514: Aspergers: The Potency of Knowing

Today, I know more about myself and my makeup than any other time before. Today, I know more about my world and my place in it than I ever thought possible. I understand concepts at a deep intellectual and spiritual level. A grasping that even I gasp at from moment to moment. I see interconnections everywhere, and I reach conclusions at a constant and continual warp speed. I am and I am not, and I feel forgotten and fed at the same instant, spread out and dipped in a breaded-pudding for some type of monstrosity to munch and munch upon. I am twisted, and I am broken, and I am entirely undone into myself. And I am lonely…again.

I have twice-forgotten why I am here: my mission, my purpose, repeatedly dreading what is to be and what is to happen, and immersed in a fear-state regarding what has already transpired. I see now that I have lived in a constant state of reliving fear. Everything has been about anxiety, everything wrapped in misgivings and in the sap-trappings of my flight/fight mentality. I am inspired by mishap and mayhem. Miss-shaped by my potentiality to turn each and everything into imaginary illusion and puzzle. I don’t know how to live—say be—without deciphering and analyzing. I don’t know how to look upon my own world, without seeing the impending danger. I’d like to believe this isn’t true, and I’d like to believe further more—with enough belief, say faith—that if I believe enough I can make it so. And I’d like to believe that I can change. But now I stand at the crossroad of wondering if indeed my very nature, my very infrastructure, is not one of exact design predicated by the intense longing to solve. And if so, if I am mere machine set out for deciphering, if my mechanism be one of constant discovery, and if I am have stumbled or purposely fallen into hyper speed, then what is to become of me? And have I not, by simply being as I am, caused my own fate?

I am confused, but not entirely. And I am torn open, but not fully. There is a part of me strong, always strong, holding on, just as the child clenching to her mother’s drapery, the curtain the last plight, the last hope, the last saving grace. If I just hold on, no one can tear me out of the house I am in. I am that hero on the swinging high bridge, the last rope unraveled, the planks removed, flanked and flailing in the unforgiving air, thinking if I let go, even for moment, I tumble to the death of me. And then again, I am. Lost just as before.

I can think, and that is my burden. I can think into depths I don’t understand. So deep I can dwell that in seconds I unravel information that by all rationalization should be data that would take another decade to retrieve, if not eons to fathom. I say this not as pompous one or know-it-all; abundant am I in feelings of guilt and regret. I say it merely as fact. I think, and I fall into a deep abyss of what is. And I come out having reached conclusions and understandings that are beyond my own grasp, yet somehow sticking to me much the same. I am removed, and yet still dwelling in this place of knowing. And in this knowing, I know I know not. I know that each and every place assumed reached is still another empty finish line. I know that everywhere are rules that do not exist and answers that are mere ghosts whispering their bent truth—like the rays of light manifesting mirage. What I see is naught. What I know is naught. And still I dive, twisted into misgivings of self and universe, the same.

This is how I live, from day-to-day, from moment-to-moment, somehow lost in myself, and still alive and here. Still performing the medial and mediocre tasks, whilst deciphering all about me, and all that lines the walls of the interior self. I am a complexity so entirely complex that I segregate myself, dividing and re-dividing to the ultimate-power trying to manage what is layered and layered within. I am the worst enemy and the staunch supporter. I am the fuel that keeps my churning and the water that attempts to douse the rioting debtors’ quarrels. I am that which turns the key and that which wishes to stop the engine. All at once, I am made to be without wanting to be—and here in this state I wander about, alone.

You cannot reach me, because you cannot find me, and my mind is unknown to you. Unless, you too, are this sort of mechanism made to churn and to long. To understand you are the machine and the person all at once. To understand that you are made up of the essential elements that make whole, and to watch yourself transition instant upon instant, morphing with each choice, each thought, each word, each influential force. And everywhere and everything is about. To be sensitive to the cycle itself, to the give and take, the yin and yang, the light and dark, the here and there, the wait and see, the envy and love—to watch self as bystander and take note upon note upon note of what is. This is to be awakened. This is to be semi-exposed to the power of the now and the power of the singular demolished and whole eradicated. To watch as the power is seen in all. To watch as the demons, too, turn into angels and warriors. To see the universal connections both outside of self and inside self, and to know, beyond doubt that nothing is of this being named I. And to still shiver and shake, thinking the potency of knowing must somehow diminish with enough discovery

512: The Whipping Girl

I am guilty of gluttony, and I don’t mean that double-scoop mint ice cream on a sugar cone, followed by cheesecake and chocolate bits.

Gluttony has changed meanings from its original origins. At its roots, gluttony was referred to as self-punishing, self-pity, and self-affliction associated with the act of harming oneself in hopes of making amends to a higher power, most prominently represented as the remorseful priest whipping his back in a brutal attempt to make amends to God. It was viewed as a sin because even as the action is perceived as a sacrifice and admission of wrongs to God, it is in actuality the highest from of ego-based self-focus. It sets one’s agony above everything else, and the person becomes the focus not God.

As an Aspie, I am gluttonous as I whip myself mentally, damaging my self-esteem whilst under the guise of ‘wanting to be better.’

