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Asperger's syndrome

Prolonged Exposure Therapy: Session 4

during my third and fourth sessions of Prolonged Exposure Therapy, my therapist and I took some time to talk about my in vivo exposure assignments. my third session was to spend some time in my yard, gardening, landscaping, pulling weeds. spending time in my yard is an activity I used to enjoy but interacting with my neighbor over the past two years has made me feel more like a scurrying rodent who waits until there is no human presence then darts out into the open on high alert in case she needs to run for safety, hurries through the necessary tasks then runs for safety at the slightest hint of danger.

with in vivo exposure, I'm to place myself in mildly stressful circumstances, stay through the anxiety spike, then allow myself to leave once I've relaxed. so, I spent time in my yard, working in areas that were the most likely to attract my neighbor's notice. he's unable to refrain from commenting on whatever I'm working on, so interaction is virtually guaranteed. he didn't disappoint, and I survived the anxiety spike and stayed at my task until I regained the relaxed feeling that working in my yard used to give me.

I am: literal, concrete, truthful

since I was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome a few months ago I've spent some time reflecting on my life through a new set of self-awareness glasses. although nothing in my past life has changed, it all feels different because the context in which it was experienced has been altered.

my childhood was confusing and at times horrifying. there was no feeling of security, no feeling of being sure I was loved. for a while I was convinced that the reason I felt unloved was that I was adopted. snooping through family documents assured me that was not the case. in fact I found out that I was conceived before my parents married. as an adult, I wonder if their relationship would have lasted more than a few months if it wasn't for that fact.

as it was, they stayed together about four years and had another daughter 18 months after me.

mother, brother, sister, me

yesterday was Mother's Day. I taught my small one how to slice strawberries so she could make me breakfast. I spent time with my kids planting corn and landscaping and did my best to be gracious about Mother's Day sentiments.

I'm not a fan of most holidays. I find the overwhelming requirements of any holiday that purports to recognize someone based on their role in your life to be fairly unreasonable. we're all told who we should honor and how, setting up expectations on both sides that aren't practical. still, yesterday I wished I had a mother to honor. I have a mother, but I haven't spoken to her in a dozen years and I don't plan to in the future.

in spite of my no-contact policy with her, the simple fact that she exists has led to several interesting developments this past week.

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