Thursday, February 10, 2011

Seven Quick Takes without the pretense

1. I don't know how to start this post. I'm not ready to write it, maybe. But if I wait till I'm ready I'll never write it. So I am taking my courage in my hands and writing.

2. In September I started going to counseling. I put it off for a long time, because...well, because I thought I wasn't sick enough. Because I thought I had to tell my parents.

Then one day I thought, If I wait till I'm ready to tell them I'll never go.

So I went, and I paid in cash, because my mother's name is on my checking account and I didn't want her to ask why I was spending $5 every two weeks on the health center.

I'm sorry, parents.

3. I have an anxiety disorder. Well, I probably have more than one, but my current diagnosis is Anxiety Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. I love the deliciously specific nonspecificness of that term.

4. I am also clinically depressed. Was. I don't know. I like to think I'm getting better, but then days happen where I have to tell myself, "If you don't stop having days like this you have to go back to counseling."

5. I haven't been since the very beginning of December. I'm still trying to figure out what I think of it. The first session, I talked and she listened and I thought it was the best thing ever. The second session, she talked and I listened, and she said all the things I've heard a thousand times before and I thought all the things I'd thought a thousand times before, and I almost didn't go back.

But I had nowhere else to go, so I went back and I said, essentially, No, your answers are not adequate. Give me better ones. I found the answers eventually, but the part I'm not sure about is whether she helped me find them.

I think if nothing else counseling taught me how to put my foot down, how to say, "No, your answers are not adequate."

Then again, I haven't said that sort of thing to anybody else, so maybe I didn't learn my lesson well enough.

6. She thinks I have Asperger's Syndrome too. Or thought it. Maybe she's forgotten all about it by now.

I told her no, I do not have Asperger's. And then over Christmas I read a book. It was about a girl with Asperger's. It was fiction. It was supposed to be escape, you know? And it wasn't. It hurt, because it was the frustration of my whole life condensed into about a hundred pages.

I read a lot of stuff the next few days, and made an account on WrongPlanet.Net, and posted once. But I didn't again because I felt...not at home. What does it say about me that I feel out of place in a place intended for people who feel out of place in the world?

7. Trouble is, I know where I belong. I belong barefoot in a kitchen in Cincinnati, with my head bent down to fit in that spot atop his shoulder that is exactly the right size and shape for my head.

But I can't be there, and it feels like I spend every day with my chest hollowed out because of it, and I want to scream and break things and then curl up and cry, but God says quietly, "Wait," and so I wait. Even though I really want to collect everybody who ever said that Scott and I shouldn't get married (because we're too young, or too poor, or too full of problems) and face them and stomp my foot and say, "No, your answers are not adequate. Give me better ones."

And then God says, for the hundredth time, "Behold, I make all things new," and I can't say that's not an adequate answer to this crazy thing that my life has become. I have to end with that, even though it's too saccharine, even though I don't want to be pious like that, because that's what He has been using as the constant refrain of the last impossibly hard year of my life.

All things.

Even me.


I am not linking to Jen this week, because I want to post this now before I wake up and realize it's probably a bad idea.


Theocentrica said...


Calah said...

A few thoughts come to mind. I have no idea if they will be useful or helpful, but I hope they will be either or both.

First, you are very brave and wonderful for saying, "your answers are not adequate." I would never have done that; I would have assumed the problem was with me and not the answers. That is a very, very good sign that you are on the right road to...what? Self-discovery? I hate that phrase. Learning to live at peace with yourself? I dunno.

Second, the counselor may not have helped you find the answers, but it seems as though her wrong answers at least forced you to look harder. For that reason alone I'd say she helped, and you might consider continuing on.

Third, you may indeed have Asberger's. But, well, so what? As I understand it, Asberger's is characterized by awkwardness in social interaction and a narrow set of interests? What kind of diagnosis is that? I guarantee you that I don't have Asberger's and I feel like a complete idiot most of the time. And I like literature, a lot of it, and all the time.

