Communication Work

Thursday feels like Monday when it comes after a Wednesday holiday. The first few days of the week were so tough that it felt totally plausible that yesterday, the mid-week holiday, was a Saturday. The upside of this is that there are just two days until the real weekend. Since yesterday was far too short of a break, I’m counting down to the true weekend.

Yesterday was sticky humid and had an uncomfortable tropical feel. Ben and I had important conversations though and worked on our communication and partnership. I’m always comforted to hear how couples composed of two neurotypical people (not autistic) also struggle with communication challenges at times and have to work on their communicating and listening skills. Because I’m autistic and communication issues are one of the many common challenges with autism, I tend to carry the guilt and responsibility that all of our communication problems are wholly my fault. When I hear that neurotypical people also have similar things to work on in their relationship, the sole shouldering of the burden on me is slightly alleviated. However, this only provides evidence that it’s not necessarily because I’m autistic that I bring all the weaknesses within our communication. It doesn’t definitively absolve me from being the only responsible party. It could still be that I’m just a really lousy communicator regardless of my neurology and that Ben is fine. Either way, the result is that we sometimes have misunderstandings, topics that seem contentious or hard to discuss smoothly, or other issues about our communication to work through. Ben and I have been friends for years and a committed couple for a decade now, so we’ve improved significantly in our ability to listen, express ourselves openly, trust one another, and come to a mutual understanding. Still, at least in our relationship, there is always room for growth. If we had more friends who are married or in long-term partnerships, it would be interesting for me to ask if they have had to work on any aspects of communication after the initial getting to know one another phase was over.

I’m eager to get the results back from my endoscopy and colonoscopy biopsies. I’ll probably call today to see if I can connect with the doctor. It’s likely just a matter of scheduling the next step in our diagnostic journey as my gastroenterologist considered the utility of these procedures to primarily be in their ability to exclude potential diagnoses that we were fairly certain didn’t apply to me anyway, though failing to rule them out first and possibly overlooking one would confound the results of subsequent steps in figuring out what’s wrong with me. It’s kind of like having a car that won’t start. The scope exams are the first line of defense like making sure the car problem isn’t simply because the gas tank is dry. Before considering all sorts of other causes (issues with the engine, battery, alternator, etc.), it’s wise to ensure there’s adequate gas. Although filling the empty tank won’t necessarily allow the car to start (if other issues are present), failing to do so will likely prevent the correct identification and repair of the secondary problem.

I can’t say I feel particularly well today. I hurt my foot yesterday and slept awfully as a result. There’s nothing that tends to keep me as awake with anxiety and discomfort as a sharp throbbing ache. It’s the same foot and area that’s chronically injured and in a boot, though this doesn’t really make it any less upsetting or disruptive. It’s a horrendous flare-up and I’m gritting my teeth to just get through this pain. Today will test my ability to stay mentally strong and ignore the terrible ache enough to get other things done. I feel like I’m going through a little low period this week; I’m especially lonely and feel closer to the brink of tears than usual. Since I’m not sure of the cause, it’s hard to know how to fix it or if and when it should improve.

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