No longer having AS = Identity and social issues.

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Buck-oh
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31 Jul 2011, 5:06 pm

anneurysm wrote:
When I hang out with people on the spectrum...as much as I enjoy learning about them, I feel embarrassed for them because they are socially awkward and can clearly see what their 'mistakes' are. I also can't make the emotional connections with them that I make with my NT friends, so I don't have as much fun with them.

However, when I am with my NT friends, I am more likely to be scrutinized and picked on. I am extremely upset and obsessing over this one situation where this one friend...one of my closest and one who I thought I trusted, said some nasty things about me. I have also been ditched as a friend and even bullied by tons of other NTs as recently as around this time last year.

Just looking for someone who understands this.


You sound like a somewhat socially awkward NT, who needs to pick better NT friends. Since NTs are basically "everyone else", you're going to find a wide variety of behaviors and skills in the way they socialize. (Also, I'd say that most NTs feel a little socially awkward, even if they don't make it apparent).

Your statement about making better emotional connections with NTs suggests you "get" them...and not on some superficial level. That would make me think you're probably an NT.

Being weird, even as an NT, is okay. People who can relate to you on some level will tend to not focus on the things that make you different. Most of these mysterious "social rules" that all NTs are supposed to follow are nonsense, as long as you're not creeping someone out, most other NTs will overlook the quirky behaviors. The only NTs who nitpick about quirks are usually NTs who are incredibly insecure about themselves (because they too, are afraid someone might expose them as "different").

Quote:
This is not something I can easliy change though. It stems from seeing my former self in them...and feeling an urge to 'correct' everything, just like I did with myself.


People tend to hate in others what they hate in themselves. Don't judge yourself too harshly about it, that's pretty much human nature.

BTDT wrote:
The reality is that you still have AS, which is why you have trouble making friends with NTs.


NTs sometimes have trouble making friends with NTs. NT's social maturity differs with each individual. "Normal" development is the result of averaging, not an exact scale that is applicable to all NTs that are expected to happen like clockwork. And someone who's a little behind in one area of development may be compensating in an area of development where he's advanced for his age or peer group.



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01 Aug 2011, 1:04 am

That would be worse than thinking you had AS and finding out you do not have AS.

The OP was diagnosed as AS as a child and you told everyone that you had AS. You make a mistake error/do something wrong. Oops Aspergers Syndrome made me do that.

Terrible loss coming to terms with losing your Aspergers Syndrome that identified you as being special unique snow flake. Aspergers could explain why you were different to everyone else.

Now you have no self identity because you no longer have Aspergers Syndrome.



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01 Aug 2011, 1:13 am

anneurysm wrote:
When I hang out with people on the spectrum...as much as I enjoy learning about them, I feel embarrassed for them because they are socially awkward and can clearly see what their 'mistakes' are. I also can't make the emotional connections with them that I make with my NT friends, so I don't have as much fun with them.

However, when I am with my NT friends, I am more likely to be scrutinized and picked on. I am extremely upset and obsessing over this one situation where this one friend...one of my closest and one who I thought I trusted, said some nasty things about me. I have also been ditched as a friend and even bullied by tons of other NTs as recently as around this time last year.

Just looking for someone who understands this.


I see other people's mistakes, but I rarely ever see my own unless I'm looking in the mirror.


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01 Aug 2011, 1:20 am

SammichEater wrote:
anneurysm wrote:
When I hang out with people on the spectrum...as much as I enjoy learning about them, I feel embarrassed for them because they are socially awkward and can clearly see what their 'mistakes' are. I also can't make the emotional connections with them that I make with my NT friends, so I don't have as much fun with them.

However, when I am with my NT friends, I am more likely to be scrutinized and picked on. I am extremely upset and obsessing over this one situation where this one friend...one of my closest and one who I thought I trusted, said some nasty things about me. I have also been ditched as a friend and even bullied by tons of other NTs as recently as around this time last year.

Just looking for someone who understands this.


I see other people's mistakes, but I rarely ever see my own unless I'm looking in the mirror.

