Thursday, May 26, 2011

Martin and my bubble

There is a 7 year old Mennonite boy in Wooster, OH that has Autism. His name is Martin. I met Martin 5 years ago because he is the son of a religions professor, who is also the "host mother" of my then boyfriend (from Pakistan) in College. When I met Martin, he was quiet, focused, had trouble talking, and loved to do the same things over and over again in glorious little routines. To be honest, I loved Martin. He was just about the coolest little kid I had ever met (and that is saying something cuz I don't like little kids all that much). About the same time when I left college, which is when Martin was 4, he was diagnosed with Autism. I didn't think much of it at the time. But both of his parents started blogging about Martin and his "adventures". For years, I have been fascinated with the stories in a way that I have never been engrossed in anything else before. I just don't care about what other people do or write about. Mostly because I don't understand what they are thinking or why they are doing things. But here is this little boy who I UNDERSTOOD. His parents have a lot of trouble with him. Martin is difficult, to say the least. But over the years, as I have read from afar his journey, I have felt a connection with him that I could never explain.

As I have been digging into my own past and realizing how my own difficulties with Aspergers effected my childhood, I have learned a lot of things about myself. This evening when I read a recent update on Martin, it suddenly struck me.... I completely get it why Martin does and says the things he does. Because I said and did the same things. I find myself reading between the lines and seeing the words left unsaid that Martin needed to hear, and the feelings that he had that left him without control, and the things that happen around him that completely overwhelms him and the feeling of being trapped because you just don't know how to grasp it, let alone deal with it, and then be held accountable by someone else. You don't have the words. You can see things and feel things, but you can't describe them or name them. Everything is happening around you in a way that makes you feel like you are in a bubble. The bubble is glorious! Its just you. And your activities. And your routines. You NEED it all to feel safe. You NEED it all to feel like something is in your own control. It is joy to work on your projects and be totally lost in it. You can do things that no one else seems to be able to do. But then, usually no one understands why that is so cool, which is unfortunate. But what does it matter? It makes you happy!

ASD is both an extraordinarily blessing and a curse. Sometimes when I emerge from my bubble, I momentarily have this clarity and find myself fitting in with the rest of the world. I crave relationships with other people. I want to go do things. I want to feel the same emotions and have the same experiences. And then my brief glimpse into the "real" world disappears. I keep following my memorized scripts of what to say and when to say it, and people never notice anything different. I keep my mouth shut when all I want to do is talk about my "projects". I have found ways to talk about myself and my interests in "appropriate" ways. I can read peoples body language and their tones of voice and their energy and I've learned to call them by names of "angry" or "happy" or "sad". I know the right things and wrong things to say and do when people are "angry" or "happy" or "sad". And I keep going along in my little bubble, struggling to stay just enough in the "real" world, because if I do, then people treat me like any other person. And when I am treated like I am "normal", then I have a chance to go after my dreams and be respected and valued as an equal. I'm not "disabled" and "stupid" and "inferior". I'm not treated like a second class citizen or pitied, or excluded.

Sometimes I stop trying. I enter into my bubble. I loose myself. I loose track of time. Its just me and my projects and my feelings and I don't have to try and put words on them. I can just watch. When I want something, I get it. When I need something, I get it. Fuck the world and the consequences. But then I forget how to feed myself and take care of myself. I start getting "sick" and I sometimes forget how to talk. I can't walk straight. I can't remember how to cook a pot of rice. Night and day blend into each other. There is no self control. There is no world outside of my experience. I'm impulsive. Driven. Focused. Lost. Sometimes I break things or I can stop hurting myself. Its not that I want to do it. It just happens. I'm just waiting. Waiting for something to magically make me feel better. Waiting. Waiting. Trapped in my own body.

And then something snaps. I'm better. I spend a few days trying to figure out what happened and pick back up where I left off in the world. Most people don't miss me, cuz I dont really have anyone anymore that close to me. I'm too difficult. But I still have my dreams and hopes. And I'm grateful I have another day to try life again. Cuz maybe today will be a "good" day. I will be happy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dealing with aspergers

I'm quite literally not feeling stable. My body chemistry is totally fucked up!
Been having ongoing food issues again. I woke up this morning at 4:30am and spent the next few hours just rolling around in bed mulling over a business idea! So, how I figure it....

The secret to business is finding a solution to a problem that needs fixed.


Yet, the poor tend to have the most problems.


For some reason, most businesses chase after only the rich or those that are willing to pay.


And yet the richest people in the world are those who have found a solution for the masses, not the wealthy.


So, my question becomes.... how can I use massage to help the poor?

The mounting pressure to write up my business plan and find a job is not helping at all. Its been a test of my abilities to stay focused while managing my health. I found out two weeks ago that everything I am sensitive to is all a subcategory of one type of chemical, or is a chemical that competes for resources in the body that this chemical needs in order to be broken down. It is called Phenols! The chemical is dependent upon a gene that goes haywire with people on the autism spectrum. Funny thing I am learning is that males with this gene tend to present with autism. Females with this gene tend to present with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. The genetic mix ups seem to be all related to a small pool of genetic/proteomic malfunctions. But what "disease" you present with varies considerably and is dependent on the environment. I've been working with my therapist in identifying where aspects of me having aspergers gave me difficulties growing up. I've largely learned to manage it to the point that it doesn't appear I have ASD at all! I just wish I could fix the whole mess and move on with my life. But *sigh*, I will be managing my asperger tendencies and biological malfunctions for the rest of my life. Which, is ok, I guess. At least I CAN manage it. When I reduce the negative factors associated with ASD, there are a whole bunch of positive things about having aspergers! For that, I'm grateful every day!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dreams.... are only dreams?

