Autism Sensory Issues – Me vs. the Crickets

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Some of you will probably find this post funny (honestly it is rather amusing), but if you happen to be autistic, OCD, or have a sensory processing disorder, you may relate to my very real struggles here lol.

So….I am at war with the crickets. Every single night they seem to congregate outside my bedroom window and conspire to drive me crazy and keep me from sleeping. Their constant noise is maddening and sometimes enraging.

I’ve tried several strategies to deal with the issue so far:

  • Sometimes I just lay in bed and imagine stepping on them all and squishing the life out of them. Or I envision dog-size crickets that I blow apart with an assault rifle. Imagining their cricket heads exploding brings a momentary sense of satisfaction from the annoyance.
  • A few nights I have gone outside at around 2am (when I normally go to bed), and took a broom to try to sweep them all away from the area or sprayed bug spray all around the area. Unfortunately, one night it was raining and windy when I did the bug spray thing and most of it ended up blowing back in my face and I think I might have poisoned myself instead of them. I don’t know if any of my neighbors have seen any of these late-night confrontations, but if they have, I do wonder what they think…
  • Yesterday we went to Home Depot and got some outside insect repellent pellets to put all along the yard on that side of the house. Not sure if that will work either, but it’s worth a try I suppose. The crickets were still around last night, so it definitely hasn’t worked yet.
  • Before you suggest noise-cancelling headphones or ear plugs, please know that those things are sensory hell to me in themselves. I do not like the feeling of headphones and certainly couldn’t sleep with them in. Same with ear plugs.

And so, the war rages on…

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Dream Analysis: Fear of Death

 

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My Spyder

Last night I had an interesting dream. In the dream, there was a big snake loose in our house and I was trying to stay as far away from it as I could because I feared getting bit. Every time I would see it somewhere, I would run to another room. Then, the dream took an unexpected turn when the snake attacked my cat, Spyder. Spyder has been my baby since the day he came home to us and has been with us almost 12 years.

When I realized the snake was attacking Spyder in the dream, I was suddenly like “HELL NO!!!” and I ran into the room with a small sword (that suddenly appeared out of nowhere) and I cut that snake’s head clean off! I was suddenly as brave as an Amazon warrior, or like a mother bear defending her cubs.

When I woke up today, I was trying to decode this dream a bit, and I think what I was actually dreaming about was the fear of death. Just last night I was talking to someone about the short spans our pets live and about how my last two cats died around the same age Spyder is now. I think the snake symbolized death coming to take a loved one from me, and while I clearly have a self-preservation instinct and a healthy fear of my own death, that fear pales in comparison to the terror I feel at losing a loved one.

Poetry: Sleeping Poetic Genius

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Sleeping Poetic Genius
By: Maranda Russell

I wrote a poem
in my sleep last night.
The words, colors, and images
now blur in my mind.
I try to pin them down,
only to have them
wiggle away
like a puppy
desperate to escape
a confining embrace.

The poem was grand,
of this I am sure.
A masterpiece of language,
now shriveled and dried up
like an unlucky worm
laying dead
after a rainstorm.

Strangest Lucid Dream Ever

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I had the strangest lucid dream ever the other night. As many lucid dreams start, I was in the middle of a dream when I suddenly realized that I WAS dreaming, and at that point was able to take over and consciously guide the rest of the dream. At first I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but after thinking about all the cool stuff I had done in previous lucid dreams over the years (meeting Michael Jackson, swimming in outer space with whales, visiting a robot world, etc.), I decided to start off with just flying – probably my favorite dream activity!

I flew a bit above the earth for a while, enjoying the beauty of the nature, towns, and waterways that passed below me, and then decided to fly higher and see what I could find above me. For some reason, it was a struggle to get high enough, almost like I didn’t believe in myself enough to go higher, even though I knew it was a dream and I had all the power.

Finally I did get high enough to reach a higher plane of existence, which by the way was a very interesting place. If I remember right it was almost ancient Greek-like in structure, had more advanced beings that weren’t quite angels, but felt more advanced than humans. The most interesting part of this place was that I viewed a puppet show where my mother, one of her previous husbands, and others I had known in my life were the puppets being controlled by these other beings. It was super weird.

While on this higher plane, I was greatly tempted to delve beneath their sea, because I could remember past lucid dreams where I had been able to travel underwater without needing to breathe, but now I was suddenly afraid to try it again, even though I knew it was a dream and I knew nothing could truly hurt me. I knew I couldn’t drown, but I still struggled to overcome my own self doubt and my grasp of “reality”, similar to how I had struggled to believe I could fly higher earlier in the dream.

In the end, I knew that the only thing holding me back was my fear and need to believe in myself, but it was almost impossible to overcome those things. I know there is a real message of depth there, even for my waking life, but I’m still a little weirded out by the whole experience. Hopefully I don’t sound like a nutcase too lol.

