Tuesday, September 13, 2016

9-13-2016-- Autism and the Catch-22

Both of my adult children are on the autistic spectrum, enough that is inhibits them from living a normal, everyday life.  I have confidence that that they will get past this swamp they are currently in, and find a good place for their talents in society.  It may just take them a while.

Their spectrum disorder is unique to each of them.  One of my kids is a fast thinker, a pacer, while the other is smart but slow, and lethargic. Both have extreme social anxieties.

It is interesting to note that autism moves genetically through the male line, like one's sex.  This doesn't mean that a father has autism, only that the genetic code is located in his genes and is passed on to his children.  This means that somewhere deep in my genetic code the specific bits and bytes of autism rest in my genes.

Once we looked at it, my wife instantly recognized that I was also on the spectrum, just not to the same degree as my children.  I have strange social anxieties, I get overwhelmed by people and when pushed too far I am explosive, verbally.

In the past, someone pushing me too far in an argument would cause me to explode.  But lately it is overwork that builds up my stress until a small trigger will cause me to collapse.  Stress can also cause me to wipe away part of my function, such as memory or finishing simple tasks (like closing a car door).

The answer is simple: don't work too hard.   Yep.  No problem.

Except for me.  I feel that I need to work because my work is saving people's lives.  If I don't work, people die.  Pretty simple equation.

But if I work too hard, then I lose the volunteers I have because I am too explosive.

What I'd really like to do is find someone else to do this work, to take my place   That way, I know the work is done, even differently than I would do it, and I could seek a life of balance.

I don't think that I can find someone to take over my organization, though.  I'm not sure.  I set it up in a weird way, to accommodate my social anxieties and personal issues.

Honestly, I feel trapped.  That I can't morally quit, but I can't morally continue, either.  I do overwork.  And I do explode.  But the thought of quitting gives me shivers.  I don't know which I fear more.

I don't know if I said this before, but I daydream about being paralyzed, or about having a stroke.  So I can be rendered incapable, and the choice is taken away from me.  I no longer have to work, and the lives lost cannot be my fault.  That's the only way I see out of this place I've trapped myself.


Moon Runner said...

interesting read
-Moon Runner

Camela Hicks said...

wow steve. what an incredible post. it awoke some very powerful feelings in me, particularly at the end where you made such an admission so openly. I hope something will shift that will reignite the joy in life. I wish I had any power or means to make that happen for you.