Thursday, September 25, 2014

Entry 72: “Artistic Autist”

May. 25. 2014

I’m “Artistic Autist” and perhaps “Autistically Artistic” too…not sure which way sounds better, or how it differs. What do you think? Many of us are artsy aspies, that’s for sure. I know I’m not alone whatsoever. Let’s explore the nature of how intense and painful, though wondrous, this can be.

My chiropractor said that the autistic neurology is a lot to do with being dominated by the part of the brain that wants to “solve.” Then, my husband said in order for the brain to be prompted to solve, it must first be enriched with perception.

We perceive a lot, in fact, so much that it hurts. This can feel like a curse, too; and this is where the sensory issues come in. My sensory issues are so intense, and difficult, that I haven’t said much about them. I wish I’d said more, and I will in my main book especially. However, it’s so difficult to talk about.

This hyper perception must be why the dominating needs to “solve.” Add the fluid intelligence to it, and this produces the looking at something from many different angles, exploring several possibilities, or routes to a similar or same answer. This seems like a logical process, it seems mathematical, but also it’s creative. This is how inventing happens, using design and originality, and also logical processes.

Now, autistic people are all fluid and creative in several ways, even when they aren’t “artsy” per se, and principally into math, science, and/or language. However, many autistic people are very artistic… either primarily, or as a hobby. What I try to tell me people is that even though I’ve taken up this endeavor with writing, I’m primarily an artist, even in my writing. It comes out, in ways that are either appreciated or frowned upon.

Imagine this applied: the extra flare for design, the seeking out, exploring and producing ideas with the colorful enrichment of being “artistically inclined.” This kind of aspie, who adores artistic endeavors, and therapeutically expressing themselves artistically, is often quite intense. They may struggle with overwhelming emotions, and need the outlet of their chosen art form. It’s with things like drawing, painting, sculpture, crafting, music and songwriting, and creating writing. What I mean by creative writing is poetry and artistic prose, using many word pictures, simile, metaphor, allusion, personification and so forth.

However, the brain is still in this logical “solve” thing too, in one way or another. So if we intertwine the two together, the brain is very uniquely integrated.  Here is design central! The reason for such heightened perception is because autistic people’s brains are so heavily integrated. The artistic flare applied to this can be a creative genius, coming up with the most amazing art of various types. Some of the great artists now passed were likely autistic, in my belief. The Autistic Artist is often very gifted.

Here’s the double-edged sword though, when the autistic artist does the solving, when they communicate their thoughts, they may sound convoluted to the ones who just don’t get it. In other words, they may sound “nutty.” Now, this kind of brain is like a wild horse that needs to be kept in reign, like a balloon for in which we need to hang onto the string. It can get carried away.

I do believe that there are many unrecognized cases of autistic folks out there who, under heavy stress, likely a lack of diagnosis, mistreatment and abuse, and drug abuse too, may have developed a comorbid major mental illness. Sadly then, the autism has been missed and may be forever more. Many of these people could even be homeless, busking with their music, making jewelry and crafting to get by, reading tarot among other things. Picture it. Again, these are the “lost savants.”

I don’t like labeling, I don’t like the DSM, but for the purpose of describing it we’re talking the bipolar and/or schizophrenia spectrums are where these unfortunates may wind up on. This is when the brain has become all jumbled up, severely imbalanced, and into a “dream state.” It’s complex but all I’m saying is that the likelihood of a sensitive, brilliant brain “shattering into fragments” due to exposure to heavy stress, abuses and perhaps self medication addictions, all ensuing chemical imbalance, seems logical to me.

However and in staunch retrospect, the original thinking state of the autistic brain, artistic especially, is not “schizotypal”... though it might be somewhat seen this way, and thought of as such. The way we think, so deeply, fluidly, creatively, and reiterating the same concepts, viewing it from many different angles, can again sound “off” to the average minded person. It’s not. If one had the capacity to really view it for what it is, they’d see that past the types of descriptive language use, there are often brilliant points to be made.

The artistic autistic is more at risk to be seen this way when they communicate their theories, views and concept in words: in writing especially. They are likely to be on much safer ground when they use visual art, poetry and song. From these angles, with the application of music and/or pictures to “show” what is meant more simply, in a way an NT is more able to understand, it’s alleviating for all.

This is not to say that I don’t regret what I’ve done in my writing, I needed to “actualize” my experience and pass it on, in hopes that it’ll help others who do get it… and many do get it.

Autistic people especially get me, particularly the more creative types. Of course they do, I’m “speaking autistic” albeit in my own “dialect” with heavy creativity and my own individualism applied. In lieu of that, I’ve run into some mean and cynical “sub-clinicals” (very mild Asperger types, not profound enough to make a diagnostic cut off.) However, it’s mostly NTs who’ve been negative, sometimes almost disgusted, with my viewpoints.

Some have been very mean, not realizing that I’m merely describing my unique viewpoints, and I’m doing my best despite subtle difficulties in “finding the right words for the patterns” (and sometimes I may “miss the mark” a little, and get misunderstood. My “takes” on things are hailed from different angles and most especially based on empirical experience. I am about ready to mostly retire from the relentless efforts to “spew out” my ideas in on paper, at such high intensity in terms of verbosity at least.

I will still write occasionally, but much shorter blurbs and blogs on the site I’m building. However, they will be much shorter, more succinct and more importantly they will “branch out” to other topics, often lighter ones, but sometimes just different. Like for example, the state of our oceans.

I’d like to further explore and bounce off my ideas in the area of concern for the environment. It will only be occasional, I am mostly going to back into my main passion in life: music, and all the art/design that comes with it.

It is intense even for the writer, and I feel I’m getting close to what I needed to say.  My body is telling me it’s time to “whoa Nelly.” I am feeling it, and have felt it…basically I am paying for it in more ways that I’m willing to say at this time. I did what I did, and this chapter must end.