This is the case for me, too.

OP, if you really need to know whether you still have AS or not, just go in to talk with someone. Or ask for the opinion of a family member or someone who knows you.

You were obviously diagnosed at some point. You either gained coping skills along the way and learned to compensate or you were misdiagnosed as a kid. You don't outgrow AS, but you learn to deal with it.

As for your identity, just be who you are. If it turns out you are a shy NT, then so be it. If it turns out you have AS, then so be it. What you call yourself doesn't change who you are. It only affects how others may see you. You don't need a label to define yourself. People will do a good job of labeling you without your help. Just live your life and deal with what people think of you as you go. You'll be happier in the long run.


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anneurysm
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01 Aug 2011, 5:23 am

Tahitiii wrote:
As for your diagnosis, it only matters if you are applying for funding for services or disability. The label of no use beyond that and gives people no practical, useful information. You'll still need to spell out what it means in your case. Socially and in most situations, it works against you because it lets people think they know something when they don't.


I agree. The thing is, though, when I have had to advocate for myself, it is *always* something anxiety related and not anything AS related...sure, these things can co-exist within a person, but I don't have the issues that people on the spectrum I know struggle with. A common one is delaying a phone call back to a person, not because I don't want to talk to them, but because I have anxiety with phones. You don't have to have AS to have phone anxiety.

My psychiatrist is writing me an official diagnosis letter for generalized anxiety disorder, too, and wants me to use it instead of my AS diagnosis, as she feels that it's more suitable to my current state.


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I am an anomaly. Diagnosed with borderline,"tentative" Aspergers at 7 as the school board required me to have a label in order to receive special education services. I did not fit criteria for ASD but that was the closest label that fit my behaviour at the time.

My longtime psychiatrist has confirmed that I do not qualify for an ASD diagnosis (but have traits & OCD-like traits).

Mostly keeping a distance from ASD-related things (including WP).


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01 Aug 2011, 5:47 am

littlelily613 wrote:
It is unfortunate, but sometimes ASDs are misdiagnosed. I do not know what happened in your case: either you had it and still have it but with fewer noticeable symptoms due to learning coping strategies. Or you did not have it and was misdiagnosed from the beginning. Anxiety can produce asperger-like symptoms in some people. Coupled with OCD, I can see how that could look like Aspergers. You said the psychiatrist originally gave you this diagnosis because that was the only thing he could think of that matched your symptoms. Perhaps it was anxiety to begin with. It is a matter of "which came first...." Have you spoken to your parents about this, asking them what you were like when you were really small, likely a time you cannot remember. If the symptoms existed prior to the anxiety, then your first psychiatrist was likely on to something. If the anxiety existed and the symptoms soon followed, then your current psychiatrist is the one who is probably correct.


I think I was perhaps on the cusp of diagnosis, and that additional social training of myself over the years just simply pushed myself over that cusp. I don't just think of autism itself as a spectrum, but I see it as on a spectrum with so called 'normalcy'. I say this because I know a lot of people like myself who have traits that could suggest an ASD, but they hardly have the whole picture. Like them, I think I am definitely BAP (broader autism phenotype). What I hate is explaining this to people, as I get annoyed with people who really think this is a truly dichotomous issue of me being full aspie or full NT. I feel I'm neither, because I have aspie tendencies but the social awareness and abilities of an NT. But for now, people will only understand full blown AS or full blown NT. I hate how I disagree with people regarding this stuff.

My parents both think that I definitely met the criteria as a kid, but think that I don't meet it now, though they spot some things left over from it sometimes. What was interesting, though, was that on a scale of impairment during my assessment, my teachers rated me as significantly more impaired than my parents did. Maybe it was anxiety, as I had more difficulty at school because it was unfamiliar. However, the difficulties I was having in school were directly related to ASD...sensory issues, insistence on sameness, and awkward social skills. There are old videos of me acting completely aspie...lining up toys, reciting dialogue from TV shows, and getting really stuck on certian topics. Maybe it transformed into anxiety as the years went on. Who knows.


