Exactly what it says...
I saw my GP. She's lovely. She gave me a 2-week certificate, though I won't actually need it until next week. I'm planning to go back next week, anyway. I don't want to be off for longer than I need, and I think this extra bit of time will help. I rang my manager and explained, and she was fine - said she looked forward to seeing me next week, but to just let her know Sunday if I'm not ready. She also said if I need any further adjustments, to let her know. I told her I know what it is. It's the backwash from mum's passing. After she died, I knuckled down and just dealt with all the affairs, then took a couple of months to myself before going back to work. During those months, though, I was writing my book about those final months we spent together. It helped me - but I wasn't really grieving. I think that's what's happening now. Grief affects us all so differently, and it's finally caught up. I've been able to look at photographs without any problems up to now - but now I'm finding it hard. I looked at a photo yesterday of the first day I got Daisy. She was so nervous, she spent a while hiding behind the settee. Finally, she peeped out. Then, over the next half-hour, she sniffed around. She sniffed me and realised I wasn't going to hurt her. In no time, she was up on the settee cleaning herself. She came with me to mum's and gave her a lot of comfort. And now, she's my sole companion. I think if anything happened to her, it really would kill me. Cats have incredible intuition. She knows I'm low, and she cuddles up to me close each night when I go to bed.
I had the most terrible nightmare last night which underlined it all for me (and I'm sleeping huge amounts - dead sleep, without any alcohol involved). I dreamed I'd come back to my flat one night, but the lights wouldn't work. I managed to put my lamp on - but then it got switched off again. I sensed some malevolent presence there in the darkness. I checked the fuse boxes and just gave them a tap, and the lights all came on. The place was in a state. Wallpaper had been ripped down, furniture had been overturned - and there were tiny pellets of grey clay stuck over everything. Finally, in panic, I ran downstairs to my neighbour to tell him. He seemed to know. He said he'd seen a face at my window some days when I'd been out. He came up with me... and the place was in an even worse state. Completely wrecked. Then I went into the kitchen and saw this figure. It was like a child, but made entirely of this grey clay, like a Morph figure. It was trying to climb out of the window. I screamed to my neighbour that I could see it, and I threw things at it. I woke up then, screaming 'There it is!' Throughout this nightmare, the one thought in my head was 'At least I can go to mum's. She'll look after me.'
That was it. Those two things. Loss of the one person I could always go to - and fear of losing what I have left.
The subconscious is a remarkable reservoir of truth. It tells you what you need to know.
Like I said, I'm sleeping lots. Apart from that one big nightmare, too, my other dreams are extremely vivid.
After she died, I knuckled down and just dealt with all the affairs, then took a couple of months to myself before going back to work. During those months, though, I was writing my book about those final months we spent together. It helped me - but I wasn't really grieving.
What you describe in this quotation was really grieving ~ stage one grieving where the emotional network blows a fuse bank or two and basically for the most part goes off line, and emotional numbness results.
The knuckling down business with the arrangements helps to deal with the overload in a sense of letting off the emotional steam, until as you are finding now at stage two with the grief process; the emotional network is coming back on line to the extent that it is.
Most people as such normally go through four stages of really difficult grieving, with the first two being the most 'wham-factor-ten' difficult, where as at stage three most people know roughly what they are dealing with ~ "Hello darkness my old friend . . " sort of thing.
In respect of your dream:
I dreamed I'd come back to my flat one night, but the lights wouldn't work. I managed to put my lamp on - but then it got switched off again. I sensed some malevolent presence there in the darkness. I checked the fuse boxes and just gave them a tap, and the lights all came on.
As stated above the emotional network had blown a fuse, and the malevolent presence is in essence the guardian of that thresh-hold of emotional pain ~ that allows you to reboot your emotional defences to buffer excess processing whilst processing what you can at this most difficult stage of things.
The place was in a state. Wallpaper had been ripped down, furniture had been overturned - and there were tiny pellets of grey clay stuck over everything.
