Adults who are Autistic each are unique if I may keep this simplistic. Simplicity for the sake of brevity. I met a man with Autism who was nothing like me. We had so much in common. It was a joy to witness such individuality. So majestic was the voice like a song in the office of minds. Of course they heard a gut wrenching scream as he melted down like an over worm circuit board. One too many changes for him is my guess. He filled the room with his cry for assistance. Fortunately, I stayed to myself in this chaotic display of academia. My thoughts at best rested upon the fact that this was par for this course. Then I retreated into the seat that was allotted for such abnormalities. He is an Autistic adult. He is so unique. He is nothing like me. We have so much in common. She is Autistic as well. Different day but same place. She was prime for the meltdown of a life time. She waltz in the office with such a willingness almost to offer the receptionist a kiss. Our eyes shook hands for a brief distant hello. She dashed to her chair as if her name was on it. Immediately she began to stare at the cracks in the floor as of to determine their original form. The circuits were getting worn. Then after a few squeals and a squeak she invited her chair to enter into the conversation she was having with herself. I felt her look my way. I looked back as we had our second conversation in absolute silence. I immediately investigated the cracks on the floor in front of her to ensure they were still ok. They were. Her and I are so radically different. We had so much in common. In a few moments her private life wanted to go public. She was whisked away by the voice down the hall calling her by name. That’s when her clothes no longer felt comfortable. She took them off. I didn’t notice due to the constant screaming. Those who have degrees after their name felt the temperature rising. They noticed me. Told me that many changes were going to happen immediately. Lights and sounds. Men in uniform are coming. I was invited to leave. I obliged. Home now, as the TV was left on. There is a guy there who is definitely nothing like me. He is definitely an Aspie if you ask me. His thoughts are so sound and even profound. He left me a clue in the shirt. A few too many wrinkles. I see the signs like the stop sign at the end of my street that I often run. Not on purpose of course. It just disappears into my thinking. Most would stop for it anyways. Most would iron out the wrinkles to go on national television. He was not very keen on answering questions outside his expertise. I knew it. That man is so unique. He is definitely nothing like me. We have so much in common.
Frustration is unmet expectation coming to fruition. Agitation which can clean clothes so dirties the mind with toxic moods. The process of the the proper place is the space between sentences. The moment after the period causes more respite than the common comma but not as much as the line break. That’s the pause that causes alarm but truly does little harm. The area between ideas. The rest that wrestles with the next thought. In this between is where the theory of growth begins. The man is addicted to his thoughts. She is accustomed to her thinking. The solution for the problem was perhaps when the seeking ceased for a moments rest. This wakefulness of sleep. The silent pause in the crowded room begs for the reality of realignment. The Religious spoke of it, calling it meditation. The businesses mandate it, calling it vacation. What’s the thread of each idea that weaves a tapestry through the aging era? What’s the effect that causes so many, from so varied, to all agree at least in theory? Rest. Pause. Take time to take no thought. That is to say, let it all go for a season to play. Have no worry, if the problems of anxiety won’t go away. Leave them be and just be. I say this with addictive thoughts vying for attention to be dispensed into ink and vibration. Finding this path. Making every effort to enter into rest. The phone song is off. Texts flash forward to test the resolve. This is the moment of letting go. Starts by going slow. Moves by forgetting. Enhanced by the sitting still. A moment to be a human. So many human doings and not enough human beings. It’s when the being becomes that the rest follows. Oh but the asking is so incredibly insurmountable. Easier to say to me, “calm the ocean waves in the spring storm.”
Easier to say “take anxiety and just make it the norm.”
Still. Still we were born for being. And the being is better suited in coats of peace than shirts of agitation. Just a theory. Rest more. Take a vacation from the sensation of needing to fill every moment with a thousand thoughts when a few will do. In time, the doing will morph into being and be able to do more without the agitation of so much anxiety. I am now a certified doctor of rest. I prescribe to you, have a nice day and take two mental vacations today of at least 15 minutes. I know, I don’t have time either. Perhaps that’s why.
