February: After about six weeks of one epic realization after another, I hit a bit of a wall. The awareness of just how affected I was by external stimuli had set in and I was in a near constant state of sensory overload. Why, at the age of 34, was I getting worse? Because I was burned out. Read this wonderful piece from Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg for a stellar description of what Autistic burnout is like.
March: The great earplug experiment began and changed my life. There are few things I enjoy more than the moment when my foam earplugs fully expand and block out so much of the noise that sets me on edge.
April: It seemed like therapy was finally getting me some results. I learned new techniques for coping and my anxiety was enormously reduced. I also made up my mind to get off my fat ass and start getting some serious exercise.
May: I got to play with dolphins on CT’s birthday. Yes, they are the assholes of the animal kingdom, but they’re so entertaining.
June: My morning walks were regular and exciting. I was proud of myself for sticking with something as challenging for me as walking every day.
July: POTTER!!! Yes, I’m a nerd. So what? My friends and I put on silly costumes and attended the midnight show of the final Harry Potter movie. As luck would have it, since we went to the Universal Citywalk theater, we also got to spend from 3 AM to 5 AM in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It was crowded, it was chaotic and it was exhausting. I spent most of it sitting outside the owlery and people watching so I could stay out of the crowds. Unfortunately, I also got violently ill on the way home.
August: I had been feeling run down after the Potter experience and had stopped my morning walks. Then came the pain. My Rheumatoid Arthritis flared up after two years of being held at bay with vitamins. Back on all my many medications I went.
September: And then I was 35. I refuse to say more on the subject.
October: It was an eventful month. Steve Jobs died, I got some much needed closure, Ninja was faced with school bullies and I went to a wedding. On purpose. And I enjoyed myself! Yay me! Bigger yay for the Chicks for helping me through it and the happy couple who made sure we were at a table of awesome people.
November: On the roller coaster that this year has been, November was a Double Down Drop. (See http://themeparks.about.com/cs/coasterbooks/a/coasterspeak.htm for a definition.) First I met my new boss and he made a joke about my AS that made me very uncomfortable. Then he told me he was taking my office away. This was devastating news.
December: The fight for my ADA rights continues and I will have a letter for my boss next week. Christmas was rough because of the stress and anxiety at work. All I wanted was to stay home and sleep. I haven’t been this depressed in a very long time.
Well, who the hell knows? I want to have a kick ass year. I want to be at this point next year (provided the Mayans were wrong) raving about how EPIC 2012 was and how great my life is. Going into 2011, my theme song was Uncharted by Sara Bareilles, mainly because of the line “Each day I’m counting up the minutes ‘til I get alone, cause I can’t stay in the middle of it all.” For 2012, I’ve chosen The Good Life by Weezer. Aside from being from a male point-of-view, it sums up what I’ve been through and what I want for the new year very well.
Life is short, kids. We only get so much time, so why waste it being miserable? 2012 is my year to find my happy and fucking OWN it. You get out there and own yours, too.