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Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Monday, March 17, 2014

Weekend Report, and a special request

Hi everyone! I told you I'd write again when I had some interesting things to tell you. Well, now I do have a few things! Here they are!

My so-called social life... I've been really putting effort into getting out and doing things at least once a week, instead of hibernating at home. Each time I go do something, I have to conquer my anxiety. No matter how excited I am to do a particular activity, at the last minute I start thinking, "Maybe I just want to stay home." My brain starts thinking of excuses like, "I'm really tired. I shouldn't spend the money. I don't want to hang out with people I don't know. My dogs will miss me." 
This past Saturday there was an event I had signed up to go to, with a new Meetup group just for women. The event was to go to this place where they have a whole lot of trampolines. I have always wanted to go there, because I really like trampolines! But of course at the last minute, I kind of decided I didn't want to go. I really had to force myself. I reminded myself of the times in the recent past where I did something new and ended up having at least a little bit of fun, like sledding at a family party, tubing with another Meetup group (even though I ended up tubing by myself), the salt cave, etc. 
So I went! Only two other people ended up going, which was kind of nice because I do much better in a small group. If there is a bunch of people, I kind of get shy and get lost in the shuffle, but with a small group I feel more comfortable. We bounced on the trampolines for a while (not nearly as long as we thought we would... after half an hour of jumping, I felt like I would collapse!) and then went out for dinner at TGI Friday's. I had a lot of fun, and now I am signed up to go to a game night with them next Saturday! So far I haven't made any actual friends, because it is usually different people each time. But at least I am practicing talking to people, and having some fun experiences! 


Who is in your herd?
Equine therapy.... I went again yesterday. From now on I will call the therapist "Julie" and the horse "Brownie", so I don't have to keep typing "the" all the time, and because I just like assigning code names to people and animals. (Except for Lily and Trixie, who have somehow retained their real names in this blog!) 
ANYWAYS... it went really well again. With Julie's help I figured out a whole new aspect to my difficulty with making friends and connecting with others. See, when I was a kid growing up, my parents, probably unintentionally, discouraged me from having close relationships with other people, including aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, etc. Even with the people we were permitted to be close to, such as my maternal grandparents and two of my maternal aunts and uncles, we were expected to keep things on a polite, light-hearted level, and not allowed to talk about anything very serious. For instance, once when I was about 11 I mentioned to someone from my mom's family about my dad being an alcoholic (he had recently joined AA and admitted his alcoholism problem to me and my brother, which was why it was weighing on my mind that day) the family member literally walked away from me. When my brother and I started getting close to an adult neighbor lady  (she was the guardian of one of our friends) my mom would always say negative things about the lady, and sort of subtly discouraged us from spending time with her. So, in addition from having Asperger's Syndrome, I also got very little practice in making connections with people, and was actually kind of conditioned to avoid connections. 
The weird thing is, when I was a teenager and into my early twenties, for a while I had the opposite problem, and would latch on immediately to anyone who was even a little bit kind to me. This got me into a lot of trouble in life because I latched onto people with some serious problems (like drugs) but it also did allow me to have some interesting experiences, and taught me to see past any stereotypes and into a person's real self. But I was pretty indiscriminate about who I would try to befriend. If someone smiled at me, I would probably follow them off a cliff back then. Much later on, I was working with children with Reactive Attachment Disorder, and I learned about the different types of attachment issues kids with RAD have. One of them, Indiscriminate Attachment or Disinhibited Attachment, means that kids quickly get attached to people who are more or less strangers, and will interact with those people as if they are best friends, because they don't really recognize a difference between family members and strangers. It happens sometimes with kids who were badly neglected from an early age, or kids in foster care who have been moved from caregiver to caregiver since they were very young. When I learned about it back then, it sort of reminded me of myself. 
But I digress.
ANYWAYS AGAIN... when we were talking about it, I was feeling a little sad about it, and guilty about talking about my parents. And every time I started feeling kind of bad, Brownie would move over and put her head right by my face or my shoulder, like she was trying to give me a little support. It was pretty cool! 
Julie said people and horses are alike because we are both herd animals, and when we can't find a herd of our own (not that humans literally travel in herds like horses, but you know what I mean, a group of people that you can depend on) we get anxious and depressed. 

This blog entry is getting a little long. I should stop. I need to go walk my dogs. But one more thing. 
My blogaversary is coming up on April 5. I was trying to think of something to do for it. I already did the "I'll answer any question you have" thing for my 100th post, so I wanted something different. I saw a great idea on Simple Moments Stick. She made a survey for her blog readers, and published the results. I thought I'd steal the idea. But I am doing it a little backwards. She put out her survey on her blogaversary, and published the results a month later. I am going to post the survey ahead of time, and publish the results on my blogaversary. 

So, even if you have only read my blog once in your life, will you please take my survey? It is anonymous, multiple choice, and won't take your email or anything... just fill it out and click "Done," and you really will be done. It should take five minutes or less. And if you do it, I'll be your best friend!

The survey is here. Thanks so much!

Okay. End of post. I gotta go. Goodbye. 



6 comments :

  1. I took your survey! We have one of those trampoline places - I've taken my nephew but never jumped myself. I should get up the courage to do so!!

    I have kind of the "opposite" problem as you. I was always raised to be kind to everyone, especially those that don't get treated very well in life. The result is that I've had a lot of people "cling" to me so to speak. I understand why - when you get no attention or love in your home life, you soak it up like a sponge - at least I would. That said - I've had a problem setting boundaries with people because of this. When I am nice to people who begin clinging, I don't want to make them feel bad, so I don't let them know the clinging bothers me. I just freak out inside b/c I too get anxiety around people. So I end up feeling uncomfortable myself, but don't want to make the other person feel bad so I don't set boundaries. I hope you don't get upset at me telling this. As I've gotten counseling, I've learned to be nice to people but not to always make myself feel like I need to be the one to "save" them from what they're going through. I don't know if any of what I'm typing makes sense. She - SBAB

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    1. No, I am not upset to hear that! I can see how easily it would be to have trouble stepping away from people who suck up too much of your time and energy... you don't want to hurt their feelings so you just deal with your own discomfort instead. I've been like this sometimes in a way... more with not being able to say "no" to people when they ask me to do things, like watch their kids for free or lend them money.

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  2. I would be honored to take your survey and am so glad that you've found a cool women's group who does fun stuff like bounce on trampolines and not just boring talk about clothes stuff or whatever. Going to your survey now.

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    1. Thanks for taking my survey! I am definitely glad I've found a group that doesn't stick to talking and shopping. There's already been talk about doing things like Go-carting! :)

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  3. I think it's great that you go to the Meet-ups. I takes lots of courage to put yourself out there and meet new people. I used to be pretty shy and I would have had a hard time doing that. I think I am better at it now. I went to one of the trampoline places and loved it!

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