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Countdown to freedom

I feel like I need to be utilised better at work. But with the boss and his partner away, there isn’t really much I can do other than when Craig needs a hand. But he answers virtually all the calls, because 9 times out of 10, any calls I do take will be queries for him anyway.

With customers this week not requiring their orders for another few weeks, all is quiet on the Western Front. I saw a modern remake of that on Netflix, but I don’t think I’m in the mood for a sombre WW1 film right now. I did watch 1917 and was quite surprised by it. Some very good visuals and scenes, albeit a little over the top at times.

Other than logistics, I am updating very long spreadsheet of individual customer entries on the CRM system. Making sure the company name, persons, phone numbers, emails, website and company address are up to date. Problem is that its repetitive and quickly becomes rather gruelling. In the first few weeks I did ok, but fatigue set in quickly. I should aim to get this next report done by the end of the week. It’ll mean doing hundreds of entries a day. But once it’s done, it’s done. Plus, it’ll be a big help to Molly and Steve, and she was impressed with the first report of 150 or so that I did. This next one has over 800 entries though. Still, I’ll get there.

Woke up and didn’t’ feel like I got enough sleep. I messed around with monitor and Xbox settings yesterday. Found out that the series X is compatible with AMD Sync Pro or some such which is a technology my monitor has. So, I switched that on, along with bumping up the supposed “super resolution”. It basically just artificially sharpens things. It can make text look a bit too vibrant, but on the whole, it jazzed up the look of No Man’s Sky, and helped smooth out frame rate dips. It still goes in slow mo in certain areas. I found a giant space port on a planet, the biggest I’d ever seen, and ho boy. The Xbox was not enjoying that. Easily sub 30 frames per second. It was like wading through treacle.

The planet I’m on has a lovely asteroid belt surrounding it. The whole screen is just littered with them. And I’m harvesting gold, silver and such which is a good money maker.

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I spent most of my money on map markers for the Exosuit. Basically, your astronaut costume, and each map marker reveals a building which, once repaired, allows a free additional inventory slot for your Exosuit. The one thing you always want more of on that game is inventory space. Seeing as you’re harvesting and collecting all sorts of elements, minerals and materials.

This morning I booted up Eldar Scrolls Oblivion. It runs like a dream, and its controller compatible. It runs smooth on PC and can be modded – but the mods I tried for controller support on PC were utter trash. So, I’m glad I went and got it on the Xbox. Plus, with this “super resolution” the game looks sharp and has aged quite well. I got kinda lost in the magic of it this morning. Doing the sewars intro, then the first Ayleid ruin which is across the water from where you escape from the sewars.

That game is a time sink though. Oh boy. Problem I also have is I go ham on power levelling in such games. Same with No Man’s Sky – I find what makes the most money, spam it for hours and hours and hours. Then get all the best equipment, ships, tech etc. Before I know it, I’ve removed all the challenge from the game because I became too overpowered too quickly in terms of the story arc etc. Did it on every Eldar Scrolls game, and Fallout 3, NV and 4. I think Fallout 4 is the best example – you scrap all the stuff in Sanctuary then build wooden fence posts and mesh fence. Each post costs 2 wood and when you scrap it you get 1 wood back, same for each mesh fence but with steel. Setup XinputPlus with turbo buttons for the place and scrap buttons. Boom.

I used to do it without the turbo buttons, and I would destroy controllers within the space of a few months. When you’re pressing the buttons thousands of times in an hour. It’s a very autistic way to play Fallout. You start off in Sanctuary, and if you do the above technique, you’ll be nearly level 20 when you leave. Which means future enemies will have better equipment, and if you did perks to find more ammo and caps – you’ll be rich in no time.

Is it called min-maxing? Perhaps. I don’t know. I just have a desire to repeat and power level in games. It’s a very odd way of doing things, and every time it’s my undoing as I tend to quit once I realise I’m overpowered and the game is no longer challenging.

Did another dreadlock last night. Got one more left to do on the top row. I’m really debating when to shave the top and sides of my head. Part of me wants to have at it as soon as the dreads are done. Because once that shave is done, it’ll be very easy to redo in the future. But the dreads at the back aren’t long enough really. They’re varying lengths, from about 3 inches to 4/5 I reckon. But it’ll be another 9-18 months before they are long enough to tie them all back in a pony tail. Truth be told, might even take longer. But I take my hat off, look at the fuzz on the top of my head, and my bald patch, then the thick ringlet curls in front of my ears. I just hate the juxtaposition of it all.

Took years, but I acclimated to losing my hair, as I kept it buzz cut or wet shaved. Since growing it out again, I really do hate how it looks, and I live in a hat because I find it really embarrassing. Now and then when staffing my flat cap falls off and I feel instant panic and shame, and clamber to find the hat and put it back on immediately. Ah well, the end hairstyle will come when it will come. I guess I just want to pre-empt it and shave the sections of hair now, so that I feel less awkward. But if it doesn’t look right now, because it’s too short. I don’t know. Over thinking it all, I guess.

