It seems that the blog post I was most afraid to share with the world has also become the most popular one. I’m just so overwhelmed from all the support you have shown me. It’s kind of funny, I have been struggling to get my own personal blog that kind of popularity but have been at a loss about how to achieve that. I’ve even thought up many methods, sacrificing much of my integrity by writing the kinds of posts I think people want to read. I usually manage to keep a lid on my emotions despite all I go through and sometimes I just want to let it all out and risk people seeing a much more sarcastic and cynical side of me. And those posts seemed to get the most feedback.
Perhaps my blog posts are just too damn long too. To be honest I’m not even sure that what I’m writing is what I really want to.
Anyway, that’s how I feel about that other blog, my main one. I had kind of given up on this blog because of the little feedback I received about making this a shared blog, so it’s just lonely old me here, as it always has been.
But after receiving so many replies from a community I’m yet to play an active role in I thought that maybe I should attempt to focus my advocacy in that direction. I’m talking of course about my suspected lifelong Pathological Demand Avoidance syndrome.
For now my PDA is being managed through thought re-direction. It helps with my anxiety and depression related thoughts too. As for PDA, when I start to think people are being bossy or close minded I have to really stop and think about it for some time and wonder whether it’s just the PDA making me that way.
I haven’t self-harmed since I wrote the last post. Sometimes I really want to and I turn over my wrist, at the pale smooth surface area that’s completely without a blemish apart from the odd cat scratches that sometimes happen from my playful felines, and I just think I don’t want to mark this area. Not even with hot water. So, this strange form of anxiety or OCD or whatever the hell madness is going in my head, is keeping me from developing a terrible addiction. That and I really hate pain.
The relief I got from self-harm was just temporary too. The emotional anguish usually in the form of thought racing anxiety and an almost schizophrenic paranoia, always came back.
I started to play video games and read comic books and obsessively watch science fiction to help soothe my anxiety, and it worked. I had chamomile tea and it made me weepy and then later on I had a severe anxiety attack, which was more of a PDA reaction about the slightest mention of money. It was also my generalized anxiety. I get crippling anxiety about my finances and any time the topic of me giving money comes up, ohh…there goes my heart, and there’s just an intense pain in my head I have the urge to ram it through glass, doors or maybe I’ll just destroy a few items in my room. It’s like I have to exert a lot of force to match the intensity of the emotions in my head, heart and all throughout my body.
I haven’t seen a new doctor and probably won’t. I’m not sure if that has to do with PDA or just my fear of change or other fears, but I can’t go on my own. I can’t even go to an unfamiliar area of the city to see a musician who I think is amazing, just because of all the anxiety I get over going to somewhere new. It’s not even moderate anxiety. It’s definitely not mild. So, that leaves just one more type, which comes with panic attacks.
But I am going to see a band in a venue I’ve never been to before in a familiar area of the city, and I’m still scared about but I’ll take the challenge because I’ve been waiting to see them again for so long. It’s Dallas Crane.
For a long time I was doubting I could continue as a band photographer but then after a few gigs were announced that I have to go to because I love those bands so much I decided that I will keep going. I care more about seeing these bands than being their photographer and I think that’s the way I’ve always been. I suffered some severe blows from missing out on taking photos of bands that I used to photograph. International bands. The kind of bands I’ve been listening to most of my life. I now keep missing out on taking photos of them, and that still hurts a lot. Another thing that hurts is that I’m not friends with as many of the fans of those bands as I used to be. But then again I think that comes with the lonely existence of someone with autism who also has a problem with agreeing with people and thinking any time people try to teach me new information or do things their way, that they are trying to control them.
I don’t feel as comfortable as I once was when telling my friends about my issues, particularly the anxiety I experience prior to going to see a live band. It might not just be about going to the see the band but a variety of things I’ve been going through. It all takes its toll on my confidence and energy, which means I don’t have much motivation left, and my reaction to most things that make me anxious is to avoid, often in a very passive way. When people try to push me out of it without even acknowledging the reason behind the avoidance is when I can become aggressive.
I’m reluctant to tell my friends all the details because they don’t experience the anxiety, if they experience it at all, in the same way I do. And if they don’t experience it then they can’t understand why I can’t always brush those thoughts aside.
They might go see a band to unwind and get away from issues in their own life, but for me those issues continue and are added to. When I go out my senses are on fire, there’s some social paranoia which can only be eased through drinking alcohol and alcohol just influences my moods and I have to be committed to taking photos. So, I can’t just relax. Don’t get me wrong – sometimes I enjoy myself but it pales in comparison and I’m unsure if the stress I go through is really worth continuing as a band photographer. There are some venues I just can’t take a professional camera into and then I worry the whole time whether I can take photos of the band up to the moment where I finally get the all-clear to bring my camera in.
I know. I seem to jump between having confidence as a band photographer and having an extreme level of self-doubt. That might have something to do with my bipolar. I can have so much confidence to the point of arrogance, and then I just start doubting myself, from questioning whether I truly have the skills to whether the bands or anyone else even likes my photos. Or me.
Even though there are some parts of my life that haven’t been going that well there have been improvements in others. I do have someone who will listen to me when I say something makes me anxious who actually surprised me when they said the reason for my selfish behaviour was due to autism. No one has ever told me that before. Usually, they call me selfish and leave it at that. It’s still hard for me though because I have the memory of what they used to say to me when we weren’t really talking through our own symptoms. But there definitely has been some progress and I am eternally grateful for that.
Lately, I wouldn’t say PDA has been a problem. I’ve sort of gone back into my thought rigidity and my need for routines and trying to fight back thoughts that blame people for getting in the way of them. I used to be that person. My mother would tell you. She probably got a huge dose of my PDA behaviour in childhood. She allowed me to be avoidant without even knowing why I was being that way.
I have been feeling restless; an overall discomfort in my body and over everything I’ve been doing. The money worries are pretty high yet so are the spending impulses. My sensory processing issues have been at the forefront of my worries after coming back from seeing Captain America: The Winter Soldier and being utterly exhausted. I had high anxiety when I arrived at the venue of the cinema and refused to be in the cinema alone, and would only go back in when I felt comfortable with the small amounts of people that were coming in. Even when watching the movie my body was restless and I could hardly pick up the dialogue.
Then I of course became so absorbed into the movie I soon forgot about all my worries. At times I felt ill too. I wasn’t really eating properly. I just had to eat to avoid a hypoglycemic crash.
The sensory issues are a worry to me because of the next few live bands I’ll see. Sensory overwhelming environments are not just overwhelming but can alter my moods and my moods can be either severely agitated or completely depressed or highly anxious and different combinations of those things. It affects the way I communicate with people and sometimes I just want to have a short chat with them and have a good time, like everyone around me seems to be doing with ease.
Anyway, I think I need to bring this post to an abrupt end. I just want people to know how much I appreciate their warm words of support. They offer me a real comfort and inspire me to keep updating this blog and to not give up on it when it doesn’t get much attention.