The Nerdist Wayfarer

(This update follows 4 previous posts called The Nerdist Way 10-3-12Team Nerd 11-1-12The 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 you can always find me on facebook and twitter.

And very definitely click this pic to get the book.



#crowdspeak- adapting to the group mind

I’ve been thinking about a picture I saw come through twitter (not going to post it) of a big guy leaning on a fast food counter with his stomach hanging out of his t-shirt, and the words alongside quipping “Say something nice.” At the time I saw it, many had retweeted, none had replied. No one could think of anything nice. I didn’t care to pass it on, even to pointedly say something nice, because that might only encourage opposing response, and I didn’t feel like seeing that come back in my notifications. But I can sure think of a few things to say to people who tweet like that.

How about- 

Stop pointing negativity out.

Stop using mocking pictures of other people to get attention for yourself.

Stop refocusing my feed onto your problem with getting past feeling disgusted at the world around you.

Stop noticing what you dislike and start sharing what you like.

My first thought was “Oh, that poor man, he must have a tumor.” I’ve known people who’ve had to live with tumors because they didn’t have the means or help to have them surgically removed. Tumors aren’t picky. I’ve seen them on pets, farm animals, wild animals and birds, and people of all ages, weights, and ethnicities. They can grow anywhere, and anywhere they grow makes a person miserable if it gets big enough.

My second thought was “Not one soul retweeting is helping anyone or this man with any kind of kindness or knowledgeable advice.” I had pointed out in my feed the other day that mashed between horrible stories of people raping, murdering, and hating each other were pictures of people being sweet to poor little kitties and puppies with the quip “Faith in humanity restored.” Really? My incoming twitter feed looks pretty messed up sometimes.

I like keeping a fairly perky timeline going, at least not be a drag. Or if I’m being a drag, at least distract myself with something funny or clever or nice to look at, you know? Yesterday I was playing a retweet game and was so stunned by some of the tweets I ran into that I went ahead and shared them, and a follower rightly tapped the list feed with a generic ‘please don’t do that’, I got the point and faved. He was totally right, I slipped up. I was out of character and shared stuff that would get people upset to see it, and that is not what I’m known for. People follow me because I’m different, they can get away from all that when they follow my feed.

I’ve been playing around with how I tweet for a couple of years, and I guess the most surprising thing I’ve noticed is that people pop back up out of the woodwork to touch base when I stop being so rowdy with one particular gang or another. I’m actually part of at least 5 different twitter gangs, and they mostly don’t overlap much. Some gangs are busier than others, I’m not as active in one as in another, sometimes a whole gang goes quiet for awhile and then resurfaces, but for the most part, I was oblivious to some of the personal interaction politely stopping for a whole year while I clobbered feeds with a really busy gang, and then when I slowed down suddenly a number of people were popping up saying hi again. I was amazed at how many, how uniquely timed they were, and how obvious it suddenly became to me that they had just simply watched and waited for a whole year for a turn to speak to me without getting mowed over or lost in multiple convos in the process.

I love twitter. I love brain sharing. I feel like R2D2 plugging into a wall socket, it’s just all so direct. I’m learning to tune my feeds, learning the ways of the filters, learning list controls. I feel like a pilot maneuvering through thought slipstreams. I like seeing the blur of all those other people around me as I move in and out of traffic. I love that I’m not alone.

As I get better at twitter, I hope I am good for other people. I really do picture twitter like a flock of birds. I live out in the woods, and I see all kinds of birds in all kinds of weather. Some fly high above the crowds surfing the winds. Some constantly flit and gab. Some dive bomb other birds and start squabbles. Some just sit on a branch and tweet all day long and it doesn’t matter what else happens, that’s just what they do. On really cold days the birds line up on high wires, shoulder to shoulder, braced against a nasty wind full of rain or sleet- and that’s how I see us on twitter, braced against the hard stuff all together. At least we know each other is there.

My faith in humanity doesn’t come from kitty and puppy pictures. My faith in humanity comes from followers nudging me when I step out of line and become a drag. I know I am being watched, I know someone heard me, and I know they cared enough to respond. My faith in people is about them having faith in me.

