Since the world we see today have been turned into what it is by normal people, abnormal should be very attractive…
I was watching Netflix’s “Atypical” when I came across the following exchange in a scene where the parents of the main character Sam were at a group for parents with children with autism:
Doug: The whole thing really threw me off because we’ve been getting along well, and he’s been seeing a therapist lately, and I felt like he was getting better…
Shelby: Oh! So sorry to interrupt you again, but um, there is no (making air quotes) getting better in autism. It’s a neurological condition, not a curable disease…
It’s obvious Shelby has a stick up her arse when you see the character in action, and I really feel sorry for her kid: No, John, you can’t go out and play with the other kids because there’s no getting better in autism and the last time you made poor Amy cry… Continue reading Autism and “getting better”
“The man who can keep a secret may be wise, but he is not half as wise as the man with no secrets to keep.”
/Edgar Watson Howe
Of course, there is such a thing as too much honesty. When being honest it’s important to take political correctness into consideration, keeping from telling a good friend or family member exactly what you think in situations that don’t matter… on the other hand, if someone is doing something really dumb, it may still be necessary to tell them so, in a diplomatic way.
I feel I have to spend so much time thinking in social situations (and many others). Is there a reason why Aspies have to think all the time? Perhaps even an evolutionary one?
I had a really interesting thought a couple of weeks ago: Whenever I’m in a social situation I always have to “figure things out”. I have to think, analyze and make almost calculated guesses about what’s going on – and I still fail to catch some things anyway (and I actually hate guessing as well). As far as I have understood, when you are an NT (Neurotypical – normal, I think I have used and explained that term before…) you don’t have to analyze and intellectualize so much, you just “have a feeling” and go on your “gut instincts”.
When I look at people I believe I can see a bit of both Asperger and ADHD in almost everyone. Persons that talk a bit too much, or take a bit too long to solve a problem, or gets stunned by things happening too fast around them. But they don’t seem to have this so much that they have a real problem. It just seems like it’s part of their personal makeup or something they do like an Aspie or a person with ADHD (a Dampie?), they just don’t do it so much it becomes a problem.
I had a dentists appointment this morning, and I thought it would be a nice place to try some mindfulness.
I figure you’ve basically two main strategies here. Either use mindfulness to distract yourself by focusing on some place other than your teeth (e.g. Your feet), or focus on what’s happening with your teeth here and now.
I should mention that there was no drilling involved in this visit, but I usually has a lot of tartar that needs to be scraped off, and I have very sensitive dental necks, so it’s usually not a walk in the park.
I started to focus on what the dentist (or actually hygienist) was doing with my teeth, and I very quickly noticed that it seemed to hurt more if I lost that focus. When I really experienced the things she did to the teeth with a kind of curious interest the pain became much more tolerable.
I think for two reasons: I was really there, feeling what was happening, not what I anticipated would happen, and I accepted what was happening – it was almost as if I was involved in the actual “poking around.”
So, the link to Asperger and ADHD?
Some experiences and situations might feel a bit like a dental exam to an aspie, and if using mindfulness on those situations, I think they would become much more tolerable..
I’ve started a treatment (for Asperger Syndrom, and it’s actually experimental, but I am pretty sure this one’s here to stay), consisting of CBT and mindfulness (I’ll try to write more about this), and using the mindfulness I had a revelation (almost in the literal sense) this morning about my morning sleepiness.
When I wake up I am almost always “hammered” (no not drunk, but it’s not far from it). Sometimes I am so “heavy” in the body I can hardly walk straight, and I am so light sensitive even a candle makes me whine and want to hide under the cover again.
This morning, like many others, I was sitting at the toilet, almost falling back to sleep, knuckles on the floor, chin on the bathroom sink, eyes crossed. And just for the fun of it, or if it was a newly acquired instinct or what it was, I said to myself: “I feel tired…”
For those who have no idea what mindfulness is, in short it’s about learning to observe your thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations from a distance, going from letting them define who you are to viewing them as separate entities in your mind. That is, going from “I AM tired” to “I FEEL tried”.
