After several days off I return to presenting today but the previous few days have not been good for me. It's amazing what stress can do for those of us on the autism spectrum. Don't get me wrong, stress is something that affects everyone, spectrum or not, but it seems for us it can quickly become the only thing felt.
One thing I used to say is that whatever is can quickly become, "the only thing that matters" and couple that with the mindset of, "whatever is now is forever" and it's a perilous coupling. Once the ball gets started it just grows and grows and grows. This is what I've been going through and it's been obvious to those around me that I'm just not myself.
As the stress continues those around me want to help and it's hard knowing that my discomfort is affecting them. I know they want to help, but when this mind cycle gets spinning there is little that can be done except to weather the storm.
I used to experience this severe level of worry, angst, and stress much more often, in fact I think it's been years since I experienced this level (ever been in a car that went over a hill and had a sudden drop? That dropping sensation has been in my stomach all weekend) and I have to admit I forgot just how overpowering it is. Nothing matters except the problem. That's it, and remember the key concepts of the second paragraph in this post; when the only thing that matters is what will be forever that means there is no room for change. To be able to conceive of the notion that things can get better; that things can change must be a wonderful asset as it is something my brain struggles with greatly.
Once again, I'm sure this post is not limited to those on the autism spectrum. As a coworker of mine says, however, "autism is human behavior except taken to the extreme" which means this is something everyone deals with but for those of us on the autism spectrum the storm is stronger, longer, and the ability to realize that a sunny sky will occur after the storm is something we may not see.
As my girlfriend told me yesterday over the phone, perhaps getting back in front of an audience is exactly what I need. This morning, here in Phoenix, I'll be speaking to students and then in the afternoon I'll have an open to the public presentation. To share my story and see the response might be exactly what I need to get out of this storm that I'm currently in.