I think many Aspies are glutton for punishment, not because we desire to be but because our brains are instinctually wired to over-analyze, pick apart, and find inherent flaws. Typically, and ideally, we would be suited best for work as engineers or solvers of planetary problems; yet, most of us don’t have something to occupy our minds continually that is directly related to problem solving for a company or the whole of the world. In actuality, most of us experience several hours of the day, if not more, in isolation, trapped in our thoughts revolving around problem solving that doesn’t do anyone any good.

My thinking is: when we don’t have a BIGGER solution to solve, we set about to solve ourselves or someone else.

My trouble starts when I focus on someone else and what he has said or done or when I focus on myself and what I have said or done, or a combination of the aforementioned (aka Double-Whammy).

Because my mind is a vast endless landscape—think bland canvas upon blank canvas in repetitive mirrors beckoning to be painted—I can create havoc if I focus on an individual, especially if that someone is out of sight. In my case, out of sight does not mean out of mind. In my case, out of sight means trapped inside the hamster wheel of my mind: looping.

My gluttony, (self-affliction/whipping the mind), happens when I set about to focus on someone else but I can’t find answers about someone else, I can’t find a solution, and/or I can’t reach an endpoint. Given the obvious fact that people are not stagnant beings, and are creatures constantly changing in emotions, outlook, opinions, and behaviors, (not to mention biologically, aka cells shedding, blood pumping, microorganisms, etc.), the quest to reach an end conclusion with any particular person is a ridiculous rendering to begin with. Even if an accurate, or semi-close-to-accurate conclusion about someone or self is reached by said Aspie, the answer will not stick. It’s an impossibility to know an outcome of anyone because we change. Unless the person happens to drop dead right at the moment of discovery and all conclusions are said and done. Morbid, but true, and the only likely scenario in which my over-thinking and resulting theorizing might feasibly match a singular moment in someone’s life. People aren’t objects. They aren’t things. They aren’t puzzles to be solved, but somehow my brain thinks they are.

I feel like a tracking device set down on earth that narrows in on some subject and then dissects and gathers information, and then takes the data and internalizes it and digests it and then attempts to reach conclusions, without noting that the subject at hand is both impossible to understand in completion and that I am not a robot or machine. I forget that. I truly forget that I can’t reach a conclusion with people which will lead to a predictable outcome. I mean, like rolling dice, there is always that chance that my choice will match what’s in front of me; but even then, eventually the dice will be rolled again. I can’t seem to get this fact to compute though: that no amount of thinking, and re-thinking, and re-working will relieve my crushing anxiety and solve the problem.

And that’s at the core of it all: Anxiety.

And I don’t know what comes first—the anxiety (generalized anxiety disorder) or the perceived problem. I know that my body is predisposition to respond to stress in a fight or flight manner (as a result of Post Traumatic Stress, and as a result of the way I am genetically structured with a joint mobility syndrome that affects my autonomic functioning). So at times it is the anxiety that comes first, like trigger-chemicals that put my body on high-alert, and then from there I search for the actual problem. I get scared first, and then I try to figure out why. It’s a fact-seeking mission. Danger! Danger! Will Robinson. I am the robot on high alert; I am Will; and I am Danger. That’s the way it goes.

From there, whether it is an actual trigger that comes first—aka something someone said or did, a thought, a symbol, image, etc.—or my body’s biochemical makeup (fight or flight), I dive bomb into an oblivious state of confusion. I become a master puzzle solver, a master puppeteer of self, too, as I set about to dig myself out of where I have been buried. On alert, I feel walloped, cornered, and frightened, and I set out to search for answers, with my little stick with the bundle at the end, a hobo with her knapsack thinking the travel will bring me to some destination that spells RELIEF. But the truth is, I ought not set out. I shouldn’t. I should just set up camp and stay where I am. I shouldn’t just tramp or jump train. But I do. I do. I do.

I become lost then, on an endless destination, wanting to forge through the muck of data—some thick ivy-laden forest—to reach the other side in order to feel relief. I want nothing else but to end the anxiety. And my mind thinks if I think enough I will end the anxiety. It thinks: I got this. It says: Let me take over. It shouts: Just rethink it one more time! And I go round in this circle, nonstop, grabbing onto any semblance of information, any speck of hope for absolution. I just want to stop the pain inside of me, this nervous panicky feeling that resembles being abandoned, kicked out of my only home, and left naked on the floor of a monster’s adobe, all at once. I want to run and run through my mind’s files to find the answer, to bring anecdote, relief. Only I can’t. I can’t!

And still I find myself doing this—tramping, train, forest, file-finding—whatever. Just moving and moving and forging and forging. I get so tangled up in thought that the immobility sets in, and from there any tiny task seems impossible. Forget doing the dishes or leaving the house, the prospect of bending over and retrieving a piece of rubbish from the carpet seems as difficult as climbing Mt. Everest. I can’t bend. I can’t move. I can’t function. I shutdown, literally, like a computer on overload, overheated, and with her memory overstocked.

That’s it. I am done for. And from there I start to wonder what is wrong with me. I begin to brutally beat myself up. The whipping begins. It’s not so much: WHY can’t I solve this. It’s more so: WHY am I trying to solve this? WHY can’t I shut off my mind. WHAT is wrong with me. I AM flawed. I AM wrong. I NEED help. And there is NO ONE that can help me. The whipping continues on from there. I am good for nothing. How can I go on like this? How do I turn off my brain? And then the really redundant thoughts set in, that most humans suffer through, the ones based on childhood trauma and drama, all the negative messages we collective like to lick at like old wounds that won’t heal. I become that dog—lick lick lick—needing a cone over and about my head so something can save me from hurting me. But there’s no cone. Just me and my brain, my glorious brain.

