How to Live a Life
I have been struck by crushing and excruciating exhaustion. Completely floored. I felt it coming and fought it. I shouldn’t have. Now I have to consider each move, each step, each job and each rest. I have to allow myself to surrender.
Plans? No. None of them. Cancel everything.
I’m never completely sure what’s going on in my body but sometimes it says “enough” and “no”, and it’s always after trying to act like a regular person, after anxiety, after peopling, after a run of events that other people would find normal but that I find consuming and often scary – or at least worrying – and that use up so much of my thinking. My life, my energy, my brain, my thought process are all geared towards what is expected of me next and I drown in a combination of planning, organising, imagining, visualising, fearing. Downtime, breaks are futile because What is Happening Next is looming on the horizon. Rest can only come when there are gaps.
Right now I need a big gap. I need quiet, space, peace, open spaces, periods of silence, freedom to move instinctively, a break from expectations, from my own standards. I need to feel security from intrusion. And that includes unexpected noises or things breaking into my safe space.
January is a particularly difficult time after pushing myself repeatedly to be all things to everyone when I’m a person who needs long and regular periods of still and quiet and lost-in-my-head-ness.
I know who I am and it is not this person.
Who I am has been pushed to the side, smothered, hidden under a huge pile of “Being Normal”*
Every wadge of “Being Normal” that is piled on top of all the others I haven’t managed to escape from yet crushes me a little more until I find I am shouting for help. Wanting escape.
In bed, I am dreaming of intrusion, fear, expectation, of eyelids unable to open, of calling for help, of feeling trapped.
It’s not that this world was not meant for me or me for it, it’s just that variations are so difficult to live by when they are so poorly absorbed by the latest ideals of how to live a life and my own how to live a life doesn’t suit those who rely on me.
How much of this is anxiety? How much of this is from years of trying to fit and fighting my real self? How much of this is autism spectrum? How much of this is middle age? How much of this is a commonly-felt dose of post-Christmas, midwinter, light-deficiency tiredness? How much of this is sadness and frustration that I’m still not living the mellow, creative life I’ve always dreamed of? How much of this is ridiculous perfectionism and unattainable high standards?
All of the above.
There is a pill. It’s called accepting variations from the norm and absorbing them into society.
*I use the word “normal” to suggest I and others like me are not normal. But I use it tongue in cheek. We are all human. We are not freaks of nature. Neurodiversity is about the variations within the human and is normal.