I want to wrap up my books, and climb the stairs onto the “higher plain” above all that language. I’ve taken some mean hits, from those that don’t get it, and want to attack me. I’ve taken hits from my own healthcare system, too. My own health condition is paying for speaking out about my views and attempting to get needs met in ways they were simply unwilling. I’ll likely continue to take hits, so I need to prepare for it and get better at handling it without letting it affect my core sense of self. However, I want to show that I can, and will, rise above. Art: I’m coming home. I’ll feel safe in your arms.

-Scarlit-Rose Ashcraft

Entry 71: Logical Insights On The Different Ways Autistics May Read People, Including The “Sixth Sense” Notion

April. 8. 2014

As many know, autistics read people in a different way neurotypicals do. This is one of the key pitfalls to misunderstandings between Au and NT. Since autistic people are a minority, we have taken the brunt and the blame of these misunderstandings. This is one of the key causes of trauma, which can often perpetuate in unpleasant ways. We've often been made to feel crazy, for being socially different. We are haplessly criticized, and challenged by this, as well as the difference itself. However, maybe we are not as "off the wall" as people often seem to think.

There are certain strengths to our way of reading people, if we could hone them in as such, and they could be understood better. One particular aspect that gets brought up is a "sixth sense" and an "ability to see through" people in some way.

However, the flip side is that since we are known for misinterpreting social nuances as it is; we're known for a "disability" in being able to read people. We're simply thought of as the one misinterpreting, if we do pick up on something, and react to it. If trauma becomes intertwined with this, then sure, we could in fact be overreacting or even projecting. This happens to many traumatized people, and unfortunately because of our difference in reading people, it's extra rough for the traumatized autistic. This is sometimes brutally so. I can attest to that.
In retrospect, we aren't given enough benefit of the doubt here, either. Perhaps we are picking up on something, which is underlying. It may be so deeply underlying, that the other party isn't even aware. Maybe we're picking up on another persons' deep, inner emotion, something they're holding because of something else that’s' affecting them. Or even, something they're holding because of a deep feeling they don't want to share...or even fully acknowledge.

Well, we can pick up on those things, yet in the absence of the surface expression. Imagine how unnerving, and even scary that can be at times. If we come from trauma, we may worry and even assume it's to do with something we have done. It may be, or it may not be... but that's not to say it doesn't exist. That's not to say we're not picking up on something. I think we are.

This "gift" can be a real double-edged sword. Some call it a "sixth sense." Women in particular have suffered the brunt of this, when that female-wired "nurturer" intuition is going off at the same time as the sixth sense. This is one of the main reasons women on the spectrum can have such profound challenges with emotional regulation. In turn they are often misdiagnosed with mood disorders, and even personality disorders, while the autism itself gets missed.

The consequences of that can be wrenching, and even tragic. I believe many women on the spectrum, gone unrecognized for a variety of key reasons, have fallen to their deaths in one way or another. It's about time society started being more female autism aware, although there are glimmers of hope in recent changes I've seen.

Back to the concept of autistics sensing "energies" and having a "sixth sense"...what is this "sixth sense"? If we apparently have a hard time with general social nuances, then how can we "see through things" and sense underlying subtleties that neurotypicals do not pick up on? In general, we do.

It can be explained, but further research would be helpful. People may even think we're crazy if we share what we're picking up on. In addition, we may not fully understand what we're picking up on ourselves. We too need to understand this mechanism and what it means. We know we have a "sixth sense" and so do some of our supporters, but we still don't understand much about it even still.

In retrospect, many people, cynical people in particular, don't believe we have a sixth sense at all... they just think we're blindly paranoid in lieu of "social defectiveness." So again, we feel like we can't talk about it, we can't bring it up...or we'll sound crazy. When we talk about it, we're likely to be diagnosed with some sort of mental illness or PD, or thought of as completely unwell and/or "hard to help." Though there may be some truth in some of that, it's especially perpetuated by the lack of understanding as to what's really going on for us. 

This lack of understanding can cause us to question ourselves, after while. We may even ask ourselves "well am I crazy?? Must be!" Our self-esteem suffers when we are repeatedly denied of validation for our interpretations. To us, it can feel like emotional and psychological abuse. That's not to say that when trauma interferes with our reactions, we may be cognitively exaggerated in what we pick up, and the exact nature of it. However, it's up to a good counselor who understands autism at the core, to discern and help such a person objectively. If not, emotional trauma is liable to only perpetuate.

Among the current lack of understanding, and in fact ignorance as it relates to the internal mechanisms of autistics adults dealing with trauma; it can be very difficult to recover. I have found that I've had to turn to faith, and my community...since it's so hard to find good help when you're autistic.

I'm actually very lucky, because I have more of it than most. This includes a counselor who does get autistic people. I fought hard to access help, and even when the help that does understand tries to help me...we're all still hindered but un-evolved systemic barriers. This is why I'm hoping to start a recovery group specifically for autistics, as well.

A misunderstanding party, the NT, only perpetuates trauma and hinders recovery, whence they make a judgment against one who has been hurt, due to judgment. This tends to be based on what they do not understand. Again, this only inadvertently continues what feels like emotional and psychological abuse to the autistic with social and interpersonal trauma.

The way to abolish these recurrences is to educate people, and hopefully to have research corroborating what we're saying. Also, if more of us speak out and say the same things, reiterating similar experiences, this is proof in itself. This is why I’m trying to support outlets for this.

So, what is this "half blind sixth sense" thing all about, via logical examination? Well, I think it lies in the profile of discrepancy. If you don't believe in the "aspies have a sixth sense thing" in a more mystic way, then fine.

Here's where I stand on the mysticism aspect, just to be clear. I believe there's both a logical and metaphysical explanation for things, somehow interrelating in a way far greater than our understanding. I feel it's to do with algorithms.

