Monkey See, Monkey Do

Yesterday was the day of buying two tires and getting my oil changed. 

My daughter came to my apartment so I could follow her to a tire place close to her home. Taking away the possibility of my getting lost and missing the appointment.

She had made the appointment earlier in the week, after having had her husband pick out the appropriate tires online. 

I see the very crowded parking lot, and that is my first sign of the day that I probably should figure out how to get this done on a weekday.

We go in and there are multiple lines of people waiting to be served. TV's are on. There are at least a dozen people already sitting in the waiting areas with their mobile devices. Phones are ringing. So many conversations, I wonder how they actually hear one another.

Too much stimuli. My daughter had asked if I wanted to wait in her car, but I wanted to show her I was unafraid, so I said no, it's okay, and stood in line with her. 

I should have stayed in her car.

I am distracted by every sound, every phone ringing, every conversation. So I am not in an environment where I will be able to think well. 

My daughter gives the guy her name, when we are next in line. 

I feel like those horror movies where someone's head is spinning round and round and their body isn't. Because there are sounds oozing from every nook and cranny of this place. It seems to be coming into the pores of my body and causing circuits to explode.

My daughter explains that her husband has picked out the tires, and they are to phone him if they run into trouble. She gives them my keys and we are out the door. 

Sigh of relief. 

We get to her house and her husband has errands to run. Andrew is fussy from teething and I see him cry for the first time. 

After having been in the tire store less than thirty minutes, I want very much to get down on the floor with him and cry too. 

My daughter, in between taking care of her son, tries to work with me on how to put myself in other people's shoes so that I don't upset or alienate myself so much from others. What she says makes sense to me, but it doesn't make sense to me. 

I could put myself into their shoes, I tell her. But I would still have my brain on in their shoes. She does not quite understand this, and I am ill-equipped to explain it to her. 

We talk about this for a bit. I can see she is a bit frustrated, though trying not to be, because her job is in HR (human relations) for big companies. And what works for the employees seems to not be working with me. 

But I can tell she is trying her very best. And I don't want to disappoint her. It seems like at every turn I am disappointing someone.

We get a call from her husband that they can't find the "key" to unlock the tires. Apparently there is something that keeps people from simply raising your car and taking your tires. It is news to both of us. 

We are thinking "key." No, her husband tells her, it does not look like a key. We are both hard pressed to understand at this point. 

At any rate, without this thing, they will have to break something to get my tires off, and it is going to cost more. Ka-ching. Isn't it always something more? 

The first time, three years ago, when I bought two tires for this car, it ended up costing me $800. It went up by increments of fifty to a hundred dollars until it was more than twice what I was quoted. 

I was ill-prepared to argue with them when I picked it up because they might as well have been speaking another language. 

My son-in-law isn't going to let this happen, plus they have a coupon that will save me some. Every little bit helps. 

When it is finally ready, hours later, I have not been able to eat. I am too nervous about the eventual cost. 

If you remember, I put my ads in the hands of an ad network late last fall. Somehow for me it was a bad choice, as I ended up getting behind my normal income by about a thousand per month. Which meant I was watching the money going into my bank account grind to a halt. And then past the halt.

So I'm not saying this would hold true for you, but I am already on edge having to spend money because I am down a good $3000, and they had taken me off another of my revenue sources, saying they could make better money than the other one was. And when I finally threw in the towel, the other blog revenue source would not take me back. 

Suffice it to say I am very nervous about money right now, and I hate to see my bank account dwindling when this is all I have in the world. 

We get back to the tire place and they attempt to explain to us about the locked tires. She and I are both not quite understanding at this point. I am so distracted from all the outward stimuli that I am hearing bits and pieces of the conversation. 

I am hearing a bit of the TV, some of what a tire guy is explaining to a man about why the one he wants him to choose is the better choice, and the other extraneous noise you would probably not even be aware exists.

Finally, we are able to leave. Since I am in an unknown area for me, she drives ahead of me until she gets me close to my comfort zone, then turns around and goes home. 

I'm already feeling like I have asked too much of her. But I know this would have been so much worse without her. There would probably not be two new tires on my car.

I stop at the Braums to get a few things, then in the same parking lot is a Taco Bell. It is about 3 p.m., so I get in line with my car and finally get to the menu and speaker. 

