Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Treatment, Love and Limits

I have treated so many adults on the spectrum. A few successfully.

And what I learned in school has proven barely relevant to the process.

Clients who come in trapped in the prison of their mind are in a fight for their lives. No clinician, no person, can ever win a battle to break into the fortress.

It's what the fortress is guarding against that needs addressing. Most clients I've met are dying of loneliness.

Most are guarding, full time, against a pervasive and nameless panic, or, in Sylvia Plath's words, the "o-gape of complete despair".

To imagine I might outsmart a client's mind, as it builds and rebuilds its walls of protection, is to have no understanding of my own limits.

I hope that, as we develop more and more complicated ways to name and talk about symptoms, we will eventually come to the simple understanding that to learn to give and receive love, after one has learned to live without it, is the bravest, most heroic journey.

It is the only journey. The rest is walking in circles.


  1. Finally. Where have you been? Please keep writing. Some of us are using your blog as a lifeline.

  2. You say this is about love but what if you cannot get love. You ned hope to go on and know there is a purpose. I want love but I am alone and cannot even relate to another person without crushing panic. So what can I do. I want tools to learn to cope with being lonely but I do wish I could solve the loneliness. This is good and thank you for writing again.

  3. Thank you and glad you are back. Please post again soon.

  4. THIS is a frightening way to describe therapy but it is exactly my experience with well meaning people trying to help but they are as clueless as I am and we both know they cannot really help me. I am usually the first to admit it. At least they keep trying though. I don't want people to matter to me because they suck and then they leave.

  5. This post sounds like it was born of frustration. I don't know if I'm reading that correctly. Hopefully you still find the effort rewarding. I tried therapy years ago but met with little success. I had not been diagnosed at the time. I would still consider trying again sometime in the future.

    I find it interesting that I checked out your site for the second time only days after you post again following a long interval. Good timing.

  6. Cary, I enjoy your posts and you seem to get HFA better than anyone. Re your post, I cannot say for sure any therapist has helped my Aspie daughter (age 26) yet. She has only had talk therapy two or three times. Currently THREE therapists (one social worker incl.) are working with her gratis thanks to the state of GA and deep down I doubt any of them are successful with her either.

    The one who made the greatest headway was a social worker when she was in high school. Deals were made mostly and mostly she kept her side of the deal....

    I felt then, and feel now, she needs friends, even if they are paid, in the form of therapists. Everyone does and lately I have availed myself of two, one spiritual (Daniel Shai on who Skypes with a few clients) and one standard issue. I am 64, experienced, kind, spiritually driven, enormously empathetic (that's a problem in and of itself) but feel so hopeless often about my daughter's progress that I descend into my own abyss.

    What helps me and my daughter, who is probably basically happy actually! is our connection to God. We are not religious but spiritual and have a guide, master we depend upon. It has made all the difference. I have spent 30 years reading Him and his guidance and it keeps me sane. My daughter fell for him too.

    Hang in there, and yes, love is the main thing. Happiness matters too. No one should ever give up. Ask the universe for help or whatever saint or master you are drawn to (Jesus, Buddha, Dalai Lama, Thich Nyat Hhan, Wiccan, etc.) KEEP asking for help. We are often powerless and adrift in our sanskaras and karma and so need guidance, help, luck even, redemption.

  7. So glad that you’re back and writing!!! Please add practical strategies to help adults...!!!!

  8. Thanks so much for all the work you do for the Community and all you share Cary !!! I feel the wall you've hit to my Core !! Knowing and understanding and making sense of a lifetime of experiences helps A LOT !! The now what, stage is where we all inevitably end up and for my part I think the answer is in finding like minded individuals, closed communities with strict social codes where exploiting others is socially taboo, The Myers Briggs Type Indicator MBTI, the perspectives of Carl Jung and Looots of re-framing !!
    I have noticed that 99% of the Aspies I have surveyed are Intuitive or N Types on the MBTI and the perspectives from MBTI are amazing !!! I have a Theory that Aspies are just Intuitives that were raised by Sensors who are maladapted to a World built for Sensors. Joining Intuitive MBTI Groups on Facebook has been great !! Hopefully this is another avenue you can pursue to assist your patients and gain new insights into what is happening in their inner World ! MBTI has been a great way for me to re-frame coming from a standpoint of "disabled" is very dis-empowering so another system of categorization always seems to be more motivating enabling and life giving !! Happy New Year to you and your loved ones and thank you sooo much for your selflessness and empathy ! The dignity you extend is very touching and I will always treasure or exchanges on Twitter ;)

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  10. I'm impressed with the evolution in communicating from your first post to this one. I read them all today and how you have learned to put into words so beautifully our difficulties, transcending from "vignette" (still a beautiful word) to "this is what it looks like" and have profound accuracy and understanding. You care, and it shows. You've learned how to write real life and not just a journalistic data log. We just had a 2 day blizzard which curbed the highway noise, and all that I learned today has given my wife and I a few more tools to weather the noise as it returns. Figuratively and literally. Thank you for your work.