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Autistic Thoughts


https://open.spotify.com/episode/6pWapFW2O5giYdGyFhtRR7?si=ABoQKmHCRkKFNPqnwIaLbQ

A long time ago and I was full of rage

Ok, so autistic people sometimes have what’s called a “meltdown”. Many people think it’s a tantrum- it is not. Some people think autism is all in one’s head.

Here are conditions that ARE all in one’s head:
-brain aneurysm
-stroke
-Alzheimer’s
-brain tumor (benign or cancerous)
-concussion (including shaken baby syndrome)

Now, does being “all in one’s head” make any of those conditions any less serious or real than any other?

What is not all in one’s head:
-autism
-epilepsy

A “meltdown” for an autistic works like a seizure for someone who is epileptic.

It starts with a triggering input, either sensory, mental or emotional. Then the brain reaches a point where it cannot handle any more of said trigger and a chain reaction begins in which the brain malfunctions and hijacks the entire nervous system. The nervous system controls the entire body.

A person having a meltdown has no more control over it than a person having a seizure. Once either process has reached the chain reaction stage, it must be ridden out.

Both autistics and epileptics will try as much as they can to avoid having this happen because it is not a fun experience.

Can you imagine someone punishing a child for having a seizure? Saying that an epileptic child should be “put down” because their service dog shouldn’t have to deal with that? Complaining about how inconvenient it is when someone has a seizure?

So why is it considered OK to treat an autistic person as if they are morally failing if they experience meltdown?

Think about it.

“Papa, can you hear me?”


In the iconic film Yentl, there is a scene where the protagonist is leaving everything she has known behind in order to pursue the education that as a woman is forbidden to her. She stops to light a candle and pray. Her father has recently passed away and she is feeling very alone and small. She (played by Barbra Streisand) sings “Papa Can You Hear Me”

I have always considered it a very inspiring scene. Her courage in vulnerability combined with her conviction and deep love for both her late father and the studies he had shared with her are both moving and uplifting. It is a noctilucent moment.

Lately I have been considering the difference between intellectual intelligence and emotional intelligence. I believe there are many “intelligences” but generally those are the two that are supposed to “count”. However, I think a third is critical to this equation; spiritual.

Let me first say that by “spiritual” I do not mean religious or supernatural in any way! I would think that saying an atheist or agnostic could not be spiritual makes as much sense as claiming they could not be inspired. Let’s think of it more like the “school spirit” generated at a pep rally; spirituality is the capacity to be inspired and to form a positive mutual identity.

Spiritual intelligence then is the ability to choose with whom to identify and for what cause. These choices cannot be only made by logic or emotion but rather values and intent. This then demonstrates the truth of what is meant when the spiritual is said to pertain to the “unseen”. The markers of a communal identity may be visible, but the identity itself is not. Things like patriotism, fandom, and political affiliation all share this quality of being a bond of spirit.

This is why people can have a high intellect and even be quite skilled at emotional self-regulation, demonstrating a high emotional intelligence and yet cling to an ideology that seems completely at odds with every thing else they value. This is an example of low spiritual intelligence. The bond of loyalty has overwhelmed both their logic and their emotional self-awareness allowing them to hold an identity that is incongruous.

On the other hand you can have those who have high spiritual intelligence but low emotional intelligence and they might be more aware than their compatriots of the essence or spirit of the communal identity that they become out of sync with the other individuals who are part of that community. This leads to disillusionment and sometimes despair.

It is important to note that this spiritual intelligence and bond is distinct from the psychological phenomenon of mob mentality or peer pressure, in fact it may be even more important to countering those elements that emotional intelligence. The ability to adjust one’s identity from the self as an organism, to a communal state, to universality and back again at will is spiritual discipline.

Photo by Dhivakaran S on Pexels.com

The Hard Way


Years ago I lived in a house with many cats. And I was tasked with cleaning the cat boxes.
But I’m hyper-sensitive to scent.
As a result, I’m also prone to olfactory fatigue.
When that happens, I can no longer smell anything and only feel a sense of burning.
Once being frustrated by dirty boxes after dumping the litter, I poured bleach into a box to try to get rid of the stain.
I was in a basement with no windows and closed doors.
But I didn’t smell the ammonium-chloride!
Because of olfactory fatigue.
And I didn’t know about cat pee being ammonia and the bleach+ammonia thing!
It took someone else smelling it from upstairs through a closed door to come down, open the door to outside and drag me out. Had it not been for that, I might have died.