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I am an anomaly. Diagnosed with borderline,"tentative" Aspergers at 7 as the school board required me to have a label in order to receive special education services. I did not fit criteria for ASD but that was the closest label that fit my behaviour at the time.

My longtime psychiatrist has confirmed that I do not qualify for an ASD diagnosis (but have traits & OCD-like traits).

Mostly keeping a distance from ASD-related things (including WP).


anneurysm
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01 Aug 2011, 6:20 am

Artros wrote:
anneurysm wrote:
BTDT wrote:
The reality is that you still have AS, which is why you have trouble making friends with NTs. True, you have made adaptations that make it difficult for doctors to diagnose AS, but the reality is that your brain functions just like those of us with AS--it is just that you now have a decent ability to translate between the AS and NT worlds. But, an acceptable translation doesn't give one the same confidence level as understanding something in the language in which it was spoken or written.

One concept that helped me a lot is that Aspies are quite literal and exacting, while NTs have a much more flexible interpretations. Often, when an NT asks a question, he either wants to be reassured or not be answered at all. Telling him he is wrong is not a valid option!


I don't have trouble making friendships with NTs...in fact, I have a few very good NT friends as I described above. I can make emotional connections with people, and read social situations very well. All of the recent falling outs with my friends were due to their inability to cope with my anxiety disorder rather than having poor social skills, and people judge me based on my emotional instability and low self-esteem...issues that are not exclusive to AS.

And yes, my brain may still be wired for AS, but how can I have it if my social skills are fine? It's all about if the behaviours are there or not...and to get a diagnosis you have to be impaired The only part of AS I still relate to is having obsessions and a one track mind, but my psychiatrist says the way this presents in me is more OCD-like than ASD-like.

Then there is the point of my behaviour around other aspies. I can logically understand their behaviour by seeing it as similar to the way I acted as a kid, but I can't really relate to them today.


If you train a monkey to walk, talk, and use a toilet, does he suddenly become a human?

The way I see it, you've trained yourself to be able to handle social situations. That does not mean you necessarily see these social situations the same way your NT friends do. So you could very well simply have Asperger's but trained yourself to cope with it. That's what you get when you have a diagnostic criterium which is dependent on the subject "suffering". I have never seen a doctor say that a friendly tumor isn't cancer, but psychologists do not keep to that kind of standard.

If you feel that you do not qualify as Asperger's, does it matter? You seem to understand people with Asperger's, and if you have overcome the social issues with Asperger's, maybe you can help others do the same. I would not worry if I were you.


This could be a possibility too. But then again, no one knows what an autistic brain looks like or what parts of it can lead to different symptoms being displayed. Until we know, we cannot discount the possiblity of autism being influenced by the environment as well as being something we are supposedly born with. People haven't investigated this thoroughly enough, but I think they should. It may not be the issue of a monkey trying to act like a human. The monkey may be slowly evolving.

My psychiatrist has asked me the same question. It does matter since I have based my career helping people with AS on the condition that I speak from experience. When I speak from experience, people will assume that I will always have it, and because they all take the position that you can't outgrow AS, I can't educate them about it or do talks if I state this. And as stated above, I meet a lot of people on the spectrum due to this speaking stuff, on the condition I have AS, but I don't experience the same amount of satisfaction with them as I do with NTs.


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I am an anomaly. Diagnosed with borderline,"tentative" Aspergers at 7 as the school board required me to have a label in order to receive special education services. I did not fit criteria for ASD but that was the closest label that fit my behaviour at the time.

My longtime psychiatrist has confirmed that I do not qualify for an ASD diagnosis (but have traits & OCD-like traits).

Mostly keeping a distance from ASD-related things (including WP).


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01 Aug 2011, 7:10 am

anneurysm wrote:
But then again, no one knows what an autistic brain looks like or what parts of it can lead to different symptoms being displayed. Until we know, we cannot discount the possiblity of autism being influenced by the environment as well as being something we are supposedly born with.


