7 Times People Judged me Unfairly

Tug of war: Cognitive Heuristics VS Mental Illnesses:

Most of the times, people are oblivious to signs of help needed and warning whistles of people with mental illness. However, if asked whether or not they can spot a suicidal person, or person battling depression, people say they are very intuitive and sensitive to picking this up. They may report cases where they helped their friends out of depression, or spot when someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol. The problem with this is that it only accounts for people that they have seen, but what if I say there are probably 1000 more cases that slip their so called acute awareness every year. This is quite likely because not every symptom is so cookie cutter stereotypical and overt. A lot of symptoms hide and/or take unique forms. Most people are shocked to find out, if they do find out, that I have autism because I certainly seem like an average girl for those people that know me superficially. Sometimes, people fight their own battles, and what may seem overtly as a mean act, or even a dumbass move, may be a cry for help. I always promote a holistic thinking before judging someone. We are not in their lives so until we take the time to know them better, it is not our place to assert our observation based on a 1 second observation. I learned that I will admit I used to be very judgy until I looked at my own life, and saw how I was misjudged, and then not judged by other people. I then came to the conclusion that it is just not fair to judge people by a mere second. All the judgement serves is for safety, and what precautions do we have to take, but not as a person indicator. This is to say, approach people if you can handle it, but in the end everyone just needs to be given an honest, nonjudgmental chance.

Today I wanted to share some realistic encounters with people that missed my autism and judged me on my character, and acted like the knew me on a personal level. I hope this can inspire others to reflect on times they were misjudged and/or misjudged others.

1.    Oblivious, Devious Meeting Ditcher (OBVIOUSLY, LIKE FOR SURE, that’s me, hehehehe : ) )

Behavior: Sitting in the lunchroom with my two older friends because I prefer older kids to my peers. Not noticing my surroundings because I do not care to look around and socialize with my peers. By ignoring them, I’m interacting, or so I think.

Neurotypical: WHAT ARE YOU OBLIVIOUS OR DEVIANT!? YOU MISSED THE MEETING!

Me: I was just being me!! I genuinely did not know I think differently; please don’t yell at meeee!

2.    I am a try-hard slut

Behavior: constantly looking at the other person for their feedback; appearing shaky and inconfient

Nuerotypical Mom’s Reaction: Stop flirting with my son and focus.

What I’m really doing: Analyzing customer so I can spark conversation because it takes me more than a second to read customers. Thinking about what they’re doing for the day so I can relate when I decide to talk, all the while trying to relax. Trying to multi-task.

3.    I am a snobby wierdo

Behavior: Not saying hi, staring at people to analyze body language, anxiety in social interactions not knowing what to say or how to start conversation. Staying quiet to be cool and hide my awkward traits

Neurotypical: She is awkward and snobby and doesn’t like us

Me: I am trying to interact but I don’t know howwww. Me walking by and looking at you is a more sincere hello than saying hello and faking small talk like most people do.

4. I am a dumb, deviant student

Me: Finding the word lamp used on both page 1 and page 352 of the same book and arguing that the author puts lamps in peoples rooms in the characters that are are changing their lives dramatically. Searches pages memorized for other patterns for bring up in discussion.

Neurotypicals: This moment in particular shows how wise this person is as she told lucy to follow her heart even though the person knew if lucy chose choice A it would hurt that person.

Me: How did they find that event soo fast and remember it!? Were 300 pages in there is too many pages to keep track of to spot the pattern aaah!

Neurotypical: She spends way too long on her discussion points and often does not finish her readings when the book is at the end and getting good. She is dumb and does not have a taste for literature.

Me: I don’t know how to read! I have to spend time to catch the patterns to make a grandiose observations to not just report what I think or feel from mere paragraphs. I am reading wrong maybe but I don’t know how to read, no one taught me how to read.

5.    I’m on drugs

 I have had this judgment so many times. The irony is that I’ve never taken any drugs that I wasn’t medically prescribed. I

Me: always happy to be alive, high strung to do everything and meet every problem. Anxious when customers come in and unable to think.

Neurotypicals: She cannot even work the toaster and is so robotic she is high.

Me: I’m sorry I cannot think right now.

Neurotypicals: She is on something.

Incident 2:

Me: sitting in doctors office shaking, stuttered talking, could not find words

Nurse: honey are you okay?

Me: Im sorry i have autism i get anxiety. Oh good okay you need to tell me these things sweety I was gonna report you for being high.

Incident 3:

**in an interview**

Me: looking dazed, anxious, shaking, sweaty, and unable to get any words out. One word answers and then lost in my thoughts. Repeating I don’t know.

Job recruiter: Honey, are you high?

*******************************************

Overall THEME… look at that 🙂

Appearance: high strung, and unable to talk coherently except for a few key words

The real me: I have social anxiety. I’m secretly dying inside. Please send help.

6.    I’m Dumb

me: Anxious, cant breathe or think, cannot add 8+4.

Person: “WHAT?! you’re in college!? yeah right.” *laughs*

Wrap-Up

With all this being said, we have all probably been judged unfairly by these cognitive heuristics. I’m terrified of these cognitive heuristics, but ironically, the more i fear them the more I get them, ergo people judge me unfairly. The best pictures are when you are not aware of the camera. Sometimes our actions do not reflect our character, that those actions may fade under the millions of other acts which do. Yet, the observer who sees you speeding to get your pregnant wife to the hospital is not there to see you when you are a calm, smart driver. It starts in elementary school with teacher pets and then spreads to high school with fake popular A+ students, jocs, prom kings and queens, and so much more high school fakness. The perpetual trying and the yearningness to be social. To urge you all to see people as they are would be impossible especially when we have our own miserable inaccurate judgments that were placed on us from time to time, but if there is one call to action, it would be introspection and self awareness to admit where we are wrong and how we can improve our behaviors to have healthy relationships.

Forever Alone in Misunderstood Abyss

Introduction

Hi guys. I hope everyone is staying safe and sound in their homes! I am am still busy working from home, but it has actually, surprsingly, created way more free time! So I thought I’d spend it doing my favorite past times-blogging! 😊

It has been a interesting few months. Besides the panic with the pandemic (I made a smooth rhyme!! XP), I’m trying to control my anxiety, and just be happy in my own skin. I am definitely spending a lot more time with myself than I’d like to.

I wanted to capture the essence of the loneliness depression makes you feel. So spending time in at my home, or I guess the term everyone saying is “quarantine”, actually has made me realize that it does not matter whether I am with people or by myself, as I am always in my own smoky bubble world. I felt alone in a crowded room in my high school, and it was kind of justified, in my mind, because I told my myself well everyone hates me and I have put myself out there, and they burned me. Now, there are welcoming people, and I am an adult member of my community, and I am putting a hazey bubble around me. All this elucidated the loneliness echoes dominating my social life.

 

Why My Smoky Bubble Won’t Pop

(The Perpetuating Loneliness Trap of Depression)

 

1.    I’m not smooth enough but I’m not awkward enough

As in Smashing Pumpkin’s Mayonaise,  I am “Cool enough to almost be it; cool enough to not quite see it”.  I have fought my autism so much when I was little than I am actually hyper-aware of social cues, social norms, and have an obsessive need to be socially accepted.  When there is a will there is way; with knowledge is power. This insecurity of obsession’s mistress made my autism invisible. There is two little yay [insert sarcastic yay here] caviats to this: 1. I like normal, shallow activities, and yes I enjoy hearing about others thoughts, lives, and seeing their creative outfits, and all of the social aspect of life.  I like makeup, music, nature, and exercise. I even talk with emotion, spice and “PA-ZAZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ”.  However no one connects on the same level that I do. And 2. I am awkward at making friends and being personal. These two together make it impossible for me to make and maintain friends.

