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Old 03-23-2014, 04:35 AM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Yelm, Washington
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Hi copperhead,

Just thought I'd chime in here as I, too, have been diagnosed with Aspie's. Don't know how much help I'll be but thought I'd let you know I too had a poly/aspie spirit.

Re (from OP):
"I feel it is unfair to ask Salamander and Sunflower to take things slowly, but I really don't enjoy these meltdowns. Has enyone experienced anything like this? How did you manage?"
I don't know if I had your exact experience, but I certainly know what the dreaded word "meltdown" means, and I know how it is to feel insecure (hurt, jealous, etc.) in a poly situation.

A meltdown, in my private dictionary, is an event in which the entire world seems to be melting down around you. Everything is falling apart, including all of your thoughts, dreams, feelings, and self-control. The foundations of your soul are racked with panic and paranoia. You feel like all your loved ones have turned on you, and society has combined against you to turn you into a monster and ruin everything you hold dear. Everything you do is wrong, wrong, wrong. You can't do one &*?@#%=? thing right. Folly follows wherever you go.

Somewhere in the back of your mind is the pitiful little voice of reason, reminding you that this is all in your mind, that the world isn't really coming to an end. But 99% of your consciousness just screams at you, and all you want to do is scream back. Using all the pent-up force I could muster, I could crush the scream down into a guttural snarl.

Of course, I've been diagnosed with more than just Asperger's (over the years), so your meltdowns may differ from what I just described. Plus what I just described is the worst of the worst. But I sure resonate with your words, "I really don't enjoy these meltdowns." I don't enjoy them, and I know my loved ones don't enjoy them either.

Given my description here, you could say that one does not manage this type of thing well. I tended to manage it poorly -- if at all. There were no quick solutions. It took about 25 years to arrive at the regimen of meds I rely on today, and it took several years to arrive at the life and mindset that allow me to feel comfortable in my poly household.

The good news is, the meltdowns are now virtually gone. Once in awhile I'll still have a scary spell of choler, but it seldom lasts more than a few minutes and I can expect months of peace to follow. What's more, the old hurt, jealous, insecure feelings (that poly confronted me with) have faded away. In their place is a contended sense of camaraderie.

But how did I get from there to here? It's a hard question to answer. Oh, I learned certain tips and tricks along the way. But mostly I just had to grow out my anger and terror. I had to learn, a little at a time, that I could trust the people I trusted -- and that I could even trust myself.

Re (from Post #9):
"So will I have to go through this chaos every time either one of us meets someone new? or will the newness wear off eventually?"
I can't speak much on this topic because I am in a poly-fi unit; that is, new partners will rarely if ever appear on the scene. Basically it's just three people: me, a lady, and the other fellow who loves her.

However ... I think you can get used to a new way of life over time. Newness itself can become part of the routine.

"And how long would that take ..."
I believe that would vary greatly from person to person. Months? Years? Hard to say. It probably helps if you can at least detect some progress as you go along, though.

"I just wonder how much will I have to work to be able to actually live the life I want."
Emotional work is a hard thing to measure. Polyamory does have a reputation for demanding quite a bit of emotional work ... though they say that it's worth it (and I believe them).

Re (from Post #19):
"I don't like to make (too many) rules. But how can we turn this unfamiliar situation into a familiar one without them?"
Sometimes I think people settle into routines naturally without being told beforehand what they'll settle into. Almost everyone is a creature of habit to some extent.

Now that doesn't mean you can't establish any rules. It just means sometimes you'll find that some things will regulate themselves without any special effort.

Re (from Post #20):
"How do I know that the fear of change and new things is gone and the rest of my anxiety is normal newbie issues?"
Well honestly, I don't think you can know that. I mean, no two people are alike, and no two aspies are alike either. Some people have an unusual amount of fear of change and the new, even though they don't have Asperger's. Some aspies have an unusual amount of tolerance for change and the new, considering they have Asperger's. The brain is a complicated organ, and Asperger's is a complicated condition. The best scientist in the world can probably only offer educated guesswork.

Anyway, anxiety has to be dealt with, whether it's "aspie anxiety" or "newbie anxiety." You don't decide how fast you should be progressing based on what kind of anxiety it is. You just push yourself a little outside of your comfort zone and be willing to let yourself rest when needed.

Back in the good old days when I exercised like I should, I used to try to regiment how far I would walk and how far I would run, so as to make certain I was making progress and running further. But after several years of this method, I finally realized it was better to just trust myself, and let my body tell me what it could handle on any given day. So I simply started running long enough to convince myself that I was pushing myself a little, and then I'd walk long enough to convince myself that I was rested enough to run again. Not only did this method of exercise work better for me (and produce more progress and better results), I also rather enjoyed doing it that way. It was like giving myself permission to play and get creative.

I guess ultimately you just learn how to cope by using trial and error. If something triggers you, then you know you pushed yourself too hard that time and you need to ease off a little. If you feel pretty comfortable, then you might be ready to push yourself with a bit of newness. Don't try to make a math problem out of it, trust yourself enough to read and respect your own emotions. Enough to say, "I can tell I'm pushing myself too hard," or, "I can tell I could push myself a little harder."

Don't know how much of that helps, but I hope some of it does.
Kevin T.
Love means never having to say, "Put down that meat cleaver!"
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