My life is a problem with too many constraints

Too few unknowns and too many complaints.

When A = B and B = C,

the solution is simple and easy to see

But A is the amount of time I require

to meet B, the state of mental health I desire

Where C is the person my spouse fell in love with

But A can’t equal C, so I’m who he’s fed up with.

Four hours of small talk will be my undoing

“But if limits are set, it’s just not worth pursuing…”

And so A’s less than four, but no limits exist

Time with in-laws is null, invitations dismissed

He wants to go now, to make life organic

But if plans are uprooted, then I start to panic

This task must be done, but it won’t be done now

But sure, we’ll go out, and I’ll manage somehow

This is fine! This is fine! Stress reaches climax

We’re out and you’re absent, why can’t you relax?

The shutdown’s impending, the solution is nil

zero words, zero questions, zero feelings to still.

But to meet all his needs, the answer is two

two eyes, two hugs, and two walls to ram through

I need some silence and he needs some words

Now what shall we do? Cut the baby in thirds?

You won’t get what you want if you do not express it

But it’s a black box unknown, he wants me to guess it

“I don’t want coffee now.” …So that’s incorrect…

“Well just figure it out, use your ‘vast intellect’…”

“Fine, I’ll say what I want, in fact I’ll demand it!”

There’s no middle ground here? I don’t understand it!

Emotionally vacant is how he perceives me

But when I show affection, he doesn’t believe me!

A beating heart in my chest he says is unlikely

but when I show love, he says it’s unlike me!

“You work way too much.”

He wants me to play

Then help me with work

… or fine, run away.

My life is problem. No solution exists.

It’s overdefined, so depression persists.


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Dunning-Kruger Effect

Dunning-Kruger Effect

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Book Review: Solutions for Adults with Aspergers Syndrome – Juanita P. Lovett

Rating: 4/5

I will admit that I judged this book by its cover as it looks like it was published in the 80s (it was published in 2005).

The content has aged very well and holds relevance even fourteen years later after many developments in research. The author has clearly met numerous individuals on the spectrum and has presented highly accurate and relatable accounts of aspie behaviour! Where this book does fall short is in theorizing motivations for these behaviours. I found that numerous times, there were theories of “low self-esteem”, “mind-blindness”, “impulsiveness”, and “paranoia” offered as explanations in an attempt to rationalize some behaviours. These ultimately illustrate a deficit-oriented view of ASD and though Lovett does an excellent job summarizing common behaviors, there remains failure to delve deeply into the psyche of a person with ASD.

Nonetheless, this remains an excellent text for training professionals and spouses in ASD thinking and nearly approaches the value of the holy grail “Marriage and Lasting Relationships with Aspergers Syndrome” by Eva Mendes. Highlights included distinguishing between OCD and aspie behaviours and the many highly relatable case examples presented.

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5 Counterintuitive Ways to Interact with Aspies

Most individuals with ASD who speak fluently without intellectual disability have probably come across the well-meaning comment “You don’t look autistic” or the less frequently vocalized “If a totally normal person like yourself is autistic, maybe I’m autistic, as is everyone!“. These sentiments are often made in an attempt to make the autistic individual feel normal or reassured that others can relate to the struggles that they are having. Okay look: sometimes it is comforting to feel that others can relate to your bad experiences, but this only works when you can actually relate to their experiences and if they are autistic and you are not, this is unlikely to be true.

The second major problem with the “everyone is a little bit autistic” sentiment is that it compels you to suggest the same solutions that work for you. After all, autism is just an amped up version of traits that already exist in continuous severity in the population, right? This idea is damaging because it does not allow you to comprehend that some of the supports that autistic individuals truly need are completely the opposite of what you might expect. Yes, we are just like you in many respects, but under specific circumstances, you would not believe how different we can be. Here are 5 things that really distinguish our reactions from the rest of the population, things that you might struggle to believe or act on because it is just so different from how you would respond.

1. In a meltdown, we actually like solitude.

Seriously. It might look bad, but you need to repress your urge to help us unless we are hurting ourselves. You pressing “Do you want to talk about it?” may work on most of your friends, but if we are in the middle of the storm, you can pretty much guarantee that we don’t want to talk about it. Many of us have alexithymia and having to process and verbalize feelings under stress is not going to end well for either of us. You hanging around trying to make things better is likely going to make things worse. It might look bad now, but give us 48 hours alone and a nap and it will sort itself out.

2. Being triggered by the questions “How was your day?” or “How are things going?”

The enjoyment derived from asking and answering this question is strictly an allistic phenomenon. Individuals with ASD do not like these questions because it forces us to do things that we are notoriously bad at: summarizing events, thinking about what might interest another person, reporting on emotional state, and answering open-ended questions that have no correct answer. Additionally, it confuses us why you’re even asking this. What relevance does it have to you and why do you need to know? Even though it was well-intentioned and you were trying to be kind, don’t be surprised when we respond like you just asked us to take out the garbage. Good alternatives include: “What projects have you been working on?”, “I bought some ice-cream, would you like to eat it with me?” or, if you feel so compelled… just tell us about your day and leave it at that.