2.    Suppressed my true personality

It is hard to come out and be myself again now, when as a kid I was told to not be myself. This is real problem that I face every time I socialize. I will say a genuine thought, or have a reaction, and then immediately an electric shock of regret fills my body, its power telling me to hide and run. I instantly have a flight or fight mode after, then 5 minutes later its gone, and I have lost another 5 minutes of my life. Times this 5 minutes by 100 times a day, and then count how many social interactions I avoid because I am exhausted and recharging. That is a big chunk of my life I’m not living, and this is the high point in my life. As a teen, I talked very little if not at all; When I did talk, it was not me, and was scripted, robot like, and luckily I thought about it for like 10 minutes in my mind, and rehearsed it.

When I meet someone I like, a part of me cries because I just think this is another human that I will have to watch fade from my life when my awkward anxiety scares him away. The worst part is being able to recognize and recount how depression and anxiety is toxic in my life, but yet not being able to control it. I actually dread and hate having good interactions with people because that means they’ll be an awkward second meeting where I have to be closed off because 1. I don’t know how to be personal and make advances to friendships, and 2. I don’t have the naïve energy to trust again.

3.    No Good Memories to Pull From

All of my same sex friendships have ended in brutal falling outs. Literally starting from second grade, my best friends became best buddies with my bullies, and then well you can fill in the rest. The one that scarred me the past was in good old 5th grade (sarcasm). I don’t why but 5th grade just decided to throw me on a knife, and then twist the knife all year long. I was best friends with this girl-we had countless sleepovers, told each other secrets, had corresponding bangles thought to carry a superpower according to our cringy witch nicknames. Well one night, I got on her nerves perhaps with my hyperacitivty, and she told everyone I wanted to take a shower with her. Like if you just asked me what the meaning was for my actions or got an adult? I don’t even know why. We did have constant nasty fights on and off the whole year, but that was it and like the icing on the cake for horrible experiences. Mind you, also that year: the entire 5th grade class ran away from me because I “ate” pencil when I just chewed on them, and, a kid yelled saying “EW YOU STINK” when I ate the garlic in an interactive activity for science. My response to the last thing, what were you smoking as a teacher to ever think you could trust a room full of 10 year olds, EACH with an own personal clove a garlic-or to even know what the fuck garlic is and to NOT touch it. #creativeenergy.  Fifth grade was just a social disaster, death for me. I think most people can claim friend drama, falling outs, but not many people know what it feels like to be ostracized by her entire student body. It is like Cyber Bully, and it was happening to me as a little 10 year old. After winter there is spring? I was hyper aware of my actions and started growing again from the ground up. It was dang hard, and I’m still growing today, with this memory clean in my head.

 

High school I still experienced friend drama, and then we never resolved the drama. It punctures my self confidence to resolve drama and maintain friendships, to not have a success at mending drama, and to not even know what I did wrong. I don’t know why girls always want compliments wrapped in social implication packages and tied with strings of your now lost respect and dignity. If I say you are pretty I mean it why do I have to dress this in an emotional tone and throw love around too soon when both know it is too soon, but it’s the sign of friendship. What is the point of being happy and giving you my energy when I know where my behavior will eventually take this tireless social interaction. I’ve been through it all, and because of this, I am just over it. ji

Conclusion

I know I’m not alone.  Battling your mind-whatever type of battle it may be-IT hinders one so much in this way! I hope to inspire and show people battling and feeling like this, that you are not alone. It happens to the most unique, creative minds. It doesn’t matter how many likes you have, what people think of you, in the end, there will only be you and your loved ones, and that is true love that moves mountains.

Bubbles are usually transparent, as you can see through them, but my smoky echoes have clouded my real self and so prevents me from interacting with society. There is nothing wrong with being resilient and being in your own bubble of what keeps you afloat, but it becomes toxic when this bubble is clouded and corrupted to be another person that is not you.

Deep Dark Rabbit Hole of Sounds: A Welcome To My World

We all have nightmares. I started having nightmares when I was 4, and I still remember it. It is something trivial but now remains scary today when I think of it. It is a reminder that nothing is innately scary, as in just scary by the look, but it is what it denotes. Strange is scary because it is not normal, and is often the antagonist in horror stories. Likewise particular songs may be scary because we heard them is distress situations. Similarly, cars driving in backyards are surreal to me. My nightmare was a van driving in the backyard about to run me over as I was swinging on my swing set (my ritual to calm me). I don’t know why it scares me, but the amount of fear I felt from nightmare was so intense it carries to today. Cars driving outside in the grass, where they are not supposed to is one of those things that scare me because of the context. Likewise, I am scared of sounds, but it is what they denote that cripple me with fear. Today I want to talk about the special relationship people sensitive to sound may also feel.

Fear Sensitivity to Sound

For me, it is not that the sound hurts my ears, but the thoughts and the feelings the sounds make me feel and think; it is the overwhelming feelings that sounds create that make them unbearable. How they sound did not hurt my ears; it was just hard to take in and regulate my emotions amongst roaring cars, obnoxious music, a growling motor, and warning sirens.

Down the Rabbit Hole, To My World

My heart pounds with fear and I feel trapped every time I hear loud engines or even loud music. As a kid, it made me feel so scared like I was about to die, or a danger was appearing to kill me and my family. I knew what it was, it could be the cement motor from the neighbor’s pool, or a screeching motor to cut tile when putting new tile in, or the garbage truck. Even if I understood what was making the noise, I could not stop the feeling. It made me motionless, and I’d just sit, and wander down into the rabbit hole, until before you know it im a vegetable paralyzed stuck in the sound.  My Aunt broke my fear of garbage trucks for a while by going out to the mail with her and her telling me it’s okay. When I did not see her as much, it came back, especially in my depressed teen years. My parents or teachers would explain what it was. Im not dumb and I wasn’t then, I very well was aware what the noise was. It was terrifying you bet your family and precious loves I was gonna find out what it is. But the knowledge did not change the scariness. It’s still scary. It’s good im sick; my throat still hurts, I have a fever, and don’t feel like doing anything. This knowledge does not help because it is something physical not caused by the lack of knowledge. No one understood what the little, every-day sound meant, and it was like I was prisoner to my own mind; like my mind was my own problem- at least when dealing with sensitivies to sound

Recently, I woke up in terror to the point where I broke down in tears when I was awaken by a firetruck at 3am. I thought I grew my tolerance to sounds as I am able to play loud music in the car, attend concerts, handle garbage trucks, and tolerate all the loud noises in my city, but this unexpected noise was different and too suggesting. The motor of a firetruck is deep; not like any car. It sounded like something in my nightmares as a guy sharpens his knives and prepares his guns.  I knew it was a firetruck, but the noise, the lights, and the lateness of it, I thought it as a ruse, and there was some killer driving it, just waiting to drive the firetruck into the house and kill us all.

 

A Deeper Connection To The World

Likewise, when I was little, my parents took me to concerts, probably adding to my love of music. It was a bittersweet relationship as I LOOOVED music, and listened to the radio or my CD’S on my walkmen every day after school while swinging. However, I hated loud noises and the loud in struments, the feeling of the drum making its sound imprints on your heart and all over your body was scary. At the same time though, I was hearing melodies that soothed my heart. I also thought about my dogs at home when at concerts. It was the strangest thing back then, but I though by us going to the concerts, the loud noises was hurting the dogs’ energies physically and mentally. It made me so sad. I attributed the pain of the loud noises outwardly to the dogs. I emphasized with the dogs, as if they were going their energy and ears to produce the loud music. It made me feel very sad, to which I offsetted by assuring myself that the dogs are alright and after every concert I come home back to them okay, and not even knowing where we went. It was the connection I made to the dogs that helped me with the noises. I became more aware and connected with my home surroundings.