Once I was outside and recovering, my nose recovered and I finally could actually smell the toxic gas that I had inadvertently created. And it was explained to me what I had done wrong.

Sometimes to really be safe from a danger requires not just the intellectual knowledge of what is toxic, but the experiential and visceral association to learn how to recognize the danger at the gut level. Which is why I can’t regret either pouring bleach into a cat box when I did (had it been years later while alone, I’d be dead!) or the other things that I have learned the hard way even as others look on thinking, “don’t you know that’s not healthy?”

Well, yeah, in theory I might know…but unless my gut knows why and what it is that makes it so dangerous, I don’t really know. Which is as dangerous as being insensitive to it.

“Fool of a Took!” -Gandalf


Gandalf: “Of all the inquisitive hobbits, Peregrin Took, you are the worst! Hurry! Hurry!”

Pippin: “Where are we going?”

Merry: “Why did you look? Why do you always have to look!”

Pippin: “I don’t know. I can’t help it!”

Merry: “You never can.”

Pippin: “I’m sorry, all right! I won’t do it again.”

https://www.tk421.net/lotr/film/rotk/05.html

I just woke up from a vivid dream that helped me to understand something that as an autistic person, I have been struggling to understand for some time. I think in metaphor and symbol and sometimes it takes a while for me to get the part of my brain that thinks in its own language to help translate itself into words. As I do so, I learn about myself and the world.

I identify strongly with Pippin in the above scene as well as the ones immediately preceding it. He does something he knows is wrong; he sneaks a look at the palantir right out from under Gandalf’s sleeping hold on it. This action has its own natural consequence as it allows Sauron directly into Pippin’s mind which very nearly destroys Pippin!

And yet, when Gandalf brings him back from the Shadow-induced comatose state his first words seeing Gandalf are, “forgive me!”

He knows he was wrong. Yet there was something he needed to know. Gandalf says of him, “There was no lie in Pippin’s eyes. A fool, but an honest fool he remains.”

In the book version he asks Gandalf about it and after the initial irritation with the folly of the young hobbit, Gandalf shows unusual tolerance for the foolish questions of this unusually inquisitive hobbit. Pippin is worried that his attraction to the palantir means there is something in him that is drawn to evil. But Gandalf is quick to reassure him that the palantiri were not created by Sauron, they are artifacts of Numenor and were once considered good and are objects of great beauty. His attraction to the palantir is essentially a kind of curiosity in its purest form; it is desire for knowledge itself.

It is a bit like the kind of care a scientist has for something growing in a petri dish. To cure a pandemic like the current Covid-19, scientists must grow very strong and healthy strains in controlled environments to better gain the critical knowledge needed to develop countermeasures in the real world. Yet the care with which they deliberately grow and study something that to many is “the Enemy” can appear on its surface to be rather strange.

They are fascinated by it.

They look after it, nurture it and care for it.

They might even do very human things like anthropomorphize their sample and talk to it while they study and research it. Scientists can be rather quirky that way.

If someone who did not understand the larger picture were to observe their treatment of the petri dish without looking at the safety protocols so often put in use to contain these samples while the larger goal is actually to defeat the threat that the disease represents to life.

But while the “mad scientist” trope might give a different impression; like in the movie Wonder Woman, generally these scientists are not enamored with what this thing would do to humans, often they are looking for ways to create a vaccine.

Recently I learned something about certain kinds of people. And typical of this fool, I was drawn right to the source of the danger to get a good look at something that is, especially for me, dangerous and horrifying. I’m an unusually naive and innocent person. And by innocent, I don’t mean I don’t do things that are wrong, nor am I ignorant of the mistakes and poor choices I have made. I don’t mean blameless. I mean that my intentions are not, nor have they ever been, malicious. I was called “innocent” first by a sadistic sociopath who wanted to kill me because of that quality in me. A psychological assessment described me as unusually susceptible to being taken advantage of or abused.

