Posts Tagged ‘Autism’

               Multiple people have asked me if I feel I experience something different than others. Do I think I am the only person who feels heavy things? Do I feel I am the only one who feels different? Am I the only one who goes through the battles I do? The answer is in the details. One by one of those details I am not different at all. I am connected in that one thing with a million other people and billions more who lived on this planet before I arrived. I don’t feel one truly novel thing new to the human race. I could be depressed, overwhelmed, suicidal, glorious, euphoric, misunderstood. I could love more than one person. I could be attracted to someone of the same gender. I could be a murderer. I could be forced into sex trafficking. I could feel as if I don’t have talents or I could feel I have my self esteem because of the talents I do have. I could have an insanely busy family schedule as a mother. I could have cancer. I could keep secrets or I could be an open book. Almost everyone feels social anxiety to some level. Almost everyone wants to be understood. Almost everyone is afraid of something. We are all human. We have each individual DNA strand in common. Same strands but expressed very differently. Consciousness expresses it differently. Legacy predisposes us to act differently. And yet, look at how similar we are.
To the question “Do I think I am the only one who feels these things?” The answer is no. Social isolation that cripples us mentally lies in forgetting how alike we are to others. Someone somewhere is dealing with what you are in some way. Every person you meet has SOMETHING in common with you. However, they aren’t you.
Being different doesn’t cause us pain. Our point of focus keeps us isolated and in pain. If we focus only on differences and distance we will not ever be touched by the moment’s right next to us. If we desire a hug and ignore the air around us, we push away the moments we belong. If we refuse to connect in the million small ways we are similar because we are too focused on the vast miles of differences that also exist we deny all the good that DOES exist. We don’t get to find people who understand us holistically. We find few who understand us on complete full levels. We don’t have to wait until we do. We can take the little moments of touching people along the way to heal our souls from isolation.
Am I different? Yes I am very different. I may connect with you in understanding big concerns like cancer, human trafficking, parenting, deep suffering, social anxiety, or a host of other deep concerns. We may even share one or two. We may share other small concerns. School, feeling beautiful, self esteem, social concerns, etc. I don’t personally understand all of these issues I mentioned. I have my own story. Others probably have experienced whole worlds more than I have that I can’t understand at all right now. We are all more than these differences though. We are connected from our similarities; no matter how small.
I want to understand those who know more than me. I want them to take the time to connect and share their world and let me share mine. It is not that I understand less but that I understand differently. My stack of knowledge is piled high but different than yours. Let me learn from you and increase our connection. Don’t cut me short of that opportunity because our small similarities aren’t enough to make you feel ‘seen’.
Likewise, I may not often be like you. You may see those small things you think you understand about me but there are miles to me that can’t be seen. My potential, my past, my stress, my aspergers, my hopes, my walls and fears which are paralytic; My talents and abilities are crushing battles can’t get the hug the way they hoped for. It isn’t real life. I don’t need to be miserable about it. I don’t need to pretend I am exactly the same either. I am not the same. Sorry but I can’t be sorry. I also can’t be miserable that I am alone in it either. My focus is changing.
I am focused on all the ways I do belong. The same technique exists to pull yourself out of a panic attack. You focus on what you are feeling. You can feel the earth pushing up against your feet and your hands touching something. Truly feel it. Focus on it. Focus on your breathing like the waves of an ocean. The tides come in and out the same way to find air just a little bit different, hitting at different angles of your lungs, releasing back to the trees waiting for its release. Focus on what you can see. The things that are placid, still, solid. Focus on the colors you can see. Focus on the shapes. Focus on every small thing you can hear. Focus on the air, the buzz, the birds, the clanks, the voices, the breathing. Focus. Move to your soul. Focus on the people who are there. Focus on how you are alike. Focus on how that other person has hopes like you, fears to be judged or misunderstood like you, dreams like you, etc. Focus on how you belong. Connect. Accept what IS and keep going with peace in your heart. You got another piece of a connection. They might not see all of you or even be capable of it. But someday you might bless them by showing and enriching their life in whatever way they are ready for. Learn something about them.

It really is all about focus. Believe in your souls’ ability to exist by itself without the hug of understanding. Believe all you know matters. Let go of the overwhelming beliefs that you need someone to see all of you. Let go of the belief that your differences mean you must be alienated from others. Let go of your believe that similarities have to be holistic to connect people. Believe that no matter how small, connections matter. Let your heart smile. Let people who are deeply engrained in your deepest matters touch your soul to that level. Let people who experience trials to a less degree but equally as difficult level touch you there irrespective of any other level that exists inside you. Let people come and go. Let nature come and go. YOU stay steady. See your path through to the end. Focus. Focus your senses. Focus your soul. You exist. You are different. There is no shame in that. You need others? They are there! They can’t all be there all the way all the time. It is up to you to let those connections matter on the level they are meant to exist at.
