“My life is the complete opposite of everything I want it to be.”

orange in apple box

It’s beautiful and crisp with a breeze today.  I slept in for the first time in recent memory.  Yesterday was surreal because I finally broke out of rote mode completely.  Say hello to Alison 5.0.  I’ve gained some insight into how to control my ability to be present.  I hate how it sounds like psychobabble, but it’s too important to ignore.

I’m astonished by what I’ve discovered.  For my entire life, I’ve been told my way of thinking, feeling, and behaving is odd.  Abnormal.  Strange has been my lifelong companion.  I’ve accepted it as my default.  I don’t take on the negative connotations as part of the deal, though.  They only show up when The Depression Monster is lurking.

I’ve identified it as fact rather than flaw for the most part.  As I grow and learn myself, I notice behaviors I want to abandon along the way.  My methodology for achieving these changes is where I’m focused.  (I’m probably too excited about this to explain it well.)  My perception of the world has been my greatest asset all along.

I often joke about how I live life on a 3-second delay.  It turns out; it’s an advantage.  Yay.  Also, my constant internal dialogue is a skill, not a quirk.  It’s the key to my superpower ability to focus on one thing for several hours without losing that focus.  The hard part was learning to control my reaction to being interrupted.  (Being a child was the biggest obstacle in that regard.)

inner dialogue

New rule:  From now on I will not attempt to refrain from talking to myself.  I suspect I do it aloud when I’m either alone or if background noise is threatening to distract me.  I prefer being dismissed by others on sight to being interrupted.  When I slip into a rote mode, it’s because I’ve let go of my inner dialogue.

Instead of being present in the internal conversation, it allows all the background noise to take over.  It’s an extremely vulnerable state.  It’s like leaving the door unlocked in a shady neighborhood.  I don’t want to spend any more time in that state.  I’m kicking that shit to the curb now that I figured out how it works.

The background noise is a welcome mat for The Depression Monster and Anxiety.  It’s the opposite of focus.  It’s mental chaos.  Every fleeting thought gets an equal voice because my bullshit detector is offline.  All those times people have yelled at me out of exasperation for having no common sense comes to mind.  Sense requires being there to activate it.

Background noise is my ego unchecked in reaction to the world around me.  So, I’m donning some (figurative) background noise canceling headphones.  At the moment, I’m embarrassed it took me this long to notice.  45 has spent over a year demonstrating how an unchecked ego reacting to the world is not the path to a joyful, peaceful existence for anyone.  Operation Mute is in effect.  Peace.  💜

3 thoughts on ““My life is the complete opposite of everything I want it to be.”

  • I am really interested in this, especially the part about the value of your inner conversations. My daughter just told her therapist about the voices she heard and talked to, and she ended up in the psych ward, pumped full of anti-psychotics. I don’t think she has schizophrenia (none of the other symptoms). I think she just has various internal dialogues going on that get out of whack when she has to focus too hard on externals. Would you be willing to say more about your experiences?

  • Sure. I believe your assessment. It sounds like an overreaction to a misinterpretation by her therapist. I’m thinking about my response and will reply here soon. (I can relate to your daughters unfortunate experience from one remarkably similar.)

  • As long as my internal dialogue is active, I’m okay, (Typical-Mode.) I’m actively participating in the world around me. I call it a 3-second-delay because it seems like I’m a pause behind real time. I need the constant dialogue because, without it, I lose my rhythm. I get lost in the chaos. In the silence, my focus loosens all the way.

    With no focus, I lose my ability to speak, read for comprehension, follow instructions, listen for understanding, etc. No thoughts or sensations are ignored (or processed.) Everything gets through at the same intensity. It’s so overwhelming I can only react to external stimuli by impulse. I’m no longer operating my avatar, it’s on auto-pilot. It’s alarmingly vulnerable.

    In Typical-Mode, I’m discussing everything I observe and feel. I’m deciding what to do next, if anything, based on past experiences. I don’t consciously think about doing it. I also count things and sing lyrics that fit the situation, amuse me, or comfort me. (I think it’s anxiety management.)

    At one point, I was prescribed an antipsychotic after admitting to hearing voices to a psychiatrist. (I’m not deaf; though excessively literal when on auto-pilot.) I immediately stopped taking it because it locked me on auto-pilot. My most recent psychiatrist figured out the fact my inner voices aren’t problematic.

    I have PTSD, though my experiences with mental health treatment have been more traumatic than helpful. (I no longer subject myself to it.) Fortunately, I’ve found lots of valuable information in novels, blogs, and by observing. Experience and reflection help the most. My inner dialogue is how I do life. I assume other autists do as well. I think it’s similar to a person who moves their lips when they read. They’re focused and present when they read; it’s merely how they do it.

    I hope I addressed your interest. If you have other questions, please ask.

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