Aside from what I personally feel, some people find my "I sense energies and auras" stuff a bit flaky, and illogical for them. I too need the logical aspect to things, so I sought to find one. Even the seeing of people's aura colours, which many aspies say they experience (including myself), could be explained by synesthesia. Here is a definition of synesthesia here, I talk about it more in my book; it's quite complex to explain: 
For now, here's what I found when examining this topic, based on my own experience and what I know about myself:  I can't read faces very well at all, but because of that blindness I have other heightened senses. It's likely the body stance, and tone of voice which I may actually pick up on more...with a heightened, cat-like sense. It's similar to one who is blind having heightened senses in other areas.

So, combined with barely being able to read the face, this can feel scary and surreal. It feels like the twilight zone or something (particular if I'm stressed, overloaded, or under slept.) This is particularly true when I'm sensing some sort of tension, or antagonism in varying forms; such as an unwarranted judgment, which I know is coming from the fact that I'm being misinterpreted.

In addition, I may also have a hard time with certain abstract language, so without being able to be in someone's presence, I may misinterpret, question, or even (embarrassing but true) simply not quite understand an email/typed message. Obviously, typed messages are lacking in voice tone and body stance, as it lacks in the persons' physical presence.

I don't usually have that issue with other autistics in types messages...we tend to use language in similar contexts. There are still differences between us though, and sometimes this can indeed be a source of conflict between us. We can sometimes say things metaphorically and then take each other literally. I think that's the main thing we run into, if we do happen to run into problems, that is.

For me, the issue is more often than not, with NTs. As can be expected, I take things quite literally. If I am already wary of an NT, and I'm bringing my trauma into it (especially if I'm stressed out), I can have a hard time with a typed message from them. I dislike direct conflict (honestly, I do) so I try really hard to work through my feelings and my questions. I try to clarify before I assume, I try to explain how I'm interpreting something, and if it's causing me upset, and why. It’s hard because I do find myself internalizing anger, at times.
Even though I try, I'm not always met with support regarding this, but god knows I try, and will keep trying. I am very determined to heal, and grow to learn how to "communicate" with NTs as best as can be expected, without hurting myself of course.

The reality is, I'm also just wired differently. What I do hope, in addition, is that NTs realize just how important it is for them to work just as hard as many of us have, in order to understand our ways too. I try to emphasize this in a polite and diplomatic way, most of the time.

I'm not perfect, and I can have "slip ups." I've been hurt, and at times continue to be, by those who want to remain closed minded, judgmental, and blinded by this into refusal to understanding me for who I really am.  I've even been attacked…and yeah, it hurts. Even through the battle scars, I try not to let them cloud my vision into utter darkness. I am very determined to press on, and in turn also educate and hopefully and eventually, bridge gaps.

So, how do we pick up on "deeper things?" Well, people do subtle things when they are annoyed and/or uncomfortable with you for some reason. For example, they may perk their shoulders up, or warble in their voice tone. Although these things are very subtle, I pick up on them. 

So, "sensing the underlying energy" could mean just the former; my senses are heightened in other areas because I have relatively severe face blindness.

Although I can imitate an expression on the face well enough to look like a pretty good TV actor (emphasis on TV, I did not say Oscar winning film actor) there is a subtly of "performed and scripted" there. It's so subtle, though, that this is why I believe I often get accused of lying and “manipulating.”
People may interpret my behavior as such, if they're cynical especially. If they're not cynical, they may simply interpret it as "interestingly and/or pleasantly unique/idiosyncratic/animated."

However, because of the current average level of awareness in society, the last thing that comes to most people's mind is "oh, she must be autistic." Yeah...right! One day, with continuous work, I believe this will change.

I think a lot of women especially are able to imitate enough to pass for "normal but a little teeny bit quirky" based on their heightened cat like senses at picking up other nuances than the face, though some men are too. I have found that for women, faces are the main issue, whereas body language and voice tone is less of a problem.

It could be the opposite in men, as my husband has suggested, though I'm not too sure. We're all different. In my husbands' case, he is a little stronger with faces that I am, but I am much stronger with body language and voice tones.

Nobody with autism is able to read a typical facial expression in the way a typical person can, though this varies from autistic to autistic. Some are severely "face blind", and others only a little. Again, I'd love to see more research on this, and how it differs between genders.

I have a strong hunch that women may actually struggle more so with the faces, but can be very sharp on all other nuances, whereas the men are little more even profile: a little better with the faces, but weaker than the women on the all other nuances. This is just in terms of general majority bases statistics, of course. If this is true than I can see why women, and men who exhibit a lot of the "female aspie" or "artsy aspie" like traits, get the brunt of discrimination.
If a person is not able to read a face very well, they'll fall short in terms of being able to adequately imitate the expression. If one's expression looks scripted, and even "calculated" in some way, it is liable to be erroneously judged as insincere... as lying. It's also liable to be misinterpreted in all kinds of ways, included "weird", "manic", "mad", "high on something" etc.…

This is because a person with this kind of social-nuance-reading profile will present as something like this; "something is a little strange about that person but their speech is strong, they're articulate, their tone is good"(autism, in the way society currently thinks of it, doesn't come to mind.)

So, really, one can see why those who struggle more so with the face, but are savant in all or most other areas, would be the most severely misinterpreted. It's actually very sad, and cruel if you think of it. I know, because I am one of these people.
Society needs to be educated. More studies should be done, and there are some underway. If anyone comes across any of these studies, please by all means post the links on my page and upcoming groups.

Rudy Simone says "we miss the obvious, but sense what's not obvious" I suppose those subtleties in people's body language and voice tone more so reflect their underlying emotions, than their surface one. So, this could be the more logically based explanation for that "sixth sense." Yes, it is real...and so are we.

Scarlit-Rose Ashcraft
aka "Rosie"

Entry 70: Unless …

March. 24. 2014

(about a documentary I watched on Romanian street kids)

Bless the souls of these disturbed, yet eerily wise, adult like children on the streets. Though I may be unassuming, I vaguely relate to them, in ways not meant for Internet blogs. I'm glad I survived what I did, so I could have my heart open to see this for what it really is. What I see is fallen angels, walking on broken glass.