Everything eventually leads to gluttony. Unless something stops me midstream, like an unexpected event or calling, something that catches my eye or heart, then I am okay, leaped out of the cyclic pain by a momentary distraction. The only thing is that my monster mind is still lurking in the background, that part of me that likes to munch at data and delete any sign of sanity.

I have yet to find a way to make any of this stop. Sure, I am getting closer as I delve into deeper and deeper analysis, bringing along a fleet of fellow Aspies with me that nod their heads and delirious gorgeous hearts in recognition. But it seems the deeper I dig the more grand the journey becomes—like opening up a jar and finding a universe inside. I just can’t seem to get to the end of me. And then I remember it’s my mind again, taking what it perceives as solvable and spinning the endless webs into oblivion.

511: Aspergers Hell

I share the same camp with a mind that goes out of control in its quest to search. It is like my mind goes bungy jumping without my permission. It sees an avenue of escape and jumps. Boing! And I am left somewhere in between the launch pad and the landing ground, midstream in the air, flailing, and screaming for rescue. My mind literally pours into multiple dimensions of jumping thoughts. The Energizer bunny overdosed on caffeine skydiving without a parachute.

And what does my mind pour? Everything. All the data I have collected from being. Everything I have taken note of during my waking and sleeping hours: each person, each face, each smell, each droplet taken in by the senses, and even the liquid data beyond the common senses. Everything I have ever learned, seen, contemplated, deduced—all brought to the same over-crowded table for dinner, and each wanting a turn at conversation. It’s loud. It’s annoying. And it’s uninvited company.

I am sensitive to my world like none can understand, unless born into the view I see; unless transmitted in completion into the suit I wear, and forced to walk as I walk.

Being on the spectrum which includes neurological differences leads to challenges that the typical person just doesn’t seem to grasp. And how could he? I mean for the most part we, as a collective, we look ‘normal.’ In fact, many of us are quite successful at one endeavor or another, high-achievers and/or proficient in a vocation or skill. In fact, many of us are quite charming despite our peculiarities. And most of us aren’t ‘handicapped’ on the outside at all. Most of our disabilities, if not all, beyond our clumsiness, are entirely invisible.

The typical person usually doesn’t understand how the multiple traits of Aspergers, sometimes reaching a hundred in totality, quickly add up. While it is true one singular trait taken out of the pool, such as dysgraphia or dyslexia, might be manageable with effort, when one takes into account the multiple traits all combined and compacting one person, one can more easily theorize how overwhelming the condition can be.

Still from an outsider’s view, we really ought not have too much to complain about. I mean everyone suffers. But that’s exactly the point! We suffer like all humans but the suffering is accentuated and multiplied at every level. We are experiencing life at hyper-speed in hyper-sensory overload. And we take in life to the tenth-degree compared to the average person. We also take in other people’s crap! We feel their pain and their suffering. In truth, sometimes we can’t tell if we are feeling our own stuff or someone else’s pain. And if that weren’t confusing enough, we feel profound empathy for the suffering all around us.

But not OUR OWN suffering. We beat ourselves up about our own suffering because we believe we should know better, be stronger, be wiser, and have control. We hate that we are sad. We hate that we are depressed. We hate that we are again in a place of discomfort.

But the most extreme confusion is not knowing when to stop the thoughts. We can’t tell which thoughts are actually doing us some degree of ‘good’ and which of our thoughts are merely a result of our minds dive-bombing off a bridge. And to top that, we can’t even tell what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad.’ Everything seems to be able to prove its own point and hold its own ground. Except us of course. As we are in a constant free fall.

Yet, from an outsider’s view, we complain too often; we are self-focused; we pity ourselves; and let us not forget that we take life too seriously.

The key word in all this being: outsider.

If we wore our traits on the outside, things might look a bit different to the outsider. If all the challenges were dangling off our bodies, perhaps blinking words or metaphors. If all the pictures in our minds were on display, if all the thoughts trumpeting, if all the pain made concrete that was brought on from sensory overload, if all the mixed emotions could stampede in parade fashion, if all the questions could be bull-horned in an amphitheater, if each and every one of the close to one hundred traits could be corralled and put on display, maybe, just maybe, the outsider could grasp the enormity of what we experience in simply being.

For us life itself is a challenge. Forget the other stuff, e.g., Maslow’s hierarchy, relationships, health, and finances. For us the challenge is just being alive another day—just opening our eyes and getting out of bed. Give us an hour and we’ve lived a day. Give us a day and we’ve lived over a year. We are exhausted, and yet we carry on. We are terrified, yet we smile. We are confused, yet we forge through. We are lonely, yet we offer support.

We are—and some days that in and of itself is enough to make us not want to be.

I have a runaway brain. I have a machine inside of me that knows how to twist reality, so I never am quite certain of my own emotional state. I know fear. I know love. And the rest is a jumbled mess that seems illusion.

My mental and emotional state play teeter-totter all day long. I have no bearings. I have no idea how I will respond to the next over abundance of stimuli or the next trigger. I have no clue what pattern my brain will choose to latch onto next, what puzzle it will try to solve, or how it will manifest some data as proof of why I should be fearful. I am watching myself constantly, and knowing my brain is its own entity, and knowing I have a heightened awareness to everything and everyone I will come into contact with, and everything and everyone I will think about.

