Ten Things to Say to Someone with Aspergers

The Emphatic Aspergian

The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy. – Meryl Streep

Often, we discuss what bothers us or what we dislike others doing. This can bring about positive change. However, stating what we need and prefer is important too.

One of my most popular post continues Ten Things Not to Say to Someone with Aspergers. For a month or so now, I have wanted to write the opposite side of that post. What are some comments that can be helpful to someone on the autistic spectrum? Thus, this post was born. Hopefully, you will find it informative and relevant.

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Worry About Yourself

Caring for others is an important part of being a support person. To love your family member or friend who is suffering, you need to practice empathy and kindness. Show that you care about the well-being of your loved one.

However, worry can sometimes set in and cause guilt, stress, or the desire to control. Try as hard as you might, you cannot heal your loved one. He or she must take the steps forward in order to get into a better spot in life.

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My Mom is Not a Therapist

Family upon couch
Family upon couch

My family

My mother is an amazing person. She cares for and loves me to the best of her abilities. However she is not perfect. In fact, she is not even my therapist.

Often times, I interact with my family as if they were my medical caregivers. When I self-harm, their confused and angry response terrifies me. Times when I need consoling, they might be warn out and unable to listen. The way my Aspergian brain works still bewilders and annoys them. Thus, I am left longing for therapy from people who (despite their love) do not have the training or energy to give me that.

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Top Ten Ways to Adjust to New Medication

Many people who have struggled with health know the roller coaster ride of finding the right medication. Sleepiness, not knowing what dose is right for you, weight gain, decreased attention span, having to wait several weeks to see if your new prescription works – these are just a few of the challenges faced when trying a new medication or altering an old one. Sometimes, it does not even seem worth the effort, but finding the right one can be life-saving.

Flower heart

A flower heart that I left on the grave of J.R.R. Tolkien

Last night, I forgot to take my evening medication. At 1:30 AM, my brain was still racing which altered me to the fact that something was wrong. Seroquel, one of my pills, makes you extremely sleepy and helps me to make it through the night restfully along with calming my intrusive thoughts. Taking it late was not a big issue – until this morning. At 8:30, I awakened with my head throbbing as if someone had hit me with a sledgehammer. Maybe this is what it feels like to be hungover, thought my naive brain once it adjusted to the pain. All morning was a struggle to simply function. Walking, talking, and typing seemed like laborious tasks.

The reason that I bring this up is because it reminded me of adjusting to new medication. That process can be simple or painful and aggravating. Often, I wish that someone would have given coping skills and helpful tips to me. Sure, doctors explain all of the potential side effects or dangers. However, that is not the same as someone sitting down and comforting you through the uncomfortable journey.

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Comforting Others

When you struggle with depression or an eating disorder, getting outside of yourself and noticing the world around yourself can be difficult on some days. At the same, many people with mental illness care deeply for others. Many are caregivers to the point where they wear themselves out and are left wearied each day. Finding a balance between being stuck in my head and focusing on others to the point of hurting myself is difficult. Many times, I go to one of the two extremes, but I am trying to get better at loving others and myself.

Even though caring for others can be stressful and tiring, this selflessness can be very healing and life-giving. We are meant to help one another, rejoicing in good times and mourning in hard ones. As someone with aspergers, empathy can be a bit confusing for me. I previously wrote about how I both take on the feelings of others but also struggle to read people. However, the overall function of empathy is an amazing thing that keeps us close to others.

Everyone loves in a unique way. We need to find the way that works the best for us and those around us. This video shows one way that comforting others and empathy can look.

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One Thousand Thanks: 692 – 702. Difficult but Empowering Interactions

Me standing in a tree

You can be strong but sway in the breeze like a tree.

On Tuesday, I went to see my old therapist who I had not seen since early December. Our last session was very painful, and because of that, I never wanted to return to her. You can read part one of that story and part two in my previous posts. Anyway, our talk was anxiety-producing and emotional but good for the most part. I do not know if I am ready to see her regularly and rather doubt it. Mending the relationship and hearing her response was extremely healing.

