Anxiety and my autism

Writing this because relevant considering what I’ve dubbed my “anxietypocalypse.” (tl;dr: anxious-anxious-anxious-anxious-PANIC-anxious-anxious-anxious repeat = all but one morning of the past week and a bit, as of this writing)

For me, anxiety basically turns the dials on my autistic traits. Lights are too bright (even with sunglasses), sounds are too loud, I notice all of the things (like my housemates are having a conversation downstairs with their door shut that I can make out sound for sound, like my computer fan is louder than normal, like my housemate has a cough, like the neighbour just slammed their door like there’s no wind outside because I can’t hear the breeze like I could when I went to bed like where the belt is touching my skin and where it’s on my pants like the fabric of my pants has pilled in three locations on my right leg and two on my left that I can tell by feel like my back is a bit itchy because winter skin like like like etc), my verbal processing gets worse, my words come slower and with greater difficulty, my ability to filter sounds and sensations decreases,  my meltdown threshold decreases, my anxiety threshold decreases (so I become prone to anxiety feed back loops where I’m anxious because thing is bugging me because I’m anxious because etc), my appetite is either “starving” or “nauseated” or both at the same time (like right now), clothes itch or hurt (even stuff I normally find comfy), etc, etc, etc.

Anxiety makes pretty much everything more difficult: Concentrating, remembering stuff, passing when passing is necessary, etc. It’s also made another post topic come up, one that I’ll post on later, because anxiety won’t let me do it or even allude to what it is right now. But, anyway.

Normally, I’m quite anxious. By which I mean: Unless I’m at home either alone or with my partner while both of us do quiet activities, I am anxious. I’m anxious for the majority of my day, every day of my life. It’s my baseline, something that I’ve gotten used to, and I’m pretty good at dealing with it. Until something makes it worse. Like my current school situation. The uncertainty, tension, and stress associated with the current school situation coupled with the fact that it’s completely out of my hands and the high likelihood that it won’t be resolved for the forseeable future among other things means that I’ve basically hit my “can’t cope” threshold. I can’t. I just… can’t.

I’m operating on borrowed energy and when I run out of energy to borrow and crash, it will be hard. But I need to operate. Because operating is stuff like going to work, doing my research, keeping my job, making food so I don’t starve, remembering to turn off appliances so I don’t burn the place down, remembering to clean up messes for hygiene and food safety reasons. Stuff that if I don’t do it, I FUBAR my life and possibly my plans for the future. So other stuff is being sacrificed: Stuff like homework, extra-curriculars, volunteer work. It pains me to leave unfulfilled things I promised to do, but if I try to do it all right now, I will crash and burn. Probably metaphorically speaking, but given how my proprioception goes out the window in meltdown, the “crash” part might well be literal.

The weekend helped quite a bit, and then yesterday I laid low all evening, which also helped.

But at this point, it’s only a stopgap solution. During the week, I’m still running an energy deficit day-to-day. My aggravated insomnia that reared its head Sunday will only worsen this situation, as will anything that pops up unexpectedly during the weekend to take away from my recharge time. I really hope the situation gets resolved sooner rather than later, but I doubt it will.


8 thoughts on “Anxiety and my autism

  1. feministaspie says:

    This all sounds really awful, hope everything sorts itself out soon 😦

    • ischemgeek says:

      I’ve discovered that I can alleviate the anxiety by getting righteously pissed off at stuff. This might not be good, but being very freaking angry over homeopathic asthma meds being sold at Target feels a lot better than being scared for no reason, and it might do some good, so I’ll take it for now.

      • feministaspie says:

        SAME HERE! …It’s something, I guess! 🙂

      • autisticook says:

        Righteous anger is my go-to as well. Anger feels a lot more productive than fear. Although I do know that it’s made me pretty much incapable of being in the moment and being accepting of my emotions when it comes to fear. On the other hand, I have enough low level anxiety to fuel a small nation, so it’s not like I’m missing anything.

  2. Aspermama says:

    Oh man, that’s such a hard place to be. I hope you can get a break and recharge. Take care of yourself, that’s the most important thing.

  3. autisticook says:

    The thing with stuff that you simply NEED to do reminded me of all the times I get so angry with people (especially mental health professionals) who suggest that the answer to feeling stressed out is to do fewer things in a day. And I’m like, if I scrap any more things from my daily list, that means I’ll end up scrapping “eat breakfast” and the like. Fuck off.

  4. autisticook says:

    Oh. I also got reminded of this particular research that said that autistic people are far far quicker in noticing movement than neurotypical people. And that the hyperquick response causes a cortisol/adrenaline reaction, which in turn makes you even quicker to react, which causes another cortisol/adrenaline reaction… ad infinitum. Autistic people have a far larger amygdala than most people, probably through environmental conditioning, but there might also be genetic factors (like mother having enough autistic traits that she, too experiences higher levels of anxiety, which in turn influences the brain of her unborn child). It’s all just such an interconnected mess. And it feels like most scientists are only looking at small parts of the picture, instead of the entire picture. Which isn’t helping us.

  5. I have found that anger/temper-losing seems to help my anxiety also. Mainly because it drains me of intense emotions and the racing thoughts…I guess it isn’t the healthiest way for me to cope.
    I hope your insomnia improves, and the anxiety also.

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