I think we’re all going to find our balance in group mind, but we’ve got some growing pains to go through first. We all hurt, we all have bad days, and we all learn eventually that we get back what we give out. Group hugs are free on twitter when you learn the crowdspeak.


Life as Social Media Art

I want to borrow a friend for this piece. My canvas is a rich text editor. My art is interactive curiosity. My impression is for the Social Mind.

As we begin, please to click this beautiful photo for original source.


We don’t often think of sunlight as something to hold onto in our hearts. Yes, this clicks to source. The few words there are intriguing.


We see each other in passing, leaving cryptic messages, like pretty puzzle boxes for others to discover. Keep clicking, these all click.


Opening some of the puzzle boxes becomes a delightful quest into the dance of the mind.


Some of the pieces are dark and sad.


Some of them are devastating, but somehow Vicki makes them beautiful.


Vicki’s courage bounces back into play, and even on the darkest nights, she finds people to keep loving.



But I come back to this one after I have perused the puzzle boxes left strewn across the medias like shiny little jewels in a lonely, dark forest. This I have seen before, in another place, another time, in my own heart. A simple beautiful picture, elegant, unassuming… and knowing all the things I know, it moves me to my own tears. Vicki’s art and poetry across the time and space of social media speaks to me.



Vicki Addesso is co-author of Still Here Thinking of You


being #aspie

One of my favorite things to hate about the human race is the way people automatically tend to anthropomorphize, ascribe, and project their own feelings and points of view on others around them. I suppose it’s an adaptive trait of some kind that might even be functional somehow, but I find it extremely annoying when it points my direction.

I generally blog in a more positive fashion nowadays, so that lead-in probably sounded bitter. Believe it or not, I’ve worked very hard for many years to sound positive because flatly making global statements like that one does a couple of things I don’t intend, like put the listener on the defensive, and put personal feelings I’m not even having into the listener’s mind. I’ve been seeing a psychologist regularly since 2007 for exactly these kinds of mixups because of my Asperger’s, and it has taken this long for me to reach the point of finally being able to verbalize them.

When I first started blogging, I was terrified. I learned very quickly to mask who I really was because of the repercussion of being discovered by my coworkers. I was not savvy enough at first to know how to avoid creating very complicated awkward situations simply by writing down something as innocuous (I felt) as I couldn’t believe the little dog who lived in the hotel was allowed to poop all over the lobby carpet when there was a $7000 one-off sculpture in the front window. I wrote it because it was my job to clean up the stupid poop and then apologize to guests as they checked in and out of the hotel. Well, the dog won, I had to leave that job because the relationships with my coworkers became unbearable, and by my next job I had learned to at least fake my name online while I entertained my readers with crazy stories about being a late night hotel desk clerk.

I guess I’m getting really good at pretending. That’s the goal, isn’t it, to pretend I’m normal like everyone else? I’ve been practicing for years how to pass off as less annoying (that’s not the normal part, sadly, but I have a special way of being annoying that apparently shines like neon). Sometimes it helps to pretend I’m a Vulcan in Star Fleet, just stuffing down what I really feel in order to get along, using rules and regs as a sort of shield. That actually backfires a lot, mostly because people don’t know I’m using a pretend world to help monitor my behavior, which overly complicates things suddenly veering off course until I find myself in yet another unfixable social mess. Attempts to logically lay out the order of events that preceded the cataclysm have always epic failed, so I have given up trying to communicate after ‘splosions go off. Something about that making it worse, although I don’t understand how or why studying the causes of a problem in order to avoid it the next time can make things worse.

