It’s funny how challenges in life are not always a bad thing. In fact, sometimes challenge brings us a sense of happiness before we have even overcome them. For example, a new project or task at work can be at first intimidating. You may feel anxious about how to accomplish your goal, worried you will not come up with the right idea to get your company or business what it needs. Or maybe, you have a plan set. But now you need to get everyone else on board, whether that be your co-workers, employees, and sometimes your boss. Any of these situations can be very daunting and nerve racking. As someone with Asperger’s, I can say that anxiety is all the worse when you take into consideration that some or many members of your team will simply not understand what it is you are trying to say, not see the perspective that you have. Not just because that’s life and happens to everyone, but because you have trouble communicating certain things and are often misunderstood or simply monotone and awkward.
At the same time however, an obstacle at work can quickly become a source of motivation. What happens when you find the solution to the problem your facing? It could result in a high commission check, a bonus or raise, your personal business expanding. This challenge now has a light at the end of the tunnel, an incentive to be overcome and not just by the bare minimum. No, now you are excited and empowered as you begin to bounce ideas in your head and picture how things would actually play out. At least that’s what I do. I play out every different scenario that can happen, even the worst possible. But I keen in on how I want things to go, knowing my expectations will never be met one-hundred percent, trying with all the effort I have to accomplish my reality. Because the light at the end of the tunnel is worth the risk and if you are going to go for something, you should be excited and confident in yourself. That is when a challenge brings you happiness, or rather you bring yourself happiness by setting yourself up to succeed.
Today is Day 2 of my second attempt at polyphasic sleeping. As mentioned in my prior post, I am trying to adapt to what is known to most of the polyphasic community as the Everyman 3 schedule. This means I am sleeping 3.5 hours in what is known as a core, and then three 20-minute naps spread throughout my day. In case you’re interested, this is how my schedule looks:
2:00AM – 5:30AM [ 3.5 Hours ]
7:50AM – 8:10AM [ 20 Minutes ]
12:25PM – 12:45PM [ 20 Minutes ]
*6:25PM – 6:45PM [ 20 Minutes ]
*With the exceptions of Thursday, where my nap is either 5-10 minutes earlier or later. The same schedule is said to be ideal but one nap a week should not hurt if changed by such a small increment.
Yesterday, Day 1, I woke up startled to my alarm. It was playing through headphones that were connected to my computer. This was done so that only I could hear the alarm, not my mate in bed next to me or ideally my parrot sleeping near the bed in her space. It was a shock compared to waking naturally the two weeks prior, but as I said the challenge of something greater pushed me to get out of bed and get started with my day at 5:30AM in the morning. The first thing I did upon waking up was lay out a yoga mat and get to stretching. My body needed it and it was a good way to keep myself from nodding off. Normally, I do not stretch this early in the morning. It is not until later in the afternoon or evening that I finally get to it (if at all some days), so already I am starting my day better than the last 13 or so!
It was then that I started working on my first blog post. It was something I had been meaning to do for a long time but never got around to. I never knew what I would write about most passionately, and as someone who obsesses over things I had to pick something that really drove me. But I also had to offer perspective on something that people could really use, something that not too many people were doing. Something that would either improve or bring pleasure to both my life and others’. Truth be told, it also had to be something I could speak about confidently and be of interest to people. And now I felt I found something I really wanted to write about. A few things actually, which were all tied into one thing: living with Asperger’s.
I am clearly not the only one to come out and speak about Asperger’s/autism. But it is something I thought about and have dealt with my entire life. I did come out to others including my parents about thinking I had Asperger’s, but I was responded to as most high functioning autistics are – “What?”
From there we are typically told that’s impossible or unlikely. We’re asked why we think that, or told something else entirely is wrong with us, often something with our character. It can be frustrating. And so while from time to time I do deal with some sort of shame, for the most part I tried to live without it and accept that part of me. And that was great, but I still naturally withheld from telling mostly everyone. I only really told close friends or people in circumstances I felt appropriate. I stopped bringing it up to my family and just had to learn how to deal with it on my own. Find situations I was comfortable in and do my best to handle the ones that were not. I am sure music speaks to mostly all of us, even as kids, but it was not until I began hearing electronic music in the 90s that I finally heard something that resounded with me and made my body feel all tingly. It was then many years until I was old enough to go out and enjoy the rave scene, listening to the very DJs that spoke to me as a child and those that came after, but that’s when I found the environment I was most comfortable.