3. Enjoying working long hours

Yes, we do tend to be generally stressed people, but while your stress might be attributed to working too much and not having enough time to spend with family and friends, for an autistic person, this is quite the opposite. If an aspie is spending long hours doing anything–whether it is work, studying, or a home project it is likely because it happens to be a special interest or because they love the feeling of satisfaction from completing a job well done. Conversely, even though they may enjoy having family and friends, spending too much time making small talk can wear an autistic right out. It may be hard to believe, but hard work is life-giving to aspies, and “shooting the breeze” with friends can be incredibly draining. When an aspie looks exhausted after a weekend, it would do you well to suppress your impulse to say that it’s because he has been working too hard and that he should take a break and relax more.

4. Preferring directness over hurt feelings

It’s no secret that individuals with ASD can be direct to a fault. In exchange, we expect the same from others. Aspies are terrible at picking up when someone is saying something to us in order to spare our feelings (also known as the white lie). When you say something, we think that you mean it, and are not afraid to act on it. Think about that for a second. If you say something contrary to what you mean hoping that we’ll pick up on the dissonance, we may act on it. If you say “I didn’t really want to see Avengers anyways”, we will not see Avengers today. Nor will we see it tomorrow or the next week. Every time I suggest a new movie, it will never be Avengers. It will be Primer or Star Trek or some other movie you are only moderately interested in. You will wait your whole life waiting for me to reciprocate the compromise, and I will be completely oblivious to the fact that you ever did. We may seem like emotionally volatile people and so the impulse to lie to us may be great, but we still strongly prefer you being direct with us over sparing our feelings. We are more resilient than you give us credit for and we’ll get over it quickly.

5. Being in a default state of mindfulness

While it is true that many autistic individuals love the quiet and can feel overwhelmed from overstimulation, it is not uncommon to find a person with autism having an unshakeable sense of peace and stillness, even amongst chaos and disaster. In fact, individuals on the hyposensitive end like myself may find silence and meditation unbearable as that is just what our sensory profile is. While allistics must actively seek mindfulness in therapy, yoga, meditation, religion, and quiet introspection, an autistic person is capable of incredible internal peace and focus in the midst of crisis, emergency, or witnessing another’s spiralling rage. The sensation is akin to finding beauty amidst garbage and stillness in entropy. It is always living in the moment and seeing the incredible world we live in through the eyes of child, no matter how old we are. It is one of the greatest things about having autism, yet one of the most difficult to grasp if you haven’t experienced it. I know we may seem like we are perpetually bothered and that our life is filled with challenges, but before you suggest that we seek mindfulness-based therapy because that’s what helped you, know that this is one area in which we are already born masters.

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Eye Contact

Aspies rejoice!

This study apparently supports the idea that NTs can’t tell if you’re really looking them in the eye!

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Skull Pressure

I have never been one to repetitively bang my head on something (not often anyways), but I have always sought pressure on my skull. Like having a weighted blanket, pressure on my skull is so calming.

When I was a child, I would squeeze my head between the headrests in the car and fall asleep that way. I almost logged more hours sleeping this way than in my own bed.

In my own bed, I would often wake to find that I had smushed my forehead against the leg of the dresser next to the bed. Ah, that explains why I slept so well last night, I would tell myself.

When I became an adult, I experienced head splitting migraines that made me want to take a C-clamp to my head and turn down on it hard. Later I found that an extremely tight headband is a good option and works well for sleeping.

I hope someone finds this useful.

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Diagnostic Criteria for Allism

Despite little being known about Allism it affects as much as 98% of the population, which is a staggering number as it outranks victims of cancer, hyperthyroidism, and athlete’s foot combined. Many individuals living with the reality of Allism will go their whole lives without a diagnosis, unaware of the problems that their condition is causing to them and their loved ones. While Allism appears to run in families, there exists a small number of individuals who appear to possess a genetic factor that protects the individual from Allism. Study of these individuals may unlock possible therapy options for individuals who suffer with Allism in the future. The following is a list of symptoms common in many allistic individuals:

1. Has special needs in the areas of emotional validation, frequent attention, or non-functional exchange of information. Failure to provide will result in distress or resentment.

2. Odd use of language that is internally inconsistent. Frequently makes statements that are false, or uses words which contradict intended meaning. Will often wave hands through the air while speaking.

3. Deficits in maintaining emotional independence. Problems of needing attention from others to feel emotionally validated hamper stable self-sufficiency and feelings of adequacy.

4. Adherence to non-functional rituals and routines such as demanding cake and other desired items from family members once a year. Has poor theory of mind: often has undisclosed expectations of others and becomes upset when expectations are not met. Has problems following rules consistently and experiences “emotional contamination” or the inability to separate ones emotions from logical decision making processes. Makes irrational choices, lacks focus and follow through. Has weak attention to detail.

If you believe that you or someone you care about may be allistic, don’t hesitate to reach out for help and resources, even where they don’t exist.

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