About autisticaplanet

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Welcome to a blog written by an autistic adult woman in her late 30's using words and images to advocate acceptance as well as awareness of those with life-limiting autism spectrum disorder. I hope you will gain compassion as well as knowledge in your visit. Thank you.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Loneliness, Seeking, Trauma, Isolation: A Neverending Cycle

Beyond broken: photograph of a window with broken panes double exposured with barren trees against a gray sky. Credit: Allison M. Kramer

Content Warning: Abandonment, ableism and suicide, mental illness, trauma

On my last blog site, I wrote about having a friendship with my boss (which failed due to allistic behavior and my official ending of that friendship via a handwritten note).
I've written about how making and maintaining friendships is nearly impossible, because others don't enjoy spending time around someone who can't go most public places (resturants, movie theaters) due to sensory overload.
 I actually had a few friends for a few years in middle school and high school.
They were the initiators. One girl commented on how spicy the pizza in the cafeteria was. After commenting on the cafeteria food, I asked if we could be friends. She introduced me to another girl who in turn, introduced me to another friend.
Unfortunately, there was socio-economic inequality. There were the dads drowning in alcohol who ruined sleepovers by yelling and even hitting their kids in front of me. Those images haunt me today.
I never figured out until my thirties how it must have felt for those girls to come over into a loving home with a strong and kind dad (maintaining his sanity by sitting by the fire in the basement while giggling and music ensued upstairs).
As I've mentioned, my autism worsened during my late fifteenth and sixteenth year. I could no longer withstand shopping malls or be in a house where a dog was present.
By late junior year, one friend asked me if she could go sit with the other kids, as she was tired of getting teased by the other kids for being friends with me. I told her she was free to do whatever she wanted to.
She did leave while I finished lunch with my Beanie Baby Whale on the table beside me.
Due to a knife threat, I wasn't in school past October of my senior year. I was surprised when my former friend showed up with my cap and gown that my mom had ordered. It had been sent to the high school and somehow, my friend wound up bringing it over. I still sought friendship, so I asked if she wanted to drive me to graduation rehearsal. I thought we had a good time, like things were back to normal, but at the end of the actual ceremony, she barely stuck around for photos. She isn't smiling in any of them.
A few weeks later, I was sitting near the door of the supermarket. My mom was checking us out. The line was too noisey.
I saw my (former?) friend approach my mom. I looked over and waved. She immediately turned her back to me.
I had made a boyfriend (really, enacted an obsession) over the winter. I met him in the juvenile psychiatric unit where I spent a week after my first suicide attempt.
I was still undiagnosed autistic, labeled schizo-affective and as a result, put on anti-psychotics.
We spent a little time at each other's houses and even talked on the phone a bit. Looking back now, I can say that I saw him as a social experiment. I liked him as a friend, but I wanted to experiment with the themes of domination and sensuality that raged in my adolescent, autistic brain.
There was a pool table in the basement. He came over one day and told me that he was now seeing the friend who turned her back on me. He gave me details regarding how they spent their time together.
I was so relieved that he wasn't any longer interested in me romantically that I never took offense and defended my former friend.
He must not have liked that, because he left soon thereafter. I got a message on the answering machine that he was completely done with me. I felt relief.
He had his own battles with (again) unstable home life, ADHD and depression. All of that was too much for me to handle.
I didn't have any friends that lasted long enough as a child. There was one girl (the woman I mentioned bwas my boss for one summer in 2012) who played over at my house in the summer once or twice and I did the same. She basically ignored me in school, or if she did talk, it was with an air of superiority i.e. "How are WE feeling today, Allison?"
Not including my friend from The Association for Individual Development whom I met in 1998, also the initiator, I have never made any more friends.
I find making friends confusing and intense. I feel every emotion at it's peak. When I am slighted, I get enraged to the point of meltdown or shutdown.
I am caught in a Catch 22-l can't trust others due to past expriences and I am seriously lonely. There is too much evidence to suggest risking vulnerability.
Loneliness is now considered an "epidemic". I am told in various news articles about how much shorter my life will be and how much damage I'm doing to my body-not by smoking, drinking or consuming massive amounts of junk food, but by being isolated and lonely.
I can't access my community as there is nothing free of screams and barks. Everything outside my home is a glaring variable. I never was able to regain the sensory stamina I had before 1996, despite professional treatments like AIT and TRT.
I need to clarify that babies and dogs, along with fireworks were still traumatic, even to the point of meltdown, but my sensitivity level increased greatly.
I was almost a total home bound person from 1998-2010, only emerging for trips to my grandparents (both deceased now) with my mom (now also deceased and with my dad in heaven).
I do believe that God did intervene in my life in June, 2010. I have written about this in another post. That was how the idea to search the Internet for earmuffs came about. I honeslty wasn't thinking about how to get back to going out again. God lead me. Whatever your view of Christianity is, I am certain in mine.
I was blessed to have had mostly positive psychotherapy from 2006-2014. Sadly, my therapist left the practice without notice. It happened during the final months of my mom's life. Further trauma of abandonment and evidence of a never ending cycle.
I'm used to people either abusing me, dropping out of my life or eventually dying.
The dynamics of a romantic relationship honestly freak me out. I coudln't imagine looking after someone else when I cannot fully look after myself. There is the addition of their family and friends. There are social functions to attend like Christmas, weddings, graduations and barbeques. There is the expectation of physical intamacy. This is an area of my life that will remain unexplored.
The trauma of engaging with people over the past 38.5 years has taken it's toll. The isolation, abandonment, bullying and gaslighting has left its mark alongside the sensory sensitivity.
I am fortunate to have 3 people in my life who care about my well being, but I can only claim actual friendship with one who is 82. 
 The other two are family members with whom I wasn't close with personally.  They have looked out for me out of familial piety and reverence for my mom, and for that I am grateful.
But those three people are anywhere between fifty something and eighty something. How will I withstand the relationships I will be forced to make in the future (most likely social service workers and medical staff).
It scares me to contemplate living in a world where I am not loved and there is no one to love.
It greives me that I, at times, became in action not unlike the allistics who took their abelist mindsets out on me. I admit still struggling against retaliation and maintaining forgiveness.
As an actually autistic woman who wants more than anything to hang onto the sanity and freedoms I do have, I will risk an early death by loneliness than reaching out to someone and having a bad reaction-as in harming them or myself.

Addendum:

In reflection, I find I should mention that I live with my sister in a midwestern home on a street blessedly removed from small children as the subdivision is 50 years old. Finances do dictate that we will have to move in the next few years.

I only see another human (my sister) and actually talk to them for a total of 10-15 minutes a day. She does take a day here and there and watch a movie with me or take me to a forest preserve. A ray of light in the coalmine of isolation and resulting depression.

I talk to my friend via phone who lives an hour away from me, once a week. I have written another post regarding telephone policy.

I have an aunt I see or text on occasion.

I rarely leave home as there is noplace (other than where I have already mentioned) accessable.

I've lost Medicaid, so affording another therapist is not an option.
I fear telling my psychiatrist the truth out of past experience with horrible drug side effects and bodily/psychological harm by mental health staff in various locations.

Social media: I find online communication even more frustrating as I can't interpret vocal inflection, which is something my brain prioritizes over body language or eye-contact.
I keep on praying through the pain, knowing that God is with me and this is not as good as life gets.