Dream Analysis: Fear of Death

 

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My Spyder

Last night I had an interesting dream. In the dream, there was a big snake loose in our house and I was trying to stay as far away from it as I could because I feared getting bit. Every time I would see it somewhere, I would run to another room. Then, the dream took an unexpected turn when the snake attacked my cat, Spyder. Spyder has been my baby since the day he came home to us and has been with us almost 12 years.

When I realized the snake was attacking Spyder in the dream, I was suddenly like “HELL NO!!!” and I ran into the room with a small sword (that suddenly appeared out of nowhere) and I cut that snake’s head clean off! I was suddenly as brave as an Amazon warrior, or like a mother bear defending her cubs.

When I woke up today, I was trying to decode this dream a bit, and I think what I was actually dreaming about was the fear of death. Just last night I was talking to someone about the short spans our pets live and about how my last two cats died around the same age Spyder is now. I think the snake symbolized death coming to take a loved one from me, and while I clearly have a self-preservation instinct and a healthy fear of my own death, that fear pales in comparison to the terror I feel at losing a loved one.

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About People Who Self-Diagnose as Autistic

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Hello everyone! So today I’m going to talk about a subject that might tick off some people, especially those who tend to hang out on Tumblr a lot. I’ve noticed that it has almost become fashionable or a cause for pride for people to research mental health or psychological conditions (or in this case a neurological condition) and then decide for themselves that they suffer from said condition. This worries me for several reasons which I will discuss here.

#1 – What if you are wrong? Put simply, many psychological conditions share almost the exact same symptoms. Even among professionals, misdiagnosis is an enormous problem in many people getting the help they need. I have no issue with people saying that they suspect that they may have autism. I just wish people wouldn’t say they have it for sure unless they have been adequately evaluated and diagnosed. I do understand that in the US at least, it can be an issue getting diagnosed because health insurance is a crap-shoot, and many people don’t even have access to regular health care, let alone psychological healthcare, but if you don’t know for sure whether you have autism, bipolar, another mood disorder, borderline, sensory integration disorder, or one of the other many conditions often misdiagnosed as autism, please don’t make definite claims.

#2 – You can actually do damage to the Aspergers or autism community. You may not think of it that way, but if you DO NOT actually have autism and yet go around claiming you do, you are likely feeding into certain stereotypes about autism that are already a problem or you are inaccurately portraying what it is like to be autistic in this world. Some of us who live with autism every single day can tend to get a little annoyed about that. Although some in the community have no issue with self-diagnosis, we are ALL different and some of us don’t like the whole self-diagnosis phenomena.

#3 – People who self-diagnose sort of have a reputation for being attention seekers. I do not think this is the case all the time, like I said, I think some of it has to do with lack of adequate healthcare, but I do believe there are a few at least that are doing it for the attention and that is really irritating.

#4 – Unfortunately, some people already see high functioning autism as a BS diagnosis, and when they see people just randomly deciding they have it without any kind of actual medical oversight, it tends to feed that destructive belief. Yes, they are the assholes to feel that way in the first place, but we don’t want to feed the assholes any more than we want to feed the trolls.

As a final note, I want to reiterate that I do not condemn people thinking or suspecting they have autism, just claiming an actual diagnosis without one. If you do suspect you may be autistic, doctors that diagnose adults can be hard to find, but they CAN be found, so don’t give up. It took me quite a while to find one who would test adults, and I only found him by contacting a professor at a local college who specializes in autism research and asking him if he knew any doctors who diagnose adults, so that might be a way for you to seek out a diagnosis as well.

Also, there are self-assessments made by professionals that can be useful in deciding if you might have autism, but they are NOT meant to be diagnostic material in themselves. However, they can help a great deal in figuring out if you might be autistic and are often used by professional doctors to assist in diagnostic criteria, so using them can be helpful in narrowing down whether you display autistic symptoms or not.

Too many mountains to climb?

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Have you ever felt like the odds are always against you? Like you overcome one hurdle, just to have several more obstacles thrown in your path? That is how I’m feeling tonight. I know that we all have our mountains to climb and that life is full of ups and downs for everyone. But, what do you do when that mountain before you multiplies and becomes an entire range before your very eyes? Do you give up? Walk away? Or do you press on and start climbing anyway?

I guess you could say that right now I am at the base of a growing mountain range, trying to figure out if it is worth the effort to keep going or if I should just say “to heck with it all”, go home and become a hermit. I was pretty resilient back when there were just a few issues to overcome in my life (sensory issues, social problems, obsessive interests and the other stuff we high-functioning autistics deal with on a daily basis). I’ve always been stubborn and determined to show that I could do anything I set my mind to. Naysayers didn’t hold me back, they just made me determined to prove them wrong. However, it seems that the older I get, the more there is to overcome and frankly, it makes me tired and want to give up sometimes. My Asperger’s traits that I have had since birth are compounded by anxiety and depression (brought on partly from genetics and partly from a lifetime of feeling rejected and “weird” by people who either didn’t understand or didn’t care to understand my differences).

I also deal with a lot of confusion about my place in the world. I know I am intelligent and talented in some areas, but I am often at a loss as to how to turn those qualities into practical, useful occupations. If I really did what I wanted to, I would sit and read all day, write down my random thoughts and feelings, doodle, put puzzles together, color pictures, dance and play with kids. I’ve had people suggest teaching and even tried it in the past, however, I don’t really want to be the adult watching the kids or telling them what to do. Instead, I want to play with them as equals, which is really kind of downright strange at my age, but apparently a somewhat common trait among Aspies (many of us hate being in charge of anyone else, we just want to be independent to do our own thing).

Of course, to top it all off, there are medical issues. I don’t want to go into it all because I would probably bore you and sound like I’m whining, but between my autoimmune problems, chronic infections and chronic inflammatory conditions, sometimes life is pretty painful. Add that to my physical hypersensitivity and you have a recipe for disaster. It’s no wonder that sometimes it is a struggle to even get out of bed.

I know that people always say that God won’t give you more than you can handle and in theory that sounds great…but sometimes I feel like I am just being buried alive by the weight of this world and my own internal struggles. I know that I will keep forcing myself to go on and keep trying to climb that next mountain, even if I fall a million times, because that is the kind of stubborn person I am. But, honestly, the enthusiasm isn’t always there and life sometimes feels like drudgery. I just hope that someday I can look back and see that I actually got somewhere, because some days it feels like I’m losing ground instead of gaining it.