One of the worst things about lasting anxiety attacks is that they often lock you into the place/stat you are in, taking away your chances to take a breath and recover.

When you’re already ‘barely hanging on’, you will always instinctively choose the path of least resistance = the path that will bring less new anxiety. Which will also meant sticking to the ‘normal’ or the ‘routine’ that brought you into the place with anxiety in the first place.

For example, if you had your anxiety attack start during the night and last almost all the way till morning, preventing you from sleeping and making you feel like shit when you’re alarm trying to get you up for work, it would be a logical decision to call in sick and rest at home for a day, or at least take first half of the day off. However, the amount of anxiety involved in ‘picking up the phone to call work and tell them that you’re not feeling well and will take a sick day’ involves 2-3 times more anxiety than ‘make yourself get up and go to work as usual (even though there are people there)’. So you get up, no matter how bad you feel. Because, chances are, the worse you feel, the less chances there are to find strength to pick up the phone.

The same happens when you’re already at work and have an attack there. On one hand, you’re clearly not well, and your body tells you that it can’t continue on, and you need to get out. On the other hand, breaking the ‘everyday normal’, getting up to explain to people that you need to go home, bringing attention to yourself by doing all that, too often feels like something that will bring more anxiety than you can already handle. So again you sit there trying to imagine which is worse.

Getting out of your anxiety attack by yourself is very difficult, because it feels like quicksand – as in any kind of struggle you imagine attempting seems like it will only suck you deeper. It feels safer to stay still where you are and save your energy. And it’s really hard to know which of the options is actually the correct one this time around.

This past year, I’ve been trying to read some books on Asperger’s, but wasn’t really able to do a good job of it.
I just can’t seem to handle it. I’d like to hope, ‘yet’.
I read articles and impersonal descriptions online just fine. And I have Tony Attwood’s book too, and perhaps I should have tried to read that one first…
But the full “Guide to Aperger’s” is big and serious, and I thought I’d ease myself into it by reading much thinner personal accounts… like “Pretending to be Normal” Liane Holliday Willey or even “Aspergirls” by Rudy Simone… and that’s where I thought wrong. I don’t know if I’m just too bitter right now, or am constantly in an unstable place.

Reading about mildly confusing but generally supported childhoods gets me angsty and snuffling after every paragraph, even when I later read that usually the difference is only that what I went through in elementary/middle school, others still went through, but perhaps somewhere closer to college age. But then the chapter when she begun talking about friends had me in tears 2 seconds in and I almost flung the book against a wall as hard as could… which was rather unfortunate because I also for some reason thought that reading it in small portions during lunch at work would be a good idea.
Whatever it is, I can hardly read these personal accounts without getting frustrated or tearing up, and there’s nothing good about these tears. They are no tears of relief, sympathy, or empathy. They are bitter, and resentful (even if not towards the words and those who wrote them), and exhausted. And I really don’t like myself like this. I don’t want to be this person tearing up 20 times a day from some kind of self-pity or what is this even. I think Simone wrote in the Introduction how it made her exited to read these accounts by other women, because they finally allowed her to recognize herself in others, or identify with someone, and I get that. And I wish I could feel like that too. I wish I would just read these to learn more about others and myself, to maybe even get some hints that could help working through it, to understand things a little better. The problem is, is while I can identify with most of related issues, and am perfectly aware of the fact that each person is different and even if share some one ‘thing,’ there is no way for any other experiences to have any overlap, I still… just can’t handle it, apparently. And it is not really about perceiving my experiences ‘worse’ than the way someone else had it. Though, to be honest, I don’t even know what is this about, really.
And there are plenty of people who are not diagnosed until well into adulthood, and say things like ‘I wasn’t diagnosed until my child was,’ but I’m still in that bitter corner where I just want to narrow my eyes and say “yeaaah, the point is you still managed to get married(likely) and have those children though, didn’t you?” And the marriage and children is not the point, it’s the fact of being on the ‘inside’ of the human society, and having enough social abilities, where you’re even able to do things like that.

You can’t break down if you’re already broken throughout. And you can’t lose your shit if you don’t have your shit together consistently.

It caught me a little off guard with how simple and true this is.

I laugh like a maniac. Louder and longer than necessary, in many cases. And when I do I often ‘float’ outside my body, and get a little scared watching myself laugh because it feels unnatural, and like I can’t control myself, and like I try to laugh too hard because I’m either afraid I’m not doing it right or that it’s going to be the last time.

Me, sitting up an saying to myself in a stern no-nonsense voice, practically biting out:

“And now I’m going to sit up, and take my medicine, and go brush my face and wash my teeth and go to bed and not think about all this mess at all!”

…and I can’t even talk myself down without sounding like and idiot. True story.

Liane Holliday Willey Pretending to be Normal


Linguistics and the act of speaking itself, have always been among my keenest interests, but I did not become immersed in the treasures they awarded until I studied them in high school. Words, and everything about them, hold my concentration like nothing else. On my over-stuffed bookshelf sit several thesauruses, a half dozen dictionaries, famous quotations books, and a handful of personal reflection journals. Language appeals to me because it lends itself to rules and precision even more often than it does to subjectivity. Put together in the right sequence, taking into account things like tone, perspective, implications and intent, a writer can tweak and bend words until they say precisely what they should. I am fascinated with the opportunities words provide. I love everything about them, especially the power they yield. Some words can please my eyes, given that they have the symmetry of line and shape I favor. Other words can fascinate me by the melodies they sing when they are spoken. Properly handled – with care most of the time – words can work miracles on my sensibilities and my understanding of the world, because each one has its own personality and nuance and its own lesson to teach.

Not everything about this resonates with me. But what it does is remind me of that feeling of absolutely needing words to be right. Feeling them as images and physical shapes, and getting very frustrated when I can’t manage to find the right words to form the right pictures, and when people ask ‘but what is “right”?’ like I’m preoccupied with something that shouldn’t matter… Or why languages fascinate me and I feel like I need to learn more and more of them all the time.


Sometimes, the care I give to words can throw me into an obsessive compulsive ritual. I typically end up spending far too much time selecting which word to use and too much time reworking a sentence so that it looks and feels and sound right. This all translates into fixation that can grind my thought process to halt. When I get like this, I cannot concentrate on anything else, not a thing, until I have found the perfect term or phrase I need. This tendency can make my experiences with the written word tedious, at least in terms, at least in terms of time and other missed opportunities, but never meaningless or futile.

Unfortunately, in my case, I am not in the place yet where I would be able to say that last bit, about it not being futile. Also because sometimes, when I try to think about it too much, I lose track of all words, their meanings lose all colours and get all mixed up in my head. To the point where something completely different from what I intended comes out, and I can’t even tell anymore. I’m chasing myself between these two extremes all the time.

The point is, that even on those shittier of days of mine, the image that still carries me through those shittier days is the one of me finally holding at least one of my finished books in my hands. And it’s not about whether people are actually going to read it, or whether I’m going to try to get it published in the traditional way or put some money away and work out how self-publishing works. It’s about making it solid, and putting it in right words that will paint the right images and connect into that story that I’m trying to tell. And that voice in my head that keeps telling me that I will never able to do it because I’m broken in the head and can’t even connect words in sentences properly (unless it’s an angsty blog post) can just go and… suck on something nasty.

When I finally find the right words and manage connect them in the right way for the story, reading them back, feeling the tiny parts of it really come alive, makes me feel like home.

Which always reminds me of the Alfred Kazin quote.


“One writes to make home for oneself, on paper.”

For someone who doesn’t really have anything else that feels like home, this is sort of important.