It’s All About the Ovaries (Second Edition of Everyday Aspergers: Part One)

So, I’ve been procrastinating on this post since December 2018.

I’ve analyzed why and have come up short. It’s likely that I don’t care much for self-promotion. Indeed, in the last 6+ years I can count on one hand how many times I’ve asked folks to share about my Everyday Aspergers Facebook page. (And that counts the mention here!) If you haven’t checked it out, please do.

I could blame my procrastination on the countdown to menopause, which I hope and pray arrives tomorrow, as I’ve been dealing with the complexity of endometriosis for years, including the 2018 road traveled of chocolate cysts. Don’t let the name fool you; it’s all about the blood. And now that I’ve over-shared, I will switch gears.

 

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Recently, I’ve had a profound peace — could be hormones shifting and my lady parts semi-retiring — could not. (Oops, focus Sam!) I’d like to think it’s something to do with my faith and spirit. It’s likely a combination of coffee, getting older, and finally getting fed up with not speaking up for myself and finally understanding boundaries! That, and I do feel the presence of an angelic spirit. But that’s another story.

Not much has changed (with my brain) in the past years, since I started writing Everyday Aspergers. Which now has over 1.4 million hits! Well, yes, some of the reason behind the high ‘hit’ number is because there are over 500 posts! Omgosh — write much?

My point being, I still digress to a close-to-annoying degree.

That’s likely why I typically get called to interview for a job, based on my awesome resume, skills, and experience, but don’t seem to ever get the job! (In fact, I don’t even get a rejection letter — just GHOSTED.) Picture me bungee jumping off a high cliff of ‘tell us a bit about yourself,’ and swirling in rapid circles, giggling like I’m twelve, raising my voice in high pitch, fidgeting about, announcing how proud I am to have ASPERGERS, and then correcting myself: “I mean to be on the autism spectrum.”

I leave an interview feeling like I either nailed it and they absolutely LOVED me, and want to be my best friend, or convinced I terrified the living daylights out of them. It’s likely the latter. As I mentioned: I don’t ever hear back. Thank the lord for my job at ultratesting.us, where being neurodivergent is the norm! Thank my lucky stars. (< Madonna video)

Ironically, I have studied 1000s of hours of best hiring practices for my vocation, and can’t seem to keep my Aspie-ness in a bag when under distress at an interview. There must be a pill I can take. (Now picturing Violet in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and now must Google to find an image.) “. .  . because Charlie she’s a nitwit.” Not to say I’m a nitwit.

 

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Okay, alas the REAL point of this post is to tell you THE SECOND EDITION OF EVERYDAY ASPERGERS IS HERE! And it’s now available in paperback in many countries. Check out Amazon or ask your local library to see if they can order it. Look at the PRETTY cover by an autistic artist (and my friend and colleague)!

USA amazon

UK amazon

AU amazon

10 Facts You May Not Know About the Book Everyday Aspergers

Are we friends yet? (Facebook link)

 

Okay … done! Although, I don’t think this is what my publisher had in mind.  (scan down for more.)

 

 

On a side note, I will speak to you as if you and I are in a cafe, and I’m catching you up with my medical stories. Sorry for the monologue, and the white-haired man sitting kitty-corner to us that is blushing because I am talking too loud.

This here ^^  … that’s an image of a chocolate cyst. Funny story … after an ultrasound in early 2018, when I found out I had at least one chocolate cyst, (and had gone to the emergency room in excruciating pain, and was curled up on couch most days for weeks) in typical Sammy-fashion, I researched with hyper-focus about the chocolate cysts and implemented some home treatments — including essential oil, strict dietary change, etc.

When I returned months later for a follow-up ultrasound, the technician confirmed indeed the cysts presented (3 of them) exactly like ‘chocolate’ cysts! Immediately following, (literally a few steps down the hall), my OBGYN doc informs me, “The cysts are shrinking, and that doesn’t happen with chocolate cysts, so we can’t call them that anymore. They don’t shrink.”

I was dumbfounded.

Surely, in some cases they can? And I’d done so much, including talking to my body, to ensure healing.

My scrunched up face demonstrated I was confused, as I asked in a high-pitched voice, that no longer suits my age: “Well, what would we call them if they weren’t shrinking?”

She responded, “Oh, definitely chocolate cysts.”

I then got that familiar feeling in my gut that means ‘NO ONE on this planet is truly an expert in anything and most of the time professionals are talking out their donkey.’

(“vulgar slang To say foolish things; to talk of nonsense. Don’t pay Jonathan any mind, Mary, he’s just talking out his ass again.”)

The next time I went back in for a check up, with said Doc, she informs that my chocolate cysts are shrinking or stabilized.

So I guess we are back to calling them that?

Anyhow, it reminds me of the time I had a dead front tooth, when I was in my early 20s, and I went to a dentist that a colleague had suggested I see. It was 1992, a sunny day. The dentist’s recommendation for my dead tooth’s discoloring was to darken all my teeth to match!!! Yes, that’s right. And, noooo, I did not!

I have trouble believing this actually transpired, especially after I told my dental hygienist the story yesterday, and she said that’s the worst telling she has heard to date. Also, because decades have past with my pretty veneer tooth. (The other dentist I saw bleached all my teeth to match the new veneer. Yin and Yang. Dark and Light. Theme of my life.)

(On another side note: I found out this week I have no cavities and an unusually small mouth [which matches my usually small head]. And I warned the dental hygienist not to say she has a small mouth despite what her husband says, because that can be interpreted in different ways.

She was appreciative, and said, “We’re going to get along just fine.”

I always find it to be an interesting phenomenon when I give out unsolicited advice to non-autistics about social graces.)

Needless to say, I never went back to that dentist who wanted to darken my teeth! But the young, inexperienced (terrified) me did shake hysterically in her car afterward. The same way I shook after seeing a ‘specialist’ a few years back.

That time a doctor would diagnose me with ‘a close cousin to POTS syndrome,’ (as my blood pressure acted a bit different from typical POTS, but the tilt table test confirmed the condition.)

This was after 5 ER visits wherein my pulse would go to 160 upon standing, wherein the IV would add sodium to my blood, and remedy the POTS-like reaction, making me seem better; only to be sent home and the symptoms to come back (160 upon standing, weak, shaking, etc.); only for me to return to the ER and be told I must be inventing it for attention.

Yes, hysteria is still widely falsely the diagnosis for women! No wonder I have white-coat syndrome.

Fortunately, my then-husband Bob (now-good friend) was in the patient room with the ‘specialist’ (notice the quotes) and me, when the Doc told me my diagnosis and prescribed an exact treatment plan, e.g, constricting stockings, raise bed, exercise regime, salt intake, etc.

A year later, I came back, feeling super pleased I’d followed the Doc’s directions, and was able to sit up for long periods of time, and return to life as normal (well atypical normal). BUT THEN . . . she SCOLDED me, accusing me of making my condition up, and saying I didn’t have POTS, and didn’t have to do all that. That I wasted my money on salt pills and where did I get the idea I had POTS?

I had to phone my ex-hubby from the car to avoid a nervous breakdown; literally thought I was losing my mind, until I realized the doctor was …

(Scan down for book reviews.)

So . . . I likely should write another post soon that is more about the book. I will. I think. Can’t wait to see what pops out of LV’s mouth then! Sir Brain is shaking his head in shame. (He doesn’t have ovaries.)

