Month

January 2013

Rules

I have worked extensively with kids and teenagers on the autism spectrum. All across the spectrum. (And I do, fully, passionately, with my whole heart, believe that there is quite a spectrum — not just of autism but of “neurotypical” too — more on that in the future.) And something that has hit home to me lately is the damage that teaching “rules” can do.

Without disclosing confidential information, I will just say this: I am working with a teenager, who has Nonverbal Learning Disorder. She also has a myriad of other mental health diagnoses. Having NVLD means that some of her struggles include understanding and interpreting someone’s intent, the “why” behind their actions, etc. She is at the point where she is great in hypothetical situations, but when she’s “in the moment” it’s much harder. She has an extremely traumatic background. She brought it up the other day when we were talking about different social situations and the ways to say your own opinion (a big fear of hers is that she will offend a friend, or other person, if she shares her point of view). And she started talking about the person who had abused her, and said, “He was my [family member]. He was in charge. You have to listen to what [family members] tell you to do, so I had to go along with it.”

And it really struck me. With so many neurotypical kids, rule-following is a “must.” So throw in a few other diagnoses of trouble understanding social situations and reading intent, and knowing what to do, and it’s a mess. When she was little, just like so many other kids, she heard, “Parents make the rules,” or “You have to listen to teachers,” etc. It’s so easy to give rules like that, because they are true almost all of the time. But we HAVE to teach our kids that there are times to break rules. That, “if you feel unsafe, uncomfortable, or not good, it is okay to break the rules and talk to someone else about it.”

I know this is an extreme situation, which is why it’s really upsetting me. But it applies in other ways too. With any rule. One rule is “don’t cross the street when the light is red.” Well, we also have to teach them, “But if you’re in the middle of the road when the light turns red, you can keep crossing.” We have to teach the exceptions to the rules. Which is also why I like to call them “guidelines” more than rules.

Eating Disorders + Sensitivity

I have been diving headfirst into the incredible world of quantum physics, of understanding why “intuition” isn’t some idealistic, pretend, mystical thing, but it exists, for scientific reasons. I’ve been learning about my own sensitivities, how physicists can now explain how and why I feel the feelings, worries, thoughts, of others. My whole life I thought it was just me, just a weird thing. Now, quantum physics has been born, and BOOM, there’s an explanation for why I am the way I am. And I cannot even tell you how validating it is. I could say so much on the subject, there’s so much I want to talk about. But not yet.

Right now, I’m diving into another piece of the puzzle. Eating disorders. In the work I’ve been doing with intuition, quantum physics, quantum medicine, etc., eating disorders are still in the back of my mind. How do they fit into this all? Besides the cultural component and the genetic component, where are they coming from?

And I’m wondering. Maybe it fits into all of this.

So what I am asking of you, is to please, PLEASE answer the following questions. You can just answer them in the comments section, anonymously or not. I think I may be onto something and I’m very excited. But I can’t do anything about it without data, however informal it may be. (Yes, I am only doing this for my own benefit. It’s not a research study, it’s not documented. But sometimes, we just need self-validation, you know?)

Here are the questions:

1. Have you ever had an eating disorder? (Yes/no/not sure/etc.)

2. Would you consider yourself “intuitive” or “sensitive?” (Do you feel others emotions, feelings, and worries just as they are feeling them, do you feel emotions super strongly, does music/nature/art move you in ways that they don’t seem to move others, do you sometimes think you know what is going to happen or what a person is thinking, do you experience ‘deja vu’ often, etc.)

3. If yes to both questions: how, if at all, do you think that your sensitivities/intuition/etc. might have been linked to your eating disorder — either the development of it, or the return to it, or the perpetuation of it?

That’s it. One-word answers are fine, any information is fine. Please pass it along, please get the info out there! I SO appreciate it.

Pay it Forward

I’ve always been a big believer in random acts of kindness.

For a while, in college, when it was popular, I was into the Operation Beautiful movement. I loved creating notes and putting them everywhere I went, hoping it would put a smile on someone’s face.

And then I started making a point of letting others cars go before me, letting pedestrians cross the street, waving and thanking someone when they let ME cross the street, smiling and saying “thank you” to cashiers in stores, saying hello to people who made eye contact with me on the street or in a hallway, etc.

I love the idea of doing small things like that, because they add up (I think). I feel good when I do one of the above, and I hope it makes even one person think, “Wow, there are still some good people in this world.” But it’s not enough! What more can we do? What other random acts of kindness, or “pay it forward” acts can we do? I want to do more.

What do YOU do? Any ideas?

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