One of my bafflements over the years of self-exploration is that I have tried so many methods to bring myself back into the kind of wholeness that expresses as good health. I have looked out for them, have researched them, have resounding seen the merits of them, in other people…and have thus become the great advocate of them, with all the typical gusto my Asperger’s enthusiasm can bring about. But, at the end of the day, I have mostly been forced to admit, if only to myself….they simply didn’t work for me.
This topic started to assert itself a few months ago, in circumstances I will get onto in a moment so I wrote about it, controversial as it felt, yet decided not to publish, having lost my nerve to be so provocative. As the passionate advocate of “new age” healing modalities, was I about to say, out loud, that perhaps they just don’t work as well, or at all, in the case of the neurodiverse (ND) person? Of course, I only have myself to go on but this is what it seems like to me. Part of the problem is that I go into a topic…any topic…with such zeal and determination to fact-find and research it from every angle, every case study I can pounce upon and then, once convinced, I give it a try…as I did with my AuraTransformation in early 2018 (following 3 months of deep diving the subject, reading every book, watching every video and testimonial, speaking to several therapists who offered it, etc). The same with different meditation techniques, with other energy treatments like reiki…I plunge in deep and, if it all clicks together from all angles, I am so convinced that I then tend to assume it will also work for me.
This, of course, missed the obvious factor…that I am not wired like everyone else. Just how many, if any, of the anecdotes or reviews I ever came across were written by people with autism I will never know but it is only now that I am finally considering just how important this “small” detail really is.
What I really do lack, in spite of my academic thoroughness, is executive ability; how to make discernments and decisions based on practical details and observations. How, for instance, do I know if a treatment is the right one, the person delivering it authentic or the most experienced or skilful I could see, for instance, since I don’t have the same feedback loops around people’s behaviour and “social” situations as other people. I always (I mean always) default to thinking the best of people; short for, believing the hype and I don’t pick up on subtleties hidden just below the surface of trappings laid out to look convincing, for instance. So it was only when my hairdresser told me she had been to see my therapist, on my recommendation, and been distinctly underwhelmed compared to energy treatments she had had before that this topic began to prickle up to the surface again. I scanned through my mind all the reasons why I might have cause to doubt the treatments I had had; what had I built my picture of her great skilfulness upon? There was a nice website, then there were predicable ornaments and crystals in the room, plus her air of ethereal calm. Oh, and I really like her; if I could, would consider her amongst my friends but that doesn’t seem to be on the table (of course, she is my therapist but not the first time I have felt a pang of disappointment around this arbitrary-seeming line in the sand).
With great naivety, I can use such cues to tick off all the boxes and believe in someone enough to make a regular habit of seeing them…but had I actually benefitted from the treatments? Yes, I had been missing them lately (having not been able to afford to go for quite a while) but was that because they helped me physically or because I was lonely; in need of a chat with someone paid to listen? Hmmm. I had first admitted this last point in my blog a few months ago; these sessions, primarily, felt like paid-friendship and, sadly, unreciprocated (no follow up to ask how I am doing, for instance). When I feel “too much” for my couple of intimate friends via the internet and like my writing isn’t enough to assuage the perpetual loneliness of being so different and being interested in different things, to a different degree to other people, these sessions ensured me a pair of ears. They had been serving me as the chance to offload in a way I seldom get the opportunity to but, in terms of walking out feeling physically or (except as one does from talking…) energetically better, I had to admit there was a grand old total of zero effect!
I had felt nothing of that kind; not this thing that other people describe as so distinct, nor the great rush of release from visualisation work. In fact, many of the readings of my energies in such sessions…where the therapist tried to tell me something I possibly didn’t know regarding what she sensed I needed or craved, some part of me that longed to be heard, some issue or trauma hovering around….were so far off the mark, so neurotypical in their spin, that I knew they were nothing to do with me and was forced to scrub them from my mind on the journey home before they annoyed me too much. Many of them felt “off the peg” like something the therapist had got used to saying to people; but there is nothing off the peg about me. I was always so aware of how the therapist was filtering anything they sensed through their own interpretations and those interpretations were never close to mine, which I guess is the main pitfall of NT treating ND.
When I was talked through visualisations (with which I struggled anyway, since vocal instructions are not compatible with the way my brain works…) and was questioned about what I saw or felt in the described scenario, I often felt like I was play-acting my responses, saying out loud what they wanted to hear me say, though I felt nothing of the sort…in fact, only blankness and bored disinterest. I simply don’t process like that…out loud in response to questions; my way is to flow straight from the source of my information, unprompted and preferably uninterrupted. Often, over the years, when I did this (getting into one of my “flows”), my various therapists seemed to be getting more out of the sessions than I was; some even took down notes and, on a couple of memorable occasions, the therapist started to weep and I felt like I was the one delivering the healing. I only felt somehow disengaged, distracted and taken off point by their questions and responses and, meanwhile, my ability to engage in the physical side of therapy, whist talking, asked too much of me since multitasking is not my forte.