Samantha Craft’s Updates August 2016

last updated August 2018

You can find me at Spectrum Suite LLC  and email me directly at marcellelinn @ icloud . com. Spectrum Suite will soon be offering vocational coaching, life coaching, and spiritual coaching. Stay tuned!

Thank you for your support through the years. I couldn’t have wished for a kinder and more accepting community.

This blog was open from 2012 – 2016. I make updates from time to time with new news.

Sam’s other blog can be found at Everyday Aspie.

Both blogs are retired, after many years of writing, except for occasional updates about happenings related to autism, the autistic community, and the book Everyday Aspergers.

New book I contributed to here

BOOK INFORMATION
· Amazon US link
· Amazon UK link
· Amazon Australia link
The soft back version is available in USA on Amazon here.
Current updates can be found at my company Spectrum Suite.
Please consider posting a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

THANK YOU ~ SAM

Marcie Ciampi, M.Ed   (AKA: Samantha Craft)

Craft is best known for her prolific writings found in her well received book and blog Everyday Aspergers. A professional educator, she has been published in peer-reviewed journals, been featured in various literature and venues, including Aspien Women, Autism Parenting Magazine, The Mighty,  Spectrum Women, Project Aspie and Different Brains.  She is coauthor of the book Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism and speaks on the topic of neurodiversity around the world, including at the Love & Autism Conference (Fall 2018) and Southwest Washington Autism Conference (Fall 2018).

Craft was the Community Achievement Award recipient at the ANCA World Autism Festival (2017), her works have been translated into multiple languages, with her list of traits for females on the autism spectrum shared in counseling offices around the world. Since 2012, she’s had the opportunity to correspond with over 10,000 individuals on the autism spectrum. Her blog Belly of a Star features her paintings and drawings and over 100 poems and spiritual writings. Craft also serves as the Lead Job Recruiter and Community Manager at ULTRA Testing, an innovative technology company with a neurodiversity hiring initiative.

Balancing the World; thoughts on leadership and autism

My entire life, like many on the autism spectrum, I have oftentimes been misjudged, misinterpreted, and misunderstood. When I finally, after over four decades on this earth, located individuals with like minds, I was overcome with mixed emotions. I’d finally found “my people” and at the same time lost a piece of myself that I thought was extremely different. Lost in the sense that I came to realize, after conversing with other autistics, that I wasn’t so different and “unique” after all. However, this was okay—extremely okay. Finding a home base community in which I was at last understood, accepted, and supported far out weighed any sense of loss of elements of self.

Four-plus years later, after an outpour of online writing, and I am navigating another aspect of my journey. I am entering another unfamiliar zone—a place of no predictability. I am facing a wide-open space of new people and new encounters. In addition, I am trying my best to maneuver in rarely frequented territory: that of an autistic leader.

Autism, in my case Asperger’s Syndrome, comes in all shapes and sizes, multiple colors of the rainbow. It is truly a spectrum. With autism, there are the typical “gifts” and tribulations. For me, the beneficial attributes of my ASD are profound empathy and insight, prolific writing, poetry, and the ability to put into words my suffering in a way others can understand. In this way, I am able to make the loneliness of some less of a burden, and I have been able to serve as a sort of gateway into a supportive community of other autistics. A community in which we find ourselves in one another. I don’t say this lightly. There have been streams of individuals filtering through the pages of my blogs and social media pages to essentially say that they now have at last found hope—and some a reason to not end their life. I don’t say this to brag, either. Those that have known me, know my heart, and it is for them I speak.

The trouble today is not so much my tribulations related to ASD, such as peak moments of heightened anxiety, bombardments of feelings that at first look are hard to decipher, the jarring reminders every hour of my waking day that I am somehow not built like most others, the intense heartache and lack of breath from searing pangs of empathy, and the worries brought on by my minds ability to steer off into complex, multi-level corridors of discovery. No, it’s not so much in that—though “that” still consumes me. More over, it is this new place I find myself, in where I am exposed.

I am a natural born leader; I always have been, despite my own qualms and misgivings. Despite my protest. Despite my quirks and challenges. Overall, I tend to end up as a voice of some sort–usually for the downcast or underdog. And it’s not amongst my favorite of tasks—this speaking up for myself and others. Indeed, it would be fair to say, I dread many moments beyond the comfort of my home. Still, there are mornings of great hope and gratitude for my ability to reach out, and with this comes waves of great peace; but there, on the other end of the pendulum, is the bareness of naked vulnerability, the removal of shield, the entranceway for stinging spears. There, in the darker zone, lives my fear and weakness, and the very brittle fight to survive exposure. For I’m not the average person, I’m not made the way of the masses. I am very much, despite where I stand, still autistic.

I am hurt daily, by my own accord, by the acceptance of others’ truths as mine. By the energy it takes to abstract and remove everything that doesn’t ring true to me. And to then wade through the muck of others’ ideas, input, feelings, insights—and on an on—to hopefully decipher what is valid and necessary at this time. I am not only balancing myself, which those on the spectrum readily know is a gallant effort, I am also balancing everyone within my reach. In this way, it is hard to be outside exposed in the “real” world.

It is especially challenging when outsiders (who do not know me and often see a reflection of their own self) try to pin their tail of identity onto me. I feel smothered, unrecognized, and brought back to the bastardized halls of my high school years. Brought back to the pettiness, the name-calling, the finger pointing, and relive the nightmares over again. It is equally difficult when another, particularly in the autistic community, starts proclaiming how I should tailor my words to suit their needs—the current societal trends—the current “right way.” To see this conglomeration of “do-gooders” with supposed good intention in mind, attempt to steer me into what is the most well accepted approach of the day is excruciatingly exhausting.

I can only be so much. I can only do so much. And I don’t understand why my own tribe would not see this. They forget that I am autistic. They forget how dreadfully scary this is. How frightening to attempt to build a bridge from the autistic world to the non-autistic world, and to appear “normal” enough in the typical arena to be heard and listened to, and “autistic” enough to be trusted in my own community. It is a fine balancing act in which I am continually on a high wire with a long heavy pole. Constantly pushed off balance while attempting to get to the other side to the unknown. I am walking step-by-step toward something that is neither a goal nor destiny, but rather a calling. I am serving, I am giving, I am loving, I am supporting, I am being my all. Yet no matter how I struggle, no matter where I step, to some, as is this world—it is never enough.

 

(I normally post at my blog Everyday Aspie, but my WordPress options were not working accurately there today.)

 

Sam’s book Everyday Aspergers is now available internationally on Amazon.

More information can be found at her company: myspectrumsuite.com

10 Years in the Making! Everyday Aspergers

This Blog Everyday Asperger’s by Samantha Craft is retired. Her company website is myspectrumsuite.com  Thank you for the community and support you have offered through the years.

 

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In 2004, I was called to write. I dedicated myself to write every day for a year. I only missed one day and completed a 250-page memoir. I often wrote 4 to 10 hours a day. I spent the next years editing because my dyslexia and dysgraphia make it very challenging for me to detect errors. I knew nothing of writing. It was pretty substandard material at the start. I didn’t even know when to capitalize the word ‘mom’ or how to use a semi-colon. It took me three years of writing and editing to find ‘my voice.’

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I taught myself to write by studying other books, relentlessly. I took notes and would write pages and pages of words I found (in other books) on notepads. In 2012, I started Everyday Asperger’s (blog) and  wrote almost every day for a year. I then continued posting blog posts several times a month, for another two years. Each Everyday Asperger’s blog post took a long time to edit. Then, after it was online, I would reread the words for an hour (at least) trying to find all the small mistakes that I couldn’t find the first time. (I didn’t mind; it was a type of stimming for me.) At the time of writing the blog, I also reedited some of the original (year 2004) childhood stories.

Recently, after 3.5 years of writing over 1,300 pages online, I began the process for my book: Everyday Aspergers (EA). I tore through 1,200 single-spaced pages of this blog, some of which were my childhood stories, picking and choosing, and then piecing the posts together like a puzzle. This took a solid two months of working almost daily. From there, I refined and refined, trimming most posts to 1/3 original size; some of those posts, if not most, were originally two to three pages long. Next I found little parts that got cut but were still gold nuggets and found places to sprinkle them in.

After that I polished and polished and polished, and began to edit. Soon the final editing took place from December to today. Most weeks I spent the equivalent of a full-time job editing. I also employed the help of a professional editing team. To date, the manuscript for Everyday Aspergers has gone through four editing rounds, in which I read the words (at first 717 pages, then 615 pages, then 417 pages) from start to end. Each page was reedited each time! I’d spend marathon days, up to 12 hours straight editing. Some of the childhood stories have been edited and polished at minimum 15 hours per page! Counting the years before, I’d say the book itself has well over 5,000 hours of editing alone. That doesn’t count any of my writing time. It’s a HUGE accomplishment. It’s not just something I threw together. It has a huge heart and huge effort behind my endeavor.

I cannot wait for the book to be in my hands. More so, I cannot wait for those who wish to have the book to hold the story in their hands! I’ve been waiting since 2004, when I had a dream.

Much love,
Samantha Craft

I updated the Checklist for Females with Aspergers here

Me on Twitter: aspergersgirls

More about the book on  new website

 

 

 

 

What Does Aspergers Mean to You?

I asked some online community members what Aspergers meant to them. These are some of the responses. (Apologies if there are repetitions or if I forgot anyone.)

What Does Aspergers Mean to You?

Alexandra – I have Asperger’s. No, it’s more than that: it’s not just an attribute, it’s something that is so intrinsic to who I am. It colors my perception and shapes how I interact with the world. My mind is the core of my being, and Asperger’s is the core of my mind.

My son, mother, sisters and I have Aspergers. It’s been so very tough not knowing why I was different all these years. It was isolating and confusing. I ended up hating myself for many years, but after my son’s diagnosis we all had a light bulb moment for ourselves too. I will not speak of what it meant before I learned to love myself. I will share what Aspergers means to me now. It is wonderful. I have figured out what to do to prevent meltdowns and face everything that comes my way. I rejoice in my ASD. I have perceptions that no one around me does. E.g. I see music not just hear it. I cannot find words but I can write everything in music. My piano solos say so much more than words can. Everyone who hears my compositions has quite the experience. I like to take people to places they forget exist in them or don’t know exist. People say that they visibly see life stories unfold before their eyes and they connect. I still find immense joy in watching ants work. I feel the life of the planet and even inanimate objects because they deserve thanks for providing us with a purpose. They are a part of us. I don’t miss things that most do. I have life buzzing inside of me that most forget as they become adults. I love sharing this with others and being wakened together.

I am on the spectrum and so is my daughter. I never knew until my daughter’s diagnosis when I was in my late 30’s. Ever since I found out my life has changed for the better! To me Asperger’s means that I am not alone anymore. I can better understand myself and others. This gives me confidence–confidence I never had before by knowing how far I’ve gone. It takes strength to live in this bright, chaotic, illogical and very loud world. I remember this when challenges arise.

My daughter has been diagnosed and I am certain that I would be under the right conditions. The root of what it means to me… a completely different viewpoint from the outspoken rule of normal! Wonderful insight and different angle on solutions to situations.

Kylee – I learnt a long time ago a child I was in contact with. also my mum was doing some training and recognised myself in some of the traits. it just means I’m different but I try to not let it affect my life.

My name is Stefani. I have Asperger…To me it means I’m capable of great things, but it takes me a long time. It means that even if I’m 31, I feel like a 14 years old. It’s means that life around me doesn’t go the same speed as life inside of me. It means that I will never truly understand what’s going on but I always be amazed by the smallest of thing.

My name is Beni. Diagnosed AS as a mature woman. I don’t relate specifically to the label of Aspergers and don’t think it’s a disorder, but identify as autistic for several reasons. The diagnosis has been liberating. It means I am the way I’m supposed to be – not “wrong” or broken somehow. Just different, and I’m very much okay with that. It also means that I’m not alone as I felt all my life until understanding why I’m different and how many other people are similar to me. Still have problems, but I deal better understanding why.

Jon, have ASD. Asperger’s to me is the albino of the human race…I may think I’m normal, until people kick me out of the herd because something is ‘off’ and they can’t pinpoint it. It is knowing that the people around me are instinctively thrown off by my sheer presence, regardless if they’re aware of it or not.

Mike, have Asperger’s. To me is like that old awkward friend that never leaves me alone, and I have to be very careful kind and cheering with him, otherwise he starts to screw me over and he wont stop until I put attention to him. The diagnosis was liberating and helped me to understand and know a lot about myself, weird things on my behavior and difficulties that I presented along the way started to make sense for me. Still struggling, I’m not on the sunny side yet, but every day I get closer to clarity, peace and direction in my life.

Jo. I have an autistic child but run a group for children with disabilities so have lots of children with,asc,aspergers etc,aspergers means to me clever people with an eye for detail they can be very funny and dry witted people some of the most loveliest people I know xx

My name is Ines. I am a self-diagnosed aspie. To me, AS means self-acceptance and understanding. Before I knew about AS I didn’t comprehend my life, I thought I was crazy, weird and not worth it. Now I know why I’m different, and I’m learning to be less hard on myself. I have a love-hate relationship with my AS: most of the time I’m proud of the unique characteristics it gives me, other times it’s hard to put up with the challenges it brings. The best part is when you can name something that something automatically starts being less scary. smile emoticon

To me Aspergers tells me that I am my son’s mother. If it were not for his autism diagnosis, I would never have come across Aspergers. My son has helped me to understand who I was, and in effect, helped me understand how to support better him too!

Sometimes, my late diagnosis makes me feel alone, as I am still trying to find out, after so many years of trying to fit in, who I really am. I have lows and highs. My highs help me feel unashamed of my past self- something I always felt. Now I know the reasons behind many of the difficulties I have experienced, I no longer feel so bad. My lows lay in the fact that I have lost a sense of who I always was, and am trying hard to find that person again, in a mass of overwhelming experiences that I cannot yet understand properly. I want to find that person in whole, and feel unashamed of that person. The late diagnosis has been a difficult thing, but I am still glad that I have it, and I think my son came along as a messenger almost, and not just for me, but also so that I could nurture him too. Quite a beautiful symbiosis.

Lennée- self- aspergers is superpowers. Overstimulation is kryptonite. There is no way this is my home planet.

Kate. Have ASD. Unable to KEEP friends that I can be myself around and feel happy with. If I meet someone I admire who tolerates my quirky traits and accepts me the way I am, even after they really get to know me, I smother the relationship. I’m so happy to connect with someone I find interesting, but I suppose I ultimately destroy it with obsession. It’s lonely and sad. But I feel I have gifts that other people don’t have.
I just have to find other ways to connect with people enough that satisfies that desire to know someone intimately without the obsessed part. Just sharing myself with someone else who reciprocates and finds me equally interesting. Relationships are a struggle. If I’m not practically obsessed, then I’m often not interested. I feel I either get bored easily, or I become emotionally dependent. I don’t know how to have a “normal” friendship. It’s really bad when I’ve been rejected by someone I desperately wanted to be friends with. I struggle to even talk to someone whom I desire acceptance. I have a great fear of rejection by someone I care about to the point that it is debilitating.
Relationships are just one aspect! I could go on.

