There’s a fairly constant dialogue going on in my mind as I watch and analyse my thoughts and actions. It’s the price I pay for trying to fit my behaviour to “normal” expectations – I have to consider whatever I am planning to say or do and try to predict how the people around me will react.
I’m generally pretty successful at it and most people I interact with are unaware that I’m neurologically different to them. The trouble is that it’s exhausting – the sustained mental effort required to maintain the illusion can leave me totally drained and susceptible to overload with even a little extra stress.
I’m close to that point now. Feeling down over the weekend was very tiring and required that I make an extra effort to mask it – put it to one side – and carry on. I’m wrestling with a thorny technical problem at work as well which it taking a great deal of thought. I’m getting the urge to just retire to a quiet, darkened room and shut down for a spell. Recharge the batteries. I’m fighting against my need to see the job through – I can just about see the end in sight and need to resolve it before I can let myself give in and relax.
I’m conscious of putting myself under pressure and so contributing to my mental load but I can’t seem to stop it and step back for a minute to get everything into perspective. I’m drowning under a sea of detail, unable to see the whole picture. It’s a drawback of my bottom-up approach to problem solving – I concentrate on the basic details at the root and can occasionally get overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the job from that angle.
I know that I need to break things into manageable chunks and concentrate on just part of the problem at a time, but at the moment I can’t let go of the totality and it feels as if it’s filling my mind, leaving no space to work on each part in turn. This is a side-effect of fatigue as well as a contributing factor – it’s a vicious circle that I need to find a way to break.
I’m analysing myself and my reaction to my current situation, looking for just such an opening into which I can focus my effort and stop the cycle. I know from past experience it’s just a matter of time before I crack it and that’s the straw that this drowning man is clutching at. My problem is not intractable although it might appear so right now. All it will take is a fresh perspective, an approach from a new direction. And until I find it I’m trapped, mentally running round in circles, wasting energy – tracing path after path through the maze, looking for that way out. And then a well-earned rest.