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Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Conscious Coma Revisited

I wrote a chapter many years ago that's in my book Finding Kansas about a phenomenon that I entitled the "conscious coma." In it, if I remember correctly, I stated that there are times when it feels as if I am on autopilot and the passage of time and other daily activities are sort of lost. Recently, this has been happening a lot.

For the past couple weeks I have been highly anxious. And here's the tricky thing; I don't really know what I'm anxious about but the feeling is unmistakable. It feels as if I'm constantly falling and all in all it is rather tiresome.

I might have written this back when I wrote the original chapter (I don't remember what I write) but I am now certain that there is certainly a connection between the conscious coma and anxiety as the higher the level of anxiety the greater the chances of a conscious coma situation arising. Thinking back to when I was just starting to write I was under more stress than I knew what to do with so that would add to my belief that the two are connected.

So what happens during a conscious coma? I believe my mind goes so deep within itself that the passage of time is lost on me as well as the task of doing small activities becomes automated. Several times the past month I have left my house only to panic an hour later as I could not recall if I had locked the door. Also I have forgotten things at hotels and at home while traveling and I have left my wallet at home a couple times. These are things I typically will never have happen!

In conversations with other people on the spectrum I have heard this type of story so I know I am not alone in my struggles with the conscious coma. If you have a family member that's on the spectrum understanding this abstract concept is an absolute must because, as anxiety rises, things just become more difficult. Yes, I know, that concept applies to everyone but for us on the spectrum it's as if we can only tolerate so much and once the proverbial cup overfills an overload occurs and then routine things can be overlooked despite the fact that the person might have a fine eye for details.

That's where I am at right now. I can't put my finger on what it is that's causing me this tension or anxiety and to be honest I'm not all that mad about; in fact quite the contrary as I thing the past two weeks on my blog have been great and I write my best stuff while in these conscious comas such as being able to write this today. This will pass, but until it does I'm just going to have to put more mental effort in checking everything I do so I don't autopilot my way through the day and then panic on if I locked my front door, or car door, or remembered to eat.

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