356: Teaching the Teachers

I have been praying and asking for guidance regarding my future vocation and avenue of service, and the answers very much entered through slipstream full force this early morn.

At first, I was given the message (through my little knowing voice) that my husband would over-sleep his five a.m. wakeup call (alarm) and be late for work, unless I was awake to wake him up. Hmmm. That was troubling, as with my own dyspraxia/dyslexia, I had no idea how to reset my own alarm in order to wake him up, as he was sleeping in my son’s bedroom. (Long story why we were in separate rooms, but basically boils down to dinosaur snoring, if there was such a thing.) I could have retrieved my phone from upstairs I suppose, but I wasn’t awake enough to think of that. So I tossed and turned in a type of vision-state for a bit over an hour. Knowing enough I had to stay partially awake.

I was certain time stood still, as the leap between the time of four to five seemed to take the stretch of a day. During this time I was shown image upon image.

I revisited my time at the university, the place I chose to leave a little over a year ago, based on the way I was discriminated against for mentioning I had Aspergers Syndrome. I revisited it all, the whole of it—emotions, illness brought on by the stress, the mourning process, the wanting to prove my side of the event and expose the injustice, the sob-filled-telling to my therapist and her concurring I had been the victim of appalling behavior on said professor’s part, the anger stage of wanting to sue, the humiliation part of being set up in a mediation that wasn’t a mediation…and on and on.

How dare they, is what I thought, and I spun and circled in mind about pulling up the evidence—the emails from the witness who at the time of mediation froze up and remembered nothing, the notes from my therapist, even my therapist’s comment that this man had a reputation, hearsay or not, she knew of him well, the notes from the Dean’s meeting, the Dean of the department warning me not to ever bring up the word Aspergers in professional setting: “It’s not the appropriate place.”

I dug up so much old stuff: the confusion of being accepted into a Masters in Counseling program that didn’t even want to know who I was, who didn’t even want to know how my mind functioned. The confusion of being told I was creating my condition (Aspergers) and announcing to the world my son’s brain (who has Aspergers) is broken. The confusion of receiving lower marks on my papers after the mediation took place. The confusion of one professor offering unsolicited advice about me, once she found out I had Aspergers. The meltdown of my self-esteem, self-worth, and self-love that dissipated much like the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz into a molten black. Why was it I who had to undergo such pain?

I thought back to the high marks I received as an educator. Always the highest marks. How my college classes previously, through undergraduate work to my Master’s in Education program had been a place of safety. How the professors appreciated my input and intelligence. At times how I became the exemplary “one” or the teacher’s pet. I remembered how with every endeavor I’d ever set out to do, I had excelled, even exceeded others’ expectation. And here, in the span of little over a semester, with the hearing of the word Aspergers, the others, a set whom were supposed to be my mentors, painted me with their own muted greys into something I was not and am not.

Suddenly, all of me became what they saw. Suddenly, I had lost all I had built. With one swipe they knocked the self out of me.

And as I processed through the events and corresponding pain, I began to wonder what to do with this surfacing anger. A damaging letter came to mind: “Look at what they did to me.” And I let those thoughts come readily and steadily and tear into me one by one. I bled in my bed. I bled and bled, the tears of my soul seeking vengeance.

And then, with the passing of deep ache and hollowed out chance, I let the feeling go. I let the anger purge through me and erase the fear. I let the anger dance and take flight. I let the scenarios play out. I let the other me who wished to be free escape. And this shadow side, she wept more. Her screams the own echoes of demise and lack of rescue. For she had tried so very hard at this University, where her dream of being a therapist was going to come true. She read all of the “extra” books, did all of the “extra” credit, spent countless hours, setting aside her dyslexia and dyspraxia, in hopes of impressing her professors, and hopes they would see her, see her brilliance, see her mind, see the gift she so readily wanted to share with the world. This part of her less-ego than giving spirit. See me, see me, see me! That is all she wanted. That was all she ever wanted.

In receiving her diagnosis the world made sense to her finally. She wanted to celebrate. Four-decades of not knowing made sense in a split-second. Four-decades of intense suffering realized and ended with the blink of an eye. In the mention of a word. This gem of Aspergers had saved her, had brought her home onto herself.

And in knowing this, she wanted to share. She had to share. She had to let others know. “Look, I found the key. Look!”…….

