I’d love you if you were a lobster

Please Note: I thought I was posting this to my blog Everyday Aspie. After I posted it here, I decided to keep it up. See more recent blog here.

Life lately is a shit-muffin. Which reminds me. I had my first ever slice of brown sugar pie, as an Easter (curbside order) treat, and declared that it’s officially my least favorite dessert, hovering at the bottom, below banana cream pie. Oddly, on Easter Sunday, while sitting on the balcony by myself, I saw a convertible, with the top down, drive by our typically quiet, circle-shaped street. In the backseat of the convertible was a person in full Easter Bunny costume. I wished they’d driven around the circle again. A parade.

I have lost count of how many days have passed at home. I read a creative news article about 100 things someone is doing at home during this ‘shelter in place’ order. It made me feel inadequate. Each time the list mentioned children, I felt sad. My list would be short. Eating, resting, napping, and not much more. I guess ‘getting better’ is enough. Even it it’s one thing.

I have energy to write this blog post, only because I downed a large cup of black gold (cup of Joe) at 3:45 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. And I am gladly stimming through editing and rearranging words and thoughts, like a non-dimensional puzzle.

I am still very much fatigued and too tired to look for strong adjectives.

As of late, first thing most mornings, I kindly instruct David to announce, “Hey, Google. Turn Off,” in order to dismiss the white noise of the river rushing. I don’t want to exert the energy to raise my voice.

This morning, I texted David and asked him to bring me a cup water. I don’t remember if I texted ‘please.’ I was too wiped to reach over and drink my green tea (that he’d made for me). I cursed my computer charging cord that rested too far out of reach. Later, upon submitting to coffee cravings, I joked with David: “Remind me at 11 p.m. tonight, when I complain about not being able to sleep, that I had coffee after the noon hour, and that it is okay to watch Netflix on low volume, while you sleep.”

Despite my fatigue, I am still a planner.

Later, I sent him a short apology-text. Making amends for my PMS-perimenopausal-cooped-up-sick-for-too-long-during-global-pandemic freak out. I included a cute emoticon.

My emotional reserves are on extreme low. My typically lousy memory is below par. I am easily lost in thoughts. I forgot about my dog Violet this morning. I dove into a few hours of work. Having promised myself to not work more than two hours, I worked close to four. Not a good idea. And now, know clearly that over three hours of remote-work not only exhausts me, but makes me have no scruples (or patience for other human beings).

It slipped my mind to take Violet out for her early morning ‘outside potty’ time. She was still fast asleep, in her dog bed, like a doggy princess, hours into the day. I am thankful she is almost thirteen (or fourteen) and sleeping in.

To enhance the story, below is a fair visual representation of what Violet’s bed looks like. It was the first image that popped up when I Googled “Image of Round Wicker Chair.” And happens to be the same color. I’ll take that as a sign from God that I am meant to write this downer of a blog post.

To be clear, Violet’s bed is more velvety (and stinky). I originally bought this lounging chair for me, to relax on the balcony. It’s been Violet’s bed pretty much since I brought it home. Every night, after David and I have been watching a television show for at least 30 minutes (typically 60), Violet creeps out from under the bed like clockwork, to the outskirt of the bedroom, and proceeds to pace back and forth (tap, tap, tap), on the hardwood floor, waiting to be ‘tucked in.’ I then get up (growl), walk over, firmly ask her to sit; then I scoop her up like a baby, tell her what a good dog she is, and put a blankie over her. She recognizes many statements– ‘tucked in’ being one of her favorites.

This is our routine. If I don’t ask her to sit, as soon as I rise from the comforts of resting, she scampers back under the bed, as fast as she can, and then wags her tail in triumphant delight. It’s gotten worse, now that David has established himself as alpha ‘dog.’ It’s a game of ‘catch me if you can.’ A game David doesn’t care for much, and one of the primary reasons she has earned her new nickname. A name recently granted by David. I won’t tell you the whole name, as it might embarrass Violet (and David). But it’s blank-muffin. You can fill in the blank any way you wish.

