The Diary Of My Mind

Dealing With Self-Doubt

Good evening Heathens and Hell-Bound friends and foes alike.

Tonight I just wanted to write a very quick article about doubt, more specifically doubting yourself. I deal every day with crushing self-doubt. You might be surprised to know that when it came to writing this blog I honestly thought that no one would read it. The response has been more than I could have ever wished for and yet I still suffer from issues with self-doubt.

My doubt began in high school when I was told by a teacher, that I was not a very good writer. In fact I was told that if I didn’t improve my writing ability to a great degree that I might as well quit school, get a job and forget ever going to college.  So I did. At 18, I quit school, got a job, and put dreams of being a writer behind me. I had always dreamed of becoming a writer and with her comment my dreams had been crushed by that teacher, who may have simply having a bad day, but the ramifications of what she said followed until this very day.

It’s not easy finding a way out of the crippling fear that self-doubt can put you in, but with persistence you can fight back against your own mind. I went back to school, wrote numerous papers, got great grades and worked through these doubts as they hit me. Doubts can only hold you back if you let them.

A few things that I have found useful which you can alter to your own dreams.

  1. Write everyday.
  2. Listen to well-meaning criticism.
  3. Ignore those who just want to destroy your dream.
  4. Do what you love for yourself don’t do it for fame or fortune.

I know that writing will never make me rich, I don’t have any delusions of grandeur about my skills. I enjoy what I do and that is what keeps me going. I love to write and due to my persistence I have been able to steal back what that teacher took from me so many years ago. I know that I’m not the best writer in the world nor would I ever claim to be. I’m me, and a me who writes is a little better at being me than a me who does not.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this endeavor. So much love and appreciation goes out to each one of you.

General Information

New Articles On The Way

So I’ve been writing again which is good and I hope you’ve enjoyed the newest articles from myself, Jennifer, and all the others who have submitted entries. I’ve had some new ideas that I will explore over the coming weeks.

1.) BS News report

This is a satirical take on the news of the week from my own unique point of view.

2.) The return of A Pentecostal Atheist Bible Study

3.) Deep Thoughts

Subjects may include science, medicine, paradoxes, riddles, basically anything that gets me thinking.

Anyway, keep on the lookout for these new articles as well as other posts in the future.

Thank you so much to everyone who has read so far, I appreciate you all.

Side note: What would you like to see more of in this blog. Any suggestions and help will be greatly appreciated.

Matt

The Diary Of My Mind

Rudeness

Throughout the years I have often times been called rude for things that I have said or done. Things that I didn’t consider rude or insensitive at the time and still have great difficulty understanding why these things are considered rude. I have come to understand this as part of my autism which makes social norms not make sense to me, but even so it’s still weird to me that some of these things are considered rude. Now, I’m not saying that I can’t be rude, of course I can. What I am saying is that some of the things that NT’s consider rude make little or no sense at all when you actually look at them.

So I decided to make a short list of some things that make no sense to me…

5.) No saying “bless you” when someone sneezes

So, someone is in your presence and they blow germs all over the room. It is then your responsibility to say “bless you?” Are you thanking them for covering you in germs? Are you literally worried that their spirit is going to escape their body to be replaced by a demon? This common act is so ridiculous to me and I never do it.
Now it hasn’t happened often but I have had people get very upset with me because I didn’t say those two words after they had sneezed. Isn’t that a silly thing to get mad about?

4.) Not saying “excuse me” after burping or farting

Okay, now what the fuck is up with this. A sneeze is to be greeted with a blessing but a fart is to be treated with contempt. Now I understand that a fart or burp can smell bad but they don’t generally make someone sick, whereas a sneeze can lead to a plethora of health issues.
Also, excuse me for what, a natural body function? Everyone farts and burps. Animals throughout nature fart and burp, hell even fish fart. Manatees fart in order to maintain their buoyancy. Why should I feel sorry for something that happens naturally to everyone?

3.)Telling the Truth

This one really gets me. The vast majority of people would rather be lied to a million times than to hear a single harsh truth. For me, I love knowing the truth of things. I’m not saying that I am always right, but I try to speak only the truth and factual information. I find though that I am in the minority.
Over time I have had many people get upset with me because I either told the truth or corrected them on something they were incorrect on. You might ask, “Well, do you like being corrected?” Actually, yes, I do. If I am factually incorrect on something I want to know it.