Having Aspergers is like jumping into a river and not only feeling the cold stinging water, but feeling everything that leads to the water’s arrival and knowing everything that might feasibly come after the arrival. It’s time travel in thought, all at once, why boggled down with emotions that make no sense. Life is complicated by the simple act of thought, and to not think seems mostly an impossibility, without the aid of extreme measures, strength, and endurance. Every ounce of energy might be used up on just controlling and stopping thoughts. And then depleted, every ounce of resistance is wiped clean, and we are left infantile.

Next the self-blame rolls in for not having had been enough—strong enough, normal enough, in control enough. We twist the thoughts into a labyrinth-mess. We pity ourselves for pitying ourselves. We become our enemy in hopes of becoming something other than self. We fake confidence or we hide out. We try to escape who we are. We try on different personas and personalities. We try on different skill sets and activities. We change interests. And all the while we watch ourselves in confusion.

And then someone says: Everyone suffers. Stop pitying yourself.

And I think, shit, I see his point. But how the hell do I stop wanting to not be in hell?

 

Samantha Craft, M.Ed. (aka Marcelle Ciampi) is the mother of three boys, one adult son who is on the autism spectrum. She is the lead job recruiter for ULTRA Testing, an autism educator, the author of the blog and book Everyday Aspergers, Selection Committee Chair at the ANCA World Autism Festival and is active in autism groups locally and globally. Samantha serves as a guest speaker, workshop presenter, curriculum developer, neurodiversity recruitment specialist, and more. She is working on her second book Autism in a Briefcase, written to provide insight to employers and agencies about the neurodiverse talent pool. A former schoolteacher and advocate for children with special needs, she appreciates the skills and talents of autistics. Diagnosed with Aspergers in 2012, she enjoys the arts, writing, movies, travel, and connecting with others. (More people know Sam by Sam because it’s her community pen name.)

510: Bipolar or Aspergers?

Sometimes people on the spectrum have a co-morbid diagnosis of bipolar. In other words experts inform a person with ASD that he or she has both bipolar disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome. While in some cases this is likely true and substantiated by symptoms and behaviors, in other instances people on the spectrum receive an inaccurate bipolar diagnosis. Often a ‘rapid-cycling’ version is diagnosed. I won’t pretend to be an expert about bipolar because I am not, and I don’t experience the condition myself, but I can abstract the differences between Aspergers and bipolar based on some readings and interactions with people with rapid cycling and/or manic/depressive episodes.

For me, there are some distinct differences between bipolar and ASD.

(The rest of this post is available in the book Everyday Aspergers.)

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

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

509: There Needs to be A Name

There needs to be a name
There needs to be a name for what happens
Because always with happiness
Comes this shadow
Some dark figure behind closed doors

When happy rings
I open
I envelop
I take in the colors, the smells, and desires
I become that which is: calm, giddy, and hope-filled
The world mine, for a moment
Free
Anxiety lifted
Somewhat ‘normal’
And yet…
And yet…
And yet…

The Shadow
There—waiting, watching, wanting
To devour

I am these two: Split
Yes, split
I am momentarily happy, and I am perpetually sad
Half sees the other as weak, dismal, and pathetic
Half sees the other as over-bearing, tiring and exhaustive
Melancholic one, concurs
Happy sweeps up the messes and sets things straight

Some other piece, long forgotten
Wants nothing more
Than to crawl into a space of no halves
No me’s
Where there is emptiness
Tranquility
And the absence of extremes

Somewhere between
Over-exertion
And under-confidence
I wobble, this lonelier non-version
Frightened by the chime of happiness

~ Everyday Aspergers

508: Mind the Mind: Asperger’s Introspection

I am not a seeker of drama. I do not care for discourse or feelings of unsettlement. The unknown is my least favorite happenstance. However, I do tend to over-analyze and try to solve situations, be it relationships, locations, events, health, or even emotions themselves. I am finding the more I become as the nature about me and let things take their course, the more I am able to remain calm in what I perceive as a storm. As it is, I see everything as a storm.

In retrospect, in looking back at my life, the decades spun open, I see myself fighting battle after battle. I see myself, or saw myself, as victim for most of the stretch of my existence. Until recently, when another door to my mind open, and I realized with a slow-drip reasoning that I had chosen to make each of these events important. I’d attached this necessity and conquering-eyes to situations that might have passed by on their own without much forethought or planning. Instead, my mind attached and twisted and upturned every corner, in hopes of solving. I am the puzzle seeker in all ways.

In knowing this about myself, in recent days, I am practicing the act of not exploding events in my mind. I am acutely aware of my actions. I recognize I take a flat, one-dimensional ‘problem’ and I tilt it into multiple theories of causation. I take what is simple and I complicate the matter. Not on purpose, and not with intention to add complexity, only as a byproduct of my innate ability to solve. I try and try and try, through multiple outlets of reason and swaying, say even convincing, to find the right avenue—the direction to answer. This is how I am. This is how I live: in the constant pursuit of end mark.

