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i am a cave bear. the image at the left is me after, say two hours of socializing. i need to mend. to sort. defrazzle. decompress. i need to focus on one specific thing to return to myself. so i ‘cave’.

usually with a video game, some times by reading a book or watching TV, but mostly it’s video games. if i am not allowed to ‘cave’ i get nasty, short-tempered, angry, snappy, disoriented and depressed.

general life stress, like financial issues, emotional overload, marital ‘problems’, expectations (my own and others’) will also bring on the need to ‘cave’ – f.i from january-may this year my family went through a period of extreme uncertainty regarding our financial future – i ‘caved’ 12-14 hours a day.

“-uhu”, you say, “what did your wife like that, you being unavailable 12-14 hours each day for 5 months"?”

well, there are ways, and it is all a matter of negotiating and communicating.

all our rooms have a ceiling lamp, with a switch by the door.

so when my wife wanted/ needed/ desired to communicate/ share/ request something she simply flipped the switch to signal this. this signal is subtle enough not to be ‘invasive’, and clear enough to be ‘noticed’. i would pause my game, unplug my ears and the time it takes to do those things is enough for me to ‘gather myself’ and be able to pay attention to her. and then when she is done communicating, sharing or whatever, i can just slip back into my ‘cave’, and keep my equilibrium.

naturally, since my wife is an aspie too, the same ‘rules’ apply when she is ‘caving’- though she calls it ‘nesting’.