And I have had my Merry’s asking me why I must always look. But this time I know why. I needed a vaccine for certain kinds of people. And like a scientist I needed to get up really close and see it clearly. But people can’t be put in petri dishes. And there are no social hazmat suits.

So I was in a certain amount of danger again, this time more emotional than physical. And it was folly. But I saw it this time.

I saw the Enemy.

I don’t mean any specific person. I’m talking about a trait that I lack. One that everyone has to some degree but with the dangerous people have to a large degree and of which I have almost none.

I won’t name it here. But what I will say is that having gotten the information I needed, I now see my “affection” for the sample I was studying in its larger context; it is truly horrifying! I have finally felt repulsed by a human being because of this character trait that until now I simply couldn’t see so I had failed to inoculate myself from. Now my gut can recognize it, and it is as repulsive to me as the scent of a rotting corpse.

And that’s good. I am a fool. But an honest fool, I remain.

Different


CW/TW: dysphoria, PTSD, abuse (all kinds)

The one thing from my past that I am most sentimental about is that I used to be a ballerina. I studied ballet for 12 years, dancing with the Fairlane Ballet Company for seven. By the time I moved away, I had gotten good at it.

I did not start out that way.

I don’t just mean in the sense of that no little girl in pink tights starts out with discipline, poise, and strength. I mean that being autistic and having ADHD meant that I had a very limited proprioception*, attention, or situational awareness.

(*proprioceptors are bodily neurons that give you a sense of where in space your body is and how to navigate your physical presence through the world around you. Without it, everything from balance to coordination are affected)

So for most of those years, I was the awkward one in the back who ran late, never quite knew what she was doing, dying of embarrassment when not drifting off into her own little world. As puberty clobbered me from behind, my already vague unease about “being a girl” was compounded by rapidly overwhelming crushes on…other girls!

Combined with a history of sexual abuse; add severe dysmenhorrea and acne and I was rapidly devolving into a very miserable creature. And yet, strangely, that was when I started getting good at ballet.

the one on the left, yeah, that was me!

Ballet class was the only time I held my head up. The rest of the time you’d think my chin was attached to my sternum.

I remember once when we were rehearsing for the final recital with four of the company classes in one room and we were doing pirouettes in time to the music. My spot was way in the back corner so I was not feeling self-conscious as we worked on getting the timing, rotation, head-snapping around, and not “traveling” (when your support foot lands in a different spot each time) for four pirouettes in a row and I was feeling pretty good about how I was doing.

SUDDENLY…the teacher stopped the music and said, “Everyone! Watch **** [my name], she’s doing it perfectly!”

LOLWUT?

She started the music again and on queue, I did it again! Exactly right. With no less than four of my super-mega-obsessive crushes watching!

That is a feeling I will never forget. The only time that compared was when my mother (who had been living out of the state since my infancy) visited during a dress rehearsal and the teacher stopped everything to greet her.

See, nothing stopped dress rehearsal! Not the lack of A/C in a 100+ degree Detroit summer, not bleeding toes, not technical issues. My teacher had once danced with the Royal Ballet of London. She gave 150% and demanded almost as much from us. But to meet MY mom…she stopped rehearsal. I was ashamed that my mother had no clue the incredible honor she was being given. (I doubt those rehearsals would have stopped for the Queen of England!) But I knew. I saw my teacher’s face as she told my mom how much I meant to her. My mom would never get it. But I got it. I still do.

At thirteen years old I was likely ten years past due to get the feeling most kids get while potty training (let’s just not mention how long I had incontinence issues, Okay? *wan smile*), as an autistic girl I lived in a world I never fit into, could never quite grasp the rules of and as an abuse survivor had been trying to snuff out my will pretty much since birth.

My ballet teacher gave me the tools to survive. The discipline to withstand criticism without buckling, the will to hold my position, and the strength to persevere no matter what. When confronted with circumstances that I thought for sure I just couldn’t go on, I always found within the fight to keep going.

Later when I was beaten and maimed after coming out as a lesbian and ending up on the streets, I know I survived the ordeal because I kept those lessons within. I have survived things that most people would never be able to imagine and frankly, I wouldn’t want them to have to. I know I’m stronger than almost anyone I know. But I also know that survival took a toll.