It’s something that makes a person’s mind operate on a different level, oftentimes beyond what others can. It’s also something that other people don’t care to tap into or allow to reach its full potential

Asperger, well it means joy relief frustration wisdom and understanding of how my brain and mind works…sadness because of the way dad tried to cure me by military discipline and domestic violence and abuse of mom my sisters and me because we were all destroying his image in the society of the 60,s and the 70,s.His standing as a free mason and at the golf club and the church as a church leader It caused me so much pain and damage and hurt and loss of self-esteem and being brutalized .I am amazed how I survived with suicide and ultimate goal of leaving the house getting into uni and getting a really good job I spent years being isolated and shunned and mocked behind my back because of my idiosyncratic behavior as an Asperger .Then I got married twice why do people want to marry a damaged person is it to domineer or is to manipulate and con and commit fraud against .Now its a joy I have met really wonderful friends and so wonderful people I am learning on the run how Asperger function by trial and error and coming unstuck and causing hurt unintentionally I TRULY WISH NOW THAT WE ARE RECOGNIZED FOR WHO WE ARE OUR UNIQUENESS AND IN PARTICULAR THAT ALL THE WOMEN AND GIRLS ARE ALSO GIVEN THE SAME CHANCE AND RECOGNISED NOT TREATED SO BADLY AND SHABBILY.

Hubby loves me for me

Sam. Aspie super-hero. For me, at this moment, it means extreme pain and isolation. But in another moment, it will mean extreme joy and connection. I am waiting for that other moment…often.

Liz. ASD dx’d and ASD parent. Frustrating, debilitating, self-consciousness and fear.

Rick (have ASD): To me, it means understanding my own nature for the first time in nearly four decades of life. It means not punishing myself for my differences and eventually coming to accept them for what they are: gifts.

Amanda – I have Asperger’s and am a single mother to an adult son who has Asperger’s who still lives with me as I am his only support (emotional and otherwise) – Hell…

Sherry. I’m me.

Aspergers means social mysteries, heightened empathy and honesty to a fault to me – Anne with aspergers and parenting aspergers

Gail, don’t know but…honest

Chris(have ASD) it means living in this world but not always being a part of it.

I asked my son, Matthew (9 yrs old with AS) “Well, I am sensitive to a lot of things. There are certain things I like a whole lot that most people don’t like that much. Oh, I’m smarter than most people!”

Carrie (ASD) Translating the world in vivid empathetic color.

My name is LeslieAnn and I have Aspergers. It’s a family trait affecting my father, my sister, a grandmother, cousins… For me being a an aspie means that I see/ experience the world through a different lens- think “macro” or “bug eye”- than NT’s. I process what I experience differently: I equate it to cultural differences between immigrants.

Great joy and fulfillment and never-ending wonders!

Krista – for me Asd Means 100’s of things, (oh man) it means My 15 yr old Autistic Son and I have always had a beautiful understanding of one another. It means New Beginnings, knowing I’m FINALLY I’m NOT alone because I’ve finally met so many wonderful adults like myself! It means, YES I CAN do things that I’m NOT dumb and that I can learn and STILL learn at 40!! That it’s OK to be ME, to stand up for myself, to say NO! It means Finally having an understanding of all the unanswered questions, that all the Snide comments, laughs, and ongoing ridicule were due to cruelty of a world that did not understand ME, and not always the other way around. A society that was mired scared than anything of differences that could rock the boat or take away forming little identical robots or individual Uniqueness’s. It means that I Krista, am going to be OK!! That I CAN now conquer many fears, YES I ALWAYS WAS and AM intelligent, but when I learn, I just need a visuals. It means That I am extremely sensitive to noises, sounds, tastes and touches, that these were NEVER my fault and that I can NOW use tools and accommodate for these things so that I can “HELP” myself because I now have a great understanding of ME!! It means Im actually learning to Love who I am for the first time in 40 years!! This is all due to my son, my little Miracle Man.

Serena. Aspergers, is a parent to Aspergers and friends Aspergers. What ever it is, it is always mixed with individual personality and a unique body therefore it’s different in each and every one of us. Now I’ve got that out-of-the-way I can say it means we are the round pegs in the square holes , the spanners in the works , your guide when your down the rabbit hole , it means we stand out and like to stay in , the force is strong in these ones , given love , support and the correct environment will transform the world into a better place (just the same as anyone at full potential) , a label that has helped me find my people ( and you know what that means – everything) , eccentric , eclectic , empath, I’m certain it means seriously funny , brilliant , weird and wonderful. There is more but I have run out of time. It means quite a lot doesn’t it.

Adrienne, parent of two ASD teens, to me it means my kids think outside of the box without all the inhibitors…kind of like how children are pure before society ruins them. Totally positive for us!

For my daughter… She’s bright, intelligent, but so socially awkward. I feel sometimes that there is a fog in her brain that just needs to lift so she sees the light…

Self (and I know this may be a little difficult to grasp – but please bear with me) Aspergers as I have come to learn and live with it… is a title given to us by someone who wants to pull out the gifted children of the God/Light from the others. A mark; a word used to initially oppress and hold down w/ deems of mental illnesses when really – most of us just aren’t crazy enough for this world. For if it were a mental illness – like many others – there would be a pill to stabilize it. Just as there are pills for some of the symptoms – but we know, many NT’s have depression and anxiety. Psychics don’t have pills, animals don’t have pills to control their in-tune senses. To me – Aspergers is the word we have adopted from those who label to help us locate each others…It doesn’t define us other than in some half right medical Manual or record. We go crazy trying to find ourselves find a label to explain it then realize that it was okay to be us in the first place. Hope that makes sense…

Sariah. Asperger’s means I’m unique, I see the world differently than most people do, my strengths and weaknesses are not predictable, and even though I have trouble figuring out some simple things, it also allows me to figure out some complex things that others can’t.

Hi! I’m Alyce. Since I discovered that I am Aspie, my life has made sense. I am not the oddball in my friendship groups of fellow Aspies! What a feeling to not be judged, to be able to speak my reality and be understood instead of laughed at! Being Aspie amongst Aspies to me means my feet are finally grounded.

Sarah. I’m an Autistic parent of Autistic kids. Aspergers is a way of life. It is part of my everyday experience and I wouldn’t be me without it.

Johanna. I have not been diagnosed, but am very certain that I have Asperger’s. To me Asperger’s means being caught inside a bubble, looking out at the world, being an eternal spectator without a chance to ever participate. Like being an alien on a strange planet where everyone looks like me, speaks like me and acts like me but I just cannot connect. Like standing on the other side of an abyss with a bridge that only other people can cross, but not me.

Cynthia: Asperger helps me to control my bipolarity because I am tending to be over rational thanks to that. For example, when I am doing shopping and beginning to spend a lot, a part of me says: “Stop that’s enough!” and during meltdowns, it is the same thing even it is quite hard. It is like weather: sometimes it’s too sunny, then it’s too rainy and Asperger is here to regulate the changes of mood. The empathy is cool also because I understand people better even if I think their emotions are mine often and that is difficult to handle sometimes (and up or down episodes follow). After, I have the habit to not define myself through my disabilities; I am simply myself, a unique human being in a collective society.

