Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Jupiter & Saturn, Self & Other, Moving Towards and Moving Away

(Oh My...!)

My friend & sister T gave a talk this Sunday, at B.O.T.A., an organization that we both belong to, and that I have personally benefited from greatly.  In so many ways I feel like it ties in with those things I currently have "on my plate," the things I am learning and experiencing, so I thought I'd share about it.

Regardless of AgCC, it must be acknowledged that we are all, in a sense two people in one body.  While I'm tempted to say we have "to halves that make a whole," I don't believe that this is entirely true, at least not from my perspective.  You see, I have come to a personal understanding that each and all individual beings are, as it were three dimensional holograms.  While in itself the subject of holograms is rather dense, I won't bore you with that here...suffice it to say, in my use I refer to an image, really any image, if you take it apart into "pieces", each piece contains the exact replication and duplication of the whole, albeit from different perspectives.

Gathering my thoughts back towards Earth... :-)

In traditional astrology (I'm no expert in it, but gather bits and pieces) the planets are/were not looked at as external forces that control individuals and circumstance, rather the planets (that we see) are external representation of the internal forces/planets, as it were that make up the human psyche.

In short, Vedic astrology recognizes Jupiter/Guru as symbolic of exponential growth and expansion, a "moving away from"...Saturn/Shani of limitation, restriction, boundary, structure & form.

The reason I find these so intriguing, is they speak to me of the human state/condition.  These are two polar aspects of the same thing.  In many of the ancient  writings of the Sanatan Dharma, the teaching of the sages of India there are recognized these two particulars.  That which we/you/I are is at once, never born, never dying, without beginning or end...yet is also born, aging, decaying, and one day a corpse.

Another way to see a personal reality (what we see think and "know" as I or me) and a corporate or universal reality, some might even go so far as to call it a social reality.  In actuality though, neither of these are reality as it is, but are viewpoints somewhere along the continuum of "the big picture" and the "relative."  They are both "true" and at the same time only relative human concepts of something beyond our understanding.

Where we can (I know I do) often get stuck, is trying to "absolutize" (yep, my made up word) either one of these, and for me this shows up in social interaction (or lack thereof.)  I've had difficulty, all my life with social "appropriateness..."  At first glance, I'm charming, engaging, connected...after any length of time, this can seem, both to myself and to outside observers as brusk, put off and "out there."

Many of us with AgCC diagnoses, most especially adults who find out about it later in life, have undergone years of doctor visits, therapy, multiple diagnoses (often misdiagnoses.)  While I used to feel quite angry about this, I have a different understanding these days.

Without the physical diagnoses, an MRI or CAT scan this disorder remains a mystery...and being such a rare disorder, even after diagnoses of the physical abnormality of the brain it remains largely mysterious.  While there are groundbreakers like Dr. Lynn Paul and others who have begun to unravel all that being born aCollosul means, doctors, at least in regard to diagnoses and treatment, have been "stuck with" the symptomological approach of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual and "fitting in" our symptoms with known disorders and research.

I have no doubt, at least in my mind that these co-morbid conditions, as it were, do exist.  There is yet not enough research to say "this personal is acollosul, so this is what it is going to look like."  The interesting thing, is that all of us AgCCers have both skill sets and deficits across a large spectrum, albeit there are common issues that seem to always present, in one form or another, particularly on the level of social interaction.

When I was a child, long before the term ADHD was coined, I was considered to have "hyperactivity disorder."  While I know this to be a hotly contested diagnoses (mostly by those who have never experienced it personally or within their own family units, I can tell you that it perfectly described some of the major behavioral and cognitive issues in my own life...Lack of impulse control, extreme distraction, physical hyperactivity, disorders of Executive Function, to name a few...

As a very young child, I was treated with Ritalin and other stimulant medications.  There is no doubt that it helped for a time, helped impulse control, concentration, less distraction...Having said that, I've found that it also increased intensity of emotion, mood swings and general emotional regulation and stability, caused me to have added extra anxiety and the like.

I remember as I grew older, that even when I was to dose with Ritalin, I would often toss it down the drain in the school nurse's office or at home, and no one ever knew this.  I knew intuitively that it was responsible for my increased rage, anxiety and emotional instability, but unfortunately I hadn't the skills to properly relate this to parents, family and doctors, so believing the drug was having no benefit (I was actually not taking it, and they weren't aware) they took me off the medication...and things began to go steadily down hill from there.

