Filed under: asperger's syndrome, autism, disability | Tags: AS, asd, asperger's, asperger's syndrome, autism, emotions, information processing, Neelam Bakshi, sensory processing
I may have mentioned before that I really find emotions difficult. I think my difficulties with understanding how actions give consequences may be a part of my difficulty with emotions. When I am presented with other people’s they are almost always unexpected, if I knew someone else was likely to be upset by a chain of events, I would be prepared and handle it better. There is an argument that says that when my wife is upset I should be prepared, but I still get surprised.
When my wife’s iPhone got soaked, i shrugged it off as a minor inconvenience, which to me it was, it was not my phone. I stupidly failed to realise that Neelam might see the possible loss of everything she had on the phone, as more than a minor inconvenience. Neelam has had that phone for a few years and has been asking me to sync it for most of that time. I have little sense of the passing of time and had no sense of urgency, I fully intended to sync the phone, I just hadn’t got around to it. All would have been ok if it hadn’t fallen in the water. On reflection I can see why she was less than pleased with me.
Fortunately Neelam’s phone problems appear to be resolved, however trying to sort out one problem ate up time she needed for other things. Right in the middle of sorting out bags today, we had a power cut for several hours. My response to other people’s upset is to withdraw into myself, to some extent to avoid making things worse, but that meant I was not proactively offering help when she wanted it. Sometimes, actually a lot of the time, I need to be told specifically what I should do. Sometimes I feel that whatever I say or do will be wrong so I do nothing; sometimes nothing is worse than the wrong thing. And so I tread on eggshells wondering what will happen next, an indeterminate apprehension of impending emotional storms restricting my ability to act.
I also have problems with the expression of emotions. A clear explosion of anger is understandable, but what I cannot do is read subtle expressions. I know that something is wrong but I am not sure what or how to respond to it. Somedays I feel that when I was sent to earth, the dispatcher on the mothership forgot to give me the guide book that explained humans. I don’t know about other people but I find emotions exhausting. but the most exhausting of all are the emotions of other people. Someone please beam me up, now!
Filed under: asperger's syndrome, autism, disability, success | Tags: AS, asd, Asperger diagnosis, asperger's, asperger's syndrome, autism, career, disability, information processing, personal development, personal growth, success
The other day, as I headed for home, from the Boyd Orr building in Glasgow’s West End, I passed the Student Television studios. It occurred to me that, even in my day, there were students who engaged in hobbies like television or debating, because they were appropriate to their career plans. The story is told that Michael Hesseltine planned out his political career up to becoming Prime Minister, ‘millionaire 25, cabinet member 35, party leader 45, prime minister 55′, on the back of an envelope while still a student; apart from the last two he made it. He took his chance at the PM, unfortunately for him – if not for the rest of us – he didn’t make it. However by any meaningful material measure, he can be described as a success. Sid Savara has debunked the story of research done into goal setting at Harvard Business School. However his article does cite research by Gail Matthews, Ph.D., Dominican University which demonstrates that there is truth to the assertion that writing down one’s goals is more likely to have them happen.
It must be nice to know as a youth the course of one’s life, I personally, have difficulty looking beyond bedtime, to plan a day in advance is a tribulation. Like many people with Aspergers I tend not to have a grasp of the relationship between actions and their consequences, or rather, I can see the relationship in hindsight, but it tends not to occur to me before acting. Having said all that I have, on occasion, written lists of goals and a surprising number have been accomplished, as I have discovered on reading old notebooks. I have in the past done all sorts of personal development courses, and have been frustrated at my lack of material success, that changed when I received my diagnosis and my comparators changed. In autistic terms I may be called a success as I have employment and a long term relationship. However, insofar as I perceive myself not to have the specific success I want, I am not YET a success. To a great extent my problem has been not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but at Sixty I have, at least, some things I want to try. At last I actually have a couple of projects on the go, apart from the garden. I am not a failure, I’m a very late developer. As for growing up, it’s not in my schedule.