Darci .diagnosed 10 years ago as an adult, spouse diagnosed as an adult somewhat recently. Aspergers means answers to a lot of questions for myself, and exoneration of myself. I am happy I am different and myself even if it means parts of my life are incredibly difficult.

Eva…I am undiagnosed I think in pictures and colours and makes for an interesting time depending on which subject we are discussing smile emoticon…my son of 15 is ASD..it means i spend each day worried i may fail my son in his needs and wants for his world…sometimes we can be over consumed when our paths cross and when our expectations clash….other times the house is a joy, full of laughter and comfort and love. each day brings new smiles and sometimes tears….and i wouldnt change a thing!!

Laura, I am autistic, so is my daughter my mum & my sister. To me it means being different but not being less. It means my Windows into the world are very different & so I see things in a different way & I value that highly. It means a lot of people don’t understand me or accept me which can be isolating.I like being autistic it gives me gifts, it gives me my hyper focus & passion for subjects which always helps me through dark times. I always feel sorry for people who don’t have passion for something.

Sue. I’m an Aspie. It means appreciating the fine details in life. An affinity for gadgets and a gift for figuring out how hey work just by taking them into my own hands. Honesty. Loyalty. Taking things at face value. Seeing things in black and white, but at the same time, through rose-colored glasses. An eternal childhood wink emoticon

Asperger’s is a big part of what makes me ME!

John. Autistic’s Father, Autistic. For me it means I am different, and then some on top of that, lol, and I have a name for it, unlike so many in this world – a reason for focus, for depth, for fascination, a reason for everything from my different way of being, to living even. I love being autistic, which is such a major part of who I am.

Lesley. I am Aspie. To me it means having a unique view of the world but being feared for it. Still I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have it.

Michelle… My daughter is an Aspie! She is awesome! I’m not biased she is genuinely cool!

Arlene , could be diagnosed with it but am not. My daughter has it… To me it’s not an identity. It’s a checklist of things that have made life really hard for me but I have overcome and have been better equipped to help my daughters one an aspie the other full on autism. I do not believe having aspergers is something to be proud of but not to be ashamed of either. It just is BUT If I have it… It doesn’t own me. I am me with or without it.

My son and I have ASD…it means no matter what life throws at us we don’t ‘live’ in the same world as everyone around us. This is mostly good and highly amusing. I agree with so many answers tho; it just shows how we are all connected. Like our own ASD tribe, so much to relate to.

I’m Samantha, nickname Amma (because I wouldn’t go by Sam and Mama always said I have to be different). I started learning about the Spectrum 3 1/2 yrs ago when my youngest child was diagnosed. I read everything I could find, sometimes from sunset to sunrise. One of the sites I found is Sam’s blog. I still remember the moment — I’d read for hours on her site – and I sat back stunned. I’d found another human with a mind so similar in process that it was as if I read my own thoughts. I haven’t gone for a diagnosis but by joining this community, I’ve met wonderful people and friends. What it means to me to identify with this label — and these are my observations and opinion — is that we are all gifted with a neurological system that is evolved and surpasses anything humanity has ever seen. We have senses activated beyond the standard 5 we are taught about, and we have abilities to learn, grow, build, create, help and heal other people in ways we’re learning together. What I love most about my Spectrum friends (and yes, I do see it in my family now also) is how funny everyone is. I was always told I have an odd sense of humor yet I laugh with some of you often these days grin emoticon I’m thankful for this gift and thankful for the learning I’ve gained in this community to see it as a gift rather than a disorder. We’re blessed.

My name is Kelly. I am 55 years old this year and am self-diagnosed with Aspergers. To me, Aspergers means freedom. I like being an unusual woman, and I am finally free to be unusual me. Now, I know why I do things the way I do them, and I like it. Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!

Karen, have ASD. I am 55 and was diagnosed a 51. I always knew I was different, but didn’t understand why. I felt unlike other people from the time I was in preschool. My diagnosis has brought me relief and understanding. I no longer feel that i’m “wrong” or “broken”. I am now free to be who I was born to be without guilt or regret. And it comforts me to know that I have a communitiy of other people on the spectrum who experience life in much the same way as I do.

Patricia. I am an undiagnosed aspi, and I can trace the aspi traits back through both sides of my family. To me it means being aware of the duality of being me, of seeing everything going on around me at the same time as being unaware of subtleties in human behaviour. It means loving my kids so much it hurts, but on the outside people see me as a distant Mom. It means having to always be “on”, of always checking my behaviour and trying to appear normal. I wouldn’t change it for anything, but I wish I didn’t have to struggle so hard.

Lisa. l have Aspergers. It means a reason to be different, and a reason to be kind to myself – to let myself search until l find the place l am happy and what and who are good for me. lt means soft sweet-smelling skin and touching rocks and growing flowers and remembering my teddy bear and hugs. lt means sewing and drawing and looking for connections. lt means solitude and sanctuary, aromas and music. X

It means never going out in public without buckling on my prosthetic personality. It means constantly being reminded that things that literally jump out at me are not even noticed by other people. It means being wound up with tension as I scrutinize every clue as to how people are reacting to me, and wincing with expectation of being misunderstood and offending someone. It means being a connoisseur of smells, a specialist in textures, a critic of movie minutiae, a noticer of tiny trivia, and a dangerously curious investigator of oddities.

Emily. I’m a parent of an ASD teen girl. Also suspect in myself but only dx ADD. For us ASD means intensity of focus at times. Other times total inertia. Musically gifted, creative. Longing for connection. Desperate attempts at fitting in. Driving people away but never sure why. Deep, existential thoughts… Longing for simplicity, escape from movement, noise, smells. Needing to wrap up in a fuzzy blanket of solitude, way more often than is considered acceptable by most. Feeling separate, always standing outside the window looking in. Feeling fragile, but knowing there is an inner strength to forge ahead, and keep trying.

Kirsti. Aspie. Diagnosed 14 months ago. Misdiagnosed and heavily medicated for 20 years so I never had the chance to learn how to live with it, so now that the meltdowns are happening in extreme ways and the anxiety is beyond a level I can control, it’s horrifying and I am considering a return to “Zombie Land” even though the side effects were so heinous. Just so I don’t have to feel this anymore. Sorry. I wish I could be more positive about this awakening.

Karina. I have aspergers. To me it means high anxiety, which can be debilitating.

Asperger’s, for me, is like a different operations system in a computer. Most use Microsoft Windows, but some us use LINUX.
It’s different and sometimes more efficient and sometimes more laborious. The two systems, with some effort, CAN work together. The data must often times, be rearranged (formatted differently).
This should be one of our cooperative goals).

Jennifer, just beginning the process of being assessed, mom of three aspie kids. To me, Aspergers is like a secret golden key that unlocks the door to a huge trove of information I’ve been desperate to find. I feel like I’ve just been given a temporary membership pass (pending proper approval) to an exclusive club whose qualifications I find I am uniquely qualified.

Mitzi. My son has ASD. I’m still learning but to me it makes him unique and I really learn a lot from him by how he views the world. He makes me “smell the roses along the way.”