I have asked myself why, as I swing past the molecular thoughts colliding one upon the other, bouncing and ricocheting in a delightful parade of rainbows. Everywhere is this thought, this thinking, these endless loops that think onto themselves, alive and burning with passion. Here I watch, and I stop myself enough to wonder, even as the light show continues onward. The ultimate answer to my behavior remains in the unease brought on by the thought of unknowns, by the thought of remaining uncertain, by the actual way in which the world works, some endless cycle within itself producing life, as me as mere puppet to reality. And in this pond of not knowing, circumvented with the hunger of wanting to know, I sit and harbor feasible outlet after feasible outlet. A thinker thinking her way into a space of no time, lost in contemplation, an act that becomes a bandage to facing the truth. That being that there is no control, even as I am one that longs for order.

As a child I stimmed. I prepared. My childhood games were not games, they were preparation. Everything, from playtime to alone time, was set in its place. Everything was organized and every move stemmed from a place of needing order. As I grew older, I didn’t change inside; my need for order and detail remained. The stimming transformed into thoughts fashioned into recognizable systems and order. I became that one that believed she must remain the leader of her world, in order to survive the turmoil that seemed me. Everywhere was chaos and everywhere something that could be organized back to original form of order. I became, with every year, a person who depended more and more on her thoughts in hopes of discovering a neutral zone set outside the disorder. I willfully became lost in thinking in an attempt to reorganize my disruptive world.

I am still here, doing this—seeking out the dark corners of my mind in hopes of escaping the disorder. This is what it comes down to. This is the endpoint of my behavior. And it is this observation itself that makes keen sense to me now. I am the watchtower, viewing my own cyclic hibernation. I am steering my way into self, thinking if I am the constant seeker, I shall hide enough from what is in front of me. For even the anguish of over thinking, even the painstaking ways in which I torture myself with thought upon thought, becomes reasonable when compared to the unknowns which remain out there. In truth, I see this place named world as my ever-encroaching enemy.

In deduction, I abstract a causation, a hauntingly clear causation, that in which I have made myself mad in the interior to avoid the fear of the exterior. I have made myself a prisoner of thought to escape the overbearing burden of becoming a prisoner of life. But in so doing, I have made myself twice the captive. Piercing first myself with fear, and, then again, causing casualty by the intrepid thoughts that follow thoughts. I think that I am the mind-keeper and that in some way, with enough effort, I shall eject myself far from the happenings of this world. But, with close inspection, I find myself further in the grasp of pain, pinching myself asleep with these same intrepid ways, in hopes of running further from the place I stand. I am that one who seeks escape through invisible avenues.

In knowing these thoughts today, those that collect themselves into a pool of recognition, and those thoughts, too, that dictate the way in which I live out my day, I have concluded fully and openly that the only way in which to save myself is to ironically stop trying to save myself. For the moment I open the door, which leads to the way of over-seeking and continual searching for causation and answer, is the same moment I doom myself to prison. In theory, if I stop the thoughts that teach me to employ them for refuge, then I also stop the thoughts that simultaneously torture me. In thinking this through, inevitably, it is only in my power to stop the cyclic thoughts that I have full control. All else is illusion upon illusion. In thinking I can find answer through torturous thinking, I have pronounced to a part of myself that I am worth nothing but the dungeons I continue to fortify and dig day after day, night into night. In actuality, I am that beyond thought.

So it is in this way, in this endless theorizing, I both succumb to my thoughts and myself, and recognize that in order to live, I must mind the mind. And with this recognition proclaim aloud that in order to be I must learn to loosen the grasp of control upon my mind, freeing the agonizing quest to find answers. And instead, with vested interest, forbade myself to enter that which is both madman’s labyrinth and predicated spoils set before one’s self as false salve and salvation.

**************************

“Last night I had a major breakthrough. I explained this in a very complex way, on my newest blog post. However, to put it mildly, and in layman terms, I realized that I over-think things naturally, and because of this, and my intelligence, I try to solve, or at minimum piece together puzzles of my life, whether it be my health, relationships, my emotions, vocations, situations, or the like.

I turn everything in my life into something solvable and complex. Last night. I decided to just let my body be sick. I was in a lot of pain, and had many symptoms for four days, including a triggering of my heart/bloodpressure syndrome. I released, not with intention, or with desire, just with a knowing I had to do so in order to move onward, without getting trapped in thought after thought.

I was literally reaching the point of insanity with so many unknowns and changes in my life. I awoke this morning more alive, less victim, and more awaken to my own heart. I feel like in the process of releasing, I also opened a canal-like-channel that allowed some of the poisons in my body to purge themselves through and out.

I am learning that my thoughts are sometimes my very worst enemy, even as they dress themselves in solutions. “If I only sit with them long enough they will prove a theory, or way out!” < but that’s not true.

The longer I sit with my thoughts, the more confused, forlorn, and lost I get. I have been thinking all this time my mind’s way of thinking was my hero and savior, but in truth, letting go and not thinking is what ‘cures’ me in the long run, or essentially returns me to a state of balance and equilibrium. It’s hard to turn me off, to turn of this engine of intense thinking. I think. I think. I think. But I know now, the best release is in turning off.

I play a game in my mind, now: I catch myself in full swing moving through a maze of thought, and I stop cold. NO. NO. NO. There aren’t any answers there. There aren’t. It is truly in the silence, I find solace.”

~ Samantha Craft, Everyday Aspergers

507: Removing Warts… The Nasty Aspie Triggers

I am triggered by a lot. You name it, and it can feasibly trigger me.