I was too tired to retrieve my foam earplugs for reusing; they are floating in creases of the pink sheets. I was too tired to do much of anything, except during that 30-minute adrenaline rush, when I was mad at David. It was in that mad rush that I swept, scrubbed a wall, and cleaned up the ‘Cesca Room’ — the room attached to our garage. A 200-square-foot, yellow-walled room, where my youngest son usually gathers with his friends to play Dungeon and Dragons. I glanced around the empty room, wondering when the room would be occupied again.

Noting how the simplest of memories brings an intense longing for the normalcy in the days before this virus.

I am going through a mourning phase. Like much of the world. I miss looking forward to things. I miss knowing when I can leave the house again. And I miss feeling safe in my own home. I worry each time David leaves the house. Actually, I worry each time he mentions he might, feasibly leave the house. Even when the tail end of his sentence includes the words social distancing and mask and caution. I sound like a dictator: “Remember the new findings say 13 feet, not 6!” Followed by monologue of useless chatter.

Sometimes, despite my high-risk status, I want to storm out of the house, with my N-95 mask and gloves, and just stomp into the damn grocery store.

Never one to look forward to clothes shopping (gag), I do relax by grocery shopping. All the items and all the selection, the choosing, the evaluating, the picking up and placing in the cart. That entire process, it has always soothed me. Even if I only purchase a handful of items, the mere act of looking at all the colors and choices brings me peace of mind. Similar to disaster movies. I like to think of what to do next.

I am mourning grocery shopping. And ample amounts of blue cheese. Odd that it is blue cheese I miss the most.

It took me weeks to fill out some basic paperwork for a new mental health counselor. I need more therapy. I apologized to the new therapist, I’ve yet to meet, through text, for my inability to turn on the computer. My failure to fill out the needed paperwork. She has my least favorite name (see my book) but I am willing to give her a try. We have an online meeting Thursday. Considering my last five years of living, I have no doubt I (like many autistic people) that I am a mega-magnet for narcissists. I have a lot of processing to do. I don’t want to burden my friends with my woes. Not appropriate during a global pandemic. Like the grocery store, my main go-to’s for relief, don’t work anymore.

This Sunday was the first Easter in 22 years that I didn’t make Easter baskets for my son(s). In the past years, I hid their filled baskets inside a brown grocery bag for them to take back to college and open on Easter. Taped up and secured. This Easter, I am afraid of paper bags. The site of a grocery bag (or Amazon box) makes me wonder how long the novel virus ‘survives’ on paper. Survives is in quotes, as the virus is actual dead to begin with.

I told David, on the balcony, at sunset yesterday evening, that humans are a virus destroying the earth, and it’s good we are being forced inside. I am great at ruining romantic moments.

My days are all blending into the next. I tell myself to be thankful. Hear my mother’s words echoed from my childhood: It could be worse. I am thankful I am not in the Emergency Room. Thankful my oxygen saturation levels are good. Thankful for David. Thankful my children are safe. But still there is so much loss. So much worry. So much suffering. I keep thinking of people dying alone. Of no funerals. Of things one ought not have to think about.

 

My POTS has triggered my neuropathy, amongst other ailments (see previous posts), and I’ve gained weight from stress eating and being less mobile. When I took a shower this morning, I looked down at my thighs and cried. When I took a second shower mid-day (to wash off 30-minute freak out cleaning session), glancing down, I confirmed it was a good plan to not eat.

When I stress about the extra thigh I’ve grown, David insists, “I’d love you, if you were a lobster.” That’s fine and sweet and dandy, and a phrase he uses often to bring a smile to my once-pouty, forlorn face. But would you love me if I was a shit-muffin?

End Post

 

Random Facebook entries, from last 12 days, listed below. Not meant for entertainment.

