Contemplating Life & Death

I didn’t think I’d be writing here anymore. It sort of felt like I was done with this blog. Apparently not.

A couple of weeks ago one of my uncles passed away from a stroke. While I’ve been heavily affected by the loss on multiple levels, I’ve also found myself contemplating a lot, and been in a very weird, otherworldly headspace.

I have two aunts and one uncle left. Death is so strange. At my age, it seems inevitable that the older members of my family aren’t going to be around forever. That their time is growing shorter at a much quicker rate than when we’re younger and time seems to move extremely slowly. It feels like people are moving past and away from me, while I stay in this life and watch from the sidelines. I don’t know if any of this makes sense to anyone else.

While funerals have always been a confusing and weird event for me, I can also understand their value now. I hardly ever cried at funerals (the tears came during everyday living when I would think about the person and remember/realize they were gone). My thoughts were always that the person isn’t there anymore. That it’s just a body in a coffin. While I still know that, the fact that I couldn’t attend the last few funerals has messed me up even more. There’s no closure. It’s just words that people tell you. “They’re gone”. That body in the coffin seems to be a kind of closure, even if the thing that made that person a person is no longer there.

My uncle’s funeral wasn’t streamed live or recorded, so I wasn’t a part of it. What do I do now? I yo-yo between it not feeling real, and getting hit with the realization that it probably is. Probably?

Another thing. Many people feel comforted by the idea that their loved ones are looking down on them, or are with them in spirit. I don’t. Because I can’t get the thought out of my head that the person is well and truly gone. And, if they are still around in spirit, it’s not enough. It just makes me feel angry for some reason that I’ve yet to figure out. So to me, when a person is gone, they’re gone.

The memories are still there though. That’s one thing that doesn’t ever go away.

Facts? no, Uncertainty

I’m dealing with some powerful emotions and abandonment triggers, and don’t know how to cope with them right now. I’m trying to use my tools to regulate myself, because I can feel myself heading for a meltdown. It’s been a busy day with way too much stimulation. But even the best tools and things that usually help don’t always work. That’s when it’s helpful to have someone else around. Now that I’m back home alone, I don’t have that.

In DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) they tell you to check the facts before reacting on our emotions. But how the hell am I supposed to do that when I don’t have the facts? I’m someone who needs as much information as possible in order to make decisions, process, understand things, or generally be able to regulate myself.

But there’s uncertainty. The bane of my existence. Uncertainty about so many things.

My meds have just started kicking in, so I’ll end this here before everything starts getting blurry.

Maybe I’ll feel better tomorrow.

Safe and “Additional” Diagnosis

Just a relatively quick update, as I don’t have the mental energy right now for an in-depth post explaining everything. There’s way too much.

I’ve been back in the psychiatric clinic for the past two weeks. Didn’t want to come in initially, but my therapist thought it was necessary, and I ultimately agreed. I’m going to be discharged either on Thursday or Friday.

There’s something I haven’t mentioned before, as I haven’t been ready to talk to others about it, or even write about it. A while ago I came across a woman on the autism spectrum, and through identifying with her a lot, I started exploring it. So many things about myself, my life, made sense. I had always believed the stereotypes that comes along with autism, so it was never something I thought would apply to me until then.

I was terrified to bring it up with my therapist for many reasons, but I took the plunge anyway. I was very surprised when she told me that she had ASD as her differential diagnosis for a while already. She had never mentioned it to me before.

We spoke about it (specific symptoms/difficulties) now and then during a session in relation to something else that would come up, but never actually discussed it in any depth. And since it wasn’t something she specialized in, she also couldn’t do any official assessments. I was also wary about making it a “thing” in case I was wrong.

But then out of the blue, just before my admission, she brought up the possibility of getting an assessment while I’m in the clinic. She spoke to my dad before my admission and explained the purpose of the admission, the possibility of ASD, among other things. She was concerned about me, and thought that since I’m going to be living with them again as soon as I get my EU passport, he needs to understand some things. It went very well, and he was receptive and understanding. I was so surprised. He’s been different with me after that. In a good way. We’re having another “meeting” with him this week to discuss the results of my assessments.

