Monday, July 20, 2015

Aspergers and The Redline

If there's one question above all else that irritates me it's, "what are you thinking?" because the vastness of things I'm thinking about is hard to describe. However, there are times when something is troubling me and when this happens whatever is troubling me creates an unenviable situation. To describe this I'll use a physical example of something that I witnessed at a race track a decade ago.

I have to apologize to my college comp 101 teacher because her words of, "never use anything sports related to prove any point" still ring in my head to this day and today I'll break it. Anyway, I was working as the chief starter for the Saint Louis Karting Association and in the TaG 60 class two karts got together and spun. The lead kart through a chain which mean the engine could run but no power would get to the axel. Something occurred, however, which kept the engine running. And run it did! It just didn't run but the RPM's picked up and up and up. The young driver frantically got out of the kart as a sound that I've never heard since this event blared out. The motor was screaming past 20,000RPM's and this putrid odor filled the air. I thought about throwing the red flag because I was sure this engine would explode in a spectacular flurry of shrapnel. A corner worker arrived and pulled the spark plus wire which always cuts the power to the engine, or so in theory. Later, a person told me he engine was dieseling but at the time all I knew was that I was worried about most anyone including myself, that was within 50 yards of this now smoking engine.

With the plug wire off and the engine still screaming the corner worker laid prone on the ground beside the kart, presumably to protect himself should the engine explode, and he covered the carburetor to starve the engine of oxygen. This, at first, seemed ineffective as the motor screamed but eventually the wail and scream of a motor going many, many thousands of RPM's above hat it should be running ceased. The ordeal was over, but the awful smell remained as a reminded of what had happened.

Why do I recount a story that happened a decade ago? The reason is that I feel that this is a great example of what my brain does. It's doing so right now at a level I haven't felt in years (or ever). What's causing it? I do know the root cause but I won't bore you with that because the point here is how it's making me feel.

Experts can say that the Asperger brain can dwell, perseverate, and downright obsess. I wouldn't be surprised if I had an assessment done right now that I'd be given the diagnosis of OCD. OCD? Yes, once a stressor is realized and felt it isn't just felt at the medium range of an engine's power but rather it's up there in the redline zone. In other words it's at maximum speed with no ability to simply slow down.

It gets tiring; this constant stressing over the same thing. When I wake up in the morning there's calm and I can feel the exact moment my brain starts the stressing and once it begins it's like that engine that couldn't be turned off.

To live with this is to carry a great burden. During these times of great worry I can't distract my mind strongly enough and the thoughts keep going and going. There's a lot of repetition in my conversations but that's only my conversations; inside my head there's a lot more action that I don't share. Telling me to, "just quit thinking about it" is not much help because, if I had a choice, I wouldn't opt for a mind that is putting myself through pure misery.

What can be a gift at the ability of hyper-focusing is also a curse when it comes to this. The only respite comes in sleep and as mentioned above that moment that I wake up only to experience the same fierce thoughts is difficult.

Perhaps this once again illustrates the all or nothing, black or white thinking for a person on the spectrum. When a thought, emotion, or in this case fear/anxiety is felt it is felt to an unfiltered level. There is no 2,000RPM thought  it instead it is felt at maximum velocity and speed. I may have isolated it and explained it but still the dieseling continues in my brain and I'd give anything to prolong those moments when I wake up oblivious to the worry that lies ahead of me.

1 comment:

  1. Aaron, I understand this one too. I have sensory processing disorder, and I can feel the moment when the shift occurs inside me and then the anxiety spins out of control. Sometimes lavender oil helps. Sometimes going for a really quick walk helps. Sometimes watching an adrenalin rushing movie helps because the adrenalin rushing movie has an end and somehow I can link in with the end of the movie and let the anxiety drain.