April 2nd:

Yep. Just what I said would happen in my blog post yesterday:

“The Trump administration is expected to announce that all Americans should wear cloth masks or other face coverings if they go out in public, based on a forthcoming recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” New York Times, today

April 5th:

After 27 days of little to no energy, and a couple weeks of being pretty scared concerning my health, this Sunday I did 40 minutes of yard work! Yay! There were many things I did to nurse myself in the last 4 weeks. I’ll likely share at some point. I will share today that boosting my immune system through supplements and minerals, and listening to my body and what foods it was craving, helped. Lots of magnesium-rich foods and protein. I ordered 5 large bags of nuts, at different times, while I was not feeling well. Didn’t readily recognize I’d ordered that many nuts! Nutty, me! Much love, Sam

Watched the entire Season 3 of Stranger Things yesterday with J David Hall. As an autistic, I so much appreciate the humor, parallel plots, and the detailed settings.

April 7th:

Crushing chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, came back Monday morning. Really wish this thing would pass. Lots of brainless reality television for me, as I lie flat on my back. Even so, thankful for so much — like a comfy couch and Internet and popcorn. And for my work partner Carrie  picking up the slack! Much love to Heather, another work team member, who I’m sending extra warm fuzzies to, during these hard times.

April 8th:

Thank you for the encouraging thread. It was very validating.

I’ve been following my intuition, since I got sick over 4 weeks ago. I was doing better for a couple days and then had a relapse with shortness of breath, shallow breathing, crushing chest pain, and fatigue returning.

Some of the information that was posted in the thread below this (on m Facebook wall) by community members (thank you), confirmed I am doing many things that are recommended.

When I stopped doing most of these things listed below, as it was over three weeks and I was gaining ground (on Sunday), by Monday I regressed. I am back to my routine again.

1. I only took one Tylenol at the start and did not take any other over the counter pain killers, to let my body have a natural temperature and to not suppress my immune system, nor tax my liver or kidneys.

2. I take a deep breath of outdoor fresh air, and vitamin C and vitamin D, when I wake up, and repeat the C twice more in the day.

3. I take zinc.

4. I ordered an extra nebulizer (for my asthma) 4 weeks ago, thinking there would be a high demand. And I use it daily, as needed. I think I will use it a bit more, as a preventative.

5. I shower at least once a day for steam and to cleanse my body.

6. At night I brush my teeth and gargle and apply tea tree oil on my nostrils.

7. I sit up and if chest pain gets severe, I walk around house. (I will now do the suggested arm stretches above head and deep inhales.) Yesterday, I was flat on my back and it made it worse.

8. When it was at it’s peek, I sat up in bed and slept sitting up (with a rosary), intuitively feeling it would less likely settle in my lungs if I was upright.

9. I am using essential oils on chest to help with breathing.

10. I warm up a heating pad a few times a day and place it directly on my chest.

11. I start the day by opening windows in house and bringing in fresh air.

12. I don’t want to tax my liver, so I alternate different supplements and minerals. I have Elderberry, magnesium, fish oil, and more. I have used peppermint gel pills for tummy ache.

13. I drink hot coffee in the morning with oat milk and honey. I drink hot decaf herbal tea throughout the day. If my lungs feel constricted, I have green tea.

14. I mix turmeric with water and drink.

15. My body is rejecting dairy at the moment; so I’ve cut most of it out. It can tolerate butter.

16. I have been listening to my body’s cravings. It has been all foods with high magnesium, such as nuts, bananas, dark leafy greens, organic dark chocolate. And high protein. As I don’t eat meat, I’ve been upping my fish intake.

17. I believe there is a sex hormone link to the virus (I wrote a blog post on this) and have been craving and upping my intake of tofu.

18. I will start sitting and standing up more and sleeping less and rest on my stomach. Sunday night and Monday night I had trouble staying or falling asleep. Tuesday night, when I got a full night’s sleep, I felt worse.