So thankfully I AM different. I don’t lie to myself that I am the same. But I don’t deny myself my similarities. When you are around the simple long enough you learn the blueprint to the complex. Simple grows fast, broad, and deep. The complex is still built upon the simple. It never disappears, goes away, or morphs into something new. It stays the same and simply replicates and becomes larger. Stay connected with the simple and you won’t be isolated regardless of how deep you go or how different you become you won’t feel isolated even if you live alone. Namaste!

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You know, the world has become a fairly messed up place. Violence, dishonesty, manipulation, power hungry, isolation at a core level, families broken, etc. I use the term fairly in the loosest possible way. I, in literal terms, mean that the human race has been degenerating socially. We make incredible strides in technology but don’t use it to help the human race but to build empires and powerful companies. We use our brilliance and every novel idea to ensure our families stability and wealth. Even within the wave of the new world religions and spiritualists, there is this idea of the law of attraction which is used to change our own lives, gain whatever our heart desires, and explain away suffering as another persons’ fault (shortcoming of their ability to control their thoughts/energy). Always people are a step away, an explanation away. We try to control ourselves and better ourselves with no responsibility for those around us. Our justice is still mostly enacted without internalizing forgiveness or expecting an elevated inner responsibility to rehabilitate our neighbors, friends, community from the problems that causes the malfunction to begin with.
Then here comes Austism. Not just another spiritual sickness like depression, bipolar disorder, etc which holds its own incorrect labels and judgements but a different neurology. It cannot even be categorized simply but holds many different facets, dimentions, and expressions on a neurological level. The world again tries to take the outward symptoms and classify it away in the DSM models as a sickness or a disease or a malfunction of some sort. This is where the world is horribly wrong.
The 21rst century, accross the globe, is primarily neurotypical. There are pockets of places that express and live based off of a slightly different model but primarily life runs the same way. As a whole we can see each country like an organ in the earth body. Each has a different place, a different function but we are all connected and all fairly similar in makeup. We are all on planet earth. We are all human. But we do not all perceive and internalize the same way. Those with Aspergers/austism are like stem cells. They are highly specialized souls that don’t operate like every other cell they are around. But if given the chance can be inserted anywhere and enact great healing. They weren’t made to be like every other cell. If they are seen as hostile or foreign or broken they will always be rejected and no good can take place. But imagine the good that they can do if allowed to stay.
The other day, my son was watching spy kids (the one with Jessica Alba) and the dad got angry that Jessica Alba’s character had hidden that she was a spy in their marriage. My son makes me stop the movie and demands to understand this scene.
“why did she lie? good guys don’t lie”
“why did he hurt her? if he loves her he shouldn’t have put his hurt before her needs”
“why do good people do bad things? doesn’t that make them a ‘bad’ guy”?
There were a million questions like this all centered around one key idea. What separates bad people from good people that make bad choices or simply accidentally make a mistake that hurts someone? My answer? It is in the intentions. The key to all of life is in intentions. If one makes a mistake and they try to repair it, they are still a good person. If a person intends to do something bad because they rationalize inside of their head that it is justified they can still be a good person but they have an error to correct INSIDE. And of course a truly bad person is someone who intends hard, no matter how much they rationalize it or not, but they never intend to fix it. Their hearts have slammed shut for whatever reason and they just don’t care about another person anymore. Their ideas and feelings have become too powerful to allow themselves to care and now they are part of what is destroying humanity. One person at a time. One person gets sacrificed because someone is too angry, too hurt, their ideas need defending too fiercely, etc. My son KNOWS on a deep level that this interaction (that is seen as so normal and healthy) is in fact destructive. He knows a better way. He is trying to come up with a better way. I can teach him that this is just how it is. People need time to explode, get angry and walk away. OR I can teach him a better way to deal with anger betrayal, not having to hide or lie, and repairing friendships when flaws do come up. He is only five and he knows this is possible. Not easy but possible.
I love and hate this wonderful quote:
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I love how it teaches one to invest their mind deeper than gossip. Be a part of this human world, do not simply attack and demean others. When you see a flaw in someone (every person has them) don’t pass this information along and tear them down. If you see a leader with his shoes untied don’t make fun of it and ignore all the good he is doing. Take responsibility for helping uplift humanity and their flaws will naturally be left in the dust. We are better than all of that. We HAVE to demand more of ourselves than that. But on another note, People are the most important part of life. Ideas, strongly held beliefs, events in history are all nothing without people. Human beings. If one person is lonely or isolated, they don’t just start to matter when a tv station picks up their story, they don’t start to matter when someone starts to bully them, they don’t start to matter when they snap and inflict violence on victims. The fact is THEY matter. We need people who see that life itself matters. Souls matter. Standing against bullying is a powerfully good goal but a far better goal is uplifting the lonely and different. A far better goal than fighting against bad is fighting to include those who are trying to fit in.