Nighttime Dread and “Quiet Borderlines” Thoughts

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I slept in until after 2pm this afternoon. I hate when that happens. I feel like most of the day is already gone by the time I get out of bed. I must have slept at least around 12 hours last night, even though I had a bit of an emotional fest when I actually went to bed. For some reason, all the loneliness of the world seems to settle down on me when I try to go to sleep and all the horrible things that have and could happen come around to haunt me. It is often at these times that I feel absolutely alone and helpless in this world, even though logically I know I’m not…at least not right now. But I could be. I could be all alone very easily and that thought sends me into a kind of despair I can’t explain.

Recently I have been reading a book entitled “Beyond Borderline: True Stories of Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder”. Reading the book has been insightful and interesting, and made me realize I am definitely NOT a traditional borderline. I simply don’t have the acting out behaviors. I guess I could be what some people call “quiet borderlines”, although sometimes I wonder if they are really borderlines or not?

Perhaps some “quiet borderlines” are actually more along the lines of Avoidant Personality Disorder or another anxiety-related personality disorder? Who knows. I’m not a doctor so I can’t say, but I do find so many commonalities running through various personality disorders, that even if you have one, pinpointing which one might be difficult and many people have traits of more than one. For me personally, I think I definitely fit more into the cluster C “anxious and fearful clusters” than the cluster B “dramatic and overly emotional clusters”. In fact, the only time I am visibly overly emotional is when I am so anxious I pretty much panic. Unfortunately this almost always seems to happen in public, because social interaction in itself can easily set off the panic in me.

 

Bipolar Mood Charting

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I decided to start doing some bipolar mood charting. I’ve seen others talk about how it helped them to figure out patterns in their mood swings and behaviors, so figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a try. To find a bipolar mood chart, I just googled it and checked out several options that came up. I ended up going with this chart.

I’ve only been tracking myself on it for four days now, but I’ve already noticed a few small things. For one, I’m clearly more on the low side (which makes sense being Bipolar type 2), and even when I do chart on the “high mood” side, I often chart on the “low mood” side for the same day. So I am predicting that most of my “high mood” days are actually mixed days. We’ll have to see if that stays consistent the longer I chart myself.

I also noticed rather interestingly, that so far, when my anxiety is high, my irritability tends to be lower, and vice versa. Are anxiety and irritability two sides of the same coin just expressed differently? I don’t know, but thought it was interesting.

Lastly, this is something I already kind of knew, but seeing it in writing really drives the point home…I sleep A LOT. On average, about 11-12 hours a day. I sleep HALF the day away! This has pretty much been the case since I started taking Seroquel, so I wonder if that may be responsible.

Seroquel Zombie?

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So today I’ve mostly spent my time watching YouTube videos about Seroquel, especially videos about the side effects of taking it and the experiences of people who decided to get off of it. I’m not making any rash decisions about the medicine myself (which I do currently take). The medicine is a wonder drug when it comes to helping me get to sleep, which is the main reason why I am taking 50mg of it a day (which isn’t even a high dosage). I do like the warm, fuzzy feeling I get after taking the meds and the way it knocks me out within an hour of taking it. I’ve tried other sleeping pills and none of them worked nearly that well or dependably.

However, I am having some side effects that I assume may be from the Seroquel. I am sleeping at least 11 or 12 hours a night and still waking up groggy and just wanting to sleep all day. I normally get up, have breakfast, then lay back down on the couch and try not to fall back to sleep. I am exhausted constantly (even more so than just from my normal CFS symptoms). I am starting to feel a bit “zombiefied” as well. As I’m typing, I kind of feel disconnected from my fingers and feel like they are somewhat trying to do their own thing rather than what I want them to do. I wake up each day with a hangover feeling and often with a nasty headache that sometimes lasts all day. I am also HUNGRY all the time it seems, especially for sweets. I really fear gaining weight. I’ve been on the med about 3 months now and have gained a few pounds, but I fear I would gain much more if I lost my self control and ate as much as I wanted.

I guess the reason I am sharing all this is just to see if others who have taken it have experienced similar things? If so, did you keep taking it? I really debate whether sleeping regularly is worth all the side effects or not.

*Art by Maranda Russell

Blah Painting for a Blah Day

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Kind of a blah, muddled painting for a blah, muddled day. Just not feeling it today…any of it. Really tempted to go back to bed, but I already slept 11 hours or so. I can always tell when I’m super depressed because I sleep A LOT. The normal 8 hours of sleep becomes 12 hours a night. And even then, I want to sleep all day too, I just try not to allow myself. I always did like that joke about how being “super depressed” is just like being “regular depressed”, except that for “super depression” you wear a cape. I need a cape.