Not true. Autism can now be identified by an MRI scan with a very high degree of accuracy which implies a physical and not environmental cause.

anneurysm wrote:
...I meet a lot of people on the spectrum due to this speaking stuff, on the condition I have AS, but I don't experience the same amount of satisfaction with them as I do with NTs.


I don't understand the message here. Are you trying to say that AS people will only enjoy the company of others like themselves and NT's will only be satisfied by the company of NT's?



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01 Aug 2011, 8:10 am

nemorosa wrote:
anneurysm wrote:
But then again, no one knows what an autistic brain looks like or what parts of it can lead to different symptoms being displayed. Until we know, we cannot discount the possiblity of autism being influenced by the environment as well as being something we are supposedly born with.


Not true. Autism can now be identified by an MRI scan with a very high degree of accuracy which implies a physical and not environmental cause.

anneurysm wrote:
...I meet a lot of people on the spectrum due to this speaking stuff, on the condition I have AS, but I don't experience the same amount of satisfaction with them as I do with NTs.


I don't understand the message here. Are you trying to say that AS people will only enjoy the company of others like themselves and NT's will only be satisfied by the company of NT's?


Haven't heard of the research above, but I'll take a look at it. Therein still begs the question of whether autism can fluctuate over time. An MRI scan is only representative of one given moment, so there really needs to be longitudinal studies to demonstrate that autism is static and not privy to environmental influence.

I wonder if my brain would be wired for autistic functioning according to an MRI. That would be the only way I will know if I have it for sure.

The example I haven't brought up yet is one of a young woman I know. Her family says she has aspergers, but her symptoms are much closer to autism. I am thinking that perhaps her brain changed to the point where her symptoms intensified because of the environment she grew up in. Her parents treat her like a child despite being a young adult, often talk about her in the third person because they don't think she is capable of much. Maybe she functioned better at some point to qualify for an AS diagnosis, but I know countless people with this diagnosis and she is quite impaired compared to all of them. I also know a young woman diagnosed with classic autism whose behaviours are nearly identical.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that while certianly NTs and ASers can enjoy each other's company, I personally experience a different sort of satisfaction when with *most* NTs. Note that I don't generalize and say all NTs, because there's a type that i dont feel comfortable with (excessively mainstream, popular NTs).

With the ones I am comfortable with, I can joke around with them without them getting confused, they can listen to me talk about things in my life without going off about themselves or tuning out, and we tend to have much more in common in terms of lifestyles, interests, and situations we've been in. The emotional connection I talk about ends up forming when both of us feel like we genuinely understand each other. With the people with AS I know, it seems to be too one-dimensional, where my needs and feelings about things are not taken into account as much as theirs...not because I have anything against them, but because their theory of mind and perspective taking skills are impaired.


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I am an anomaly. Diagnosed with borderline,"tentative" Aspergers at 7 as the school board required me to have a label in order to receive special education services. I did not fit criteria for ASD but that was the closest label that fit my behaviour at the time.

My longtime psychiatrist has confirmed that I do not qualify for an ASD diagnosis (but have traits & OCD-like traits).

Mostly keeping a distance from ASD-related things (including WP).


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01 Aug 2011, 8:24 am

I find it hard to understand how an information processing difference, ie having AS, can mutate or change into something else. over the years.

It is the inward experience and not how one reacts to this difference/disability over the years that is the deeper measure

The extent to which a person with AS feels the need to work everything out all the time, rote maping etc, regardless as to the extent to which they appear so NT should be taken very serriously.

In the UK at the moment there seems to be a politically motavated drive to rid people of their differences so as to get people into work.

Many people with AS have not been able to get the help they need because professionals and friends cannot as well as do not understand the nature of AS and the artful ways in which we have adapted and survived



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01 Aug 2011, 8:24 am

I find it hard to understand how an information processing difference, ie having AS, can mutate or change into something else. over the years.

It is the inward experience and not how one reacts to this difference/disability over the years that is the deeper measure

The extent to which a person with AS feels the need to work everything out all the time, rote maping etc, regardless as to the extent to which they appear so NT should be taken very serriously.