Survival became the only language I knew.

I have fought discrimination of many kinds and learned to take what I can get in spite of opposition to my very existence. Having clawed out a space for myself in a hostile world, I learned to stand guard and defend that space from all who would deny my rights.

But a world of enemies is a lonely one.

I started reaching out to others who had been rejected by families and giving the love I had never known from my own family. Yet I never learned how to receive. I never learned a language of trust.

Survival is about making others tolerate you.

Trust is about giving and receiving acceptance.

In many ways those concepts are mutually exclusive. As long as I am in a defensive stance, I can not offer acceptance to anyone attempting to give it because I’m prepared to take what I need, demand that I be heard, and carve out my place.

Acceptance begins with accepting the limits of others.

Unspoken or indirectly communicated social limits are very hard for an autistic person to read easily. Vague or conflicted emotions are hard to identify. For me, the only emotion I know well is anger and the only kind of limit I understand fully is the limit of my own willpower.

I had to fight harder than ever before to survive this past year. And in the process I lost a connection with someone who operates from trust and acceptance. She didn’t know that her attempt to voice her limits came into my ears as the words of discrimination or that already being in survival mode meant that I could not engage acceptance, because she has not lived in a dog-eat-dog world.

But as I look forward I feel like I have a choice. I could again make my own way and fight for my seat at a table that no one really wants me at. It’d be the usual to me, but I have seen in her a confusion. Why, she seems to wonder, would anyone want to sit at a table where they weren’t welcome?

The streetwise brat in me snaps, “oy lady, yeh’ve never been starvin’ on the street ‘ave yeh?”

But there is another part of me that says, maybe it’s time to learn a new language. Maybe it’s time to try out this acceptance stuff. I wonder who is strong enough not to give up on a wounded feral beast? Who could be my Beauty?

A year


TW/CW: suicide, PTSD, Transgender issues

March 25th 2019 Oliver took his life.

At the time I couldn’t imagine still being here today.

I considered him my brother. 17 years previous his blood family had disowned him for not being the daughter they wanted him to be. They came around in time but when I found that precious little cub crying in the dark, I took him in my arms and called him “brother”.

something I drew at 14

He called me the day he died, though I didn’t know he’d OD’d. We talked about the past. How when we met he was full of rage and used to go out and get into drunken bar brawls. Being a gay transman I was scared for him. I knew he had been viciously attacked in the past. I knew he was engaging reckless behaviors as a passive suicide. So I confronted him. I said, “Ollie, as your big sis, I have to ask you; is this really the kind of man you want to be?”

We talked about trauma and pain and the rage it can evoke. I knew. I’ve been there. So I told him what I do. It’s not a trick or a cure, but it is amazingly effective.

The most potent antidote to depression is compassion.

So I told him to find one truly altruistic thing to do each day. For no recognition or reward, but just to give from a place of generosity. The reason it works is that it is a shift of focus from the awareness of what’s “wrong” to an awareness of what is right and good and valuable within oneself.

The day he died he told me, “you were the angel that brought me out of the darkness.”

I don’t often feel very angelic. Quite the opposite really. But I’m truly grateful for many things. One of them is that when he was facing that terrifying decision to end his pain and suffering, he knew he could count on me to be a loving and accepting voice and that the last thing we said to each other were, “I love you.” and “I love you, too.”

There were several things that lead to his suicide. One of them is why his name is often listed as “Olie” instead of Ollie as it had been. He was doxxed by someone on the internet who didn’t understand how deeply fragile his interior self was. When he felt exposed, he would take that need to erase himself, common among those of us who are autistic, and feel compelled to enact it literally. So for a while he was in hiding and when he returned to social media, “Ollie” was gone. I’m probably the only person who has known all his names in different places. Because I had his trust and he had mine.

Which is why I was one of the only people who knew about his daughter. The circumstances of her conception had been traumatic and he gave her up for closed adoption. But it was partly that past violation of his privacy that allowed her to find and contact him the year preceding his death. He didn’t blame her. But that contact opened up for him traumas he could not cope with and his pain and suffering were too much for him to bear.

