Monday, 5 November 2007

Finding freedom...

This morning I woke up and my first thought was that I was fooling myself thinking that I don't have many of the symptoms of someone who has Asperger's syndrome. As well as being extremely literal , I am obsessive about being on time. I always put this down to the influence of my dad who always has to be everywhere on time. But I think the biggest indicator is how I have homed in a subject and made it such a part of my being. For some people who fall within the autistic spectrum this is often mathematics, for me it has been the area of spirituality. This interest was born from loneliness when I was a young girl with an English accent in an Irish Catholic boarding school and it has been kept in place, developed and deepened by the steadfastness and consistency that is characteristic of the autistic. The words aren't flowing this evening I will continue it early tomorrow morning.

It's now early morning. I woke naturally at 4am and just lay there peaceful and contented without any trace of tiredness. A very strange thing happened when I went to bed. I always sleep quickly and easily feeling like I am wrapped in an electric blanket. Last night I felt myself being drawn deeper into what I can only call a Presence. It is like the discovery that I am somewhere on the autistic scale has taken away the remaining constraints I had to form a close intimate relationship with another human. I understand now why I thought that I had special guards who I called my 'men guards' that seemed to be sleeping in front of me and would rise up when there was a potential relationship and sabotage all kinds of communication. What I see now is that these aren't men guards but the natural autistic tendancy to shun intimacy. This is probably why all of my efforts in this area were so clumsy and a source of a great deal of frustration for me and many of the guys who I happened to put my autistic eye on! Making efforts that were almost certainly doomed to failure.

Yesterday was a strange day at work. I woke up and my first thought was is this how someone with Asperger's wakes up! Then I thought that maybe I should change the title of this blog to the spiritual diary of the Aspergic. It is like having another way of being that is totally different to who I thought I was and getting used to that. I am so grateful to one friend at work who I know is reading this blog because she just came up to me and with great care and concern asked me how I was and told me to 'be easy'. Those few words said with such tenderness meant everything at the time they were said. Because I had no words to speak to her. I had a few quiet moments and I found an article written by someone who has Asperger's. There were so many parallels to me. She spoke about the way she has to wait to form a picture before answering a question. This is so often the case with me. I called the autistic society. Waiting on someone to answer I thought, this phone call is going to change my life. Then to my immense frustration I got a voice mail message saying 'leave your details and you will be sent an information pack about Autism and Asperger's..aagh...I don't want more bloody information I want to speak to one of the members of the Homo Sapien kingdom, is this too much to ask for! Obviously yes, so I slammed the phone down with the exasperation that comes when an expectation is thwarted.

Intuitively I knew that somewhere there was an answer for the way I am. Am I now saying that unless you are somewhere on an autistic scale that you cannot achieve spiritual insights and experiences, no I am not saying that at all. But there is something about the persistence and tenacity of the autistic mind that is necessary if spiritual truths are to be experienced and thus understood. The desire for this has to come above and beyond everything else. My up to now undiscovered autistic mind has made that possible for me. Had I turned my attention to something else I believe that I could be as equally strong and knowledgeable in that area. I am so grateful that I didn't. Now that I know this quality in myself I can stop blaming me for not being able to form intimate long lasting relationships. I can really focus on bringing to the world what is possible with a singleminded dedication to the spiritual.

I had to leave work early to go for my final check up on my operated foot. My mind still full of the discovery of my autistic tendancies I set off for the hospital. It was a beautiful evening, the sky was the deepest blue and I let myself fall into the safety. I arrived at the hospital in plenty of time! (autistic trait numero uno), found a parking space close to the hospital and made my way to out-patients. The receptionist told me 'there is a queue and they are running late'. I said it was OK and settled down to read a magazine from July of this year! To my amazement my name was called. I looked around at all the other people who were there before me and made my way to the consulting room. I was sitting on a chair when a couple joined me, sitting on the two vacant chairs. I could smell the women's perfume from the top of the corridor.

Suddenly my mobile went off and I took it out of my bag. This elicited a tut tut from the body in the chair beside me. A bit baffled I looked at him. With a great flourish of a podgy hand he pointed to the sign on the wall opposite that said 'all mobile phones must be switched off', they MAY interfere with the equipment'. Suddenly the rebel in me made an appearance and I completely ignored what they were trying to communicate. Suddenly one says to the other 'she doesn't care if the phone interferes with the equipment'. Feeling the anger rise but ever aware of the power of choice. I chose to be pleasant and said 'I didn't make the call'.

Instead of this pacifying these two guardians of the mobile it incensed them even further. They then went on a rant about how inconsiderate I was. I didn't rise to it because I had the choice not to. Everything went quiet until a guy walked by on a mobile phone. I knew the man beside me saw it, but he said nothing to him. Now my childlike sense of injustice and feeling hard done by raised its head and I exploded saying 'you said nothing to him'. This created another rant to the point that one of the nurses came out to see what was going on. The guardians of the mobile told them and then finished with a proud and smug 'and she still hasn't turned her mobile off'. They then waited expectantly to see what would be said to me. The nurse looked at me, I smiled and she just walked off. I could see that the guardians of the mobile were furious. I then said pleasantly 'they are running late here today, has your appointment been late'. My response was a monosyllabic grunt that was not understandable to me and I knew better than to push it.

I recount this not to show it as anything spiritual but to kind of demonstrate the turmoil that had been going on in my head that had replayed itself out in the world. But in the midst of it I never lost sight of the fact that I had a choice in how I responded. Choice will always bring power, being reactive will never bring power. Shortly afterwards I was called into the treatment room. It was a male doctor who I had never met before and I instantly felt at home. He was amazed at how quickly I had recovered and said that the pain I sometimes feel is because of doing too much too soon. I could tell that his amazement at the speed of the recovery given the severity of the operation was genuine. I wonder now if this is down to the autistic mind that decided from the morning of the operation that I was going to create a way of being around this that was fun and freedom. As a result I have halved the recovery time which is usual in an operation of this type. That thought struck me for the first time yesterday.