Likewise, when there was a lot of traffic, and motors of cars would scare me, or I was getting motion-sickness, I pretended the car could sense my feelings, and talk to me. Talking to it made me feel less lonely and connected to the world. Thinking back on it, my struggles with sound and sensitivities would be a lot better if someone only understood all this. Yet they didn’t so I made my own supports.

A lot of my world and understanding of it was made up. But ill take it and call it my little world. Through that world I have lived and learned more about the real world. It has been a friend. Different things, friends and activities enter and leave my world over the years, but the same comfort and bravery power it.

Plato’s Cookie Cutter Cave World

multicolored abstract art
Photo by Amber Lamoreaux on Pexels.com

So maybe you use the term high functioning and low functioning when describing the various symptoms of autism. That is the correct term, psychiatrists and doctors use these words, but they do not mean what most people think it means.

 

The Problem with Low Functioning and High Functioning Autism

So I’ve been explaining Autism to parents of kids with Autism. I am so happy my work has adopted the understanding that the spectrum is not linear, but just a different way of thinking. In my teaching, we use an interesting comic that just elucidates the black and white common misconception of the spectrum, (Burgess, 2018). The comic can be found here https://the-art-of-autism.com/understanding-the-spectrum-a-comic-strip-explanation/ The comic shows two people living their ‘title’ on the spectrum gave them:

  • the individual falling on the low end is the puppet of a normal adult, who says the low end individual cannot do anything.
  • On the other hand, the high functioning person is put into a situation he cant handle at all and in a panic attack, sensory overload, fails his task, hears his boss yelling at him and questioning what’s wrong with him.

In both cases, neurotypicals completely misunderstand the individuals, did not care to get to know them, put them in low and high functioning boxes. Tragically, the result of these categorizations is the neurotypicals have prevented the individuals from growing and reaching their full potential.

Pop culture has painted the picture of the high functioning autistic individual many times as in rainman, or the good doctor- maybe perhaps to ‘ease’ the masses’ sensitive minds to individuals who think differently. -BUT in reality, they just painted a naïve illusion in everyone’s heads. People on the high end of the spectrum may not be that smart, bold, and may have more emotional intelligence and theory of mind than a neurotypical. There’s no cookie cutter personality, why are we putting autism in this cookie cutter personality? You do not either go in this box or that box, there is no two sides that need to be put into boxes. A spectrum actually has a middle too, that is made up of infinitesimal unique characteristics and personalities. So there’s no cookie cutter ‘symptoms.’ What makes autism autism is the two deficits: social communication and social interactions, as well as restrictive, repetitive patterns of behavior.

Autism is a color with endless variations of HUE

Being a girl with aspergers, I used low functioning to describe people I cannot easily talk to, and people that were “lower” than me. Encountering individuals who were non-verbal or had other blatantly unique behavior, was off putting for me because it reminded me of where I could be in regards to social rejection, and I felt the wave of social isolation come sweeping over me. People that are different are hard to take in, because they remind us a little of ourselves, and all our insecurities. We like easy people to talk to, and people that stroke our ego. I put people in boxes, comparing myself to seemingly other messed up people because I did not want to face my diagnosis. It’s wrong, but there was a voice inside me telling me I couldn’t not bear to carry myself any other way. Seeing people inherently different than  us screams “I have to work harder to communicate with this person” or “I don’t understand this person at all, and that threatens my social self-esteem.

grayscale photography person walking
Photo by Andre Moura on Pexels.com

What I learned from wanting to categorize everything is that the world is grey and nothing ever is gonna fit perfectly. There’s no cut out for real life and human emotion. Yet, we try anyways, and end up with mere shadows in shapes. Like Plato’s republic, the people in the cave saw reality and life projected as they watched it in a cave-what they thought was true was actually way more complex-it was people and objects that are not just mere shapes, but made up of many shapes, and may have many different curves, hues, and endless other variations. Likewise, in an argument, it’s no one person’s sole fault, but the fault of all the parties involved. As much as we want to solely blame the other party, a lot of times both parties could have handled situations better. Likewise, individuals with autism are not cookie cutter: functional or non-functional. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. With autism specifically, the deficits fall in the same 3 categories: speech/communication and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior (DSM-5). This gives autism it’s color, but there are infinitesimal variations, aka HUES of this color. Some hues may be more heavy than others, but that does not define them or define their autism. You can have a dark shade of blue or a light blue, but at the end of the day, the color is still blue, and no hue is ‘superior’ to the others; it is just expressed differently.

photo of blue abstract painting
Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com

References

Burgess, R. Understanding the Spectrum-A Comic Strip Explanation. The Art Of Autism. Retrieved from https://the-art-of-autism.com/understanding-the-spectrum-a-comic-strip-explanation/

My New Job: Parents Do NOT Understand

Hey guys!

Its been a while again. But this time I got a job and I’m helping kids like me…well sort of. I am a behavior support specialist for kids with autism and parents of kids with autism. I educate the parents of the challenges and pains kids with autism face in so called ‘daily living tasks’.

Long story short I love being in my field, and am so excited to work and apply my knowledge of what I learned in college, in the real world! I hope I can continue to help and support parents because these kids deserve understanding and love more than anyone else. We use applied behavior analysis, which is the most proven effective treatment for autism.

Three dragons I’m currently wrestling on my quest:

Discrepancy of feeling and talk

When coaching parents, I sometimes feel a wave of judgement, sorrow, anger, and I just want to be frank and tell them my truth. It is so annoying how neurotypicals under-appreciate a challenge just because it is not challenging for them. What makes something challenging is the amount of effort, blood, sweat, and tears put into something, and giving that 110%; there is nothing in challenge that talks about the task. Suppressing the feelings of breaking and releasing all the hell in our minds, when a sound is too loud, people touch us a certain way, it is too hot outside, a smell is overbearing, or any other sensory overload, and tolerating those things when your brain doesn’t have the tolerance for that, takes real grit-No one would understand because they are lucky enough to have that tolerance.

I understand. Parents have a difficult and thankless job. I appreciate their efforts and the responsibilities they undertake, but they just do not know or dont want to understand, and it frustrates me at times.

Two Total Different WORLDS

I always tell parents you have to be smart and put your emotions away, and in other words do not be human and be more like a robot. It’s really hard but now you have to be a leader and you have the power; so its lot of responsibility. BUT, you should be ready, you have the child. Outside of this I know nothing about being a parent, and I cannot relate. I spent my whole life locked away studying and now I have to coach parents who may not be ready to be parents or lived their lives a little bit irresponsibly and well how do I relate and meet them at their level? Even if I act, it just not real.

So consequently I’ve been reflecting on the mindset of the parents and putting myself in their shoes. Theory of mind does take a few minutes by myself

BLUE LAVA

I have not told any parent I coach that I have autism because well I don’t want them to pity me, have to worry about me, or doubt what I am telling me. I am here for them; NOT the other way around and I don’t want them to feel like they have to pity me, watch what they say or anything.

On the flip side, I feel like I’m holding in the biggest, loudest, most pressurized BUURRRRP ….like you just won the Nobel prize or got promoted and you just want to tell SOMEONE but you can’t and so you hold it in always wanting to let it escape but then eventually getting used to letting the pressure sit there. Like lava in volcano wants to escape out of the blow hole, so too our all our emotional experiences trapped in our mind constantly pouring and crashing into our mouths wanting to flood the world. We are burdened with holding back the lava and preventing is ruinous nature. We let them out to our friends and family and then they react and soothe us in an orchestra of understanding and love, and its effect hits and done.