Cyle. I was diagnosed with aspergers in adulthood
For me, it’s jus like any of your friends, families or loved ones quirks, maybe more numerous. It means standing out at times as different, quirky, somewhat animalistic and while loved ones seem to grow attached and appreciate this, acquaintances and less close friends judge and assume. I am both talked and treated down to, and looked up to and admired depending on who I am with and where. It is a big part of who I am but not a label I wear on my shoulder. It is a difference I am proud of for all the trouble it has caused me and I believe that is mostly due to the few that have learned to love me even more because of, and not despite it.

Finding out about Asperger Syndrome was like finding the Hayne’s Manual for my life. It explained so much about me and what I lived.

422: This Person I Be

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How I miss you, and how I don’t miss the need to blog.

It has been a gentle retreat to not feel pulled to do anything in regards to writing, painting, composing poetry, etc.

I often slip into creative endeavors, longing for reprieve of anguish and anxiety. Yet, my slipping undoubtedly turns into escape, a type of cloaked hiding from the world and my own state-of-being.

In exposing my thoughts through writing, I manage to simultaneously avoid everyday tasks, “duties,” responsibilities, and in a sense reality.

In creating or doing, I become overly-focused in almost all endeavors.

Finding the in between, the medium, the middle of the scale has been, and continues to be, a challenge akin to a phantom vapor that moves through me though never lingers. Inside there is a constant churning to find balance; whether I am actively consciously seeking or subconsciously hoping.

I have been afraid the last two months. Too much to comprehend, really. Stressors of life such as relationship turmoil, the prospect of moving (in which I packed most of the house, only to unpack), financial strife, and other common woes have been visiting my avenue of experience. And having been there, and still standing, I am actively catching my breath.

I have before me, to my side, the latest edition of the psychology journal. In it is my first column. My own column. And I’ve yet to open the packaging and look. I don’t know why. The white package has been sitting here, on my computer desk, for about a week.

Perhaps I am afraid of being pulled in again…to anything or anyone.

Oftentimes life is like quicksand. When I am not processing feelings of being misunderstood, judged, or misinterpreted, I am fighting this tremendous riptide. And the more I fight, the more I am made to struggle.

I don’t know how to strive without goals. I don’t know how to live without struggle. I set myself up through goals. They are this target I aim for only to find myself the very charging dart soaring through the air, becoming ungrounded in this quest to hit some distant bullseye.

I am not sure where my footing is at the moment. I am not settled; I am not certain; I am not sure. But I am okay.

And in this limbo of uncertainty the act of finding the strength to be in completion through all my emotions without clinging to a distant goal or some self-expectation is freeing.

I am letting anger surge through me. Allowing myself to explode and then re-center.

I am allowing myself to stop searching for improvement, perfection, and the ‘answers.’

I am allowing flaws to be flaws without the attachment of brilliance or giftedness, or the evaluation of the potentiality of the concept of ‘flaws.’

I just am.

I am so much like all the other people I meet: struggling and crying, cringing and contemplating, celebrating and laughing, mourning and searching.

I am this part. This singular part of a whole, no longer in need of excelling, propelling, or pushing forward.

I embrace this ebb and flow of me. All this silliness of thought.

I am accepting there is nothing I have to produce or become.

I am accepting this person I be.

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419: Passion, Creation, and Acceptance

sam the clam

(My oldest son in the video.)

I am one of the strongest people I know. And I don’t say that lightly. I have endured many trials and challenges. I cry a lot. But I don’t see tears as weakness, and don’t think I ever shall. I feel a lot, but I don’t think emotions are weakness either. In fact, I am not sure what weakness is anymore, beyond the giving up of self to take in the dictation of a world that is full of destruction and mayhem.

I have integrity. This is clear. By integrity, I don’t mean following manmade laws or rules, or upholding some established truth or way; by integrity, I mean honoring myself by speaking my inner truth.

It’s not an inner truth I could readily find before, nor do I think it’s an inner truth I would have found without great soul-searching and desire. It’s ironic to me, that the very things that spiritual entrepreneurs eventually long to dismiss, that being the emotions of anger and longing, are the very activators that motivate the self to seek to awaken the sleeping soul.

Recently, and for many years in my childhood, I had no choice but to be me. For when I am not; when I try to pretend, hide, deny, or create an illusion that is neither what I see or choose to see, I diminish my very light and openness to truth. I suffer. I suffer physically and spiritually, entirely twist myself in every portion.

By truths, I do not mean my truths of how things should be, or what people should do. I do not mean spiritual proclamation, and particularly not the spectator sport of religious dogma. What I mean by my truth, is my current understanding and perception of what is transpiring with me at a deep inner level.

This openness, this speaking of truth, this reality I reveal, even when I know that it is not the ‘whole’ truth, even when I know that it is only a limited, self-biased, environmental-, and social-influenced truth, a truth combined with biological factors, faith, and other past, future, and present influences, allows me to feel free. When I am my true self, it is if some dark prisoner within has been released and no longer made to suffer. It isn’t that I need to be heard, not even seen; it isn’t that I need to be understood, and I have no want to influence—it’s that I must purge the part of what is that lingers within.

It is confusion. It is murkiness. It is ugly. It is imaginative. It is fear. It is love. It is illusion. Or it is fact. Whatever it is makes not a difference. For this ‘what’ in whatever form, still is in the cell, still locked behind the iron bars of captivity. And until I dispel of the trapped essence, I feel trapped in myself.

This needing to dislodge of the ‘truth,’ of my inner workings, of my thoughts, I see not as a flaw, a disorder, or a burden. It is simply how I am made. And in this unencumbered, soul-filled sharing, I become unhindered onto myself and filled with a light of passion. In my sharing, whatever the sharing, however it is taken in by another, or even evaluated by self, the relief comes, and the once-standing suffering, the boil that was causing the distracting internal ache, bursts.

People mistake me as someone I am not. Not that I claim to be anything in particular. And, in full honesty, likely I am nothing beyond the interpretation of others; I’d still like to think I am not the negative spin people perpetuate me to be. Yet, in this world, there isn’t much to base a person’s worth on, beyond words, self-collected materialistic goods, appearance, mannerism, actions, and deeds. I suppose deeds is what I would prefer to be my legacy—my fruit…what I reap, what I leave.

Still, I know enough to know that what is said affects the bystander as much as any other attribute. I reason, I was judged, particularly in the past, on things that were beyond my understanding at the time.

I gather, and am quite frankly certain, I was judged by others by:

My tone of voice, my elation, my in-depth analysis, my passion, my ramblings, my obsessive interest in a topic, my need to dig deep in inquiry, my rapture of delight in the simplest of things, my uncommon queries, my quizzical expressions, my apparent disinterest, aloofness, or lack of attention, my inability to stay focused on the current topic, my want to review, repeat, and enlighten, my lack of gaps or pauses in thought and expression, my interrupting, my unyielding desire to solve through discourse and dialogue, my re-centering and refocusing on topic filtered through understanding and scaffolding of self and past experience, my intensity, my compassionate movements, my sighs, my large shocking eyes, my gestures of comical silliness, and on and on.

I imagine I was much like a tsunami in my youth: some bucket poured out and turned quickly into a gargantuan of pubescent demise and uproar.

In looking back now, I understand. I understand that I honestly thought everyone thought like me. I thought everyone had a million ideas in their head, endless creativity, the want to explode out the ‘whats’ and the ‘truths,’ and harbored that prisoner that yearned for release and badgered the master until unchained. I can’t imagine, still, what it would be like to not be this way. To not have the need to express what is inside.

Now, I know how to balance myself in conversation, at least usually. Actually, as of recent, I have grown rather submissive, quiet, and somewhat more of an introspective recluse. Perhaps even a bit physically aloof in my stature and demeanor. But my behavior isn’t a form of repression, or oppression, or trying to fit in, anymore. My way of being is a natural balance.