Work has been ok since Craig came in. Had a few calls where I couldn’t do anything other than to ask Craig to give them a call back. Don’t like feeling like the third wheel, but I know the knowledge will come with time. Just don’t enjoy not being able to help people, makes my brain fizz a little. Happens in day-to-day life too, I just instinctively want to assist. It does get draining though. My last therapist kept reminding me that I need to draw boundaries with people, otherwise I just run myself ragged and to the point of exhaustion from this chronic need to help people.

Hmmm, getting back to Oblivion did feel wholesome. I know it’s a long old game though. I wonder if my stamina and perseverance will last? I will admit, buying a game and having it all there at the push of a button is nice. Of course, Steam and Origin and other PC games platforms do similar. But there’s a nice elegance and simplicity to doing it all via a console menu and on a controller. So, I’m quite content now I’m playing an older game. Skate 3 framerate is better with the AMD Freesync option on too, so that’s good. I’m glad I messed about with settings some more and got it working better.

I still haven’t unwrapped the games I actually bought with the console – namely Forza Horizon 5, Dying Light 2 and GTA V. Mind you, I’ve played and completed GTA V on PC, but again, I want the plug and play ability and I’ll be interested to see what its performance is like. I’m hoping for smooth gameplay. Don’t want to be juggling too many games at once though. I need to check install sizes too. I know Forza Horizon 4 on PC was taking up a heck of a lot of space. I don’t want to eat into the 700 odd GB of storage space I have left on the console. Although not having to use discs would make it so much nicer. I do want to get Fallout 4 as well, and see if that runs ok, as I never got that running consistently smoothly on PC. Especially when you got into downtown Boston. The framerate did not like that, and yet it’s such a vast area on the Fallout 4 map and it was rendered almost unplayable.

Noticed the base of the first dread I made has taken hairs from outside of the area it should be. Not sure if that makes sense. But basically you want the base of a dread to be quite uniform. In the shape of a square, oval or circle or some such. But this area is all together, and then one “arm” of a load of hair is about a centimetre away from the rest of the base of the dreadlock. So I’ll need to trim that with scissors and then merge the hair into a dread next to this one. I think all the remaining hair will be sectioned and dreadlocked by the end of the week. Once they’ve been started, it’s just a case of maintenance. I’m already getting back into the swing of regularly checking the dreadlocks. Feeling for bits which need tightening, areas where it doesn’t feel as natty and needs more crochet work. Then working out how to shape, twist and manipulate the base of the dreadlock to get that shaped and natty.

Felt a little down this morning. I don’t know, it’s still the adjustment period as I keep saying. Meg said it was the nicest transition from relationship to friends that she’s ever experienced. At the same time the effort has been quite pronounced. Not that it’s a hardship, as I enjoy talking to Meg a lot. But it’s still to the point where not talking to her sometimes makes me feel wayward. Mind you, that’s also because of my current situation – living at home, not many friends, and finding Meg made me reassess current friendships. Too many draining people who I’ve associated with over the years. People who I meet and within minutes, or an hour or so – I’m utterly exhausted. The conversation isn’t back and forth, it’s very much one sided. My last therapist thought perhaps it’s the role I adopted which enables them to do this. That I’m too passive, and perhaps if I talked more or was more assertive then it’d be a back and forth conversation. Theme is I talk but they go back to what they were talking about. I just feel quite lost when I talk to them. Lost and exhausted. Mind you, expecting that I guess has it play out the same way again and again.

Guy messages me several times a week and either outright invites me over, or steers the conversation towards it:

Guy: Anyhow, look it’s been a while, consider visiting, I will make sure the coffee is ok and we will get pizza delivered. I have missed chatting and the banter. Anyhow chap, take care.
Me: I'll have to keep you posted. I'm not about this weekend and on weekdays after work I'm pretty knackered and zone out for a few hours before going to bed by 8:30 or 9. I'll let you know when I'm about though
Guy: Cool.
2 days later
Guy: What you up to tomorrow? Fancy hanging out? Maybe some chow? I have been looking for a reason to get back into cooking....
Me: As above, I'm not about this weekend.
Guy: F*** man that’s like 48 hours ago, sorry I forgot. Bit harsh dude.