Scheduled for yet another test. I guess this is the best way to find the divergence. Common sense says that this is getting out of hand. Common hints portrays this is in the plan. One more test just for assurance. Perhaps the test givers are seeking to see if they have OCD. Perhaps this has nothing to do with me. Perhaps this is just to test the test itself. Needless to say that I conveniently agreed to such rigorous rhetoric out of sheer curiosity. Personally I have already taken the aspire to be an aspie tests nearly ten times. Fortunately the sight saved me time by averaging the scores in each time. How very clever. I endeavor to take it again when the mood swings in that direction. So I am not complaining about yet another screening about this ever looming label that haunts me. This I will say in defense of the play of testing, I am more than a little frustrated with the style of questions. “You do not like to eat in crowded restaurants alone” type of double negative traps. Wait, no I do not, so I agree…wait I disagree…No, I don’t but what do I agree to!?! In lieu of this recent debacle I propose this:
Dear Test Creators,
Just ask me what you want to know! Thanks!
Honestly the asking double negative questions acts like a sedative on my mind. Spending more time on the question than the answer. Seems silly to have a college degree but get confused on what a simple test is asking me. Also, why such specific questions? Seriously! Sure, I love to watch slow running water. But what if I didn’t!? I also like to watch this candle flame shape shift in the wind. Why is that not on there? What if I did not like slow water but fast!? Am I not an aspie because of this ultra special, very specific question? You only have 50 or so questions to determine my label, so please make the questions more general. Yes, I did love train sets as a kid but that is beside the point. I also loved race tracks! What if my dad didn’t work for a rail company? What if I didn’t live on a street where I cloud run outside after every rain storm to watch the water run down the street!? Then I guess I would not be nuero-diverse. I would be a very untypical type of character that buys rib cord blankets just for the feel. Hey! Put that on the next test! Why not? Then I would not have been missed. I would not have been misdiagnosed. I would have been found so much sooner and realized that this abnormality is actually normal.
Ok, sure, I will try to create a test myself. No need to complain without offering to obtain some sort of solution. Sure, I will create a prototype of…let’s say…10 questions. Then you experts can intuitively go from there. Of course this is not to be expected anytime soon. This missive has consumed an incalculable amount of energy already. In conclusion, make a new test. Ask only what is necessary for general consensus. Keep the questions simple and positive, no need to try and trick the tester. If you need to spot a fake, then take time to get to know them. It’s better to counsel 1 malingerer due to a simple test than miss 1 Nuevo-diverse because of tricky, extraordinarily specific, ultra long, not negative, test questions!
Recently received a call from a friend who has Aspergers with a strong dose of Bipolar 2. This night I sat on the other side of the desk. He was drunk and seeking methods of suicide to hide from the pride of failure. An ex felon with a job that he hates. Working hard to no end but a paycheck that doesn’t pay respect. He felt lost and abandoned and was definitely 14 cans of beer drunk when the call was made. He said that the suicide hotline often calls the police when chatting and as an ex con, that brought back traumatic memories. When calling for help causes more problems. So he decided to call me instead. Have not spoke with him in months so it was hearing from a ghost for me. No time to catch up on anything casual as life and death was upon the phone lines. To die or not to die. Not quite the poetic version but this was not a fictional story from history but a reality facing me. I am not used to sitting on this side of the desk. No training on suicide prevention. No idea what to say. So I just listened. I listened to the problems pouring out like a cold drink on a summer day. I listened to hopeless words stammering forth like sentences from a broken type writer. I realized he was sitting in a room that I had visited myself more than once. After quite a spell, he retained enough common sense to confess that Bipolar Depression is winning over his will power. That going to the local bar for counsel was not quite working to overcome such negative thoughts and feelings. I am in a mixed state as I contemplate his fate. So happy to hear he was alive. So sad to hear he is thinking about death. The previous prison record prevented him from purchasing a gun. So he went to research in the light of the dark web. It did offer a plethora of hidden advice on suicide methodologies. He shared his thoughts. I listened. Tomorrow he officially loses the job that he hates. Tomorrow he wakes up to not having a friend that he had known for years. The obituary spoke so clearly.