The young man politely asks what I'd like today, and suddenly my brain just goes on holiday. I cannot speak because what I want I can't find the words for. Finally, fully aware that I am holding up everyone, I come through. I have found the word for "nachos," which for minutes totally eluded me. And I am on my way home, tears brimming. 

I get home and figure out fairly quickly that I don't have my camera with me when I start to go outside to take photos, which is pretty often. My mind tries to backtrack when last I saw it, and I can't recall. 

I wonder if I had it in my car at Braums when I didn't lock the doors? I think of the possibility that I have lost my camera, which is never far from my fingertips. 

I call and call my daughter. They only have cell phones, and rarely answer them. Everyone texts, and I don't have the kind of phone for all that. Or if I do, I am unaware of it. And though I know I am being a stubborn old mule, I hate the way it is brutalizing the English language that I so love. 

After a few phones calls that go to voice mail, I am close to hysteria. I am crying and trying to distract myself with Pinterest. (If ever anyone wants to know why I have accumulated so many pins on Pinterest, it is because it is one of the things I do when anxiety is spinning my brain in all directions.) 

Finally I call and she answers. Oh, yes, she sees my camera on the kitchen island. They will bring it to me tomorrow after church. I say thank you, not wanting to be any more of a bother. But I am now wound up even more because I will be separated from my camera for close to 24 hours. 

I manage to get through the hours until it is time to do exercises on the yoga mat, after which I take my shower and share a baked sweet potato with the dogs. When I am anxious, they are anxious. 

We eat and I try to calm myself, because I am still wound up. I have taken my evening shower, my second of the day. Which normally relaxes me. Two showers a day every day of my life, just like clockwork. 

But by 9 p.m. I can see that this is only going to get worse. So I fill the bath tub with water and sit down in it. 

I am being totally transparent with you these days, so I will say that I am sitting in that tub, unable to lie down because things have gotten so out of control. I finally give in and allow myself to do what my brain and body has been wanting, which is to rock in the water. 

I try not to do this, as I fully realize it is strange and I have tried all my life to stay away from "strange", obviously with little success. 

After I have rocked in the water a bit (which is called, I now know; "stimming"), I am finally relaxed enough to lie back in the water and rest my head against the other end. After a time, I can feel my body finally begin to relax. 

I have taken my medication. I now read a few chapters of my book, needing silence, until my eyelids want to close. 

In my sleep, I dream of odd bits and pieces of things that don't make sense.

Somehow I am living in a home in the middle of a shopping mall, but I don't have walls. So everything going on in the shopping mall is right there. 


In my dreams, I am frantic from being so close to everyone else and having no privacy. I can walk to the edge of my "home" and I am within inches of all the people walking by. 

This is what I consider a nightmare. Walking into a shopping mall is what I consider a nightmare.

I awake this morning exhausted and feeling as though I drank the night away (I do not drink at all, by the way). I am hung over from too much happening in one day, which will mean it will take me days to get to a place where I can once again step outside my door and go somewhere. 

Which is just as well, I suppose, because I am still very sore from falling almost a week ago. My knees and hands are so sore in the joints that I feel like the tin man who's gone too long without being oiled. 

So now that you see how one day can spin so far out of control for me, maybe you understand why people like me become isolated. People are afraid of us because I suppose they think, what if that were them? What if it somehow rubbed off? 

Abi and Charlie have just spotted a gnat flying around, so they are crying and shaking and I am going to have to figure out how to get the thing out because otherwise they will both be clinging to me the rest of the day. I can hear noises in their tummies which probably means I will be cleaning up diarrhea if I don't get the thing out soon.

It took two people to get two tires (excluding me) and one oil change for my car. Even though I was mostly in the background, the whole situation with all the stimuli caused my whole day to go awry. 

And next time Andrew gets down on the floor and cries, I might just follow suit. Monkey see, monkey do. We will rock together.


