“[…] the increase in those who are euthanized because of psychiatric disorders: not just severe depression, but also schizophrenia, anxiety, autism […]”

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Reading the entire article from where the paragraph below originated, I’ve asked myself if I might remember well times not so long past, when people with “psychiatric disorders” were considered not only alleged burdens to themselves, but also to their societies, and subsequently “euthanized” for the “greater good”.

I took myself the liberty to emphasize “autism” because I didn’t really know what else to do… Because I am besides many others, all of the following: Jewish, Diabetic, Autistic, Specially Learning Disabled (Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Visual Stress),  and with symptoms of Anxiety and Depression.

I was wondering what would a “professional” have to NOT offer, in order for me to consider their “offer of Euthanasia”? Because after half-a-century of quietly and unknowingly living with most of the above “conditions” I’ve nearly lost hope… But instead of just being offered death, people and professionals helped me recognize the part beyond the “dis” of my special needs, offering me life within my abilities.

Because the “right to die” shouldn’t simply mean that it’s just “all right to die”…

“[…] In the Netherlands, more than 5,000 people are now euthanized per year. In Belgium, it has risen to 2,021 in 2015 from 347 in 2004.

Euthanasia in both countries is increasingly provided outside the paradigm of unbearable physical, disease-related suffering at the end of life. Particularly significant, even if still limited, is the increase in those who are euthanized because of psychiatric disorders: not just severe depression, but also schizophrenia, anxiety, autism, anorexia, PTSD and even profound grief.

Euthanasia has been offered to couples who want to die together, people who are disabled and increasingly to people who are just tired of life. […]”

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-euthanasia-assisted-suicide-dutch-netherlands-perspec-1018-jm-20161017-story.html

On Neurodivergent Solitude…

Daydream on Solitude

It’s been a while since reading a post which at the time represented an epitome of honesty, from a world unknown, foreign and distant for the vast majority, the universe of those for whom solitude may be exactly on the opposite of unwantedness…

The author’s plea was powerful and simple: “Embrace Solitude”.

Now I know how strange and “abnormal” may this sound for some of my readers, bordering a world ostracised by the “media” onto shores of mental pathology, from where “loners” emerge to disrupt the (un)desirable illusion of what’s been arbitrarily decided to be known as “society”, with it’s virtual book of “faces”, where “likes” have “value” and “friendships” oftentimes last less than a tweet’s ephemeral life.

Decades ago, while ignorant of my true self, I was still chasing a place in this world, I visited a small northern Transylvanian village, home to the family of a former acquaintance of mine, a typical rural, long house, with a long porch, offering wool covered benches to rest at the end of a day, shelter from heat or rain. And while we, the “civilised” city dwellers were exchanging the usual nonsensical rubbish called small talk, disturbing the background, quiet saintly symphony of crickets and corn brushing winds, this old man, in his late eighties, dressed in his traditional, soap smelling clothes, sat there, at the far end of our uselessness, quietly smoking, absorbed by something I came to value lately, by his own solitude. Oblivious we thought him to be, distant and obnoxious, even though as he sometimes turned his eyes on our little group, he seemed to smile, but looking back, I’m sure he may have just seemed to…

I guess he just felt sorry, or maybe pitied us for wasting the time so scarcely measured onto each of us on nonsense, as from his point of no return, the biological and psychological life of an individual was understood to be centred around the individual himself, detangled from anything and anyone else beyond the unavoidable biopsychosocial reciprocities of life.

Now the image of that solitary old man, absolutely at peace with his quiet remoteness, has been ever since the daydream of a man who has come to understand not only the altruistic friendliness of solitude, but also its desirability. And if “altruistic” friendliness may confuse you, please consider solitude as the uniquely delimited space, shaped after all your unadulterated characteristics, something like an amniotic liquid filling all spaces between the protective walls of a womb and yourself.

Would this be the perfect scenario for all? No, absolutely not, unfortunately…

Is this the perfect scenario for all of us, neurodivergents? I wouldn’t venture guessing beyond my own perfect amniotic sac…

Why am I asking these, probably uncomfortable questions?

