March 9, 2020 at 1:04 pm #342490
Dear Aiyana Henderson:
You repeatedly mentioned your Asperger’s. Clearly, this diagnosis is very meaningful to you. In www. autismspeaks. org (no spaces) there is a brief history of the Asperger’s diagnosis:
-in 1944 “an Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger described four strikingly similar young patients. They had normal to high intelligence. But they lacked social skills and had extremely narrow interests. The children also shared a tendency to be clumsy”. In 1994 “Asperger syndrome listed in the Diagnostical and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-4). And in 2013,”Asperger syndrome and other previously separated types of autism folded into one umbrella diagnosis of ‘autism spectrum disorder’ in DSM-5.
Wikipedia on Asperger syndrome reads: “Individuals with AS experience difficulties in basic elements of social interaction, which may include a failure to develop friendships.. a lack of social or emotional reciprocity.. and impaired nonverbal behaviors in areas such as eye contact, facial expression, posture, and gesture… a person with AS may engage in a one-sided, long-winded speech about a favorite topic, while misunderstanding or not recognizing the listener’s feelings or reactions, such as a wish to change the topic of talk or end the interaction… language acquisition and use is often atypical. Abnormalities include verbosity; abrupt transitions.. use of metaphor meaningful only to the speaker… the conversational style often includes monologues about topics that bore the listener, fails to provide context for comments, or fails to suppress internal thoughts..”-I don’t know you in person, never heard your voice or seen if you make eye contact with people, but I can tell by reading your posts over the years, that some of what Wiki reads about Asperger’s doesn’t fit you:
* You didn’t express “extremely narrow interests“; you expressed interests (as a kid) in becoming a social worker and a veterinarian, you expressed interests for a long, long time in reading, and in writing poetry and a novel and entries in social media, and in languages (Italian) and in traveling, and more. That’s a wide spectrum of interests, not an extremely narrow one!
* There’s been no verbosity in your writing, no “one-sided, long winded speech“, no “abrupt transitions“, no use of “metaphor meaningful only to the speaker“, no failure “to provide context“, and no failure “to suppress internal thoughts”.
As a matter of fact, regarding the later, I noticed great success in your ability to suppress internal thoughts: you shared so very little about your father, your mother, her live-in boyfriend, your siblings, your childhood and your family life past and present. Last month you wrote: “For the most part, I’m not worried about anyone I know reading what I write online. Everyone in my family is different and has busy lives, so I’m good”, which indicates to me that you indeed suppress your thoughts and control what you share about your family because you are afraid that they will read what you share and disapprove of you revealing information about them, or information connected to them.
All you shared about your immediate family is that your parents divorced early in your life, your mother was (maybe still) living with a boyfriend, that you have an older brother in his thirties who never had a girlfriend, and that you have four sisters, as well as you being an aunt. You wrote that your mother is your advocate, that her boyfriend criticized you (maybe still) but has a good heart- that very little sharing (and the reason why I don’t have enough information that will make it possible for me to understand you better!)
You don’t fit all that is described in the diagnosis of Asperger’s. On the other hand, I fit some of it myself: being clumsy, not as much now as I used to be, but early in my life I was very clumsy. I too missed social cues, had difficulties socializing, avoided eye contact, didn’t have friends or a boyfriend, spent so much time alone while my peers had friends and boyfriends and social lives.
And yet, I was never diagnosed with Asperger’s.
My point is, in most cases, we shouldn’t be too attached to our diagnoses. Over attachment to our mental diagnoses limits us. For example, believing that you are doomed to fail at social interactions because you are born Asperger’s and forever-Asperger’s .. leads you to think that you are never likely to greatly improve your social skills and social life.
I myself was diagnosed with a few mental disorders for which the prognosis was poor. I no longer fit two of those diagnoses. My social skills in-person improved greatly. My past anxiety in social situations has calmed down significantly. I feel so much more comfortable in social situations than I used to. (I am surprised: I didn’t know it was possible!)
-I am not saying that you were misdiagnosed. What I am saying that mental diagnoses are broad umbrellas and lots of what is inside an umbrella doesn’t fit the people under that umbrella. Plus, in the DSM-5, there is no such thing as Asperger’s. Meaning, mental diagnoses are artificial constructs decided on by professionals in their conferences, constructs that change, get undone and redone.
Better loosen the hold these diagnoses have on us, so that we are not held captive to a diagnosis and have the freedom to be and become who we are/ can be.
We can discuss the post above, the one with your writings since 2014, as well as this one further, later and over time, if you want. For now, I will close with more from that link I mentioned above regarding Asperger’s:
“Find the following services near you using the Autism Speaks Resource Guide:
Cognitive behavioral therapy can help address anxiety and other personal challenges.
Social skills training classes can help with conversational skills and understanding social cues.
Speech therapy can help with voice control.
Physical and occupational therapy can improve coordination. Psychoactive medicine can help manage associated anxiety, depression and attention deficit and hyperactive disorder”.
anitaMarch 9, 2020 at 1:48 pm #342506AnonymousInactive
The attachment should also have links to more autism friendly sites that advocate for autistic people rather than wanting to cure us.
I understand that you’re trying to help. Just seeing the name of that organization triggered me. It reminded me of all those years when I spent time in autism groups. They were cringey. Thankfully, I’m hanging around people close to my age. I’m also going to start a new thread because this one is getting too long and I want to write more of a grammatically correct title.March 9, 2020 at 2:14 pm #342516
Dear Aiyana Henderson:
In my second post to you today I used two online resources. I had no idea that the first resource is considered by some autistic- unfriendly; it seems like a good resource to me. I am sorry that it triggered you in a negative way. The second resource is Wikipedia, which I believe didn’t trigger you.