In sense you have returned to where obviously your inner incredible hulk has had a furious meltdown and wrecked the joint, and as also symbolised the proverbial robbery and your absence as housekeeper ~ due to the emotional network having gotten overloaded and shut down, denying you access and protecting you.
Your inner flat in the sense of the grey clay involves firstly as follows:
Finally, in panic, I ran downstairs to my neighbour to tell him. He seemed to know. He said he'd seen a face at my window some days when I'd been out.
Your neighbour in your dream would of course know because he is an aspect of your psychology, a more grounded one on account of being represented by your 'downstairs' neighbour.
He came up with me... and the place was in an even worse state. Completely wrecked.
As you involved your neighbour your psychology reintegrated more and allowed more of the emotional damage to be processed ~ with flat version one being in a sense the precursory glance, and flat version two being the more deeper aftermath inspection. Your neighbour here being another thresh-hold guardian representation of and for you.
Then I went into the kitchen and saw this figure. It was like a child, but made entirely of this grey clay, like a Morph figure. It was trying to climb out of the window.
The child of clay represents the 'Home-Alone' child, as has become feral in your psychological absence, due to you being unable until now to access your flat as being a locked room in your mind-body relationship. The fact that your representational grey clay child was attempting to climb out of the window, involves the aspect of you wishing as you did to escape from your mind-body relationship, regarding the 'Goodnight, good luck' session of course.
>[Prepare yourself here, regarding AA and alcoholism . . . admitting that you are wrong to have used alcohol as a coping mechanism ~ is astoundingly wrong.
Alcohol is certainly not the best way of dealing with things when it is used in excess. But for the love of life, and all that is held dear (such as you) Tom ~ you have had a major major shock and have been heavily traumatised by your mothers passing, which is in no way whatsoever your fault, and I repeat in no way whatsoever in any way can this possibly be your fault.
You Are A Complete Son to Mother Legend Tom ~ without any shadow of doubt, and you are equally as much a legend here also.
You have been a foundation of granite and a rock to lean on and to learn from ~ for so very many people on so very many occasions. A personal thankyou is here deeply meant and truly sent to you.]<
The grey clay child represents on one level the alcohol damage to your body, and resist here the urge if you are thinking as much to go all out and stop drinking, as firstly it would be a change to your living routine, and secondly you have Asperger's Syndrome. Progressive reduction of alcohol intake is required, or in other words controlled and increased moderation, along with learning to eat before, during and or after drinking. The fact that your grey clay child is as such represents a lack of tissue salts, vitamins, minerals and gut flora ~ dehydration with the lack of tissues salts will definitely be an issue. You may perhaps find this mineral clay information particularly pertinent:
and a supplier:
Dream representations can be exceedingly literal sometimes, so if so here, you at least have a means to finding a resolution for this issue. Should you feel that this is the right course of action for you, start on small doses to gently get the detoxing process going, and take it very gently and very slowly. Otherwise you may well find that fifteen feet from the toilet will be your limit ;-)
Regarding tissue salt depletion, Salt Spa Waters are definite a plus, especially if you have a spa town of that sort near you, and some water containers or bottles:
Then I went into the kitchen and saw this figure. It was like a child, but made entirely of this grey clay, like a Morph figure. It was trying to climb out of the window. I screamed to my neighbour that I could see it, and I threw things at it. I woke up then, screaming 'There it is!'
Throughout this nightmare, the one thought in my head was 'At least I can go to mum's. She'll look after me.'
Thank you, DT, for your thought and time with this. This is a lot to take in, but reading through it I can see that you have described literally and scientifically exactly what my own thoughts are about this whole situation. I need to take time to read through it again - and I will, several times, because it is so informative and pertinent. My head needs to be ready to take it all in. Your dream analysis is very astute. I had actually been thinking of doing some research (I read Freud's Interpretation of Dreams years ago), and you've saved me some work!
So much of what you suggest is actually what I have been trying to do since this episode on Sunday. Another Aspie friend said to me that she wouldn't advise 'cold turkey', and I need to gradually bring myself back to sobriety. My only worry, as I explained to her, is that it is so unpredictable with me. There are times when I can drink at a level that, whilst excessive, is nonetheless 'controllable' to some extent. So, I'll drink a bottle of wine, or half a bottle of spirits, and maybe stop there... or maybe just get a little bit more. But then there are times - Sunday was one such occasion, but it doesn't have to be triggered by any particularly abnormal emotional stress - when I just keep going and keep going, until I black out. There are even times when I will drink perfectly normally for days on end. I agree with you about AA. I don't think it is all very helpful for autistic people. But I do accept what they say - that all the while I'm still drinking, I can still be at risk of going further. I know they like to press home the thing of 'It's impossible to go back to drinking in moderation' - and they're right in that, in my opinion. The whole fact that I went through my life until my late 30s without alcohol ever being a problem is irrelevant. It is a problem for me now, and it always will be.
Having said all of that... since Sunday, I have been drinking one single can of strong beer every day, just before lunch - and then having lunch, followed by a sleep. And when I awake, any urge to get any more drink has gone. It usually returns in the evenings, when I like to sit and watch a film. That's when I miss it. What I've been doing instead, though, in the evenings is watching some of the hundreds of YouTube videos about alcohol, and alcoholics. Listening to some of their stories. I watch these all evening, and then I go to bed. And sleep well, and heavily, and always - as again last night - with very vivid dreams (last night, I was Amy Winehouse's PA, and was preparing a meal for her at her flat - but all the cutlery and crockery was broken and the table collapsed... a lot that can be read into that one!) Nutrition-wise, I've always had a good and sensible approach to food. It only really collapses when I'm drunk, when I inevitably end up eating junk (which actually makes me feel as guilty as the drink does). I was a wholefood vegan for almost 30 years, and have good nutritional understanding. I now eat fish and some dairy. But overall, I eat healthily and a good mix of proteins, fibre, carbohydrates, etc. I tend to prefer fresh food to processed food, and consume as little sugar as possible (alcohol notwithstanding). I eat very little fried food or saturated fats. I think the legacy of this (at age 60, almost) is that I am still remarkably fit. I have never had a serious physical illness. My skin tone is good. My energy levels are high. I can cycle 10 miles to work in 35 minutes, do a day's work, then cycle home in the same time. As little as 5 years ago, I could still run 5k in 20 minutes (I don't run now because of the damage it can cause, especially to lower back). I regularly swim. When I tell people my age, they are often astonished - thinking I'm at least 10 years younger. My BMI is spot on, and I want to keep it that way. So, I know I'm doing the right things. Alcohol, of course, is the one thing that undermines (or threatens to) all of that. It's the one big cloud hanging over me. And at the same time... it's been the only thing in the last 8 or 9 years that I've turned to for relief from how I'm feeling. In that time, too, it's been the source of some of the worst misfortunes I've endured in my life. It lost me the love of a dear woman. It lost me a home. It landed me in a police cell once. It got me Sectioned. It turned me into an angry, abusive, raging street spectacle to the disgust of all of my close neighbours (this was when my last partner was here; she was seriously bad for me, but even so). It led me to abuse family members, whom I've essentially lost. It led me to get a police Caution on my DBS, for criminal damage (there were extenuating circumstances, which is why it was only a Caution, but still...). It has cost me the respect of several people, which in turn has cost me self-respect. It has been the fuel behind every single one of my suicide attempts. Everything bad that has happened to me in that time has been because of alcohol. I hate the person it can turn me into - the abusive, angry, nasty, spiteful, arrogant monster who is, of course, actually me: the Dionysian part of my psyche that alcohol releases. The person who starts threads like this (which I still can't remember starting, as I was in blackout by then). It gives me the excuse to whinge and whine about my terrible life, and the blows I've been dealt, and the reasons I haven't achieved what I wanted to achieve. It turns me into a pot of self-pity. It is my medicine of choice, and my destroyer at the same time.
