It’s when things are coming back online it’s a problem.


This is as much a note to myself as anybody else.

Yes, overload is painful, but it’s straightforward pain. Even the general messiness of the first couple of days after this sort of major, sustained overload, is relatively straightforward.

It’s when things start to come back. And things start to come back in seemingly random order. And nothing in my head seems to be where I left it. For that matter, I can’t really remember who I am to begin with, I’ve got bits and pieces but no full idea here. And, I don’t entirely know what’s going on, despite the fact that I have general bits of the shape.

And I know this is only the beginning, it only gets more “fun” from here on out. At least, that seems to be true. From somewhere. I can’t remember where. I do know that I’ve been told this has happened before, and that this will happen again.

I suppose other people are reading this than me, so welcome to the post-conference brain, by way of explanation. Not some strange psychological state, but more like assault by a hotel that contained two weddings, a bar mitzvah, Lions club, and the conference.

Still working on the account of what happened there, heavily hampered by the fact that everything appears scrambled at the moment. I remember a friend who said that during a crash once, she did not understand why she could type seemingly coherent sentences in the particular cognitive state she was in. She said they made her head seem far more normal than it was acting. I understand what she meant, right now.

But I’m hoping that this will be further personal record, if nothing else.  Meanwhile I can only say that it would be nice if something made sense and was familiar.


About Mel Baggs

Hufflepuff. Came from the redwoods, which tell me who I am and where I belong in the world. I relate to objects as if they are alive, but as things with identities and properties all of their own, not as something human-like. Culturally I'm from a California Okie background. Crochet or otherwise create constantly, write poetry and paint when I can. Proud member of the developmental disability self-advocacy movement. I care a lot more about being a human being than I care about what categories I fit into.

11 responses »

  1. Wow, I definitely understand the “things coming back” issue. It’s why I very rarely travel. The recovery time needed is tremendous.

    I also went through a semi-“crashed” period that lasted several months a few years ago, and during that time my outward appearance and speech were probably more normal-seeming than ever, which was completely and utterly bizarre considering I didn’t even know my toothbrush was a toothbrush during that time until I started using it.

    Not trying to make this all about me or anything. Just going, “Wow, I have a really good idea of what she means, and I empathize”.

  2. Less overloading would be good, but I’m not sure my brain would notice much difference between orders of magnitude there — I overload pretty fast at Autreat, too, just from the travel and such, and other factors there can even mean that I stay overloaded longer. Like zilari said, the travel alone is a major problem.

    And for me, anywhere unfamiliar is always going to be a problem. Even outdoors is a problem compared to my apartment or my friend’s apartment down the hall. Today I have to go to the headache clinic and it’s going to be really interesting to see what happens, in a twisted sense of interesting.

  3. Well think of me then, as if Birmingham werent bad enough I am off to a Disability Studies conference for four days, and as I have just been saying to a friend, it is all very well that there will be many disabled people there and it is generally supposed to be disability friendly, they will likely not see my disability or comprehend it at all.

    I am not really looking forward to some aspects of it, that is the social time between presentations and afterward where all the “networking” goes on.

    And who is there to sort me out if things go wrong? No-one. I have informed them I am autistic and the only thing I have to look forward to is a laptop for loan. People to understand I don’t know where I am or what I should be doing, to sort me out if there is any difficulty with getting food, I can forget it. Is it any wonder I am already stressing about it.

    I don’t know whether this is a peculiarly Larry thing but even when I have written timetables it doesn’t seem to help me know what is next as they never seem to be that comprehensible to me, thre is always some information missing or changes to schedule. As for how one is supposed to know where rooms are, that is never clear. I could go on forever about this and I would do it all diffrently if it were down to me.

  4. Hug your cat. She (he?) is familiar and may help you to come back to your spot where you are comfy and secure.
    It may sound like trite advice, I know, but my pets seem to know when I am a bit “off” and they always comfort.
    Glad to see you back. :)

  5. I ended up, somehow, making it to a friend’s house. And she kept me as oriented as she could, while reminding me that I don’t really have to be oriented right now. She told me my brain’s working overtime trying to keep up with a lot of stimulation, so it’s trying to do the work of sleep while it’s awake.

