(This update follows 4 previous posts called The Nerdist Way 10-3-12, Team Nerd 11-1-12, The Nerdist Wimp 1-1-13, and The Nerdist Score- ‘aspie spoonie Lexx fan on a mission’ assessment 10-31-13.)
Chris Hardwick published The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level (In Real Life) on 11-1-11. I remember him talking about it, I remember being first in line for it at my local library and still having to wait for 3 months for interlibrary loan, and I remember finally being able to read it. I couldn’t renew it because so many other people had it on hold at the libary, so I played the musical book game, getting back in line on hold every time I turned it in. A year later I finally had a little extra money and bought two copies, one for myself and one for my daughter and her husband.
I asked to be referred to a psychologist in 2007 specifically to work on public interaction after failing dismally at maintaining what could have been a very lucrative public friendship. He diagnosed me with Asperger’s and depression and assessed my GAF score at 51-60, wondering how I’d been able to get a college degree and actually hold jobs. He didn’t think my social anxiety was as severe as I thought it was, despite my having shut down all social media and ignoring the internet for an entire year. I’m also not a phone person, and he worked pretty hard with me on staying in touch with family. During all this time he watched me plunge through complete disability and helped me focus on a holistic approach to my physical and mental health during a pretty miserable couple of years. In 2011 a doctor finally diagnosed me with diabetes (on top of my already severe fibromyalgia and lupus flare ups), and once I figured out that what I was eating kept me from healing, I figured out how to turned my life around and have been getting healthier.
One vital thing further changed my outlook for my future- yep, the Nerdist book. It’s hard to figure out a direction when you can’t even do the things you enjoy for distraction, but Chris outlined his path out of his abyss, and I basically followed it. I’d read self help books before, not one of them worked at all. Chris has a completely new and fresh perspective on how not only to survive but to thrive, no matter how bad the problem is. My own problems include a very glitchy brain, so when he said my kind of people are geniuses spinning wheels and what we need is direction, I was all over that book.
I’m one of those smarty pants that tested in the top 3 percentile in high school, got over 30 on my ACT, and dumbfounded professors with my GRE scores going into grad school, but I also experienced epic brain fail between a couple of nasty viral infections and regular autoimmune flare ups, continual high pain levels coupled with handfuls of meds, and diabetes making it all worse. My brain fog was so bad that it became part of my complete disability. Using my brain on the internet became akin to crawling like a worm on the ground trying to get somewhere. Trying to keep any kind of direction going in my life besides not screwing my day up going to an appointment on the wrong day was pretty dismal. I had no direction at all, couldn’t see a way forward, and felt so utterly useless that I don’t know how I even lived. My psychologist told me perhaps my Asperger’s cushioned me against the possibilities of suicide, alcoholism, and divorce, because most women my age become wrapped up in those three biggies, even without overwhelming chronic illness egging it on, but I was nowhere near being a happy camper. I was the glum soul writing lengthy posts on why happiness doesn’t exist.
Then he watched Chris Hardwick’s book change my life.
My psychologist ‘turned me loose’ several months ago. He thinks I’m doing so well that I don’t even need to check in. My psychiatrist has told me he’s cool with me not being on any kind of head meds. I’ve worked very hard to survive depression without meds, and I have to say it’s not easy convincing a psychiatrist, so that was a big win. My doctor is thrilled that I’m off the xanax and vicodin other doctors had me on for years. I was just as addicted as any Hollywood actor flushing their life down a toilet, but I had an excuse, right? Wrong. I decided I’d rather not go down a toilet and disappear. My neurologist says I’m still healing from years ago trigeminal damage during a nasty car wreck and I will keep healing as long as I control my diabetes. My physical therapists have got me mobilized, not just up walking around but doing full spinal core strength, which has been very challenging, but you know what? It’s awesome being able to shop for my own groceries. It’s wonderful not needing help in and out of a shower. It’s marvelous being able to control my pain levels with movement.
Because I took Chris Hardwick’s book very seriously (follow my story in the posts I linked at the top of this post), I am also rebuilding my ‘web empire’. This hasn’t been easy, either. I’ve been taking very tiny steps, but since Chris coached me how to set goals and then list out the steps to reach those goals, I have been able to build what looks like a lot of work. I have been able to find purpose and joy in what I’m doing, and now I consider this my ‘job’. I work every day, I love my work, and one day my work might even pay off, but for now, I’m very satisfied that over the last two years I have come out of a wretched black hole of hopelessness and spread my wings. I no longer feel like a dismal failure face planting on the couch every day. I no longer feel sad and angry.
It’s been two years since I wrote my first post about how The Nerdist Way has helped me change my wreck of a life into a more enjoyable day by day experience that I feel good about. I can’t recommend this book enough, especially if you feel stuck and don’t know what to do next. If you have trepidations about any part of that book, please read back through my series about it, and be patient with yourself. I know exactly how hard it is, and I’m here to tell you it’s all worth it. You don’t have to croak off alone curled up on a couch because you’re hitting dead ends with doctors and jobs and despair. If you need more convincing, check out my other blogs and follow me, not just surviving depression and chronic illness, but thriving.
Spaz– my spoonie blog
PinkyGuerrero– my personal blog
Lexxperience– my fandom blog
Surveypalooza– my distraction blog
Aspienado– my aspie/work blog
DuckLordsOfTheSith– my pet chickens blog
And very definitely click this pic to get the book.