And instead I was made to think I was broken. I was wrong. I was made to be pushed back into a hole and remain uncovered. Not one professor wanted to hear, wanted to know about Aspergers. Even in the beginning of the second-semester of my group-therapy class I was warned, we as class warned: Don’t share the diagnosis stuff here.

Really? I was so beside myself, how could I share in group therapy without sharing the essential element of who I thought myself to be and how I thought myself to function.

Could they not see I wasn’t broken? Could they not see that Aspergers was not a disease, not an illness, not anything beyond the way I saw the world?

And the questions came bubbling: Why would I be hushed, unless indeed I was entirely flawed? Why would I be told I created this, unless I was entirely unaware of my own self?

So much damage done, in so little time.

Today, before the sun rose, I wept in bed, the whole of my body sweating and seeping out the poison. And I turned and turned, half in sleep and half in agony. Lessons, lessons, and more lessons.

And then the peace finally came. Right when it was time to awaken my husband, I was awoken.

The clarity seeped through me. I saw that I had detoxed the emotions. I finally released the torturous anguish. I finally set my self free and their falsehood to rest.

I awoke fully with a knowing. I knew what I was supposed to do.

I was to teach others, teach the teachers of the teachers, the educators of future counselors and psychologist, the parents, the caretakers, the women of tender-heart and soul like me. Teach them that Aspergers is nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to hide away. Teach the beauty of who we are to erase the darkness that once pushed me into hiding.

17 thoughts on “356: Teaching the Teachers

  1. wow – i did not know that side of your story. so sorry that you were treated that way in a counseling program. going through my own master’s program for counseling, i was shocked at how few students had ever even been to a therapist before. how could you not use the service you were going to then provide to others? and while ‘self awareness’ was something that was promoted, we never really did talk in detail about ourselves, which i found disappointed and a missed opportunity on so many levels.

    congrats on working through all that emotion and coming out with a new awareness of your purpose and goals!

  2. Yes! Going through a similar thing actually…quitting school…Sigh. I was so good at it ( admittingly a bit bored sometimes because I easily grasped most of the concepts but boy did my dyslexia and Dyspraxia get in the way…) Guess a degree is not for me. Reading this was cathartic. Struggling so much with the discrimination right now…even my hubby seems upset at me for being me sometimes:(

  3. Ok… So along this lines I need you to help me;) my therapist asked me to do this:
    “I think it might be good for you to write in one page what your needs are in the ER – how we can best help you..
    I feel that you can express it best, as succinctly as possible.. We can make it part of your file.”
    It’s because I have often said the place I get treated the worst is in medical situations. But this is a tricky and honouring request because while I want to write out my needs I do not want anything I come in for written off as anxiety or autism induced … Yet I need some guidelines for the medics. If you have time is love u to read this article I found from an aspie about this subject( I originally thought this was your blog;)
    And if you could help me write an articulate page for my file? You have my email or I thought it could be one of your blog posts ? Anyway, don’t feel obligated but you are so articulate…
    Let me know;)
    Thanks Sam;)

    1. I cannot help you at this time with this but I very much appreciate you asking. I think, from what I know of you, if you follow your heart and use your extreme wisdom and intelligence, you can create a beautiful page. Best wishes. ❤

  4. Pleeeeeease teach the teachers Sam…..and everyone else who feels like this. We need more understanding and respect in our schools from child-care pre-Kindy to right through to our colleges and universities.

    1. We do, don’t we…sigh. I had a dream last night I was teaching and I was happy, not nervous. All the adults were just little kids. 🙂 Of course they wanted to play and I was worried about the bell schedule. lol

  5. I enjoyed my college experiences in learning and my teaching. However, I must say that colleges and universities are full of a lot of self-righteous people who have no business exposing their lives to others. Not all of them, mind you, but a lot.

    1. Yes my undergraduate teachers were wonderful and so were my teachers in my Masters course work for education. This happened in WA at a local private University. Really a shame, but set me on the path I am now. 🙂 I felt so much better after I detoxed it all. Actually haven’t even thought about it since that post. You are such a dedicated reader of others’ blogs. What a wonderful gift you give of us all of your time. Blessings and love ~ Sam

  6. I find myself in you writing. I only found out 3 months ago. At first scared and confused. Now I think not so bad. I teach chemistry at a high school. My biggest problem is classroom discipline. I can be taken advantage of so easily. I want to make friends with other women like me. Most of all I want to know if any other ASD teachers are out there and how they learned to manage classroom discipline. NT advice is not working because I don’t understand what the are telling me.

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