BUT having aspergers is blue lava-its different. People don’t understand and don’t care to when they are still trying to understand their emotions. Every joke and connection you make doesn’t hit the personal, caring level. I face this when coaching my clients: should I tell them about me to give them hope about their child?  I am surfing the uncertain, wavering, wave. -AND I just have to know and always chose to say or not say my diagnosis.  am I doing the right thing? Is there a version of this where I say my diagnosis and this gives parents more hope? When parents see me, they think I’m a neurotypical choosing to help people, and I’m sweet and honest, but little do they know my full story, and that I’m hiding so much of ME from them.

 

 

A Musical Wonderland

Happy Friday everyone! Today feels like a good day to talk about music. There is a lot of new albums releasing this year and a ton of movies too, I can’t keep up! Nonetheless, music always holds a special place in my heart. In fact, I would argue it can significantly impact the lives of anyone, let alone someone facing mental handicaps like asperger’s syndrome. Here’s the thing, music has always been my outlet to vent and figure out my feelings. As an aspie, I don’t always know what emotions I’m feeling nor how to express them, listening to angsty, agressive intense music, helps me make sense of my complex world. I used this, for better or worse, especially, when I was like 5 years old. Perhaps, music has always been my special interest. I keep up with all the songs and bands and just love talking about it so much that i have to monoitor myself.

 

My La La Land: A 5 year old “metal head” vs the WORLD

When I was 8 years old, I got Drowning Pool’s Bodies stuck in my head, and so, like a normal human being, I was singing this all day at school. If you are unfamiliar with the song, the lyrics consist of: “LET THE BODIES HIT THE FLOOR LET THE BODIES HIT THE FLOOR.” Inevitably, this raised some eye brows when the teacher heard me.  So much so, that she sent me to the Principle’s office and called my parents. We talked, and after a big to do, we concluded I was simply just singing a song I liked. But it had to be that song.

Yes, I was way ahead of my time. I liked rock and metal when I was 5.  Yes, I was listening to Korn and Slipknot…and other rock/nu metal when I was 5. My dad always played this music in the car or even in the house as he was doing his own work. With youth being a blissful time of naivety and blind happiness, I don’t think he expected this music to resonate with me so much. I mean, what little kid is going to have so much rage, rebellion, hate, and anti-conformity feelings to resonate with this music which flamboyantly shouted such themes.  But, my life was not full of careless cheer and joy as a child’s life is. In this post I want to walk you guys through what music did for me and why it is so important to me today, as an adult. I always say music is the beat to my heart, and that is so true.

A BATTLE with the WORLD: Public Elementary School as an ASPIE

underwater photography of woman
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

I would argue that music is not just a way to manage our feelings and figure the world out, but a way to cope with all the social rejection. As an aspie growing up in the early 2000’s, I faced a ton of naivety and so hurtful comments, actions and snarling face. It truly was a battlefield out there! It still amazes me how far we have come today in just 10 years. The big thing now is acceptance and kindness. It takes me aback when 19 years ago, that was a mythical thing.

It was a hostile field in elementary school, from outside on the battlefield, full of desks, pencils, perfect posture, self control, and snarling child’s mouths and piercing laughTer to inside the trenches full of swings, jungle gyms, and whole lot of soldiers armed with social cliques and words that poured out like a symphony of conformity. I took a breath of relief when I packed up my back-pack and it was time to go home. Nonetheless, at home I was forced to face my behavior, received shaming, and therapy that exhausted my mind and only showed me my flaws. I am constantly made aware of my flaws at school, I do not need a reminder, but my therapist did just this. My mom did not help matters by constantly reprimanding my behavior and making me feel shame. All I wanted is to be happy like all the other frolicking kids, but I was forced to fight myself and hold back my emotions which led me to also fight the kids to fit in and socialize.  The more I tried to be normal and talk to kids, the more trouble I got into. As I made friends, they either manipulated me for their gain, or just flat out turned on me.

SOCIAL REJECTION FROM THE ENEMIES…. AND MY OWN FAMILY

Believing that my family thought I was a reckless brat made me ashamed and fearful of going to family functions. I mistrusted everyone I talked to at family functions and mainly tried to keep to myself lest I lose control of my emotions and go into tantrum mode.

I do not think anyone really understood how much anguish I felt as a child. I mean they were only trying to correct my behavior so that my adolescence and whole adulthood may be peaceful for me. Yet, in childhood, I would come home crying and let out all my sorrow, and no one knew the sadness I felt and I just faced more advice of what I should be doing, but the next day was the same shit again, even after taking the advice I was told. WHAT GIVES. I did not even have a way to defend myself. No one understood my pain or even just tried to understand my state of mind.

It was not just kids, it was my teachers…and offtopic… but even my own family at times. Whenever I failed to control my emotions or express myself, the disgust and judgement on my family’s faces, or friends, or teachers pierced like a knife. Yet, it is not like I lost control on purpose; it was literally out of my control. I faced so much bullying and social rejection that when I heard this music, it was a release. It was a way to vent my feelings so it kind of just immediately allured me in its angsty, hateful, yet alluring seductive web, and the anger and sorrow in this intense music wrapped its arms around me and embraced me with its warmth of acceptance and understanding. This is where my love for music started, as it tends to start with teenagers, except, I was only a toddler.

 

Arguably, I think being socially rejected as a child is just more intense than in adulthood or even adolescence because, as a child, you do not even know why it is happening nor have any previous social interactions under your belt. Plus, This is your first experience: It is like having a bad experience and never wanting to go back to that thing again, but that ‘thing’ is life….WELP…  that’s unfortunate.

The La La Land I Found

photography of woman listening to music
Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

So inevitably, I soaked up all these songs. Don’t know if that was my dad’s intentions when he played this music, but it’s what happened. Every day after school, I would spend hours swinging on my swing set while listening to music on my Walkman (yes I grew up in the time JUST before ipods. I got my first ipod nano when I was 11).  I would listen to the local rock/metal radio station and relate the songs to everything that happened to me that day. I would sing lyrics of asserting oneself in my head and listen, pretending to be saying it to whoever messed with me that day. It was also that listening to this music made me feel accepted, like I had this world while other kids had their reality in school. It gave me solace that I had a place I belonged and was doing something cool. I felt a weird comfort in this music nonetheless. It was my own la la- laaaa la laaaa -land.

 

*** One unique thing that also cued my parents that I had Asperger’s is within one listen of a CD, I could remember each song track by number. ***

The Power of Music in an Aspie perspective

This is a big thing to describe, and I think these feelings may be the same for a normal person. I could find two things it does: 1. Uplifts 2. transports

  1. Emotionally Uplifting

Many people mention (or at least I’ve heard it many times with my taste in music) that rock concerts with a lot of people have the power to motivate and excite people to do things they would not normally do, which could lead to riots or violence. I mean I do not like to admit this, folks, but it has happened. The large scale famous example I am immediately reminded of when I think of rock concerts getting out of hand is at Woodstock in 2000, where hundreds of people, acted so recklessly. You can look up this event on your own, this is just one example. Of course there are many small scale events that do not make the news. The words often do not have to make any sense, and the beat and energy can be enough to move an individual. The lyrics in Beck’s songs like E-PRO or Devil’s Haircut, Hot Wax, at least…they do not make sense to me, and are completely random, but when I hear the melody, its catchy. It makes me feel good. A good catchy song makes us feel good, so much so that we develop a courage and self esteem to do wild things we would not normally do. The songs encourage us by uplifting us.

Plato said in the Republic that, “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” It seems that music does just this in giving us the peace of mind and clarity to be creative enough to reach our goals and brave enough overcome any obstacles in the way. In this way music can uplift us in such a way as to inspire us. An example of this would be listening to music before a test to calm the nerves.

