1. Recognize I sometimes perceive things as harmful when they are not. Step back and allow myself to go through the fear. Recognize my thoughts will not solve or remedy my emotional response. Allow the thoughts, but do not become the thoughts.
2. Recognize when I am upset that the ‘truths’ I often tell myself are not real, even as they feel very real. Recognize that I process emotions and perceived danger at a very high-speed, and that this speed causes confusion and misinterpretations of self, others and my immediate environment.
3. Recognize I am strong, as I have been through the process of recycling anxiety and fear thousands of times, and I have survived.
4. Recognize when the dark thoughts come that I am not alone, as much as I tell myself I am, and that my state-of-mind, though terrifying, will pass.
5. Recognize that I am not able to implement coping mechanisms that the general population incorporates, when experiencing emotional upheaval or perceived threat, and that my response to emotional upset and perceived threat is not wrong, inadequate, abnormal or defective.
6. Recognize my follies will manifest when I am stressed and uncomfortable, that I will regress, retreat and relive scenarios in my mind that are painful and hellish, and that in the end I will come out okay.
7. Recognize my emotional response and my resulting actions are not who I am, and that the way I respond to and process the happenings about me are a part of the same mechanism that is my brilliance of being.
8. Recognize that my resolutions to protect myself in times of turmoil are justifiable, required and indeed a necessity.
9. Recognize the act of forgiving self doesn’t generally work as a coping mechanism or survival strategy; for as much as I attempt to forgive self, I cannot help but to attach expectations for the next go around; and then when the happenstance occurs again—that of emotional reaction and self-defeating talk—I find myself self-punishing for not learning in the first place.
10. Recognize just because I do not respond like the presently accepted norm does not make me a mutant; that in truth I am much like others with similarly structured coping mechanisms.
11. Recognize my emotions cannot hurt me, my thoughts cannot hurt me, and that likewise the rush of adrenaline, the closing in of the walls, and the encroaching turmoil garbed in draped echoes of pangs, cannot touch me—that ultimately I am protected, and all the rest are wandering ghosts with invisible swords. I need only wait for their passing in the night.
12. Recognize the do-gooders typically have ‘good’ intentions and that their strategies in dealing with inner turmoil work for them; and that by natural deduction they assume such formulations will work for others. Though they are good-hearted in matters of wanting to assist, they do not recognize that their words can hurt, particularly if I respond to their suggestions and/or mandates with feelings of further inadequacy of self.
13. Recognize I am no different from my neighbor in skin and form, in bone structure and stepping, that from the outside I appear human and from the inside skeleton, but that somewhere else, in the invisible workings of my mind’s infrastructure, in the visual firing synapses, in this mechanism that controls that which moves and builds and creates, that indeed I am very much different. And that just because no one can see this difference does not mean it does not exist.
14. Recognize I will be hurt. I will cry. I will continue to feel deeply in many matters. And that no amount of searching, planning, studying or implementation can rebuild my inherent being. I am what I am, and in recognizing I am, I free myself into trying to formulate a scheme to peel myself layer by layer into another form.
15. Recognize I may not accept myself, like myself, please myself or applaud myself, most days. That there will be self-abashment and self-shaming. Recognize in the same sense that there will be moments of elation, discovery and freedom; and that these feelings, as they are all emotions, will, like all feelings, at times feel uncomfortable, and interpreted as wrong. But just because they feel wrong does not make them wrong.
16. Recognize that I do not have to believe I am entirely emptied of wrong doings, the past, the ill-workings of others, the shame, the blame, the digesting of good and bad, the stinging of self-debasement, the regurgitation of past trespasses, the infinite spiraling, all-inclusive reasoning wheel, the abounding possibilities that foster immobility, and the sensory spears that spawn daftness. The crumbs of discomfort and entire scenarios of occurrences, I might want to forget, will remain. But that, too, is okay. I am not a vessel that must be purged, emptied and eradicated into new form. Nothing is inadequate or wrong with my substance. Just as nothing is inadequate or wrong with my vessel.
17. Recognize to sit with feelings is not always the best solution. That an hour of sitting may be equivalent to another sitting a lifetime, as my speed of discovery far surpasses my own understanding. Recognize that in some cases the best action is to pull myself into distraction, creation or sleep, and to let whatever is spiraling inside to dissipate and evaporate into the passing of time.
18. Recognize I am uniquely me and I don’t have to like me all the time, learn to love myself, proclaim I am worthy, nor practice any number of modern-day ‘what-ails-you-cures.’ I don’t have to subscribe to a way, a path, a goal, or an outcome. I am the result of worthiness. I am the result of good enough. I am the result of love and resilience. I don’t have to find a way to prove to myself I am worthy. I don’t have to ‘believe in myself.’ I can just be, without adding another task to my already taxed mind.
19. Recognize, as my mind sorts and categorizes, judges and discerns, instigates and establishes, that this is my way. That I am this machine, yet I am also this heart. And that in no way do I have to participate in this war with self. All parts of me are moving with accordance to whatever source is responsible for the ebbs and flows of nature. No amount of mainstream established tools shall instigate renewal in an already fully established and perfectly whole self. I do not need to find the path to reprieve myself from self. My grandest relief will come when I sit with this self that is, in all its magnificent tangles and projections. And in the recognition that there is no solution to be found, only the gentle releasing of the search.
By Samantha Craft of Everyday Aspergers
Everyday Aspergers, the book, available in 2016
Samantha’s 1,200 page blog can be found here