What I see is a product of an unruly socioeconomic system, gone haywire and a causing global mental, physical, spiritual illness rampant within not only political systems, but also familial systems. The ones most vulnerable are people like this, beginning as kids who don't "fit" with the system. This is even more rampant, in countries that have suffered more blatant political corruption.

It isn't just rudimentarily depicted people starving in bamboo huts. It's so much more, which the world is too sheltered (by each persons' own will) to look at. Too afraid to look at. The only way to stop it is to follow the advice of the Lorax, and say "Unless"...

Unless we are fearless, willing, and able to see truth, this kind of thing will only continue to happen. We can't save all, do all, it's just impossible...but it starts with saying unless. If enough people wake up, the world will eventually be awoken. These kids believe in God. They're not religious per se, but believe in God as an Entity. I find that interestingly astonishing, in words I cannot quite find.

Scarlit-Rose Ashcraft
aka "Rosie"

Entry 68 Autistic Woman, Out Of The Closet, Persecuted

March. 2. 2014

I am a precocious autistic woman. This apparently makes me evil. This apparently makes me a woman with no feelings, to be feared, to be persecuted for the way I am. Whatever!

I am an artist, a writer, an activist, a friend. I'm considered a daredevil in todays' times, I guess, whence opening up, and speaking out boldly, about things not only I am dealing with as an autistic person, and as a person affected with complex health issues.

I feel a sense of purpose in doing this; it is not for simple attention getting motives. Well, unless it' the kind of attention that's going to be helpful towards real change...and that's different. 

So, I don't know how much clearer I can make that, and yet still; cynical people of power often see what I’m doing, especially, in a perverted light. If not, it's even just a fearful light, where conventional people might have some sympathy but think "oh my goodness, what she's doing will make it worse!"

All right, maybe somewhat so, but when I started all this I didn’t mean for it to happen this way. It was a rude awakening amid my na├»ve expectation to truly be heard, in a way. So now I think: heck, it’s already been done, there’s no going back. Would I have chosen not to if I knew how hard it would be? Maybe, but it already has been, now.

Ultimately, I feel we should not be afraid to speak out. What kind of society is this? A totalitarian one? Where's the sense of freedom and free speech that may provoke change via solidarity? 

I have supporters, who say what I'm doing helps them; and this keeps me going. However, I've also had attackers...big time. Some have been particularly vicious and violent. 

You know what? This, in a way, is reminiscent of a gay person coming out of the closet some 30 years ago, but even more messed up in some ways, or maybe just different...

I am a loving mother, a caring person, a strong person, a sensitive person, and an autistic woman. I opened up. I "came out of the closet" and now; I often feel like a target in a Witch Hunt.

It was proven by my childhood footage that I am autistic. The more I learned about it, the more I knew what the truth was. So, I sought out a thorough review, by an experienced neuro psychological professional. After careful examination, my truth was corroborated by scientific method. I was filled with a mix of joy, grief, and rage, to learn the truth I'd always known deep down in my soul.
I began reading at age 2. I lined up dolls, stuffies and cars too, but in eloquent configurations rather than plain lines. I played with them by design…and I did play too, in my own way. They were all part of a scripted scene; a fantasy world I had derived from different books and movies I'd watch, read, and memorized... but I mixed them all together. I made it my own thing. I still do that. This is still imagination, be it in a rather perseverating fashion.

I spoke in full sentences with cleverly mimicked tones, only to apply them in the correct context, in order to get my needs met. The neuropsychologist watched these videos and noted this. I had mega sensory issues, and still do. It made me quietly, girlishly curl up, and shut down... or shut out into my own world of fantasy. With unicorns, rainbows and friendly fairies that understood me.

Yes, autistics can play pretend. Yes, autistics are creative.

I had meltdowns, when I was little they were subtle because my emotions were up in the sky, I could barely execute them until I was 7, and then I started crying like a 2 year old. My mother would say, "What happened to you, you were so perfect? Now you're acting like a baby!"... Two words: Pervasive Development. 

I couldn't execute my emotions when I seemed stoic, and apparently "perfect. When nobody could tell whether I even liked my birthday gift, and behaved toward me as though they felt I was horrifically and unacceptably rude, as a result; how much of a Princess I must think I am, because I couldn't show my emotions so much.

My emotions; they were too overwhelming, they had to be blocked, hovering above my head…but I felt them. I felt them very much. This was, again, mostly until I was about 7. I now have this process within me, at half-mast, and it can make things rough...particularly when I am going through trauma.
I care very much about people, and would constantly express how I wanted to "give the people on the street gifts and food." So this is "no empathy??" Sometimes, I just didn't know how to cry. Actually, I couldn't, because it hurt so much I had to block it, or completely freak out. My body would shut down on me. I would not be able to even go to the bathroom sometimes. 

I was smart enough to stay hidden. I was smart enough to feel and know it wasn't safe to expose my troubles...or they'd get me. They'd get me because, ironically, they wouldn't get me. Somehow, I knew. At age two!
Sometimes, I injured myself in the bathroom, or in my room…or even the top field at school, when no one was looking, I bit my hands. I have scars to show for it. There are these subtle, white flecks on my hands. When I really wanted to cry, but felt blocked and couldn't, I'd stretch my eyelids open because all I wanted to do was cry! 

Even if it was induced by too much air irritating my eyeballs, I thought, could bring on a real cry and get this junk out of me!
It began to work. This is how the tantrums started, at age 7. 

My intelligence masked my deficits. When I appear "scripted" and speak with my female voice and soft features, I'm seen as some sort of calculated little dark witch, rather than a human being. It's also because I'm hyper verbal: hyperlexic. 

Do they even know hyperlexia is a trait of high functioning autism, and autistic savant? Can they not understand an intelligent brain of different wiring trying to cope in a world inhospitable to them? Can they not commend, support, and have compassion, instead of judge and attack? One-day maybe, one day...

