LSD

[As a disclaimer, this statement is not medical advice.]

It’s been a little over a year since I experienced psychosis for the first time. It was caused by a prescribed dose of Adderall.

Recovering from psychosis is torturous and debilitating, but I’m finally feeling like myself again. One thing that helped me achieve this was an LSD trip. I’ve taken it before but I took it again this past fall, and the medication actually helped me re-establish the disconnection I felt between my body and mind.Recovering from psychosis has been a tortuous experience, but one thing that helped me get through it was an LSD trip. I’ve taken it before but I took it again this past fall, and the medication actually helped me re-establish the disconnection I felt between my body and mind.

I’m still trying to understand why exactly LSD helped, but the important part is that it did. Psychedelics are amazing and there is so much healing potential in using them to treat mental illness.

(work-in-progress)

I need feedback from other members of the autistic community. Below is an article I’m working on. It’s about social expectations and how they correlate with us being labelled as “disordered”. Let me know what you think.
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Autism is diagnosed as a “disorder” and I don’t feel it’s because we appear and behave differently than non-autistic people. I think we’re diagnosed as “disordered” because authoritative forces and figures have reinforced a arbitrary social standards in which human beings present and function.

Many of us perform social interactions in a cognitive manner to reach these standards. I can mask myself and pretend I can naturally adhere to them. This phenomenon has opened my eyes to how autism and all autistic people are held to standards constructs of “normalcy” we can’t constantly adhere to.

I can fake eye contact by staring around the eyes in calculated intervals. If I stop doing this, I’m “disordered”. But I keep doing it because I get treated like a “normal” human being.

I can consciously project a tone of voice that may or may not be “correct”. If I’m wrong or stop doing this, I’m “disordered”. But I keep doing it because I get treated like a “normal” human being.

I can manually reciprocate facial expressions that are not genuine in order to suit a social exchange. If I stop doing this, I’m “disordered”. But I keep doing it because I get treated like a “normal” human being.

I can think of words and phrases to say during linear exchanges in order to appeal to the arbitrary “flow of conversation”. If I stop doing this, I’m “disordered”. But I keep doing it because I get treated like a “normal” human being.

I am ultra sensitive to light, sound, and touch. I have learned to internalize my sensitivities because showing that my senses overwhelm me results in being accused of faking discomfort.

We mask our traits for social survival. And there are many more examples of traits that I personally mask, but the point is that any deviation from arbitrary social normalcy results in us being treated like lesser human beings excluded from humanity.

Masking is overwhelming and exhausting, but I do it because it’s the only time I’m treated like what is falsely regarded as a “functioning human being”. And the instant I can’t mask for whatever reason, I become a social liability.

From work, to school, to private lives, perfect social nuance and normalcy is expected of us. It is morally corrupt and abusive to hold autistic people up to these able-ist standards.

Furthermore, masking to attain and sustain social standards is what the concepts of “low-functioning” and “high-functioning” autism are based on. Functioning levels are primarily determined by individual needs for accomodations. And if an autistic person’s ability to mask is deemed sufficient enough, they are only then considered “high-functioning”.

In summation, autism should not be considered a “mental disorder”. It is moreso a mental condition that results from a variation in the human genome. And this variation affects the way a human being presents themselves and interacts with surroundings environments.

Direct communication reigns supreme.

Wearing a mask has made socializing somewhat easier for me as an autistic person. This is because masks partially block facial expressions, which are overwhelming to interpret.

When I’m wearing a mask and speaking with another person wearing a mask, we are then both forced to be direct in our communication. This is incredibly beneficial to me because I already naturally speak directly. I do not rely on projecting the “correct” complementary social cue to clarify the thoughts I want to communicate.

Not having to worry about wrongly interpreting this form of a non-verbal social cue is nice. It’s relieving and ironically freeing to wear a mask, even though it irritates my skin so much.

They just don’t get it…

As an autistic person, it is able-ist to use my tone of voice to determine my intentions. Furthermore, when relatives use those imagined intentions to construct a narrative of my character, it becomes mental abuse.

Since I moved back from Seattle earlier this year, some relatives have increasingly claimed that I’m “disrepectful” and “trying to start something” because my tone of voice isn’t what they expect it to be. They refuse to accept that as an autistic person, I communicate directly when verbally speaking and do not naturally communicate using defined tones of voice.

Whenever I try explain this to these family members, they tell me I’m disrespectful, that I’m crazy, and that I need to go get help, amongst many other potentially gaslighting statements. I consistently have reiterated that I can’t naturally understand or project vocal tones, yet they ignore that fact and assume I have ill intentions toward them.

Before this year, I would mask this trait in their presence along with many other traits of autism because  I can figure out what tone to project through reasoning, but it’s a manual process, takes time, is often inaccurate, and doesn’t feel genuine. This is an exhausting process and I can’t always adhere to vocal tone expectations. This is problematic because two of these relatives are graciously providing me with shelter, but also threaten me with homelessness due to these false assumptions.

