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Astonishing Autistic Adventures

In the Autism world there is so much respect among members that if you wish not to declare that you are on the spectrum then other members will forever hold their peace. Why is that? First and foremost it is inconsequential, meaning without knowing that someone is autistic, especially those on the high-functioning point on the spectrum, neurotypical people would NOT notice at all.

The word “Autistic” is foreign to me, at least someone calling me to be one was unheard of… until so much later in my life when I worked in a multi-national company in Metro Manila. A lady office mate observed and commented that I may be one.

However, I did not take it seriously. In one ear out the other so to speak, but when I invoiced all the moments that people called me weird, funny, odd, or out of this world then I decided to thoroughly examine my life.

Early on during childhood, I did NOT eat ice cream. My father found it peculiar-- every child loves ice cream. Now I can tell you that I did not like to eat ice cream because of the sensation of the ice or coldness when I would chew it. It was too cold. I finally “ate” vanilla-flavored ice cream. Well, to tell you the truth I just swallowed it. My father was happy he solved the predicament. Throughout my childhood I only ate vanilla ice cream.

That characteristic of repetition is apparently another autistic trait. Now I only order the same meal at McDonald’s and at Biggs. Yes Sir, that is normal for me. Routine and repetition is comforting for Autistic people. Just one last example, there are certain textures of clothing materials that I do not like and so I do not wear. I would even cut off the clothing label at the back of the collar.

There are other myriad traits and characteristics of Autistic people. What I may suggest to you is to take a free online test to determine if you are qualified to be one. My score showed that I posses enough qualities to warrant a consultation for a diagnosis. Since I am on the high-functioning part of the club, I opted to forego additional expenses and settled and accepted that I am Autistic.

Anyway, I went to a CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy program at CEFAM Ateneo with my Coach, the late Miss Anita Pecson and progressed by leaps and bounds. Yes, from a shy character to an assertive man, I conquered life’s challenges and adventures: well-ready, well-able, well-equipped, and well-prepared. All is well that ends well.

Looking back, even my first Psychiatrist missed that important assessment. My family consulted with her because I could not sleep. I had insomnia. She diagnosed me with depression. Well, my family alluded to the fact that I was not able to grieve the sudden passing away of my late mother when I was a teenager.

But, I distinctly recall that everything started when I could not sleep. My father who was a Captain in the Army emphasized that in his platoon he did not let his men go on duty for more than one night. I may surmise that there are numerous cases of U.S. veterans who have PSTDs or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because they were trained to be fighting machines, neglecting the frailty of humanity, thereby neglecting emotional and mental well-being of soldiers.

My first Psychiatrist even commented in one session, is that his normal in a rhetorical question. Little did she know that now when I tell my childhood friends that I am Autistic they all commented; oh! no wonder, I thought you were just aloof, you had your own world, you were like a hermit, you were a bit weird, so that’s why you were not good in marching at first and other motor skills and coordination, and that explains everything.

Because I had an episode after many days of sleepless nights I had to deal with Paranormal things. We consulted a Paranormal expert the late Father Jaime Bulatao. He enumerated that I needed these five key elements for a complete recovery; confidence, guts, exercise, prayers, and a thick skin. Never did I have delusions or false beliefs.

Being a veteran of the mental health field of medicine, I could give you a caveat. Many Psychiatrists are what the industry label as medicine-dispensing-trigger-happy doctors. This means one potential patient is given a cookie cutter approach with a quickie assessment. Then, your well-being is doomed.

For instance, when the doctor asks you if you hear voices. They will not even explain that to you. He/she will just want a yes or a no. If yes, then you have auditory hallucination. However, the biggest inadvertent mistake here is what if you were just referring to an idea or perhaps a voice in a character of your night’s dream?

A shining example is the story of Simon Vela. He heard a voice one night telling him to wake up: “Simon, vela y no duermas” and to go West in Penya de Francia to look for an image of the glorious Virgin Mary. Then miracles of healing happened because of the image.

Auditory hallucinations/delusions are false voices meaning you are the only one who hear them and they happen when the patient is AWAKE. They are NOT dreams. Again, they are false beliefs/delusions.

I met someone who actually has auditory delusions and sadly IT IS really a whole different condition. He would have an alone time with the voices. He would talk to them. He is happy to be with them. It makes him feel safe. The voices protect him. Especially from sadness.

Providentially, in my case I DO NOT hear auditory hallucinations. With my friend though no amount of medicines could make the voices disappear. But, to me it does not matter. He will be a brother forever.

A few days ago, I recalled the many fun times I had at the Recovery Center with a few friends. We were laughing and laughing. Mind you we were not laughing AT the people rather we were laughing with them-- us basically. No stigmas, no stereotypes, we were just laughing at the many absurd, crazy, ironic moments and situations encountered by all. Me. You. Him. Her. Us.

I guess the Holy Spirit inspired me to write about my narrative and include the story of all of us. Especially the ones who have down syndrome. Those who cannot speak. Those who cannot write. Those who cannot listen. Those who cannot see. And, for those people who cannot taste the savory sustenance of life.

After all, it is the soul that matters-- not the body or the mind. When the body withers and the brain is declared dead, there is only one question-- where shall your soul end up in? Heaven, hell or purgatory? Essentially, it is a matter of spiritual health-- albeit, not mental/physical or emotional health. Ultimately, for those who have conviction no explanation is necessary. For those who have delusion, no explanation is possible. Amen.


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