Not sure what he meant by “Bit harsh dude.” As for the cooking, he’s a good cook and enjoys cooking for other people. But I still don’t feel ready to meet him, and him using me as an excuse to get back into cooking. I don't know, cooking is his decision - it's not down to the presence or lack thereof of company. We've had some good times, but the running theme that stood out and started to grind me down was layered:
  • He talks a lot and it’s exhausting.
  • He drinks a lot and I find this triggering. Especially as one of his go to drinks is the old, strong cider I used to drink.
  • He smokes a lot which I also find triggering as I find I end up smoking more in his company and sometimes having a few puffs on his joints which had tobacco in, and I try to avoid smoking tobacco, apart from a few cigars a year.
  • He takes codeine for the buzz and pops 6 of them at a time. Being around someone who’s drunk, stoned and on opiates – why would I do that?
  • I know he’s struggling, he is going through a divorce and she split up with him. His vibe is up and down. He talks a lot, has this energy and gusto, but his mood is often heavy and dark too.
So I don’t really know what to do. When me and Meg visited I had one of the worst panic attack episodes I’ve ever had. A lot of unresolved trauma and catastrophic thinking flared up and I ended up crying upon leaving. It was a hot mess. I’d feared them meeting each other for months, and the meeting itself wasn’t as anticlimactic as most of my event related anxieties and worries. In fact, that event ended up being a lot worse than I’d anticipated. I went full on introvert, I threw up 3 times, ended up in tears, and it was one of several events which really hit home hard that I wasn't in the right headspace to be in a relationship. Truth be told I don’t want to go back to his house for the foreseeable.

If I’m being honest, brutally honest – I was happy when I first met Guy because I was very lonely. But my gut knew straight away something was off with him. I ignored my intuition, and within a short space of time he started asking me for all sorts of favours. I started to feel tired, and whilst I am a helper, I didn’t like the feelings of being used. I didn’t voice these concerns, so he carried on as normal. As we met more, I started becoming the butt of his jokes. He’d ridicule me, but inform me this was a good sign – because he only liked to taunt his friends. I don't agree with this. Some people chalk it up to "banter" but in reality, if you're making someone the butt of your jokes - you're being a c***. My mum does it frequently when she has company and I happen to be in the room. Time and time again she would pick on me and make jokes at my expense to try and get laughter from her friends. Why? Why do that to your own child? Between that and the fact she tends to monologue, doesn't listen often when I speak to her, and goes on the defensive a lot, along with very volatile emotions. Ahhh, I need the van done. I want to get out of here.

Honestly – Guy, Marcus and Jack I could do without. I meet Jared now and then. I like to meet him to game and not just pick up off him. But he too struggles – alcohol abuse, depression, seems like he’s on the spectrum. He talks my ear off too, and much like all the above – they talk over me when I attempt to try and join the conversation. It’s one of my most hated behaviours because it makes me feel small, angry, upset and downtrodden.

But my last therapist said the pattern goes back to upbringing. I seek out what I know from my past when it comes to friendships and relationships. My parents talk at me, the conversations feel one sided. When I do talk, they often don’t listen. I feel unheard and unseen. So, once again the merit in meeting Meg is highly valued, and I wish to find other people who value my company, and I there's. Because the pattern in people I've gotten to know in recent years isn't good. I want friends who inspire and invigorate, not those who make me feel trapped, fatigued and uncomfortable in their company.

Fact is, I seem to make a good impression on people. But I find that most people like me more than I like them. Encounters with such people drain me, yet these people sing my praises and I get the usual descriptions of being a nice guy and all that jazz. But I’m so exhausted, I really am. Why this pattern of attracting people who struggle? I guess they have more depth, the broken and disjointed in society. But it’s fatiguing. Mind you – “normal” people seem quite boring. Those who like popular media, past times and such like: I just struggle to connect with them, when their hobbies and interests don’t marry up with mine. Sure, being self reliant is good – but this loneliness is crushing at times.

I still worry how I’ll cope when Meg moves on. She said she’s not looking for a relationship. Still, the fact it ended due to my anxiety means whoever she eventually meets will likely trigger my inner-critic. Because they are good enough to date her, and I f’d up and we dated for all of a couple of months. But then I remind myself of the reality of the situation – our friendship will likely be a lifetime thing. I can’t see why it wouldn’t be. I’ve had close friends before, but they all moved abroad. With Meg, things might ebb and flow as she put it. Likelihood is that when she’s travelling and doing her own thing, I might not see her as much. When she dates again, we might not talk or see each other as much. Fact of the matter is – instant messaging is my main form of communication, and a lot of people don’t enjoy or make that much time for it compared to how I do. So most people I speak with take a while to reply, or when they do it’s not really a conversation more than brief catchups etc.