What I DID feel I was getting out of all this was that oh-so-missing from my life sense of being able to bare my soul to a trustworthy and non-judgemental friend; someone I could be real with, about all the deep, convoluted, inner stuff that is just too personal and weird to offload to anyone else. Its been the same with every therapist I have been to over the last decade; I realised, eventually, that I had paid them to be “met” as I am, complete with all my deepest interests, just for an hour or so…given this is next to impossible to achieve in “real life”. The talking opportunity was the therapy but none of the “pow” was there; there was no real sense of receiving an energetic realignment or of walking out feeling “healed”. In fact, many times, I felt empty or worse than before; perhaps, as the reality hit me that I had just paid for my audience and now I was back on my own again. On numerous occasions, my physical health would seem to collapse in the days or weeks afterwards; as though any supports I had constructed for myself prior to the session had actually been undermined by the tamperance they had undergone. I now felt less intact than when I had stoutly “gone it alone” and also floored by the disappointment that my physical health remained as it had always been. Many times, my vibration has felt distinctly lower from the interaction than when left to my own devices; in which I tend to maintain a degree of acceptance, higher-interpretation and optimism that does not translate well into scenarios involving other people’s viewpoints. Especially so if they have brought “their own stuff” to the table in the session, which has often been the case as though our roles are subtly reversed. So, these therapies, for whatever reason, didn’t seem to work…for me.
This is where I got to and, with the new insight of Asperger’s this summer, I began to question it again. Do these kinds of new age therapy work in the same way in the case of autism or are they inappropriate or pointless in such cases? The question baffled me at first but now, in the light of all I have processed in the last few weeks, regarding different styles of structuring your life, according to whether you are neurotypical or neurodiverse, I am not so confused anymore.
In my post Another Kind of Mind the other day, I described being neurotypical as life lived “inside the box” (striving, in some cases, to get out of the box…which is where new age therapies help) and being neurodiverse as being born, already, outside the box. The thing is, new age therapies share one aim in common; to cajole and encourage, even prise you out of the box. If you are already living outside of that box to start with, struggling to add sufficient form and coherence to your life to survive being the minority in a world devised by box-dwellers, how appropriate is it to then go to someone who will endeavour to dissolve all your efforts at making sense of your world in the name of healing? Such therapy assumes you are in deep amnesia about your inherent wholeness, the fact that you are the universe in a human body. When you already experience those truths as your daily conundrum, pitted as they are against a tide of behaviour that shouts otherwise, its not so very helpful to be told to redouble your efforts to be all the things that you find most challenging. You could almost go as far as saying that new age therapies help people to become more neurodiverse, to develop neuroplasticity, grow more synapses, become more sensitive, feel and notice more; but if you are already made that way, the effect can be utterly destabilising rather than supportive.
Two momentous endeavours to “sort myself out” physically speaking have been made over the last two years via new age approaches. The first, as I said above, was to undergo an AuraTransformation. The effect was….unexpected…and, to be frank, disappointing and yet, for many months, I poured myself into the task of only seeing all the positives, seeking out the happy effects described in all the marketing material I had plunged into. My old, bedraggled aura would be dissolved and cleansed away and a new one summoned from my cosmic blueprint…perfectly intact “me” would send in the support team…what could be more straightforward and promising than that? Maybe then I would feel more resilient as I walked around in a world that has become almost intolerably painful to be in. Yet the first, most notable, effect was that my physical health collapsed….literally, the very next day after the procedure and, looking back, took several months to rebuild to even a semblance of where I had been the day beforehand. Even when I got back on my feet, I realised I had developed new sensitivities….high-pitched frequency noises I was now party to all the time that simply were not there beforehand, for instance. Yet I took these effects…negative as they were…as proof that the process had worked; never daring to consider too hard whether they were the desired or typical results because I was too afraid of the answer.
For months, I felt unsure whether the process had helped (though I wanted to believe it had) so I told myself the work was incomplete until I went back for my balancing session, which I went for a year later. When that felt as empty and unmomentous as any of the “other” therapy sessions I have described above (a lovely catch-up chat but nothing more), I knew I was one of the rare ones who, unlike the reams and reams of testimonial writers who claim their lives have been altered by the process, remained quite untouched by it. Perhaps, I told myself, this was because of my preexisting physical challenges since the process clearly states that it does not pretend to solve such issues and is an unknown quantity in such cases. I can recall at least one of the people whose anecdote was included in one of the books I read describing how their physical health got much worse afterwards, at least for a time, and I was aware of that when I signed the go-ahead paperwork. I knowingly made an experiment of myself and it no longer feels like it worked but I seem to be the only one saying so; yet again, I feel like I am standing all alone, the contrarian. I do notice one thing that is worth the mentioning; I began to self-identify as autistic at almost exactly the same time I received that balancing session. So, in a sense, if I have found my way back to my previously hidden autistic state (which has enabled me to reconcile the whole of my life in the coherent framework of undiagnosed Asperger’s), perhaps I do have AT to thank for that, at least.