    (That would, sort of, explain the lack of attention span, the sort of flitting between various things with barely any sense of logic, the random emotions out of nowhere, the density of everything right now including my dreams when I do sleep, etc.)

    She also told me that I get afraid of people — all people — at times like this and that I don’t really differentiate, so that was why I was afraid to contact her even though she’d said she’d help out with this stuff.

    She also told me this happens a lot and that there’s a pattern to it but I never see it while I’m in it, and then afterwards I can’t remember it. That’s a little disturbing.

    My cat is worried about me. She’s been sitting on me a lot and giving me that worried mother cat (and “what a stupid kitten I have”) look. She does this when I crash. I think she thinks I should know how to avoid it by now.

    More bits of me are coming online, but life in general is still confusing. I’ve got bits of knowledge and stuff coming out of nowhere but not seemingly attached to anything. It’s quite disorienting.

    And Larry — that does sound bad, at least I wasn’t in a particularly hostile environment. I’ve done stuff like this in hostile or partially-hostile environments and it’s definitely worse.

    And with nobody around to assist, even worse. I’m glad Kathleen was willing to do stuff, was constantly worried she would stop being willing or able to help out with stuff. Glad she figured out how to grab my arm even at the end, that was way beyond my expectations.

  6. I have some surprises for them when I do my presentation, I have just been getting the powerpoint ready today. I intend to open with a reminder that the University we are hosted by prosecuted the “George Fox Six” for pursuing a peaceful protest. I also have a slide featuring the autistic super heroes :) basically that comes on at the point where I introduce the notion of there being some hostility to our viewpoint in the “mainstream” disabiltiy movement. I would hope that Michelle would appreciate that. Other than that the slides are informative or meant to defuse anti post modernists with a little humour, as I have some cartoons.

    It was interesting to watch Ros Blackburn present the other day, never mind my distrust of what she was going to say, because she was very fluent and verbal giving the sort of “performance” one would expect of an accomplished “raconteur” underneath that I know she is very different. I on the other hand will give less emotional appeal, and be more intellectual. I will (like I do in my DVD) just read my text and will most likely face sideways on to the audience so I can turn toward them occasionally but mostly keep my eye on my text and the screen to be sure the slides come up.

  7. I have a friend who is also incredibly fluent and verbal for speech-making and similar things, but who is… yes… very different than a person would expect based on her public speaking abilities.

    Not all that different from me, for instance, in terms of the level of assistance she needs, but has a much harder time getting people to believe her. Typical people tend to expect me to need a certain level of assistance (and even possibly suspect me of not writing my speeches) if someone else is giving my speech for me while I’m lying on the ground watching my hands flutter, but they don’t tend to expect the same of an autistic person who’s clearly an excellent public speaker by conventional standards.

  8. Not all that different from me, for instance, in terms of the level of assistance she needs, but has a much harder time getting people to believe her. Typical people tend to expect me to need a certain level of assistance (and even possibly suspect me of not writing my speeches) if someone else is giving my speech for me while I’m lying on the ground watching my hands flutter, but they don’t tend to expect the same of an autistic person who’s clearly an excellent public speaker by conventional standards.

    At this point in our lives, we can pretty much guess whether someone gets it about the level of assistance we actually need based on whether they comment on us being “so intelligent.” As soon as the comments about our “intelligence” start, that’s pretty much a sure guarantee that someone has missed the point and assumed that “intelligence” is this great compensating factor in our life, and that we just need a little help with a few things. Which is not true, especially when it comes to academic things. But we’ve fooled (unintentionally) a lot of professionals this way, who got sufficiently caught up in being impressed with our “intelligence” or “good memory” or whatever that they yanked the rug out from under us in terms of support. (For instance, when we discuss the need for a very structured academic environment, assuming that we can create all the structure ourselves if we “feel supported,” which I suppose goes back to the whole “validating feelings” business again. And being asked to create that structure by ourselves is one of the fastest ways to get a lot of us on the floor flapping our hands.)

  9. Still recovering/integrating too, it’s all net good, but I didn’t sleep at all Saturday night. Just too stimulating. Can’t complain, but yeah, all the content is a positive stressor for sure (on top of the travel factor, which is significant). House is a mess and I keep forgetting to feed myself — but at least am feeding The Tot and relentlessly FCing with him which he loves, and reflects back with enormous affection and joy. Peace.

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