I didn’t think anything would come of it actually, but true to her word, she arranged with a specialist to do an assessment with me. It was exhausting. Long. Overwhelming. I also had a sensory evaluation done (on a different day, thank god).

When the results came back and was discussed and explained, I felt so many emotions, I couldn’t even process them all. There was a mixture of heavy relief, intense sadness, my life flashing before my eyes. Memories. Even extreme anger. I’m still processing everything.

Primary diagnosis: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – a type previously called Aspergers
Secondary diagnosis: BPD

I strongly suspect my mom is also on the spectrum, as we’re so similar. When I had to ask her questions about my childhood, it brought back memories for her of her own childhood and life too with similar difficulties. She said I was a very different baby and child compared to her other two children, my half-sisters, and understands me better than she does them, even though I didn’t grow up with her. One of her brothers had been diagnosed with ASD as a child, so it seems it might run in her side of the family.

So much of my life makes so much more sense in light of all of this. I make more sense to myself now, and realized just how much masking I did throughout my life. No wonder I’m almost always exhausted and drained. My sensory report also confirmed so much. Feeling useless and stupid because I struggle/d with things that aren’t a big deal to most others… I’m not lazy, stupid, or pathetic. My brain just works differently and deals with certain things in different ways.

Vaccine and Life

On Thursday I went for my first dose of the Pfizer covid vaccine. It went better than I was expecting. I have no issues with needles, but I do get anxious and paranoid about side effects (same as whenever I take a new medication).

My arm was a bit painful that evening, but not enough to take anything for it (it was much better the next day). I also woke up with a cold sore. I’ve gotten them my whole life. I don’t get sick often, most of the time I just get a cold sore, then I know my immune system is fighting something, so need to take care of myself. So this side effect was normal for me and showed that the vaccine was doing it’s thing.

I never got a flu shot because I rarely get a cold or flu, so just didn’t see the need. But Covid is different. And I also want to do my part.

Like everyone else I’m so sick of this thing already. But more than that, I’m so tired of all the misinformation and conspiracy theories. Social media is overwhelming. That’s why I prefer to read my weekly science magazine, psychology, animal (especially dogs) and entrepreneurship articles.

Every now and then a family member or friend will send me a link to something that’s doing the rounds and ask me whether it’s fake news, a conspiracy theory, or accurate. If I don’t already know the answer, I’ll go do some research. Most of the time it’s a bunch of nonsense. But I’m glad the person actually asked me, and didn’t send it as an “this is true, be careful!”. I do get frustrated sometimes though, especially when that person has just as much time as I do, but can’t be bothered to do their own research. I don’t know everything. I might get it wrong (and sometimes “I don’t know” is the best answer I can give). But I guess that’s the price I pay for enjoying reading and researching and having everyone in my life know it.

I mentioned in my previous post that things felt different with my therapist. When I went to see her for our next session, we spoke about it. I had been wondering whether she’s maybe been feeling overwhelmed, so asked her. I told her that I’ve always seen her as this easy-going, “nothing fazes me” type of person, so it’s strange to think that she can feel that way, even though I know she’s also just human. Her life has changed a lot because of baby, and she’s also still finding her bearings. Parenthood is a new thing for her and things she thought she’d be able to do turned out to be different in reality.

She’s shown me pictures of baby (absolutely adorable), and it really deepens my connection to her when she shares something about him here and there. It’s helped my jealousy subside as well. After our discussion I still don’t feel 100% about our connection, but I’m choosing to see it as a sort of transition we’re working on together. That it’s not the connection that’s the problem, but the little changes that I need to adapt to. I’m also dealing with depression at the moment, so that affects everything as well.

Just wish I could hug and see my mom, sisters, step-brother, uncle and some other people in person. The distance is so hard.