Brief philosophy (maybe more on this in a post some day)

Pop music or any other genre can be just as dangerous as rock music, if you ask me. It is not the violent, dark lyrics in rock songs that persuade people to act violently. There are a lot scenarios and variables to this topic which makes it so contriversal. You have to think about how the violent words are used, the artists creating them and what the idea/purpose of the songs is (there is nothing wrong if the arists just are writing the songs to express hate without acting on the hate, like a hate letter that you throw away after writing), and what types of people are listening to such music. Music created intended to incite violence will incite violence and therefore should not be listened to, but music created to be violent but not incite violence will not likely incite violence, unless the person listening to it is already thinking about inciting violence. At this point, it is not persuasion but just a reminder.

Moreover, music used to incite violent is to me, exploited by the people playing it, like if you combine songs and violent inducing speeches at concerts. In this case, it is not the speech that is powerful and persuading, but when coupled with a good melody, it becomes persuading because it makes people feel so invincible. I mean if a band and whole bunch of random people are on your side, and you feel intense feelings of being violent, the temptation to incite violence is much stronger. Note temptation is much stronger, now if you have a solid philosophical foundation to base your decisions, there would be no temptation. The thing is just developing  and fortifying one, especially in the hard situations.

I can talk more about my stance on this in another post. I grew up with violent music and I kind of wish I did not, but at the same time, it is the added responsibility on my parents to monitor me and teach me more if I do decide to listen to this music and if it did help me, which it did. This is a scenario that is also challenging: kids should not be listening to violent music, but it helps me deal with the hardships in my life at the time. I think it all comes down to people maturing at different times. I’d love to hear your guys’ thoughts on this, especially if you are shocked I listened to such music so much as a little girl.

2. Like Reading a book

Music transports you. I will use the same quote again:  “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” This quote is of course in the context of classical music, which did tend to have dark themes, to point out. I wonder if he would say the same about music today, lol. However, being an advocate of metal music, the metal music that is harder to listen to (NOT nu metal) but progressive, or especially the guitar gods like Yngwie Malmsteen-that music is the closest to classical music. It makes sense-you do not put this music on for background music or to make you feel good-you put it on if you wanna listen to something in depth and get a relaxing, renewed, uplifted, feeling afterwards. In this context, I will just listen to an album and sit on the couch and relax. I think this type of listening is different from uplifting because for a moment you are moved and almost transported, and you’re mind can relax and focus on the music. I will listen to music for this purpose and it is usually more complex or weird bands.

Different Music for Different Times

I touched upon what I felt listening to music as a child in the beginning of this post. To wrap up, I will talk about what I feel when listening to music now. Today I have functions of music:

  • to listen to when im busy

to put on the background when im driving, cooking, cleaning, studying. This is usually simple, radio music, but yet still good music, like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lana Del Rey,

  • intellectual food

I will sit down and listen to albums of musically complex music. It wakes me up and makes me think more. After, I feel more uplifting, but it gives a more rewarding effect than just listening to music for emotional purposes

  • emotional food/expression

Music is still a way to figure out my feelings and vent. When I am so emotionally lost and upset, the first the I need to do, is listen to music. It could be the current music I’m obsessed with, or songs my state of mind calls for. Interestingly enough though, I don’t have a go to sad song. Every situation is different for me I guess. However my go to sad bands are death cab for cutie and the foo fighters. I can always find wisdom and solace from their lyrics. I tend to focus on lyrics-heavy songs when I’m sad, though.

 

 

Chasing Normal

Happy Friday. I hope everyone is doing well and trekking with their journey and living happily. In this post I am going to focus on the social impairing symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome.  I am gonna discuss my exact thoughts, feelings, and struggles I endured/encountered when I was 5-10 years old. Maybe some of you may relate to these.

Intro

Overall, Asperger’s definitely darkened my childhood. I was playing catch up instead of enjoying my childhood. I did not have any friends to play with and I was forced work on myself already. Even knowing how to act and interact now-it is not the same feeling as if I had a normal life as a kid. Having Asperger’s Syndrome is like trying to feel the summer vibes in a water-less pool. There is no water. Yet, desperate to feel the summer vibes and its sappy, flamboyant, Hollywood, bliss depicted in movies, you put on your best swimsuit and hop in the pool, anyways, hoping to feel the water’s weightless hug that is relaxing about swimming. You move your arms about, but your body still feels as heavy as a rock. There is not this relaxing feeling. Likewise, I always grasped to live that normal life filled with BFF blissful friendships and perfectly, timed, natural reactions. My learned social behavior led to play-dates and social outings, but no matter how much effort I put into it either before hand, I always managed to keep an arms distance friendship instead of a close, BFF distance one. I remember vividly how lonely I felt at recess. I always followed directions and kept to myself, too. It was not like i was rowdy or annoying, like I was in preschool. All my thought processes oddly play out like nagging nerves in my mind. These are the voices in my head that nagged me and pushed me down the stairs. I have listed them in detail below.

Aspiring to be the ‘Normal Girl’

As an Aspie, I wanted friendship. I didn’t know what it was, but I wanted the result and what it meant. Friendship meant that kids were normal and happy. It meant they were socially accepted by not only their peers, but also teachers and parents. It meant they did not need to go to therapy to teach them how to be normal. It was the feeling of not lacking the very thing that is innate in everyone else that was so beautiful in these magical friendship bongs. Going to therapy, taught me I was not normal. What resulted from this was a perpetual quest to be socially acceptable. So, by default, I wished to be the ideal girl whom therapy was teaching me to be. The thing was, outside the idea of it, i did not feel normal; I had no idea how to actually be normal; i only knew how to appear it. So, it was no surprise that I was being someone I was not. If I controlled my behavior, I appeared normal, but this appearance was not my personality. Making conversations with my peers was just enough to be socially accepted, yet distant enough to push friends away to acquaintances. The simple truth, I was not being myself and it easily showed.

This. Isn’t. Me.

The amount of brain power to resist teeth grinding and snarling, flappy hands, or throwing myself on the ground because of a sensory overload was a crippling zombifying monster. The inevitable alienation felt like I was everyone’s target, and that I was broken beyond repair. Early elementary school before I found my miracle school, life was nightmarish, filled with mostly anguish memories. Learning how to start a conversation by reciprocating the question how was your day, is only an action. To feel and genuinely ask this-I did not know how to do. And, it was not that I did not care about the person to ask how her day was, or even to follow other social norms, like saying thank you when someone did something nice for you; it was more like I did not have the mental capacity to think of doing these things. So learning all these social things were not me and they felt forced. The same was the case with controlling and managing my emotions. Nonetheless, I wanted to be the girl in the movies or in my little daily life observations: the girl who has a BFF, tells her everything, does everything with her, and is, at least seemingly, happy.

Making my Elders Proud (Social Pressure)

My parents, teachers, and family, all had a preconceived notion on how a normal child behaves and acted, and I wanted to be these. It would not help that my mom stressed that my family and teachers hated my actions, and thought I was a brat. So, I wanted to prove everyone wrong and be that perfect, normal kid. I tried to suppress my tantrums at family functions but no matter how much I hoped or tried, I was powerless when a touch, noise, temperature, or the slightest sensory overload set me off. The disappointment to my mom and family was the worst. I was not trying to misbehave. Though I screamed, I did not do it on purpose. Sadly I was conscious but I had no control over anything. Yet, my family looked at me with disgust. Knowing I was a hard kid to love was hurtful. I wish it was not so. This fueled the fire to become better at controlling my tantrums. I wanted to get better. I wanted to try. There is no motivation like social rejection.