2.) Disliking something that the majority enjoys

I hate “Game of Thrones.” I am a Tolkien fan and I feel that GoT is nothing more than a wannabe Tolkien epic. With that said I do not go out of my way to insult the show, however, I’ve had numerous people get upset with me over my dislike of the show. This response completely perplexes me.
Perhaps it is the fact that I am so used to people not enjoying my own interests. I cannot remember a time where I actually got mad at someone for disliking something that I enjoy. I have gotten annoyed in the past when someone simply dismisses my own interests as dumb but I cannot think of any time that I have ever gotten mad just because they didn’t like what I did.

1.) Not Understanding Funerals

I guess this is the whole point of the entire post really. My grandmothers funeral is coming up and I guess I have no choice but to go. Funerals though make no sense to me and they never have.
I am told that a funeral is really for the grieving family and not for the person that has passed away. I guess this makes sense but does the dead body or ashes have to be the centerpiece of the event? Just being in the same room as a dead body creeps me the fuck out. I know that I am going to be uncomfortable, I will be greeted by people who don’t really give a shit about me, offering condolences and prayers that are meaningless. If it wasn’t the fact that I feel like I am being forced to go, I wouldn’t…
However, not attending a funeral is seen as rude and insulting to booth the family and the deceased person….even though the deceased person can’t actually get insulted anymore. So just so we’re clear….when I die…if they have a funeral…I won’t care if you don’t come…just saying.

 

Anyway these are just a few of the things that really make no sense to me. I hope you have enjoyed my mindless wandering through this post. Thank you for reading.

 

The Diary Of My Mind

Dealing with Stuff and Things

Life can be incredibly overwhelming to me. For many years I have enjoyed watching the news and discussing current events. Current events were at one point one of my focused interests. I could and still can tell you just about every important news story that happened throughout the day. I used to love keeping up to date but lately this has become a chore and in many cases a terrifying experience.

All of my life I have dealt with fear. I was raised during the era of “Stranger Danger”, at the tail end of the cold war. Life it seemed could be ended for everyone at any point and everyone knew “drop and cover” would do absolutely nothing in the event of a nuclear war. Being a fundamentalist at the time added an extra layer of fear because, at any point, Jesus could return and if you were a sinner it would mean hell for all eternity.

Then things got better. The cold war ended, the world began eliminating its nuclear stockpiles, and humanity seemed to possibly be turning a corner. We had our first African-American president, gay marriage was legalized, and universal healthcare seemed to be a very real possibility in our near future. There was no doubt in mine and many others minds that we were entering a world where anything was possible.

Then the debacle of an election occurred on November 8th occurred and all of that forward progress stopped.

I can no longer turn on the news and enjoy myself. Every day a new awful thing has occurred. One day we hear that the President is goading the North Koreans to a nuclear war, the next day we learn that birth control will no longer be covered by insurance, hell maybe whacking seals with clubs will become the new national past time tomorrow? Seriously, how bad is it going to get?

I am not one for hyperbole. I really couldn’t give a shit it the president hates Rosie O’Donnell. If he wants to tweet about how bad the ratings of the apprentice are now, have at it. I don’t care if he eats pizza with a knife and fork, or that he can’t form a coherent sentence to save his life. I honestly don’t care about 90% of what the news makes a big deal out of, but after listening for 15 minutes, my heart is racing, I start sweating, and my breath shortens.

If I could, I would just hide myself away from society.

People are so fucking exhausting. The world is fucking exhausting. Simply the idea of leaving my house anymore is fucking exhausting. Who knows, maybe today will be the day that I’m at a store when some moron starts shooting the place up. The facts are that half of the country wants to make positive changes that could help the country and the other half simply doesn’t give a shit about anything at all it seems.

I find myself joining that side of the equation from the opposite end of the spectrum. I don’t give a shit anymore because the vast majority of people don’t give a shit. Leave me alone to my books, my movies, my games, and my own thoughts. Let me have my dreams of a better world that will more than likely never exist. Do what you want, destroy the fucking world if that what you see fit to do, just leave me and my little niche the fuck alone.

