Transformation, Asperger’s / Autism…and me

It’s been said that people on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum have a tough time making changes.  To a point, I’m certainly “guilty” of that, if it’s something to be guilty about, which in itself is up for debate.  My take?  It is what it is, whatever it may be, for each of us.

During this recent, unexplained (and currently, unexplainable) Cocooning Period, I’ve been given the time to draw inward, to retreat without having to go anywhere.  The retreat into my psychological and spiritual innards doesn’t always feel like the peaceful vacation/holiday that the word “retreat” conjures up, but: it is what it is, right?  It’s clichรฉ, but it’s true.

Retreats are temporary, even the longer-term kind.  I always return, at least in some sense of the word, maybe not ever fully, for contemporary civilization as we know it is not really my home or my natural state, but I do return to a level that is at least visible, a level at which I can survive and blend and mask and interact and function according to the standards set by society at large.  Powering back up and on is another challenge for perhaps another post.  ๐Ÿ˜‰

For now, though…

Upon many of my returns, I have souvenirs from my retreat.  And this one is one of them.

The souvenir I picked up this time was a revisitation of Ayurvedic Medicine, the traditional healing system of India, toward which I’ve often gravitated and of which I have easily and intuitively understood.

I needed that.

One could say my life depended on it without even being melodramatic.

To make a long (long, long) story short, I discovered that I was eating in a way that, while generally in balance with my nature, I had tipped the scales too far in the other direction.  And gradually, I began to suffer for it.

The obvious answer, then, is to begin to eat differently, and restore the balance.

Some of you may be initiating stress responses at the mere mention of changing up your diet.

Me too.

I’ve done it before, sure, so my learning curve isn’t nearly as steep as it might have been (was!) had I been (when I was) doing this for the first time.

But my Asperger’s/autistic neurotype can be so bossy.  It sticks its nose in where it doesn’t always belong.  ๐Ÿ˜‰

In my experience, it can work against me at first.  But the good news is, it often works in my favor later on, after I’ve smoothed out some of the initial kinks.

Being relatively (re-)new at all this, I face a few hurdles.

One is that I must break my goals and tasks down into smaller steps, ones my brain can easily wrap itself around, without putting up too much of a fuss.

Another is that I have to–eeeek!–change my routine.  I can’t reach for the same snacks, shop for the same foods, eat at the same times (usually too late at night), etc, as I did before.

The rationalization part is easy: I am in the mental and physical state that I’m in due to a combination of genes and my long-term daily choices.  I can’t change my genes, but I can work with them more effectively.  And I can change my daily choices.  And if I want something different (which I do), then I’m going to have to make different choices each day.

That’s the rational part; there’s a faith/hope part, too, which goes like this: if I make those different, healthier choices, then hopefully I’ll actually get the different, better result I’m looking for.

Breaking it down into smaller steps…

First I googled different food lists, making mental note of what I should eat more and less of.  Then I used the Notes app on my phone to keep track of these suggestions.  Then I communicated with my partner, who does most of the grocery shopping and cooking at our house.

And then I actually had to execute the plan, to reach for those different foods when my partner brought them home, to re-wire my tastebuds to accept those new foods in place of old foods once they (the new ones) hit my tongue, and to remember to eat at times I’m not used to eating.

Yeah, it’s a work in progress.  My Asperger’s/autistic mind is going through a few withdrawals right now.  I feel as though I’m in a state of flux, with my feet firmly planted in mid-air.

But I have to remind myself that that’s a good sign.  It means I’m really doing this, and it means I’m making progress.

I also have to remind myself that it’s toughest in the beginning; it doesn’t stay this way .  It gets better (and easier!) from here.

I’m one week in.  I started my first research a week ago today, after making a few other changes over the past couple weeks before that.  Already I’ve lost 5 pounds for the first time in a year (in the past month or so), and in the past week/few days, my brain seems a little sharper, New & Improved, Now With 20% More Motivation (TM) (!).

