No Smoking Field Report, part 10, 5 months(-ish)
Well, since I can’t seem to fall back to sleep and the cats’ morning feed is not far off, I decided to hit that switch on the coffee machine (always prep for the morning coffee in the evening, so I can get my caffeine, even with only half a brain awake!) and do a bit of writing to the sound of raindrops on my window. Well, rainbows and the youngest cat, Pjevs (translates into “Tiny” or “Scrawny” or “Pipsqueak” – which is funny, because he has turned out to be anything but) – he is having his morning ritual of ”Mommy, gotta go potty, come see how good I am”. Oh, I can almost hear your thoughts in this moment:
”She is definitly loosing her marbles now!”
But since Pjevs every – single – effing – morning at about 4.30-5am starts his 5 minute long catty miauing concert, followed by that distinct sound of paws working the litter, we have agreed in this household that this is exactly what he is doing: Telling us, he needs to go potty and the ‘come and look’ part is derived from his after-the-dump – however shorter – concert.
So, yeah, that’s the sounds I’m surrounded by. Underneath me, two floors down, there is a slight sound of machinery, which is the bakery next door – if I opened my bedroom window – as the
bakery chimney is just outside – I’d get to smell freshly baked pastry, bread and danish. The struggle is real – I can gain weight just opening the goddamn window!
Nah… but it gets pretty damn hard not to be a regular customer there, especially in the summer when the window is open constantly (I need cool sleeping environment). The smell is SOOOO good.
Now that we ARE on the matter of delicious things to stuff in our mouths, I can also tell you that about an hour ago, seeing as I couldn’t fall asleep again, I had my virgin voyage into Peanutbutter Land. That’s right, I’m 40 and never had peanutbutter in my life. I will say in my defense that at least the first 20 years of my life I don’t think it was even possible to buy it here in Denmark. The latest 20 years I’ve known about peanutbutter and I put the new product on the shelf in the store for the first time in 2017 as I was working as a Souschef in ALDI. That was the first time I actually held a peanutbutter jar.
But I’m hesistant in trying new foods, so this is why I haven’t actually tasted it – until an hour ago. Which by the way is totally influenced by Beth Anne, so if this grows into a habit, I’m disclaiming all liability and blaming her! Before I venture into the actual topic of this post, can we just take a minute to acknowledge that peanutbutter, when entering your mouth, seems to abolish laws of nature. Gravity within your mouth ceases to exist and peanutbutter finds it’s own way to every single little taste bud in there… and keep in mind that in the papillae of the tongue there are thousands of taste buds. And peanutbutter goes EVERYWHERE! And it’s sticky AF! Plus I’m pretty much as adept at handling peanutbutter as I am of driving a car!
My kitchen counter was a mess!
As I revealed in No Smoking 9, kicking the habit had not gone all too well, as January proved to be trying times for this household. And while that was okay, I am still proud to say that there has been no further relapses since Feb 2nd inspite of struggles. I can’t say I don’t crave it – my girlfriend smokes, so it’s kind of in my face on daily basis, making it hard to “forget” what I have set my mind on never touching again.
It’s odd, because as I write this, I must admit that while I don’t really want to start (because those relapses in January reminded me of how disgusting the taste and smell is) there is still an odd feeling of losing identity. I’m guessing it’s the addiction talking, but it’s still an odd identity to mourn the loss of.
I think better when I smoke.
I write better.
I’m more together.
Or – that’s what I tell myself. Which is probably due to the fact that prior to October, whenever I was writing, a smoke would pretty much be either hanging from the edge of my mouth or smoking itself between my fingers, leaving ashes all over the keyboard. Whenever thoughts got a bit out of hand, I’d light up that cigarette, glare out of the window or just watching the smoke desolve, taking the stupid thoughts with it. I was more together when I smoked, for that simple reason that I had a distraction to take my mind of the sensory shit. I have tangles today to keep my hands busy – I have teddybears in the night to sensory regulate (soft things make me calm). And yes, teddybears in plural – My Lady bought me a new one the other day. A big elephant that in all fairness is a lot more fluffy than an elephant rightly would be. But I’ll take it. And I have figured out that I can hide my face and cover my eyes with his ears, thereby minimizing visual stuff, and still having the lights on at night (I am also afraid of the dark)…
But I am straying off topic, my mind finding it’s own paths to take…
Point is – and I have said this before – addiction is highly adept at giving us excuses to cave in. And it is absolutely possible to know this with every cell of your body and still cave – it only goes to show how treacherous addiction is, no matter the choice of habit.