I cannot be angry with him because I knew his pain. It hurts and I miss him. And I have spent the last year battling my brain not to follow him. I knew I had traumas that I had been unable to release and I knew that if I could not confront them head on, then when this anniversary came around, I’d be in deep.

So I tackled some of the hardest moments in my life. It was risky and experimental, but I had spent enough time studying the peculiar ways my brain responds to things and made a guess and it paid off. (I am one of those weird people that has actually read the DSM versions III, IV, and V!)

Ollie’s wasn’t the first loss by suicide in my life. He was number six.

There is a reason the average life expectancy of autistic people is 36, it’s mostly suicide. So yeah, at 45, I’m almost 10 years past my “use by” date. And people with gender dysphoria are also high risk. Add in each person lost by suicide increasing the risk exponentially and clearly my odds weren’t so good.

But I know I’m going to be OK.

Not great just yet. I’m in a deep agorphobic phase and can hardly leave my bedroom. With IBS and fibromyalgia added onto my personal heap of Dx, I get knocked sideways fairly easily. I’ve just had a week-long flu.

But I’m here and I’m finding my sweetness again. I’ve come through the bitter tears and while I’m not proud of some of what it took to survive, I’m rediscovering a self that had erased itself long ago. I’m happy to welcome that part of me back.

So as I look forward to the next year, I have to adjust to roll with some setbacks I’ve faced, but for the most part I’m now prepared to be as gentle and kind to myself and others as I was for him. Only this time, it’s not to ease a passing into death, but to ease my own passing back into life.

it takes true gentleness to hold a mouse. it hurts when they bite but we are capable of far more harm. Choose gentleness

3-D glasses


seeing differently

I was reminded of someone the other day and got to thinking about the symbols I always associated with her. I used to call her “the red to my blue”; in fact, I still have the 25 year old diary where I wrote about it. Ironically it’s purple and has stars on it. Since when we watched the anime “Strawberry Panic” it has the concept of the “etoile” which is French for star and is two people one who wears a red pendant and one a blue, it related.
But the concept originally was that we have always been best mates, not because we ever saw eye-to-eye but our views were complimentary. Like when we were kids and there’d be a 3-D comic on the back of the cereal box and in the box was a cardboard pair of 3-D glasses with one red lens and one blue. And only when you looked through both of them at the image that suddenly, like magic! it popped out at you and you could see way more than with one or the other.

So that was how we were, we never agree on much and we are super different, but different in just such a way that together, our perspectives make the world look just a bit more magical.

In looking back, I look forward with more understanding. I know now that my perspective is the one colored by my neurodivergent brain. It’s alright to be different.

I’ve often said that we have two eyes not because of what they see in common but because the difference between them is what gives us depth perception. We need the different views as much as we need our own left eye. Over time I’m starting to be more and more OK with having a unique view of life because for those willing to look together, we see much more.

Re-wind, Re-mind


I never even mentioned that part…but it pops back into my head now and I think…OH! Is that part of it?

What do I mean? Well, the other day I had a bad fever, it’s got my whole household down for the count. My housemate had a temperature of 103 F.

While this has been the case, it was very hard to do simple things like control my mouse or type. Some awkward mistakes were made! During this time I stopped in to attend a free online webinar that was open to the public. While there I accidentally clicked out of the room and had to re-enter. The webinar was about releasing shame and it was absolutely wonderful and beautiful. It made me sappy happy weepy relief-emotional!

As an aside, I remarked jokingly that I could “destroy all the electronics”. At the time I was referring to my clumsiness. #actuallyautistic and lacking proprioceptors means I trip over my own feet spectacularly!

But there’s another part…to my surprise it was taken up my the webinar host. She started talking about her mother. This isn’t the first time. I sat there wide-eyed, unable to say much because typing wasn’t working all that well. But kinda shocked! Because what she was saying about her mother is also true of me…well, the while alive part, because sadly her mother is deceased. But I’d not mentioned that in years! I never knew what to make of it since it seemed so outlandish.

Sometimes I forget to explain things that I think will only have meaning to myself. Maybe that’s not helpful? One of the first posts I made here says, “call me Mara.” and I never explained that because it was one of those me thinking in symbols things that I assumed would be meaningless to anyone but myself.