Once I incorporate this into more of a routine, my Asperger’s/autistic-tinged tendency to stick to said routine will work in my favor.

This isn’t about change, which implies a shorter term effort.  This is about transformation, a transformation back into my true self.  โค

***

(Image Credit: Licomomo on Deviant Art)

โค

โค

โค

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39 Comments

  1. “One is that I must break my goals and tasks down into smaller steps, ones my brain can easily wrap itself around, without putting up too much of a fuss.” I have to approach changes in tiny, tiny steps, too, or it doesn’t work. Sending positive thoughts your way!!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Sending much love and happy you are making the changes you need.
    Never feel guilty for indulging in a Cocooning period, it is your brains
    natural way to decompress, realign, & revitalize. When you consider
    the vast amount of background noise we process it is essential to hit
    the reset button from time to time. Nothing is static, we are always in
    a state of transformation, being cognizant of it is a sign of awareness.

    Always happy to read your updates, insights, and observations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so right, my darling! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ˜. So much wisdom in your words, as always. There *is* a lot of background noise, even in my everyday life, which has been designed to minimize the racket. I think we can only get away from it so much, until we pull a full-on Recharge Retreat for a however-long amount of time ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’–โ˜ฎ

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am definitely one who struggles greatly with changes in routine or hiccups in life in general. I think the worst part is the skyrocketing anxiety whenever a change looms. It is almost worse than the actual event itself (whatever it may be).

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I just recently started journaling about why I need to change my eating habits, the trouble is I have over 100 pages of the same words, I woke up yesterday morning determined to start putting it into practice. I am only on day in, but I am my own worst enemy. Your words help me know that I am not alone. Thank you for sharing

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh wow, thank you for sharing! I can relate; I journaled for months about how I needed to get into the gym before I actually did it. It’s so true that we can be our own worst enemies ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ. I’m so proud for you! One day in is better than no days in ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ. Add up enough of those days and that’s how mountains get moved ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’“๐Ÿ˜˜

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you. I lived in India for two years and I researched many books to see which one I could actually understand on balanced eating and Ayurveda. All the books published locally where way too complicated and you needed an advisor or expert to undestand the, (I suspect they do that on purpose! Smiles!). So I settled for one called โ€œEat, taste, healโ€ by Thomas Yarema et al. Maybe you have good sources and this one could help as well. Things are explained in a logical way and I like that there are many tables for easy consultation. It is wonderful what you ar doing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! Such true words ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ I’ve had excellent and crappy diets, and I definitely notice the difference ๐Ÿ‘ No such thing as a clean getaway with a poor diet, eh? ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’œ

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. Its a case of living with it, which I’d rather not but its all linked in with the SPD and the autism and been there my entire life so….

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I hear you, my lovely ๐Ÿ˜˜. Better the enemy we know, or something like that. My brain goes down the ED alley every so often, so I understand it on some level, I think? It’s never materialized that I’m aware of. I’ve tried to channel my tendency to fixate on things in a positive way but sometimes I think I’m not entirely successful ๐Ÿ’ž. I know I was dubbed a picky eater when I was a kid, but that’s mostly sensory stuff, kinda like the SPD aspect. My sister is almost assuredly AS too; I wonder if the AS population has a higher incidence of ED? I think what matters is if you’ve found some peace with it ๐Ÿ’—. But that’s just my thoughts, and I admittedly know very little ๐Ÿค—

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes, it does seem to occur more in AS people, especially EDs like ARFID/SED. It’s yet another co-morbid we have to contend with. Peace….not quite, rather I’ve stopped trying to fight it so much, and knowing there is a reason and its not me being deliberately awkward for the sake of it, helps. I spent 35 years thinking it was my fault. Bit like everything else. Knowing its not takes a lot of the pressure off, even if people still dont really understand – although virtually every AS person Ive spoken to, has.

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