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Asperger's syndrome

Hello World

it happened again... one of those long, long spells where I just couldn't bring myself to write any of the crap down.

so it's been almost a year. that's not a record for me, though, surprisingly enough. but "Hello" anyway, I'm back... today at least... so I'll engage in a little catching up.

Prolonged Exposure Therapy: Retrospect

I never did finish blogging about my experience with Prolonged Exposure Therapy. there were two sessions left, and I know I promised to catch up, but I decided not to.

here's why: I don't want or need to right now. I felt a little guilty at first, and wanted to "finish the project" by finishing the blog posts, but for the first time in years I found myself looking living in the present instead of feeling stuck in the past. so I just didn't sit down to write. since I didn't want to write those posts, I've avoided blogging in favor of other things.

today feels like a good day to wrap it up.

why we shouldn't abandon critical thinking when it comes to self-image

I have Asperger's Syndrome, and I guess my body doesn't work the same way other people's do. For the most part, I try to ignore my body because it's inconvenient to have to feed and clean it. It doesn't give me good signals when it's hungry or when it needs to vacate. I figure I'm missing some neurological connections that pass along information like "I'm hungry" or "I need to poo". I manage pretty well, in spite of the communication problems, by feeding my body regularly and washing it once a day.

Although I have a somewhat objective relationship with my body, I'm not immune to feelings of inadequacy within the subjective realms of "attractiveness". When I was a teen, I was painfully thin with small breasts. Sometimes I wished I was pretty enough to be a model, because pretty girls were popular and I was not. People talked about models with admiration. No one admired me. I felt inconsequential. Other girls were obsessed with their appearance, so I worried that something was wrong with me and started worrying, too. I didn't feel particularly feminine, so I compensated by dressing in a boyish manner. I was always surprised when other people found me attractive.

Dear Special Ed. Teacher

Dear Special Education Teacher,

First, know that I appreciate you very much. I respect your strength and patience. I respect your commitment. I could not do your job, so I appreciate that you can do it, and that you want to do it.

But please, no matter how horrible my child is, DO NOT CALL ME TO VENT ABOUT HIM. Call your therapist. Use your professional support system. Use YOUR resources.

My son is 14, and he was diagnosed with a developmental disability when he was 12. His diagnosis was a result of a complete breakdown due to unrealistic expectations from society, family, and especially from his schools. Do you realize how many teachers and school staff come into contact with a child by the time he's 12 years old? Do you realize how many people have complained to me about my child, how many criticized my parenting, how many blamed me for his behavioral problems before, during and even after his diagnosis process?

Believe me, there were a lot of them. So many I've lost count of them, and of the emotional scars their condemnation left on me and on my son.

Also believe me that I know how challenging my son can sometimes be. I've been hit. I've been screamed at. I've been threatened. I've been called names. For every rough day my son has had in your classroom, he and I both have already survived the dozens if not hundreds that have passed.

So, let me share something really important with you:

When I stopped focusing on controlling his badness and started trying to figure out what makes him tick, both our lives changed for the better. Even though he couldn't tell when he was headed for a meltdown, I started identifying the triggers and signs and talking to him about them. He's a thinker. He's introspective. He absorbed the information and started tracking his own reactions. I learned when to back off, and found out that my son, once he has had time to sort things out, will come back to me and will hold himself accountable for his bad behavior.

What I'm saying is that instead of calling me to vent, you should try talking to my son. If you learn what makes him tick, you might just find that he's not that hard to work with after all.

And when you do need to call me to "get on the same page" (which I expect will happen given my son's particular issues) have a proactive attitude. Obviously something isn't working, and it may be something you're doing. If you want to be on the same page, you're going to have to be willing to consider you've been on the wrong one.

And one last thing:

Don't ever expect that by complaining about my son I will be shamed into doing things your way.

Prolonged Exposure Therapy: Session 6

for session six of Prolonged Exposure Therapy, I chose to focus on the final act of domestic violence by Scott (the man I was then married to) against me.

it was both more and less damaging than the previous event I'd focused on, the gas-lighting session by cult leaders that destroyed my ability to trust others and to make decisions on my own. it was more damaging because it brought me closer to accepting death as a solution to my pain than anything I'd previously encountered, even the verbal and physical abuse I suffered at the hands of my mother.

it was less damaging only because my psyche was already so damaged that it couldn't have created in my heart any more of a sense of worthlessness than I already harbored against myself. it is possible that if Scott, along with the cult leaders, had not destroyed my soul so completely in that closed-door session a few years before, I would have found the strength to gather up my children and walk out the door after he attacked me.

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