So I really can’t tell you that I will steer clear forever (when you think about it, that would be a rather big promise!) – but I will definitly try and I will continuously remind myself of why I need to keep trying.
Feel free to do the same.
The Other Bullies
As you know, nicotine addiction is not my only bully.
I have issues with alcohol, over-eating and self-harm too.
And what it really comes down to is lack of emotional regulation.
I have my strategies; the soft things, earplugs, writing, music – I have a shitload of strategies. But sometimes my brain works too fast for me to catch up in time. Sometimes letting my fingers play with something soft, putting the headphones on etc – just isn’t going to cut it. And I need to figure out why.
Which is why I have made an appointment with the doctor in the hopes that she could make a referral to some kind of therapy.
You might think that self-harm is the odd one out here, and I get why you would think that. And it sort of is and yet it’s not.
Self harm is first and foremost a compulsive-like way for me to translate emotional, incomprehendable pain into physical, rational pain that you can clean, put a bandaid on and watch heal.
I can get why it hurts, when it bleeds.
I can comprehend the pain, when I’ve punched the wall or hit myself with a hammer and my skin turns blue.
I don’t get it when it’s inside my head.
Emotions are rarely clean cut rational and I need things to make sense.
Selfharm is also a valve, I can tap when things boil in my head. Meaning, when I start considering ways to put this life to an end, those thoughts cause immense pain – leading to self harm which then simmers the suicidal thoughts down.
But self harm is also addictive.
Pain releases endorfines, serotonine and dopamine into our system, chemicals that are there naturally to help us – unfortunately they are also highly addictive. These are the same chemicals, the brain releases during/after sex, by eating, exercising….
It’s the natural high!
And some professionals even refer to these natural chemicals as being even more addictive than heroine.
So in that perspective it is no wonder, that some of us find it extremely hard to stop. To me self harm is a concoction of mental irregulations and physical addiction – and it’s also potentially lethal, if I fuck up. It may be a valve I can tap, but the valve is unstable – a cut too deep in a rage or pain too incomprehendable can have consequences I truly do not aim for.
I may have suicidal thoughts – but I don’t WANT to die. Quite the contrary – I want to live.
I want to be happy.
Explore and learn.
Love and feel loved.
I want to make other people happy. I want to spend a lifetime giving hugs, winks and smiles – whatever the hell makes YOU happy.
But my head is fucking things up for me on occasions.
And I owe it to myself to at least try and figure out why. Even if I’ve tried so many times before. Even if every time so far has proven fruitless.
There is no room for giving up.
My life is in my hands!
Stay Away and Touch Me
I have my own thoughts and hypotheses about why my head at times turns into a gordic knot, leaving me to trip, crash and burn.
For one, I have a tendency to make other people my biggest priority. And I tend to do it to the point where I loose myself, because deep down inside I find it hard to believe that I matter. Especially when it comes to issues that are not accepted as a norm in society. In those cases I cut a heel and clip a toe (or is it the other way around?) to fit in, to be accepted – to be loved. Or to avoid a conflict. Or all of it.
Secondly, I crave hugs, being close, I love being touched and I love touching back. Emotionally as well as physical (well, this is assuming you are someone I trust and feel secure with – these cravings are not extended to acquaintances, strangers and assholes of any flavour).
But although it should be pretty simple to reach out, I find myself confused and lost as to HOW.
In other words, I want you so close I can sing to the beat of your heart, but your very presence makes me insecure.
And I don’t know how to find the balance.
Fuck, I hardly know how to reach out to you, let alone having you reaching back.
You see, with your presence every non-verbal communication form comes into play. And I SUCK at those. If you don’t tell me what you feel or think straight up – don’t expect me to know. And if I don’t know, I get scared and insecure – and I don’t do anything at all, because I don’t want to hurt you. Thereby risking to hurt you anyway with my distance.
