Wrangling My Brain Around Its Autistic Special Interests

I did indeed sleep better last night. It certainly wasn’t a night to brag about in terms of sleep “performance,” but compared to Tuesday night, it was great. After eventually falling asleep, I only had one period of extended time awake (from 12-2), then I fell back asleep for a mere 50 minutes before getting up around 3. I realize that sounds still pathetically inadequate, but the first part of the night until 12 was near continuous, sound sleep, except for a nightmare wherein my mom told me she hated me and I was “too much work” after which I tossed around trying to fall back asleep for two hours. My logical, conscious brain knows my mom loves me despite how much work I am for her even as an adult child, but I guess my anxious subconscious brain worries I’ve exhausted any mother’s innate unconditional love for her child. After all, I’ve been a handful for thirty years and she still continues to mother me and be my support. It’s understandable that she’d burn out and want out! Interestingly, she called me at 4am this morning, unable to sleep herself. She knows my schedule and insomnia struggle intimately enough to know I’d be wide awake and love to talk. I had already cleaned the kitchen, cooked lunch for today, and done my meditation by the time she called. While I was sorry to hear she was restless herself, the call was a special treat of company during a normally lonely period. I’m already feeling like my day has taken on greater meaning than usual, which is indicative of how gratifying and meaningful connections with others really are. You can love what you do and have all your material needs met, but without deep relationships with others, life feels rather vapid. Moreover, even when your life is difficult and deficient in some realms, the love and connection with people dear to you can make it feel rich.

Yesterday afternoon was like an impromptu Christmas because I found a coupon code for a free trial with an ebook and audiobook lending service. It opens up a plethora of other options to get my hands on deliciously enjoyable books for free. I use two different library systems and Amazon prime unlimited for most of my other book-ascertaining avenues. While the physical library and its electronic resources through Overdrive and Hoopla are awesome resources, there’s often quite a wait for the books I want. Therefore, the more numerous my sources to gather books, the more opportunities I have to satiate my undying thirst to read. I’m still favoring contemporary romances, women’s fiction, and contemporary fiction best. Anyway, after I plugged in my coupon code and opened the metaphorical door to their huge catalog of books, I was filled with the exuberant wonder of a small kid exploring a bubbling stream. It was hard to tear myself away and shut the computer down for the night to give my eyes the screen-free time they need to help my brain decompress before bed. Part of what I was lying there thinking wistfully about for two hours last night was all of the books I “bookbagged,” waiting for me to read. It’s like somehow, my brain concocts the principle of scarcity where it doesn’t exist. I feel anxious that I’ll lose the chance to read them, or I start to worry that someone else will get them first. It’s ludicrous! On this platform, it’s not a matter of waiting in a queue for the book. You select the book you want to read, read it, then return it; the other users don’t factor into your ability to access the book whenever you want to! There’s clearly something wrong with that obsessive part of my brain. It’s irrational and cannot be reasoned with. It is also a baby that can’t seem to be soothed. It fusses and obsesses until I pacify it with its fixation, in the case of my brain, books. My desire to be more “normal” pleads with the “special interest” (I.e., obsession) part of my personality. While it’s fun and sustaining from a happiness standpoint to have such boundless passions, the inability to readily curb the enthusiasm and table the interest in lieu of other daily life requirements and needs is a constant battle. That’s why I equated this trait to the unsoothable baby. The cries and drive to engage in the interest can be so overpowering that it’s hard to careen myself to focus on what needs to be done instead. How embarrassing!

I’m hoping that the better sleep last night will have recharged my mental and physical energy a bit and make today a little easier. I’m glad the weekend is within reach and if all goes to plan, by this time next week, I’ll have the dreaded GYN appointment (take 2!) and the colonoscopy behind me. I’m dreading both, but working on convincing myself of their importance and my ability to endure them.

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