April 9th:

Update:

We believe a virus triggered my POTS, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (ribs easily slip out of place), Stage-4 Endometriosis, and asthma. Won’t know if it’s Covid-19, until tests are widely available and risk of leaving home is decreased. This is week 5 of sheltering in place and being unwell. I start to get some relief and then the pain comes back.

Doing better today. Less dry cough and less shortness of breath. Got a break from crushing chest pain this afternoon. Yay! I have not had mucus. Yesterday morning was scary, as I awoke feeling like I was breathing through a sheet. My inhaler helps.

Lovely sunshine in the Pacific Northwest. Grabbing my outdoor vitamin D amongst the birdies bathing and flying about in our front yard. The fresh air and bright blue sky helps pain levels and mood.

My former husband, Bob, and I spoke on the phone, and he was thankful that he found some face masks in his bathroom– masks that I’d purchased many years back!

I am fortunate in that I have a lot of sick days and vacation time saved up, and Ultranauts Inc. is offering Covid-19 sick days, including for anxiety related to the virus outbreak. Also, my work with recruiting and neurodiversity outreach aren’t a necessity at this time.

This time at home has confirmed that I am right where I want to be. I adore David to no end, and he treats me extremely well, with the upmost respect. I love my sons, dearly. I am not upset in the least with all the canceled trips and appearances. Extremely thankful for the simple things. I do get emotional and cry when I think of all the suffering in the world. I have a strong faith and hope that we will all get through this.

Wherever you are, I hope you are well. Please take care of yourself. Thank you for the community connection. Keeping you in my thoughts.

Kind regards,
Sam

April 10th

Status:

Thanks everyone for your comments. I took them to heart and into consideration. Today I am about the same. POTS is a bit worse.

I was able to type a document today. Fairly certain I am experiencing chest pain (as in the past) from slipped ribs from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and crushing chest pressure from POTS flare up, breathing issues from asthma, digestive issues/neuropathy from POTS.

I don’t feel like the breathing issues are getting any worse or due to a virus growing. It’s been 5 weeks and I think I’d be far worse by now, if that were the case. Instead I seem to be about the same, get a little better, have a set back, then return to about the same. Dairy remains a huge upset to my system.

My fluctuation in hormones (being 51) isn’t helping matters, as the asthma and chronic health conditions are affected.

Our best, educated guess is I caught a virus that triggered everything, and now need to work through the chronic pain flare ups to get back to equilibrium.

Ongoing (for months) emotional stress from a source I cannot control (that I won’t get into for privacy reasons) is not helping. But we are working through with a supportive professional, and that is helping tremendously with the issue.

Feel free to let me know how you and yours are doing below. Wishing you, as always, the very best. Thanks for being you. Stay safe.

Kind regards,

Sam

April 14th

Update:

Lovely sunshine this week in Olympia, Washington, USA. I am working remotely, about 1 to 2 hours a day, and resting the remainder of the day. I had a 50-minute phone call with work team yesterday, which resulted in a 2 hour nap. So still have a way to go with energy levels. I am able to do about 30 minutes of chores/tasks at home each day. Lots of fatigue, but my chest and back pain are decreasing. Sleeping better. I have to limit executive functioning tasks, as I am finding it hard to do things such as turning on computer, paying bills, opening mail, etc. My oxygen saturation level was 99% on Saturday and shortness of breath is less frequent. Resting pulse is elevated, from POTS. Digestion improving! Thank goodness. Less nightmares. Home is peaceful. David is extremely supportive. Violet (dog) is still neurotic as ever, and David has made up a new (not-so-kind) nickname for her. Baha!

I hope you are safe and well. Much love.