Autism is a spectrum disorder (I use disorder very very lightly because I don’t actually view it as that). It is a spectrum of those who shut down with all the stimuli of the world. They might be affected so heavily that they can’t use their senses correctly. It breaks their precious souls because it hits them too hard, too fast, and they aren’t able to keep up. A person on the spectrum can be high functioning and have SPD (sensory processing disorder) where they either seek additional input to feel calm or they run from it to feel calm. Aspergers affects some to the point they can’t handle people at all and become reclusive. They break. It affects others to the point it is always a struggle to not succumb to anxiety, depression, social exhaustion, etc. It is a challenge to be sure. But here enters the world again with labels. As if the only way to see the world has to be to label the shortcomings of people. Imagine a world where kids who enter school neurotypical kid was given a label with all of their weaknesses and given a ‘classification’ of how they could never grow up and become ‘normal’. Every teenager would be doomed.
Instead, I like to see ASD as a gift. The world should see its gifts. We all have to learn to work together. There is nothing random about the genetics or the environment bringing about such a high population of those on the spectrum. Autism/Aspergers allows a person to see things very logically. If one does not shut down to all of the feelings they can sense, then they can learn to have an extremely high emotional intelligence that can be passed on to other generations. They can learn to not only read others but read themselves. They can demand more of others and of themselves. Those that work with autistic children know what a challenge and an equal blessing it is. These kids, teenagers, and adults can see the world in a real way, they see beauty deeper, they feel deeper, they can yank humanity from the coma of unconscious action and make it conscious again. It is a choice each individual can make. To see someone unable to function and know internally that it is YOUR time to love them, to shield them, to help them to be free to raise up in strength and succeed. As people do this for others, they will have others do this for them as well.
Irene Gut Opdyke, who wrote the book In My Hands, saved the lives of many Jews during the Holocaust at great risk to her own life. She led a remarkable life and never lost her faith in people. When she moved to America she traveled around the United States sharing what hate does to people and sharing her story. She always started out every lecture with these words…”I am here because I love you”. This is what Autism can do for the world. It is here to help shake us from apathy and our disengaging from others. It is here to rattle the belief that just because something appears broken or flawed that we need to dismiss it, control it, or demand justice for it. It is here to raise humanity to the next level. For those on the spectrum to keep moving forward and loving yourself no matter how overwhelmed your spirit gets. To find peace in the small things and accept who you are. For those whose minds think neurotypically and who feel other challenges every day. To demand more from yourself. To safeguard others, to uplift others, to use your mental strength and grit to be inclusive and show love. Because at the end of the day, what we learn from each other can raise humanity past this roadblock into a more peaceful future. Every difference, every challenge has a beautiful future.
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“I don’t understand why she cares so much about small things”
“If she would just let it go she would be happier”
“She is making a big deal out of nothing”
“How in the world can she think that is ok?”
“what was she thinking?”
“Why the heck did she just say that?”
“I can’t read her. She either seems aloof or just goofy”

An Aspie could hear this her entire life.
She will feel deeper and look deeper than most. In some ways this will make her an expert in human emotion. She will read when someone is hiding something, read when someone likes her but isn’t saying, and identify when someone doesn’t like her but acts like they do. This world is full of facades.
The problem though, is it doesn’t come naturally. It is an analytic process.
I have just as much luck stumbling upon a brilliant philosophical idea as I do in overthinking a situation- believing an emotion is about me when it isn’t at all.
Same as any other aspie lady you know.
And can you really blame us? The world is full of completely wrong signals and we are actively, scientifically identifying them and we are calling out the mistakes. If you are sad but just say you are tired because it means less questions, If you are mad but just say ‘ok’, If you don’t like someone but don’t want to make a big deal, If you snap at someone and then say you were ‘teasing’…an aspie is going to see the dichotomy.
Growing up, my mother always told me “you can’t hold someone accountable for their feelings, only their actions”. This made me into someone who was always quiet. I’d be stuck thinking “wait, you just said this but you are feeling this other way and I need a half an hour to figure out why and decide how to respond” and then it would be too late and i would kick myself in the shins for not being more proactive or saying something witty that didn’t allow the emotional dishonesty to take place. Then of course my zen would return as I told myself to just let it go. yeah, I think too much.
There are days where someone would do something and I would see that schism and decide “nope! I will bring this one up!” and then find out it had nothing to do with me and I had pushed it for no good reason. They look at me like I am an idiot, they feel bothered, I feel stupid. I kick myself in the shin for two weeks wondering “why the heck didn’t you notice it isn’t about you? Why do you have to assume every emotion is about you? learn to just let go and let people be people” and then finally reach zen again ‘letting go’.
