This journal is a process, and I have so much to process.

As I have previously stated, this journal is a process, a discovery to understanding challenges I’ve had in my life. There has been a note since the beginning (or near beginning) of this journal to that effect on the main page and some other pages.

The purpose of this journal is to demonstrate that process. If nobody else reads it, I’m still benefiting from writing out my thoughts. Because a few people are reading it, or at least glancing at it, I use that as motivation to continue processing.

I’ve discovered many of my autistic Twitter friends have blogs for similar reasons. I had no idea that’s what people did, but it makes sense.

There are additional ways to go about this, and I think I’ve used those extensively. Therapy is an obvious one, and I’ve been in therapy consistently for nearly two decades. For most of the past five years, I have seen someone every other week. For the past eighteen months or longer, it’s been weekly or even more. Last year, about this time, my psychologist was practically on call as I was trying to just survive the stress of a horrible family situation during the holidays. Finally, I have a therapist who understands autism, and I wish I’d had her years ago. But, it was difficult to find someone who specializes in adults with ASD. I started looking before the pandemic. I feel lucky to have her, and I hope more people will be able to get this kind of help if they need it.

My family situation (with parents and siblings) has only gotten worse, and it has nearly destroyed me. I’ve mentioned it some already on this blog, and I’m trying to get the courage to discuss it more. Some of the most important events in our lives are sadly the most destructive ones. However, in some ways, it’s better, at least for knowing what I need to do right now. My wife and children and I all get along fairly well, though external events place stress on everyone. We are determined to have a good and peaceful Christmas, though I know it won’t be perfect.

But, this journal is what I can do now, instead of feeling like I’m “dumping” all of my thoughts onto one person, either a professional or some poor person who didn’t realize what they were getting into. It is very depressing to see a relationship with someone dissolve in the midst of a crisis, and nothing you attempt can avoid a worse catastrophe than you’d imagined could happen.

As one reader, RedDeer, the author of The Inadvertent Divergent blog said, in replying to my “Letting Go” post a few weeks ago:

“I’m trying to let go, sometimes I can, but other times it all comes back to me, and that’s all I can focus on, it’s difficult to say the least. Keep up the good work.” His post, “Another failed attempt . . .” echoes my experiences. So do my friends on #AutisticTwitter.

These are not problems for just autistic brains. The ability for the brain to process information can be greatly affected by ADHD, trauma, and many other disorders and factors. The lack of sleep and stress make processing more difficult and paranoia more likely.

ASD and ADHD often occur together, and I hope someday to finish my post about that. When you have started 200 posts but then spend significant time on each one, fixating on it for longer than is probably needed, that’s precisely what the combination of ASD and ADHD does. I think that should be a fun post, yet fun can be problematic. (That’s maybe the best way to describe myself: fun yet problematic.)

Of course, the pandemic has wreaked havoc on all of our amygdalae, and perhaps that is why #AutisticTwitter and blogs seem to be trending upwards now. As paraphrased well on Wikipedia, the amygdala is understood to be the part of the brain “shown to perform a primary role in the processing of memory, decision-making, and emotional responses (including fear, anxiety, and aggression).” Going a year or more thinking everyone you meet might have a virus that could kill you does not exactly lower fears and anxieties, and that affects how our brains processing works.

There is a lot to process, for everyone. Keep going, and see your life (and mine) as a trajectory. Or, if that’s completely unhelpful and counterintuitive, don’t. But, life is made up of both individual “posts” and the entire story. It’s probably best to realize that.

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