Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Anxiety Paralysis aka Brain Freeze...

I sometimes wish that my verbal IQ was not as (extremely) high as it is.  I have the ability to use words and language to express myself in ways that many with Autism and ACC find very difficult.  What I do share with those on the spectrum is the anxiety paralysis or brain freeze, when I am expected to express learned knowledge or rehearsed knowledge in an ad hoc situation.  The frustration I experience with this is something I have lived with all my life but only recently been able to express.

Talking with my Psychiatrist yesterday I confided that I come off much more functional than I really am, that I refuse to let people know how dysfunctional I am in so many areas of my life, that I "put on a good show" etc...It shocked me that she said to me "I know that."  That's how naive I really am.  Those that are trained to see such things really do know how difficult these things are for me.  This was somewhat of a relief for me.  I can be assured that it's not all "in my head" as some would accuse me of.  

By the time I was in 5th grade I had the verbal skills of someone in graduate level schooling, so you can imagine how this would confuse those with an untrained eye.  I can read a book, for example, know it backwards and forwards, but I cannot give you a verbal report on the book (without extensive preparation and a controlled environment.)  Also, I've never been able to express myself well to "customer service", i.e., the phone company, cable, electric, whatever; without some kind of explosive thing going on.  Firstly there is the fact that I both misunderstand and miscommunicate my needs....second is this brain freeze I speak of.

I'll have an intention to say one thing, and a complete other thing will come out of my mouth OR nothing at all will come out of my mouth and I'll just freeze in a state of utter anxiety, and then when I'm pushed to speak I'll just explode.

In a prepared speech, and a controlled situation, I can actually do fairly well, so long as there are no "loose ends" or unexpected situations coming up.  Like others on the spectrum though, if someone outside of my expectation comes up, I come completely unglued and there is really no telling how I am going to react.

I wish I could describe the depth of loneliness I experience.  While in recent years I've got to know others born with ACC and ASD many if not most live too far for me to have any meaningful close contact.  I know there are people (particularly now) in my life trying to help and assist me, but I cannot help thinking that they cannot fully understand the pain and loneliness, the sadness that I feel.  I want to be appreciated for who I am not what I am not.  But most who know me know me for what I am not.

There is a terrible disorder where someone can become completely paralyze from the eyes down, it is called "brain lock" and for all intents and purposes these individuals are locked in their skulls as the only thing they can voluntarily move (sometimes) is there eyes, often doctors even thinking they were "vegetables."   I feel not much different than this.  It seems no matter what I say or do, that no one can see or feel inside my world.  My only hope is that these words I write help you'all to do so, as faulty as they are.

Currently I have doctors and therapists, soon even Adult Protective Services all looking out for my well being, yet I still feel like a "vegetable" with brain lock, only wishing you could enter my world and I could enter yours.



  1. Sweetie, I appreciate you for who and what you are. Admittedly, I don't know the depths, but it's my personal belief that that is impossible, even among neuro-typicals. Neither my husband nor my best friend would ever be able to fully understand me nor live in my world, but that doesn't diminish the bonds between us. It is those differences that create the vesica piceis that we can co-habitate and explore together. When I was a kid I deperately wanted my childhood best friend to be a part of "my world" and understand what I saw and felt... and it was very painful when I realized she couldn't and that ultimately no one ever could... That is why it is "Our World" and no one elses. That doesn't mean that it's bad or that we are alone, it just means that we have our own private space, and sometimes others can understand through us and our expressions what "our world" is like, but there is always only One at the center of creation.

    You are loved for yourself and the views of your world you share with those you are comfortable with, offers a truely radiant gift. For instance, when you've worked with me in person on meditation... that shared space and energy allows aspects to blossom that I haven't experienced. This to me, is a tiny grain of your world, it is not the entirety, but it is what you wanted to share in that moment. Those who are empathic like myself, feel the anxiety, confussion and anger you go through... we can feel it, but we can't step into your world, just feel the eminations from it.

    I know you can never step into my world, but I share what I can, and am grateful for the shared vibrations from yours however terrifying or radiant.