Here are just a few things an aspie girl will feel. They aren’t neurotypical but maybe you can relate.
1. when life is going well it feels like you are riding the train of life. It is going along and you are inside the train making meals, talking with people, keeping up just fine because you are on board. You may be tired, sad, happy, playful, or any other emotion but you are doing it on board the train. You can make it just fine. You can relate with people. You ‘feel’ it is possible. Then out of no where you aren’t on board anymore. You can’t stop either. Life isn’t that way of course. Life is always moving. No, now you are being pulled behind the train. But no one seems to notice. If you say “I am sad and can’t seem to do this” they respond “yeah I am sad too. Just do it anyway and it will be ok”. Of course, there is the difference of being pulled behind life and being on board for it.
2. People talk about needing time to recharge. Everyone needs a vacation and rest. But if you miss a little bit you still do fine. For an aspie girl it isn’t like recharging though. They need to rebuild themselves. Think of the differences in those words. Recharge means you are low on battery and you plug in and refill your reserves and go again. Rebuild means you are destroyed in your soul. Something wreaked havoc and tore you apart. This is what happens internally. Life grates at an aspies mind and heart. She will bump into walls because she doesn’t see them. She is ‘too much’ sometimes and other times blends in just fine. She feels an overabundance of the same thing the entire human race feels but she doesn’t intrinsically understand how to fit in. She will have fierce reactions to being misunderstood or feel severely depressed when mislabeled. She has to have time not just to recharge what she knows but to rebuild her world so she understands it and rebuild her self esteem so she continually has faith in herself. Time consuming? Yes. Hard to do? Absolutely.
3. I don’t like labels. In fact, Aspie or Aspergers or Autism just seem silly to me. It is as broad of a spectrum as the human race. But just as you could analyze and figure out how someone with one brain ‘type’ operates, you can analyze how an aspie type operates. They call it stimming, or having a meltdown or numerous other terms. But when those moments happen it is because an aspie is in overload. They have reached their max. Imagine your spirit/soul having a horribly bad sunburn. It hurts to be touched, it hurts to lay down, it hurts to have the air touching it, it hurts for no reason. Touch is bad, even if it is light. Being around people hurts. Having expectations hurts. Having to deal with figuring out what to say so you aren’t misunderstood, and figure out what the other person means, is impossible. You require time to heal away from people. It just ‘hurts’. There isn’t anything weak about it.
I have sucked it up plenty of times. I have gone to parties, or let someone come over, or dealt with a problem (because I am an adult and need to fulfill my responsibilities), which in essence felt like giving someone a hug when you have said sunburn. They hug you like normal and you can barely breath it hurts so bad, but you smile like it didn’t. Because they simply don’t know and you decided you needed to be brave and deal with the hurt for some greater cause. But you aren’t going to be able to be brave forever. If you run away and hide people probably are going to mislabel why or come up with crazy theories. If you are brave enough to figure out how to tell them they probably will not understand. Because lets face it- Unless your spirit has had a sunburn before you just won’t know how it feels.
4. There is a big time pride in your heart for making breakthroughs and helping people. In those moments you don’t crash into an unseen behavioral wall and land on  your butt and look like an idiot, but instead make a push beyond what others understand to raise awareness for something, you can be extremely happy. You helped! In that moment, none of the pain from before is there. You forget all the sunburnt, fall off the train, self hate feelings of ‘Why the crap am I not normal?’ and you believe in yourself. You feel you are contributing. Because you ARE. Life hurts. It sometimes hurts worse in some ways for some people. It may make more sense in some areas for other people. But we all are bumping and crashing and surviving and trying to make ourselves and others happy. Which leads me to the best thing of all. Number five.
5. Being an aspie doesn’t mean I am alone. An aspie is just like everyone else. They feel more of some things, they see less than some others. They analyze until their hearts bleed and their minds collapse. They love with more power than the universe. They can try fiercely to hide or get angry to protect themselves. Because, lets face it, this world is scary and painful and to feel you are alone and messing up can make us tremulous. But every time an aspie or a neurotypical person feels those feelings and tries anyway, loves anyway, keeps being seen anyway, or believes in themselves: They are BRAVE!
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Caste me away from this island.
Don’t try to seek out my boat.
You assume it sits atop of the ocean,
You can’t possibly know how remote.
Even when my eyes saw the shoreline
My heart felt waves crash upon me
From deep within the swell of far away earth.
Even when you still could have seen me
I was long gone, my heart was morose.
You searched for a holograph image
Of who I was 5 seconds ago,
But you did not feel the earth when you stood
So my pulse could never be heard.
I was deeply embedded in history-
The images, feelings, and waves
Always washed right through every sinew of thought.
If you didn’t follow that video of music
How could you have followed my thought?
Don’t try to follow me from this island
I am already far too long gone.
I rode away one thought at a time,
long before I started to row.