Skip to main content

Exhaustion and Autism

I've been working at my computer the last few days, while my limbs are in palsy mode and words take too much effort. When I am tired, it is difficult to control my body. Many autistics I've met tell me the same thing. This is also true for people I know with other physical challenges.

I have a history of mild seizures, migraines, palsy, and other annoying physical challenges. And because I'm exhausted, these issues are starting to overwhelm my ability to focus. Worse, my heart sometimes races and "bounces" with an irregular beat under stress. The tingling sensations are unnerving, at best, and keep me on guard. The doctor tells me the tingling is from anemia, for which I've had to receive blood transfusions in the past. My body is often the biggest obstacle to following through with my ideas.

Autism seems to come with more than one or two challenges. But, those challenges can be addressed. We can learn to navigate around our bodies, with some help and effort. If a situation causes headaches or seizures, I learn to avoid the situation. If I can't deal with something, why put myself at risk? The intelligent approach is to avoid anything potentially dangerous to my wellbeing. Of course, you can't avoid all risks.

Then, when I'm in gripe and whine mode like this, I turn on the Science Channel and see Dr. Hawking "talking" with a computer and discussing the mysterious energy that emits from black holes. Hawking doesn't complain. He doesn't surrender to his body. And he has a lot tougher situation than I do.

The key to remaining sane is to remind myself that my life is pretty great. But, when you're tired it is easy to slip into the whine and gripe mode.

In a few days, with a bit of sleep, I'll be back to normal. Okay, a lot of sleep.


Popular posts from this blog

Autism, Asperger's, and IQ

"Aren't people with Asperger's more likely to be geniuses? Isn't genius related to autism?"

A university student asked this in a course I am teaching. The class discussion was covering neurological differences, free will, and the nature versus nurture debate. The textbook for the course includes sidebars on the brain and behavior throughout chapters on ethics and morality. This student was asking a question reflecting media portrayals of autism spectrum disorders, social skills difficulties, and genius.

I did not address this question from a personal perspective in class, but I have when speaking to groups of parents, educators, and caregivers. Some of the reasons these questions arise, as mentioned above, are media portrayals and news coverage of autism. Examples include:
Television shows with gifted characters either identified with or assumed to have autistic traits: Alphas, Big Bang Theory, Bones, Rizzoli and Isles, Touch, and others. Some would include She…

Listen… and Help Others Hear

We lack diversity in the autism community.

Think about what you see, online and in the media. I see upper-middle class parents, able to afford iPads and tutors and official diagnoses. I see parents who have the resources to fight for IEPs and physical accommodations.

I see self-advocacy leadership that has been fortunate (and hard working, certainly) to attend universities, travel the nation (or even internationally), and have forums that reach thousands.

What I don't see? Most of our actual community. The real community that represents autism's downsides. The marginalized communities, ignored and excluded from our boards, our commissions, our business networks.

How did my lower-income parents, without college educations, give me a chance to be more? How did they fight the odds? They did, and now I am in a position of privilege. But I don't seem to be making much of a difference.

Demand that your charities seek out the broadest possible array of advisers and board members.…

Life Updates: The MFA Sprint

Life is okay, if more than a little hectic at the end of this first month.

With one month down, I'm 11 months away from my MFA in Film and Digital Technology. Though things might happen and things do go wrong, so far I'm on schedule and things are going well —— though I'm exhausted and working harder than I did for any other degree. Because the MFA requires projects every week, this isn't as easy to schedule as writing. Even researching a paper can be done from the comfort of home, at any hour.

You cannot make movies by yourself, at any time of day. It doesn't work that way. Filming takes time, and often requires a team of people. It's not comparable to working alone on a degree in writing or rhetoric.

The team-based nature of film is exhausting for me, but I enjoy the results. I also like the practical nature of the skills being taught. You either learn how to adjust ISO, f/Stop, shutter speed, and other variables or you don't. You can have theories …