Monthly Archives: August 2012

Forgiving My Neurons

How do I forgive my body? Stupidly it refuses my wishes time after time. My mind says, “Stop!” It has to go, hurtling into its own internal, impulsive deeds. What can I say? Autism is a really big challenge at times. It sometimes gets easier and I hope that is the trend, and then, out of nowhere, some new order is established. I must do what it says. My will is taken over by a body with its own mind.
I learned from hard experience that I have to fight it with all my might. I decided long ago that I would not be a slave to impulses that ruin my future, my present, and my happiness. However, I am not always sure or able to defeat the impulses. This makes me get really sad and start to hate my body, my neurons, and my trapped self. It is harder to fight impulses in a depression.
Now that I have moaned and whined, I must decide what to do. Can I give in or quit trying? Never. I must keep thinking that I will have the guts to keep on, even if it feels overwhelming. It is pointless to hate my body and neurons because I let them trap me in self rage. 
My body is not at fault. It is trapped too. My neurons aren’t at fault. They don’t hurt me on purpose. This is a crime with no criminals. I think I must let go of my frustration and anger. Wishing I wasn’t autistic may truly be the recipe for misery. My mind is free, my body strong, and my soul can fly.  If I let it go I can find peace inside. I must love my body as is. It is part of me, though I may not always feel that way, I will get no other. I may as well love it and get hope rather than hate it and get angry.
I think anger is only worthwhile if channeled to fix things. My anger was just a mass of resentment and fury. That is pointless and destructive. I am spiritual and I am sure God loves me as I am. If God can love me with autism then I can do no less.

Emotion Outbursts

The first week of school was both great and hard. I have to say I was glad to be out of my house, but the abrupt change from lazy summer to a full schedule of tough academic classes is hard for anyone, but is especially hard for people with issues changing their routine. My subjects are mostly new to me, as are my teachers (with one great exception), and my one-on-one aide is new too. Factor in a non-stop heat wave in sort of sauna-land all day and I get frazzled more easily than usual. 
  
 The teachers have been pretty cool because it is the first time they have had a student so disabled to learn about. I admit, if people are cool and calm with me it helps me if I’m stressed, but if people get stressed, I get frightened. I have a roller coaster internally that can’t stop when I feel fear. I must be given the space to center my neurological system.
 I so wish I was my full master of my emotions and behavior but I don’t have the tools yet. My parents or aide are indispensible in helping me modulate my behavior. They can right the tilting ship. They get it. Sometimes – rarely—I lose it, but usually I regain myself fast. If the situation escalates because I am not given a chance to calm myself, it is not helpful at all. Then my roller-coaster plummets. I keep wondering how do I stop it when I get impulsive or edgy at once. 
  
 I know I must be removed in quiet and allowed to pull myself together. I think many schools and parents should know this. A show of tough authority escalates a sensory system that needs peace. Take the kid to a quiet place to sit still and it should do the trick eventually. Running is also helpful. I regret it always if I lose my cool or misbehave in public but I urge people to not be frightened. Autistic non-verbal people don’t mean harm. It is usually a form of frustration they don’t contain well.

Back to School

First day of school tomorrow. I will have English, Spanish, World History, Algebra 2, Biology, plus an elective and PE. It will be a busy, hard year. More than anything, I’m excited to be returning to school. My old math teacher is the same, and my new teachers seem really nice and tolerant of me. It is nice to learn in school. I value the opportunity.

Thank You, Oscar Pistorius

I think Oscar Pistorius is an amazing man. He is the role-model of no self pity. it is remarkable how he ran in the Olympics, making to the semi-finals despite no legs. Though my autism is so difficult at times, I must remember that Oscar Pistorius shows me how to get on in life. I realize he is not impaired in speech or behavior like I am, but he faces skeptics, stares, and he keeps going. Sometimes being different is a burden, but Oscar Pistorius embraced his differences to run, win, and live fully. Wishing a heroic man well; thank you, Oscar Pistorius.

Struggling for Self Control in a Sensory Overwhelming World

It is the most intense feeling when I get overwhelmed. How do I describe it in polite terms? It is like the need to vomit. Do you think you have the ability to hold that in? Like it or not, the vomit insists on being released. The need to purge is stronger than manners, or place, or doing what is appropriate. The body defeats the mind’s wishes.
My response to strongly overwhelmed senses can also be an explosive outburst that comes like a tidal wave. Staying away from overwhelming situations helps but I can’t hide from the world. Sometimes I may be in an environment where the background music may be at a volume so loud as to be really agonizing to a person with sound sensitivities. That same environment may be so visually stimulating it is like a kaleidoscope whizzing at a fast speed. In the struggle of sensory blasts, we with autism struggle to keep it together. I think you can’t imagine the challenge of some environments. In the past I wrote how I felt overwhelmed by the crowds and visually blasting images in the rides in Disneyland. Many times there I get the feeling like I must escape instantly because my senses are overwhelmed, but these feelings can happen in many other environments as well.
Even after leaving a tough environment the effects may linger. I wish I could do more to stop the bursts inside because I may behave in a way I regret outside. The choice is to fight the intense feelings inside with so much effort (like fighting back the urge to vomit), or to have the feelings burst out. If I could figure out how to calm my system in these challenging moments, I would because afterwards I feel wretched and regretful. Thankfully I generally have good control now despite these moments that are so overwhelming. But this is still a great frustration for those of us with autism, as well as those who are with us when it happens.

Oscar Pistorius Runs Through Barriers

“You are not disabled by your disability. You are able by your ability.”
Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius, a hero of mine, talks about being the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics.