Archive for the ‘plurality’ Category

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Anxious Energy, among other things

April 8, 2010

Warning to readers: it’s pretty late as I am writing this so it’s probably gonna be really rambly at points. Sorry in advance.

Lately we have all had many things on our minds that we’ve been wanting to talk to various people about and blog about, but the energy required to do so has been notably absent. Sometimes this energy is just physical inertia…..thinking of stuff but not being able to get to the computer to blog…..frozen body, or other thing that prevents blogging. Other times life gets in the way; Mom wanting help in the kitchen, sis wanting us to proofread her thesis (bachelors, not phd dissertation)……and various other stuff.

At this particular time, I really should be in bed, as I have an important visit with the admissions director and possibly other personnel from a program that helps students like myself (well, OURselves actually, pardon the back and forth between my and our and whatever. As I (Andrea) have said in my warning, it’s late.

I can’t sleep. There are so many things going through my head right now. Ivan is having an internal meltdown(manifesting only inside the collective mindspace, and not outside our body but still very audible and disturbing to me). He hasn’t been well for the past several weeks. Poor chap, it really kills me to see and hear him in such bad shape.(yeah, you read right; we can see and hear one another very clearly from within the collective mindspace.

I need to be back in school. All of us need that. I/we can’t deal with life otherwise. It’s insane……I feel like I’m on a rollercoaster that keeps going round and round and round in larger and larger circles…..throw in some figure-of-eight loops, add NASCAR-winner speeds, and it’s a true miracle we haven’t TOTALLY gone off the deep end yet. This is total and complete lunacy. I have important things to do tomorrow that will require me to be all there and focus (which in turn requires a decent amount of sleep; thank God Almighty that it’s at 10am and not earlier….) and what am I doing instead of being in bed? I’m rambling. Believe me, I tried for at least half an hour (probably more, who cares though) trying desperately to ignore all the shit in my head and fall asleep, to no avail. Thank God again that I happen to be in a hotel that doesn’t charge by the minute for internet use. Otherwise I’d probably be in bed still, trying and failing to fall asleep for another couple of hours, and that’s if we were lucky.

This entry is turning out somewhat differently than we thought it would….not really surprising though. Some of the anxious thoughts we were having, were simply due to the fact that we’ve had shit pent up for ages and ages. I suppose it didn’t all have to come out, some of it is resolving itself in some kind of way as I sit here and tap out as much as possible before I absolutely have to go back to bed. Opening the damn door of my room was a trip in itself (Dad and I are sharing a room, since he’s checking out the program also) and he sure as hell isn’t a night owl. I’m sure I woke him up when I closed the door after exiting the room if not before. I’m not looking forward to going back into the room and probably waking him up again. Oh well, you can’t win em all I guess………

Now I can feel exhaustion creeping up on me. I suppose I’ve expelled enough of the anxious pent up words that were circling in the mindspace. Hopefully when I go back to my room I’ll be out like a light in a matter of minutes. Ivan has worn himself out from his meltdown. Athena and I really worry for him. Sometimes when she hears him thrashing around and screaming (again happening in mindspace, but when he’s fronting, he’s physically done this before) she starts crying…..and it’s all I can do not to flip out myself (now THAT would be a PHYSICAL manifestation, no longer in mindspace, as I’m writing this from my perspective as the one fronting at the time.)

Wow. None of us have ever gone this far into detail about the inner workings of our system. It’s amazing what anxiety and desperation will do.

I think I’m exhausted enough physically to finish this entry right now and head back to my room.

<<Internal conversation…>>

<<Ivan, I’m really exhausted now, can I go to bed please?>>

<<I wait patiently for a response. Athena yawns and mutters something about our body needing enough sleep.>>

<<Athena: come ON, Andrea!>>

<<I say to Athena: I know, hang on>>

<<Ivan flaps his left hand in my direction. I’m not sure how to interpret this gesture, so I say to him: Ivan, I’m not sure what you are trying to tell me. I asked you if I can go to bed now, since it’s well past the time the body and brain should be shut down for the night in anticipation of…..at this point Ivan is shaking his head vigorously and covering his ears. Integral too much break down derivative, he says. That translates roughly as follows: Integral (my mathematical name) I cannot process that much information. Tell me shorter please. I try again. Ivan please flap your hand up and down like yes if I can go to bed.>>

<<Ivan flaps his hand up and down like yes.>>

Well that’s all folks. Phew, I’m exhausted. But I feel like my head is ten pounds lighter. That’s definitely a good thing.

Goodnight, wish us luck.

a very pooped out but much less anxious Andrea

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Feeling like a tired old man-Part 1

July 10, 2009

The title of this post says it all. We cannot come out to our parents about being multiple, and there are other things about our autism that we can’t share, or don’t know how to or even don’t want to.

The net result is frustration on both sides. Mom telling us she cannot rely on us for anything…..over and over, tell us that enough times and it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. I guess this is the final result of so many times being spoken to in an accusatory tone by her….she does that to EVERYONE in the house at different times. Dad and sister are not immune to her accusatory tone, and they both function much more closely at her level than we do. Dad just yells and tells her to shut up. Sister sort of acts like a pushover….yes ma’am, no ma’am, anything you say, ma’am. She doesn’t literally say that but she has a way of just shutting Mom down, we don’t even fully understand how it works. Unfortunately no one would believe us if we told them part of the problem is being accused so many times or spoken t0 in an accusatory tone, even when things were going well. We’ve had this on and off issue with Mom ever since grade school! And we live at home, also another major problem. Sister can get away during the academic year because she goes to school in CT and lives there. We’re not so fortunate. We love our university, but we hate living at home, and parents have said that we have to first prove that we are capable of “behaving responsibly” first before they will let us move out. Um, hello, DOES ANYONE ELSE SEE A PROBLEM HERE?

We’ve been in this environment for so many years off and on, it’s started affecting our ability to take responsibility and even study, since Lord only knows when, etc.

We don’t really expect NT’s to get this at the same level as autistic people, but we’ll be grinning from ear to ear temporarily if they do. Our parents sure don’t, and every time any one of us tries to even bring this up indirectly, Mom invariably claims that “we’re just blaming her and not looking at ourselves in the mirror.”

This isn’t the whole story. I don’t have the stamina or time to write it all out at once, because I cannot afford to fall apart in a public place, and I have a project to work on.

Ivan

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Busy Busy Busy at school

April 6, 2009

We haven’t been posting much until very recently……that’s definitely not for lack of stuff to say……

We just don’t have the time. I should be in bed right now……it’s nearly 1 am and I have to wake up in less than  six hours. 

I had to audit one of my math classes…..my professor just goes way too fast, AND when he wants us to solve an example problem, he doesn’t stop talking…..he just goes blah blah blah about the problem. I really like him, but I can’t handle his teaching style……it’s just not compatible with any of our learning styles. 

My other math professor (Calc 3; the first one was for Intro to Abstract Mathematics…….less number stuff and more proving stuff) doesn’t do enough examples in class…..I have to figure out a way to let him know that other students feel like he doesn’t explain enough…….haven’t figured that one out yet.

We’ll be writing a letter to the academic standards committee asking for 2 courses to be dropped from our gpa and transcript…..those were taken when we were all sick from being misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder and being heavily medicated for that…..because of those courses which we obviously got bad grades in (Athena did them…..Ivan and I were far too gone at the time……we didn’t have independence of thought from one another……those meds churned up all of our thoughts collectively into one confused mass of mind-mush. How’s that for a tongue-twister? Ha-ha! 

Wow, I was certainly not expecting this topic to come up in this particular blog entry…..I guess it happened for a reason, like everything else does. It’s true. Everything happens for a reason, no matter how confusing or unlikely or undefined that reason may seem to be. 

I’ll/we’ll explain more about the misdiagnosis later on when we ACTUALLY HAVE TIME.

 

That certainly won’t be this week…….we have an exam on thursday. 

 

The Integral

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Upcoming Multiplicity entries.

March 2, 2009

So I’ve gotten permission from the others (including a fourth previously unmentioned personality) to transcribe selected conversations among all 0f us, and translations/explanations where applicable. I think we and others who read them can learn from these dialogues…..

 

Right now, the conversation is as follows:

A: Sleepy sleepy Beeboo

TI: Okay, let me finish typing this and then we’ll get ready for bed. Do you want to be the one getting in bed and sleeping or can I? Remember, don’t call D because he said he has to go to bed early. You don’t want to wake him up. 

A: Aw poop. I wanna get body in bed not you! 

 

Translations/Explanations: Beeboo is just a nickname Athena calls herself. D is the first initial of her significant other’s first name. 

 

Ivan, sleepily: meh. 

(That’s his attitude about a large number of things. He sometimes won’t get to bed before 2 am, no matter how badly Athena or I want to go to bed earlier. It’s not out of malice, he just doesn’t respond to us all the time. That’s just Ivan being Ivan…..

 

The Integral

on behalf of all of us

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What we’ve been up to lately

January 7, 2009

We’ve taken a hiatus from blogging….not much interesting happens on break from school. 

Actually Athena and I did go to New York City the weekend after New Year’s………bad, bad idea. Our parents decided that we and they and our sister should go……..there were so many PEOPLE EVERYWHERE! Not the best weekend vacation…..but we did have some great dinners there. And the hotel we stayed at, the Roosevelt, on 45th and Madison, was very nicely decorated for Christmas….we met a family friend who now lives and works in the city…..for dinner. Athena and I came down with a cold on the trip, so Friday afternoon we decided to take it easy until dinner time. We’d been ordered to follow our mother and sister into a store to get some new pants for us……..that store was incredibly crowded….even my sister commented on the number of people. I was trying to remain present……Athena definitely wasn’t there, I sent her away as she would have been even more miserable than I…….and I couldn’t deal with a lot of crying in front of family and that many people, so I relieved her of having to be there. Hell, I have somewhat more tolerance than her for overload (well not so much that, but I react more “age-appropriately” than she does. I don’t really buy into age appropriateness stuff most of the time but…..I can’t figure out another way to express it.) and even I was having a hell of a time in that store. Our mother and sister kept having to repeat stuff over and over….it’s like I wasn’t hearing much of what they were saying. That’s what it seemed like to them anyway…..I heard noise, like words, but the amount of time my brain needed to process those sounds was much much longer because of the crowd and the freaking LOUD ANNOYING OVERWHELMING MUSIC. 

I hope that doesn’t trigger anyone reading. Just don’t go to NYC immediately preceding, or following, New Years or Christmas or any other major holiday, unless you have relatives there and have to go for a reunion, or you happen to enjoy large, loud crowds everywhere. We surely DO NOT. Ivan didn’t come with us because the Evil Red Fairy (any woman reading this knows what that means) came to visit us just before we left. So he took off. Good for him, he didn’t miss anything at all. He has much less of an interest in going to big cities anyway. We just go because our family goes…..I and Athena don’t care all that much about it…..Athena likes to see things. She loves Central Park but is always sad when we go there because she cannot roll around in the grass or splash in the water….the things she really wants to do. I or Ivan will ask her significant other (Dean; he’s much more than a boyfriend to her, and he’s an older gentleman…..so boyfriend isn’t really an appropriate word. He’s over 30, let’s put it that way.) to take her to Central Park on vacation and maybe he will let her do some of those things….he is very good about letting her be herself around him. The last time they saw each other, Ivan and I both stayed behind while she went……that means, we were completely absent from the surroundings. Even in our absence, we knew she was enjoying herself. At some level there is still communication between us, even if one or more of us is not present at all for certain events. We all grew up closely connected. We still are, and we generally communicate very well with one another. In a plural being, the different personalities do not have to fight all the time. Most of the time that’s what singles might think of, but that’s definitely not always the case. We’ve been meaning to write an entry on plurality and democracy, but it hasn’t happened yet. 

We’re quite upset about the situation in Gaza. Getting into who started what first is not very helpful, so we won’t go there. Truth be told, we don’t know all the relevant details to comment on that in the first place, even if we wanted to. It’s just a very sad situation. Hamas is a democratically elected organization, and they were elected because the Palestinian people believed that Hamas was doing more for them in terms of providing security, food, electricity, and the like, than any of the aid organizations that were in the area. That was probably true. There is a major social services component to the movement that is Hamas. We in the states hear mostly about the militant elements, but how are we to know whether or not the media want us to believe an exaggerated story?  There are a lot of things we don’t learn from our American media. I’ve heard things on the news in Europe, while on vacation, that I’m sure I wouldn’t have heard the same way had I heard it in this country. That’s just the way it is in America I guess. And it’s becoming that way elsewhere too. That’s very unfortunate. Maybe society should learn to deal with things directly as they are…..we autistic folk could teach them that if they wanted to learn. Then the media would not be forced to sugarcoat and embellish stuff the way they do now. (embullshit? I like that word better, even though I made it up just now, because I think it more accurately reflects what goes on. People put fluff and crap, and bullshit into their stories sometimes to get published and make money.) 

Wow, that’s a long rant! I guess we had a lot to say after being away for so long. 

Our sister had said something about “you’re not a baby anymore” to Athena about her reaction to being overloaded by something or tired out…..we’re still trying to come up with something of a response to that, to be posted here when it’s ready. 

We suppose that’s all for now. We’ve missed blogging, and reading others’ blogs. 

Please donate to autistics.org

Click on the paypal link that matches the currency of the country you live in. I’ll inquire about other methods of donation and post the response later. 

Athena and The Integral

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38th DBC Entry: Our thoughts on Disability and Spirituality

May 13, 2008

Once again we have a very fascinating topic to work with and write about for this next installation of the awesome Disability Blog Carnival. I (Ivan) will try to elaborate on all of our thoughts on the subject. 