My first experiences were amazing, as I was always enwrapped in dreamy music and colorful lights though most autistics are sensitive to both sounds and light. (I am sensitive to lights and sounds as well, but typically with more day to day things like traffic lights and the sounds of motors.) Still, I was reserved and quiet until people came up to me. That still persists often today, but unlike who I am now I also looked more reserved. One’s style can evolve and changes with time, but I always experimented with many different clothing items and fashions, usually preferring pretty weird choices by others’ standards by the time I started coming more into myself. As an adult, I was less adventurous with what I wore when going out and I did conform to a degree with what was standard at local rave scene. Very quickly things started to change as I found that being in this setting, I could be more true to my self. That’s not to say I did not have challenges socializing and did not spend a great amount of time questioning why and if people honestly wanted to be my friend. But I was definitely more myself and the challenge of trying to get to know people had greater reward than in previous years of my life. In the rave scene, I seemed to make genuine connections with people that lasted years despite us only ever seeing each other at raves. It might sound superficial, but as an Aspie I already spend much of my time in isolation so I would see those I met at raves much more often than even my closest friends. After all, raving and music were my obsession and did it very, very often. I went to so many raves and festivals in the local community that people I hadn’t even met would recognize me at events and I had friendly faces coming up to me all the time. It was completely different from how I was treated outside the rave scene, in the “real world” as ravers will say. Only back in elementary and middle school did majority of my classmates over look my awkwardness and take me as the friendly but quiet person I was. It probably helped that no one knew I was autistic, but instead seen as just a shy, smart kid that talked more after opening up.
Coming back to challenges, it was a combination of accepting my Asperger’s, going through the musical journey I went through, and even starting polyphasic sleep that have led me to overcome the challenge I am completing currently: writing this blog.
Maybe you’re reading this and you’re yawning.
But I like to think that my experiences as an Aspie and how I overcome the associated challenges using things like raving and adopting new sleep schedules will be interesting and even helpful to some of you out there. Or maybe you just fancy one of my obsessions.
In any case, it was during my first attempt at polyphasic sleep that I set a few goals for myself. It might be better to say I brought more emphasis to my goals, but the fact is I wanted to not only overcome the challenge of adopting a polyphasic sleep schedule – I wanted to use it to achieve even more. To challenge myself further. The major goals were to:
-improve music quality
-spend more time writing
-send more time with family (my mate and feathered companion)
-have more free time for games and game broadcasting
To write more and accomplish my long time goal of blogging about a passion, I understandably decided I would finally start this blog. In the first weeks of adaption I even started a draft whilst also writing in my novel. Creating music was my #1 hobby during the adaption however, and it did improve dramatically. Not only did I put together songs faster than I had been recently but my mate even commented on how the music was surprisingly different than ever before. Eventually sleep deprivation from oversleeping and micro-sleeping caught up with me and the blog post never got posted.
Here we are today and back onto polyphasic sleeping, and currently I am satisfying two major goals as well as another. I am writing in my blog and hanging out with my parrot friend, who is muttering back to me as I mumble my typed words aloud. (She really enjoys mimicking my tone.) As I write, I am also enjoying some delicious veggie wraps and carrots, which satisfies my goal of eating (even) healthier than I did before. In about 30 minutes after my second nap of the day I will also be satisfying another major goal, which is to have time to game! It may sound silly to some but any gamer knows how much time gaming can consume, not just for your pleasure but to obtain the skill level or rewards you desire. It can also be frustrating when you have many games to play but only so much time to spare when work and family obviously come first. Thanks to my schedule I have plenty of time for all that and more!
So what’s the take of my random rambling?
Push yourself outside your comfort zone, because even an autistic person can socialize and have fun at a rave.
Accept challenges as gracefully as you can, because there’s no other way.
And when you overcome a challenge, use that to achieve more.
And more . . .
Thanks for reading.
Wish you the best!
– Indi (:
EDIT: I’ve come back to this post and decided, why not take my challenging a little further? It’s hard to come up with goals in relation to number of subscribers and readers, but I figure I need to start somewhere. I need to push myself to share my blog with others. So to get me started, I’m setting a goal to reach at least 10 subscribers in the next 20 days, or at the very least, 10 people to come and read my blog. Let’s go!