of my last stretch. Told him I wanted out. Old Mike gives me a handshake, tells me I done good an’ proud by his family, and if I wanna work again, to come see you.” 
The kid comes back with a beer. Its some German shit that I wouldn’t feed to a two day drunk. I hold the bottle loosely between my first two fingers, down by the side of the chair.
“But I ain’t lookin’ for work,” I say “I need information, and you’re “The Ear”.
“There’s someone pushin’ bad shit in town. I got a friend who is the worse for usin’ it. I need to know who’s workin’ East Rutherford.”
“Sorry Monk,” he sez a little too fast, “I don’t know nuthin’ about drugs. That ain’t my bag.”
My lips go tight. This is Eddie “The Ear” Scoleri, the best information magnet I ever met. He never knows nothin’ about anythin.
“Eddie,” I say softly “if you don’t tell me what I need to know voluntarily, I’m gonna have to ask you another way.” Eddie don’t flinch, but I see Vinnie straighten and reach for his piece.
“Kid,” I say, raisin’ my voice, “do you know what a bi-polar recursive haematoma is?” I look at him, seein’ the confused look in his baby blues. “Its when the part of your brain that causes you to feel pain – when, for example, some young Paesan puts a bullet in you – shuts off.
“Now if you draw that sidearm you might kill me, but my body’ll take thirty seconds or so to shut down. More’n enough time for me to snap your neck like a rotten twig.” Little Vinnie gets some fear in his eyes but his hand is still inside his jacket.
“’Sides,” I add, “my guy on the roof across the street’s got you covered.”
The minute the kid’s eyes flicker to the window I’m in motion. My right arm whips up and over, releasing the bottle, and I’m right behind it. The base of the bottle hits him just above the right eye. His head snaps back. I reach him and slam a right into his gut, lifting him off his feet as his breath whooshes out. My left mitt clubs down across his jaw, knockin’ him to the floor.
I pull my knife from under my coat and kneel on the kid’s neck. A gurglin’ comes from his throat ‘til he passes out. I grab his right ear and pull hard. Behind me I hear Eddie protest. I ignore him and make a hard ’n’ fast pass with the knife. I stand up with my prize in my hand.
“Next time get me an American beer,” I sneer into the ruined shell of his ear.

********************************************************

Its not my best work, but I loved writing it, and finding this and some of the other stories from those days really makes me excited about NaNoWriMo. Maybe I can get back to the stories of those minor characters and sidekicks; the hard-working and unappreciated colleagues and minions, the left-hand men and button men of that shadowy world who played out the instructions of their dark masters.

fun!!!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

My journey with Asperger's Syndrome (high functioning autism): In the dark: Hiding the light

My journey with Asperger's Syndrome (high functioning autism): In the dark: Hiding the light:

An interesting blog from a relatively "new" Aspie

Emotional Dissonance and Edmund Blackadder

I love Backadder. It is one of he greatest shows of all time, and it was on TV at just the right time for me to become hopelessly obsessed with it.  I can quote it line by line (for most episodes of the entire 4 series run) and no matter how many times I watch it, it doesn't stop being funny.

Having seen every episode somewhere north of 20 times (and some episodes many, many more) I consider myself to be something of an expert on it, being able to tell you names of episodes, characters, actors, and can tell you what the best scenes were, the funniest dialogue and the best of the cunning plans.

So, as an expert on all things Blackadder, it upset me greatly for many years that people kept disagreeing with me about the best episode.  It just doesn't make sense! I understand it better, I have watched it more, I think I have a better measure of judgement.

No, I have always argued, while that is a good episode, it is not the best.   And its always the same one! Everyone says that the final episode of Series 4 - Goodbyeee - is the best.

I used to argue by series.

Series 1 - The Witchsmeller: Better
Series 2 - Beer (or Potato) absolute classics!
Series 3 - Awesome Series! Almost everything is better, but particularly Amy and Amiability, and Duel and Duality (THIS is the best episode).
Series 4 - Private Plane and General Hospital are both awesome.

And people would still argue.

So I watched it over and over again and while I enjoy watching it, I just can't see it, can't understand it. Why do rational, sensible people tell me that this episode is the crowning achievement of Blackadder, and a fitting epitaph for the show.

And only now, when I have a diagnosis, when I understand how I am different to other people do I get it.  It is not the dialogue, the acting, the comedy or the content which is superior; it is the emotion, it is the understanding that all of those characters whom we have grown to love are all going to die and the characters know it too!

When the guns are silenced and the soldiers step up to their ladders, it is the certain knowledge that this is the end.

And what sets it apart as an episode is that final scene. This is a replica of what hundreds of thousands of young men went through in those four awful years; stepping over the parapet of the trench into enemy machine guns, knowing that they would likely die in a foreign field. Invoking the Zeitgeist, finishing with stillness, silence and poppies is a beautiful, tragic and genius moment of television.