We are all Eastern Orthodox Christian. Athena’s significant other/friend and mentor to myself and The Integral is Eastern Orthodox, and Athena and the rest of us had been investigating that religion for some time. The fact that D was born into it, and it requires that all of its adherents marry other Christians, prompted us to accelerate our learning and understanding, for eventual conversion and baptism. Athena met D at a very dark time in our lives; we were under a misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder and had to take several heavy medications, including lithium and depakote. (there’s my topic for whenever I host a dbc edition.) We were exhausted, physically and psychologically, on a near-daily basis. At some point Athena was convinced that we were all dying of cancer, because our body was just so damned run down and worn out all the time. We weren’t DOING much physical activity to speak of, and so we were all flummoxed (utterly confused) as to why we were so tired. We later discovered that our tiredness was a side effect of our medication. We slept lightly and fitfully at best, and our sleep was rarely the restful kind. We could lie in bed with our eyes closed for hours but never really get our quota of needed “rest and relaxation” that would keep us from being so tired all the time. Medication can mess with many different body systems. 

What does this all have to do with disability and spirituality? Well, during that very dark time in our lives, we prayed a lot. I mean, every day, several times a day, hoping that we would be heard at some point. We needed SOMEONE to hear our despair and desperation, and we found solace in Jesus Christ. Our lot didn’t improve drastically, but our prayer and private time with Christ made life possible. Eventually I (Ivan) gave the others an ultimatum: we could either quit our meds and stop the bullshitting around with our life and leave our parents’ home to figure ourselves out, or we could all die and take the rest of the family with us. I tend to be somewhat of a militant, hence the two drastic options. Needless to say, since we’re all still living, we chose the first option. I believe that prayer led to our finding that particular solution to our problem. It was not a perfect solution, but it was the only viable, ecclesiastically legal solution we had. It was the one solution we came up with that would allow us to be free of the pharmacological thieves that were robbing us of our minds, our body’s physical strength, and the very essences of who we were. The Integral had been living in suspended animation, not dead yet not alive. In fact, we didn’t realise how separate our identities were (me-Ivan, Athena, and The Integral). We were only focused on living by the minute, passing the time, and most nights going to sleep and praying that we wouldn’t wake up the next morning. 

So spirituality and religion has a very, very important function in our lives. We although think that our disability -(now correctly diagnosed, might we add. well, as correctly as possible. autism and asperger’s, what’s the bloody difference?)- has a major role in how we interact with our Lord. 

Most of our prayers are silent, in that we do not outwardly vocalise, but allow God to listen to our thoughts. We aren’t gifted orators when it comes to prayer, so what’s in our minds has to suffice at the moment. 

We dealt with the dark era of our existence in a very autistic fashion, even though we were not diagnosed as such at the time, we were interested in analysing every little detail of our feelings throughout the days and months spanning those three years, to the fullest extent that we were able. Spirituality, as I said before, helped us, nay, allowed us, to survive that time of chaos and destruction to our minds and body. 

I hope this is along the lines of what the topic is supposed to be about. 

Ivan

with input from The Integral and Athena

 

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The many meanings and forms of “abuse”

April 21, 2008

We have not, in our twenty four plus years of existence, ever experienced anything as horrific as sexual abuse or extended physical abuse, but we have experienced emotional and psychological abuse at various stages in our lives. All three of us have slightly different views on what constitutes “abuse”

Athena’s definition: too much loud noise, too many people, too many questions, too much talking at once confusing and short-circuiting my brain. Stress, extreme sensory overload. Being awake too late because the brain keeps going.

The Integral’s definition: being forced to take heavy psychiatric medication for an illness later found to be a wrong diagnosis. Constant harassment by family members, when one is worn out because of overmedication. We were.

Ivan’s definition: all of the above, and having to tell Athena she can’t release her overload yet………because of things to do. Wears down stamina and our collective mind. That’s internal “abuse” though not external. To most people, these things listed might seem too trivial to warrant being called abuse, but remember that every person’s definition of abuse, or any similar word for that matter, will be slightly different. That’s just because people are different, and by extension so are their thoughts and perceptions of things.

What most people probably think about when first hearing the term “abuse,” if they have never themselves experienced anything warranting the term, is probably “the graphic stuff” like s*xual abuse and SRA and beatings and such. Yeah, all of those are definitely abuse! But being told one is fat, or ugly, or too this or that, constantly, no matter how innocent it seems, is also abuse if the “victim” develops a negative self-image because of it. Sensory overload is definitely abuse for those of us who have to contend with it on a daily basis, or even occasionally.

For us as autistics, and as members of a plural system, we experience sensory abuse from the outside world a lot. Even if we don’t set foot outside our apartment for an entire day, something or other within our immediate environment will cause us overload at some point. Athena for example gets overwhelmed in a messy apartment, to the point of being frozen for a period of time, more than once a day, because of the sheer disorganization of the place. But she doesn’t always have the stamina to pick things up that she’s left or put things away that she’s taken out, when I (The Integral. Athena wrote the first part, now I’m writing) or Ivan are not around for whatever reason.

We had more, but we’re pretty tired and it’s time for submission……….we had so much to do that we didn’t have time to sit and write something more thought out…..

Collaborative, Athena and The Integral, with contributions from Ivan

talinorfali

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