“Call me not Naomi but Mara for the Lord hath dealt bitterly with me.” from the book of Ruth is what that refers to. I’m not Christian or even very religious, but that book has meaning for me because my little sister and the first person I knew diagnosed autistic is named Ruth. Mara is the root for words like “marine” or “mermaid” and names like Marie or Mary. It refers to sea water but also the fact that being salt water is like tears. Since Naomi means sweetness, in the verse she is making a play on her name.

I have difficulty reading others’ feelings correctly. But because I think in symbols and sometimes those symbols are archetypes involving much larger patterns, I inadvertently say and do things that means something to someone else. Except I don’t know it. So it can look rather confusing. And I’m the most confused.

*laughs* Oh my sweet magically purple star*, why didn’t you tell me I was reminding you of her? It explains so much. But I can promise I’m not going anywhere. Let’s rewind…

*Etoile (エトワール, Etowāru) is a French word meaning star. The Etoile system of Astraea Hill is employed as the internal politics between the schools and governs school operations. Little is shown as to the influence the teachers and sisters have on the inter-school politics. The system is designed for two Etoiles to be instated at the same time in order to work as a team. In the anime, Shizuma Hanazono is the sole Etoile,[4] the other Etoile having died, which is explained in the latter part of the story. […]Once the winners have been named, a special ceremony marks the end of the election,[16] at which the president of the student council from the school that won the election presents two necklaces for the winners to wear during their tenure as Etoiles. They are both identical except for the colors of the pendants: one is red, the other is blue. The older student receives the blue pendant and the younger of the two is given the red pendant.[16]

Obsession!


Right now, I’m eating bacon.

I LOVE bacon.

I could eat it every day.

And I’m autistic. “Spicy Autistic” in fact, which is how those of us who are #actuallyautistic describe not being diagnosed as “mild”. Because we know what the DSM-V doesn’t: our lived experiences as autistics are all equally autistic, whether or not the neurotypical world perceives it that way or not.’

And I am obsessive. I chose the name “cobAUlt” because rather than lighting anything up blue, I just have a thing for cobalt blue. I can stare at cobalt blue glass for hours and it makes me intensely happy! I put AU in it to distinguish my happy color from the symbols of #AS and seeking any kind of a cure for the things that make me who I am.

In the past this was something I was deeply ashamed of. I learned to hide it because I lived through the tragic death of John Lennon and the terror reported by Jodi Foster at the hands of obsessed “fans”. The word “fan”, is short or fanatic. An obsessed person. But neurotypicals have no fear identifying themselves as fans of this sports team or that musician. And I know there is a mental condition which can create a very real danger if a person becomes obsessed with someone and believes they are actually in a relationship with that person.

I don’t have that condition. So rather than “obsession”, I use the word fixation. Because in discussion with a mental health counselor who also has OCD, we compared obsession as defined by OCD and the “special interests” of an autistic person and I noticed they are exactly opposite in their function. An obsession is a negative and intrusive thought which causes enough distress that the sufferer develops compulsive behaviors to attempt to control the anxiety caused by the obsessive thought.

A special interest is the opposite. It is a subject or object which an autistic person finds so fascinating and positive that when confronted by the stresses of other aspects of life, becomes a mental refuge. It’s our happy place.

Next month is Autism Acceptance month. And acceptance would be nice. But before acceptance comes tolerance. And tolerance is often given begrudgingly while the person or business that is tolerating the “otherness” of a minority is very uncomfortable with having to tolerate them being there. So for now, I’ve decided to let my freak flag fly and accept the label as “obsessed” because I know tolerance has to go both ways.

It’s OK if you don’t like how I am. Sometimes I don’t much like it either. But we do have to tolerate each other so that we can learn about each other and eventually get to a place of understanding and finally acceptance.

rambles


“Desire is the mother of all misery. When the desires […] are directed toward attaining self-awareness, then the same desire becomes […] a useful instrument for self-realization.”
-Swami Rama, “Living with the Himalayan Masters”

Who am I?

That’s a good question.