I am persecuted because I can speak eloquently well, like some are with the math, words are the strength of many verbose autistics. There's a dictionary in our brain. All memorized, via savant working memory drawn upon by a special interest in the meaning of words.

However, to me, they all appear as patterns first...until I key into my working memory bank and rapidly apply the words. This takes a lot of work.
Though we're able to be articulate, it doesn't mean we aren't still socially different, challenges, and may miss certain nuances. We will often be "inappropriately" verbose in many ways, including narrow focus topics, and over-sharing. We may apply language in very unconventional ways, in which can offend social expectations. 

This gets us badly judged at times, but it isn't our fault. It's an attempt to connect with others that, if it fails, results in a proverbial "whack upside the head."

In addition, being capable of verbosity doesn't mean we're verbal all the time, or are able to be verbally versatile outside of special interest areas and if the "rules and/or script changes abruptly". Society doesn't understand this discrepancy at all.
I can mimic the scripts of how to use my voice tone...all the way to elaborate conversations. Yet in person my behavior is childlike. Well, not little child, but girlish. It's also intellectual, sometimes verbose and even wisely apt, but with the former too.

I have gotten passed off as a stupid know-it-all who knows less than what she thinks she does (by those who aren't really able to grasp what I'm saying), or frowned upon as if my behavior and demeanor somehow warrants that I couldn't really be smart at all. Society cannot fathom this kind of discrepancy, clearly. More research needs to be done, and awareness propelled for people like me to get a fair chance.
I have an intellectual understanding of sociology, albeit not an inherent one. However, rather than a performance of passionate effort, because I care to try, and at times even want to try... I can be seen as a criminal manipulator.

This is especially because of the way I can look and present, which as a woman, society pressured me to do. I took the cues and introspectively trained myself. I trained relentlessly throughout life, with many bumps, bruises and full-blown falls along the way... until I was polished enough to not get hurt.

However, I still do get hurt, whence I’m only as good as I can be in that moment. Under pressure, it’s harder to “perform” right. When I’m being judged, I feel it.

I had honed a "somehow cool" kind of shtick. When it’s “top” I can even win points. NTs may even like me. It's in me, too, and who said I don’t like it at times. It depends, though, and it’s hard to keep up. I don’t always have the energy. This isn’t natural either: I learnt it.

I taught myself how to be and express to connect with others. I used to try harder, in a way that diverted from being true to me, though I was always an artiste type wanting to express my own. I express the real me far more today, and it does feel good.

However I can get hurt being more ‘me” than I used to be.

Today, I can’t repress anymore, so I need to be. When I don’t feel I can be, I prefer to hide, unless cornered. When I’m cornered and not prepared, it’s painful.

I still perform a bit, especially if I don’t feel safe but feel I have “no choice” I can still try for the “too over polished” here and there. However, I internally struggle with being allowed to, and wanting to, just be me. I can't help this. 

I was suppressed most of my life. I don’t want to be anymore, it’s like twisting an arm back, practically.

Well, on top of being seen as a "witch" to be persecuted, I actually am pagan... so I guess this doesn't help. It's an earthy spirituality, and I respect all religions and nature. 

Ultimately, what I feel like saying to society is: This isn't a Salem guys! Really, this isn't Medieval Europe. This is 2014. In some ways, they haven't changed it seems.

They still jeer, heckle and bring forth the rope. However, they do it in a different way. In a way in which they have you thinking you're doing it to yourself. I have to keep trying to rise above. I know I said I would, but sometimes…it’s really hard.

Scarlit-Rose Ashcraft
aka "Rosie"

Entry 67: Parents, Stand Up

March. 2. 2014

Unfortunately, mistreatment and trauma happens to most autistic adults today, and children too. However, there's a hope to prevent it that lies in parent's standing up for their child from the get go; and thus minimizing the traumatic impact of these things. This makes for the kid having a better chance, and a better self esteem, into adulthood.

This truly does start with parents standing up and saying No to the systems that fail to protect us from misunderstanding that results in trauma. I really hope that staunchly opening up to autistic kids' parents, about the straight up facts coming from an autistic woman's point of view, won't be seen as bold. I feel it's so important.

I only want to share with them what can happen to us if we don't take action early now. I say "we" because; not only am I autistic and remember what it was like for me as a kid; but I also have an 8-year-old autistic son. I am currently being persecuted and even at one point, accused of acting in an “un-cooperative” way, because I know my son is afflicted, as autistics are in the environment of today.
So, in lieu of this, autie kids' parents; I won't say standing up for your child, and opposing the systems' idea of what’s good for them, when you see that it is not, will be easy. In the process, you may be judged, scapegoated, blamed, ostracized. You may then experience a taste of what your au child is prone to, just because they are au, and what is only likely to worse for them into adulthood.

I don't know about you; but this would only fuel my passion to do everything I can to make it one day stop. In the mean time, setting this kind of example for your child helps prepare them, boost their confidence and thus boost their immunity for what may, to some degree, be inevitable.
Yes, I have been ostracized, at times, for making my own individual, apparently "radical" choices for myself, and my children’s’ health and well being. I choose to give my sons holy basil herbal tea for calm, homeopathic, and herbal remedies approved by student herbalists. I choose to feed them gluten and dairy free diet without processed and fortified foods (we get the vitamins from super foods themselves, no need for fortification!)

I choose to go out of my way to avoid Genetically Modified Foods at all costs in which are getting increasingly easier. Knowing what I know, it's hard not to. I am a science woman too, and the facts about all of the former (especially GMO's) are not only cringe worthy, but particularly profound in effect, for autistic people. In lieu of this, I ride with my wholehearted beliefs, out of love for me children. This apparently makes me a "radical."
However, I have fought a lot to stand up for myself, and in lieu of this more clinicians I have worked with have seemingly seen the light. They know I mean business because I stand in my truth/ They know not to take the things written at face value, or be implicated as liable when I am finished with proving their absolute falsehood. See, this is standing up strong. I have no choice, as this extends to my family. It otherwise affects them too.
See, when I say these personal lifestyle choices work for my kids, and for myself (better than drug treatments); it is my human right and choice as a mother and as a human being. This does not makes me "disordered" and accusing me of such violates my human rights.

