To Be or Not

Recently received a call from a friend who has Aspergers with a strong dose of Bipolar 2. This night I sat on the other side of the desk. He was drunk and seeking methods of suicide to hide from the pride of failure. An ex felon with a job that he hates. Working hard to no end but a paycheck that doesn’t pay respect. He felt lost and abandoned and was definitely 14 cans of beer drunk when the call was made. He said that the suicide hotline often calls the police when chatting and as an ex con, that brought back traumatic memories. When calling for help causes more problems. So he decided to call me instead.
Have not spoke with him in months so it was hearing from a ghost for me. No time to catch up on anything casual as life and death was upon the phone lines. To die or not to die. Not quite the poetic version but this was not a fictional story from history but a reality facing me. I am not used to sitting on this side of the desk. No training on suicide prevention. No idea what to say. So I just listened.
I listened to the problems pouring out like a cold drink on a summer day. I listened to hopeless words stammering forth like sentences from a broken type writer. I realized he was sitting in a room that I had visited myself more than once.
After quite a spell, he retained enough common sense to confess that Bipolar Depression is winning over his will power. That going to the local bar for counsel was not quite working to overcome such negative thoughts and feelings.
I am in a mixed state as I contemplate his fate. So happy to hear he was alive. So sad to hear he is thinking about death. The previous prison record prevented him from purchasing a gun. So he went to research in the light of the dark web. It did offer a plethora of hidden advice on suicide methodologies. He shared his thoughts. I listened.
Tomorrow he officially loses the job that he hates. Tomorrow he wakes up to not having a friend that he had known for years. The obituary spoke so clearly.

“If it wasn’t for my mom”

“I just don’t want to put her through this”

The thoughts that kept him around when all else was failing. Chemicals in the mind like chemtrails decline from the sky. I kept listening. Bipolar depression lesson continued for almost an hour. He almost talked himself sane and sober. Not to suicide. Sure, horrendous English but the best news. I was finally able to offer some free advice. Get help! I know that the last psychiatrist really let him down. He called and texted but she was too busy to return any message. He gave up. I hope now that he knows what so many have to learn. Bipolar depression is real. It is a big deal. Most can’t cope on their own and without help, there can be a loss of hope. He did call. He did reach out. I passed the baton onto the professionals. Hopefully, after losing the job, he finds his way to the office to find his life.
Today I officially started my new job. Suicide prevention hotline. I officially quit. My number is not listed. I filled out no application. My only experience is…experience. I felt the voice of depression. Suicide has called me before on unlisted numbers. I almost answered the call. I didn’t. So far, he hasn’t. I hope that he calls me back. If he does, I will work again. He is my friend. I don’t want to lose anyone else to depression. To die or not, should no longer be the question.

Advertisement

Neuro-University of Diverse Minds.

The new science of Neuroscience detected from the university a pleasant plethora of diversity in my genetic code. Just some. “When is some better than full?” they asked with a keen grin of a friend. “When it follows Awe!” It took so much restraint not to be exceedingly angry that I was dizzy and felt faint. I presume from experience that most would have cordially gave an audible smile for such clever clerics from the worlds most elite minds. I was definitely devastated that such men in white armor would assume my sense of humor to be only slightly better than a preschooler. All I could reason is how “full” is not even the proper spelling of the horrendous attempt at wit. Be that as it may, I still found time to play around on the playground of my own awe inspiring thoughts.
Today I am a neurodiverse man of a thousand thought experiments between a rocky psychiatrist and a hardened by life psychologist. They are wonderful. Wouldn’t trade either for the other. Great to have a team of trained sane neurotypical agents of change on the dream team. So much to say that always gets forgotten at the time of thought exchange. Time to rearrange the thinking to keep from sinking into comorbid mixed emotions and I keep forgetting something. What is it? How will I know if I remember it?
OCD is a memento to the memory of mental metal rituals that flooded the syndrome of synapses. Only to find out that not one single computer like compulsion would ever emerge. Just a simple splurge for a blanket that I had to get every generation.
From couch cover as a kid to college bed spread, it was the new version of the same feel. Still almost 40 years later, I still twist the ends of similar but newer versions of the same security quilt that I have felt for decades. No! Not a compulsion, but a relaxation of fixed energy programmed to enter into new dimensions of time and space through my blanket. I mean I like how it feels. It is a real calming effect, like coffee that I can’t drink. It’s a real calming cause, like hot steam that I hate feeling. It’s a real calming trap, like a run in the park after dark with shadows dancing near the perimeter outside of my peripheral. It just feels good to me. No reason. No comparison completely. It’s my blanky and I am almost 50, nuerodiversity maybe, Shhh!