Filed under: asperger's syndrome, autism, disability | Tags: Access Consciousness, Access Consciousness Bars, AS, asd, Asperger diagnosis, asperger's, asperger's syndrome, autism, depression, disability, EFT, emotions, Matrix Re-imprinting, nlp, personal development, personal growth, Reiki, self empowerment, Time Line Therapy
There is a power in being able to define ourselves, as ethnic minority activists know hence the term “self defined as black”, however we do not get to choose most of the labels we bear. Sometimes our labels define us as I said in my blog post, Do We Allow Autism to Define Us?. We have two sorts of problematical labels, those of which we are aware and those of which we are not. If we look at the labels of which we are aware, the labels we use of ourselves, and apply them to rigorous analysis we will find that we did not originate most of them, but that they were given to us by others. This applies not only to the negative labels like, stupid, retard, weird, nerd, geek etc., but also to the positive labels, witty, clever, attractive. Unfortunately most of us seem to be more ready to accept of ourselves, the negative labels. These labels are not inherent to us but merely the opinions of others, often not even the opinions of others, but a word used under particular circumstances at a particular time, however the emotion and the context may have given the thought excessive charge.
Perhaps even more deadly are the labels of which we are not aware. These are the thoughts about ourselves that have been installed in our unconscious of which our conscious has no knowledge, some of these will even date back before we had the capacity to even articulate them ourselves. Because we have no awareness of these labels, we cannot identify them in order to remove them. Sometimes some will present to conscious, but many will remain quietly in our unconscious shaping our opinions, beliefs and self image. Much of who we think we are is not based on knowledge, but on installed beliefs, most of which are not even ours.
We are trapped within an image created by beliefs, but we do not have to remain there, there are ways of handling the beliefs with which we have been programmed. Where the beliefs can be identified we may use a number of NLP belief change techniques, but the unconscious beliefs can also be challenged at levels of various depth. Time Line Therapy (TM) can be used to identify and discharge past traumas and the beliefs and limiting decisions they have given us. Emotional Freedom Technique and Matrix Re-imprinting which was developed from it are also powerful ways of accessing installed beliefs while bypassing the conscious mind. I am not sure how the Access Consciousness Bars work, however my experience of them is that they seem to short circuit the internal wiring of the mind, they also seem to be related to meridien work. What I do know is that when my bars are being run I relax so deeply I fall asleep, but Reiki does that too. I suspect that their effectiveness will not be empirically proven for some time, I do hope an experiment is designed that can properly evaluate them, but for now, I suspect, our knowledge is too limited. I also find that the Access Consciousness Clearing Statement is a very powerful tool for shifting beliefs, even when I am not fully aware of what they are or from where they came. Of course, the classic way of accessing the unconscious is through hypnosis, which can also be used for reprogramming beliefs.
Language is key to our programming, the world exists as we describe it. Language is also the primary medium of change in most of the technologies to which I have referred. I think it was Wayne Dyer who said that the two most pernicious statements in our language are, “I can’t do it” and “I’m not well”. The first operates on a level of Belief the other on the even deeper level of Identity so today I am not even saying, “I have flu”, but rather, I have symptoms which some may consider symptomatic of influenza” thus putting everything on the level of action and the easiest place to make changes is in our actions, it also puts distance between me and the sensations removing any emotional charge that might impede my freedom to act.
I have already talked about how my first foray into Stand Up Comedy has transformed my life and it is a change operating on the identity level. What I did by standing on stage and making people laugh was to change who I had been being. I also negated the stereotypes and labels which had been applied to me by myself and others. I effectively rebooted my entire belief system and allowed myself to be who I say I am, and I can be whoever I choose, this could be interesting.
Filed under: asperger's syndrome, autism | Tags: asd, Asperger Syndrome, asperger's, autism, beliefs, neurotypical, nlp, normalcy, normality, personal development, Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg, Tina Jones, values Liz Ditz
I saw the picture and read the comments and could not help feeling I might be missing something. In the end I had to ask whether it was a joke. It turns out that Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg has been poking fun at certain Autism Awareness campaigns on her Disability and Representation Page. http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/ Unfortunately being one of those who tends to take things literally I missed that it was a joke, I suppose had I been normal I would immediately have spotted that it was satire, and now that I know it is obviously satire.
We don’t relate to the world the way normal people do and, to be honest, if left alone it wouldn’t worry us that much. Some time ago a friend’s daughter got on the bus on which I was travelling and sat next to me for the whole journey. When I told her mother she asked whether her daughter had spoken to me; I replied, “No, but I didn’t speak to her either”. This had obviously remained with my friend because she remarked upon it yesterday. She said she would have had to say something, but she accepted, unlike many normal people, that it did not bother us, she even appreciates that her daughter may be happy as she is even though she cannot understand how she could be.