I prefer my own company and being alone, not because I don’t like you or love you – but because I don’t know how to BE when you are around. So solitude is easier – like pissing my pants. It works wonders at times, but then as I finally dare to reach out, I discover that you have turned your back and walked away.
I see the conundrum, the gordic knot, very clearly. It’s basically just psychology, so it’s pretty rational.
But still I’m trapped inside this knot, drowning in the mess I tend to make, but really don’t want to make.
How do you free yourself from a gordic knot? How do you unlock chains without a key?
Only way is to tear yourself apart in the process.
I’d like to find another way.
Yes, I know I’ve said that before.
I’m sorry for the amount of patience my being entails.
How to Get Out of a Labyrinth
FUCK, that got HEAVY! Can’t leave you with that…
Maybe it’s my destructive nature, but when I find myself in labyrinths, be it addictions, emotional or whatever – and I find myself being lost, there’s a certain pattern I follow.
First I remind myself to stay calm, I try to memorize the stupid twists and turns of the corridors and really aim to be smart about the whole thing.
Then I get tired – or hungry – and impatient. And I forget to remember the turns I take, because I just want to get the fuck out of there.
At one point I realise I’m still lost – maybe even more than I was to begin with – and then fear and anxiety kicks in.
Memory and common sense abandons ship at this point.
The next step is collapsing and basically sitting on my ass, crying and hoping to be saved.
Trouble is, no one can save us, once we are in there, because no one knows we are there in the first place.
So you, we, I – have two choices.
To stay put in my despair, eventually starving to death.
Or start digging up and breaking down those corridor walls that stand between myself and the other side.
Here’s the kicker:
No one ever promised anything about the state of the other side. For all I know, I could be worse off being there, than where I came from – or even in the labyrinth.
Maybe the best place to be IS the damn labyrinth and maybe when I work my way through the walls and finally set eyes on the land beyond, the sight will burn my retinas.
I don’t know.
You don’t know.
We don’t know.
But fuck, are we hellbent to find out! We may lose our sight, we may shed our limbs or suffer third degree burns – but hey, we got to the other side!
This is why I freeze up and say nothing, do nothing and find it hard to reach out.
I can’t tell what’s beyond that.
This is what I need help to do. Not to see the future, but to find the thing that most of you have: the trust and confidence that eventually it’ll work out. That I will not get burned.
I see that confidence as the key that fits the lock.
But I don’t even know if I’m wrong.
The only thing I really know is that I can’t stay put.
I need to do something.
So I’m heading for the doctor’s appointment and hoping that my studdered words will make sense to her.
Not JUST to stay cigarette-free, alcohol-free, be a normal eater and deal with pain in a more constructive way than self harming.
You know those flicks where a character wakes up, stretches and feels content, usually illustrated by soft sunlight coming through white silky curtains and a slight breeze from a balcony (that only few of us actually fucking own!)?
I’m doing it to get to THAT point. That is what I think is on my version of the other side of the labyrinth.
And I kinda think, I’ve fucking earned it by now!
I have had the pleasure of the reading of a handful of blogposts from other bloggers, mostly mental health bloggers, that talk about patience, about resilience and about having faith that things will work out. That everything happens for a reason. And even when they don’t, you fight back.
I’ll be honest – I’m not a faith person. I don’t believe in things happening for “reasons” as if our destinies were carved in stone. I don’t believe in higher powers. Don’t ever tell me that the shit I’ve seen was for a reason or that a higher power (above OR below) “gave” me the obstacles and traumas, because I was strong enough to take them.
For one, like I told you in my previous post “Are You Painting My Image?”, and I quote:
Linda V Lind, Are You Painting My Image?
I love a lot, with no boundaries or limits […] and hate to equal levels […] if you have shoved my face in the shit for too many times.
My hate and wrath for the shit I’ve seen does not discriminate. It doesn’t care about your ancestry, heredity or hierarchy, professional, existential or spiritual.
The upside is – neither does my love.
Secondly, I firmly believe we all have that strength inside of us. There might be things shutting off the access to that strength, but I also believe those blockers can be torn down. I don’t believe in the concept of chosen one’s, for the simple reason that I have yet to meet anyone who couldn’t, with a little help from friends, turn life itself around 180 degrees.
