Sleepless Nights

My husband and I moved back into his mother’s apartment building in October 1990. My son was nearly two years old, and I still didn’t have a job.  Things looked up when my brother told me of an opening for a pharmacy technician at the hospital.  He worked in the pharmacy as a technician and was good friends with the supervisor.  All I had to do was apply for my technician’s license, and I would get the job.

I applied the middle of November and was able to start a couple of weeks before Christmas.  I stressed a little bit since I needed a babysitter for my son and all I had was my husband’s family.  I was fortunate I only had to have them babysit until the beginning of January.  He turned two on January third, and the daycare center at my job accepts children over the age of two. My husband continued his disappearing acts. He would finally show up days later, reeking of booze and verbally abusing me.  He left our son alone.  I could ignore him since I had a job to go to and make plans to support my son and me.

I was so nervous about starting work.  I never could hold a job since I had Asperger’s which caused all kinds of chaos.  I wish I understood back then what I had so I could have gotten help.  I always thought I couldn’t hold a job because of abuse or lack of confidence.  I was employed thirty hours a week, but still qualified for health insurance.  Life seemed to be looking up.  I was dead wrong.

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Out of the Frying Pan-Into the Fire

It’s October of 1990, and I had been back with my first husband for a few months.  I regretted my decision to go back to him after my mom wanted my son and me to leave.  My dad couldn’t take us in because my brother lived in his house and there wouldn’t have been enough room.  No other family could take us.  I hit a low point and decided to secretly get in contact with my husband to see if I could come back to him.

My husband helped me pack up my stuff while my mom was at work.  I left her a note telling her I was going.  Life for my son and I was hell with my husband.  He was the same way as when I left him after our son was born.  He took off days at a time and left us with no money.  Thankfully, I had a little money in a bank account in my name, but it was depleting quickly.  We moved from place to place because of not paying rent.  My husband would work enough so we could get another apartment and food.  He would have sober moments, but it never lasted.

He would get drunk, come home and get verbally abusive towards me.  I took it, knowing I had nowhere to go.  One day, after our fourth place of living at, my husband disappeared for days.  He was supposed to be working at a roofing job but didn’t come home.  My bank account near empty to where there were about five dollars in it.  There was no food in the house, so I had no choice but to take out the money and close the account.  I had plenty of diapers still left for my son, but he needed to eat.  I went to the store and bought hot dogs and milk.  I figured he could at least get his dairy and some meat.

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Challenges of Rejection

I feel like garbage most days.  I think between being perimenopausal and having Asperger’s my body and mind get taxed.  I fight to not get into the depressive mode to not do anything.  I found writing is my outlet to take my mind off of the pain.  It’s interesting I have written new poems daily for the past month.  I probably missed a couple of times here and there, but I’ve been consistent.  It’s been challenging since my brain is in a constant fog.  I churn the poems out and somehow people like them on social media.

I get scared of putting my work out there since I have low self-esteem.  I push to do it because it’s the only way to overcome my fear of rejection.  One social media site, in particular, I gain followers, and then they unfollow me.  I go through the gambit of what did I do wrong, what didn’t they like about my poetry.  I posted my blog a few times on this same site and saw followers unfollow.  Again, I questioned what did I do wrong?  Finally, this week, I have trained myself to stop looking at the number of people unfollowing me, and post my work without worrying about it.

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My Blanket

I remember my security blanket.  I can’t recall when I got it as a child, but it brought me comfort.  A person with Asperger’s tends to latch on to an item that makes us feel secure.  Mine was a blanket; I carried everywhere I went except at school or a friend’s house.  My parents accepted my need to carry the blanket around the house.

It comforted me in times of feeling anxiety, which happened a lot around my mom.  I especially loved my blanky when it got washed.  I would caress it between my fingers and rub my nose in it for hours.  This behavior comes across as weird and abnormal in the neurotypical world, but for us Aspie’s, this is comforting and normal.

As I stated, my mom had no problem with the blanket.  When my parents got separated the final time, I got to take it with me.  I held that blanket more often once we arrived in Chicago.  The adjustment was traumatizing, and I clutched my blanky as often as possible.

My mom tried to enroll me in the public school but withdrew me when the superintendent told her because of my high grades; I would be bussed over an hour away to a magnet school.  Thankfully, she turned down the request.  Instead, she enrolled me in the Catholic school.  The same one I attended when my parents first separated when I was six years old. Oh, joy.  My anxiety went through the roof, and my blanky and I did not separate at all at my grandma’s house.

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My First Separation

 

My first marriage at the tender age of seventeen was a mistake.  In spite of my mother forcing the issue because I was pregnant and it was the correct thing to do.  It was absolute hell.  We were together for three years, but I spent a total of a year and a half with him.  The first time I separated from him was right after our son was born.  He disappeared for days leaving me to care for our son.

I had gotten a botched episiotomy and could barely sit or stand for long periods of time.  The apartment building my mother in law owned could care less about the maintenance.  Drug addicts were roaming the halls while the inside had rats and cockroaches galore. Plus the heat wouldn’t work half the time.  Not a healthy place especially for a newborn.  It was January and quite cold, and of course, the radiator heat would not kick in.  It was the middle of the night, and I was too tired and sore to seek out my mother-in-law to fix it.