  1. Brenda,know we are all thinking of you and are amazed by your strength. Be well. Robin

  2. Brenda, my heart just hurts for you. Thank you for trusting all of us who visit your blog each day. I am praying for you. You are helping me to better understand my precious daughter who is bi-polar. Blessings, Carolyn in Florida

  3. I know how lost one feels with her camera near by--I am forever leaving mine home--
    so this time of the year when I want it more often when going for a walk--I have learned to keep it near the door--but it always seems I see the best things when I have left it behind me!!!!
    I also have a health condition that I get very confused easily--I had to even give up driving at the age of 50 because of it--and now often wonder how other people can drive so safely with all those cars and things coming at them at all different directions and how did I do it for so long!!
    and I too can get in line and forget what it is 'called' when I get to the window--
    so just know that you are not alone, my dear friend--I would love to have that patio with those flowers!!

  4. You know what, when I get overwhelmed like you did that day, I do whatever it takes to calm down. If it's crawling into a ball and sitting inside my walk-in closet, if it's reading, if it's talking out loud when no one's there, if it's crawling into bed and covering my head with my favorite minky blanket. I don't think you're unusual for doing what you have to do. I bet there are more of us who are easily over-simulated than you might guess. One thing I've trained myself to do when others' are talking to me is to say "I'm so sorry" or "That's so nice." Pretend like you're leaving comments on peoples' blogs, make those kinds of comments out loud when you're with others. It'll take some practice but I know you're smart and you can do it. Love you friend.

  5. Here's a (((((big hug))))) for you, dear Brenda! What a day you had!

  6. Brenda, I'm so glad you got your tires and that Kasi was with you. If you had been in the habit of doing things like that it wouldn't have been so traumatic for you. You did get through it and if there is a next time, it won't be so bad.............hopefully. I'm also very relieved for you that your camera was on Kasi's island and by now, you probably have it in your possession. I'm sorry that sweet little Andrew experienced something to make him cry.. He's such a cutie !
    The pictures that you've shared today are beautiful.. I love "Mr. Sun". He always makes me happy when I see his smiling face.
    Know that I'm thinking about you. I hope you enjoyed whatever it was that you ordered at Taco Bell. I love their taco salads. They also have some new little "balls of dough" with apple inside them.. They are coated with cinnamon and sugar and are de-lic-ious !
    Today is another day. I hope you've been out on your patio and in your garden..
    Hugs, Charlotte

  7. saying I'm sorry this is how it is for you is probably really not much comfort but I really am sorry that this is how life is for you - I can see it takes a lot for you to do things outside your home and why you do stay home so much and in your lovely patio garden - life is simpler that way for you - you do help all of us that do not have these problems understand them though - so for that thank you

  8. Yesterday was way to stimuli for you and to calm yourself by rocking, then so be it, very soothing. I hope today will be calm and peaceful for you Brenda and the pupsters too. Kathleen in Az

  9. {{{{{{{{Brenda}}}}}}}}
    Thank the universe you have found a simple way to calm your run-away brain ~ we all have our ittle ways of coping, no matter how odd they may seem to others.
    Rock on!

  10. Okay, girlfriend, I just thought of an idea that *might* help you deal with excessive stimuli. Well, 2 things, actually.

    One is to wear ear plugs when out in crowds (some ear plugs that are less conspicuous if possible, - or trim down a regular pair - skin color if they can be found). That would keep out enough of the noise so that it isn't bombarding your brain at such an intense rate, but you can still hear. A side benefit is that you can hear yourself breathing, and can kind of use that as a meditative focus and a gentle distraction.

    The second one is to use an mp3 player with ear buds that pipe in nature sounds. Just keep one a little loose in your ear so you can hear things around you if you need to.

    My favorite nature sounds are by Joe Baker. They're gentler than some of the other ones I've heard. My favorites are the Mountain Stream and Babbling Brook. Another one that's not nature sounds, but that I find helpful is Chakra Suite by Steven Halpern. It's like a massage for the brain. Very restful.

    I hope these ideas help out and make it a little easier for you, dear Brenda! They really help me when I'm overly stressed and overwhelmed. They help me refocus.

    1. Oops! Actually, Joe Baker is not my favorite. This one is. I kept thinking it was Joe Baker, but it's not. Sorry for the error.

    2. You're so sweet to offer suggestions. I read them eagerly since I suffer from overstimulation as well. (Had to walk out of Lowe's garden center last night leaving my husband and daughter to check out because I was struggling.) The ear plugs initially sound like a great idea, except that being out in public, if someone talked to me and I didn't hear them, I'd run the risk of having them touch me to get my attention...and that would be SO much worse. I know this seems crazy. I don't know how to explain it to someone who doesn't experience it.