Ultimately, alcohol has to go. I know this. I want to stop it altogether. But I will try the progressive reduction and see if it works. The Aspie friend I spoke about has used cannabis for years, which she finds the most helpful thing for anxiety and general coping. Not excessively, and not the worst type of paranoia-inducing skunk you find everywhere now. No drug is a good drug, of course. But alcohol is certainly the worst of them - the legal ones, that is. Something is better than nothing.I've rambled on. This stuff was in my head and it found its way out onto this comment. Thank you again. I will take on board what you have said, I promise. I can feel the clouds already beginning to thin out as I look ahead. One day at a time, as they say.
I'll keep coming back, as they also say!
PS I do actually use Himalayan Pink Salt, and also sea salt. Never table salt.
I was going to pick a few choice quotes from your passage above about the monster that alcohol can release. I didn't , because it would be quicker to tell you which of those things don't apply to me. I didn't get the police record only because no-one had the sense to call them; I certainly should have been arrested several times. To say I lost lost a relationship would be both understating and overstating it; I hadn't the foggiest idea what a relationship even was, but if she were to accuse me now of having been a stalker, I could not honestly deny it. Emotional blackmail by threatened suicide was my trademark until people got pissed off with it and stopped taking me seriously. Ironically, none of those people knew about the times I really did try - always completely rat-arsed of course, all the better to *** it up just like I did everything else (how poetic of the alcohol to save my life just as it had convinced me to end it.)
I've been thinking about this a lot since we last spoke about the subject. What drove me to alcohol is beyond question; I simply wasn't prepared for the adult world. There were cracks showing before I left home for university, including running away from home for a short while (I rather over-estimated my ability to live in the woods!) The culture shock at Uni' blew my mind and exposed my autistic traits as never before. I figured out that alcohol was a "magic sociability potion", and it was my life-raft on a sea of bewildering social behaviours for a while. If it didn't actually help me to socialise, it could at least be a scapegoat for my social ***-ups.
I didn't notice how wrong I was until I was already being threatened by the University with expulsion from Halls due to the complaints. I'd forgotten all about the sociability and drank mostly alone, barely ate, and eked every last drop out of my overdrafts; then raided the caving club's kitty for a chaser. Sofa-surfing kept the rain off, and I could always go on a mine-sweeping raid if I was desperate; I didn't particularly care if nicking someone's pint got me my head kicked in (it didn't, but getting within arms length of my pungent aroma might have been difficult even for the least squeamish thug.) Having a massive explosive rage, then waking up in the middle of a field, churchyard, or even an excavation in the middle of the road, miles away from home and with no idea where I was or how I got there became a pretty common occurrence.
It has only dawned on me recently that some of my rages and catatonic states, were possibly melt-downs and shut-downs caused by huge emotional overloads;. Triggered by alcohol bringing out those emotions, for sure, but the similarities with my sober melt-downs are quite striking. The places I'd end up were the same as I would seek out when I fly from a melt-down (the memory loss is similar too), and people have mentioned my odd body rigidity sometimes when I was "blacked-out" (unlike my more usual sack-of-spuds effect.) I can't say whether I'd have made this connection back in the day, had I known I was autistic, or even that I'm right; but I wonder if each exacerbates the other somehow.
I'm now at a point where for about 20 years or so, including some severe depressive periods, I have rarely drunk more than once a week. I know I am still an alcoholic, because on the days when I do, I still hammer it; if there's more available, it's going down the hatch. My reaction to drink seems more like other people's too; I don't get the end-of-session blues any more than others seem to, and the Dionysian monster hasn't come out to play. I notice much more than I used to how it affects me for several days afterwards; not feeling groggy or poorly, but more apparently autistic traits, particularly poor executive function, and general sluggishness.
