Wednesday, June 5, 2013

"E"motions = Energy in Motion

ACC folk, like ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) folk, we tend to have "meltdowns."   Although, these aren't your grandma's meltdowns, and not even your neuro-typical child's meltdowns, not by any stretch of the imagination.

ASD children, ACC children and the adults that we become, are not "weak", "spoiled", or "out-of-control."  Generally speaking we are not "manic-depressive/bipolar" (although, as in any person, this can't be ruled out), rather both of us as identified "disabilities" experience what is called "rapid state change."  We are commonly misdiagnoses as bipolar, particularly when ACC has not been identified in us yet.  Whereas rapid state change (RSD, henceforth) is often a sign of mental of physical illness in individuals, it is the normal state of being for an ACC brain.  Our brains are constantly trying to work normally, i.e., function as a neuro-typical person's brain, but lacking the right hardware, this often evokes a state of confusion, agression sometimes, unbridled emotions.

Imagine trying to run a Mac program on a Windows computer, what would you get?  (likely the blue screen of death, seen here to the right!)

The brain's job is not just to store information, but to retrieve and to regulate the flow of information.  Rather than being "stupid" many ACCers find, like ASD folk that we cannot easily regulated the information coming into our brains, and this can lead to the blue screen of death.  

For example, while I have perfect hearing, it was discovered that I have auditory processing errors.  As an example, the neuro-psych doctor would give me headphones to put on.  In each (seperate) ear, they would slowly produce a different word at the same time.  Almost 80% of the time, my brain refused to "hear" out of both ears, usually preferring the right, and I would not even known something was spoken in the left ear.

Furthermore, I can "hear things backwards" or out of sequence.  Do you remember the comic strip in the Sunday funnies?

Just imagine if, cognitively speaking, your mind, thoughts, perceptions, (hearing, seeing, feeling, etc...) were like this Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. (my all time favorites, love Hobbes.)  Now each one of the little vignettes is a sequence of words, or events.  What would happen if you took one, from say, the middle, and you put it on the end, then took then end and put it in the beginning of the series?

This is a good metaphor for what happens in the brain's of people with Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum.  We prefer order, we tend to be very locked into ways of doing things (so we can remember them), and this appears to be OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder to others, when it aint necessarily so, rather it is often a way that we compensate for a faulty memory retrieval system...we excel at doing things that are "rote," often even complicated ones that a neuro-typical would find impossible.

Now, the MELTDOWN:  (da da da daaaa {dark music} )... most of us, myself included did not understand what was going on (how could we, without diagnoses.) We don't cope well with the blue screen (would you?)  In some cases, particularly with me, and I've met some other ACC adults the same, we experience a classical fugue state  if we push our brains to the point that these misfires happen (stress and "more complicated" the situation are likely to trigger it.  Typically, mine is classified as TGA, or temporary global amnesia, lasting from just minutes to many hours.

The first time that it was actually identified (TGA) in me, long before they understood it's reason was in Portland Oregon, while I was driving over the Freemont Bridge, an exceedingly high suspension bridge over the Willamette River, the second largest of it's kind in the world besides the one in China.  I can vaguely remember the beginning of it, than, (obviously) there is a complete blank...somewhere in the middle of the bridge, I suddenly didn't know who I was, where I was, where  I was going, my name, language (doctors and paramedics stated I was profoundly Aphasiac), I only remember, my first "thoughts" in the hospital ER some hours later.

Versions of this have happened all of my life, but until diagnosed with ACC, like many adults with this disorder, I sorely questioned my own sanity.

It is not any surprise to me, that since very (very) early in life, I had a nack for, hunger for, and desire to practice meditation.  I'd rather not get to deeply into my spiritual Path on this, my ACC blog, that is what my upcoming blog At Guru's Feet will be for.  I will state though that meditation is not what you think (literally, it isn't about thinking), nor is it emptying the mind, or stopping thoughts (these things cannot be "done"), rather it embodies the adage that you become what you think about, what you focus on.  

Regardless, I did become adept, from a very early stage of my life in accessing the still, small, quite, place, inside of us that is the reflection of God within.

In respect to religions of all kinds, I will plainly state that such activity exists in absolutely every single religion or spiritual path that exists on the Earth, if you plumb past the surface of "playing with dolls" or "playing house" that most do, and call it "spirituality."  All the great teachers of all traditions lead the individual to find God within their own personal experience, and that the highest expression of this is not belief, rather it is born of True Knowledge of ourself and God, so much so that it has no other choice than to "show up" in all the activities of life and living.....were it not so, what would be the use?  And certainly the same is true of many so-called "atheists", terminology and such may differ, but finding truth within our own experience, and living it, is universally true for all human beings.

Such skills can help integrate perceptions, thoughts, processes, such as those that falter with ASD and ACC, the difference in my own life is profound evidence that this is true.

On a more psychological bent, I have benefited the most, from DBT or 
Dialectical Behavior Therapy,  likely the single most effective form of therapy I have ever been involved with.  Using these skills and doing twice a week therapy for over a year, I was even able to completely take the wind out of my PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) that I've lived with all my life, and been able to better regulate things that I never could before.  Peoples with ASD and ACC have varying successes with different types of therapy, but I personally found this addressing all of my psychological needs in regards to the subject of today's post.


So, if you have a loved one with ASD, or ACC, be patient, be caring, be understanding...we are not "stubborn" or recalcitrant (not any more than any "average" person) but we are often suffering a "meltdown" that has nothing to do with "emotional or moral weakness."

In fact, I often say, I believe with all my soul, if the average neuro-typical were to live in my brain for only one week, they would be reduced to fits of screaming and tears hiding in a dark corner of their closet...and I really mean this.  It is hard for us, because ours is a "hidden" disability, we are not in wheelchairs, etc...and often our intelligence betrays us, and people think we are "undisciplined", "just need to work harder" blah blah blah, and we end up torturing ourselves with such poppycock for years, until we discover our neurological uniqueness and embrace it.  

"E"motions = neurological energy in motion...please don't judge me, try to understand me.  Because "I'm" not going away any time soon.  I am unique, unusual, bright (some say brilliant), deeply thoughtful, caring of others at all times, often to a fault...


~joseph

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