ASD Burnout of Me!

Thinking in terms of trains. Not quite the obsession just hear the lesson in each neighborhood since childhood. Sets on the floor. Days to set up and more minutes to explore. The thought to add a few more cars to the track. Research the connection to each tunnel through which each wheel passes for a brief moment beyond the realization of the observer.
Power source seems so innocent. Quick decision to spend more money on more parts to start a new ride. Inside the tunnel each connecting car runs without the need for an engine. The energy of itself carries it with the proverbial caboose. The train keeps running. It just keeps running. The cars no longer strictly connected. They run alone without power, with a power all of their own. The whole set is unplugged and full of tunnels. Still they run. No longer fun. The job of the track to keep all intact has failed miserably. Now they run scattered across basement floors to search and discover for more stops. Crowds make connections but I assume they will all be late. I am sure that I will be as well. I can’t tell where the enigmatic engine is. The tracks are just a puzzle to muzzle the vibration. The energy within is stimming like a steam engine as I approach red. Just lay on the tracks, on the back, on the basement floor. There’s the door but first must muster the many cars to realign into a track design. Must connect the train of thought to the real reason it was bought for such a price. Too tired to engineer anything meaningful. The train runs away again. Hopefully it hits the breaks before it breaks apart of me. Too tired to chase. The steam has morphed into dew. Whew! Now there is time but no steam to do anything but stare at the wet basement floor that I thought about cleaning up all day.

Social/ Emotional Reciprocity Error

Undiagnosed for years due to linguistic semantics that professionals still debate about. We wait around in waiting rooms for eyes to watch for ours. Play this game. Seems insane. Seriously? The symptoms I wrestle with are not found in simple table games and eye contact. I have contacted the pain of strain trying to maintain a straight face. Like fried ice cream, masks cover the mental melt down. The frown is not me, as much as the smile is contrived to fit the scene. Just ask me, just ask how I feel when I leave. Why depression leads the way home from social scenes. Really it’s another semantic due the pedantic gathering of experts with expectations that we are all different. Yet, judged by everyone who is not the same. Drained! Drained from the rain of sounds and lights. Drained from driving down a new street with out stop signs. They Beep! The horn honks a new meaning that green lights means Hurry Up and wait again. Red means rest from the rare radiance of roaring traffic. Yellow! Hmmm. So yellow. They told me, “you speak so well”. I thought of this at the yellow. I waited for the yellow again. It’s not a sin. Unless you ask the men behind me who are in a perpetual hurry to get to the next light. I was also in a hurry, a flurry to get home to sit in the freezer and reframe my face. Turn on the melting pot for stew. Everything is different there. Everyone stops to stare at my MPAs. Too much to hide. Energy seems to be a distant diet that I can no longer afford to consume. A diet that is beyond the capacity of the expert chefs. Much like the criteria for social emotional reciprocal relational fictional responses that I gave. It worked. I am OK. The only question now is why is the ice cream melted in the pot of stew?