In my experience, the more emotion-driven a person is that I’m interacting with, the more catastrophic the explosion at the end, and then I’m left torn and ragged with sadness and bewilderment. Honestly, these unbalanced relationships are doomed to fail from the beginning, I have the track record to prove it. As far as I can understand what goes wrong, it starts with people expecting me to ‘behave’ (in my mind I’m expected to perform on demand), and then they ascribe or project what they think I’m feeling into the relationship based on my performance of the expected behavior, and then when I try to interject a little to correct the misconceptions, all kinds of feelings get hurt and all that is left to do (if I want to continue in the relationship) is put my pretend face back on. I hate, I loathe being a fake. But when I am openly myself, I get super popular very quickly and attract people from several different points of view that don’t mesh well, and then to my horror and shock they start obliterating each other, effectively turning me into an undesired focal point of hostile territory. I might genuinely like all the people I stay in touch with on social media, but when I cross the streams, bad stuff starts happening that I can’t control. It wouldn’t be so bad if all I had to do was sit back and watch, but when people expect me to take sides, I tend to bail on the friendships. I hate taking sides.

Even more than that, I hate having to explain to people what is going on (especially since I’ve been baited a few times and stabbed later). Why did I say this, why is someone doing that, all I have to do is talk to a bunch of different people and next thing I know, arguments are dragging out with my name tagged all over them, feelings are being dumped all over public media with my name tagged all over them… More and more people project what must be in MY head based on how my friends are behaving. It’s probably noteworthy that I have a history of abruptly deleting accounts over things like this, never to be seen again. I especially dislike the feeling of being owned. What’s really nerve wracking is having a close friend who excels in starting trubbas, throwing me into a facepalm spotlight without much warning- that was a cute one to extricate myself from a few years ago.

I’m maxed out again. I’ve been able to keep most of this stuff off public media for several months now. I could list the people who will contact me privately apologizing, and it’s not them. I’m not trying to prompt a discussion, in fact, maybe I should close comments on this post. (Or maybe not.) I’m very close to being a professional blogger now. I’ve been blogging for ten years solid. I’ve seen it all, been wildly popular among particular groups and completely anonymous among others. One thing I’ve seen happen consistently- people project feelings onto other people and stuff goes boom.

I understand that people get mood swings and go through depressions and menopause and losses and scary illnesses and whatever. I have loads of experience interacting with terminals, spoonies, people with mental illness, religious and political zealots, and buttholes who make everyone else more miserable with whatever problem they have with other people being open and honest. There’s a lot of discipline behind not allowing people to drag me into negative stuff, and that’s actually the coolest thing I’ve ever learned. But I’m not cool enough yet, certainly not professional enough yet to not write this out.

I love social media. I hate communication problems. The defining hurtle for me as an aspie is emotion-fraught misconceptions. Some people I have met who are geniuses of social media have learned how to master the train wreck, as it were. Their social skills at creating problems and using negativity to draw crowds borders on the power of the Dark Side. I admire that. But I will never do that, because I don’t like stepping on other people to get attention for myself. A couple of people who have quietly watched me tick on blogs and facebook and twitter have nailed me as the person behind the curtain, promoting others before myself, pumping their traffic and followers before my own, and I’m very very good at it. I play this game of blogs where it looks like I really don’t get a lot of attention, but what I see behind the curtains is who still checks on everything I’m doing in the last eight years, who watched for me to come back out public, who for God knows why still seem curious where I’m really going with my stuff. This would be happening even if I didn’t link blog posts on twitter. It used to spook me. Now I feel like those are the real friends who truly respect my boundaries and just stay back, whether they understand me being aspie or not. And they may not even be my friends, they might be crazy obsessed fans or people waiting to make money off me or maybe even people terrified I’ll disappear again or spill the truth about something. I don’t even care. As long as people don’t show up at my house, fine. That has really happened, it got weird.

If I really wanted to rock an aspie blog like other aspies are doing, it would probably get pretty popular, because I am the bluntest evil villain I know when I don’t bite my tongue in half and swallow it. But that’s not who I want to be ‘famous’ as. I don’t want the kind of popularity where followers turn and group hate on anyone who defies me. I’ve watched this happen in every venue from big time celebrities down to basic anonymous nobodies. What gets really scary is when a celebrity or author or somebody with a lot of followers has to come out with a statement about depression, because they get wind of someone committing suicide in response to online bullying. What a catch-22, inciting to riot like it’s a game and then flipping over asking people to be compassionate and forgiving. It’s so easy to walk away and not respond to that crap, and yet so hard, and the crux is when people who did the inciting admit they have the depression or the suicidal family member. They know better.