I rejoice when I find normal people willing to accept our difference. Unfortunately most people judge our lives from their point of view and they can’t accept that what is normal for them is neither normal nor desirable for us. I sometimes attend various personal development courses and get a lout from them. However I also suffer considerable discomfort because the normal (?) people who run them expect participants to confirm to their normalcy whereas what is true for then is not true for us. I actually find it offensive that they refuse to accept that we don’t share their beliefs and values, that we feel and respond differently, not better nor worse just different. A great deal of our unhappiness would cease to exist if normal people stopped trying to impose their values on us. Why should we have to confirm to your normality? Why can’t we walk our own paths, supporting each other, assisting each other, in friendship and mutual respect but accepting our right to be ourselves; we are not you, please don’t break us just to force us into your mould.
Filed under: asperger's syndrome | Tags: AS, asd, asperger's, autism, emotions, information processing, Neelam Bakshi, sensory processing
Today I am having a stupid day, but it probably started yesterday when I put the bins out a day early. It was a great day Neelam and I went out to celebrate her birthday, first to the cinema to see Les Miserables and then to Dino’s for a very enjoyable risotto. A great day, but one into which the confusion ultimately set. I went to bed thinking it was Wednesday and all today I have been slipping between Wednesday and Thursday, sometimes via Tuesday – does Doctor Who have days like this?
I was supposed to be starting work at 19.00 today but somewhere along the line I had swapped my shift. Unfortunately beyond noting the change in my diary it made little impact on my consciousness, it made so little impact I didn’t even double check my diary because I knew I started at 19.00, admittedly I knew wrong, but no one can accuse me of lacking certainty.
I arrived at work to discover someone was sitting in my chair and the positions I habitually occupy were already taken, not a good start. Rather than sit between two people I went to another row which necessitated some heavy duty cleaning before I was comfortable enough to use the position. At last I was ready to start, but then I was unable to log on. Panic set in – actually that’s not strictly true, but for some people it might have – eventually at 19.10 I managed to log in only to discover I was ninety minutes early. Sadly by the time I noticed, I had logged an exception explaining my lateness, I may not hear the end of this very soon.
No, this is definitely one of those days when your reality and mine are slightly out of sync and the harder I try to lock into your world, the less certain I am of when I am, or is that where? This is very much a Strawberry Fields Day, “Nothing is real” it’s all very strange.
Filed under: asperger's syndrome, autism, disability | Tags: AS, asd, asperger's, asperger's syndrome, autism, english, english language, information processing, language, sensory processing
I answered a call in the early hours of the morning from someone looking for a number. At first I thought they wanted a taxi, but when I asked them to repeat their request I heard “Dial a Curry, in Edinburgh”. Unfortunately I could not find a number for Dial a Curry and with regret I told them so, to which they responded, “Not Dial a Curry, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh!” (a number I could find)
This story illustrates how I tend to process spoken language. What I obviously pick up is the shape of the words, which I then interpret logically according to context. In this case it was late at night when people tend often to be looking for taxis or fast food. Logically Dial a curry was a very good interpretation, apart from being totally wrong, of course. I am not sure how many words in a sentence I actually hear and how many I interpret from the context, I suspect much depends on circumstance.
I am largely incapable of separating auditory inputs so when there is more than person talking their speech comes in as one input. Add to the speech any background noise, particularly music or television and confusion is inevitable. I am currently attending a series of seminars where much of the input is over videoconferencing, I am getting very little out of it because I cannot make out what is being said, but the assignments are useful. However the assignments are given to us in a printed form, much easier to understand. Although it must be admitted that the tendency of numbers and letters to move around can be infuriating it doesn’t interfere usually with the overall sense and can always be reread for clarification.
The reason I prefer cinema to television is the absence of conflicting inputs it is as if lowering the lights moves people to silence, whereas in a well lit sitting room they will happily chat with no consideration for anyone trying to watch television. There is much to be said for headphones, and while they may prevent the chatty people from listening to the television program one is watching, I personally am inclined to the opinion that one should make a choice, either chat or watch, no one can do justice to both.