I am finding peace in expressing myself through written words and visual arts now, more so than trying to spew out through verbal processing aloud. Talking doesn’t soothe me like it used to. Certainly at times a conversation with a close friend uplifts my spirit and helps me find my balance, let’s me know I am not alone in my thoughts. Yet, for the most part, I no longer have a need to spew and spin and loop most days.

However, I am finding through creation I am able to explode bit by bit, piece by piece, and find refuge. I am finding solace in silence, more and more. The opportunity for analysis and deeper understanding, if it arises, seems to happen more with my spiritual discourse with my higher source, in my ability, shall I say ‘gift,’ to directly connect to something beyond me.

Creation has been my outlet at last.

I was born an artist, but the world didn’t let me know that. The world did little but try to tear the artist out of me. To dig right into my chest and tear the heart right smack out. To leave me with a hole filled with rules and regulations. And how I was made wrong.

Even in creation, once in a while the ‘ways’ try to sneak in. The ‘how to’s,’ ‘the when’s,’ ‘the where’s.’ I am working more eagerly and happily to dismiss the lingering worldly voices of the ‘right way.’

I never went through a period of my life where I allowed myself to be rebellious or free. I quickly slipped from youthful innocence to a shell of protection, the shell primarily built on good deeds and goodness. I think I have finally reached the ‘bullshit’ phase of my adult years. When I can at last say ‘bullshit’ to the guidelines of who I am supposed to be.

I am recognizing slowly a rebalancing of self: a merging of the spiritual-wise self with the earth-bound warrior. I am recognizing I can be fierce in my kindness. I can allow moments of fleeting anger and disappointment. I can be all of my emotions and all of me. And in this I am finding a greater degree of freedom. I am coming full circle, back to this me I was long ago, and forward to the me I am yet to become.

And I am finding all of the aspects of self right here in the moment, in the realization that all of me, every part of me, is beautiful. The lust, the love, the angst, the anger, the desire, the letting go, the release, the needing to connect….all of me is splendid, and continues to be so. Ever so gently I am becoming my potential, when all along I was already there.

dragonfly

410: Belly of a Star: New Blog

Hello lovely loves. I have done some soul-searching…big surprise, and with the help of some friends who listened and offered some ideas, (thank you, thank you),I gave myself some incubation time (new for me, as I used to make quick and rash decisions to end the limbo-state of angst), and have started a new blog.

As I explained to my husband today, I started feeling like a fraud here at Everyday. I know I am not, and I know I haven’t partook in trickery, but I was feeling a bit off balance. In reflection, I realized my focus is likely not returning to the unraveling of Aspergers and the finding of self, as I have pretty much found my self and understood Aspergers in-depth. I suppose I could teach about Aspergers and strategies, and techniques, and such, but that is not where my heart’s intention is at the current moment.

Now that I have ‘found’ myself again, (thanks to many of you), and learned to accept myself, I am finding this silly little-self has plunged deeply into wanting to lose herself, e.g., become mindful, fully present, compassionate, loving and kind with my mind on the benefit of all and not of self. Will I stay in this mindset? I don’t have a clue.

Some very interesting things are happening; if you have been privy to my journey, you know about my visions. Well this morning, I was taking my short drive home from dropping of my son and I had this image and ‘vision.’ I saw my dog in all her cuteness and all her pain-in-the-buttness (her nickname is spastic colon but it should be spastic bladder!) and I had this image of her having the Buddha in her or the light of God, or Jesus, or any of the number of love-filled sources. And I thought I ought to try to practice seeing her in compassion, too. This vision went on for some time: me seeing my dog in different ways, people seeing my dog in different ways. When I got home and read the new book I recently purchased, I turned to the next chapter and the prose was exactly about seeing the Buddha in your dog! Now this was just too much. Events like this continue to happen. Almost every post I write, if I go and read from a spiritual text after writing, the words are typically about what I have just written about. I find this very validating and confirming.

I continue to get a jolt in my heart when someone judges me or judges someone else. I don’t know what that is about. It hurts like a huge electric shock. I feel it. I see it. I accept it. And then it is gone. Before I would have held onto the judgment and taken the words in as my truth. I know I cannot please everyone. However, I still don’t understand why people need to take defense to what I write. It just seems like plain silliness. Sometimes I can see that they are very much upholding their truth as the truth—and I suppose that is their right. I just don’t choose to uphold my truth as having to be someone else’s truth or way, and think the world would be a much happier place if others stopped pushing their belief systems on people. Just my two-cents.

I still have opinions and attachments, obviously. The day I pretend I don’t, call me on it. Because the day I don’t, I won’t be here. I will be floating and invisible. I promise not to haunt you, if you leave chocolate on your night stand. Dark, please.

I was thinking today (hehe) that at moments it appears to be easier walking in this world as a meanie rather than a kind person. People might not like you when you’re mean, but they trust you. They don’t think you are hiding anything and don’t think you have an agenda. Around these parts, in the world I mean, some people get very suspicious of optimistic, giving, authentic, and caring people. It’s like sometimes people are waiting for me to mess up, or be flawed, or say something mean, so they can shout: “Ah-ha! See! Caught Ya!” It’s a bit disconcerting, but definitely part of my journey. I don’t think I will ever truly comprehend loud, aggressive, and in-your-face types of people. I know it (whatever it is) takes all types, and surely if it was a loud, aggressive, in-your-face dog, I would still love the dog, and hope the dog would calm down long enough for me to get close and cuddle. I suppose I see angry people this way, too. I am waiting in the backdrop watching them in their own discomfort and defense, wondering if I can ever truly approach without risking a bite.

I am so not perfect in my humanness. So greatly flawed in my frailties. But in my spirit and in my connection to the all, I am a rockstar. And thusly I seek comfort in my being, accept my journey as is, even with the sudden bolts.

One last thing, a temporary truth, to me, does not imply no faith, or blind faith, or no God, or no source, it just implies, (for me, at least), that I recognize my perception of the world changes from moment to moment based on my emotions, mood, health, environment, exposure, learnings, stimuli, etcetera. Temporary truth can mean a truth I will hold onto until I die, as life is temporary. Or it could be a truth I let go of tomorrow. I find peace in the phrase temporary truth because I feel if others offered me their temporary truth instead of dogma, rigidness, and self-righteousness (at least what I perceive as such) I wouldn’t get those bolts of discomfort.

I am truly not the arguing and debating type. It’s not that I don’t have the wits for it, or the ammunition, or the guts, I just lack the desire to prove a point, when I am not attached to points. I am attached to not being attached… and that’s where I am at. And after four-decades of being stuck like Velcro to MY truths, it feels tremendously freeing to step away and release the heavy burden of what is and what is right.

I still have a personality of course—I just don’t need to prove I am any one to any one anymore.

In concerning this blog, I will continue to write a few posts a month, I think, but only related to ASD. As I was saying, I felt a bit like a fraud, as my blog is pulling a large audience in search of Aspergers, and my genre had quickly turned to mostly spiritual awakenings. By starting another blog, I am giving the reader the freedom to choose if he or she wants to listen to my spiritual thoughts, instead of being bombarded with them. I like this decision. And look forward to the new journey. I will see you here soon. I am sure something is bound to come up not related to the invisibleness of not being—like a barking boob of a person that immediately pulls me out of my state of Zen…. Hehehehe (see I can still fit in, nicely)

Until we meet again, much love and hugs.