The weather: Thoughts of the past associated with specific temperature, events and schedule changed because of weather or pending weather, fatigue/pain triggered, ramifications of our treatment of global environment and climatic events as a result, and on and on and on.

Digesting the food on my plate: Poor suffering milk, a byproduct of suffering cow, and the pain-hormones involved. Body affected by poisons, chemicals, over abundance or lack of nutrients, allergic reactions, digestive system triggered. Fight or flight biological response uncontrolled by the implementation of Cognitive Behavior techniques. Thanks but no thanks.

An actor’s line in a movie: Brings back a particular emotional event in life…and ain’t all things emotional for me??? Rhetorical question, followed by giddy applause of distaste in my own reactions.

A particular change in bodily appearance, function, ability, sensation, weight, signs of age: Note to self… avoid mirror and stop examining skin with magnifying glass. I am not vain, at least I hope not, just overly-aware of everything. I am so sensitive, I have gotten to the point I can tell what mineral or nutrient I am low on, e.g., numb toe equals low on magnesium, twitchy eye equals needing potassium, heart rate up equals time for some more sodium, etc. etc. etc. And don’t get me started on hormone fluctuations. Mostly, I am disturbed by warts (I have one tiny one), new moles, age spots, blubber and sags, and those weird, icky-lined wrinkles below my neck on my chest.

An offhand, unremarkable (to most) comment aimed kind of at me, at least I assume so: I can spend hours wondering what one word I picked out of a conversation could possibly mean, and from there wonder why I spend so much of my time picking apart conversations, and then psychoanalyze Aspergers in general, and then compare my communication skills to anyone in my circle of humans I have ever encountered; not a fun way to whittle away the hours, but nonetheless HAPPENING, regardless. Thank you meaningful professionals, but if you ain’t Aspie, you ain’t Aspie and you have NO possible way of understanding the makings of my mind. No matter how much you study a gorilla, you won’t understand how a gorilla thinks. And, yes, indeed, I think myself a different species. Have you met my people?

A joke, a poster, a political comment, a personal comment, a slogan, a lyric, a quote, a song: I can pick apart anything and make connections. Sometimes the connections and contradictory in nature, often really, and they leave me baffled, confused, and feeling entirely alone on this planet. Sometimes I am certain this is hell.

A missed connection, missed meetings, cancellations, no shows, last-minute changes, and the like: These leave me wallowing in self-pity, and then more self-pity piled on for allowing myself to have self-pity, and so on. You get the mirrored-picture. And then, to make it worse, I try to be mad, to understand the concept of mad, and then in turn blame myself for not being able to hold a grudge or stay angry. I then visualize people when they are angry, friends, acquaintances, loved ones, various movie actors, strangers, and the like, and I try to emulate the emotion. Then I feel guilty for trying, in other words ‘faking,’ because faking is lying, and I want to be truthful. And I feel guilty for trying to be mad?? Who does that? I get trapped in a whirlwind of how I should react to disappointment, and then punish myself for allowing myself to feel disappointed, because isn’t disappointment ego-based? From here I wonder where to go for help because I have tried it all, from Priest to Psychiatrist, and no one, absolutely no one, comes close to understanding me, beyond me, and even my understanding is warped, at high-speed, to boot!

Broken promises: This being the most painful. The world is filled with uncertainties, another major trigger, and they are everywhere, but the hurt is intolerable when someone doesn’t follow through with their word, I don’t feel bad as a result of judging the person, or of even having had housed expectation, and I am not mad, I am just reminded of the terrible uncertainty and unknowns of the world I live in; and that I basically can count on no one but myself, but then I can’t count on messy-me either; and this reminder (trigger) terrifies me and makes me immobile, couch-bound, and affects my pain condition, depression, and sometimes thoughts of leaving the world; not that I could leave, I don’t think, because I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone; and then the chain of thoughts begin that I am selfish to think of leaving anyone behind in this place, then thoughts of how the human condition is a suffering condition… yes, seemingly bleak pessimism, I recognize this, but it’s not, it’s TRIGGERS.

Being critiqued, criticized, put in my place, hearing unsolicited advice, being scolded, scorned, etc.: You get the picture. We both know I am not perfect. But did you know that I see all my flaws at multiple deep levels all fricken day long. I am likely the most self-aware crackerjack you will ever, ever meet, (unless you happen to be Aspie, too, then it’s a two-way tie), and I have tattooed my imperfections on my soul, and greet them minute-by-minute everyday. Generally, I don’t particularly like being human; I can’t tolerate the lurching selfishness, the ways in which people possess and take and haunt. It all confuses and compels me, and at the same time I recognize I am human, and that sucks. Critique me and I think I am more alone than ever. How could someone not know I was hyper-sensitive already, and keen on my own flaws? And then, to top that, I start to think that perhaps I am over-sensitive to mask a submerged and buried dark-shadow rage and that I have an innate inbred fear of anger. Until I sit it out and re-realize that NOPE, I just don’t get anger, more than a passing defense mechanism or emotional response. I don’t know it, more than a passerby. He waves, he punches me in the gut, and he leaves. That’s about it.

Setting myself up: There are certain triggers I know will get me bad, keep me bedridden, or at the very least cause me to be lost in thought for hours, and yet I repeat certain behaviors that set me up for certain triggers. As if I don’t learn. I am taking inventory. I know what hurts. I know what creates chaos in my mind, but at the same time I carry this everlasting hope that this time it will be different. I have this blind eye to people. I think they will change. I think things have to change. I think everyone must transition at the high-speed, everyone must have similar depth, heart, and soul. But they don’t. I just can’t seem to wrap my brain around that concept.

504: Had I but a voice…whisperings of Aspergers

“This is your Aspergers. It is your brain searching for something to fixate on. It is our hyper-intelligence. Our brains are puzzle solvers. We are here to help the planet. When we focus on light we make dynamic shifts. But the yang of the yin is when we focus on the dark; it is hell. The trap, we Aspies fall into, is trying to solve our emotions, instead of sitting with them.” ~ Sam

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We believe we are never going to be good enough, right enough, or enough. No matter how much we read, decipher and figure out. No matter the conclusions pondered and information transmitted, the puzzles seemingly solved, or ideas seemingly mastered. We remain somewhat in awe of ourselves and the world. Our bodies and brains, and everything, unwinded and dissected, and nonetheless remaining singularly tangled and unmanageable. Our brains were made to conquer and conquest, and yet, we are the ones conquered in the endless ways in which to surmise our reality and exponential experience in life. Through our ability to mesh objectivity with subjectivity, we are made into a conundrum of possibilities; ourselves delivered to the world through a large scope of outward introspection, as if the audience is the All of everyone, and we the victim of circumstantial evidence. We are hunted, say hounded, by our innate ability to view ourselves from a distance, whilst climbing inside of others, many others, and imagining a collected viewpoint and conclusion of us. And this transaction isn’t something purposeful or invented for cause or reason. The exact act of becoming this observer of the observers is ingrained into our essential state of being. We are in essence and in truth, a mini-version of everything we take in. In this sense, we can never be that which is good, right, or enough, as everything is projected and taken back, endless mirrors upon mirrors of becoming the every changing of that which is around us.

We are made to be puzzle solvers, and the dynamic labyrinth of us, and that of the singular ‘me,’ eludes the perceived self. We become so twisted in thought that the truth hides between and beneath complex layers of potentiality, a state of existence at battle with forethought of failure. A concept considered is quickly sliced and diced and made into the sectioned out pieces of avenues of demise. We can see with hindsight, foresight, and insight into the depths of each solution we consider. Thinking therefor becomes exhaustive itself, and at times, many times, uncontrollable. As if we were made to conquer the exact thought perceived, only our tools of conquest are both our weapon and our curse. Had we the opportunity to rest our minds, the remainder flows naturally; however, the resting itself is continually challenged and masked by further thought of the concept of ‘rest’ itself. Making relaxation still another puzzle to be solved and pieced back together. For everywhere is this appearance of a ‘challenge.’ Everywhere our brains want to pick and perch, peck and devour, until the end point is found. Even as we know there is no end in sight. This is the deviation sector of our searching, a place in space in which we can step back and observe ourselves hunting for something we know does not exist, while simultaneous lacking the ability to halt said action. Had we known how to stop ourselves, our minds would be different, lacking the cohesiveness to piece back together that which is before us. We are made this way for reason unknown to us, even as we feel there must be a reason: for how could such a ‘thing’ as I exist, if not for some purpose other than the regions of hell in which our thinking leads.

We long for order in a world that dictates discord, even as nature professes the circularity of wholeness. We see behind the curtains of societal games and rules. The prophecies of past make sense to us, wherein the theories, the solutions, the ways in which modern leaders point, do not. Everything we create is created at multiple levels. Sometimes our own thinking manifests further outcomes. Sometimes the coincidences are incomprehensible and impossible to explain. We are descriptive creatures. Everywhere and all about is description. We take in information like manmade thesauruses and dictionaries. Had we known we’d be mistaken as ancient ones marked as ‘know-it-alls’ and beseeched with unceasing ways of interpretation, perhaps we would have failed to live without taking first breath. But regardless, we remain. Our quest is unreachable to those that think not as we. We are, in many ways, separate in how we perceive the world. Our sensory input on high-speed, our ability to reach a temporary finishing point, beyond measure. We endure a silent suffering all day and all night, the intensity of the world bearing down on us as a tangible concrete weight. A heaviness indescribable and ever moving into each crevice that is ‘self.’ To wake is to take in another day of battle, as to sleep is to meander through that which was taken in the whole of the day. The subconscious combined with another powerful force abstracting the decayed ravaged thoughts and replacing them with an unspeakable knowledge beyond us. Our scope of intelligence so vastly far-reaching that our own minds become lost in an ocean, torrential.

……………….

Had I but a moment to replace my being with another, less common than I, and make this person enter me, then he would know the hell I speak of, the way in which the mind made mad taunts and slithers as snake to fowl captured.

In every way I am me and I am not me; and so it goes I am divided into multiple selves not knowing who to expect. Calm on the exterior or upset. Weeping or cursing. Lying to self or submerged in the illusion of truth. I know not what will happen next. I am subjected to the layering of others: a natural empath taking on both the hurts and wants of those around me. I soak in greed. I breath out anger. I force myself to stand, even as I know not where, as vultures around me circle, taking in what they think is me, and spitting out their awful truths. I am invisible. I know this. I see this. I write this on the edge of my soul. The outline of me marked in words “I am,” and yet sucked out into that voice which is the masses.

