The Train Ride to Oblivion.
On some of these posts I am going to talk about how my asbergers syndrome negatively effects my life and how the ‘practice’ (meditation and other mindful techniques) helps me get through it.
I was invited to go to an event in downtown LA. The event was to start at 7pm on a Friday. The plan was to meet at a Sushi place before the show on the 21st floor of a downtown office building. I was told that the people I would be meeting would arrive there around 6, and I was told that they would call me before they leave, around 5:30, and if I was done for work for the day I could leave then. My plan was to get there between 6-6:30, enjoy the view, have a cocktail and eat some sushi and go to the show. I was looking forward to seeing the view. Now, I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, so I have to plan when I eat around the times I travel, I do not want to eat before I do any traveling, but when I get there it is OK. Now on top of that, I am also hypoglycemic, so when I don’t eat, I start to shake and sweat and get nervous.
OK, it is 5:30, no phone call. I assume they are running late and will call me when they eventually leave. I do not want to leave without knowing they have left because I don’t want to be there alone and feel stupid and awkward standing by myself in place full of strangers not knowing what to do with myself (I am not going to introduce myself to a stranger, that would be unthinkable – I’ll explain why in a later post).
OK, 5:45, still no call. I am getting nervous. Concentrate on the breath to stop your thoughts from running and be the observer of your nervousness and do not let it take over you.
OK, 6pm, still no call. I’ll text them and ask when they are leaving. They respond – “You mean to the band – 6:50”
Holy shit, they are at the Sushi place! Now I got to rush and get my shit together. I hate rushing, I’m nervous enough as it is.
On the train I decide to text them. I think carefully how to phrase it – you see the anger is welling up inside me. My emotions are either at 0% to 100% and I can feel the anger meter moving quickly into the red zone.
Why? Because my plan is now fucked up. One of the asberger characteristics is adherence to a plan and any deviation from that plan can cause great stress. I know I would not arrive there until 6:50, and that was when they were planning to leave the Sushi place for the show, so not only is my plan fucked up, but theirs is also. That’s two fucked up plans, that’s twice the angst. I try to be diplomatic in my text, not to be angry or put any one down or insult. I just state that I was expecting a call before you left and was looking forward to seeing the view and plan to stay at the Sushi place for 10-15 minutes after I arrive. I had two passes to the show and I was giving the second one to someone I was meeting there, so they had to wait for me. I send the text and get no response.
I am sitting on the train and the worst case possible scenarios are running through my head. What is the worst case? That when I get there they will insist on leaving for the show right away because it is 6:50 and that was their plan (everyone adheres the plan, right, RIGHT!) What would that mean? That I am shit, I am insignificant, that my feelings and desires are meaningless. If that is what they insist my plan is to tell them to go fuck themselves and I am out of here and I have to except the fact that I have no friends and am not fit to mingle with polite society.
Ok, the anger meter is now at 100% and people are starting to look at me funny. Back to the practice – focus on the breath, observe the anger, do not become absorbed by it. I remind myself that I am getting upset over something in the future that may or may not happen and that is a waste of time. This calms me down greatly, and I am able to enjoy the rest of the ride until the final destination.
Ok, I arrive at the place, I get in the elevator to the 21st floor. I am shaking. In a few moments I am going to find out whether I am piece of shit who’s feelings are insignificant and if that is the case why should I even remain sticking around in this stinking world. That is what’s at stake when I get off this elevator. Sounds rational, doesn't it?
Well I get off. I find my party. I do not yell or throw things, I greet them and explain that I have to eat something and I want to look at the view, AND THAT I WAS EXPECTING A PHONE CALL!!!!
I though I was doing pretty good but apparently not because they could tell I was pretty upset. Well, they help me order the Sushi and give me a swig of tequila and the person who was suppose to call me apologizes. When they were waiting for me to finish my Sushi, I felt great pleasure that I was making them wait when they wanted to go, and I told them. They said ‘Whatever makes you feel better’. It did.
Well, I guess I am not shit. We went to the show and enjoyed ourselves.
I bet you can’t wait to invite me out again.
For another perspective on how aspie's ashere to the plan check out this wonderful blog: "Musings of an Aspie" http://musingsofanaspie.com/2013/02/21/my-no-reflex/
For more information on how to use mindful techniques in stressful situations I suggest the book 'The Power of Now' by Eckhart Tolle: http://www.amazon.com/Power-Now-Guide-Spiritual-Enlightenment/dp/1577314808/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1372599830&sr=1-1