Here Is My Brain, But Ten Years Ago

As I reported last month, I’ve been wading through decade-old tweets as part of helping out The Belmont Goats with social media during their anniversary year. This has one very interesting side effect.

I’ve been curious since starting in on the blog restoration project what sorts of unnoticed indicators of things like the undiagnosed autism spectrum or generalized anxiety disorders might crop up along the way, but I’d completely forgotten that because I tweeted basically everything that was happening to me, my Twitter archive almost certainly would have such.

Here, then, is a selection of tweets from May and June of 2013. Some of them are revealing regarding mental health, others of them are interesting just to see how long I’ve had certain opinions about, well, humanity.

2:00 AM is just about the right time to feel all at once all the irritation and disappointment about other people, right? I wish I had whatever gene carries the trait of being completely unaffected and undeterred by acting unethically. Because I obviously don’t know how to get anywhere useful by being generally ethical.

I’ve no idea what was going on here, which is specially weird given that, as I said, I tweeted basically everything. This probably can go under so-called cognitive rigidity, because I don’t believe the hype that autistics somehow are more moral or more ethical. It’s just that those of us with strong moral or ethical views tend to be very strident and vocal about them.

Couldn’t fall asleep until 3. Woke up at 6. Which means even breathing makes me want to vomit. Three-hour sleep plagued by fidgety dreams, up for an hour or two, followed by falling asleep again for another two with fidgety dreams.

There’s a common co-occurrence of “sleep disturbances” among autistics, and I haven’t thought about it a lot in the present because at this point I’ve mostly settled into following the resource levels of mind and body and getting as much rest as they tell me too. I do think that some of these autistic sleep disturbances happen when we let our nervous systems get too ramped up to be able to sleep. Restful sleep comes from also properly managing your resources levels when you are awake.

Terrible high school dream with impossible class work and a teacher who threatened to poison me and spent the time chatting with friends.

Mostly I include this just because I relate my dreams in therapy pretty regularly, so where there are any interesting dreams I find in my old tweets I take note.

My dream home would have a pneumatic duct system for trash removal, with access from each and every room.

I’d completely forgotten about this fantasy but was hit by immediate recognition when I read it. This would still be a fantastic thing to have.

Having a very unfortunate night of restless sleep, inability to get comfortable, and stray, random itchiness.

I’d made note of this one not just because it’s another indication of sleep disturbances but because of the itchiness. One of the problems we have right now with the sarcoidosis diagnosis is that I don’t have any medical records prior to 2018 when I finally signed up for Medicaid. There can be an itchiness component in sarcoidosis, apparently tending to be in the extremities, and this is something I deal with intermittently today.

In a year of not my days, this is not my day.

This is what is known as an “evergreen tweet”.

Horrible night plagued by tossing and turning, terrible dreams full of stress, and waking up every 30-60 minutes. Sometimes 10.

More sleep disturbances. Who knew?

I am very tired of this days-long thing where I can’t get comfortable and wake up every hour or so.

It’s really kind of too bad that “sleep disturbances” isn’t high on the list of autism indicators, because it sure seems to be the case that they were not uncommon for me.

All those bipedal creatures you see when you leave your home? Those are other people. Past your threshold you have to consider them. Otherwise, stay the fuck home.

I think that in ten years my anger has turned into more of a low-level, ever-simmering frustration, but it’s interesting to see that I’ve sort of felt this way about people for at least that long.

Some guy with a pest control wand keeps setting off the god damned fire alarm in my building. This after the shrieking dog at Floyd’s. Hell.

An earlier tweet not seen here discussed the dog at my local coffee shop down the street from my apartment. The dog-owner retroactively sort of falls into the category previous tweet here about needing to consider other people. More generally, though, this tweet should send up flares about how miserable this must have been from a sensory processing perspective.

Just ran out to the bar to tell a couple I knew was here for Ado that they might want to grab seats.

This is the set-up tweet. I’d been downtown at Living Room Theaters to see Much Ado About Nothing, and the very small screening room was filling up fast.

So the people I helped? Ended up stealing reserved seats. This is what happens when you help people.

So, I guess pair this with the “consider other people” tweet” as well as the tweet about ethics. I’d tried to be helpful, and ended up aiding and abetting poor behavior.

Woman next to me, her phone rang, on vibrate, mid-movie. Made no move to stop it, just let it keep vibrating until it went to voicemail.

This is at the same screening. I’ve a long-standing dislike of what I consider to be rude phone behavior. Normally it’s things like, say, sitting at a coffee shop and having a conversation on speaker. I did not then, and do not now, understand why she couldn’t be bothered to hit the power button to stop the vibration, or simply turn vibration off while she was in a movie theater.

At some point selfish jackasses realized people calling them out on it would be more disruptive than their being selfish jackasses. And so selfish jackasses win.

This is how I reacted. Ten years later, I still believe this, because I see it demonstrated again and again. Calling people to account itself is disruptive, and somehow it become considered more disruptive and more rude than the instigating inconsiderate behavior itself. I’ll never understand it, and it always will frustrate me.

I feel like I have sun poisoning from just ten minutes down at the field kludging the fence fix.

This was on a day when I’d discovered that some overnight fence-hoppers at the goats had damaged part of the fence, and I’d returned later to try to make at least something of a fix. What’s notable to me here is the decade-old indication that my sensory processing issue with bright, warm weather did not somehow magically emerge after diagnosis. Instead it’s one of those things that I’d, almost certainly unconsciously, filed away either as “everyone else seems to just deal with it” or as “I’m a failure and a fuck up”. Either way, it wasn’t something to ponder, let alone discuss.

Weird dream combined a coffee shop, Benjamin Linus, transgender people, singing, poetry, and goats.

I wish I’d any way of knowing what in the world this dream was about or what, exactly, happened in it.

Survived my first panel experience.

So, this is interesting. At this point I’d long attended comic book and pop culture conventions, but I’d never actually done a panel despite my obsessive fandom tendencies. This would have been a very small local con, although I don’t remember if the panel was Firefly– or Whedon-specific or some sort of meta-panel about fandom itself. The reason it’s interesting to me is what I said next.

The trick apparently is to ignore the audience and just know when you have something to say about the topic at hand.

Thinking about this now, I can’t help but imagine the cognitive stress and the sensory strain I must have been under, sitting at the front of a room full of people and be expected to talk about whatever it was we were there to talk about. The “trick” I mention here I think was pretty heads-up of me, given that I did not, in fact at that time have any kind of toolkit for mitigating or accommodating being autistic. I wonder to what extent we could consider this “trick” part of the introvert’s toolkit that served me well, depending on the context, prior to my autism diagnosis.

Based upon when I started helping out with The Belmont Goats’ social media this year, these tweets are just from May and June. Presuming I continue to help out through the rest of this anniversary year, I fully expect more then-unheeded indicators of psychological or autistic stress as I scroll through my Twitter archive.

In all likelihood, then, we’ll revisit all of this throughout the year. I’ve mostly landed on browsing the archive once every two weeks, so that it doesn’t become a slog. Although, let’s be fair: since, as I said last month “I tweeted every single thing that I was doing”, it’s a slog no matter what. It’s just something of an accidentally productive one, even outside the reason I’m doing it.