Running low

So, I'm borderline APD.  That's Antisocial Personality Disorder - the clinical diagnosis for people who we casually call "sociopaths".

The ICD-10 description:
Personality disorder, usually coming to attention because of a gross disparity between behaviour and the prevailing social norms, and characterized by at least 3 of the following:
(a) callous unconcern for the feelings of others;
(b) gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules and obligations;
(c) incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them;
(d) very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence;
(e) incapacity to experience guilt and to profit from experience, particularly punishment;
(f) marked proneness to blame others, or to offer plausible rationalizations, for the behaviour that has brought the patient into conflict with society.
(a) - Not so much "callous", though I have to actually think about the fact that other people have feelings to account for them.
(b) - Disregard, yes; irresponsibility, depends on who you ask.
(c) - Arguable.  I have some long-term relationships, but they're largely superficial by others' standards.
(d) - Totally non-violent, but I get frustrated pretty easily.
(e) - My lack of guilt is notorious.  My mother learned early on that "punishment" was useless on me.  I had to be educated why something was wrong or bad, not just punished.
(f) - One that I definitely don't have, for obvious reasons.

So, I have most of the basic underlying characteristics.  As a teenager, I probably qualified for (a) and (b) almost totally.

Anyway, the point is that without my conscious efforts against this sort of thing - and it's very definitely energy expended and conscious effort - I slip more into the sociopathic personality.  It's a big part of why "people", in general, tire me out.

Since my step-dad's accident - wait.  I haven't talked about that in a while.  So, update time.

So, when last we met, step-dad was in the hospital.  They kept him almost totally sedated for like 2 weeks while his lungs healed.  Once it was time to ween him off of the respirator, they had to let him wake up - which wasn't at all fun for him.  But, he got off of it.  They discovered that - in addition to breaking his pelvis, cracking a vertebra, and breaking all his ribs - that he'd also broken his left wrist.  Of course, they didn't discover this until after 17 days or so, so it will likely never be the same though he'll still have some use of it.

He was transferred from the ER to an in-plan facility, where he didn't actually stay long; they basically said, "He's healing, there's not much else that can be done, let's get him to rehab."  "Rehab" is a nice name for a nursing home.  He was there less than a week until he had to get checked back into the hospital because of blood pressure issues (the new meds they insisted on him using were causing major blood pressure drops).  When he left the hospital the second time - after only one night's stay - they sent him home.

Mom got a hospital bed for the downstairs, and the first two nights I stayed over; I basically didn't sleep for 72 hours or so.  The problems were many.  To start with, his sleep cycle was all screwed up from the hospitals.  Second, with the neck collar on, he was having severe sleep apnea and couldn't sleep for more than an hour or so at a time.

Third and possibly the most complicating, he wanted to get better and started to "push" himself to do things.  He couldn't really do this during the day, as mom was being protective to the point of inhibitory.  So, he did them at night, when I was around.  My policy - as I told him the first time he got up to walk himself down the hallway to the bathroom - was that I wouldn't stop him or interfere but that I was there if he needed help.  Mom found out about this at one point and threw a fit, but I successfully defused her and sent her back to bed.

So, I was basically up all night both nights, "just in case": I had to rescue him a couple of times, but nothing too bad.  Mostly, though, he learned not only that he had limits but that they were much further than even he thought they might be, so his progress the next week was even better.

The problem was that I was also needed during the day, to do some basic work around the house and help my mom out with things.  So, from getting up to go to work on Thursday until getting home Saturday at 11ish, I slept about 3 or 4 hours, mostly in short breaks.  Saturday morning (and by arrangements prior to knowing he'd be home then, so it worked out well), I picked up his sister from the airport; she stayed with them for a week, freeing me up to go to work.

Still I've been there every weekend and been "an ear" for my mom to vent to when she needs.  Which means that, as I was saying a half-dozen paragraphs up, since my step-dad's accident, I've been "forced" into social roles almost constantly (between work and taking care of them).  The effect of this has been mental exhaustion, something I only put two and two together to come up with this last week.

One side-effect: my plants.  See, the OCD is usually kept under control by force of will: I tend to catch myself obsessing and mitigate it.  The plant stuff started about 10 days after the accident and has been a constant thing since.  There are times (looking back, those times when I was most exhausted) where I would literally check on seedlings or the outdoor plants every 20-30 minutes.  I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about breeding garlic or buying more plants to do something else with.  I actually killed one rosemary bush by over-watering.  Lest people think, "at least it's something innocuous," I've also spent probably $1200 on various pots and equipment and such - all just to grow some peppers and spices and tomatoes.

Now, most of that effort - and money - can be leveraged for years to come.  But it's the kind of thing that wouldn't happen except I don't have the mental energy to fight it (or even recognize it). I've also been slipping more into sociopath-mode for the same period; mostly, this shows up as being more short-tempered and less "personable" at the office and with friends.  I'm not working as diligently on some of my projects as I should be, and I keep coming up with "new" projects to do (mostly gardening related).

In 15 days, I fly off to Hawaii for 10 days.  I'm still going to my parents' house this weekend (father's day) and next weekend (mowing the lawn), but hopefully things will be largely back to normal by the time I get back (he really is progressing well).  I really need this vacation.