Recursive anxiety again

I’m going to call it that from now on. What I mean is having anxiety about having anxiety– being afraid that you will start feeling anxious, being afraid that people will notice you’re feeling anxious, etc.

It’s still a thing that I don’t have, and it’s apparently a thing that most people with social anxiety do have. I saw a post today about “concealed anxiety” which was on this general theme, and it’s confusing and frustrating. I do like 75% of the things described in that post, but that’s just not why I do them.

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I’m eye-contact-agnostic

People on Tumblr were talking about “faking” eye contact by looking at another part of the person’s face– the bridge of their nose, or their mouth, or their forehead– and it reminded me of something I used to think when I was a teenager.

I don’t remember why it came up, but I remember being kind of dubious about the whole concept of eye contact. The point of confusion was, how could anybody claim to be focusing their eyes on such a tiny specific spot in their field of view? How do you tell the difference between looking at someone’s eye versus their nose? They’re so close together, the difference in where your eye is pointing is really negligible.

That was my line of thought when I was 13 or so.

I think I’m slightly less eye-contact-agnostic than I used to be. Maybe I’m better at focusing my attention on a small spot and blocking out everything else? Maybe I’m more aware of small movements of my eyes? Maybe my frame of reference for “making eye contact” has just changed from teachers at the front of classrooms to people sitting on the couch with me, so their eyes are a bigger target? I’m not sure. But eye contact as a specific and obviously identifiable experience makes more sense to me now.

But I do think that the part of your field of vision you’re most specifically “looking at” or focusing on is partly cognitive, not physical. You can move your mental focus without moving your eyes. Or I can.

About meltdowns and dealing with stress

Once when I was little, like maybe first or second grade, my mom tried doing my hair in “rag curls”– braiding and tying it up with fabric scraps while it was wet, then having me sleep on it.

When I first woke up it was of course a huge mess, and for whatever reason that REALLY bothered me. I went in the bathroom and locked the door, and spent what seemed like a long time being viciously disgusted by how my hair looked, sobbing myself silly, calming down slightly and then seeing myself in the mirror again, and repeat.

There was no way I’d be able to untie and detangle it myself, and I wouldn’t let my mom in to do it, partly because I didn’t want anyone to see it and partly just because I was too upset.

This is the only time I remember having a really dramatic meltdown over anything.

So, this is a thing. I have the potential to go around and around in circles thinking about something that upsets me– not venting and then feeling better, not thinking of solutions to a problem, just thinking the same thoughts over and over about something that I can’t stand to think about, and not stopping until I’m totally exhausted. I don’t have screaming meltdowns about it, and I don’t even cry about it that often, but it’s a path that my brain can easily get stuck in.

It sucks. I don’t want it to happen and I don’t enjoy it.

So I don’t. I try not to dwell on things that bother me. If I am going to think about things that bother me, I try to focus on productive things like “what can I do about this” or “what should have been done instead/what should happen next time” or “why is this incorrect” or “why does this bother me”.

Sometimes that takes effort, sometimes it’s basically a reflex and I don’t even think about whether the thing in question would have actually bothered me That Much if I dwelled on it. Mostly I am very good at not dwelling on things.

I’m not sure what flips the switch in my brain between “writing about this will help me think through it” and “writing about this feels like rehashing it pointlessly” but that’s a thing that happens.

So, Sparkly, if you were wondering if I was going to write about recent stuff, I’m not going to at the moment, because… I guess I feel like I don’t have anything more, different, to say about it? And I’m tired, and going back over what I’ve said before feels like work. I might write about it later though.

White lies

I don’t really understand why some autistic people dislike the idea of “white lies” so much. They don’t seem bad or even counterintuitive to me; I feel like they serve a pretty straightforward purpose? Maybe I have too much in common with the robot in this story.

My very concrete and sometimes pedantic approach to evidence and proof coexists with a very abstract, very feelings-and-perceptions-focused approach to “things you should say to people”.

This is about something that happened last night, I am fine

I really hate my blood pressure/temperature regulation/whatever it is that causes me to get dizzy and nauseous and sweating/shivering if I suddenly go from warm to cold (or from very warm to normal room temperature, as last night when I got out from under the blankets.)

A similar thing sometimes happens if part of my body is cold while the rest is warm. Like that time I wore a sweater with a skirt and went outside in cold-ish weather, this past fall.

Re-listening to Hamilton

“The Room Where it Happens” is still the best thing in the world, and “One Last Time” is giving me a greater appreciation of Christopher Jackson’s voice (he’s the one who plays Washington.)

Also it really does take me multiple listens to actually process/recognize/comprehend lyrics, especially rap. It’s not like I actually can’t hear them, unlike my usual experience of auditory processing problems, but there isn’t enough time for the meaning to sink in. So I’m having a lot of “oh, that’s a pun” and “oh, that rhymes too” and “oh, that’s what he was talking about” moments.