Xo ~ Sam

My New Blog is Here:

http://bellyofastar.wordpress.com/about/

I am super surprised pain-in-the-buttness isn’t a word! Silly spell check. Come on, this is earth!

385: Navigating the Female Aspergerian Mind

“Samantha Craft,” M.Ed. has served as an educator for adults and children, a spiritual counselor and an advocate for individuals with special needs. She holds a teaching credential and a Master’s Degree in Education, and has completed multiple postgraduate courseworks in the field of psychology and counseling. Currently, under the penname of Samantha Craft, she manages and authors the well-circulated blog Everyday Aspergers: Life through the eyes of a female with Aspergers. Her prolific writings depict the multifaceted daily life of an adult with Asperger’s Syndrome. Samantha maintains contact with people across the world touched by ASD and serves as the founder of an online support group for adult females on the autistic spectrum. She resides with her husband and three sons, (one with ASD), in the state of Washington.

This article may be duplicated for professional use in an educational setting and for family members in the home setting. Please keep contact information on the page. The works are copyright protected and not meant for duplication for groups or presentations. Copies of the edited and complete article can be found in the future publication of a peer reviewed journal.

Navigating the Female Aspergerian Mind

Chances are, because of the lack of available resources in regards to Females with Asperger’s Syndrome, an undiagnosed female with ASD has slipped under the radar of many professionals. With today’s growing rates of autistic syndromes, any professional established in the field of mental health therapy would benefit from careful examination of the complexities of Asperger’s Syndrome, as it pertains to the female experience. Until recently, little to nothing was known about the female with Asperger’s, as most, if not all, current diagnostic tools are geared toward and develop based on the male genders’ characteristics of ASD. The simplest of signs that might indicate the female representation of Asperger’s to a practitioner are often misunderstood, misdiagnosed, denied, diluted, or unnoticed.

As a result of under-diagnoses, a large majority of females on the autistic spectrum are reaching adulthood as survivors of multiple emotional and physical traumas. Because limited resources and tools are available for working with the female client with Asperger’s, professionals sometimes fall back on what has worked with clients who do not have ASD, regardless of the fact that Asperger’s is not a mental health condition, but a neurological syndrome. More often than not the practitioner treats the symptoms and not the condition, focusing on the obvious comorbid traits of Asperger’s, such as depression and anxiety, without full consideration dedicated to the whole of the person, in particular the fact that he is working with an individual who views the world somewhat different from the mainstream client. Though the professional has the client’s best interest in mind, in some cases the professional’s overall lack of education and limited know-how can be not only non-beneficial for the client with ASD, but detrimental to the psyche. Wherein the astute practitioner recognizes the challenges at hand in regards to the female with ASD, he seems to be a rare minority.

Considering the sensitive nature of the female with Asperger’s condition, an individual whom has likely often found herself a subject of alienation, ridicule, suspicion, doubt and abuse, it is vital for the professional to understand the power she holds to make or break her client; especially the client’s feasible outlook on seeking out further assistance as pertains to her emotional well-being. In example, females on the autistic spectrum develop both conscious and subconscious strategies in their attempt to function effectively in a world which often appears unpredictable and potentially volatile. Oftentimes, a female with Asperger’s is using all of her mental and emotional resources to merely survive and navigate the social world. In response she is fatigued and over-taxed. If a female is partaking in mental health therapy, and the therapist suggest to her that she change or adjust some of her coping mechanisms, for example seeking out strategies to decrease verbal processing, the suggestion itself has the potential to create increased anxiety and feasibly shutdown the client’s ability to remain focused and present. Aspects of the unexplored “Aspergerian” mind can present challenges and/or roadblocks that the practitioner does not necessarily encounter in therapeutic dialogue with ‘typical’ clients, e.g., those presenting with mental health illness without a neurological condition. (I avoid the word ‘disorder’ entirely, in regards to Asperger’s Syndrome, as it is my firm belief that just because one functions outside the perimeters of the current majorities’ collective agreement of norm does not by the process of negation establish a select group as abnormal or having a disorder.)

In understanding the female’s (with Aspergers) mindset is uniquely different from the majority of mainstream society, including her capacity for complexity of thoughts, intense mental connections/scaffolding, and advanced logical sequencing, and taking into account the potential effects of a lifetime of repeated humiliation and abuse, it is advisable for the professional to consider the (ASD) client’s trauma may reach far beyond what is considered the typical depths of post-traumatic stress. Add this to her tendencies for sensory-stimuli overload, and the female with Aspergers will likely exhibit an instinctual flight-or-flight response to any new situation; especially those pertaining to vulnerability and emotional intimacy. Other factors hindering the benefits of therapy include the client’s ability to recreate her self-presentation based on how she perceives the professional perceives her. Often a master actress, the female with Asperger’s has developed a toolbox of masks enabling her to move in the world undetectable to the naked, untrained eye. Here in the client-practitioner relationship, the client is likely to mold into the persona that she believes best fits the comfort-level of the professional, moving within the room of therapy just as she moves in the exterior symbolic rooms of her life. A professional, unstudied in the elements of the female condition of Asperger’s, is apt to miss the nuances of a given client’s chameleon qualities, overlooking the client’s subtle changes in representation of self or wrongfully assuming the client is resorting to trickery and sabotage.

The female with Asperger’s, while extremely witty and intelligent, exhibits continual emotional fragility. In some cases this is hidden behind emotionally-detached humor or within the guise of a persona she is currently exhibiting; e.g., she may imitate a character on television. Though she is emotionally vulnerable, she is capable of hiding herself from other people and is keen in her honed ability to detect social norms and acceptable behaviors of a given situation. Given her nature and character, one word or mannerism from the practitioner may be overanalyzed and/or perceived by the client as a threat or criticism. Misinterpretations, distrust, or a number of other variables, can lead the client to shutdown (emotional withdraw), meltdown (emotional outburst), retreat into imagination or fantasy, recreate the presentation of self, and/or switch from a state of emotional presence to logical analysis. When the client is triggered by the professional and responds accordingly, the quality of the therapeutic relationship is adversely affected. Unlike the mainstream client, a woman with Asperger’s may never trust a professional once she believes she has been misinterpreted and/or criticized.

As a professionally diagnosed female with Asperger’s, in reviewing my own experiences in therapy, which encompass a decade-long-span of individual, couple, small-group and large-group interaction, incorporating a cornucopia of therapeutic techniques and theories, my most damaging experiences occurred when the practitioner was neither vulnerable nor authentic, a perceived-lacking from my point of view, that affected my capacity to connect at a humanistic-level with the practitioner. The best scenarios, in my therapy experience as the client, occurred when the professional was free of dogma, restrictions, and rigid-habits, and able to see through my mirage of disguises. In truth, I don’t think this ever happened, the best scenario that is, and that I, in actuality, through the process of vigorous self-help and psychological self-studies and applications, became my own psychologist by trade, primarily implementing Transpersonal Psychotherapy and elements of Logotherapy.

Based on my own life experience, the deep-level of understanding of my own Asperger’s condition and the personal interactions with other females on the autisitc spectrum, I have developed a list of what I would have liked to have seen, given the means and opportunity to time travel back as a client or to time travel forward as a practitioner. In recognizing each therapist has his unique style, I offer this as a list of suggested ideas, my hope and intention being to provide others the opportunity for a beneficial client-practitioner relationship.

List of Ideas