So to get back to the topic at hand, how do I deal with this world and how overwhelming it is at times?

Short answer: I don’t.

Long answer: I really fucking don’t.

General Information

A New Direction

So to start, I’d just like to say thank you to everyone that has read this blog consistently over the last several months. I hope that you will continue to read in the future. If you have read my recent posts you will know that my life has been turned upside down a bit and I’m having a bit of an existential crisis. I’ve been a jumble of emotions, which is odd for me, and I’ve had great difficulty putting my thoughts together over the last few weeks, this has been especially hard in trying to keep up with the daily schedule that I laid out awhile back. So with that said, this blog is going to go into a new direction.

Have no fear, you will still see all of the articles that I have been writing here but they will not be added in the weekly format. I love writing but I find that the quality of my writing goes down greatly when I try following a format. Thinking, it’s Monday so I need to write this article destroys my motivation many days, which I believe shows in the writing.

So from now on, I will write what I want, when I want to write it. We will still have Wednesday Woo written by my wife and Free-thought Friday, written by a guest blogger, but outside of that the articles will be more off the wall and hopefully better written.

Thank you once again to everyone that has read so far.

Matt

The Diary Of My Mind

Memento Mori

Stress is a strange thing for me, I guess it’s strange for all of us but for me it is very hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that is stressing me out. Obviously my grandmothers illness was wearing my mind out completely because today I had a really good day at work. Not only was I focused but I was back to the extreme focus and motivation to get a lot done that had been missing for several weeks now.

Add to this I’ve changed my shift to showing up an hour earlier, that means I get to work before things get busy and am able to get a lot of work done before things get too hectic. This led to a much less stressful day by itself. I’m incredibly averse to change but this was something that I needed to do for my mental well-being. It was a good choice and while I will have some issues with the change over the next few weeks I’m sure in the end it will have been the correct choice.

So back to my main stressor, my grandmother. I had a dream last night. I saw my grandmother lying there on the bed dying, we sat there for hours waiting to hear anything. All of a sudden she shot upright in bed, looked at me and said,

“I’m dead, Matthew, you can move on now.”

Some would believe this was a paranormal experience, that my grandmother visited me in my dream. However, being that I put no stock in those beliefs I believe the more logical explanation…My brain was telling me that my stress can now subside, I no longer need to worry about my grandmother because there is nothing that worrying can do. She’s dead…tomorrow she will still be dead, the next day she will still be dead, and a year from now she will still be dead, my life however can move on.

I awoke in a good mood, I went to work in a good mood, I completed my tasks in a good mood and as I write this I am still in a good mood. Life is moving on and with it my mind and body can get back to its normal. I loved my grandmother but nothing will bring her back, my life however is something that I can regain control over.

“Memento Mori”, remember that you have to die.  Death will one day come to me as well, but not for now, for now I will write. As Epictetus, the Stoic Philosopher said,

“I have to die. If it is now, well then I die now; if later, then now I will take my lunch, since the hour for lunch has arrived – and dying I will tend to later.”

The Diary Of My Mind

Back From Hiatus

So I haven’t been on here for a bit and just thought I would jump on and write something to let you all know that I’m still here.

So my grandmother passed away a couple of days ago and I think I’m okay. It hit me pretty hard the night she died but since then I’ve entered a beautiful state of denial which I’m not sure how to get out of. Death is so strange to me, it seems like my grandmother is still here and alive, I don’t mean in a physical or metaphysical sense but simply that I haven’t fully accepted her death yet. Life will go on and I know I will one day come to accept that her life has ended but when that will occur is anyone’s guess.

Secondly, my car broke down about a week and a half ago and I finally got it up and running again. I had a brake line that busted and required new lines to be installed. I bought the car less than a year ago and boy has it been a headache. Nothing too serious and mostly stuff that occurs on all cars at some point but the regularity of the breakdowns has been quite the stress inducer on my mind over the last year.

Third, my credit card got compromised the same day that my grandmother passed. It’s a low balance card and so when someone attempted to charge nearly $500 dollars to it, the card company instantly shut the card down. The good news is that I’m not out any money. The bad news is that I am out a credit card for the next week.

