'Normal', 'Aspergers', and when my day going differently to planned, is just what I needed.
Sometimes life just does not go according to plan. When this happens we can get thrown totally off course, or we can make the best of it. Today, perhaps, it was just what the universe had intended for me – that typically is the way I think about happenings.
As I write this post, I should be sitting in a training session in Hove with 'Aspie Trainers', to gain more skills in dealing with the clients who have Aspergers. However, life did not work out that way. Why? Because I barely slept a wink all night. Jane (not her real name) who is living upstairs, did not sleep either, so it seems. She was up and down like a yo yo, doors shutting and opening, the creaky floorboards creaked. Every time I began to drop-off, I would be jerked back to consciousness by more creaking and closing doors.
To drive to Hove by 10am, I would have had to get up by 6, walk my dog and get away by 7.15am. As I struggled to get some sleep, I also rationalised that by staying in Ramsgate and working from my office/therapy room I would at least be able to ensure that I would be there for my son's birthday cake parcel to be collected and whisked off to Germany, rather than hoping that someone else would hear the bell.
So when 6am arrived, my eyes and me were feeling totally dead. Getting up was not a possibility. My trip to Hove was shelved. I got up at 7, took Wez out, and decided to do my own Asperger further education at home.
I checked on Youtube to see if the Course facilitators had any material. They didn't. However my search brought my attention to many short videos addressing the material that I should have been covering. Ooh the glories of the internet! I watched several, and as I did, I wondered where I might be on an Asperger's checklist, myself.
I believe that most of us are somewhere on what is now described as the autistic spectrum. We live in an era of perpetual diagnosis. Pathology is the new normal, or possible 'must have' – a future blog will explore this further. As I progressed through the comprehensive checklist, my slight spattering of ticked boxes were pretty negligible compared with someone who has the 80+% symptoms required to be recognised as having Aspergers. I certainly would have rated more highly in my teenage/early twenty years, but I believe that's true for the vast majority of the human race.
I have worked with women and men, young and older, who found themselves incapacitated by their differences and their difficulties 'in being like others'. Some have had Aspergers, some ADHD, some Dyslexia and some a combination. As I mentioned earlier, I think most of us have a variety of the characteristics that fall into the Asperger diagnosis or others, but perhaps not in the amount or intensity to require a diagnosis.
So what is 'normal'? Is 'normal' a genuine inherent natural way that the majority of people emotionally, intellectually and physically respond? Or is 'normal' a prevailing set of 'behaviours' that generations of individuals have taken on board as being the 'expected' ways to be, which they have had passed on to them and which they pass on to others and which in fact has its only basis in the social control of the masses through time?
One of the TED talks I watched given by a young woman - Rosie King; highlighted this same issue: the forcing of people into a box classified 'normal'. Her perspective was that this diminishes everyone. I totally agree. I have never felt that I 'fitted in', nor particularly sought to do so. I believe that the very unusual and socially isolated nature of my upbringing and family facilitated this and that it has been something of a gift. I put the fact that I managed to work within the institutionalising NHS as a community and specialist Health Visitor, down to being able to work with people as the individuals they were. It was only when my last manager, someone whose management style was to micro manage at all times, wanted everyone to work in identical ways that I was again gifted the impetus to leave and work with clients as 'individuals'. I found this helped them. It gave them permission to work with and enhance their strengths. It also allowed them to develop strategies to work around their weaknesses and accept themselves as they were, rather than damage themselves by resisting their own essence.
Last week, I was delighted to receive another gift in a meeting with a sixth form teacher, who sees the education system as a sausage machine, that forces children through the same sized hole, expecting all children to fit into the same 'normality'.
Rosie King was speaking my language. We all have our idiosyncrasies; we also have our shared commonalities. It is our idiosyncrasies that make us interesting. Delving into the ways in which each individual experiences their world also gives voice to that individual's creativity.
In my experience of working with many, many hundreds of people, individuals want to be comfortable with themselves and in using their own skills, more than they want to be like and liked by others. Too often, wanting to be accepted by others who only want someone to be like themselves, creates an impossibility for health and happiness. Being untrue to oneself inevitably creates tensions that impact effectiveness, self confidence, self belief, relationships, creativity, mental and physical health.
It is very exciting to see clients come to see their individuality and strengths as positives, rather than as aspects of themselves that have to curbed so as to be like everyone else – who, most likely are also not being true to themselves, either. As individuals develop acceptance and even pride in their individuality and strengths, they transform in confidence, effectiveness, energy levels and sleep. They spend less money, eat more healthily, grow in self-belief, become more mindful, have happier relationships and social lives. In short, they go from strength to strength.
We all have our idiosyncrasies, whether we are on the autistic spectrum or not. We can all learn a lot from each other and even learn to love and understand our own idiosyncrasies through discovering and understanding other people's.
#Aspergers #ASD #AutisticSpectrum #Education #Individuality #Idiosyncracies
#Youtube #LifeCoaching #NLP #Normal #ClaraGibson #Strengths