I can’t have this be, I can’t accept this type of abuse, and I will not stop making that clear. I have barely been able to even as much as open my mouth, in order to express any concerns for myself, or my children, without being seen in a negative light.

This is by clinicians who do not know me very well, and are simply taking one subjectively cruel judgment about me, at blunt face value. I consider this to be inappropriate and structurally violent. It is when it happens to any parent of any autistic child. It will be, eventually, dealt with, when I am ready for it. This isn't okay for my kids more than anything, so again; I stand up strong.
As one can see, I know persecution. It's because of my own autism and how I present, that I've been seen like this by the cynical, ignorant and un-evolved "professionals"...whom are "professional" enough to do a lot of damage if they feel so inclined. However, many of these “professionals” continue to take no responsibility for their erroneous and incredibly harmful actions. They most often do not stop until they are proven wrong so powerfully that they are overcome.
This is how snuffing out wrongful, potentially sociopathic societal behavior works. It's only by standing strong, until numbers and strength grow. There is no other way, with entities so feeling less and devoid in compassionate humanitarianism. It is possible to stand up to these behemoths. Let's take a look when the tobacco companies were successfully sued. Let’s take a look at how the corporations are beginning to respond to the opposition of GMO foods.

They are beginning to own up a bit more, by labeling their foods "Non GMO verified." See, otherwise, people don't give them business in not. See, it is possible. The customer, the client, the consumer, the patient, truly does have the more power than they think. We can stop giving away our power, and stand strong. We don't need to be afraid, subservient, and obedient. We especially can protect out children: we have a choice.
Autistic or not we can stand up; even in the face of what initial backlash may occur. Obviously, when you stand up to a beast; it may roar and thrash back. We can get through this part, and starve it out with our unwavering faith and love. It's our choice how we choose to optimize the functionality of our kids, and ourselves for that we can function as parents. If we don't, what has happened to so many failed kids who are neuro divergent, so tragically, will only continue to be. Our kids deserve a quality chance at life!
Currently, therapies are often less then effective and/or extorted in price. Greed and dollar signs have encompassed the world of autism therapies. It's not fair to any of us. Then, when we try to help ourselves, we can get attacked. When we don't adhere to what they say is the right way, we are persecuted.
I find it all to be terribly arbitrary. To even as much as passive aggressively dictate that only a certain way is the right way, feels so wrong. To deny all the rest albeit proof that different and alternative things may work for people, just isn't ok. This seems rather totalitarian to me, but in whispers. This is what modern society has become, and it's gone too far.

However, and in retrospect, I'm not the only one trying to change this in action. Thank god for the Internet. It's so important to be able to share stories amongst each other, and find answers unsaid.
Let's hope the more we speak out, the more society will evolve. That is why we must, and again, it starts with the parents. Be open to becoming the best advocate and activist you can be for your child. It will save your child a lot of potential grief in their future. Believe me, I know this one firsthand.

Nobody stood up for me, as a child, as they should have. Nobody was really aware of how to or for what. I carry those battle scars, and spend much of my time attempting to heal them and manage the damage caused. I wouldn’t wish those experiences on anyone. We can prevent it from happening to our own kids, even if it happened to us. 

Scarlit-Rose Ashcraft
aka "Rosie"

Entry 65: How Did It Happen?

Feb. 11. 2014

put myself in that room: The room where I ended up experiencing one of those worst systemic violence based attacks that I think has happened to any autistic person in modern times. Honestly, that’s how I feel. Even though I was wary, I ended up making the gutsy move of posting the report on divergent voices, the blog in which I created for others, for these purposes. I omitted names, and in this my dad (a lawyer) said it was safe. I know its garbage, so I have nothing to hide of be ashamed of. I wanted to make it known, just how awful someone like me can get misunderstood and treated in the system, when they willfully try to “stick up” for themselves. It the principal of this, whether this was about me, whether it happened to someone else. I mean that.

I will be dealing with it soon, but not in court. I will go back to the beurocracy I think, and make an application to have to removed, because it isn’t true, and it’s not okay. I may contact my local MLA, when I’m ready, which will be hopefully in the fall. I feel that they would agree with me, based on all my evidence. I would hope that Canadian officials would support me in this. How did this even happen? This is he gist of how:

So yeah, I put myself in that room. I agreed to it, in naivete, when it was suggested that I "speak with her (omitting name), because maybe it'd be helpful"... but it felt like a setup, and was only "helpful" at nearly breaking my newly regaining confidence, still fragile and healing, battle-scarred soul apart...all over again. There was already a preconceived notion when I walked in that room.  That’s how it felt. An ignorant impression of me had been already shared with this psychiatrist woman. Yep, that's how it felt deeply, and it gave me this fight or flight defensive whence I felt the need to explain myself. This was all used against me.

The "assessment" didn't feel like a typical assessment at all. It was weird. I was in a vulnerable state. I describe it all in my book. I can't do it again now; it's too traumatizing to think about. Basically, it felt like an interrogation almost. I reacted too. I said some things that were badly used against me, whence they were misinterpreted and twisted around. This was especially because I stood up for myself when she attacked my autism diagnosis.

I lost my cool when she looked at me with callous eyes, and flippantly uttered “so, what makes you think you have ‘Asperger’s disorder, dear.” I then heatedly informed her that she clearly seemed to not know much about high functioning autism presentation in females. I got punished for that, who had the mere bow and arrow, and who had the machine gun.