  11. Writing how the world is through your eyes Brenda teaches, informs, helps so many others. Because you are a writer you have the ability to be clear and concise about your thoughts and feelings and how you work to cope with too much stimuli, noise, overwhelming crowds. You are wise to use water therapy to help you unwind and finally relax enough to carry on. I think in your future you will be writing a book about an adult with a late diagnosis of autism and how the world looks through your eyes, how you have coped since your very first memories and through your life. Having a diagnosis to explain to you and others the many why's of your life is a good thing. I appreciate it that you share your life and perceptions Brenda.

  12. You so articulately write what is so important to hear. From your point of view, I can better understand my Brother, he cannot be in crowds, have stimuli from multiple sources or listen to babies crying. It unnerves his entire system and he has to run away from the noise. You have to do what feels comfortable for you and keep a peaceful routine Tire shops are to much stimuli for even me. I have to go walk and have them call me as I cannot be around the ratcheting noise with a sensitivity toward migraines. I practically run out of mine and they know to call when they are done. I cannot stand it even on a good day.
    . I appreciate your honesty and am glad your daughter is so helpful as well as her husband. Brenda I agree with Joy, your story needs to be told, you should write a book! Your already helping so many. It would be very cathartic for you to.

  13. I agree with Lexie and hope you will collect these outstanding essays into a book.

  14. I think your transparency is great. I hope it is helpful for you because I know it is helpful for others. Don't feel that the rocking is strange. I do it myself from time to time when I'm upset. And rocking in a warm tub of water is very, very relaxing! Peace and blessings, dear lady!!!

  15. What a day you had Brenda, one which I am sure you could have done without.

    Kimberly has some good, doable suggestions, and of course, you know how I feel about you writing a book.


  16. Brenda, thank you so much for sharing this with us. It lets us see through your eyes and ears even just a little to try to understand what you and so many others go through. I have those 'locks' on my tires and have to make sure I have the key (it looks like a big lug nut) at all times in the car. I've had to leave a place once because I didn't have it. Hope your son in law was able to help. I'm so glad your daughter is trying, but I do understand what you are saying about being in someone else's shoes, you still have your brain and your understanding of the world. I hope she can come to understand it all even more. Please continue to share this journey of yours. It helps so many of us!

  17. I stay in the car whenever I can, I don't go out on Saturdays but I know your daughter meant well. I was in HR for 20 years and I think I know the answer to everything. I rock sometimes too, not long but it relaxes me,
    home sweet home is the best. I had a very bad day yesterday with family yelling, today is better - thanks for the lovely photos - so calming. I just realized all I am saying is "I", "I" "I".

  18. Brenda my dear, the day you had I wish I could have lived it for you! But you got through, and had a wee rocking session, which made you feel better....... you do what you must to get yourself through each day. Glad your daughter and SIL were able to help you. You know that this probably makes them feel better too, seeing you and beginning the long road to understanding. Best Wishes.

  19. Oh Brenda, that was a horrible day. I could feel my anxiety rising as you wrote about it. I'm in agreement with the other ladies, it would be wonderful if you wrote a book sharing your life. I am so hoping that one of your readers might have contacts to steer you in that direction to the right people if you felt it was something you could handle. Just having to worry about money all the time and wondering "How much is this going to cost me?" is bad enough. You have a wonderful safe place to be now, to sit on your patio and love your plants and flowers, talk to the birds. Take those beautiful pictures for us. And a big thank you to Kasi and her husband for helping you out.

  20. Hi, Brenda. I am 68 years old. Since I was little, I always felt different. When I got to about 8 years old I started displaying tics of various sorts. Also ground my teach at an early age. Obviously a ticing child is not accepted by others - I became the brunt of some teacher and other children. I did have friends along the way, but it was hard. Lots of things have happened during my life - but after I returned to church - my self acceptance improved. However, in the business world I was sometimes humiliated by people. Once I was tested and the doctor said I probably had a form or Tourette's - I decided to tell people right out if they asked or said anything. It was empowering. I was put on generic prozac and it did help me a lot. Reduced my tics by about 80-90%. I think that I might be somewhat like you also because sometimes my mouth runs off or I don't see things the way others do. My doctor just added an anti-anxiety medicine to my regimen and we will see if that improves things even more. But anyway, in the last few years - I started doing paper art and scrapbooking and going to scrap days with lots of other ladies and it has been really good. Made friends and had a good time. There's way more I could say, but will leave it at that. Just wanted you to know that there are more people like us than you think. I don't know if you have ever been on a medication for your anxiety, but it did help me. Best of all for you, Ronda

