I would never claim that I have a hard life or that things are unfair, whilst it certainly isn’t easy and there have been some straight up horrible bits, I am in many ways incredibly lucky.
That said I feel like I’m on a bungee cord above the opening of a volcano, one minute I am soaring high and soaking in the positive feelings and enjoying the view then in what feels like an instant I start to plummet into the fiery heart of the volcano. In try to grab for anything and everything but every handhold flies by evading my grasp. The molten centre is coming to get me and no matter how hard I try the meltdown engulfs all. Hours later I climb from debilitating, scorching hell and crawl back into the light to rejoin the world.
Once I was told that it takes 10 times longer to regulate than it does to becoming disregulated, this may be true for some but it isn’t for me. It definitely takes much longer, a shutdown can take from 30mins to 4-6 hours to recover from a meltdown takes 2 days at best and often more than a week to fully recover and at the moment I feel like I recover have a few good days or maybe a week before something happens that sends me spiralling back down again. It’s like it’s a routine and that it’s becoming a fixed part of my routine.
How do I break the cycle, well to start with I thought it was time to start be more active again so exercise came back into my life rapidly followed by a hernia which I now need surgery to repair. Now I would like to think I cope with pain and illness well that I in no way automatically default to anything that’s wrong being life threatening and that I am calm in the face of the unknown. Well I might like to think it and I might be like that when helping others but with me not even close, reality does not come between me and a high quality 4K, Ultra HD, 3D fantasy of what is actually happening.
So last Monday evening, two days after squash I am sat in a hospital waiting room, my son is having an MRI on his brain and eye and my wife is with him, this is a blessing because I’m not sure I could tolerate the noise and a pain because it takes 40 minutes and I’m sat helplessly waiting. That’s when the pain started, joined by its close personal friend nausea. These sensations are not new to me, I to have a close personal friend called anxiety and pain and nausea often join anxiety and I when we are hanging out. The problem this time is it feels subtly different.
I’m alone in the waiting room so I take the opportunity to have a look at my belly. At this point I should point out that I have an outtie belly button, if you don’t know what one of these is or you haven’t seen one it’s like a little button instead of the hole that most people have. Well this little button that I had lived my whole life with and that had caused my a great deal of embarrassment as a child and teenager was gone. There was nothing there just a shallow dip in the middle of my stomach, obviously at this point I thought “that’s interesting maybe I shaould make an appointment to see the doctor if things stay like this and it still hurts”. Sorry that’s what I wish I’d thought, what I actually thought was “aaaaahhhhhh, something has gone horribly wrong”.
I then did what anybody would do when facing a medical issue with their friend anxiety screaming at them about how imminent death is and how painful said death will be, I googled painful belly button. Google offered to tell me about the non serious things that could cause this but we weren’t interested in that. It was clear that death maybe coming and I needed to know how, when, why and where. Now I know that google is your friend when this is the sort of information you are looking for and I would be the first to advise anyone to not go searching google for medical answers on your own. It would be fair to say that the advice I give others and what I do myself do not always match up.
After 20 minutes of searching and readingz I had made a rational diagnosis for my symptoms, I had an umbilical hernia. The next day I saw the doctor and turns out I did have and umbilical hernia and the doctor referred me to a surgeon. That should be that right, aside from the anxiety that comes from the process of having surgery which is considerable and meltdown worthy in its own right, I knew I wasn’t dying.
So it’s now 1:30 am and I am lying in bed having given up on sleep scripting my surgery and it’s outcome. Anxiety is obviously around to help out with this and has asked fear, paranoia guilt over to help out. We collectively have a motto, “If it is possible then it will happen and if it is impossible then it will find a way”. After hours of solid planning it seemed obvious that I would go for sugery to fix the hernia, whilst this was happening they would discover that there was a growth causing the hernia and try to remove it, this would cause complications and whilst these only made life unpleasant for a few weeks I would clearly go on to fight a valiant but losing battle to cancer.
What complete nonsense, I know it as I suspect does everyone else. I would not be unreasonable to suggest that I seek support to help me deal with these clearly unhelpful and fanciful thoughts (you’ll be pleased to hear I am). No matter how much I know that  none of this will happen I can’t think this without having the chorus of “you can’t be sure” going through my head. The net result of this is that I feel somewhat crappy physically and emotionally it currently takes very little to start the downward plunge to the molten liquid that will engulf me in another meltdown. I wonder if I will ever really climb out for anything more than a bit of respite and wish someone could tell me what’s going on.
Aspie and Proud

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