Looking back over the past year, I can see my growth in facing scary social situations where I had to learn to be honest and stand up for myself. Although these experiences were difficult, they forced me to grow stronger. Plus, many taught me that my “rude honesty” or “selfish behavior” was simply normal assertiveness. People responded extremely well overall. Funny how you make yourself so scared of something that turns out to be fine.

So for Thankfulness Thursday, I am going to look at these situations as well as the benefits that arose from them. Please leave a comment to tell me what you have learned from confrontations or honest interactions that you were nervous about but still did. I would love to hear about your inspiring (or disastrous) moments.

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The Loss of Another Medical Caregiver – How Long Will This Go On?

Unless one says goodbye to what one loves, and unless one travels to completely new territories, one can expect merely a long wearing away of oneself and an eventual extinction. - Jean Dubuffet

Unless one says goodbye to what one loves, and unless one travels to completely new territories, one can expect merely a long wearing away of oneself and an eventual extinction. – Jean Dubuffet

A handwritten note on top of my pillow was one the first thing that greeted my arrival to my own bed. It read “Sad news – [my dietitian’s name] is leaving.” My heart plunged as I realized the reason she had not responded to my emailed questions for the past few weeks.

That is it. She is gone without a goodbye or explanation. This feels like deja vu. Just last summer, my previous dietitian (who was an Olympic athlete that I greatly admired and enjoyed) left. Thankfully she gave me a bit of warning. However, my doctor left last minute too last May. All of this loss adds to my misery over leaving Oxford and my friends there as well as being estranged (but maybe willing to return to) my therapist and still suffering from heartbreak. Why do people have to keep leaving after being so close to me?

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Ten Things Not to Say to Someone with PTSD

Me with wax figure of Moriarty

Ten Things Not to Say to Someone with PTSD

Think of the most awful event in your whole life. Then imagine reliving that time and time again while feeling powerless to stop. Your heart rate quickens, thoughts race, and breathing begins to race as your body begins the fight or flight response.

This is an example of how someone with PTSD might feel when triggered. Every person responds differently, but there are some common factors for all who suffer from this disorder. Although logically in a safe place, this person feels the panic and vulnerability from a past experience. Physical sensations accompany mental terror which makes this type of anxiety difficult to face alone.

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Recovery in the Media: #50. Counting by 7s

Counting by 7s book

Both witty and touching, this novel shows an odd but brilliant girl who learns to deal with grief and heal.

50. Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Solan

Whenever I enter a library, a strong urge compels me to pick up book after book. Normally, I walk out with over twenty new items. Did you know that most libraries have a limit of 100 items that you can have out at once? Yeah, I found that out the hard way. Anyway, the book Counting by 7s stood out to me a few months ago at our little local library. Intrigued, I stuffed the novel into my overflowing book bag. Several times it almost was returned because I had plenty of required reading in school. However, I luckily kept the book and found myself enchanted with it. The main character is never diagnosed with a mental illness (despite the fact that she showed signs of one…more on that later), but the book still addresses important elements of recovery such as grieving, loss, hope, redemption, and support people.

Synopsis: Willow is not your average 12-year-old child. Her rapid thinking skills, ability to diagnosis medical conditions, amazing way with plants, and oddities distance her from classmates. Luckily, her parents give her great encouragement and support her dreams. When they are involved in a fatal accident, Willow is left with no relations or close friends. However her peculiar personality ends up touching more people than she ever guessed – the controlling teenager Mai, her moody brother Quang-ha, their loving but orderly mother Pattie, the under-confident taxi driver Jairo, and an unreliable, people-hating school counselor Dell. All of them come together to care for this young girl and grow through the process.

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Returning to My Residential Eating Disorder Treament Center

After over two years, I am sitting in the sunlight surrounded by the orange and green building. The older maintenance man walks past, reminding me of giggling over his younger co-worker with the other girls. However, the doors are locked, keeping me out instead of holding me in. The therapists grin kindly without recognizing me as a pioneer, one of the first people to stay in this building.

I have returned to where I lived three months for residential care for my eating disorder.

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