Suddenly, water began to spout out of the radiator.  The water drained all over the floor, and I didn’t know if it was scalding.  I started to cry not knowing what to do.  I left the pool of water and decided to try to sleep.  I barely drifted off, when the baby began to cry wanting his bottle.  I edged myself out of bed because of my soreness, and carefully walked around the water.  I decided as I fixed the bottle I would contact my mom a little later on the whole situation.

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Working While Having Asperger’s

 

On Monday I am starting a new part-time job.  It is a cleaning position where the company sends people to clean in various facilities.  My facility is located two minutes from my house.  Thankfully, I have been inside the place a few months back as a temp worker.  However, my anxiety is going through the roof.

I keep imagining scenarios in my mind. I keep trying to picture what I need to do and how to get it done promptly. I wonder how much I will mess up and disappoint the company.  People with Asperger’s deal with this type of anxiety all the time. Aspie’s wonder if they will measure up.  We strive to be perfect, but in doing so, we over think everything.

My brain gets me in trouble most of the time in the workplace.  I can never hold on to a job for an extended period.  It depends on the job and what I had to do that determined how long I stayed.  The longest I stayed in a position is 2 1/2 years.  I worked as a pharmacy technician. The shortest I stayed at a job was two hours, and I walked out without telling anyone.

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Grandma’s Jealousy

I was about to finish up freshman year of high school when my mom broke the news.  Grandma is selling the house and supposedly going to help my mom get her a place.  I thought, wow that is out of the blue.  What it was about, is my grandmother was jealous my mom and I went to Hawaii the previous year and decided she should also go.  She had little to no cash.  All the equity is locked in the house.  If she wanted to go, she had to sell the home.

My life was about to get turned upside down once again.  It had been four years since my parents separated but still no divorce.  My mom ate all the money from the sale of the motel, so she had nothing to buy a home.  She believed my grandmother was going to help her.  She found out the hard way… my grandmother, her mother, was a lying, manipulative witch.

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More Asperger Traits

Internally, being a person with Asperger’s is complete hell.  The internal battle is neverending, and at times I want to give up. My mind alone races about two hundred miles per hour.  Sleeping at night is a luxury not easily found for us Aspie’s.  And even if I were to fall asleep, I dream nonstop.  I read somewhere the typical person barely remembers their dreams.  I wish I could forget most of mine.  My dreams are all in color and vivid. I can recall dreams from my earliest childhood.

My imagination was off the charts.  I imagined I was a male dog named Pete.  I played this role from the time I was three or four and stopped once I started school.  I would role play while laying in bed at night and drive my sister crazy.  She would get annoyed because I talked out loud and she was trying to sleep.

I would play with dolls some of the time, but I enjoyed playing with my brother’s trucks. Aspie’s can gravitate towards gender opposite things.  I always considered myself a tomboy even though my mom would try to force me to act more like a girl.  I hated anything related to shopping, grocery, clothes, etc…  I thought it was boring and it brought on a lot of anxiety when my parents would take me.

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Giving Birth at Seventeen

I screamed at the top of my lungs.  “Do the breathing techniques I showed you,” as the nurse held my hand.  “The more you fight the contractions, the longer you’ll be in labor.  Let your body push the baby out.”  I remember that nurse as clear as day and that was almost thirty years ago.  I was a scared seventeen-year-old just married a few months living with an abusive husband. It was January 3rd, 1989.

My husband and I were on and off with separation since we wed September 1988.  I was attempting to study for my G.E.D before Christmas break. I was supposed to be finishing my senior year of high school, but pregnancy happened.  I promised my family I would earn my degree and graduate no matter what it took.  It was not easy because my husband was abusive.  He would leave me alone with no food and money to pay bills.  I wasn’t working; I spent my time taking classes and studying.  When my husband would be home, he usually was drunk and verbally abusive.

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Hawaii Bound

My eighth-grade graduation was coming up, and my mom wanted her and me to go on a trip.  She received settlement money from the motel selling as part of the separation from my dad. She wanted to splurge on something nice, even though she was blowing through the money like crazy.  I told her I would have been content going to Mackinac Island in the upper Michigan peninsula.

Nope.  Mom wanted to go big.  She insisted that we should go to Hawaii.  I wasn’t all that thrilled because my mind believed there were tarantulas and other poisonous what not on the islands.  She pushed the issue not because it was what I wanted to do but what she wanted.  There was no convincing her otherwise, so she planned the trip two weeks after I graduated.

It was my first long plane trip.  I took plenty of plane rides between where I lived in Canada to Chicago which usually took approximately three hours total flying.  Hawaii was eight hours from Chicago, and it was a nonstop flight.  We arrived sometime in the afternoon Hawaiian time.

Mom set it up that we would tour three of the islands.  The first island we visited was Oahu. One of our stops was to see Pearl Harbor.  It is a somber sight.  As we ferried towards the memorial, I had the sense of uneasiness.  We disembarked off the boat and unto the memorial where no one said a word.  I looked down the one side of the open area and could see the USS Arizona.  I wanted to leave.  I think the Asperger’s in me could sense the travesty.  At one point, I felt as though I had to puke.  I was relieved to leave and head back.

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