Lastly, I still am waiting to get my CPAP machine. The doctor forgot to fill out and submit some paperwork to the medical supply company. While this simply means a few extra days until I get the machine, it does mean that I am not getting any rest at the moment, which is something I am in horrible need of at the moment.

Anyhow, these are the things that have created my writers block over the last few weeks. I do feel like I am getting things under control, at least to a certain degree, and will be able to write more frequently over the coming days and weeks. Life is once again pulling itself back to equilibrium and I at least can put some thoughts together for this blog tonight.

So, now, what is the real topic of this blog?

The real reason I am writing tonight is to describe the existential crisis that I am having at the moment. Life is literally meaningless. We exist, we live, we die, and we probably do some fucking and shitting in between there. I’ve realized that in the grand scheme of things we are all Candide, believing the world has some deeper meaning for us, following systems of belief that ultimately fail, and finding that life is a cruel and indecent mistress, bent on killing us in some way or another.

When I say that life is meaningless, I’m not saying there are not good parts to life, nor am I stating that I am feeling suicidal in any fashion whatsoever. I’m actually a fairly happy person but I see life as completely absurd. We are monkeys that put on suits and pretend we are far more important in the grand scheme of things than any of us actually are. Think of the most important public figure today, and realize that they won’t even be a paragraph worth of material for students 300 years in the future. How much less will the rest of our lives be in regards to our posterity?

Anyway, I’m not the best at describing these feelings. I recommend watching the videos below to gain a better understanding of exactly what an existential crisis is and how one finds themselves going through one. Thank you for reading and have a great week!

 

The Diary Of My Mind

Why I Can’t Write.

My brain is on a senseless shuffle
I see no end in sight
life is an endless boiling bubble
emotions are my plight…

I honestly cannot tell you how I feel at the moment, which doesn’t equate well to a decent blog. I’ve been in shut down mode for the past two weeks. All I have done is played a video game and sat quietly allowing my brain to be in complete down time. This is what I do when my brain gets too much information for it to handle. Many people enjoy music, reading, a productive hobby that produces something, for me it’s video games.

At one point in my life I didn’t understand why I played video games so damn much, yet today I get it. When I am in a game I don’t have to worry about the outside world. I am one with the game. In a way, it is almost a spiritual experience, if you wanted to use those words. I’ve meditated in the past and that feeling of complete quiet and content emptiness is the same that I can get after a two-hour gaming session.

So that’s what I’ve done for the last two weeks. I start the day with the intent to write but as the hours go by and the bullshit builds up I end up in the same state where I was the day before. Why? The reason is I honestly don’t know how I should feel at the moment.

I’m still grasping my official diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, what that means to me and what my next steps are? Having that diagnosis was a liberating experience and yet as the last few weeks have gone by I have had more and more trouble using the old coping mechanisms that I learned throughout life. Three times in the last week I have gone mute, not just quiet but physically incapable of talking for a period of time. This honestly has not happened to me in years.

On top of that my grandmother is still slowly dying in hospice. Her mind has now gone completely and she spends her waking moments crying for her mother to come and rescue her. She hasn’t eaten a thing in two days and the nurses say she has somehow forgotten how to drink liquid. It won’t be long now but I know that she is in agony. I love my grandmother and hate seeing her in this much pain. I only hope her pain will soon be over.

On top of that my grandfather is still an asshole. He has done nothing but make matters worse. Constantly saying he is going to get her out of hospice care as soon as he can and how much of a burden she has caused him when it comes to the bills. It’s all a lie and only meant to make people feel sorry for him. He loves control and this is just one more way that he believes he can maintain control over her life at least for a short time more.

Speaking of that, I have no idea how to reconcile the good memories I have of my grandfather with the new image of him that I have today. I spent summers at my grandparents and loved fishing, early mornings with my grandfather. We spent hours on the bank fishing for bass, crappie, catfish and carp; my grandfather had a special dough bait recipe that he has made for years which was magical when it comes to carp and catfish.

He also taught me how to haggle at garage sales and taught me a lot of what I needed to know when I was early in the ministry. Hell, I wouldn’t even have been a minister if it hadn’t been for my grandfather. I spent a huge portion of my life trying to make him proud which I think I did but now all of that time spent sickens me. I cannot believe that I held him in such high regards for so long after what I know and have witnessed the last couple of years.