I wish I could tell you exactly what process got me to where I am now. It wasn't a sudden epiphany. It wasn't any kind of professional help or the AA. It wasn't because of an "intervention"; though there were some. I can only tell you this; I think that the Dionysian monster doesn't come out because it isn't there any more. Much as in Deepthought's excellent analysis of your dream, it was the highly concentrated, purely negative aspects of my psyche - rather like the monster in the sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet. In a sense it resolved itself as I found my place in the world a little more. As this happened, I drank less, in turn cutting down on the post-binge depressions, giving me more resolve to drink less, and so on.
Alcohol makes you feel like you're evading the monster, when in fact all you're really doing is numbing everything so that you forget that it exists; then it frightens you all the more by jumping out when your defences are down and you haven't the wit to control it. You can't beat alcohol for making you forget the terrible effects of alcohol; it's not so different to the heroin that I have seen people slowly succumb to (I am so glad I was socially oblivious enough to have no idea how to obtain it, nor was offered it, in my student years; I would not have thought twice.)
In practical terms, I have my rules. I hadn't the slightest idea I was autistic when I made the rules, but I seem to have instinctively played into my autistic thinking style; they're simple to remember, and pretty absolute, but with a tiny big of wriggle room so that I don't crucify myself for a lapse.
Have I broken these rules? Sure, plenty of times, and I no doubt will again; but they're something concrete to aim at, realistic, and I have got better and better at keeping them with practice. It is very rare now that I crave a drink, and usually only because I'm around other drinkers. I can't stand being sober around drunk people, partly because they remind me what a *** I can be myself when drunk. For the sake of my social life with some very dear friends, I allow myself the occasional binge with them, and actually enjoy being drunk all the more because i don't need to be (and usually have an evil hangover the next day, and once in a while fall asleep in a field in the middle of my walk home.) I don't expect myself to be perfect but I would quit completely if the monster ever came back out again.
No idea if any of this is any use to you, but I at least wanted to keep my promise to see what I could come up with. You've already come a long way from where you were a couple of days ago. Your "rambling" is much more coherent than you're giving yourself credit for, so ramble away - I certainly can't complain; it's payback time for all the poor sods who've had to listen to me over the years!
Wonderful! Good sense, all of it. A better analysis than I've received in all my years (on and off) of AA meetings, peer groups, stern talkings-to, etc.
I like your set of rules. There are a few of them that I regularly break. I only drink alone, simply because I have no one else to drink with me. I have no select group of friends. I go back to the off-licence when I'm already drunk
On the other hand... if I do go out on a (rare) social occasion (like the dreaded works Christmas party, or someone's leaving do), I don't drink. I prefer to sit and watch the other people around me get legless and stupid whilst I retain my sober state of mind. In some ways, it helps to remind me of where it takes me - and I feel a sense of satisfaction that I'm not allowing myself to take me there at that time. Maybe that's another reason I don't get on too well with the people at work!
I didn't drink at uni, mainly because I would prefer to sit alone and study - and I had to work extra hard to keep up, and was driven by the need to succeed and get through it.
I've done with the professional help, the AA guilt-tripping and 12-Step authoritarians, and Big Book bashing (all the iconography and ethos of religion). As with DT, I think your analysis is very astute, and one to give me much to think about.
Thanks Tom, I'm glad to hear it was helpful.
I was always too much of a sceptic, cynic and hater of dogma to use any of the common programmes; and the idea of group work just freaks me out too much, if I'm honest. You know yourself best, and I think probably better than you give yourself credit for; you'll find your own set of rules. Like I said in the One Line Wonders thread; when you're fighting an invisible monster, first throw a bucket of paint over it!
There is actually an AA one that I quite like:
When you're dancing with a gorilla, remember it's the gorilla who gets to say when the dancing stops!
Probably just as well that I never managed to get my head around dancing with anybody (or anything), then - whirling dervish in the corner accidentally knocking people flying was more my style (it might have helped if I ever opened my eyes, but then the other people would have been able to see me!)