Saturday, 5 January 2013

Understanding Emotions and Estrogen Soup

Emotions are difficult for some people on the autism spectrum.
Not necessarily, of course, but for many people with ASD -- me included -- it is difficult to deal with emotions.
This is not because we do not have emotions.  No, I have yet to meet an autistic person without emotions.  Rather, this is because sometimes, people on the autism spectrum struggle to express their emotions or even quantify their emotions healthily.
It took me a long time to be able to define my emotions.  I do not remember a time when I did not feel, but I  can think of a thousand instances when I struggled to describe my feelings.
Today, I am feeling a new meal of feelings that I call "estrogen soup."
Today, I feel frustrated.  I feel anxious.  I feel nervous.  I feel vulnerable.
Today, I feel lost.  I feel confused.  I feel angry.  I feel vindictive.
Today, I am unsure about whether these are the feelings I am genuinely feeling, but when I consider these definitions, I think that I'm at least partway there.  It took me a long time to realize that the best way to solve my problems is to identify my problems, and I'm just starting to see that the best way to avoid meltdowns and to manage one's own feelings is to first identify and accept the emotion and then tackle it.  You wouldn't try to build a rocket ship without extensive knowledge of the physics and mechanics involved and the knowledge that what you are building is, specifically, a rocket ship.  So how can you process "sadness" until you have identified the "sad"?
Today, I am floating in a puddle of estrogen soup.  I am managing my emotions, but just barely.  I have identified some of them but I still have itchy, anxious feelings crawling at my back and shoulders, tempting me with their newness.
Today, like so many other days, my emotion "frustration" is derived from my frustration with myself for being unable to identify my complex needs.
I am not happy today, I know this.
Hopefully, tomorrow will be a happier day.