In a previous post, I reflected on autism and anger that was part catharsis and part effort to feel around in the dark for explanation. Catharsis experienced for a short period, still in the dark fumbling around for an explanation.
Until this morning.
A link showed up in my Facebook feed to another blog I follow — Adults with Asperger’s and High Functioning Autism Support Group — to a 2016 post about this very topic. The blog is written by a therapist who works with adults on the spectrum and the post specifically addressed a theme or common cycle the therapist observed among his ASD patients.
The therapist refers to the cycle as AMGS or, Anxiety, Meltdown, Guilt, and Self-punishment. Image of this cycle is republished below and the original blog post may be linked to here.
Needless to say, I experienced an epiphany: this cycle is me. And, I cope by isolating myself from social situations — even when unavoidable to be in a social situation, I stay silent and avoid all human contact unless compelled to otherwise. Unless at work, where I engage my apparently considerable natural acting ability to portray what I understand to be “normal” (what ever the hell that is). Why? To be short, in a previous post, I touched on the conundrum of being authentic in an alien world. Not the most healthy coping strategy, I know.
But, with new knowledge comes the possibility of developing healthy coping strategies through deepening and broadening one’s self-knowledge. Isn’t that the point of therapy? To assist another to make knowledge connections otherwise obscured due to a lack of dispassion or even, if possible, objectivity on the part of the effected individual?
Rereading my post on autism and anger, one can observe that the elements are there, I lacked sufficient dispassion, let alone objectivity, in the moment, to step back, reflect, and make connections sufficient to develop the knowledge for which I was looking. I’m not being self-critical here, simply acknowledging that which may inhibit one from gaining self-knowledge – for a time.
I needed a third-party to prompt me to think differently, make connections, and see the whole rather than single parts.
Thank you, Adults with Asperger’s and High Functioning Autism Support Group!
Owe you one.