Because reading the so many times frustrated pages of my neurodivergent “tribe” I sense from one end the neurotypical world’s bullying attitude of rejecting solitude in an attempt to forcibly categorize it as “antisocial”, and from the other, the neurodivergent fear of understanding and embracing it, with too many carrying the unjust guilt of secretly loving it and desiring it, sadly in a world of maladaptive values and counterfeit societal conjunctures.

If your question has become now, “Is solitude for Me?”, ask yourself why are you asking this?

Is it because each time you’ve chosen it, you ceased being and feeling alone?

Is it because each time you’ve filled it, you ceased being and feeling lonely?

Well, I won’t give you an answer only yourself can give…

But I shall venture saying this: when I understood my neurodivergence and understood how solitude and me were chasing each other since we’ve parted ways over half a century ago, I became myself.

Unashamed of my own self, of my own silence, of my own thoughts, of my own magnificent inner world with all its patterns and choreographies of rhymes and rhythms, I’ve ceased being lonely, I ceased being alone.

In my newly re-discovered world, solitude has become the perfect and desirable replacement for loneliness, anxiety and depression, where my ephemeral life’s batteries are recharged.

Isn’t this some sort of escapism, you may ask?

Oh, but it is, the perfect place to escape a world I haven’t been there in its beginnings to shape, onto a world I’ve been carrying with me ever since, just seconds and inches away, beyond thin, but nevertheless easy to close behind, doors…

And if that door is a real door somewhere I feel safe, or between my headphones or ear-defenders, or on a bench in a quiet park or backyard, I could care less.

Once within, I’m with me in; there my “awkwardness” becomes my “greatness” , my “weirdness” becomes my “uniqueness” and my “impossibleness” becomes my “endless potential”.

What about You?

 

 

Yiruma against meltdowns…

Yiruma

There are times when, at least in my case, only heartfelt music restores some balance to my chaotically racing mind, savagely trying to escape another meltdown…

If You are looking for some soothing piano tunes to calm the storms, consider Yiruma…

Piano played with the heart, perfect for my quiet chamber of self, where my neuro-divergence can be ME, not something the world says I have…

I am about as autistic as they come.  

Realising that for ME, my own SELF is not “just” a collection of individual characteristics, but a perfect world, opened a whole new chapter in the sometimes painful process of liberating myself from the slavery imposed on me, i.e. the attempt of pleasing my surroundings, the people who claim to see the bigger picture, but miserably fail to see others as vital details of these pictures.
I started to see the absolute value of the SELF, which is not only a person, ME, but also a place which I can identify as “within”, where I can find MYSELF. And I absolutely agree with the writer’s critique of the allistic world; it’s just hard to realise that this world still acts as a trap unless the neurodivergent finds their way back within themselves. And yes, interaction is important for all the practical reasons, but it should be MY choice, not my chain…

Oh, does this make me “selfish”?

Absolutely, and it feels great!

Happy, Healthy Autist

solitary figure standing alone with fractal designs in the sky around them

Autos = Greek for “Self”.

-ism = word-forming element making nouns implying a practice, system, doctrine, etc

Autism = extreme practice / system / doctrine of the Self.

Self-referencing.

Self-consulting.

Self-absorbed.

For me, that’s the only — the only  — way I can effectively create. And think. And live.

Other people’s input is fine for them to offer, but it’s for them. Not for me. I cannot abide having input from others into what I’m doing, while I’m doing it. Every now and then, I’ll make an exception for works that are intended for a wider audience. But the works I create for myself, and for the sake of creating — totally, 100% Autistic. and that’s absolutely perfect.

Balance… balance.

The danger, of course, comes from my developed way of relating to the rest of the world. I know I am different. I have no desire to conform…

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Curing Autism

Featured Image -- 1102“Autism is a normal neurological variance. Just like being left handed. We need the right scissors, or rather the left ones. “

Autism and expectations

Can we talk about a cure?

There’s a real problem when it comes to Autism, and it’s not to be found in us autistics. It’s to be found in the focus of funding.

Time and time again I see people struggling to get diagnosed, and then struggling when there is so little real support post-diagnosis.

The vast majority of funding appears to be spent on finding a cause for Autism, and studying what it really means neurologically.

I’m not saying those things shouldn’t be funded, but that leaves a tiny percent left for actually supporting people.

