Probably my most annoying coping mechanism…

Dear Brain,

Now is not the time to be hyperfocusing on how you will maintain Little Man’s (4) German after you move back to the United States. Yes, it’s incredibly important, but you can’t do anything about it right now. You can’t start using this specific curriculum you are hyperfocusing on for another 3-4 months. You can’t even trial it, or any other methods of incorporating German at home, for almost 2 months. You can calm down. We’ll invest time figuring with all out with Husband in June.

No, instead, now is the time to focus on the 20 minute presentation about your Master’s Thesis that you need to prepare. You know, the one you are giving next week? The one where you still need to do quite a bit of research in order to convincingly convey the relevance of the topic?

If you could even just shift a little bit, just to give me an ounce of motivation and executive function to make some progress on this while I have time, I would really appreciate it.

Thank you for your consideration.

Lenten Housekeeping Challenge

I’ve been struggling a lot lately. I have zero executive function. I struggle with (subclinical) anxiety and depression. I’m an introvert with an extroverted, high need preschooler. I have an all-or-nothing, black-and-white mentality that feeds a never-ending cycle of burnout and guilt. I’m constantly overstimulated and overwhelmed. I have some health issues on top of it all. And I’m trying to find some practices to help manage my day-to-day better so that the weight of the world isn’t on my shoulders, and so I can manage the weight that is there.

One of my projects is household management. The constant mess is overstimulating. The idea of cleaning and organizing is overwhelming. Knowing it will be a mess again within an hour is discouraging. I have a husband that wants so badly to help me, but he has ADD and executive function struggles. We haven’t found a system yet that allows me to let go and let him take responsibility, and then has him actually do so.

I’ve been pulled towards the FlyLady system, attracted towards the baby steps and the set goals and tasks for each day. But, honestly, there is a major personality clash and it just doesn’t fit my lifestyle. It’s too much, and doesn’t account for splitting the load. Last fall I bought myself Unfuck Your Habitat for my birthday, which I love. Yet, it’s a bit of language for a Catholic mom, but the no-nonsense attitude is the kick in the pants I need. The author approaches housekeeping from a realistic point of view. But…how to start? I need more structure than “Here are the fundamentals, here are habits to form, here are lists of things to clean, take it slow, one thing at a time.” Okay, but which one thing? What do I do first? For how long? You see the problem.

So I’m splitting this difference this Lent. I’m going to adapt FlyLady’s baby steps with UFYH’s attitude and reality. I’m still doing my research to build my personal baby steps, and I’ll post my list as I get it built. I’m hoping to blog about how it goes, as my own way of journaling and fine-tuning the process. I would love for you to follow along! Just keep in mind, that this is a trial for my family, our specific living situation and neurodiversity. It is not one size fits all. But maybe it’s a start, if that’s what you need.

Learn more about the Unfuck Your Habitat philosophy here.

See the FlyLady Baby Steps here.

Here…for now

I really had good intentions when I started this blog. I love sorting through all my thoughts by writing. Unfortunately being a mom has taken that away from me. It breaks my heart that I didn’t go further than 3 posts with this blog.

I’m not going to make promises to try again, but I’m working on a lot of things in my life, and I would like to be able to share some of them here. I’m going to start by posting (and back-dating) all the drafts I wrote up 2+ years ago. Maybe it will help someone. Maybe it will start a conversation. I would love to hear from you.

So there goes that….

I haven’t told anyone other than my husband about my diagnosis. I’ve thought several times about telling certain people, but the moment has never been right. My mom and stepdad knew I was getting evaluated because they found my paperwork, but again, it hasn’t been the right time to tell them I’ve been diagnosed. I don’t know if I’ll tell my dad. How do you tell your parents you have autism and they missed it your whole childhood?

One thing was for sure. I was NOT going to tell my in-laws. They are fine people, but they think I’m weird and I don’t like to give them any more reasons to think so than I already do with my crunchy hippie ways.

So what do I do? I go and leave the book I was reading about Asperger’s on top of the safe at my husband’s jewelry store. Right out in the open for my mother-in-law to see while visiting.

So of course she asks while I’m at work. And my lovely husband, knowing I don’t want her to know, doesn’t answer right away. She asks if our son has autism. No. (He’s 2, and probably at risk for something, but it’d have to be really obvious to have a diagnosis already) Then she asks if it’s me.

No one has said anything to me yet, I don’t know if they will. But it’s out there now.

Diagnosis

I am 27 years old, and I was diagnosed with Asperger’s about a month ago on October 10, 2018.

The sense of relief that washed over me when I heard those words, “I believe you have autism,”….I cannot explain.

Everything fell into place, it just felt right. Years, decades, of wondering why I didn’t fit in, why I couldn’t maintain a friendship, why I had crippling social anxiety, why I never, ever knew what to say. My parents had me tested as a preschooler. I was fine. So of course nothing was wrong. Until I read an article about missed diagnosis of women. How Asperger’s manifests differently in women, how we can hide it. It was time to find out for sure.

I was so sure it wouldn’t be autism. Why would it be? Nothing was wrong with me when my hair was falling out and I was cold all the time (subclinical hypothyroidism). Nothing was wrong with me when I didn’t get my period for 6 months, followed by 2 1/2 years of incredibly erratic cycles (I think I was underweight, either way having a baby has fixed things so far). Nothing was wrong when I went to my college’s therapist feeling incredibly depressed (probably dysthymia, subclinical depression). Nothing was wrong when I saw another therapist for anxiety and a possible eating disorder (we worked on my anxiety, but nothing diagnosed). The subclinical curse even extends to my family – my non-verbal 2-year-old didn’t make the cut for early intervention. So surely, this would just be another thing I don’t have.

But it was. I had a name and a reason for why I feel the way I do. For my struggles. I could read books and blogs that are relevant and actually learn more about myself and how to cope.

I’m still learning, exploring, discovering. Just trying to figure out how this all fits into my life as a wife, mom, and Catholic. This blog is my first step to processing my discoveries.