Best,
Sam

 

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

10 Things I Would Say to a Female with Asperger’s Syndrome, if I were her Therapist

10 Things I Would Say to a Female with Asperger’s Syndrome, if I were her Therapist

1. I would like to offer something to you, if that is okay. I believe, at this moment, I cannot in any way understand what it is like to be you. I do not believe I know what it is like to be anyone, and I understand you carry with you a vast collection of experiences and knowledge. With that said, I want to try to understand as much as I can about your journey and perspective, so that I can be here with you, not as your teacher, or counselor, or therapist, or even friend, but as another human having a human experience. I don’t consider myself to know the answers; in fact, I believe you to have all the answers that we require to move through this process of discovery. I look forward to this journey with you.

2. I am here for you; you are dedicating your time and your attention, and I respect your commitment to be here. I recognize you have a choice of whom you see, and that you may or may not fit with my person as a whole. Please know that if there is anything about my presentation, my office, or my mannerisms, even my personhood that make you uncomfortable, I am open to you telling me this and will try my very best to be receptive to your input. Please know that any type of discomfort you feel, at any time, and at any moment, takes top priority above any discussion. I understand there may be many thoughts on your mind and that I am by no means able to alleviate all your misgivings, and I recognize this is not possible; yet, I still say this in hopes of creating a safe place for the both of us to sit together. I try in my practice to release the need of agenda, plan of action, or a blueprint we need follow. I am by no means perfect, but stating this to you helps me to remind myself that my top priority is you not my thoughts and needs. This allows the two of us to focus on what you believe is at the heart of your thoughts at all times, and keeps me from thinking I know the answers; as truthfully I know I do not.

3. If there is something of peak interest to you at the moment, perhaps an interest or a hobby, I am here to listen. I don’t mind if you need to talk the entire time we have allotted, that is what I am here for. I am here to listen above all else, to be present, and to receive you as a whole and complete person. I don’t see myself in lacking and in return I don’t see you as lacking either. I think we are both where we are meant to be and I am truly honored to be in your presence. I am not going to write notes about you, if that is okay, as I wouldn’t think I’d much like a person writing notes about me, but instead, I would like to offer you this paper to take home to write down your thoughts after our meeting; if you do not, this is perfectly fine with me, and if you do, wonderful. Feel free to ask me questions about my journey and respecting the therapist/client boundaries, I will offer out as much vulnerability as I can. I would take joy in meeting you equally in this journey, and will strive to remind myself when I become preachy or seem to think I know more than I do. I am human, but I know, beyond a doubt, that what is important in these rooms is not within me, but within you.

4. I wonder if you might be comfortable telling me what the driving force behind you feels like? Where do you think your inspiration comes from? Why do you think you have the intelligence you do? The drive? The stamina? How often do you think about who you are and what you are? Is this inquiry something that interests you or makes you uncomfortable, or something perhaps I am totally off base about asking? I ask, because in the females with Aspergers I have encountered, there is a depth of wisdom that honestly leaves me in awe and makes me curious as to how the universe works inside the mind; and I thought through this direction we might open doors to discovery? What do you think?

5. I am comfortable with whatever subject you want to discuss. There isn’t a set topic I have in mind, nor do I feel at this time there is going to be a need for a topic. I would like to know what pops into your head, and to listen to you process your thoughts, if you are comfortable with this. I think the more I can hear you talk, the better I will be able to approach the challenges you might be presented with through the course of us working with one another. Also, this may or may not apply to you, but if you are more comfortable, I have a lovely plant set in the corner there, and I am more than pleased to watch it as you talk, if me watching you makes you uncomfortable. Also, I can respect your body language and the way you choose to communicate, because I know this is what works for you at the moment. So please know I am not evaluating your body language, tone of voice, or anything about the quality of your speech or subject manner. I understand in my working with other females with similar, but of course their own unique way of perceiving the world, that sometimes they might need a full hour just to speak and process. In the past I have scheduled hour-and-a-half blocks of time, suggesting that the client speak for half of the session, to process her thoughts, and then we meet together and have more of a back and forth discussion. What are your thoughts on this? What would work with you?