Mask or Not to Mask

Energy to mask is missing. Must maintain some sense of normalcy. Wish to be abnormally normal. Read my mind, not being unkind, just drained. Straining to keep a straight face. Wish this waiting room was as empty as those cracks in the floor. Wish I could look up to see the time. To see the clock staring at my insecurities. The hands rotate to imitate my unconscious stims. So difficult to determine what’s going to happen next. Why is he still talking to me? Such small talk, such big bulky words for no reason. This season is unmasking for no reason at all. Plan an escape. Make way to the hallway for a bathroom break. Yeah, if he keeps being normal, I will flee to safer shores in stalls and writing on nasty walls. Where smells swell from deep dwelling places. Perhaps I will stay here. That sounds worse than a curse from an old lady with green teeth. Why so hard to be normal today. Why is this mask so heavy. This smile so fake that it breaks my heart to lie like this. This deceptive grin is against my religion. 15 minutes of waiting is carrying the weight of 15,000 thoughts made of shame.
My mask has a leak. I am sure of it as the clock continues to peak and peer right into my abnormal. Those hands just don’t move fast enough.
Am I next? Count the feet. Yes, only four left. I must be. Voices of calm are fading into the walls. I am going to make it this time. I am next! Whew!

One appointment and done. Small drive and still alive. So why am I Drained like the first breath after the last step of a marathon? Why is this mask so full of holes, getting so heavy? Just wear the T-shirt as a flirt with social norms. Alone is not all bad. This clock in my own house stares at me. It has seen me before. It knows what time it is. The alarm of taking off the mask is beyond snooze control. Today, I am too tired to be anything but maskless me. Maskless for recovery. I have another appointment next week. I hope I recover in time to make another mask. I hope I discover in time to fake another task. Until then, I am going to stare back at this clock until I know what I really look like.

Adult Autism? How? Please Help!

Had my psychology appointment last week. Just when I thought it was safe to get back into the writing…a wrench was tossed. A new study was launched. New doors were opened. New answers to old problems and just maybe a few more initials to add to the seemingly ever growing list of issues. Most recent Autism Spectrum Disorder.
I was always on a pursuit to see if all the underlying issues were somehow magically connected. No sooner did I give that up and blog about acceptance of the Bipolar did this arise. Was she just waiting in disguise for my surprise acceptance to issue the next challenge? Perhaps! So I was tasked to research, as she knows I will anyway, to make the connect. Here are some recent but astonishing findings.
I have historically been diagnosed with Marfans Syndrome, which is a connective tissue disease. I also deal constantly with IBS and acid reflux. I also have severe anxiety issues that present all across the anxiety spectrum from somatic issues to panic attacks and everything in between. Still not enough, add Bipolar 1 and PTSD from a host of abnormal life twists and events. So what is the connection? Maybe Autism.
I know, right? But…how could this have been missed? Isn’t autistic behavior seen at a young age? In fact, I am quite certain that you have to be diagnosed before age 2 or 3 for most, not 50!
Come to find out, with still so much research to do, that “syndromic” Autism can be found much later in life. With 50% of the cases being what I will call “classic” Autism, that is to say, Autism as I read it in the DSM 5, there is another 10% with genetic factors. These genetic factors or the syndromic Autism is my new field of study. Obviously not much out there, and seemingly even less consensus. Much like the C-PTSD, which is not in the DSM but still readily spoken about by professionals on blogs and posts.
Now what? If it is true, I have a long awaited answer that connects ALL of the small mysterious dots. If not, I continue to explore and just be abnormal with one less label.
Interesting fact, at least to me, is that so much of my research kept ending up on Autism Spectrum sites. I study Anxiety and end up there. I study IBS and end up there. The kicker was searching for more info on Marfans syndrome and yet again end up there. Thanks to an article, that I need to find again, which showed the results of a study for Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and it’s connection with autistic symptomatology. Ehlers-Danlos is a connective tissue disorder similar but different than to Marfans syndrome. Similar in the connective tissue disease but different in presentation. All of that said, I have a few questions.

1) Is the genetic presentation of autistic symptoms still considered to be on the Autism spectrum or as a symptom pattern of the underlying genetic disease?

2) Is high functioning Autism a reality or just spoken of like C-PTSD?