To make matters even worse, I have just learned that I have severe sleep apnea. On Wednesday i went to the hospital for a split sleep study. For someone to be considered to have severe apnea they must have 30 or more apnea episodes, periods of the brain waking up for 10 second or more, in an hour. I had 67 apnea episodes. The person conducting the sleep study then hooked me up to a CPAP machine and I was out like a light. The two hours I was connected to the machine were the two best hours of sleep I can honestly remember. I woke up without a headache, something that never happens, and had more energy throughout the day than I have had in a long time.

Anyway, so now I am waiting to speak with my doctor and get my CPAP ordered. The person at the sleep study said that a CPAP wouldn’t just help me but was incredibly important for my long-term health. This has me a bit freaked out but to be honest the worst part is that knowing I can wake up without a headache has made my last few morning headaches ten times worse.

So anyway, I’m mad, I’m confused, I’m not sleeping well and I wish I could make sense of life. I’m hoping to get back into writing soon but the time for that, outside of this article, just hasn’t arrived yet. Maybe soon, but not at the moment. Thank you for bearing with me and your continued support.

Matt

Uncategorized

Inspiration

Who inspires you?

My top 5 list would be

  1. Jennifer – Hands down she is my rock, my inspiration and my motivator.
  2. Oscar Wilde – I love that he picks apart society and small talk with such ease. Pointing out how absurd the word is.
  3. Douglas Adams – I love fun fiction with interesting characters and plot-lines. His are the best!
  4. Christopher Hitchens – The man that made me an activist. His writings inspire me to be open and truthful in all ways.
  5. H.P. Lovecraft – His haunting tales will take you to the brink of madness and back. I love the atmosphere he creates in each on of his stories.

These are my top 5. Who would be on your top 5 list? Comment below with your answers.

The Diary Of My Mind

My Name Isn’t Sam, Though I Am Atypical

So today I had the pleasure of seeing someone who assumes they understand autism because they watched the TV Show, “Atypical” on Netflix.

Now if you have been reading my blog for any period of time you will know that I actually enjoyed the show even though I thought it had a lot of flaws. My main issue with the show was that it would give people the idea that they knew more about autism than they actually do. Well my assumption came true today.

I’m honestly not upset with this person because I think if I were in the same situation I would think the same thing. I’ve watched shows on the Middle Ages and felt like I knew more about the Middle Ages. I watch documentaries on paleontology and believe I understand more about paleontology. So why wouldn’t a person believe they know more about autism by watching a show based around an Autistic character?

However, at the same time, the inner workings of my mind are much more specific than anything you could gather from this show. While I do connect with some of the situations on the show, I am definitely not the clueless and inept character portrayed in the show. I am not Sam anymore than I am a Sheldon or a Rainman. My mind is my own and no one else’s mind works exactly like it.

Autism is a spectrum disorder and the actor portraying Sam is portraying a single solitary person on the spectrum. He is no more indicative of the whole than James Brown would be indicative of the whole of music.  You could not say you understand all of music by listening to a single song. This is the same with Autism.

Over the last several months I have made friends with many folks on the Spectrum. Some are verbal, others are not. Some can write beautifully and eloquently, others in short snippets. Some speak in poetry, others in an incredibly academic way.  Some are interested in romance and love while others never give those things a second thought. Some have loud and violent meltdowns, others meltdown almost entirely in their minds. I have never met a single autistic person who I could point to and say this person is exactly what Autism is and looks like.

It’s sad really. I wish the show did a better job at portraying a strong character with ASD. However, it once again portrays the main character in a comedic fashion. Sam is little more than Sheldon with less physics knowledge, he’s Rainman with better communication skills. He is a shell of compressed stereotypes that won’t lead you to a better knowledge of autism than you had from the very start.

If you want to understand autism, speak with someone on the spectrum. I think you will find that most of us are open about it. You will find that what bothers many of us the most is that we are constantly told what autistic people should be and how we should act or think. Many of us have spent a large period of our lives attempting to fit into society and then we find out that we are autistic, only to be told that there is a new mold that we must attempt to fit into. Well it doesn’t work that way and it never will work that way.

I am not Sam. I am just me.