In the UK at the moment there seems to be a politically motavated drive to rid people of their differences so as to get people into work.

Many people with AS have not been able to get the help they need because professionals and friends cannot as well as do not understand the nature of AS and the artful ways in which we have adapted and survived



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01 Aug 2011, 11:39 am

anneurysm wrote:
Tahitiii wrote:
As for your diagnosis, it only matters if you are applying for funding for services or disability. The label of no use beyond that and gives people no practical, useful information. You'll still need to spell out what it means in your case. Socially and in most situations, it works against you because it lets people think they know something when they don't.


I agree. The thing is, though, when I have had to advocate for myself, it is *always* something anxiety related and not anything AS related...sure, these things can co-exist within a person, but I don't have the issues that people on the spectrum I know struggle with. A common one is delaying a phone call back to a person, not because I don't want to talk to them, but because I have anxiety with phones. You don't have to have AS to have phone anxiety.

My psychiatrist is writing me an official diagnosis letter for generalized anxiety disorder, too, and wants me to use it instead of my AS diagnosis, as she feels that it's more suitable to my current state.


I would respectfully disagree that a Dx matters ONLY for funding services, or when applying for disability. It also matters when deciding what approach to take in addressing issues one is experiencing. As I told my therapist when I went in for a referral: IF I am an Aspie, my mind works differently than most people, and that difference has to be taken into account to maximize the effectiveness of any interventions. The only reason I have any interest in a Dx is to ensure that any help I get, well, helps.

Even if you have learned enough coping skills to no longer be diagnosable, you mind (probably) still works in an Aspie-ish way - assuming your initial diagnosis was correct, of course. While your current issues may not be AS related, correcting them may require taking this into consideration. For this reason, I would be cautious about completely abandoning your AS diagnosis.



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01 Aug 2011, 11:58 am

another_1 wrote:
anneurysm wrote:
Tahitiii wrote:
As for your diagnosis, it only matters if you are applying for funding for services or disability. The label of no use beyond that and gives people no practical, useful information. You'll still need to spell out what it means in your case. Socially and in most situations, it works against you because it lets people think they know something when they don't.


I agree. The thing is, though, when I have had to advocate for myself, it is *always* something anxiety related and not anything AS related...sure, these things can co-exist within a person, but I don't have the issues that people on the spectrum I know struggle with. A common one is delaying a phone call back to a person, not because I don't want to talk to them, but because I have anxiety with phones. You don't have to have AS to have phone anxiety.

My psychiatrist is writing me an official diagnosis letter for generalized anxiety disorder, too, and wants me to use it instead of my AS diagnosis, as she feels that it's more suitable to my current state.


I would respectfully disagree that a Dx matters ONLY for funding services, or when applying for disability. It also matters when deciding what approach to take in addressing issues one is experiencing. As I told my therapist when I went in for a referral: IF I am an Aspie, my mind works differently than most people, and that difference has to be taken into account to maximize the effectiveness of any interventions. The only reason I have any interest in a Dx is to ensure that any help I get, well, helps.

Even if you have learned enough coping skills to no longer be diagnosable, you mind (probably) still works in an Aspie-ish way - assuming your initial diagnosis was correct, of course. While your current issues may not be AS related, correcting them may require taking this into consideration. For this reason, I would be cautious about completely abandoning your AS diagnosis.


You are right but also very wrong. Right in that it does play into the decisions that you make. Wrong in that you assume there is any way for anyone to reliably test for and declare this an condition. Seriously, if you think you meet the criteria (read the DSM V) then go with the assumption that you do. I fail to see (logically) why a formal DX is something that anyone would stress over. It just does not make sense. I could test either way with the current methods of measuring this thing... It is HARDLY a science...



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01 Aug 2011, 2:51 pm

anneurysm wrote:
This could be a possibility too. But then again, no one knows what an autistic brain looks like or what parts of it can lead to different symptoms being displayed. Until we know, we cannot discount the possiblity of autism being influenced by the environment as well as being something we are supposedly born with. People haven't investigated this thoroughly enough, but I think they should. It may not be the issue of a monkey trying to act like a human. The monkey may be slowly evolving.


