Showing posts with label Asperger's Art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Asperger's Art. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

The Squares Won't Line Up

A while back I read an interesting article once about our collective, Western treatment of emotional pain.  The article made the case that emotional pain has become its own treatable syndrome, wrong in its experience and to be treated away. I think this is true, and not necessarily a bad thing.

I think of this as an issue of, as one brilliant friend put it, the "order of things". Yes, from a meta perspective, one might assume that emotional pain results from outdated and useless paradigms of identity and experience. The pain is "wrong" and the thinking paradigms are "wrong". Seems simple enough: straighten out the thinking paradigms and the pain should disappear, right?

After years, sometimes decades, of effort to repress, understand, therapize, cathart, share, metabolize, and medicate the "wrong pain" away, clients are sometimes ready to face states that have taken on the shape of not just sadness, or loneliness, or anxiety. The states have taken on the shape of more primitive experiences: blackness, existential aloneness, death. How conscious these states become is a matter of adding mental structures to protect the psyche, or just plain running.

The "wrong pain" is perceived as obliterating and dissolving in its direct encounter, or perhaps just potentially crippling to the personality and its functioning. This region of pain can feel like the ominous location in the psyche that drives the personality in its entirety. One believes for a while that s/he might find temporary relief via vaguely addictive processes, but temporary relief is really the only respite imaginable. 

Another process emerges when the ego, exhausted and devoid of hopeful faith in one's own system, surrenders. The technical, step-wise approach to this process should be guided by someone with a mechanical understanding of how the pain developed, along with correct capacity and motivation for helping another face it. The work can feel dangerous because it is: to the ego, its erected and existential reinforcements, to the most vulnerable part of the personality who sits in the dark reworking a kind of rubics cube system of logic with squares that never line up, to the therapist him/herself, who must undergo training and more training, allowing for a technical and creative process to guide the encounter.

Some dimensions of experience may never be "mentalized" in a traditional sense: that is, understood at an emotional level, to be thought about and worked through via thought structures. Rather, some states must be encountered and survived. The memory/personality structure is relieved of its duty to survive the very mind erected to protect it. Until then, one is forced to constantly twist and turn the thinking structures in an effort to find relief. It never comes, because the squares don't line up.

Emotional pain is a symptom. Without hope to face the deepest pain, it becomes its own syndrome to be treated away. After facing the pain, the thinking structures that perpetuate it are relieved of their duty, and straighten out on their own. As a secondary effect of the primary process, the straightened out thinking structures were an important part of the system to address. But without comprehending their function as essential to primary feelings of safety, the thinking structures are destined for being reworked to seem different, but never really be different; their function is too essential.

We let go of what we believe is essential to realize - a bit at a time - that we save ourselves only by surrendering to a bigger love than we knew how to perceive when we first needed it. Letting go of the pain, itself, is sometimes the scariest part of the work. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Can Aspies Write Science Fiction? Ask Katie Bridges.

Recently I received word that an ingenious woman with Asperger's had written a fascinating book called Warriors of the Edge: The Search for Stone. Intrigued, I learned more about this new author. So many of my clients dream of writing of the incredible worlds and plots swirling around in their wonderful minds. Here's a quick bio by a woman who (in April!) made it all happen.
My name is Katie Bridges and I am a science fiction author with a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome. I’ve had the diagnosis since 1998. Long before Asperger’s syndrome became known to the public, I would search for ways to describe what life was like for me. I would often say, “I feel like I’m suffering from a chronic state of culture shock while living within my own culture. Why is it so difficult to figure out what’s going on around me and adapt to it?”
I had perplexing communication disabilities, with a huge gap between my ability to communicate verbally and in written form. Writing came with ease for me. Forming thoughts verbally did not. I also had an intense need for repetition and sameness in my routine and activities.
I lived a mostly secluded life. Being around people left me feeling anxious and awkward. Having no friends of my own, I was kept from utter loneliness by an understanding husband and three loving children.
But even at home things were difficult for me. To keep myself from becoming completely unglued during times of distress, I would rock back and forth for long periods of time. I also figured out early on that pressure around my midsection would help to soothe me. If my panic sky-rocketed on me, I would yell for my husband saying, “Hurry! Squeeze me tight. I need pressure.” Hugs didn’t help. I needed a certain amount of pressure to help me get through my distress, almost to the point where I could barely breathe. No one understood why this would be of help to me.
It wasn’t until I received a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome that things began to turn around for me. I overcame difficulties I never thought would be possible to overcome. I didn’t do it alone. Assistance came from every direction as my husband sought out those who could help me.
The end result was that I was able to utilize the incredible focus I had and put it to work to write a novel. What had once been a problem for me was now an asset. I’d always been a writer, but I took that natural ability to focus and wrote a complex work of juvenile science fiction. My brain is wired to create details which can bring about a realistic feel, even when the subject matter is fictional. This has given my book a unique perspective. It’s what I have to offer as a person with Asperger’s syndrome. It has been thrilling for me to tell people about my book, which won the Rising Star award, a very rare designation for a children’s book. It’s not just the fact that I have a book on the market that makes me excited. It’s the fact that I overcame so much to get this far.
The name of my book is Warriors of the Edge: The Search for Stone by Katie Bridges. I hope you find it enjoyable!
To buy Katie's book (or just read about it!), click here:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Art and Asperger's

McNall Mason is the mom of a great 7 year old kid with AS. They are working on an amazing art collaboration, and their work will be featured in the DubSea Coffee Shop in West Seattle. The opening is on September 18.

Their ultimate goal is to open an art studio and gallery space for aspie kids in the Olympia area. A portion of their sales will go this end.

Take a look at their work. Whimsical, fun - a sample of the great aspie mind at work!