What happened this morning was pretty amazing. Imagine a bridge (like one of those you see in an Indiana Jones movie) breaking in two and collapsing. That was what happened to my tiredness. It just fell off.
I was amazed and shocked, but it made me think.
My conclusion, so far, is that I’m heavy in the body from residual sleep paralysis (what keeps us from rolling out of bed when we sleep, or perhaps more evolutionary correctly, falling out of the tree ;o) and I am light sensitive, well because I’ve had my eyes closed for several hours. However, the tiredness is something I’ve probably learned to associate with these two feelings. It may be a made up feeling …
Sure, I am probably tired some mornings, I’ve almost fallen asleep more than once although I’ve already left bed, but I suspect that might also be a bi-product of me being heavy in the body. I mean, after all, most people doesn’t faint from tiredness, they go to bed and fall asleep long before they do that, a little like eating before you get hit by “hunger panic”… kind of.
Well, knowing that I might have to deal with being heavy in the body and light sensitive in the morning instead of just being tired might help a lot when it comes to getting up (and avoid snoozing, did I mention: I’m a snoozer! :o)
Update: well, I’ve actually had mornings where I was really tired, and didn’t had the above effect, so… I guess the situation is that I can use mindfulness to lessen the effect of being tired, but what I really should have done is using it to get into bed at a good time the night before… (in spite of any thoughts about how hard it will be to fall asleep or how meaningless it is, or how strange – I mean, sleep: you lose consciousness for 6+ hours, hallucinate wildly and wake up with more or less, total amnesia…)
About a year ago I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrom and ADHD. Since I feel I’ve been able to figure out a few things since then, I’ll try to write about it here.
Now, if I were to write about cars, I wouldn’t need much explanation – just dive right into the cc:s, mph:s and so on so forth (disclaimer: I know almost nothing about cars, owned one the first year after I got my license, live in a part of my country with lots of commuter traffic, so haven’t missed a car since then…)
On the other hand, if this blog was about … let’s say Data Mining… I would have to explain what “Data Mining” was a bit before talking about it… but I would be able to do that, with a few well-phrased sentences…
However, when it comes to Asperger (ADHD isn’t that much of a problem in this respect) it’s not always that easy to explain it or generalize about it. What I’ve been able to figure out is that people with Asperger have it in different degrees, and when it comes to people like me, with a double diagnose (it turns out it’s not that uncommon to have both Asperger and ADHD or ADD) just separating the two becomes a chore.
I think the most important thing to think about when discussing Asperger is that it is a disorder on the autism spectrum. I interpret that rather literary. Just as it’s hard to tell exactly when red becomes orange or orange becomes yellow on the color spectrum, it’s hard to separate different symptoms of Asperger/Autism. They bleed into each other, making it problematic/impossible to separate one from the other.
In practical terms, this means one Aspie might be completely different from another. I’ve heard comments such as “…do you have Asperger? I know people with Asperger and you’re not at all like them…” – so, yeah… we Aspies are really individualistic! 🙂
I’ve added a few links on Asperger and ADHD below. I’ll talk about these two neurological disabilities (but I’m pretty sure I’ll be unable to tell which one of them is in play – if not both – in some cases) from my unique perspective, how I experience them, what I do to deal with them, etc etc. Hopefully I’ll be able to contribute to someone! 😀
The home page of Tony Attwood, one of the authorities on Asperger: http://www.tonyattwood.com.au
This is a fairly long article on Asperger Syndrome (however, I needed to ax some of the ads in order to “survive” the read — Firefox + Ad Block Plus rocks!): http://www.emedicinehealth.com/asperger_syndrome/article_em.htm
Here’s yet another link on Asperger (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/aspergers-syndrome/DS00551)…
And here’s a Wikipedia article on ADHD (I’m not sure about Wikipedia’s treatment on Asperger yet…): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attention-deficit_hyperactivity_disorder