it’s the way that you do it

And that’s what gets results.

Harken back a tick, to when I mentioned about the sensory processing things. At that point, I was starting to face up to long-standing patterns of human interaction and adaptation to change and all, because I had the emotional and mental space to do so. Maybe the fact that I have been sitting here staring at various tabs, looking for something not my words to explain it… explains it.

This happens.

It’s been happening — I thought! — around situations relating to fibro, and now I see it may be related to something I don’t want to name yet because naming it changes people’s perceptions.* Names have meaning. Names imply things like “this person doesn’t know how to do certain social things” and I can do them. When I can. Which isn’t always. I talked on time; I was late with German because I wanted to get it right, right? So what happens when you blow a person’s language centers wide-open and cross it with the possibility of neurodivergence? Do you expect universal delays or is this a mitigating factor?

Kids are supposed to go through phases, sure, but mine were… not kid phases. A kid who speaks doctor by the age of ten? A kid who tracks hurricanes before she knows her times tables? (A kid who dreamed in Weather Channel reports for years on end before it went all slick and modern and consumer-friendly, ew. I miss the old interface, where it felt like I was part of a secret club.) A kid who comes up with family trees like sequoias and they’re all for fictional universes?

And when they stopped being phases and started being part of who I was? “Oh, that’s Mari again, naming people she may never even write.” Or “Oh, Mari, you could’ve been a doctor/meteorologist!” No, sorry, I’m not mathematical enough. But I am a crack problem-solver. Give me the variables and I’ll sniff out the pattern before too very long. The supernatural is only deduction you don’t understand. (And magic is science we haven’t proven yet.)

If I’m too jacked up on caffeine or certain other environmental factors** then I get cranky like a toddler. I need to blue-screen and I can’t. So I surf the soundwaves or, if I’m distressed, fight the beaten-in urge to repress my tears. Because it takes so much for the dam to break, it breaks hard and I howl. But you’d howl too if your mental image of “now” was a gaping abyss.

See, this is where therapies like DBT both win and fail. Win because at least with mindfulness, I can process — when I have room — what is making what do what. I’m a natural D20 when it comes to critical thinking; it’s a defense mechanism as much as a way to get ahead in academia. I tick along nicely in that respect. The fail hits when DBT insists on confining the client to the present without reaching into the past to figure out why a person needs DBT in the first place. I am incapable of letting the mystery lie.

Also, the Zen woo isn’t me at all.

There’s one more thing that bothers me. I’m imaginative. I’m a story person and I always loved Pretend when it wasn’t some usual boring twaddle. I can shift realities. You probably haven’t seen me act, not in a proper role. I wish you could. I was good. I’m surely rubbish now, what with the rote memorization issues. But I do a darn good staged reading. Empathy helps. The people on the page become so real; they always have.

And empathy is a thing with me, this sitting with a person, being where they are with them.

What it means in a context I don’t fully understand… I don’t fully understand.

So. Therapy. I hope soon. I look like someone who rides the change waves but you’re not staring at my broken-out face in the mirror. You’re not clinging to the known because there’s so much unknown out there and what if more things change before I’m ready? Or maybe you are, and you know what this is like. Maybe you know the questions I’m asking: is it this what I don’t want to name, or is there really a point in a person’s life where she is well and truly and permanently overcooked?

Is that a thing, or is this the thing my mother wouldn’t be surprised to hear?


* But it’s worth noting that as an adult, I did volunteer with a day-camp kinda thing for kids, and one kid made sense to me in a way that he wasn’t making sense to other kids or, apparently, some adults.

** stupid dopamine issues

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