“If it wasn’t for my mom”
“I just don’t want to put her through this”
The thoughts that kept him around when all else was failing. Chemicals in the mind like chemtrails decline from the sky. I kept listening. Bipolar depression lesson continued for almost an hour. He almost talked himself sane and sober. Not to suicide. Sure, horrendous English but the best news. I was finally able to offer some free advice. Get help! I know that the last psychiatrist really let him down. He called and texted but she was too busy to return any message. He gave up. I hope now that he knows what so many have to learn. Bipolar depression is real. It is a big deal. Most can’t cope on their own and without help, there can be a loss of hope. He did call. He did reach out. I passed the baton onto the professionals. Hopefully, after losing the job, he finds his way to the office to find his life. Today I officially started my new job. Suicide prevention hotline. I officially quit. My number is not listed. I filled out no application. My only experience is…experience. I felt the voice of depression. Suicide has called me before on unlisted numbers. I almost answered the call. I didn’t. So far, he hasn’t. I hope that he calls me back. If he does, I will work again. He is my friend. I don’t want to lose anyone else to depression. To die or not, should no longer be the question.
Undiagnosed for years due to linguistic semantics that professionals still debate about. We wait around in waiting rooms for eyes to watch for ours. Play this game. Seems insane. Seriously? The symptoms I wrestle with are not found in simple table games and eye contact. I have contacted the pain of strain trying to maintain a straight face. Like fried ice cream, masks cover the mental melt down. The frown is not me, as much as the smile is contrived to fit the scene. Just ask me, just ask how I feel when I leave. Why depression leads the way home from social scenes. Really it’s another semantic due the pedantic gathering of experts with expectations that we are all different. Yet, judged by everyone who is not the same. Drained! Drained from the rain of sounds and lights. Drained from driving down a new street with out stop signs. They Beep! The horn honks a new meaning that green lights means Hurry Up and wait again. Red means rest from the rare radiance of roaring traffic. Yellow! Hmmm. So yellow. They told me, “you speak so well”. I thought of this at the yellow. I waited for the yellow again. It’s not a sin. Unless you ask the men behind me who are in a perpetual hurry to get to the next light. I was also in a hurry, a flurry to get home to sit in the freezer and reframe my face. Turn on the melting pot for stew. Everything is different there. Everyone stops to stare at my MPAs. Too much to hide. Energy seems to be a distant diet that I can no longer afford to consume. A diet that is beyond the capacity of the expert chefs. Much like the criteria for social emotional reciprocal relational fictional responses that I gave. It worked. I am OK. The only question now is why is the ice cream melted in the pot of stew?
Energy to mask is missing. Must maintain some sense of normalcy. Wish to be abnormally normal. Read my mind, not being unkind, just drained. Straining to keep a straight face. Wish this waiting room was as empty as those cracks in the floor. Wish I could look up to see the time. To see the clock staring at my insecurities. The hands rotate to imitate my unconscious stims. So difficult to determine what’s going to happen next. Why is he still talking to me? Such small talk, such big bulky words for no reason. This season is unmasking for no reason at all. Plan an escape. Make way to the hallway for a bathroom break. Yeah, if he keeps being normal, I will flee to safer shores in stalls and writing on nasty walls. Where smells swell from deep dwelling places. Perhaps I will stay here. That sounds worse than a curse from an old lady with green teeth. Why so hard to be normal today. Why is this mask so heavy. This smile so fake that it breaks my heart to lie like this. This deceptive grin is against my religion. 15 minutes of waiting is carrying the weight of 15,000 thoughts made of shame. My mask has a leak. I am sure of it as the clock continues to peak and peer right into my abnormal. Those hands just don’t move fast enough. Am I next? Count the feet. Yes, only four left. I must be. Voices of calm are fading into the walls. I am going to make it this time. I am next! Whew!
One appointment and done. Small drive and still alive. So why am I Drained like the first breath after the last step of a marathon? Why is this mask so full of holes, getting so heavy? Just wear the T-shirt as a flirt with social norms. Alone is not all bad. This clock in my own house stares at me. It has seen me before. It knows what time it is. The alarm of taking off the mask is beyond snooze control. Today, I am too tired to be anything but maskless me. Maskless for recovery. I have another appointment next week. I hope I recover in time to make another mask. I hope I discover in time to fake another task. Until then, I am going to stare back at this clock until I know what I really look like.