Point, counterpoint, actual point

Most of us know the feeling. That voice inside our heads telling us we’re wrong. Lazy. Stupid. Not trying hard enough. Hurting others. Selfish. Overly sensitive.

This is not an autistic thing. I’m sure everyone feels that way on occasion.

And we don’t deserve to.

The Point, Counterpoint, Actual Point project is a collaborative blog series asking us to re-examine the ways in which we believe we’re not good enough, to reduce self-doubt and promote acceptance of ourselves. For some background, you can read the post that kicked off the project on the blog notesoncrazy.com.

© Veronica Foale - Flickr.com

© Veronica Foale – Flickr.com

Sounds good, don’t you think? And you can participate. All you need to do is write something in the following format.

POINT: A thing you believe about yourself or want to believe about yourself if you can be very honest.

COUNTERPOINT: All the self-talk and messages from other people that lead you to doubt yourself.

ACTUAL POINT: The evidence you have for your original belief. It can be internal or external, conclusive or just suggestive. What matters is that it lets you trust yourself.

CONCLUSION: Your original point, “and that’s ok.”

To get it published, choose one of the following options:

  1. Submit your Point, Counterpoint, Actual point on the project website theactualpointproject.com.
  2. Email it to notesoncrazy@gmail.com and include how you would like to be credited: anonymous, with a pseudonym and/or link to your blog, or with your name.
  3. Post it on your own blog, with a link to the project.
  4. Post it on Facebook or Tumblr or Twitter (well, 140 characters would make you the master of succinctness, but go ahead!). Or wherever.

Your choice. Because this isn’t about the project. It’s about you.

It’s time to let go of those voices inside our heads.

Contributions so far:

Or browse all submissions to the Point, Counterpoint, Actual Point project.

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Why veggies made me cry

Coping with unexpected changes. Sometimes I can manage. Sometimes I can’t.

I’m picking up my weekly bag of veggies at the shop.

Checkout lady: “You’re not on the list.”
Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, I should have picked it up on Saturday.”
CL: “Then that’s someone else’s bag. You can’t take that.”
Me: “Oh I’m so, so sorry! I’ll put it back right away.”
CL: “Do you want next week’s bag?”
Me: “Yes please.”
CL: “Right, then you can pick that up next Monday.”
Me: “I’m sorry? Why can’t I pick it up on Saturday?”
CL: “You can only order bags for Monday to Friday.”
Me: “Yes but I’ve always picked it up on Saturday.”
CL: “We only keep bags for one extra day. So then you want the Friday bag.”
Me: “I guess?”
CL: “Oh, I see you’re already on the list for pickup on Saturday.”
Me: “Yes, that’s the bag I want.”
CL: “OK, I’ll put you down for one bag.”
Me: “So I can’t get this week’s bag at all?”
CL: “[string of words with names of days somewhere in the middle]”
Me: “OK…”
CL: “[string of words]”
Me: “OK, thank you. Bye!”

[Walk out. Try not to cry.]

I’ve taken a look at the website and at the emails I get each week and I still don’t understand. Maybe she thought that I wanted to change my pickup day? Or something? Whereas I just wanted to know when I am allowed to pick up my veggies. Communication is so confusing.

And it basically means I won’t eat any fruit or vegetables this week because I can’t deal with the confusion.

Dammit.

Meltdown

It was just after the first exercise in the mindfulness for autistic adults group. One of the women in the group was sitting with her head down and if you looked closely, you could see that she was crying. When the therapist asked her a question about how she’d experienced the exercise, she didn’t respond at all. It was like she wasn’t listening, wasn’t even there. She just kept rocking back and forth with tears running down her cheeks.

The therapist asked if she wanted to be left alone and that, after a slight delay, actually got a response: some vigorous nodding that seemed like an extension of the rocking, but was probably meant as a yes. The rest of the group then continued with talking about the exercise we’d just done.

When everyone else had had their say, the therapist addressed the unresponsive woman. This time she lifted her head, but she didn’t make eye contact with anyone. The therapist asked her what was the matter, and the woman started flapping her hand near her ear, looking very angry. Then she blurted out: “Words!” There was a bit of confusion at that, but the therapist asked if she was having trouble finding the right words, which made sense. The woman replied with an emphatic “Yes!”

In bits and pieces, the story came out: something about the exercise leaving her far too open to all the noises in the room, in the building, and on the street outside, not being able to self-regulate anymore, and melting down. It was obvious she was very distressed, she even used the words “so painful” to describe the sounds. At that, some of the others in the group nodded. They knew what she meant. The therapist asked if the woman wanted to leave, but she said: “Want to try”. So the therapist said we could all take a short break and that the woman could rejoin the group when she felt ready. She said she was going to go outside, and put on her coat. Someone helped her pour a cup of tea to take with her.

Only I noticed the multitude of angry red welts from where she’d been digging her nails into the back of her hand.

© Julián Rovagnati - Dreamstime.com

© Julián Rovagnati – Dreamstime.com

Dealing with a public meltdown. Dealing with the pain of sensory overload. Dealing with the stress of having other people, strangers, see you in your most vulnerable moment. Dealing with suddenly not passing anymore, and wanting to hide. Dealing, coping in the only way that’s still open to you: trying to block the pain by inflicting a different kind of pain on yourself.

Unfortunately I can imagine all too well how that feels.

The welts are still visible on my left hand as I’m typing this.