Autism Limitations

“Don’t let what you can not do interfere with what you can do.”

-John Wooden

I see my husband hovering in fear as my heart refuses to beat a steady rhythm, racing so fast you can barely discern one beat from another or so irregular with races and stops that my legs barely dragging me across the floor, my head spinning. The pill box is my salvation. I pump my system up with adrenal cortisol. Yes, the opposite administration of an E.R. room so I can’t go there. I’m too different. I take adrenaline pills to up my temperature, correct my heart rate, or up my blood pressure as my body threatens to shutdown, nearing complete adrenal exhaustion.

More cortisol may turn things around for the short term, but in its own way, it is destroying me. I realize I can no longer go down this path of destruction. Last winter and spring, I’ve spent months crying, and I never cry. I spent hours contemplating where is there a place for this majorly autistic soul? Our family needs me and I’d like to serve my fellow man but how do I do so and survive? The journey of realization is slow as I was making progress and then Thanksgiving came. Five days I struggled from the fall out of the stress of just one holiday; one day, my heart out of rhythm; and other days just exhausted and shaky. Autism hangs on dearly to stress and it takes an exorbitant amount of time to pass. It does not matter whether it is physical or emotional, the price is the same.

My family needs me, the grandkids, of which 3 of the 4 in one family are also on the autism spectrum desperately needed a Thanksgiving Kirk and I can uniquely provide. School has severely battered them as education pretends autism does not exist except in the extremely dysfunctional students. We are interviewing and exploring alternative education systems for 2 of them. The least functional members in my extended family happen to also have genius I.Q.’s. Brains and autism run in the family.

 “Don’t give away pieces of yourself to make others feel whole.” – Muses from a Mystic

 “Don’t wait to live. This isn’t a rehearsal, This isn’t a dry run; this isn’t a pre-performance routine. This is real life. Don’t wait. Savor every moment.” – Jeffery R. Holland

These words have tumbled over and over in my mind. I’ve realized that time after time I’m still trying to “fit in”, doing what others do. It’s what leaves me broken. So I’m thinking about my roles and about what makes me feel whole. I’ve felt with my heart, when do I feel peace – contentment? With my head what options do I have? I’ve asked myself, What do others comment about most that they receive from me, for there is just too much need – the price, my mind and body shutting down. I now understand that I need to step back from the world. The world I can’t make heads or tails of. Not that I don’t know what is happening in the global world but the choices have never worked out in thousands of years of history and never will. They go against the nature of man. I see the appeal of fewer responsibilities, but it means we, as individuals, become less because less is required. Mankind was designed to wear work boots – not slippers. It’s how we grow.  

My husband says it’s because I’m so mentally different, my brain going in a myriad of directions with an idea, watching the steps taken down the path and where it ends up, that I will never understand, and he’s probably right. My daughter laughed when Wednesday before Thanksgiving I sang, “My own little corner in my own little world, I can be whatever I want to be.” Yes, Cinderella was my favorite story as a child, the mice, the dog, the cat, and a misfit belonging. It’s a song I often sing when I need to escape. Instead of longing for that world, I’ve decided to create my own little corner where I can find peace, where I get to be me even if that means often being alone.

 “True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to BE who we are.” – Brene Brown

It has been a journey that I suspect will take quite some time. But as I noticed Kirk too was depressed and frustrated we began the transformation together. We’d tried to “fit in” to what others, especially family, had wanted from us. We couldn’t fit and in trying it took everything from us, including our happiness.

As we seek answers, we’ve truly become one as the scriptures command. Where one’s frailties leave off, the other fills in. It creates a whole, our actions, thoughts, and goals heading down the same path.

Simple Living Manifesto: 72 Ideas to Simplify Your Life

Though many of the choices of the author are not the ones we’d make and 72 steps for us was simplicity but complicating things. None the less, 8 steps really struck home.

“1. Identify what’s important to you.”

“2. Eliminate all the rest.”

What are the four or five things that are most important to you?

Most important meant seeking peace, contentment, and feeling accomplished, not just jobs done.

Evaluate your commitments.

It amazed us how many commitments were set up by others, not ourselves, and needed removed for they restricted our growth.

Evaluate your time:  

Mine is spent mainly recovering from doing what I’ve found I should not be doing given my health and mental autistic state.

Simplify work tasks

This is an ongoing job as it means making changes so there is less work involved and things run more efficiently.

Simplify home tasks.

‘A place for everything and everything in its place’ is gong to take a while as is decreasing the need to do certain tasks. Complicated as some of the grandkids live here part of the week and the room needs transformed to serve more than one function.  

Purge

Become more self-sufficient is complex so as we simplify work tasks, this is becoming a natural outcome.

Create a simplicity statement

What do you want your simple life to look like? Ours is rather complex in nature as it increases our independence from the world which means we are responsible for more of our own needs. The author of the blog in contrast is seeking less independence. He sees freedom from responsibilities as simplifying. We see shackles for the trade is more power in others hands over you.

Free up time:

We badly need to rest and recover from running beyond our strength as the majority of our time has been spent reacting, not acting. I think ‘freeing up time’ is probably the hardest one because it means saying no. No even to family needs, which are vast, so we can have time to devote to our own.

“Be careful of betraying your destiny.” Gordon Peterson

As I’m beginning to better understand and except my limitations as an “autistic” adult who is not very high functioning in the world I’ve found some gems of wisdom.  

Don’t follow the crowd. They seldom know where they are going anyway. (and) Peace and belonging don’t come because the world is at peace or welcoming but because you are at peace with yourself.

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