Conclusion

I faced a lot of naivety towards my Asperger’s Syndrome. I am happy that today, people are more knowledgeable and thus welcoming of individuals with mental health issues, like now there are school policies and programs, focusing on not only the treatment of mentally handicapped kids, but also their feelings. For example, the concept of taking a child out of his/her regular classroom to attend therapy sessions no longer exists because it may embarrass the child. Back in my day, and let me emphasize, that was only 10 years ago, my therapy counselors, paraprofessionals would pull me out of my normal classes, for all of my peers to gossip about. Likewise, kids now days embrace mental health and are even curious about it as they try to imitate it, learn more about it, or even talk to people with mental handicaps. It is strange to me how much has happened in a decade regarding the general attitude toward mental health. I hope we can eventually find out everything about mental illnesses, perhaps most benefiting, how to make people with them live happy, fulfilling, meaningful lives, like everyone else. I experienced social rejection and that pushed me to work hard to overcome my tantrums and odd behavior. So in a bittersweet way, the negative disposition toward mental health helped me grow and taught me lessons. I wish I would have been accepted and then received social guidance and support from my family, peers, teachers, and parents. I found out how to act through hate; if I would have been told how to act and taken in with mentors, I would be warmer in my social interactions.

 

My Comeback Post

Hello every mortal body,

You may not believe it…but you are speaking to the ghost of deceased Finny.

….NAH…

Now that i have your attention, I am really sorry I fell off the edge of the earth, and without warning too. Who does that, right? When most people fall, they at least shout. Truly, I apologize. A lot has happened. I fought a mental war these past several months. Long story short I have been stuck in a career-less and lifeless void while also making many discoveries about life and myself. I never had free time in my high school years, contrast to most high school students. I thought I had a break going from my extremely rigorous academia high school to easy college but now that I have my bachelors degree it’s like a never ending summer break. That being said, I am taking time to just figure myself out. My whole life i have been following someone else’s idea of perfect, whether that be my teachers’, parents’, psychologists’, family’s, or even peers’ ideas. Without going to school, I have to find y own way to learn outside the classroom (yet it never feels like enough!). After long thought and more careful planning than ever, i have decided I want to continue my blog, as it helps me be me. I want to incorporate my passion for music and books, more, however, so I am hoping to write some book reviews and music reviews or music discussions. During my time off, i worked on being more personable and in turn more vulnerable. I hate it. It is scary.-but I see it is necessary in life. Anyways, I won’t get into psychological feelings, thoughts on autism in this post. I want this post to just be a catch up post so we’re on the same page.

standing man in black dress facing mountain
Photo by Brennan Tolman on Pexels.com

 

Context and FUN FACT ABOUT ME: Each year I try to get a little more social and, by consequent socially acceptable. This year I feel like I have more than ever. This break has been a catalyst to that-Except I wish the free time was as warranted as a summer break, or the free time and care free time with friends in adolescence. Studying psychology, and having the introspection I do, I know it is normal and even necessary to have fun and enjoy life…it builds social skills and character. Yet I cannot stop worrying about getting a job or getting my life together. It’s healthy and normal, but I feel like I am not using my time as well as I could be….

So what have I been doing that makes this so even in my ‘rut’?

My boyfriend:

I was with him when I started this blog, and am still with him, but our relationship has grown and been challenged since writing. One of the hardest things was trusting him and accepting his love, and in turn, learning how to express my feelings : both love and anger. I got over this however and for the past several months we have been spending almost every day together. I have been learning to bake and cook for him…okay really using him as an excuse to cook and bake for 🙂 win, win?

Topgolf:

In August I got hired as a food runner at Topgolf (it’s an entertainment venue where you hit golf balls at targets while eating and drinking…oh and it has three levels!)
I got promoted to a buser in January. I have been working here to work on my social skills and learn to relax and joke around when people speak to me. Childhood bullying has gave me so much anxiety and depression to the point of having ridiculous delusions that no one would ever answer any of my questions or care what I think. Working at Topgolf has changed this delusion.

Applying to graduate school and jobs:

man is it a lot of work to go to graduate school: first you have to figure out what specific topic of what you thought was a specific undergraduate degree, then you have to write an essay on your passion for the subject, as if pursuing an undergraduate degree wasn’t enough. After that say hello to socializing and/or more writing when asking for letters of recommendations from professors (many will suggest you write your own). Once done with this, congratulations, you are only half way done. Now, you must study for a 4 hour long test and magically heal your anxiety during the test. After that congrats you’re almost done. Now you must write a 2 page paper on your accomplishments and undergraduate masterpieces and coursework and skills acquired from it, otherwise known as a curriculum vitae. Good, now you’ve got all the materials. Now upload these into the application. Also, retrieve all unofficial transcripts and then go through 3 pages filling in mind numbing questions like your name, car model, date of birth, phones, parental information. Submit all these and maybe you’ll get in…20% chance.

…but….all that work…and I fought my anxiety to ask my professors for letters of recommendation.

So I am like half way through this process, in the midst of trying to figure out life. I might see what options are available to me about getting letters of recommendation because that is the only thing I am really struggling with. I am going for a clinical psychology and research program so I can do research work, but if this gets faulty, i have my psychologist career to fall back on. Both ways appeal to me in how i wish to help kids.

As for jobs, i have been applying for behavioral technician jobs to actually do what I passionately, obsessively care about. Sometimes, I will get an interview, but I cannot pass the interview.

****************************************************************

Now that you’re caught up, I can start writing more. Those of you that were with me before it all…thank you so much for reading again now… and your loyalty. ❤ I appreciate it. I am working on a writing schedule that works for me. Right now, i am gonna try to have a post out every other week by Friday. Every week my work schedule changes, and so does my routine, but by making the due date every other week by friday, I hope to overcome this obstacle to post constancy. Writers block and lack of motivation however are factors I have to grapple and dance with and as a young blogger, i can say i have not done this. So, that will be fun to overcome, but by setting aside time to write, I’m hoping i can use that time to grapple with those beasts.

UNICORNS

-Infinity

Depression as an Adolescent, Hormonal, Aspie

Hello. Happy Thursday night, or early Friday, perhaps you could say. The weekend is almost here and I shall greet the weekend with a post as a cheers to the weekend! Depression is a thing I have struggled with immensely in my adolescence and is kind of that big ‘real’ event in my life. The lesson to learn here (and that I learned as a 15 year old!) is that depression really is no joke and can be a serious and deadly mental illness. I had a 4 month mental breakdown, I call it, with the serious symptoms of depression. I blamed myself for everything. I could not concentrate on anything for more than 20 minutes,  and if I managed to concentrate for 20 minutes it was a damn good accomplishment. I kept on dwelling on the stupid things I did, like how stupid I sounded when I asked for a chair, and how worthless I looked moving it. The world was scary and I did not know how to deal with it at all.

AN ‘ASPIE’ FLAVOR OF DEPRESSION:

I say aspie flavor of depression because really, my nonverbal learning disorder troubles manifest themselves throughout this depression.

Defining terms: Nonverbal learning disorder: 

If you do not know, non-verbal learning disorder is basically what the title suggests. I have trouble picking up on things that are not explicitly stated to me. This comes out in school especially, with the inability to pick up the big unstated picture. In this case, the student will remember the details and the things the teacher says directly, but cannot pick up on the overall, unexplicit picture. I had this problem big time with history and so it was really hard for me to remember a war or time period because the details were just details and it was so hard to connect them all into a big picture. In high school, this was still a problem and it took me writing out a battle 3 times on paper to paint the big picture in my head.

It can also come out socially, as in non-verbal cues, in which the moods, thoughts, and feelings of people are not explicitly stated.

This is not an official diagnosis, so it often comes with other diagnoses like ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome. So, at the time, along with my diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, I was also diagnosed with a non-verbal learning disorder.

Non-verbal Learning Disorder ‘Thinking- prints’ On My Depression:

  1. Dweling on little teeny-weeny DETAILS

I focused and blew out of proportion my tone of voice when asking for a chair. It was a minor detail and did not mean that much in comparison to the big picture of the whole action and what I was doing, as a mere human being with needs…yet somehow I did not consider it as just this minor detail, but a really big action. And that was the thing: every action was of the same level of importance and significance to me; I had no sense of higher rank order, or the end result of something, for that matter.

