Thursday, April 16, 2015

Fever Effect 2.0

Last week at this time I was rather ill. I had awoken at 4AM feeling slightly sick and it was downhill from there. I will gladly spare you the details of the symptoms outside the fact my fever was as high as 102.5 which I haven't experienced in a long time.

Why bring this up? For one this bit of sickness made me have to cancel my first presentation of my career was had spanned 624 presentations without missing one over 5.5 years. I was proud of that stat but now it is just a thing of the past. Secondly, I want to reference a previous blog post which has been one of my more read posts and that is "The Fever Effect". In that post I stated that, "when I have a fever I am calmer and things seem to make more sense because my brain slows down." However, last week this was not the case.

Last week I was not in a good place. I was sick to the point that I couldn't even sit up in bed and I haven't been that sick in over nine years, but despite three hours of sleep my brain was able to go full bore into panic mode about everything. The negative self talk that was experienced in my fourteen hours of misery was brutal.

As previously mentioned, a fever was typically a time of clarity and I've had many, many parents share this same observation with me about their children on the autism spectrum. Instead of clarity, though, I was experienced unfiltered fear, panic, and self-loathing. Maybe this was just a culmination of having such intense thoughts over two months of the writing I've done, or maybe it was just exhaustion, or maybe it was neither of those; whatever the root cause was and is irrelevant because what is relevant was the agony my mind was creating. If anything, I can compare the way I felt back to the time I felt hopeless in my life after my diagnosis. My mind convinced me I'd never achieve anything again, I'd always be in isolation, and happiness was a word that wasn't included in my dictionary. Rational thoughts? No, but in the fever induced frenzy my brain had created that didn't matter.

As evening kicked in I started feeling a little better, not much, but enough that the painful thoughts ebbed. By midday the next day I was recovering nicely and then it hit me again; they were almost like aftershocks from an earthquake as I once again had to cope with the dire thoughts I had the previous day. It didn't help that I knew I would be missing my first scheduled presentation, but the thought process began to repeat itself over the weekend and it wasn't until Monday that these thoughts went away as I presented once more.

I have new material to talk about now when asked about the fever effect. It had been something, while not celebrated, had something that was never seen as a major negative, but this past time was as opposite as possible. Perhaps I now know that if I've had one fever I've only had one fever and while most of the time I feel at ease I now know I can become equally as active and overthink everything.

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