The gross irony is that the person who is good at replying and does reach out is Guy. Which makes me feel like a dick for not wanting to meet or talk to him. Ahh I just don’t know what to do. Can the van be finished now so I can just escape? My own space, my own pace of life, get a guitar, get a dog. Smoke in my own place, and only have a few puffs before I let it go out. So I don’t feel too stoned each time I have a smoke? The van is going to get shoddy MPG, but she’ll keep on going. I guess weekend excursions would make sense. You know, part of me wonders if the crux of the ebb and flow with me and Meg might actually be me? Once my van is done, will I actually be around as much to get to meet up with her? Second to last mushroom trip I felt quite a profound intensity and realisation just how the co-dependency with Meg has continued into our friendship after the breakup. Was quite a heavy feeling that, because I realised I needed to take more of a step back, but wasn’t sure how.

Fact of the matter is I enjoy talking to her. I guess part of me thinks I’m setting myself up for a fall. If I continue with daily chats and meeting up on weekends – when the dynamic changes and she isn’t as available – I will struggle. Still, I wouldn’t put up barriers to reduce how much we talk now. It’s more about this emotional side. The adjustment period of that. Learning how to let go a bit more, so that each time we meet up – I’m not then feeling forlorn after we part ways. Yes, Meg is wonderful – but she is a friend. I need to take a step back and truly reflect upon that reality. No “what if’s”. It’s the reality, now and in future. Get used to it Ed, pull your socks up. You don’t find it emotionally challenging with any of your other friends.

I get why it’s tougher, as we dated. Still, being friends after adds some complications, but it also enables a friendship that’s on another level to a regular friend. We’ll get there, that’s the main thing to keep in mind. Plus, it’s good practice with regards to my mental health. Learning healthy attachment etc. I need to continue the search for a new therapist, even though it’ll be a few more months before I undertake therapy again.

I’m still convinced my van won’t “cure” me, but I think it’ll go a long way to helping my mental health. I can park the van up at work. As soon as work finishes, I find a place to park up for the night. I can go on more walks, be out amongst nature more, travel about and have my own freedom. The only big thing for me is I want the van and box to be futureproof. When Meg has van issues she’s without a home and has to borrow her mums car and sort out accommodation when working on site etc. Of course, when my van runs into issues I can temporarily live back at my folks and borrow their car. But I really want peace of mind when it comes to the box in particular. I don’t want lots of back-and-forth visits to get things repaired. I guess that’s obvious, but when you’re spending thousands, you really want peace of mind. Especially as I’m getting others to do the work for me.

I guess I feel like I shouldn’t be too picky when it comes to friends, and at the same time – look how that’s worked out for me. When I met Guy and Marcus I was overjoyed that I’d made 2 new friends in a short space of time. I’d felt lonely and they filled a void. But then I saw both had issues and spending time with them was taking rather than providing. Same goes for Jack though – when I moved to March he made no effort to get in contact with me. That was over the course of 4 years. I arranged to meet him a few times, but that was that. On the first day I move back to Haddenham I met him that evening.

I should stop banging on about it. Go with my gut – when I meet new people, if there’s red flags, don’t be so accommodating. I know that Guy, Marcus and Jack aren’t a good fit. So don’t bother seeing them. Simple as. I know Guy enjoys my company, but I struggle with his, and that last visit traumatised me to some degree and I don’t want to go back. That could be seen as avoidance, and maybe I’ll change my mind. But right now – it’s been about 5 weeks and it’s still a firm no in my mind to meeting him. I don’t want to, and every time he asks, I feel anxious. Take that as a clear sign. I know we will meet again in the future, I just need time for me right now. That might be a "bad friend" or some other label, but I have to do what's right for me.

Rain and storms here. Makes the cabin feel cosy. Wish I had more tasks to do. Soon as someone needs something – I’m on it. Get it done then and there. No dilly dally, no hesitation. Boom, done. But I’m waiting and it sucks. Updating this huge spreadsheet sucks. Ah well, all in good time. Once I have more knowledge I can help out with quotes, customer queries and all sorts of other stuff. But that won’t come straight away.

Best end it here. Get back to the spreadsheet. Driving to supermarket to get the week’s shop. Will save money in the long run. Got a month subscription to Huel. Figured I’d replace my lunch with one of their powder drinks. 400 calories and all the nutrients and vitamins you need. Bit of a cop out I guess. Embrace the laziness. Is it safe long term? Is it healthy? Seems a bit dystopian to be drinking your meals. Still, I’ll give it a go. It’s certainly healthier than all the snacks and sweets I eat. So if I can steer myself towards a regular healthy breakfast, lunch and snacks – then I’ll be on better form in general I think.

Sunset as I drive home now. So twilight when I get back. Although I’m driving to the supermarket so it’ll probably be dark when I get home this evening. Some Oblivion and No Man’s Sky I reckon. If Meg gets a copy for her laptop we can do co-op play on PC which would be lovely I think. It truly is a marvellous game though.

Ahhh got to go. 116 minutes to go. I set a countdown timer on my computer each day so I can see exactly how long I have left on the top right of one of the monitors. Count down to freedom, baby.

Ed

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