  21. Bless you, Brenda, for expressing your experiences so well that we can understand what you are going through. You perfectly captured in words what many of my students feel but cannot adequately say. Your insight is so beneficial to all of us.

    Have you ever tried "manipulatives" of any kind? I have one student who carries a smooth stress rock in her pocket that she rubs her fingers across when she's stressed. Another boy carries a keychain Rubic's cube that he works on when he is experiencing sensory overload. Just a thought...

  22. I do not have autism, but have anxiety and am an introvert. I need lots of alone time and peace and quiet. I actually relate to a lot of what you said in this post about being overstimulated by all that noise because I am the same way. I was on a day trip with Brian yesterday and before we headed home, we stopped in a coffee shop to have some tea and to read. (We had brought our books with us.) The tables were close together, most people at tables were talking to each other, music was playing over the speakers, and I could hear the barista taking orders at the counter. I tried to read but couldn't concentrate at all. The conversations and the music - even the clicking of the laptop keys of the guy behind me - were all bombarding my brain and taking over. I told Brian that I felt like I was jumping out of my skin and that we had to go. He looked up from his book and said, "Really?" I also don't like shopping malls and avoid them, too. And, like you, I find it very hard to relax. Yoga and meditation really help me.

  23. Brenda, I just wanted to say I'm so sorry you had such a bad day! Just know that you are in my thoughts and I'm wishing the best for you. Take care.

  24. Insightful
    Thank you for being transparent
    I work with kids on the "spectrum"
    I have wanted to know what is happening in their minds
    Their minds that I so dearly love

  25. Hugs to you from across the miles! I can understand some of what you are sharing with us. I deal with ADHD and I 'hear' you on the issues of brain overload. When there is too much activity and noises from different sources coming at me, my brain shuts down. Then it's just like discombobulating ruckus around me and I'd be lucky to be able to tell you my name and birthday.

    I think that's why I love teaching special education students. I 'get' that we are all different. I tell myself and my students that there is no one, not one single perdon, who has every thing under control or who can do every thing perfectly. If either they (or even me!) take longer or more than one attempt to complete a task, that's perfectly alright. Life isn't a competition to be the first done or the fastest, it's all about completing it at the pace that is right for each one of so that 'WE' are pleased with ourselves.

    Please always remember that you are a talented writer and photographer! I just wish you could be up here with me (near Toronto, Canada) so you could experience the same pleasures I have had yoday. The sun has come out and shone and it was even warm enough for my little dog to lie down on the patio atop a folded towel (concrete/ground is still cold) and enjoy some spring sunshine.

    Please keep the bird photos coming too. I think our cardinal must be a little different. I'm assuming I have been seeing pictures of the male but he seems much less colourful than ours. Our females, of course, seem very drab in comparison.

  26. You are able to articulate your horrendous day with such clarity. At the end of the day, please remember the talent and value you have within you! And give the doggies a kiss ,for me!

  27. Brenda: Your terrible awful tire day took all the resources you had in order to recover from it. You didn't give up and you kept on keeping on. Well done.
    My field is/was anthropology and I have a hypothesis that the natural world in which human beings evolved was "noisy" in a quieter way, noisy with the sounds of nature. Very loud and discordant noises would be alarms to people used to living night and day with the sounds of nature.
    That you are confused and unable to cope well with all the turmoil in the "unnatural world" you have to live in would be no surprise to people who lived before the unnatural industrial age. You cope as well as you can and have learned mechanisms to make life bearable, and that is a wonderful adaptation to a situation you can't change.
    I am sorry to hear of the problems with your major source of income. I do hope that you find a way to navigate this new "minefield" and come out on the other side back in control and with your income resumed.
    That you even have a blog seems like a major accomplishment to me, as I can't even stand the thought (at least, not right now) of starting one. You do overcome and it would be a pleasure to know you as a neighbor.
    btw, thanks for your previous blog about blurting out things that spoil relationships You have crystalized one of my problems and given me a major insight into my own friend-limiting problem. Illumination is better late than never, IMO. Thank you.