I'm not trying to make light of the situation, really. I'm just saying, I think that modern psychology's habit of grouping behavioral patterns and referring to them all as "disorders" is highly disturbing and causing real damage. If the diagnosis, the book you read, and the information you've gathered on Asberger's helps you come to terms with behavioral issues and learn to deal with them, fantastic. If it makes you feel weird and labeled, then forget it.

Do realize that I make these comments with the full awareness that I cannot and do not understand the depth of what you are going through. I'm terribly sorry for whatever it is that's causing you to feel so out of place...but, well, in a very real way you are out of place. You are a witty, intelligent, thoughtful, caring and passionate girl in a time of apathy and short skirts. Always remember that it may be the culture around you that has gone crazy and not you.

As for waiting to get married...yeesh. That's a hard one. I did things the wrong way around and we've had a tough marriage because of it. But I've known lots of kids who got married in their sophomore and junior years who've done great. They've been poor, sure. I went to a liberal arts school, we're all poor. But I can't see that being married did anything but let them be poor together, and happier because of the togetherness of it.

That being both have a real duty to honor your parents. So, well, I dunno. I would just hate to see your relationship suffer because of long absences and too much waiting. Like Persuasion. That book breaks my heart.

I hope any of this rambling is helpful. If it's not, please dismiss it. If it's hurtful in any way, I'm terribly, terribly sorry. But I'll keep you in my prayers. And I wish I could give you a hug.

Anonymous said...

I think you're very brave for posting this. It takes a lot of courage to deal with these issues. I really admire you for it.

The Sojourner said...

Mari: *HUG*

Calah: Thank you. I am still working out how comfortable I am with various diagnoses and labels and whatnot. Even before I thought I had Asperger's, when I was reading up on it for different reasons that I won't go into here, I was more in the camp of it not being a *disorder* so much as a different way of approaching the world. I still think that; I would never want to be "cured" of the things that make me Aspie-ish. Getting cured of anxiety and depression, on the other hand, I could go for.

I think I hoped at one point that having a label would help me find other people who are *like me*--but there aren't a lot of (for example) novel-writing, devoutly Catholic Aspies in the world, or even in the Asperger's community, and I'm relearning that God gave me a really awesome group of friends to meet my need for support (most of them novel-writing, nearly all devoutly Catholic [the one exception I can think of is a devout Protestant], one or two Aspies). Not a big group, but enough.

As for obedience and waiting...oh, could I write a whole post on that. A series of posts. Maybe I will someday. Right now I'm still in the midst of learning patience (that was always my greatest weakness, impatience) and trusting that if God calls me to something He will open doors and soften hearts so it can actually happen. (Meanwhile I jiggle knobs to see if He's decided to open them yet.)

Thank you for the prayers and the virtual hug your words provided.

The Sojourner said...

Anon: Thanks.

Salome Ellen said...

As a fellow anxiety diagnosee, I ask "Did the answers -- before or after -- contain Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?" Because CBT saved my sanity and probably my life, and made things a whole lot easier for my husband and kids. This book was the key, and you can use it with or without talk therapy. I had both, but the knowledge in the book is what gave me the power (and tools) to get better.

The Sojourner said...

Salome Ellen: I've had that book recommended. Read a few pages and couldn't get into it. I might have to try again, though. (I had to give it back to the library when the semester ended.)

Melanie B said...

I've been trying to post a comment on this for forever and I keep getting distracted or losing it. Anyway, I was struck first by the post itself and then even more by this comment: "there aren't a lot of (for example) novel-writing, devoutly Catholic Aspies in the world." And I keep coming back to wishing you could meet my sister. Who is a novel-writer, devoutly Catholic, probably somewhere on the Aspie spectrum, anxious, depressed, and probably one of the coolest people I know. I'm definitely with you on the not so much a disorder as a different way of processing the world/ different sort of mental wiring. Thus the idea of a "spectrum" only people on the far end are really disordered in that the traits interfere in their ability to function. More people have traits that make them different but able to function and cope, albeit in sometimes unusual ways.

Anyway, I've sent my sis(who by the way is a Theresa too) a link to your blog and I hope she follows through and writes you at some point.