Regarding your current new thread and any new thread you may start in the future, I hope other members answer you. I will not reply to your new threads, and communicate with you further only on this thread (“My Changing my Path”). If you want to communicate with me further, today or at any time in the future, you are welcome to post here.
I hope other members answer any and every new thread you start, and I wish you the best.
anitaMarch 11, 2020 at 2:05 pm #342846AnonymousInactive
Hey Anita, it’s me again.
I understand where you’re coming from.
I’ll spare you the details of the latest family ordeal. It was the same old stuff.
Thankfully, I listen to hz music to calm myself down. It’s gradually becoming to a point where I have to leave my house early enough to not hear any arguments in the morning, if not, throughout the whole day. It’s not like they can do anything to me. I was this close to screaming and feeling so overwhelmed. I’m not sure what time it is in your time zone, but here, it’s 5 in the afternoon. I do remember you telling me that it would take over 12 hours for you to answer my posts, which I’m fine since I have other things to do.
I can’t tell you how grateful I am for you. If it wasn’t for this website, among other resources, I wouldn’t be able to breathe above water. I thought about going back to writing poetry again. I’ll share some with you guys.
Maybe you were always this way
the secret nature
of your shadow self
you couldn’t get help
The darkness inside of you was piling
as Cerebus breathed down your neck
Hades was attempting to take you
into his Underworld,
but his vibrant wife,
who is Queen,
let everything be green,
Inside, you knew ,
that spring had finally begun.March 11, 2020 at 2:21 pm #342852
Dear Aiyana Henderson:
You are welcome, good to have you back here.
You can tell me if you want to, if you are comfortable telling me about those arguments: who is arguing with whom (your mother and her boyfriend? siblings?), how loud, what kind of words are being said, any threats or insults being said, and how early in your life were you exposed to such arguments?
Your poem is beautiful and I want to google a few of the words you used and re-read it slowly and attentively Thurs morning (I am three hours ahead of you, I live on the West Coast. I figure you live on the East Coast) when I feel fresh, bright eyed and bushy tailed, I hope.
anitaMarch 11, 2020 at 2:42 pm #342860AnonymousInactive
It happened earlier in the morning. I was trying to clean up the house because my mother is convinced that she has a stomach bug. Long story short, I had put my phone on top of the fruit plate so that I could wipe up the table. She didn’t like that. And when I wanted to clean up the stove, she repeated herself by saying that I had to use the bleached paper towels. What really got me was when I was trying to do the dishes, and she honest to God just overwhelmed me. I could understand that from my stepdad. By the way, they got married a couple of years ago. But her? She has been a very different person for a long time and I’m just now seeing that.
If you’re comfortable with answering my question, is your family this way? If not, I’ll happily swap with you. Or live with you. Haha. Funny joke. I also need to remember that there’s a reason why I don’t follow a lot of people online.March 11, 2020 at 3:38 pm #342874
Dear Aiyana Henderson:
No, I don’t recommend you swapping with me, having my mother around you- she’d do an excellent job overwhelming you (scream, cry, threaten to kill herself or me, blame me, guilt trip me, hit me) not a good idea. I am not in contact with her anymore, not since 2013.
“when I was trying to do the dishes, and she honest to God just overwhelmed me”- how, did she yell at you?
“She has been a very different person for a long time and I’m just now seeing that”- if you can elaborate on it, please do.
I don’t feel very comfortable sometimes asking questions, and people often don’t feel comfortable answering me, so please answer only if you feel comfortable. Whether you answer or not, I will keep communicating with you, so you choose.
(I will be away from the computer for a while).
anitaMarch 12, 2020 at 2:28 am #342916AnonymousInactive
She overwhelmed me by saying I did a half ass job, a criticism I’ve heard before.
I can’t think about it anymore. I’m considering cutting off contact from my family if I ever leave and save enough money. I’m still nervous sometimes that they’ll see this knowing how the internet is, but knowing their personalities and my own personality, it’s unlikely.
The reason I said that she’s been a different person for a long time is because of my stepdad. She curses more often. She complains a lot more than usual. Honestly, she just drains my energy. I’ve even considered leaving the house without anyone knowing to get away from conflict. I’m not good with it and I never will be. I can mediate between two people, but that’s it.
That would mean eating breakfast earlier, taking a shower earlier without no one wanting me to help cook or clean. I’m authentically done. She was unhappy with my father too, but at least she wasn’t cynical about life. At least I’m still saving money to continue going to therapy in the future. I have to remember that I’m not a teenager anymore. None of this is my fault.March 12, 2020 at 9:16 am #342950
Dear Aiyana Henderson:
Good point: “None of this is my fault”- true. Your mother’s unhappiness, her relationships with your father before, with her new husband, that’s none of your doing, none of your responsibility. So it makes sense that the moment you don’t have to suffer from her unhappiness, her criticism, her complaints, her negative energy- that you won’t! It will be a good thing then when you are able to move out and make thoughtful choices in regard to who you allow into your life.
Your poem: “Maybe- Maybe you were always this way- Shrouded under- the secret nature- of your shadow self- Breathing underwater,- you couldn’t get help- The darkness inside of you was piling- as Cerebus breathed down your neck- Hades was attempting to take you- into his Underworld,- but his vibrant wife,- who is Queen,- let everything be green,- Inside, you knew,- that spring had finally begun.”
What a meaningful, fascinating poem. It leads me to think the following: Aiyana Henderson’s secret self was shrouded by darkness, pushed Under by Hades (the god of the Underworld) , but she rose from the underwold to the surface like a green plant growing toward the sun in Spring.
What a beautiful poem, it makes me feel this.. spring feeling of hope and growth; of invisible, hidden underworld things of winter rising up as visible, green Spring. Very relevant to this time of the year!