6. I believe that there is a serious need for more information about females with Aspergers. What type of information have you found? Is there something specific you think I might be able to gain knowledge from, a book or resource? If you are comfortable, I would appreciate any information you have collected that resonated for you in regards to how you feel; this might be about females with Aspergers, poetry, paintings, or any form of expression. I would especially like to hear if there is anything you wrote, perhaps a poem or a short story. I think I can gain much insight in our journey together, if I am able to see the two of us, symbolically, exploring outside of the constraints of this office, and in the realm of something you may of have created, or perhaps will create in the future. If not, would you like to tell me what you see when I show you particular paintings or what you feel when I read a poem? I have collected some items from other females with Aspergers, a variety of expressions through different art media that I store here at my side. Sometimes, with clients, we look in the basket to see if there is something that resonates?

7. In working with other females, those that have traits of Aspergers, whether diagnosed or not, I have come across a checklist of attributes that typically fits the Aspergers experience well. I would appreciate being granted the opportunity to read this to you, to see what you think? Or you are welcome to read the list yourself, either aloud to me, or to yourself. I think there might be some connecting links here we can explore together. If you would like, we can develop a list of priorities, or address perhaps five items that caught your attention. For instance the concept of the anxiety that builds in planning for an upcoming event outside the house. Then we can decide together where to go from there.

8. I am well aware that sometimes certain techniques I have implemented in my psychotherapy practice aren’t universal, in meaning they don’t fit with everyone. I recognize that we are each unique in our experiences and learning modalities. I have done research on various learning styles, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and sensory integration challenges. I would like you to know that I am aware some of my approaches might not be the right “fit” for you. Such as in the past I implemented positive self-talk to a lovely client, and she explained to me that the form of therapy I was using, called “cognitive therapy,” was adding unnecessary stress to the stress she already carried. I am so thankful she told me, because from there we worked together and developed a new approach. With this client we looked at her favorite books and created stories about the characters in the book; this type of approach resonated with here. With another client, she explained that she had been through years of self-help and group therapy and only initially needed a safe place to be. And so we spent many of our sessions with me listening and her sharing. Another client loved Carl Jung and the thought of the collective unconscious, so we took that route together. Please know this is your time and I want to spend the time doing what fits your style, not mine. I think, if we both explore the vast range of possibilities, we can easily find an avenue that suits your comfort-level and learning style. Also, as a reminder, nothing we establish is necessary, or set in stone, or needs to meet completion; we can change midstream; in fact, I like to do that, as it reminds me that I am not the one in control, nor do I need to be. This frees up space for me to be more present and attentive to your needs.

9. Are there any specific spiritual practices you gravitate towards? Or any types of methods of relaxation you incorporate. I found with one client that even the thought of implementing a practice was daunting and actually sparked an avoidance of doing such practices. How do you feel about goals and lists? Have you ever partaken in specific grounding exercises, self-centering, or body awareness visualizations, and is this something you might be open to exploring together? For my own self, I find that when I am in my body and aware, I can better detect where the anxiety is coming from in my environment. I can then talk to this anxiety, and other emotions I have, as if it were a person. Do you understand what I mean? Do you ever personify numbers, or letters, or parts of your body?

10. I know of someone who says she thinks people with Aspergers are: “Keepers of the Light.” I like this definition, as I see such pure traits in women I have met on the spectrum or believe themselves to be on the spectrum; there is a source of pureness, innocence and this honesty that just bears all thorns. I cannot tell you how much I long to experience some of the truths you carry and to understand what this journey of yours has brought to those around you. I see you as such a gift to me and to the world. What would you like to call Aspergers? What name shall we give this journey?

All rights reserved. May be printed for professional use in therapy setting. May not be redistrubuted or used in any other manner. Thank you. Please maintain author information on the paper. Author of the blog Everyday Aspergers. Samantha Craft, M.Ed. Writer and Educator. Female with Aspergers with son with Aspergers.

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