I explained to the doctor how before the operation I had terribly dry, scaly skin on my feet. No matter how much cream I applied nothing seemed to work. Now all that old skin has peeled away and I am left with baby new skin. It is really miraculous. He explained that now I am walking properly that more circulation is getting to the feet. We finished the consultation by completing all the paperwork needed to have the other foot done in 2008. I thanked the doctor and said how much it meant that he took the time and effort to explain in the most simple and patient (not patronising) way that he did.

I came home much happier about everything. I totally accept that I fall 'somewhere' on the spectrum of autism. I see the impact that me not being consciously aware of this has had on me and other people. Knowing intuitively that something is not quite right. I do not think like others and I have an access to spiritual knowledge that is not common. Now I understand the possible source of it I can accept it instead of resisting it like I have been doing to date. I wonder if this is what my brother saw when he said 'you've no idea what you're like, have you'. Maybe he saw this and thought it was an act. There is a tendancy when you think in a literal way for others to think that it's an act, that nobody could be that stupid not to see that 'catching an eye' does not mean it literally but to someone on the autistic spectrum (depending on where on the spectrum this is ) this is exactly what it means, there is nothing else except the literal translation. To do anything else requires work and effort. For me it is going to mean an undoing of where my mind first goes to. I will have to be much more aware in conversations than I have been. I know also that I have to listen more and not contribute until I am sure I understand.

I wonder if this is why when the nun called me in to give me the results of intelligence tests I had done when I was 15 that the results put me at border line mental handicap (special needs these days). I don't know in general how people on the autistic spectrum do with IQ tests. I can't belive that this assessment given to me so many years ago and which I have blamed for ruining my life could have been right after all. But perhaps it was and I have gone most of my adult life without it being picked up. It is only me who knew that there was something differemt and up to now I put that down to right brain overactivity.

But I wouldn't change it for the world. The autistic trait of homing in on something and being a master is the greatest gift I could have been given. It is like the spiritual is claiming me if that makes any sense. I have the singlemindedness around the spiritual that I have for a purpose. While I was trying to operate in two worlds I wasn't being effective in either. I feel sure now that the quality and what I can convey in my spiritual writings will have a flow and authority that may have been missing before.

I had a very special phone call last night and that was with my dad who just came home from the nursing home yesterday. His voice was weak but there was a strength when he claimed that 'we would have a drink at Christmas'. My heart overflowed with love for a man with such resilience and fight. My mum is happy. The happiness that comes when once again the love of her life is with her again. The only shadow at the moment is the rift with my brother. This upsets and worries me and I would give anything for him to call me or answer my call. I take complete responsibility for the rift and just want the chance to say sorry.

My friend came over last night to help me out with something. We have known each other since we were children. His dad and mine were best friends when we lived in England. Then we moved to Ireland but always kept in touch. I was afraid that when he lost both his parents that we would also lose touch because the parental link was no more but to my delight we have got closer through the years. I saw last night really clearly for the first time just what a brilliant guy he is. I spoke to him about this discovery about being on the autistic spectrum and he didn't flinch at all. He totally accepts me for who and what I am and that is so rare and for me is so special. In all the confusion I used to experience when people would say they would do something and them not do it this friend never let me down. If he said he would do something, he would do it. This has meant so much to me over the years. I wonder if he also saw these traits in me over many years.

I'm not looking forward to today. I have a committee meeting and the discovery of the way I authentically am has dealt a severe blow to my confidence in the kind of working environment I am in. Being literal in a political environment is someone's idea of a joke. I'm supposed to be able to see different agendas being played out around the table, pick up on irony and sarcasm....yeah right... maybe I can find a way to have a joke with it all today. Let's see........

Anonymous......thank you


Anonymous said...

Be wary of self-diagnosis. (In case you haven't noticed, you do have a tendency to seize on ideas.) My suggestion may not be right, so make sure it is confirmed by someone qualified.

Margaret Dempsey said...

There is something extremely important in your comment that has prompted me to respond. Last night I read a sentence in the Course in Miracles which resonated with me when I read it and again first thing this morning.

It said 'the world is nothing but ideas'. This to me says that there is nothing in the world except ideas. Ideas when they are shared become strengthened. The idea lives when it is shared. And unlike sharing physical possessions that lessen when they are shared, the giving of ideas does not lessen their power to the person sharing. In fact the opposite happens because what is shared by another is increased in the person who shared it.

Can you imagine the great world we would have if everyone took on and shared the idea that we are not separate from each other. It is only our perception that sees us as separate. If everyone took this on and in their dealings with people resolved to play with this idea by seeing the soul in everyone they spoke to, what kind of magical life not to mind the world could be produced.

So your comment about 'seizing on ideas' is so useful and valuable. It is also important to consider the nature of the idea. I'm all for seizing on ideas which lessen the belief in separation and strenthen the truth of the reality of unity or no separation.

This principle of seizing on ideas and sharing them works irregardless of the idea. What I mean by this is that ideas have no moral value attached. The rise of religious fundamentalism is happening because of this principle of sharing. The sharing of a particular idea is strengthening the energy of that idea out in the world.

What is necessary is more of a balance, not the shutting down of the fundamentalist ideas of separation but an escalation and proliferation of the sharing of ideas around unity. The real battle for power is the battle for ideas and the sharing of these ideas. I place particular emphasis on SHARING. It is the sharing that grows an idea into a kingdom.

As regards your suggestion to comfirm a self-hypothesis about the possibility of Asperger's I refer you to today's post.....

All the best