  28. Brenda you are in a healing process :) Something happened a few weeks ago with that diagnosis...and you went with the flow. You are sharing that with us no matter how hard this or that day might be and you are amazing for doing so.

  29. Just wanted to you to know that I am sorry you had such a bad day. I think it is brave of you to be so transparent about it all. I do understand the feeling of just wanting to lie down and cry sometimes!

  30. Dear sweet Brenda. I feel that I know you since reading your blog for quite some time, and I feel so bad that you had such a awful day. I am happy that you made it through tho, you really are stronger than you think. Sending you tons and tons of hugs. Wish I lived near. It would be so special to be a real life friend and talk in person...

  31. I am so sorry that your day was so difficult, I am in awe of your bravery! Not only did you do something so difficult but you articulated so well exactly what the entire experience was like for you. I am holding you in my prayers and sending lots of love your way!

  32. Hope you can spend some time on your patio. Sometimes being outside can be very soothing.

  33. Hoping Monday will be a beautiful, calm, and sensory overload-free day for you. Have you ever heard of worry stones? Here's a link to a wikipedia article on them.
    They are supposed to help aid in self-soothing. I'm hoping that you can give yourself permission to do whatever you need to do in order to relax and recover from a day like Saturday. I see that several others are also encouraging you to write a book. Your journey is unique to you, but its story would find an audience in those who could identify themselves in at least some parts of it. Looking forward to some more lovely photographs in your next post! Thanks for your transparency!

  34. know we share some of the same symptoms...I have to force myself to plunge along because I have a family that not only depends on me, but I depend on be normal. Sometimes I feel fortunate that I'm hearing impaired. I can turn the hearing aids down or take them out completely when sound is overwhelming. But that's not so much my problem...I have issues with being confined in places I can't get out of, theaters, parties in tight places. Weird stuff...but I'm in a good place now because I force myself over and over.

    All the best to you. You open up bravely and we all care. We are your friends.

    Jane x

  35. Brenda, if you are interested in the idea of ear plugs, not all ear plugs shut out everything. Some are meant to filter out certain types of sounds, but still allow for conversations and such. This kind might be a good choice for you. I might even get some!

  36. I would definitely read a book you wrote......a memoir, I would think.

  37. I'm sorry you had a rough day getting your tires. I think you are an amazing writer and a brave woman who can share so much of your life. You have no idea how much you may have helped others who have read your words, you've helped me as I can relate to many things myself. I agree with all those who have suggested that you write a book. Hugs to you and the pups, Cheryl

  38. So sorry that you had such an unsettling day Brenda. It sounds like your daughter treasures your relationship very much. You must be very proud of her and her little family, I also would enjoy a book written by you. I think I mentioned in my first comment how much I love the way you tell us about your days and it is like reading a book you can;t put down. You most definitely have a skill for writing. I hope your knees start to improve and free up your movements for you. May this week ahead be as peaceful as possible and may your garden provide you with wonders on a daily basis. Take care. :)

  39. Sometimes, I believe, after a specific (and correct) diagnosis, because we are aware of the stimuli that have an adverse effect on us, we actually become more conscious of them, and this may be what you experienced the other day. Dealing with all of this information, itself, is a feat in itself, and your process of overcoming obstacles will be done in stages, but it will be done. In the meantime, enjoy your quiet time, your beloved routine, your beautiful cozy, little house, your pupsters, and catch up on calm.


  40. Brenda I am so sorry you had such a bad day. I'm glad you had your daughter and SIL to help you out with your car. We all have bad days and we all handle them in different are a strong person with so much talent don't ever forget that! Sending hugs to you and the pupsters:-)

  41. Watching the son's and boyfriend's superbly written characters on the recently ended Parenthood series on television helped me learn a lot about what it's like to live with Asperger's Syndrome, and now your blog posts are helping me learn more. Familiarity and knowledge makes us all feel more comfortable and better able to respond well to the world around us. I also think your point of view would make a very good book, and it might help you with the bills. Also, I think your old ad program would be wise to take you back and then use your experience with their competition as advertising for themselves! I hope today is a better day.