False assumptions about my intentions happen to me in public spheres all the time it and I can mitigate those situations via masking, but it becomes unbearable I have to the same thing for people who claim to love and care about me. That hurts a whole different way.

And their excuse for their able-ism is that they don’t understand me. I literally tell them all the time in plain English that I cannot naturally communicate with vocal tones, but they can’t understand me? What exactly do I need to say in order for that simple fact to be understood?

I’ve learned a lot about myself since my autism diagnosis in 2016 and I try to share what I’ve learned with these relatives, but it just seems like they are choosing not to accept the knowledge I’ve gained.

Family is supposed to love each other and part of love is understanding. While most of my relatives have put forth effort to understand me, some have willfully chosen not to because they’re more comfortable with imagining who they want me to be rather than accepting who I am.

What does it mean when an autistic person says that they “mask”?

I’m a masking autistic and I will elaborate on a few social traits about myself that I sometimes mask.

I don’t make eye contact but I must pretend to in order to get hired for jobs or in certain critical social interactions. If it looks like I’m making eye contact, I’m really just looking at facial features surrounding their eyes at calculated intervals. Eye contact is extremely overwhelming to me, but I mask that fact about myself in order to survive socially.

I consiously read and reciprocate facial expressions and vocal tones. This trait is masked by calculated expressions on my part as well as conscious thought about what a person’s given facial expression means in the context of what is being verbally communicated.

I have difficulty interpreting the meaning being tones of voice. And if it sounds like my tone of voice is what was expected, it means that I was accurate in consciously producing the tone needed to match that expectation. Producing that tone is masking.

There are many more examples but basically, autistic masking is when an autistic person pretends to be “non-autistic” or neurotypical. This is accomplished by observing, analyzing, and reciprocating “social normalcy” in a calculated manner.

I am thankful for all the love, care, and support in my life from family and friends. I am also thankful the few family members who consistently mock my inability to pay rent and threaten me with homelessness whenever their lack of empathy is called out. I mean that. It makes social relationships clearer when family reveals themselves because then I don’t have to wonder whether or not they actually care about me as a human being beyond familial roles.

This is how I sleep.

I don’t know who else this might work for, but I highly recommend sleeping with a break in the middle for maximum rest. I go to sleep for about 4-5 hours, stay awake for 1-3 hours, then go back to sleep for another 3-4 hours. I always feel the most rested when I sleep with a break in the middle.

I always wake up in the middle of sleep, wide-awake, for no apparent reason. And I never feel fully rested when I do sleep without a break. I’ve tried sleep aid prescriptions but they make me lethargic the next day or they don’t work at all. Sleeping with a conscious break has been the one remedy that does work.

School is not necessary for everyone.

I use to believe that I was stupid and worthless for not being able to pass advanced math classes, but not anymore! This past year, I found out I have dyscalculia. This is similar to dyslexia with letters, except the challenges with dyscalculia consist of manipulating numbers and symbols and performing arithmetic in a timely and arbitrated manner. The irony in this is that I find advanced math fascinating, just not in a classroom setting.

A huge significance in this realization is that I have been working on a degree in electronic engineering for the past decade to help me get hired somewhere as an electronic repair technician. There’s a LOT of math in this degree and the thing is, I’m already self-taught in basic electronic repair. If I can do that, I can teach myself advanced electronic repair. I don’t need to prove that my skills are valuable to anyone but myself.

Digital communication is isolating

Digital socializing with loved ones is useful and an effective deterrent against spreading COVID. With that said, we need to collectively understand that for many of us, relying solely on digital representations of our loved ones is not a viable alternative to physical human contact.

Before anyone comments with a rebuttal or reports me, I’m not stating that people should ignore precautionary measures for COVID. I’m stating that social isolation is not the end-all solution for it and that being subjected to digital communication can be a contributor to isolation itself.

Personally, I was diagnosed with CPTSD back in January and before that, I was unable to be around people. Now that I am in the healing stage, I require physical contact with loved ones nearly everyday or my mental health will decline again. I refuse to let that happen. Digital communication does not satisfy my needs because it requires a massive amount of mental energy to imagine who people are beyond pixels and digital sound.

I understand the COVID pandemic is a deadly one, but we cannot ignore the existing isolation pandemic that has massively caused suicidal deaths. Mental health is a part of physical health and cannot be separated just because it’s convenient.

All genders experience emotion.

When a man says that a woman is too emotional as an insult, it seems like that man is projecting that he is unable to process his own emotions. If he did process his own emotions, then he would understand that emotional expression is a normal part of processing emotions.

Giving the stoic impression of emotional strength is not the same as actually having it. Furthermore, this social norm of suppressing emotions seems to have resulted in men calling other men “women” as an insult whenever a man expresses emotion.

We need to stop subjecting ourselves to emotional apathy disguised as strength, because we’re only hurting ourselves. If we were to divide our strength into two equal parts, half of our strength comes from facing the world, and the other half comes from facing ourselves.