I am slipping as I speak. Lost in the places of public where people proclaim this sense of righteous being. I drift in a world where I long to be seen and where everywhere I am branded with harsh judgment. It does not matter how many people love me, need me, or attempt to protect me. Even as my guardian circle expands, the vultures come closer. It is not the ability to build my force field of love that guides me; more so it is my built-in longing to move beyond the vultures of society, which propels me forward in action. Had I not the torrential rain spurted down by the falsehoods of this world, I would be not urged to continue onward. Even in the darkest moments, I know the voice that tricks me is merely a reminder of the voice that tricks all.

Had I but a voice that could penetrate the walls of me, I would pierce me a thousand times through and be within and without, transmitted into a time without time, and cast out as minion to the masses of humble-seekers. Had I but a heart a thousand times pierced, I would ask another blade to enter, if only to free that which is imprisoned: myself upon self.

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“We think we are ungrateful, but that’s not it. Our brains are just always solving, so we conclude we are never satisfied. Thinking we are not thankful, we then self-punish, believing ourselves less than and not enough—incapable of finding this so-called “satisfaction,” a mythical word that is a leeched byproduct spawned from societal whimsy.” ~ Sam

503: The “Truth” About Lying (An Aspie perspective)

I put myself into a situation last month wherein I found myself lying in totality more than I had in my entire life. I fooled myself into thinking the act of telling falsehoods was somehow protecting someone’s feelings. But the truth of the matter is my lying only compounded the challenges and hurt the person I was trying to protect.

Having always been an overly honest, frank, yet gentle person, I had never experienced the domino effect of lying before. I hadn’t been in a position before in which I was creating new lies to cover up previous lies, nor in the position of trying to recall what I had said in previous mistruths to validate and confirm current mistruths. I found the whole process excruciatingly exhausting, and both physically and emotionally daunting. I finally reached a point where I told the person the whole of the situation, mostly because I was ‘caught’ in the process, and also because I couldn’t stand to tell one more lie.

The truth about lying is that the act itself causes me great distress.

Because of the way my mind works, I overanalyze the simplest of things; however, the most prevalent means of overanalyzing is seen in my natural, seemingly instinctual, ability to search for truths, (and try my best not to lie). To complicate the ordeal, having been around this earth long enough, (I am ready to be beamed up.), it’s quite clear that truths are too complex of matters to ever be discovered in completion. To truly peel the outer layer of the proverbial onion off to find the core of truth is impossibility—the process in and of itself futile.

Yet, still my mind peels and peels, thinking at last I will figure out the reality of truth; even as I know now, at least conclude now, that the only reality is love and service, and trying my best to be the best version of me, whilst allowing myself to be human without gluttony-based-behavior manifested as self-punitive thoughts.

Regardless of any knowings, my brain will continue to try to find the truth, the facts, the reality, etc. The reason, it seems, is I have this engrained responsibility to be authentic. I mean it’s carved into my essence—the very heart of me wanting nothing more than to be me.

And that is where everything gets complicated. For there is no me I can find.

Beyond this philosophical plight, there remains the undeniable, double-stubborn part of me that insists on being honest, even as the depths of honesty elude me. They, the depths of honesty, are complicated by manmade rules. Whether the rules be about feelings, or disclosure, or privacy, or social behavior, the rules affect my ability to figure out how to be. This in itself in a quandary: For if I am in constant state of trying to figure out how to be me, then when am I me? My mind gets stuck on wheels of thought like the aforementioned, and I become exhausted.

In this interplay of finding truth, simple acts become tiring, thinking becomes tiring. Everything is a hurdle and I the limping former track star trying to merely move beyond the obstacle. I become utterly dumbfounded and lost in a maze of possibilities. In partaking in something as simple as ordering coffee at a local spot, I undergo distress. I wonder if my facial expression is what I am feeling. I wonder if my tone of voice accurately reflects the inner me. I wonder if in my response to ‘how are you,’ is a true response. I wonder if my thoughts are kind about the person, and if they are not kind thoughts, I wonder what is kind? I become lost from the simple act of facing a person at a cash register for under five seconds. Time slows down, too, as if I have the ability to process things at the opposite of hyper-time, and enter a zone of almost endless contemplation, until I am pulled back by a sensory trigger such as the voice of another or chime of a machine. I then question my actions. Was I ‘ADHDing’? Was I time traveling? Was I over-thinking? And then the judge comes forward, the voice I stopped pushing down, and now simply observe and let slip away. The voice reminding me how different I am than most around me; how most of my life is spent in another world, way beyond the experience of the common bystander I observe.

And the thoughts don’t stop then. I am in a constant state of preparation of truth. Sometimes I think a certain species was created to be a light bearer of truth; this species being Aspergers and those on the spectrum. At least sometimes this appears the case to me. But I think whomever plopped some of us down, forgot the enormity of the task of the act of bearing truth, forgot the infiniteness of truth, the way the frays off the branches of thoughts bleed out into millions upon millions of splintered-possibilities, and how the mind can only handle so much. I think this creator, or these creators, whether it be God, aliens, genetics, or mutations, overlooked the humanness of us, the frailties, the ways in which our own minds would override our sense of freedom and hope. And how inevitably in longing for the truth, more than anything, we would lose sight of not only ourselves, and those around us, but the very gift of life.