I have danced with the devil and with death, I’ve clung to the abyss with the very edges of my torn, bleeding nails – but I am still here. And I will not thank anyone but myself and my resilience and perseverance for that. Neither, in my opinion, should you.
If you made the cake, take the credit.
You’ve earned it!
What my fellow mental health bloggers teach me on a daily basis is that tomorrow holds another chance. Not that you should start your day saying that, because that is just plain deliberate procrastination, but remind yourself of it, when the light dims, the moon comes up and your eyes get heavy – what you didn’t get to do today (no matter the reason), you get the chance of doing tomorrow. The mental health bloggers teach and remind me that I should be nice and kind to myself. I may not have built have of Rome in a day, but I DID get to put some of the bricks together. And however small it seems in the grander scales – that is progress.
And should that not, regardless of which habit we’re kicking, be the most important thing.
My progress and huge achievement the past month is actually calling the doctor, seeing her and stating my errand. As you may know from Instagram, it didn’t go as planned, but then I sceduled a new appointment – so the game and the task is still very much on. I have not backed down.
And please, whatever it is that fills your mind – quitting drinking, start running, be more authentic, advocate for equal rights… – do NOT back down!
Sure, those walls will on occassions hit hard on your forehead.
Keep head banging!!
You’ll get there.
And so will I!
Disclaimer & Signing Out
I am aware that the previous paragraph might feel a bit harsh for people of faith and I need to let you know, you the people of faith, that I actually do respect the faith that you have. I find my truths in science, you find yours in religion and scripts. What matters in the end is that whatever it is we believe in – it pulls us through.
My objection starts when (and it actually HAS happened) someone of faith tells me that my hardship is tests from God. In my eyes that means that this person’s God approves of child neglect, sexual abuse, bullying, children not having a childhood – and by believing in this kind of God that person approves of these actions too.
And that is my point: to ANYONE approving of such matters, as e.g. sexual abuse, I only have two words…
And I mean that, regardless of your outlook in life, also if you identify as an atheist like myself. As said, my wrath and my rage – especially in these matters of child abuse – does not discriminate.
But what about the “No Smoking” part, did we get lost somewhere in the writing of this post?
No. Not really. The no smoking part has triggered – for me – thoughts about other habits and reactions, so to me it’s all a very tightly knit ball. You can’t take a section out and still have an entire, functional ball.
Self harm, drinking and overeating are all tightly connected to not smoking, because I do all of them (or get the urge to) when I experience a certain pattern of emotions. This is why I went to the doctor.
I had hoped that I could’ve told you about upcoming treatment, but since the process is delayed by the psychiatrics not doing their jobs right, I will have to postpone that part.
I WILL keep you posted though, primarily via Instagram that links on to Twitter, so if you follow me on either or both platforms, you’ll get the updates.
While working on this I have also been tuning my YouTube space and I would love it, if you stopped by and checked it out and/or signed up. As I write this, you will find my Tuesday rambling, and within the next days, the new vid “Strategy Tool Kit” will come up – so head on over and sign up to get the notification.
I am still working on the Tune In Autism, but my hands are quite full at the moment, so I have yet to get the pleasure of announcing a speccific deadline for it. But I AM excited to see, what you are going to think about it.
So until next time, sweeties – as always….
Luv Ya! :-*
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My name is Linda and I set my eyes on the world for the first time back in the summer of 1978.
In 2017, after decades of struggling with various mental issues and illnesses, I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, an autistic spectrum condition. My most dominant co-morbid illnesses are depression and anxiety.
Born in Copenhagen, living several places throughout Denmark in my life, I’m currently settled in Northern Jutland, in the rapidly growing city of Aalborg. Here I worked a handful of years as a manager in high performance environments, until a mental break down in 2017.
Rocking the Spectrum is not a knowledge base on autism per se, but rather a peak behind the scenes, showing the life of someone autistic – in the hopes that it will help conversations and understanding along elsewhere on this blue planet.
I am not a professional health worker and any views and statements must be viewed as personal opinions and experiences only.
My special interests are languages and codes, music, books, urban gardening, animals – and writing is my way of breathing.
Proceed into the blog with caution – I swear a lot. Don’t blame my parents – they HAVE tried to improve my behaviour!