I like good questions. I think a good question is worth more than many answers.

https://adytum-tarot.livejournal.com/3182.html

Comprehend


comprehend (v.)

mid-14c., “to understand, take into the mind, grasp by understanding,” late 14c., “to take in, include;” from Latin comprehendere “to take together, to unite; include; seize” (of catching fire or the arrest of criminals); also “to comprehend, perceive” (to seize or take in the mind), from com “with, together,” here probably “completely” (see com-) + prehendere “to catch hold of, seize,” from prae- “before” (see pre-) + -hendere, from PIE root *ghend- “to seize, take.” Related: Comprehended; comprehending. Compare sense development in German begriefen, literally “to seize,” but, through the writings of the 14c. mystics, “to seize with the mind, to comprehend.”

This is why I like the word comprehend better than understand. I don’t want to stand under anyone. But to seize learning and wisdom for myself; that I can *ahem* wrap my mind around.

Pain is the mask of growth. All growth is a response to stress. All parts of the body grow in response to how that body is used. The mind is the same way. What we can grasp is what was within reach, no more and no less. Change happens when the body or mind is allowed and supported in changing its habits. If something cannot be comprehended now, it may be that one has their hands full of coping mechanisms and if those coping mechanisms are still needed, it would be wrong to ask someone to let it go before they are ready. Coping mechanisms are like emotional/psychological casts. If you would trip someone in a leg cast, why trip up someone exhibiting emotional coping techniques? Just because you can not comprehend what struggles another is facing does not excuse insensitivity to those who are legitimately suffering.

How do you know if someone is suffering?

No one fakes suffering. Some may redirect one kind of (socially unacceptable) type of pain for one that gets a more sympathetic response, but the suffering is still legitimate. People choose to be happy when they aren’t too attached to being right.

When someone is in survival mode and up against unimaginable odds, survival may be by Any Means Necessary.
Please don’t expect that everyone will survive while winning a Nobel Peace Prize.
We will try to avoid hurting or harming anyone, but survival is what will come first.

Those who take that opportunity to mock or ridicule someone who’s barely hanging on by a thread are beyond abusive…
That’s murderous intent.

Have a heart, you don’t have to approve or agree with what someone does to survive. But don’t add to their burden.
I can promise you:
We feel ashamed of what we’ve had to do.

We will beat ourselves up for YEARS to come over it.

Don’t add to the suffering.

If you can’t help, just make space in a compassionate way and leave it be.

Acting like someone acting “not normal” when under extreme duress is making you a victim is disingenuous. It is a lie.

Learn the different between feeling hurt/offended and being harmed. If you choose to take offense to what I must to to survive the greatest challenges I’ve faced in life so far, I will only say, “feel free to keep it, I don’t want it. It’s yours now.”

I don’t intent offense and I do the best I can. My best fluctuates with what I’m dealing with. I choose to survive.

I have done so.

I choose to continue to grow. And I suffer deeply the pain of that growth because I am honest about my flaws and weaknesses. I will not and can not take on others’ expectations for what *my* survival should look like.

You’ve never walked a foot in my shoes. You wouldn’t survive the degree of uncertainty I live with daily. I have zero pride.

I have been suicidally depressed. I put myself through extreme self-exposure therapy to reclaim parts of my brain needed to face the next part of this challenge. I have been successful, but my self-cohesion is very fragile.

To those who chose this time to kick me while down; you sow within yourself your own energy. I am not responsible for that. But I might ask;

Having held me up to public ridicule and humiliation, do you feel like a better person for it? Having kicked the wounded puppy, do you feel stronger?

If I asked for help and you twisted my confidence in you to frame yourself as a victim, how weak are you to need to put down someone at their lowest point?

Grasp your own life. Grow your own self.

I will survive and in time I will thrive. I will learn from my faults and flaws because I don’t hide or deny them.

But those who rather be right than happy…”right” will shatter in time, leaving your inner world barren. If you truly were the “bigger” person, you would have comprehended the difference between who I am and when I’ve been reduced to temporary to survive.

As Frodo says of Smeagol, “I have to believe he can come back…” He means himself.

Having undertaken the dark road to destroy the source of my wound, I too need to be reminded that I can come back.

I am sorry for my poor choices and behaviors. But the self-righteous have no ears for genuine apologies. I will not flog myself for your entertainment. Nor should I.

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