I’m struggling. I’ve been mentioning for several weeks now I’m having challenges staying public. I’m not going to say why or who or what is going on. I’m not going to discuss it in private. I will talk to who I feel like talking to on public media. I’m a public aspie being pulled in multiple directions by several different interests, and if I wanna cross streams on my own turf, that is my business. Side taking and favoritism is not a service I have to render, jealousy or freaking out about who I talk to will no longer be tolerated, and before anyone thinks this post is going to a single person, don’t give yourself so much credit, because I’ve been doing this balancing act with a number of people. If you haven’t noticed, then I’ve been doing a good job handling it. I would never have wasted this much time blogging about a single person, which would actually be a passive-aggressive way to deal with a personal problem. Speaking as an aspie, this has become an overwhelming challenge from several directions. I suppose one answer would be to block or unfollow, but past experience says that only means I wind up shutting everything down again. Simply not responding and keeping it off my timeline is preferable.

I am aspie. Mask off. I want to stand up for what I like and believe in, and not cave to pressure to behave certain ways just because someone thinks I’m stepping out of line if I don’t. If I don’t feel like condoning something, I’m not going to just because a friend tags me. (Many people tag me, few get retweeted.) If some of you out there are still too scared to tweet with me because it might upset a few other people, I’m sorry stuff happens, but time passes and we’re all still human. I interact on multiple lists, I can’t be catering to each one exclusively, especially if I’m being ascribed or projected feelings based on expected behaviors. I could be just another aspie doing a public balancing act but I’d rather not be typecast and lumped into *just* aspie, because there is so much more I’m trying to do. People talk about glass ceilings- I’m working very hard toward my biggest explosion yet. I want it to be fun this time, not sad like the last time was.

I’m sorry, but that means I have to kill you all now.


I’m having a hard time staying public. I made a PLAN, and if I don’t stick to it I may as well give up, walk away, disappear again. Ain’t gonna happen. All the same, s’tough.

Need to briefly whine-

 All those years I waited as patiently as I could for relief from extended family-in-law pressures has ridiculously escalated in the form of angsty burrito mama going through another reflexive panic/action/reorganizeandrestructure spasm. I’m actually happy about this latest decision, quite so, but dang, these sudden uprootings and reploppings with our lives every 3 months has got to slow down a little bit. Everything I ever put my own mother through pales to insignificance and I’m out of context to fall back on.

 Herxing. I’m not even gonna link that. What friends I have that understand this know I’m best left alone when I’m on antibiotic because I reach my evil villain heights while I herx through simply taming a sinus infection. Depression lies, and nothing kicks it up like a good old fashioned herx.

 Another Christmas not seeing the people I *really* want to see.

 Ricocheting around social media and setting off misunderstandings because I’m extra aspie when I’m like this, and I’ve come really close to arguing with several people I really like over stupid things that don’t matter. Since I have so much experience with consequences, I know it’s best right now to just put my head through a wall, because I have vowed not to burn any more bridges.

Ok, this just showed up in my twitter interactions. This guy GETS me. #popfail I’m not a bad person, but YES I AM, SMASH IT!!!!

 photo popfail.jpg

 photo popfail3.jpg

I feel better now.

These vids are getting me through my week. I don’t know why they work, I think it’s the way the sound patterns melt my brain in a weird aspie neural stim, but in case you find them helpful too, here you go.

And if you truly need MORE because your day sucks that badly, I keep this one in reserve. From one of my private blogs, originally dated 11-12-10

I am so thankful for people who create this crap to amuse me when I’m sick.

Star Trek Recap #6 – Perry’s Planet  (or, die laughing while you die from illness)


But wait!  There’s more!

Star Trek Re-Cap #5 – Spock, Messiah!

Star Trek Re-Cap #7 – Killing Time


Love you guys. Hope you’re doing ok. I know I’m going to be all right.