I feel the power of it now, as I think about it, and imagine the fear, resignation and unspeakable bravery of those men, and I will never again question anyone's insistence that this is Blackadder's finest moment.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Writing time

So, to take my mind off of my impending surgery I have decided to try my hand at novel writing. And because I lack focus, tend to become obsessive and work in short bursts I am joining in with thousands of other people attempting to write a 50000 word novel in 30 days as part of NaNoWriMo

So, that's thinking of and typing over 1000 words of story and dialogue per day. I am not convinced this is a good idea but I imagine its going to be a hell of an experience, and I'm even looking forward to the local launch party 2 days before where I will get to meet some people who are doing the same thing.

But the thing is I've signed up as anonymousaspie, and so it will be odd going to the launch event and either
A- introducing myself as anonymousaspie or
B- using my real name and thereby destroying my illusion on anonymity.

I am puzzled.

Anyway, I've got a idea or 2 percolating away, things I have gathered together over the years or stuff that has stuck in my brain.  I have a couple of character ideas, a story name but not yet a concept for the full story, but I'm doing some research and thinking, noting down anything new that occurs to me.  Anything to not think about the hand surgery!

I am wondering if my new awareness of self and aspie state will influence any of my writing. Writing isn't new to me. i used to write settings for role-playing games, and when i wrote a setting it was intricate, well-planned, evolved and detailed. There were characters you would never meet that i had hopes and dreams sketched for.  I loved creating a living setting, so that if players decided to go off-piste, as it were, i always had a vast expanse for them to explore; sort of the RPG equivalent of the computer sandbox-game experience.

but this is completely different. I had time to shape and mold and perfect my characters and settings. this is the exact opposite. in a lot of ways its a nightmarish proposition, but if i ever really want to be a writer, then i need to start somewhere, and taking the plunge here might be just the thing to get me into a literary frame of mind.

And away from hand surgery!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Suddenly, surgery. WTF???

It was hard enough going to hospital yesterday. My thumb has been getting sorer and less mobile for months, and I've been seeing a physiotherapist recently.

On Friday I managed to badly injure myself while attempting to take the till receipt from the checkout attendant at Tesco (Really!). It was so bad I immediately went to minor injuries unit to look at my hand.

They put my hand in an old-lady-style dressing and referred me to the hand clinic on Wednesday. Cue a weekend full of me clumsily knocking stuff over and insisting I can still lift & carry with ease (LIE!), followed by a hand cramp incident on Tuesday which meant I had to come home from work.

By Wednesday I was really ready to see a doctor, but I don't really enjoy hospitals that much.  So wasn't it nice of them to forget I was there for 2 hours!!!  At least when they realised their error they booted me to the front of the queue and gave me preferential treatment from there on it.

One pragmatic doctor assesment later (he just grabbed my thumb and bent it back quickly and i screamed) and i'm on my way to X-ray. 20 minutes later I'm sitting in from of the doctor again (protecting my thumb this time!) and he's telling me that what I need is reconstructive surgery as my volar ligament (?) on my thumb is basically not there any more, and they'll have to open my thumb and my wrist up to reconnect one to the other using tissue they will stretch from my forearm.

Seriously???


I just have a sore thumb!  please be kidding!

but they are not. I am on my way to having what the doctor described as the most complex surgery they do on that part of the body.

Followed by 6 weeks in a cast and then months of physio.

I can't believe it. I'm just shocked, and more than a little scared. Its my right hand and I am right handed, and I can't help thinking about what would happen if it goes wrong.

I am also worried for wife. she already has 3 people with ASD in the house to worry about, without then having to pick up the slack for the things I can't do during my rehab.

Fuckity bawbags!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Diagnosis!

Finally!

After a year or more of waiting, I have been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome.

So. Aspie. Just as I had thought, hoped and feared.

And while it comes as a tremendous relief, it is also tinged with sadness as I know I can never be "normal". but then what is normal other than the average you get when you throw all elements of a sample together and find what is in the middle. No-one necessarily fulfils the criteria of normality perfectly, I am just farther from it than other people.

And in a lot of ways this is a good thing. I have a name for my little box, I can study it and I can become more self-aware. There are many other people who don't have this privilege; other people that don't have a ready-build support society both online and offline to assist in any adjustments and give advice.

I had always intended to "out" myself once I was diagnosed, no longer using the anonymousaspie handle and just using my own name (or at least my own picture), but over the last year I've become quite used to being A2, and to be honest I do still want some level of anonymity.  As some people have observed to me, much of my blog is very personal and brutally honest.  I know some of it would shock and upset my wife, and I don't really want to do that, so for the moment, so that I can continue writing with complete freedom, I'm going to stick to being anonymous.

What comes next?

Well, basically, nothing. Life goes on. I tell people who I feel need to know, I look into what support mechanisms exist and see if they would help me.  But in essence nothing changes other than I have the confidence of knowing who and what I am and where that puts me in relation to the rest of the world.

I can't actually imagine a more positive outcome than this.