I've read the same on brain scans being capable of identify autism. It's all very interesting. That's also what I was aiming at. The monkey may learn, but the wiring in his brain can't shift (certainly, the brain adds connections until you're 22, but after then, that's all you have). Certainly, you will change over the years, but I do not really believe that something so fundamental can change without any significant prompting (I believe comas and traumas and the like have been known to cause sudden shifts in the brain).

I think one of the problems here is the fact that psychology, in general, is difficult to actually use. As long as you rely on face-to-face conversation and expert opinions, you're stuck with the fact that the criteria for AS are very loose and that psychologists may simply be unable to understand the way AS works, let alone the way you, as a person, work (note that brain scans aren't the be-all, end-all of science either. At least, not yet. For now, they're far too inaccurate).

Quote:
My psychiatrist has asked me the same question. It does matter since I have based my career helping people with AS on the condition that I speak from experience. When I speak from experience, people will assume that I will always have it, and because they all take the position that you can't outgrow AS, I can't educate them about it or do talks if I state this. And as stated above, I meet a lot of people on the spectrum due to this speaking stuff, on the condition I have AS, but I don't experience the same amount of satisfaction with them as I do with NTs.


What about simply saying that you were diagnosed with AS as a child, but that you have learned to cope very well and, to some, are now indistinguishable from a 'normal' person? It's all true, you maintain your ability to educate people, and you will be able to say what you think. You do not have to say that you like NTs better than Aspies. Quite frankly, even if you'd say you did, I would prefer you to some of the people I've observed (but that's a completely different story).



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01 Aug 2011, 3:39 pm

anneurysm wrote:
I think I was perhaps on the cusp of diagnosis, and that additional social training of myself over the years just simply pushed myself over that cusp. . .

I think I have had some similar life experiences. At age 5 and 6, I can remember wondering around a play ground in a daze, with a fat lip, wondering what I had done wrong. Well, what happened is that some other kids take it personally that I'm nonparticipating and/or view me as a good target for meanness so they push me to the ground.

Even in my mid twenties when I was studying philosophy (utilitarianism and Kantianism), since I had made recent progress, I thought just naturally other people would be just as keenly interested as I was. It made for some very one-sided conversations on my part.

Now, with political activism, I have the skill of briefly building on someone else's positive idea. I also have the skill of easily and comfortably defending someone under attack. Often, it's much easier defending someone else than defending yourself, and skills at one transfer to the other.

At the same time, like you do, I stand in solidarity with my less communicative brothers and sisters. I think you are very brave raising all this and thank you. And whether you are a 'bridge' person or have a human difference that's a 'cousin' of Asperger's / Autism Spectrum, I think you can contribute a great deal---wanting to help is the first prerequisite---just maybe not in the way you have planned and that's the hard part. Or maybe, pretty much exactly how you have planned. And not knowing which one might be the hardest of all. Please just take it medium step by medium step, and don't let other people either hurry you or hold you back.

==============

Some things that have helped me with social skills:

The novels of Irwin Shaw (conversational skills I needed at that time of my life)

political activism, esp peace activism in response to the first Persian Gulf War (1991)

sales jobs involving photocopy services and furniture sales.

and playing poker in Las Vegas. Try and be open to appreciating other people, sometimes you get a read and sometimes you don't. Even if you play well, you might only have a 70% chance of winning. So be it, just like regular social interaction, a lot of random flux. Someone needs space, give them space, without the intermediate step of asking whether they should need space. (I don't recommend poker as an attempt to make money precisely because of the inevitable upswings and downswings, and winning $400 for the week helps less than losing $400 hurts. Please be careful)

And, Oh yes, these days I still like long walks, they kind of help me process things, both intellectually and emotionally. I've just learned that a nice circuitous route of a half mile or mile is perceived as far more 'normal' than walking up and down back and forth the same street.