2. Failure to see the big picture

3. Failure to read body cues

It was what my college counselor accused me of. I did not look around. Part of it, I wanted to block my whole grade out and appear as this virtuous, emotionless robot, but also, I did not really know how to read people, or like what to look for. If I saw the cues, I knew, but my brain never knew how to just calm down and look at people’s cues. I would have to consciously direct myself to do so… It was scary to me like I was not supposed to do it.

Despite these innerworkings of the toxic thinking of depression, I still had the neurotypical symptoms of depression: exaggerated, black and white thinking, hopelessness, guilt, wanting to die, loss of interest in fun activities, and just finding life a chore in general.

What is Depression Like?

Describing my depression to someone else always finds itself to be the most difficult thing on the planet. It is not that I do not remember my feelings and experience with it; all of it plays back in my mind so vividly as a movie on the big screen. The problem is, I cannot make this person see the emotional movie that plays in my head, and I don’t know where I would begin to explain it to him-nor what words to even describe it. Words can only do so much when it comes to feelings and emotions…I cannot quite capture the debilitating force of depression’s mental prison- that moment when it first hacks your mind and then proceeds to trap you in a swirly hypnosis of negativity and grief all the while it feeds you scary thoughts and nasty tasting food that makes you feel dead on the inside. How do I say this to people when they ask what depression is like?

To quote a common proverb, ‘No one knows what someone truly goes through until they walk a mile in their shoes’, and this cannot be more true in the case of mental health issues. I can explain how rough the walk is with depression; I may even be able to show the damage it has done with the blisters on my feet. However, the actual feelings, how illogical it makes one, how it turns killing oneself into saving oneself from pain-those things are hard to understand in every day conversation and even harder to explain. It is an invisible battle and to explain what others cannot see requires more than just casual conversation. For this reason, I wish to depict the struggles of depression, and so have attempted to unveil the quicksand of dredge which depression wreaks on its hapless victims.

I have identified 4 key aspects to understanding depression:

  1. Duration
  2. Intensity
  3. Toxicity
  4. Invisibility

I will discuss each of these aspects in this post.

1. Duration 

You may be thinking that duration is a straightforward answer; duration is simply how long the depression lasted; surely this is simple to tell. My response to this: no, its not that simple. Depression is a part of life and life is never simple. Duration of a movie, a car ride, are both straightforward but there is nothing straight nor forward about defining a time range on human emotions-its more like a rough, jagged line. Clinical depression is not like the common cold in that one day it just appears and then goes away after some time. My depression was at its worst for a straight 4 months in my sophomore year, but it happened way before that and lasted way after it. Depression emerges and creeps its way into your life often way before your notice of it and so its origin is unclear and it  NEVER GOES AWAY. Those darkness-dwelling, self-defeating thoughts permanently make its home in your mind and it then becomes your job (you never applied for) to develop coping mechanisms to combat the thoughts to work your life around the depression.

The thoughts of depression and being trapped in your mind may seem petty and weak to be controlled by because we cannot see them but I promise you its anything but and takes a lot to fight. I wish to just elucidate this phenomenon in this post.

2. Invisibility

My school life just put the cherry on top of the heavy, luscious, rich hell cake into which God had baked my life that year. Of course no one knew what was going on at all- not even the bright red cherry of my so called school life.

My circle of friends at lunch turned into a hostile debate team where everyone just attacked everyone verbally, and my one best friend just abandoned me for another girl while  simultaneously, my Aunt, to whom I always came for her keen yet lovingly positive advice, slipped into cancer’s harsh, fatal, hands. My grades slipped and I did not speak in my classes.

Every day in all of my classes the continuous echoes and toxic thoughts in my head would shout ‘Everyone hates me’, ‘Everything is my fault’, and, ‘I cannot do anything right’ but no one heard these thoughts. No one saw the woeful dread of doing my homework the night before worrying about talking and going over it. I had to be perfect and say the best most profound thoughts because I did not deserve to speak and run my mouth otherwise, but I was too stupid to do so. No one heard these thoughts and how was I ever to explain them.

I was fighting a war, and I was on a losing streak for 4 straight months. I was breaking. I physically couldn’t speak in class, nor even get up in the morning…All I wanted to do was cry over my stupidity, guilt, and worthlessness. Desparation and exhaustion set in fast. I made efforts to fight my negative thoughts. I would make plans on how to speak in class, but when the moment came I just, I just did not have the right mind set. It was like being trapped in a cage my mind put me in and no one could see this cage. I wanted to be my energetic, driven, lively self, but all this drive seemed lost and I was withering away under everyone’s radar. It felt like I was knocking on the door, begging to be let in, but no one was inside to hear. I was fighting and putting in so much effort, but nobody saw this.

The radiant take away:

Outsiders physically, visually can NOT, recognize the effort to fight depression because of its invisible nature. Mental work does not achieve anything beneficial nor anything physical, so it is overlooked or just not seen. Perhaps for a valid reason in far as evolutionary psychology goes. Nonetheless, the struggles are struggles just like overcoming real, physical handicaps. So, the demands on a depressed mentally handicap person are the same as any other person, and the reality that the depressed individual is just not able to do the same things as the mentally healthy person is not seen. As the expected consequence follows, there becomes this discrepancy between the amount of work and effort the depressed person puts in and how much praise and rewards the depressed person experiences. A depressed individual may work doubly hard to fight off her negative bearing thoughts, but the work and effort other people see that individual put in is only physical, not mental. It is easy to see the accomplishment and effort a person with a prosphetic leg puts into running a marathon successfully. It is not so easy however to see the accomplishment in going to work despite negative thoughts. Everyone has negative thoughts and we all fight them so we think depression is the same way, and not that intense.

What is an accomplishment for a depressed person, is just another daily task for a mentally healthy person. To illustrate this, imagine you are learning how to juggle. You put so much time and effort into learning how to juggle and finally can juggle 3 balls at a moderate pace. You then show people your awesome juggling skills and they give no reaction, and proceed to juggle way more things than you, at a much quicker pace. This is what depression is like. Everyone seems to be better at juggling life than you are, and the little triumphs and baby steps you make to juggle life like a pro, go unnoticed, making you doubt your juggling abilities even more…and so ensues a tiresome series of fights that only end in one way.

3. Intensity

One important thing to remember in this post is that depression is really intense. I have been hoping convey in this post that depression is not just feeling sad and having negative thoughts-because we all do this at one point. It is a brain wound…and the chemicals in the brain are altered and so the function of thinking is flawed. There is not this control. It was like my tantrums when I was little.

I would argue the sadness in depression is even more intense. It just feels so real and the amount of greif I felt was like my heart was really broken: It no longer could float on my chest and just sank into my stomach like a ten ton weight carrying everything. The negative feelings about myself were so real and it just made my stomach hurt so much. It felt like my heart was sinking down scraping the edge of my stomach to make this straight painful line that went down my stomach scratching a fault line against it and kept me in bed. The feelings just brought physical pain and I never knew that was a thing. My head would hurt, often simultaneously with my stomach. It would just feel so heavy with confusion and guilt, and the fact I could not escape my mind just made me even more scared and hopeless. It was like 3D feelings!

4. Toxicity

Perhaps because of its invisibility and intensity, depression, once developed, becomes very toxic to the individual and makes it so hard to get over. Depression is overlooked as a mental illness, and really…drastically misunderstood. People equate depression with sadness, but it is more than just a feeling. While the effect of depression may be a  sadness, (but much more intense!) the inner workings of it are even much more complex than this and once it develops in someone, that individual is not just constantly sad, but locked up in the insanity walls of her own mind.

