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Leaving The Dark Side

I highly dislike it when people tell me that I’m too negative and that I need to have more positive thinking. The phrase ‘positive thinking’ makes me nauseous. Sure I can accept that when I go dark I go from generally ok to super dark in 0.2 seconds. That is usually my anxiety going haywire. I’m overloaded with every bad scenario in my head. I know this isn’t healthy and I’m (slowly) working on improving that cycle. But telling me to ‘think positive’ is too simplistic and patronising.

 

I’m not saying people who focus on the positive are too naive or somehow bad people, not at all. I’m envious of those people. I wish my default wasn’t throwing my mind into a dark abyss whenever something potentially negative occurs in my life.

 

I know I have a pattern. I feel the sinking feeling and the cold sweat and I allow myself to run on adrenalin. I allow it.

 

I’m talking about emotional meltdown. I’m talking about anxiety and being emotionally overwhelmed over something that with the right mindset can be seen as an opportunity, or a journey or something else involving unicorns and sunshine.

 

What I have begun to realise about emotional meltdowns (as opposed to other meltdowns that occur from sensory overload) is that they are ultimately just a bad habit. I have a brain that can be trained to change my mindset. I’ve put my emotional meltdowns in the same category as the sensory ones. I’ve thought that because I’m aspie that this is ‘just who I am’ and is just part of the aspie label. But it’s not. Emotional meltdown is different. I only dive into the dark out of habit.

 

It’s not about positive thinking, it’s about emotional control. Of course there are times when the negative feeling or anxiety is totally justified such as grief or injustice. The trick is to take a deep breath and work out whether my anxiety or anger is justified or not. The feeling of the emotion itself does not automatically justify my actions. Again I believe sensory meltdowns are different and a nutty reaction is understandable when everything is loud or the slightest tap on my shoulder feels like getting punched in the back. That is out of my control.

 

Another trick that I’m still learning is separating my experiences from my identity. My experiences don’t define me, my reaction to them does.

 

If I write a pretty bad song that doesn’t make me a terrible songwriter. I’m a good songwriter who occasionally writes a bad song. Just like every other songwriter in the existence of songwriting.

 

So rather than beating myself up every time I have a creative funk I just need to remember that even the super successful songwriters have written bad songs. I’m allowed to feel bad about the song but I need to learn to not let those feelings change my overall mindset. Otherwise I’ll believe that I’m a terrible writer and sabotage myself.

 

I have issues, I have limitations and things to work on. I fail often but I’m not a failure.

 

YOU’RE NOT A FAILURE! YOU’RE GREAT! Ok sorry I’m starting to sound like a motivational speaker (I may have thrown up in my mouth a little)

 

Sometimes it’s easy to think ‘Oh I’m an aspie that’s just how I am’. Yes you do things differently but you don’t have to be trapped in the dark side because of that.

 

Unicorns and sunshine,,

 

Kate

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4 responses to “Leaving The Dark Side

  1. aspergear ⋅

    So, so true! I was the “negative” child when I was young and boy did I hear about it when I was not willing to jump into everything and new situations immediately… Still I hate “Be Positive” crap if I have a bad day… I know it is a process I go threw regularly. I am on a rollercoaster ride emotionally and it is impossible to go from sad to joy no matter how I know it would help… It does not work when people repeat ‘get over it’ when it is a life long process… yes maybe a habit even. It helps to know thyself and just… get it out of your system in your own way at your own pace…

  2. I agree! That’s one of the worst things I think you could possibly be told with Aspergers. When things are going well, I work really hard on being positive and a blessing to others. But when there’s injustices, unwanted external triggers constantly causing meltdowns, etc, I just feel like it’s such an insult, invalidation, and a flippant, condescending remark. (With the rollercoaster emotions, it helps recognizing the triggers and naming them for what they are… triggers. Understanding how triggers work and naming them when they come has helped me get a better hold of my emotions. Also, if I know I’m going through particularly bad meltdowns, I avoid these triggers and ones that could cause new ones at all costs… that seems to help… Best I’ve figured out so far…)

  3. Teacher

    Ha ha, I couldn’t agree more. I sometimes discuss this with my husband…essentially our minds are deeply analytical and what others perceive as negativity is in fact reflection and consideration of all options and scenarios. Sometimes, I love having my mind but I also watch other people plodding along, happy just ‘being’ and envy their ability to take life as it comes. X

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