YAY! New blog. I never stop creating. My dreams are literally the only thing that keep me going. I've been up to my eyeballs in research for the past 5 months and have gotten to a point where I need to start sharing my new knowledge. I'm trying to position myself in the health market. So, here is my new blog on Integrative Health (don't worry, nothing is happing to this one. This one is still my main 'hood, lol).....

One of the purposes of writing a business plan is to discover if your idea is tenable. My idea is definitely NOT. This puts me in an odd position. I've got 4 weeks to write up a plan for school. Do I keep going with what I started 9 months ago or do I work to put together my private practice (the obvious rational choice for financial stability)? My dreams are my soul manna. Forcing myself to write up the plan for my dream health system would really push me to find the holes and cement my idea into something I can keep reaching for. So what should I do? The over achiever in me could always just do both. ....there goes the already dwindling hours of sleep I have. My health seriously cannot sustain this. :-/

Monday, May 02, 2011

I can see my path

I've been running at full speed the past 6 weeks. Much has happened, but despite trying to sit down to write in my blog many times the past few weeks, I couldn't seem to come up with the words.

At school, I am learning A LOT. My mind-body class is a body psychology course and is truly changing the way I see the world and interact personally in it. The psychology of the body rests in the muscle tissue, and taking kinesiology (upper body) at the same time, and devoting four hours a week to psychotherapy (individual and group) is changing my life in a huge way. I am finding the entire greater subject, how to change ourselves and the way we think and feel and relate to ourselves and the world, absolutely fascinating. On a personal level, I am taking it one step further, learning about PTSD and trauma recovery and understanding what happens to the normal body psychology when trauma occurs to result in PTSD. An amazing quote I read this morning was:

PTSD has been described as the failure of time to heal all wounds

My plans to become certified in Trauma Touch Therapy have not changed. My entire drive to getting my business up and running successfully is in part so that I can set myself up to be as successful as possible during the course of TTT certification. An interesting side effect of my body psychology course has been in the realm of gender (of course, I am always looking for that stuff anyway!). I've been reading more about body maps and also a bit about the biological difference between men and women. It became apparent to me that men process their emotional lives much more within their body-mind, whereas women are much more apt to process emotional material in the brain (ie: via talking, crying, etc). After a bit of trial and error and application of energywork and meditation techniques I have learned over the past 18 months, I managed to learn how to CONTROL my gender switches.

The result of being able to control my gender has led me to feel more in control of my own life and my own body. For the most part, I don't interfere. If I wake up as one gender, I don't force it. Its just not necessary! But it has helped me adapt better in social and professional situations. I am starting to work with my therapist to identify ways that I can choose to be a certain gender to take advantage of skills as one gender or the other, or as a coping mechanism. The whole thing is very exciting for me.

Despite the enormous amount of personal change, and time devoted to it, I am spending the majority of my time putting together my business ideas. In school I am taking a career development class. It's essentially an outline of all the million things that can be explored in building a career. It touches upon dozens of topics each week. I feel very thankful I have spent the time that I have before this quarter started on business development, because I am just barely keeping up. My weeks consist of multiple trips to the library and skimming/reading piles of books, weekly meetings with my employment counselor/mentor, volunteer work with a local non-profit holistic health clinic, site visits and competitor research, and writing. My father has decided to help me on the project and is taking on design and infrastructure plans. Working with my dad has been extraordinary. We don't have the best relationship and being able to work with him on a project that he is passionate about (healthcare design) has become very rewarding. We have been meeting regularly and spend a lot of time going over how my business ideas fit into current healthcare management and design challenges. It is great to be able to bounce my ideas off of him, especially since he is considered one of the experts in the healthcare design field in the US. Working together is allowing us to work out a viable innovative healthcare solution to todays healthcare challenges looking into the future, and not back at the past. Seeing my ideas in physical space layout instead of abstract clouds in my mind has launched the project to a whole now level and allowed me to conceptualize what is needed to truly integrate healthcare systems.

I feel as if I am racing the clock though. My unemployment runs out in mid-July. This quarter ends mid-June. I get my license to practice massage as a certified massage therapist any day now, and once I get it, my time will be even more stretched as I race to get all the pieces together so that I have an operating practice by mid July. My solution to a difficult question over the past year (the scalability and organization of my business ideas) has been to open a sole proprietorship immediately, and start a corporation for my main business ideas separately at a later time.

With only two quarters left of school, and the help of my dad, by January 1 I could realistically have a proposal ready for contract and bidding. However, I have decided that I will not launch. I have decided that I will seek part time employment as a Massage Therapist (MT) and work on my sole proprietorship while enrolling back into Mesa College and taking my time to get my Associates Degree (I still wanna learn languages and study art and music!!!). Once I accomplish my AA, I plan on going on the Bastyr University and realize my lifelong dream of studying there, to get my bacholor's degree. After that, I would like to go on and study integrative health. By the time I am nearing the end of my schooling, the market for integrative health will be much better (right now it is a little too preemptive.... there isn't enough demand yet) and I will be ready to launch with all the right variables in place (or at least more than I have now).

Since I was in junior high school I have dreamt of studying health and bringing a new way of health care management to the public. With so much personal and professional transformation happening, doors are flying open for me and my path is illuminated for me for the first time in my life. It is looking to be evermore transformational over the course of the next 7 months.

I have hope!
I have purpose!
I have taken back my life and it is mine now!