  42. I'm sorry. I didn't realize how difficult some things are for you. Glad that you have your daughter and son in law to help. They sound like good people!
    Hope this week is better for you!

  43. Man, Brenda, you sure had a frazzled day. I think I would've been overwhelmed at the tire shop, too. Too much hubbub just about everywhere on Saturdays. Anything to do with cars intimidates me to begin with, the noise and crowd would be the icing on the cake for me.

    People used to live slower, quieter lives, smaller lives. Today everything is too loud, too bright, too congested, too fast.

    I can empathize with not wanting to look bad and to push on ahead and so you do and it's too much. Your description of your day reminds me so much of a time I pushed myself to do something out of my comfort zone and it wrecked me for the rest of the day.

    I have many fears related to driving and avoid a lot of driving situations. One time my husband had fixed a co-worker's car and he wanted to bring it back and get it out of our driveway, but the co-worker had left for a little vacation. Hubby was going to call his brother to drive and follow him to drop off the car in a town about 30 minutes away via the highway. I tried to be brave and said that I'd do it, no need to bother the brother.

    It happened to be rush hour and the whole time I am a nervous wreck following hubby in the co-worker's car. A silver car which looks just like the thousands of other silver cars on the road. So I flip out over the possibility that I will lose my hubby and start following the wrong silver car and end up God knows where. Plus the sun was setting and so for most of the drive I was blinded. I didn't know what exit we needed to take or the address we were going to. I just had to be sure I kept following hubby. Plus highway driving is a phobia of mine to begin with, never mind all this other crap.

    We get to where we're going and I just broke down hysterically crying. Hubby was very angry with me which didn't help. I was a wreck, shaking from nerves, crying, upset that hubby wasn't nicer and he of all people would know what a stretch this was for me so why wasn't he appreciative rather than pissy. Upset at myself for falling apart so badly. I cried for hours after, I just couldn't stop.

    I think you should take it easy and just concentrate on things that make you happy for the rest of the week. As women who no longer have jobs or kids to take care of, we have that luxury.

    And next time just stay in the car and read a nice book. :-)

  44. I admire your ability to so clearly articulate what your experiencing and then to have the courage to share it on your blog. Your daughter was so sweet to try and help. Like others I can relate to some of what you are saying. I am wondering if next time it would work better for you to stay at your daughters house with Andrew while your daughter and son in law take your vehicle to the shop. There are no easy answers.......only what works the best for you and your family.

  45. I read about half of the comments so I don't know if this idea came up but I have my own take on this from the perspective of another single woman. As you know, I have an antique shop and I have to figure out how to do everything alone including moving a lot of big furniture and I have to take care of this old building I bought without a lot of excess money to hire someone to do anything for me. So, here is my suggestion: Everything something comes up that makes you think you can't do it alone ask all your pals here for ideas on how to get it done yourself. I bet we could have come up with a lot of ideas that would have eliminated this entire taxing situation and avoided the stress of having to ask anyone in the family for help. I know how important that relationship is to you and to them. You are an independent woman and you are strong!

  46. Brenda, Do you have a rocking chair? Even just a little while rocking in the middle of a hectic day really soothes my jangled nerves. You are so brave, and thank you for sharing your journey.

  47. Dear Brenda, I've started and deleted so many words in my attempts to share with you my admiration at your honesty and strength in allowing us, your blog readers into the innermost parts of your being. I have a different diagnosis from yours, but I am 58, was diagnosed late, and understand so well how hard it is to appear 'normal' in a world that feels overwhelmingly unsafe. You touch my heart, and that is a good thing. Thank you for being you, you are amazing. ox

  48. Oh Brenda, I am so sorry. I was glued to this post like a fascinating novel, it is very interesting to me to understand what goes on inside someone who has aspergers as well as attention deficit. My daughter has ADD and she has talked about how when she is in a place where there it lots of activity/noise (like the car place you went) she cannot concentrate, she can't HEAR anything except loud noise, nothing makes sense, it's just noise to her. I think I also have a very very mild case of ADD although I have never been diagnosed by a doctor.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing and I'm so sorry that the day was so horrible for you.

    Thinking of you, Tania


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