By my mid 20's I was a suicidal wreck...made worse by the first medications that they attempted to put me on as a young adult which actually caused a psychotic episode (of the likes I have not experienced since then.)  One can imagine then, the ambivalence with which I have approached the medication approach for my entire life.  Multiple (false, and later ruled out diagnoses) later, having discovered my congenital birth defect of AgCC, my doctor and I have been focused largely on ADHD symptoms.  And recently, I have had a profound breakthrough.

One of the issues is, that people expect that medications all effect people exactly the same.  This cannot possible be true, especially in the area of mental and developmental issues.  Most people are unaware of this, but the smallest amount of research will bare out the fact that not everyone is born a "carbon copy human", there are, for example differences in shape of organ, function, color even, metabolic, and particularly brain differences in every human ever born.  Granted some of these are so small that the average healthy person will never know, yet some are so influential in the smallest detail that the same medications, whether for physical, emotional, mental...whatever health will effect peoples entirely differently.

Two weeks ago, my doctor, with my suggestion began me on a trial of Strattera, a non stimulant medication called an NRI or Norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor.  It is a non stimulant class medication that has been used to successfully treat  some children with ADHD symptoms.  Within 3-4 days, the change has been so dramatic as to be unbelievable.  Even all those around me have been commenting (without my necessarily mentioning I've done something different) on the shift.

I've had great difficulty all my life with what's referred to as "ordered thinking."  You might think of it this way:  Make a list, in your mind (or even on paper) and then do it.  Something as simple as this has been consistently  of great difficulty for me.  I can have a thought to do something, and before I leave the room it has entirely vanished.  While we all have this experience, just imagine having it 30, even 40 times a day, nonstop.

Since I have been on Strattera I have, honestly more ordered thinking than I can recall in my entire life.  Even when on stimulants, I know they helped this somewhat, but also created undue anxiety, mood shifts and extremes...and I have none of these negative symptoms at all.  Emotional regulation, another common symptom of both those born AgCC and those with ADHD symptoms, has entirely changed.  So much so, that I have been waiting "for the 'other shoe to drop' " and it hasn't/doesn't.  My ability to think before I respond, act, my overall ability to focus on what is being said in a group situation, and understand it thoroughly, be able to follow a train of thought by others in a group, all  of this has improved, so much so, that part of me  never thought this level of cognitive change even possible.  It is like night and day, someone turning a light on in a dark room.

The balance, if I may, between Jupiter and Saturn, self and other, personal boundary and personal openness, is shifting and changing, profoundly.  I'm no longer stressed by the stretch of the polarity of these things.  This isn't to say, I'm not getting angry, or happy, sad, or concerned, or engaged or distant.  H*ll, I'm entirely human in that regard, and expect (as should all individuals) this dynamic to continue for the rest of our lives.  My brain is "quiet", but not "drugged", I'm not "flat" nor am I "elated."  All in all, to be honest, a very unusual experience for that feels like coming home after years of being gone, and not quite recognizing one's own house and belongings...with a certain amount of joy.

For me, and I stress me individually, I'm finding this new medication protocol to be a Godsend.  It couldn't have happened at a better time in my life, as I am spending what time we have left with my best friend and surrogate sister "T" as she battles end stage Ovarian cancer.  I can be there/here more fully for her...This woman has been there for me in the best and worst of me, and is, if not solely responsible, a huge part in the transformation in my life over the past several years...The word(s) of the day in unconditional love.  It can truly perform the miraculous.

I want nothing more, can think of nothing I would rather be doing, that serving this wonderful individual in any way I can at this time, even if it is simply by only "being here."  And, I know that the transformation I continue to go through will allow her to let go of any fear or undue concern for me.

For any and all, that have reached out the hand of love and help to me over the years, even when I was not ready, could not recognize it or benefit from it, I thank you from the bottom of my heart...from my own parents, to each and every one of you whether now in this world or somewhere beyond, I am profoundly grateful.

To those who still suffer within their disability, I want you to know there is hope.  When things seem there darkest, know that the Universe is conspiring to shower you with blessings, fullness and completeness, of this I have no doubt.  If this one can transform and continue to change, surprising even himself, I have no doubt that you can too.

May all beings be happy,

~Just Joe

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