I’ve recently seen a disturbing comment by a parent of an autistic child, berating an autistic adult for calling themselves autistic, “You wouldn’t call a child with cancer a cancer child!” is the argument.

I wonder if they know how hurtful and offensive that is? I wonder if they realise that they’re comparing a…

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Sensory Overload, my hidden foe (hearing)…

As I have mentioned before, I am going through a process of discovering newer and newer details about my own condition(s), and as a result, I am learning how to better cope with life’s sometimes fair, but oftentimes unfair demands.

In this process, I notice similarities between what I experience and what others experience, therefore if I find anything worth considering for myself, I think it might be useful to share some of these thoughts, of course never as a substitute for professional help.

For many, many years, or better decades, a very distressing incident kept repeating itself, especially in crowded places like shopping centres and supermarkets, with all that cacophony of loud music (why’s that needed in the first place?), trollies, voices of people chaotically racing always too close to me, children’s tantrums, flood of artificial light and the subsonic vibration of industrial fridges. After a short while, I always noticed first some sort of mind-foggy confusion, when the shopping list became my only reality anchor, which rather shortly started to morph into a very uncomfortable anxiety, followed by an intense feeling of distress. Unfortunately, my family had to witness nearly every time, outbursts of anger for absolutely trivial “reasons”, which I -most of the time- blamed on my oftentimes crippling chronic lower-back condition. But, as I noticed sometimes, the lack of pain in my back, didn’t really change much. And because of the intensity of my distress, and the draining effort of coping without causing what from outside looked sometimes like a petty family argument, I never noticed WHY on very rare occasions, even with some back pains present, I could remain socially reasonable (it turns out it was always when we went shopping either very early, or very late, when the shops were nearly empty).

Since realising that I am living on the Autistic Spectrum, displaying nearly all the symptoms of Asperger’s, I started to consciously experiment strategies learned from specialized literature, but also from other Aspies.

One of these strategies was/is protection from Sensory Overload, especially its Audio aspect, my hidden foe.

A few good weeks ago, I started to look around for some good quality earplugs and ear defenders, and started using them (the pictures display my own protective devices).

And the miracle just happened!

It took some time with my earplugs, to learn the tricks of inserting them and taking them out, or adjusting the ear defenders to the -considerable- size of my head, but the miracle happened indeed: I can go shopping without the fear of another meltdown, without chasing my family out of the shop as soon as possible just to escape the audio nightmare, and without the soul scarring guilt of having done it, “again”. And interesting enough, the earplugs allow me to still hear voices and most of sounds, but without that horrendously painful “vibration” which my brain just can’t take…

One more thing I noticed, and that’s about mornings. I usually get up quite early, giving myself time to go through my precise little routines and rituals. I noticed though, that if any family member joined around, minding their own routines, it made me feel anxious and distressed. First I thought that I might be their interference with my established routes of routine, but for the past few days, I noticed that it may be something else. For some reason, I plugged my ears, and I noticed that the stress started to decrease. I took them out, and had a bit of conversation over the coffee with my wife, just to realize that some of the sounds of her lovely voice, acted like sledgehammers to my brain. I plugged my ears back, and the hammering stopped, even as we continued chatting. And I’m sure this wasn’t the first time in over twenty years of marriage, but it was the first “conscious” occurrence.

What I realized is that probably, early in the day, when the ears adapt from the quietness of rest to the sounds of a new day, there could be a period of transition when they are overly sensitive, especially in the case of individuals susceptible to Sensory Overload.

So, I don’t know how others might feel about it, but earplugs first thing in the morning seem to be working fine for me J

 

More to come about Sight, Touch, Smell and Taste…

Where clouds merge…

Mad-Max-Fury-Road-Trailer-2-22-1280x532 (2)

Too late to paint the shades of darkness;

it’s after midnight, don’t you know?

So many wounds, and so much harshness,

of deaths outrunning lives too slow…

 

Do we remember our own image mirrored,

the smell of revenge on edges of time,

of tenderness scarred and hopes littered,

of poems unworthy of paper and rhyme?

 

Is this the end of all our beginnings?

Impossible lyrics to unwritten songs;

factual statements for obvious meanings,

no rights in the graveyards of all our wrongs…