Posted

Why does everyone tell me to breathe when I'm having a panic attack or melt-down?

"Deep breaths, deep breaths!"

I apologise in advance for being annoyed by your attempt to "help" me, but look at it this way: if I'm hyperventilating anyway, do you REALLY think it's a good time to remind me to breathe? Seriously? I'm already doing my best not to pass out as it is. Breathing is literally the LAST THING I CARE ABOUT right then.

"You would be able to calm down if you slowed down your breathing for a minute. Can you try?"

You may as well be asking me if I've done my taxes yet this year, for all the good it does in that situation. (And no, I haven't yet, thanks! I'll get to them as soon as I have enough energy. Just like everything else on my to-do list that never stops growing on a daily basis.)

"Think about the ocean, and breathe slowly like the surf."

I generally do my best to FORGET about breathing as much as possible, because I already have something like a dozen thoughts all vying for attention in my skull, and not a single one of them gives a rotten turnip if I'm having a break-down at the moment, or simply making a cuppa.

But thanks for reminding me to breathe, now I'm stuck doing it voluntarily because you reminded me. Now I'm thinking about it and I have to struggle not to pass out twice as much, because I'm not concentrating on the situation any more, I'm concentrating on not feeling like I'm drowning.

"See, don't you feel better now? All you had to do was relax."

Author
Categories anxiety, mental health

Posted

I don't handle poorly worded or even generic criticism well. This has always been the case, but some of the things going on at work today bring this into stark relief.

Last year (2017) we outsourced our work PBX solution because the one we were using died spectacularly. (The machine hosting our PBX (and all its settings) vanished over night as a RAID controller decided to stop working, making all the data spanning the drives it was hooked to utterly bin-able rubbish.)

My solution was to get us signed up with a local hosted PBX vendor who happened to also be our existing internet provider. This had the benefit of being an existing relationship, so we already knew some of the folks at this other local company, including their CEO. It also meant the old hardware we had been using could be completely abandoned, as I was not relishing continued attempts to rebuild it. I did actually try, but once I saw the RAID controller had bought it, I immediately stopped. I've been down that path before, and it never turns out well. (RAID is amazing, but also deadly when not maintained. I didn't even know the machine USED a RAID controller, as I hadn't built it, only inherited.)

I am still congratulated for the expedience of this switch-over, even almost a year later. I made it happen almost over a weekend. It's already mentioned in gradually less and less grandiose language, however, for some reason. Presumably that's because I'm slowly losing credit for it the more feminine I look? I really don't know.

What I am not apparently congratulated for, is being insistent enough to stick to my guns. The problem is that it isn't possible to stick to my guns in this industry. Not when no one listens to me when I voice my opinions, or actively harangues me for having an opinion.

This happens so regularly I can almost see it coming before it happens now. Picture it...

When we decided to replace our failing comms rack (four switches: two PoE and two 10/100, and two routers), we decided to "go inexpensively" despite my (oft voiced) misgivings about such a short-sighted choice. We reduced from 48 PoE ports alone, to not even that many total, and combined two routers into one, to boot. Why? Perhaps because the aging comms equipment -- and its limitations -- were brought to light once our PBX switch-over was complete: none of the new VoIP phones would stay registered to the network for more than a few hours before they would restart themselves, or act oddly. This continued even after the new phones had been provisioned AC adapters so they wouldn't be running solely off of PoE power.

Now, you might think "she should have raised a flag during the planning meetings for this equipment purchase"! And rightly so! I did in fact point out multiple times that, "if we go through with this we will not be able to run all the ethernet wall drops at once. Is that okay?"

Every time I asked this, I was laughed at, as though I were being overly negative, or needlessly worrying. Or they acted as though I was faulting the plan for being too simple. Every time I wasn't completely shut down, I was told, "that's fine, it's only you and some of the developers who care about ethernet, anyway, it's not a problem. Everyone else can just use wifi!" And of course, every time I asked, because I was not getting the amount of concern back which I felt this issue deserved, I was interrupted, talked-over, or simply ignored. Eventually I stopped trying to repeat this warning, as it seemed obvious to me that it was not the hot-button issue I had assumed it to be.

Of course I was very, very wrong. As I apparently always am when my NT bosses decide they "have enough facts to make a decision". (Which is never true, by the way. And you guys know it.)

All of that back-story brings us to now. You can probably imagine what I'm being asked.

"What do you mean we can't we run all the wall drops at once?!"

I am also foreseeing the response to my answer, which makes me even less inclined to try:

"That's ridiculous. We never agreed to that!"

Thus, I have wisely chosen not to answer. At least not today. I need some time to cool down, first.

I am so used to being talked over or ignored. Treated like a buffoon play-acting at an IT Manager's job. (I'm quite a bit more qualified than the last guy, and they have never asked me if I wish to change my title or re-visit my pay grade, unsurprisingly.)

When do I get to say, "I'm done with this waste of emotional labour, you boys can figure this stuff out yourselves, if you're so damn smart".

Precisely, I don't ever get to say this. Because it's taken as "being a frustrated and/or emotional woman", and one's opinions would be immediately dismissed out-of-hand. Though to be fair, my concerns never made it onto the table in this case. For some reason the boys kept brushing them off, as though their own ideas were more important.

Hey work? If you want me gone, just say so. I'll retire with one week's notice ANY TIME YOU WANT. Seriously.

Author
Categories work, anxiety

Posted

I'm making a little progress at therapy lately. Or rather, maybe I should say that my therapist and mom are making progress. It feels like I'm still precisely where I was before, but they're starting to catch up a little, which is amazing.

Last Friday I reiterated to my therapist, between dabs at my cry-runny nose, that, "I'm autistic. I ID that way whether you or anyone else agrees, because I just am". She ended up asking me to bring my mom in to hear what I was saying, because I suspect she could tell how upset I was at being continually ignored or ridiculed every time I brought this subject up.

In the end I had to go back through some of my "tells", or in allistic talk: "things that prove me autistic". I've mentioned these before, so I won't go into them here. Being hyper-sensitive to almost everything, and sliding immediately into a panic attack when my phone (or literally any phone) rings, is a pretty strong start, and I've proved these things to myself already.

Predominantly, the push-back I seem to get on this relates mostly to my well-being and social stature. Which to me are all pointless to start with, so having them made such a large deal of at every turn mystifies me. What's so special about "being normal" that it's imperative that everyone else see me that way? I'm already transgender and not particularly main-stream in any other way, so I see little value in clinging to useless impressions others may or may not have of me.

Look, maybe you think being autistic is "bad", or "undesirable". That's fair, given how much it's vilified in print, television, and over the air. But, guess what?: I don't feel like my life is destroyed any more by being autistic than I do when I remember I can't sing on key, be the life of the party, or present a TED talk. Those are skills I just don't have, and am not able to learn for one reason or another. Does not being able to learn those make me lazy or inattentive?

No, but people sure seem to believe it gives them the right to make that correlation for me. And to be honest, I'm getting pretty tired of it.

Author
Categories ASD, mental health

Posted

I'm trying lithium carbonate as of yesterday.

It seemed to be going well then, but today I find:

  • Pronounced irritability
  • Tightness in and across chest (very uncomfortable, it's like my rib cage shrunk a few sizes, and all my insides are compressing)
  • Arrhythmia (I have this periodically as a matter of course, but this makes it CONTINUAL)
  • Elevated pulse (~70-80 bpm (usually ~50-60))
  • Increased depression and anxiety
  • Feeling shaky, trembly
  • HEADACHE (fucking fuckity fuck it hurts)
  • Feeling of being extremely cold, even when perfectly warm (tested by taking while I felt comfortable. 20 minutes later I was shivering and "cold", despite nothing changing environmentally)
  • Fatigue (to the point I seriously just want to get in bed and say "fuck every possible day, including this one")
  • Inability to control what I say (seriously, I'm being a horrible person to everyone I encounter, and I LITERALLY CANNOT STOP. It's like my mouth/brain filter is just... gone. And that's something I spent A LOT OF FUCKING TIME perfecting over the years, so I'm understandably quite upset and frustrated. And terrified of myself.)
  • Prone to feeling attacked, even when people are just speaking to me normally (I almost cried because a woman at work said something I misread as being "mean", when she was just stating facts)
  • The same mother fucking stanza from this one song I heard days ago in my head, on repeat, it literally will not stop. This is not unusual for me, but it's SO LOUD today. Like, I can't turn it down or off at all. It's starting to frustrate me, and make me feel a little mad.
  • Unable to control my cussing, apparently. You fuck-tank of shitgiblets.

I have no idea if any of this is even related to the lithium, though. Frustratingly, I'm always a-mental-break-down-away-from-crazytown, more so at this point in the week (Thurs through weekend).

I should also point out that almost IMMEDIATELY after taking a dose, I feel a warm and giddy happiness that seems to kind of wash over me like a snuggly blanket? Only, that doesn't last, as I get mean when it wears off, and that's... apparently within about 20 minutes? I just... why.

Gosh I am sick of my head and being trapped in it... I want out of here really badly.

Author
Categories mental health, depression