Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sensory Issues and Well-Being

Hi, I'm back... sorry I disappear every now and then. I just wanted to update you on how I'm doing.

Over my winter break from college, my mom took me to see her neurologist, since I've been having daily headaches for as long as I can remember. He prescribed to me an old anti-depressant that also helps with pain prevention. It's been about a month since I've been on it, and I've got to say, I feel a lot better. I didn't understand for a while that most people don't have to grapple with headaches on a daily basis.

Due to my recently being able to take on a lot more, I'm better able to recognize what things trigger the headaches that do occur - like not getting enough sleep. I've discovered that I need somewhere between 9-10 hours of sleep a night to feel decent. Being a full-time college student, those full nights of sleep get increasingly hard to come by. Even though I'll feel like a slug, I have to keep working - my grades and my self-respect depend on it. Even if it makes me feel like shit. I'd probably be able to get more work done if I were on a proper sleep schedule, haha. It's a tough balance to adjust to. Either way, I'll try my best.

I often wonder though, if my perception of headaches is merely my observing the presence of my head? Like feeling it's there. It still feels heavy and sluggish, as it sits there above my shoulders. It's not a sharp pain, it's very dull... possibly even a byproduct of my brain communicating with the rest of my body. Is the connection between my brain and my body somewhat defunct, in that the normal setting it's stuck on is "headache mode"??

I do, however, think the Aspies having low muscle tone generalization is true for me. Though physically fit, I often feel like a ragdoll, very limp and weak. I have poor posture as well, and a lot of the time just want to sleep. I guess I'm fortunate that my schoolwork requires making things, a lot of which involves standing up and moving around. It's important that I'm active in order to feel my best. Those moments, though, when I need to sit down... I think they send a signal for my brain that it's bedtime. This is why I have the hardest time in lectures, because despite my desire to learn, I'm not really doing anything interesting, just sitting there listening. I wish educators would create a more interactive version of the lecture, because I know for a fact that I'm not the only one who has this problem. I guess I'm fortunate that my professor lets us eat in class!

I'm trying to find foods and certain activities that help combat sluggishness associated with tiredness and being stuck in a zombie-like mode (which I often find myself trapped in). When I feel better I find that it is easier to socialize and get work done, and it is far more enjoyable - I feel almost normal, to the extent that one would like to feel "normal".

I've found, for myself, that peppermint tea, white tea and orange juice work wonders (citrusy things in general), as well as eating foods rich in protein. I think soy is a wonder food. I love sugar, but the crash that comes afterwards may not even be worth it. Doing yoga also seems like a great thing for me to do, as well as frequent exercise. I still need to work my way to a happy equilibrium, though, because I'm not quite there yet.

I want to bring this question to all of you: What have some things been that help YOU with sluggishness?


Steve Florman said...

One of the things that help me is when I succeed in getting myself free of caffeine. I'm a serious Coke addict (red bottle, not white powder) and the ups and downs make life a lot worse. When I'm off it, my headache frequency goes way down and my energy level levels off at a decent place.

Oh - typical of me to pop off without introduction. I'm a 46-yr-old father of five who didn't start to suspect he was Aspie until about 3 years ago. So many things about me make sense when viewed in that light . . .

pink said...

Hey, thanks for reading Steve! It's very true about caffeine - I've stopped drinking coffee for the most part, and will only have a cup of white tea in the morning if I feel like I need it. I've found focusing on getting enough sleep will subside the need for caffeine anyway.

That's interesting about you though. My situation was very different... I was diagnosed when I was five (it must have something to do with the fact that Asperger's was just becoming known when I was young) and I always knew I was different, but never knew it had a name until my parents told me of my diagnosis. It definitely puts a lot of things into perspective. Nice to hear from you though!

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