Misunderstood, but Not Alone

I’ve been feeling really “messed up” lately. Those feelings of not being good enough, of saying and doing the wrong things, of absorbing the negative feelings of the people around me, of being misunderstood. That last one has been especially frustrating.

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I’m trying online counseling.  I only started a few weeks ago, and I’m not sure how it’s going.  She sent me a ton of worksheets about unhealthy thought patterns, which of course caused my brain to over-think and over-analyze and be overly-defensive of itself.  The topic that has been most frustrating has been the encouragement to try online dating again.  After acknowledging that I may be traumatized by past experiences, she added, “Suppose your front door hit your hand, and caused a lot of pain; will you refuse to go through it again?”

Yeah, I’d go through the door again.  But what if slamming my hand in it happens repeatedly?  It would then be logical to be cautious about using that door.  I’d go through the back door, or climb through a window, or just stay inside as long as possible.  Or try to replace the door or figure out why the hell I keep slamming my hand in it.

A rocking chair blocking one of the doors I could totally use instead of the front door.

I also explained that I live in a rural area, and most of the online matches have lived hours away.

Then yesterday I mentioned this conversation to a co-worker, who immediately jumped into solutionizing-mode and was all, “Yes, you should get back on the horse!  Get out and have more experiences, to learn what you really don’t want, blah blah blah. . . ”

I wish I could get them to understand that this is HARD.  Meeting new people is not FUN for me.  Online dating is not some magic bullet, where if I just sign up and put myself out there again, great guys will line up wanting to get to know me.  That’s not how it works.  I really appreciated the timing of Mayim’s video this week:

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It’s been a rough week, internally at least.  Sleep-deprived, anxiety-ridden, and depressed, I tried to post something positive on social media.  And then there was a situation where I was told I’d hurt someone’s feelings, which I never want to do.  I reached out to the person and apologized, and I think everything is ok, but that kind of thing is exhausting.

I keep forgetting how draining social media is, and that I need to take another break from it.  Getting an Apple Watch has helped me a little – I can take a walk and still track my distance and listen to music without having a device in my pocket that I will be pulling out to check the feeds.  I need to be filling my time and soul with better things, even if that means sitting still and looking at the trees.  I am trying to be better about reaching out to people directly, instead of just scrolling on Facebook when I’m feeling lonely.

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So this morning, as I was sitting in my comfy chair and drinking my coffee, I glanced over at the stack of books on the radiator beside me.  And I reached for Samantha Craft’s Everyday Aspergers, which is a collection of her blog posts.  My bookmark was on the page for “Ten Traits (Females with Aspergers)”  – you can read it here.

Re-reading a description that matched so much of my experience was comforting.  I continued reading the next several pages, smiling at thoughts that sounded like my own, empathizing with struggles that were different in specifics but familiar to me in this fallen world.  It reminded me that I am not alone in the way I experience the world.  I’m not alone in the ways I struggle.  I’m not alone in being frequently misunderstood. I’m not alone in being confused by neurotypical people.  I’m not alone.

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