I told her women with AS present differently, they can be very verbal; she wasn't listening. I was the stupid patient, how dare I, right? How dare I try to educate her? So I then said I told her I didn't want to discuss it anymore. I asked her to stop, as well as to stop asking me all about my past, and hence opening up old wounds and memories I wasn't there to elucidate about.

"Elucidate", actually, that's a word she used in her attack on me. She said, "Most of the time was spent 'elucidating' her (apparent) multiple medical conditions.” Well yes, that's because I didn't want to "elucidate" on what I wasn't in there for, and did not desire to do.  In addition, she asked me to describe the nature of my conditions. I described them to her, from my perception, in a way she was simply too ignorant to understand…particularly whilst holding preconceived notions.

I didn’t want to be on there for a “reassessment” which include opening up all my trauma, and I told her so, as I tried to explain what the true nature of my most current challenges are. She looked really pissed off. I guess she was angry she didn't get to do her "fun Thursday Freudian analysis" whence she is able to claim herself as a God upon. I almost felt a snake hiss throughout my body, and inside I shuddered. I felt Goosebumps while trapped in the room. Again, this is why I acted defensively.

These ignorant people are so quick to pathologize...sometimes it's just beastly. No compassion, no thinking outside the box with an open mind, no compassion at all. I am not a perfect person. I've had my challenges, some of which I am even ashamed. I struggled with addiction. I medicated what I then didn’t understand. I didn’t know how else to cope. It was not to illegal things, in my case. It was things that were pain and anxiety killers, that were legal too, as well as commonly accepted in society.

This of course was why it was so easy to access and lie to myself that I was just doing what everyone else does anyway. In addition, I used diet, exercise and food. It’s personal though, and I don’t want to elaborate too much.

I never thought I'd find myself defending such a thing though, and yet she said I lied about that too!  This part is laughable because everyone whose known me personally, and seen what I've gone through, particularly my husband, saw me in the midst of these battles. They are disgusted and outraged that she would suggest I lied about them.

I've been through a lot. I've made mistakes in my past, before I understood what was going on for me, let alone was able to process any childhood trauma. I tried to navigate through life, whilst hardship, half blinded in many ways, by my unknowing autism spectrum condition. I was, in addition, traumatized by my childhood and adolescent events.

I was unable to process much of what were both inside, and coming at me so rapidly. I felt like I was perpetually drowning; I grappled and dog paddled for dear life. I was internally terrified, running myself dry, and medicated on the occasions that I just couldn't take it anymore, in addition to the challenged with autism that I didn’t understand. It was a lot, and I felt like if I lost it, I would (like Rudy Simone said in “Aspergirls”) “wind up in a place I didn’t belong.” The thought of this terrified me, so I did a lot of blocking.

I was in desperate need to be alleviated of many things; anxiety, overload, social and identity confusion, emotional pain, lack of ability to adjust to change, insomnia, and the list went on. When I'd reach the point where I thought I might snap and end up somehow I consider to be almost scarier than death itself (like a mental institution) I ended up reaching a point where coping was backfiring on me, and that's when I discovered my autism.

So, in lieu of this, how dare this woman knock someone who has worked so hard to recover and reclaim life, and is trying to be preventative in making sure that doesn’t regress. It's like Dorothy on The Yellow Brick Road coming across a road bump, crying over it, and then those cries stirring up a cruel attack from an black hearted evil witch, instead of a scarecrow or tin man helping her dry her tears and encouraging her to walk on. Strange analogy, I know. I couldn’t help myself I guess.

Anyone can imagine why I wouldn't want my rightful autism spectrum diagnosis to be questioned and attacked, after going through all of this. I wasn’t willing to hear that crap one more time, I'd had enough. I went in there, whence being told it would be a "good idea" to talk about how I was having difficulty adjusting to my complex health challenges, how I was perhaps over obsessing because I didn't feel supported by my GP, and how this was all causing me more pain and grief in which I wasn’t properly managing.

All I wanted was some help for that specific issue, not to be put through another entire diagnostic assessment that I did not need.  I was trying to say "excuse me, I already have a diagnosis I accept and identify with, and this is how I'm being affected as somebody with that diagnosis, as well as perhaps it's comorbid features; so can you help me and/or write something to my doctor indicating I need more support?" Not only did that not happen, but also the worst possible thing did...the opposite.

There’s one more thing. I said something to this woman that got her angry. The truth of the worst thing I said to that woman, the thing I believe "got me licked” I have not before uttered this. I hadn’t considered the magnitude of its importance:

So, there I was in that "interrogation" room. I could sense what she was doing, and again I was a cornered rat. I felt like a cornered rat before a hissing python wearing a superficial demeanor that I could see through. In the moment, I spat out what I did; it was because I saw the python before me. So then, in lieu of the building tension, I lost it completely. Only for a moment…. I just couldn't bite my tongue! I was too short, under the circumstances. It happened so quickly, but all I remember is flippantly spitting something out from my lips. It went something like this:

"Look, it's really different in females, not enough is known! I worked really hard to finally get my Asperger’s' diagnosis, and I did not come in here for you to go and take it away from me"

So that's it folks. I feel that could very well be why she did what she did. She perverted all the reasons why I said what I said (and if you've been through similar. you know exactly what I mean) into a "she didn't like being called on her facticous-ness." Well, all I have to say, in order to descriptively deem this, are a couple things. One is, people who are snaky, personality-disordered individuals themselves project that onto others and call the kettle black, and two: terribly ugly structural violence.

No, I was not there to defend my diagnosis, I was there to ask for help for my chronic pain and health challenges, whatever they are; "fibromyalgia syndrome" as it stands. So, I got frustrated when instead of being met with compassion, I found myself being interrogated. I reacted. I was tired; I wanted to go home by that point. I realized that maybe where I was just wasn't the right place for me, though I had honestly, truly and naively thought it was initially.

