Category Archives: sensory system

No Limits

So, school has started. It is feeling a tad overwhelming. I try so hard to not lose my composure. It is a struggle all day. It’s interesting how it affects me. I have an overload of heat, crowded halls, and sitting still. I get so edgy in an instant. I try to control myself. It is a huge effort but I must do it if I want to achieve my dreams. Still, the struggle is hard. But isn’t life a struggle with some benefits of reprieve in between the challenges? It isn’t the other way around. We kid ourselves in imagining it is.

I watch a show called Expedition Impossible. It is a race competition in Morocco with teams of three trying to be the last team standing. One team gets eliminated each week. I see how hard they push themselves in high altitude, or in deserts, or in all kinds of different terrain. They have to mountain climb, repel cliffs, kayak rapids, ride camels, row and sail rafts, do puzzles, and overcome illness and fatigue. It is interesting in a way to see all the types of people in the race. Some are supportive and some are obnoxious, and some are weeping in overwhelmed self pity even though they chose the challenge. It is like me in high school. I chose it, so I must be the not-obnoxious or weepy one.

There is a team I will tell you about. It is a wonderful group of three athletes. One is blind. One is a US soldier who injured his leg severely on the trek. One is the eyes of the blind contestant. In a way he is the spirit of the group. He is so positive and they are all amazingly positive and determined and tough. The blind man, Erik Wiehenmayer, is incredible. He repels cliffs without sight, climbs rocky mountains, kayaks rapids, crosses a river on a zipline- all by verbal tips, and courage. He won’t let his disability stop him though his trek is harder than all the others. They all struggle too. He does it with no sight.

I see his decision to fight against limits. He won’t surrender to the easy way out. It is a good reminder to me too. I have a choice to be lazy or weak, but I will do the struggle. I too want a life not limited by my disability, so I guess I need to remember when I get overwhelmed or school is hard that my goal is my liberation from stagnation and more. I want to succeed as Erik shows me, in spite of autism and in spite of challenges.

Waking a Sleeping Mind Body Connection

I work out and I feel a lot better. In truth, I feel like my body is waking from a slumber. In my doing jumping jacks or knee lifts I teach my body to respond to commands. In the strength exercises I gain muscle power. In the cardio, I get healthy. It used to be horrible. I had soft muscle tone, according to my old OT. In reality, I was out of shape. I was mostly bored in adaptive P.E. I never had exercise, just drills. I needed to teach my body to listen and I needed exercise to do it. I’m tall and big-boned. If I wouldn’t have autism I’d try out for football or rugby or something like that. Now I have to be content waking up my sleepy and long slumbering response system, and doing what my body needs to wake up even more. Staying out of shape is not for me at all.

Crying in My Heart

The news is really upsetting me. It’s horrible how it is only grief or disaster, natural or man made, that seems to get reported. The events are far away, but my overly sensitive system transports me to Japan and Libya and Jerusalem and in my mind I’m there. I read in Anne Frank’s diary and in my neural pathways I’m hiding from evil Nazis in an attic. The bummer is, I can’t control it.

The truth is, being sensitive is a gift in a lot of ways, though the curse is moments like this. The belief that I, as a person with autism, have no insight or compassion is off base.

More on that another time.

Even light movies like Indiana Jones get me upset internally. I imagine running from arrows, boulders and being in snake-filled pits and I can see the exciting story, the humor and all, and I still get frightened for nothing.

I feel autism is highs and lows of intensity. I can’t hide from feelings. I have to deal with them.
The news is overwhelming in its sensational stories. I know I have to filter because of bits and pieces that distort the whole, so I think I’ll take a break, starting now, from listening to any more news and news analysis. Then I can focus on the brighter topics like homework and folding my laundry without thinking of nuclear reactors, disasters, and sorrow.

For the moment the world looks safe in my mind and I can stop crying in my heart.