3) What is the treatment plan for such a mixture of madness?

4) Is social awkwardness and language deficiency a must or merely part of a whole that may or may not be present?

5) Is it better to ask five questions when four was sufficient?

No More Sunsets and I am Fine…

Light fades every evening. Scholars say the sun sets in the west and yet, everyone knows that it doesn’t. Why do we accept this curious lie as if…as if it’s ok to say what we always say even though it’s untrue.

Yes, I am fine today thanks for asking! I am light fading over mountains and disappearing over streams. I reel in my rays at days end. I feel in ways that plays against logical sequence. I stand still but turn on axis I. Or maybe II. From manic day breaks to personality nightmares.

Yes, I am fine today. Thanks for asking. Just as I sit and wait for the flaming gas fire to set against all understanding. As if…as if I knew the soul of the sun. It runs upon itself until itself is no more. I guess the sun will set after all. Then I will answer differently. No! nothing is ok. Thanks for asking. I just was unaware as I was entranced by the sun that rose as red rays against common sense and I was completely unaware of myself.

So we wait, I and the sun, as we face the final setting. The day that breaks never again. The night that will never end. I am fully aware that I will never see the sun face to face. But I know that I don’t know how I feel today. I know that the sun never rises or sets but I just don’t have any feelings about it. That’s the truth that the lie can’t accept. That’s the logic that is illogical. We must just accept delusion as if… as if I was the sun running on myself until…until I set. Yes, I am fine, thanks for asking.

SSI Threat Model in Question

SSI should adopt a better model for communication. To send out threatening letters to unsuspecting and disabled people can not be the best way to get in touch. Who wants to open a letter, after doing nothing wrong, only to find that the funds may be cut if…Why not just send a friendly letter that explains things first? For example…

“Salutations valued recipient, we are writing to update our files and would enjoy speaking with you on …at … in the afternoon. Thanks for making time to help us help you. The information we will cover is as follows…The call will take less than 15 minutes and is necessary for us to ensure some details. This is a routine update and everyone will have an appointment at some time.”

Obviously I was being moderately sarcastic but the point remains, just ask! Threats are unnecessary and puts people on defense before the offense even happens. Perhaps their blanket threat letter can be used for those who missed calls or appointments as a last ditch effort. Knowing the blogs that I have read, no one wants to be threatened every time info is needed. Positive reinforcement still works. Many people on disability have anxiety disorders and those letters can cause a worsening of symptoms. Those fighting depression can fall deeper in that abyss of darkness at the smallest thing. Something like all of your income will be cut if….

Not professional at all SSI. We expect better. As a bit of advice, perhaps hire people persons for jobs that deal with people. Perhaps train people that they are talking to people who may be hanging onto life, so yelling and arguing about numbers, and demanding clear and concise thinking on call, is just not always possible. If it was, we would not be considered disabled. SSI remember the mission, of you have one. If not, I suggest something about helping people rather than saving pennies! Create another letter that doesn’t threaten people. Just ask, that’s what I am doing now. Just asking.

Symmetry Used to be a Friend of Mine

From organizing everything from closet space to little cars that race, I made haste to even things out. Symmetry is the key phrase that unlocked the door to why if I got hit on one side I would turn the other cheek. Not as a humble man, but to be hit again or feel pain of breaking the evenness. Not a fun thing when the older brother realizes the secret of symmetry and constantly uses it against me. A hit and run. A hit just for fun to see if I would hit myself to even out the pain. I did. I was a kid.

Two score years later I still sense the symmetrical tug. In order to keep things together but equally apart. It started with a look in the reflection which showed dissatisfaction at the lack of symmetry so obvious to me, and pointed out constantly. Even thinking occupies so much space, often it’s hard to focus on the things at hand. Like my hands have different lines to the point I was going to cut one to even the sight. When will “Even” retire for the evening? I read a solution is to tap one side and suffer through the uneasiness of unevenness. I am starting a petition to have their license revoked.