Early grave

My workplace has seen several crises in the last few months, all of which directly affect me. One of them was particularly bad, but I am unable to discuss with anyone outside the organization until the lawyers are done drafting the official statement to go public with.

I went in to the office today, to better deal with one of the other less serious problems that I discovered yesterday. I vented with my boss a bit — and then felt bad, because his load is much worse than mine, and I am unable to help him much, because he does not share much with me. Although I know he appreciates me as an employee, I suspect he does not actually like me personally and tries to avoid dealing with me as much as possible. So our relationship is very tense right now.

My bus home from downtown Seattle was almost empty and I was able to enjoy a podcast. I got off near a waterfront pub for an impromptu pint of cider. The pub is nice and quiet inside but there is plenty to see outside. A nice overcast day over Puget Sound.

It has been one of those days when I really question the wisdom of living a healthy lifestyle. An early grave seems like a pretty good idea, if you ask me.

Hence the cider. Cheers!

Not much to ask

A simple job with minimal responsibility that does not demand endless professional development and study. A little room that I can afford in a reasonably safe neighborhood within walking distance of work. Sharing a bathroom is OK as long as my room is my own and can be locked. It makes me sad that such an arrangement is pretty much impossible today.

Once a week my employer gives me a check and I stand in line at the bank to deposit it and get some cash. In between, I just use my card at an ATM. Once a month, the bank sends me a statement and I make sure it looks correct. No logins/passwords to worry about.

In my room there is a radio which picks up interesting stations that air more than just music, sports, news and traffic. That is also pretty hard to find. Every week, I go to the library to exchange books. Thankfully, that is something that is still available!

At the end of the street, there is a pub that I go to quite often. Because I am autistic, I am never able to make much headway into the inner circle of regulars. But everyone knows my face and what I drink and where I like to sit — and a few people even know my name and talk to me every now and then. It is enough. I take a book to read or a notebook to write for when I end up sitting by myself.

I wish this could happen.

Turned up to 11

Executive function has failed me terribly these last two weeks and I am pretty much a nervous wreck from it all. For a few days I even had trouble eating — and that is very unusual for me. I really don’t think I have to contend with any challenges that other people do not face. In fact, I know many people who have way much more on their plate than I do. But I think autism has a way of amplifying the stress — and it just builds day upon day with no relief in sight. Each night when I go to bed, I hope to wake up feeling even just a little improved — but I do not.

The other problem is that I do not really have a support system. I am not close to my family and do not have any close friends. So I go through everything alone. There are times when I could really use someone sitting next to me as I embark on a task that stresses me out. No matter how many times I read and re-read instructions, you can bet your bottom dollar that I will miss a step or do things in the wrong order. I really need someone to read out the directions to me, one step at a time, and make sure I do it all correctly.

I haven’t had much time to indulge in the things that comfort and reassure me: working on my jigsaw puzzle while listening to podcasts; trying to learn Spanish on Duolingo; and writing, either this blog or a funny novel I started last month. I hope to get back into all of those things this weekend.

Meanwhile, I think the can of wine I put on the fridge should be cold enough to enjoy now.

Running out of steam

Crash and burn cycles have been a big part of my life.

For many years, I can just potter along, marking time. And then something will grab me and get my interest. And I will run with it. Run really hard with it. And give it my all. And I will make progress and accomplish things. But sooner or later I run out of steam. And I feel my latest cycle running out steam.

A couple of years ago I was given a substantial raise I did not ask for. I was appreciative — but worried at the same time. Unsolicited raises have a way of being a harbinger of bad things to come. Perhaps I feel the need to up my game and perform better to live up to the higher salary (not every considering that I was probably already doing so else they would not have given me the raise in the first place.) But it might be just timing — the raise coming along just as I am peaking in a cycle and about to start running out of steam.

I am still doing well in my job. But I feel I have reached the maximum of what I am capable of — and further effort on my part is now yielding ever diminishing returns. And there is nothing wrong with that. But in a career-fixated culture we are expected to keep growing and progressing and accomplishing every more things.

Now that I know I am autistic, I can see autistic burnout in my crash and burn cycles. And once I crash at something, I can never salvage anything. I always have to start over with something else — and then wait for the next thing to throw myself into.

Perhaps I can avoid crashing this time. Perhaps I can keep control of the plane and find a safe place to land — touching down just right at the very end of the runway. And then get out of the plane and walk away in search of my next adventure.