I was over loaded, I was tired of putting on social performances because at that time I was still in a phase of "feeling obligated" to "perform", and I did not yet understand another way to "be" with people. I still don't, but at least I'm in touch with how I can modulate this and understand my limits better. Even this was pathologized in her report, because... how dare I. Right? How dare I attempt to remind her that she wasn't being helpful, and try to describe how it is that I do need help.

It's truly unbelievable, how she takes my autism and makes it look like some horrendous and monstrous pathology.  Well, but it is believable considering her RateMyMD reviews, though.  This woman has done this to others. Regardless, to look at it like this is to look at it from a horribly sick angle infiltrated with cruel and destructive cynicism.

Psychiatrists who behave this violently really should not practice, because people get badly hurt.  This is not okay. Yes, people get so badly hurt like this when they are already vulnerable and truly in need of some real help.... but get proverbial smack upside the head, instead. I was trying to defend myself from getting hurt ever again, but how dare I.

Since I was not entitled to say "I have taken enough abuse from this system, I am not here to get messed with again, I just want some help for this particular issue" I got punished. I “got gunged” as my dad put it (knifed in the back.) I got punished for trying to stand up for myself...and some. Frankly, it seems rather sadistic.

The interview was almost set up in a way where I could be prompted to spit out the kind of words that could be used against me. This is so easy to do, to an aspie, who says things in direct, literal context when prompted with a certain kind of questioning especially. How many aspies before me have been falsely accused and framed using this tactic? I bet many.

That's how the questioning was literally set up. Furthermore this woman is actually known for doing this to people. She has done this before; I have read it on the RateMyMD website under her reviews, which were very poor, despite her surrounding staff thinking the world of her. Once she closes that door, the fangs come out, particularly if you challenge her.

How can society give and perpetuate these kinds of people the power that it does? Well, I know why, but this must change one day. The hierarchal-structured healthcare and "helping profession" systems need to at least start being regulated by much higher quality standards for human ethics. They should not be allowed to enact this kind of severe structural violence; and they should be called on it if they do. Otherwise, it's not only abusive, but highly corrupt.

Yes, why would the system let such a person work and act as "help" among people whom are already so vulnerable and challenged as it is? Maybe it’s because she can easily manipulate her way into making any of her actions acceptable, simply because she holds a "doctor" title? Again, that is based in a worship of hierarchy so severe that it is completely illogical, and therefore (once again) absurd. Yes, that's how much power people give to hierarchy.

People and systems allow these "professionals", in fact gives them a license, to be as narcissistic and insidiously cruel as they want to be. This is just wrong, yet it's everywhere. It needs to stop. It starts with talking about it, and people sharing experiences. This is why I've created the communal blog in the first place.

As a side note, I do know that if you stroke this woman's' ego and let her be a God, she will often treat you so well, and flatter you so much, that you'll think she's super wonderful. She's not the only doctor like this, not in the least. Many are, it's like being in the movie Patch Adams. Most of her staff and coworkers in that entity think she's great. She waltzes in like some sort of idyllic Joan Crawford, dressed professionally crisp, calling everyone "dear" in a manipulatively warm voice. Yet I saw the snake in her eyes, and I felt like a cornered rat in that room.

Even when she tried to compliment me on my purple scarf, by uttering "you look lovely in purple, dear" I felt a sting from her energy. I felt violated, because her energy did not match her words. So the cornered rat reacted, when she could instinctively feel an attack.  I’m very sensitive to underlying currents. Then, the rat was met with a cold-blooded python, which engulfed and smothered her attempt to defend herself, via the razor sharp pen. There are many snakes working in this field, doing these kinds of things to people.

One day, I would like to see her held accountable somehow; this is warranted justice.

I know I sound tough, but I am hurting. This sickens me. My frozen tears are turned inward most of the time, so I can “keep on.” Truly though, this thing has been doing me damage inside. It’ll take a whole lifetime to work through. 

So, I have been trying hard to rise above, though I’ve been burned for sure. I now don't freely talk about all of my symptoms, anymore.  I have no trust. Not after how it was “described” that I described them. She lists as she "heard" them, and in addition written back out in a twisted way that is supposed to incriminate me.

However, it doesn't necessarily work with those who are smart, because the description she ridicules into pathology is pretty well a description of classic fibromyalgia syndrome and perhaps other nonspecific autoimmune challenges to boot. It's not really all that "sensational" although she says, "she went on, 'elucidating' (there's that word again) about her multiple medical conditions"...Oh please!

She writes I say I have IBS "my whole life." Yes, autistic people have gut issues since early childhood, and even as babies (colic.) How does this make me seem "factitious", and more importantly, why the hell would I want to "fake" the embarrassing symptoms of my IBS? FMS itself is a systemic condition that affected multiple areas! How is this "factitious?" It's not.

All I can do is keep believing in myself and in Spirit. I basically have to detach a lot. It's the only protectant I have. Autistic people, and those with trauma, are good at doing this because we actually can get overloads of emotions and feelings about things, and they can be very intense. So intense it can make us sick, so we develop this "thing" where we can cut off, when there is no choice.
However, this tactic has a lot of negative, backfiring effects. It disallows from processing trauma, it's almost like the brain is in "freeze" mode, which is part of a trauma reaction. Later can come the blocking and flooding: the PTSD. This thing had unfortunately re-triggered much of the PTSD I was working so hard to overcome, in a really brutal way. It's going to take me a lot of rehabilitation to recover from this.

So, I've been trying to keep level and move forward, regardless. I did have a bad meltdown after learning what I did in that endocrinology appointment. I was devastated; I was knocked down again. I was being told that surely the report couldn't be affecting me that much, but then, my worst nightmare was again confirmed. One can imagine how this could make me feel. I have to get up and move forward. I have to prove my case eventually. It's not just for me; it's on behalf of all that get misunderstood like this...especially autistic people. The reason why I'm sharing about this is because of awareness, not attention as could be assumed. That is the truth, and there is now nothing more to say.

Scarlit-Rose Ashcraft
aka "Rosie"