Like quicksand pulling its victim down, depression, dressed up handsomely, dreamily, and seductively, pulls its victim away from people. This is to say, the negative thoughts, the negative feelings, the reasoning: they all seem so true and real and even right to think, as if any other reasoning or fact could never be right.

This is depression’s power- it dresses up its thoughts in cloaks of reality and reason, when underneath the cloaks, is falsity to the tenth degree. In this way, depression allures its victim by taking over her reasoning. This is not all. It even hijaks her memory. The person will reconstruct her past events as evidence that she is a failure. This is how depression is so toxic to a person’s individuality. The person begins to hate the very thing that makes her, her.

Another aspect of depression’s toxic nature is the vicious cycle. A depression individual lacks the adequate reason to combat her negative thoughts. Let’s say someone is bummed out because they did not get the job they had really hoped for. The mentally healthy person will think of ways that could have contributed to this outcome, like maybe the job did not fit her personality after all, the day of the interview was just bad timing, the interviewer was off, etc., and then proceed to think of ways to land a successful interview. All these thoughts have one thing in common: they stem from having a high self-esteem. These thoughts all preclude the idea that one deserves to have a job, and the hope that one can get a job. A depressed person does not think he/she deserves the job in the first place, and may even lack any hope to obtain one. So one just falls and hopes but then falls again because the individual’s reason is not present.

Self-esteem is so important!  it is just as vital to our functioning as a heart. I say this because self-esteem is our spirit as humans, and provides us the hope and drive to live life and be ourselves. Adequate reasoning and logic to cope with life’s disappointments is not there, without self esteem, and little speed bumps and disappointments just pile on the individual until the individual is mentally broken, and covered in dents and bruises from the bumps. This is to say the self-concept bruises so easily when it is not protected by self-esteem just like skin that bruises so easily.

So, one disappointment happens and the individual stumbles about life with this wounded self-esteem while the memory of the fail-the bruise- constantly plays back in his mind-that big noticeable, eye-sore, black-and-blue, bruise. As the self-esteem is already weakened, it gets further wounded, with more evidence that one is a useless, pathetic, failure. Memories play back which draws the individual to watch them in a twisted relish of sorrow. The depressed individual is powerless now; unable to put up the proper fight. Finally, he/she has no desire to even leave the house. It is in this way that depression creates a vicious trap that wears down one’s self-esteem until there is nothing left.

Conclusion

So, these are just a few aspects of what depression is like, and how it is and becomes such a debilitating problem for people with it. Essentially, at the core, depression is a yearning for love-Love from both, oneself and others. As I built my self-esteem back up, however, it all became clear: When I love myself, I am healthy and courageous enough to spread this love to others. Depression makes one dependent on others for their self-worth, which always falters because you are the only one who can truly love you. A sort of, mean, paradox of depression: You want others to love you but it is only you who can truly love yourself.  Until you love yourself, every relationship with friends will be unsatisfying. That is to say, becoming happy and lively starts from the inside out. When I appreciated my strengths and accepted my weaknesses, I could then be comfortable enough to carry this disposition into my interactions with others. Furthermore, by accepting my own shortcomings and praising my strengths, I also accept others’ weaknesses while praising their strengths. In this way, I grew a love that I would spread to other people. The goal here, then, is to grow something to spread to others-this thing, is self-love. Depression drains an individual of every little bit of self-love she could possibly spread. Thus it is clear, we all need to love ourselves first. As much as I hate to admit it, elementary school teachers had it right all along: “worry about yourself first”.

 

 

What is Going on in My Head? UNICORNS AND RAINBOWS

I’m tired when I am out with other people but an energizer bunny when I lay awake alone, in my head, in my empty room. This emotional burden makes me so tired yet prohibits me to fall asleep. Doing relaxing things I love like running and ice skating are not as relaxing as they could be… because of the 10 ton boulder of thoughts on my mind. I just want to break free and express myself… Oh can I please lift this boulder from my mind? My mind is perpetually captured in this perpetual fog. Which one is perpetual? So which one can I change??

It is the voice in my head laughing at me when I walk up to the grocery store. It is the mental barrier to human connection when talking to people. It is the ghost in my room and the phantom in my dreams. These experiences are the echoes my mom’s fatigued desperate cries  I have Asperger’s and am less than the other happy ‘normal’ kids. The freedom to be myself… Every day of my waking life I expound ten times more energy fighting to escape the imprisonment of my mind. Fighting my anxiety that I am a good enough. I am okay. My actions are good. I am a good girlfriend. I am a human being. I am allowed to make mistakes.  My boyfriend does love me. Clinging to that love from the walls of my prison

Relaxing childhood play? what? Evasive smells and sensory overloads. My mind is weighed down by a 10 ton boulder of all the memories of my childhood. The rejection of friendship and taunting of inescapable weaknesses. I try to twist the taunts back to them and control my temperature only to meet stern eyes and judgmental glances. What did I do wrong and what is wrong with me? Everything I do is stupid. Then mysterious games of tricksters and jokers that left me confused and bewildered. The offer me wildering flowers only to turn withering. The evasive touch playground play beneath the sandy sand pits of fast feet and scream filled air of good vibrations……NO…..NO….I….NO-ISY VI-BRA-TIONS. It is PULLLLL-SING. The touch of skin two boys creep up. aggressive panic switch pulsing in my mind. a group of 3rd graders tackle me. Slither sleep there is no sleep without thinking of that and the attack on my mind and my body. Ostracism and isolation. Fights and arguments. It’s always my fault. My behavior is ugly. My face is ugly. I’m stupid.  The total heart break and PRE-TEEN REALITY CHECK…..crushed my world. Crushing….landslide…until I had a change of worlds that left me the enemy. How am I the bully now? I am hostile and people respect me. I’m crushed. Now im A CRUSHEE?? Is it true?! Him?! I don’t know any friends in my class. Every girl likes make up and justin Bieber. EW. I am not like the girls in my class. awkward middle school. I got my braces off I will talk now.  I hate my face. I cant do anything right. I cant talk. I hate myself. What’s the point of life when I’m bound to go through another helpless silent day? Im embarrassed for the disgraceful sorry excuse of a human I have become. I want to change. Im GONNA CHANGE. I WILL DO THIS. I WILL MAKE A PLAN I CANNOT FAIL CUZ IT WILL BE SO EASY TO FOLLOW BUT ALAS. The plan. Why cant I just stick to my plans. I cant even stick to my plans anymore. Im worthless. What…is…wrong with me?

There was a lot I wished to say. I wish I would have overcame my depression sooner. I wish I would go through it now, with a strong mind. I wish I could talk to more kids. I wish I could have conveyed my loneliness, depression and anxiety to the kids. Everyone was nice. The small school was a unicorn. I had so much to say. I wanted to tell everybody this is the first school kids did not bully me. This school was a big change for me. I had no voice. I could not express myself, but I so badly wanted to, and to connect with someone.  The thing is, only… maybe… four years of my high school experience bothers me. And in a world full of unicorns this means I loved my high school experience. But I do not hate it. Not in the real world. Things are much more… complicated…

 

***INTRO AND EXPLANATIONS:***

I’m sorry I did not post last week. I was working on this and I did not know where to go with it and wanted to capture everything right and needed a break. I had a lot of emotions and frustration on my mind. I have attempted to take you readers on my seemingly 100 mile trek with Asperger’s in a high speed rocket launcher with feeling and sincere thoughts.

I grapple witth all the things I wish i would have done, but we all wish we would have done things and that things would have turned out a different way than they did. This is wishing and sure the idea of unicorns is nice and its all wishing and these exist somewhere where unicorns are. …But the real world is now and accepting that and making do and making what you want from complications and things that are not so simple and happy. That is beautiful. that is what reality has… and it can be beautiful like …a rainbow.

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