I should also add, from all my research, I did, and can still see, how AuraTransformation is a hugely powerful method of rebooting the human energy system and allowing people to feel more intact and “in their integrity”…for neurotypicals…but for me, well, it only seemed to exacerbate traits I already had without adding any additional benefits. Of all the positive after-traits I made a particular point of noticing, such as a great sense of autonomy, of personal intactness and almost contrary uniqueness, there was nothing I didn’t already have as an inbuilt part of my experience; in fact, these were distinctly autistic traits. I started writing up my notes on an almost daily basis but quickly realised I had been well on my way to experiencing all the main listed post-AT “signs” and “clues” long before I had the process carried out. In fact, because this process is called “crystallisation”, I began drafting my first book (since dropped), which was on the topic of spontaneous crystallisation which, I believed, I had been doing all my life and I had to assume, others had been too. I now regard those traits as part of the autism spectrum…and another way of describing crystallisation is to say that we function primarily as other dimensional beings seeking out divine form, the kind of structures that manifest order and beauty, in our three dimensional world (as per my last post).
One of ATs premises is that the seven chakra system is now replaced by a single heart chakra; and though that did (and does) make ultimate sense to me….is how I have always tended to regarding things to be at drawing board level…it is one thing to know something deep inside and another to try and make it your physical reality. In terms of my physical health, I still found I had to revert to working with seven chakras to make sense of the varying functions of the different energy centres when I visualised my own healing processes around certain organs etc and the only way I could relate to these was to have them separate and colour-associated (which works perfectly with my synesthesia, helping me with my visualisations as I self-heal). When I try to operate from a pure white heart light, the effect (combined with my autistic sensibilities) is too potent, too ultimate for me to then stand up and function in physical form afterwards; its like my cell walls become too soft and my muscles and ligaments no longer want to do their jobs….Ehlers Danlos in a nutshell. In other words, if I go too deep into this, I am rendered handicapped and its at times like these that I (finally) appreciate how much will power it takes for me to operate in a functioning human body when it is not my default (an underlying cause of EDS, in my opinion). Its something that happens when I go too deep into a modality (like when I took up qi gong and my leg collapsed, without warning, that night leaving me to crawl up the stairs). The depth and totality of my ability to go into “oneness” when I focus too hard can make chewing gum of my limbs and is a precarious “ability” to have; one which requires me to keep things just a little bit separate in order for me to function!
I do understand how the spiritual community is so fixated upon melting everything down to one source in order to heal a messed up world but such healing modalities assume that three-dimensional form comes naturally to that person they are working on; not that they have to summon all their efforts to be in it and make it work because their default position is to experience life through 5D. To apply all their efforts at softening and melting 3D form away from that person is destabilising and even dangerous if they are autistic, I suspect. This is what I seem to have learned from my AT.
My second endeavour to heal through cutting-edge new age approaches was to plunge the methods of Dr Joe Dispenza in mid 2019. Yet again, I was, and remain, a passionate enthusiast for every word and anecdote he has ever shared on his methods which, I believe, are utterly paradigm altering for a lot of people. I wanted, so desperately, to be one of them and so I thew myself into a routine of daily meditations using his guided audios, giving it everything I had. The very last time I listened to his voice was the night before my monumental health collapse on holiday…in July…rendering me so soft and spongy in my body tissue, so prolapsed and weak, that I could barely stand, walk or even sit or lie down without severe pain for a month, taking another month and a half after that to return to approximately where I had been beforehand, though I am still prone to brief replays of these episodes every couple of weeks or so. There were other circumstances leading to this health collapse…cycling the week beforehand, for instance (on a wave of brand new bravado born of my new set of beliefs regarding physical strength I didn’t yet have following all these powerful meditations…). Yet there’s no denying that the pressing of the big red button on my health, this year, was most perfectly synchronised with the end of a month of intense meditations I had been doing up until that point.
In hindsight, by using these potent meditations, I took my cells to a point of extreme malleability (as is the point of the exercise…in order to think yourself to a new body-reality) and so they became soft and compromised; with, in my case, dire results that felt like the set-back of a decade. Perhaps there is something in this to do with the time lag that I have discovered to exist in autistic processing…we take longer to take in information and and then longer to process and disseminate it (I prefer to regard it as thoroughness, though it leaves sensory effects and small details reverberating throughout the nervous system for far longer than is typical). Perhaps, therefore, my body was unable to dissolve and then, quickly enough, conjure up its new version of reality, leaving me in void of such vulnerability, physically speaking. Whatever the details, it seems I must have dissolved away a detrimental proportion of my body’s physical integrity (you could say, my tissues became unsure of their purpose…) far too quickly and thoroughly in the weeks prior to my holiday which meant, the very first time I needed them again, I was thoroughly let down at the merest provocation.
I read an article yesterday about the glut of people, up to 60% out of a sample taken, who claimed meditation had made them feel worse, over-emotional or traumatised, unhinged or even that it had, in some cases, plunged them into long-term depression. As I read this, my immediate response was annoyance with those who carelessly dole out a prescription of mediation as though it is utterly benign and harmless. Yes, it has become a big trend, a buzz word and, yes, it is a wonderful, potentially transformational, practice but care should be taken when prescribing it, in exactly the same way as when doling out prescription medications; though the same laissez faire attitude seems to preside in both of these areas now. A casual quick fix it is not…and for anyone who is not ready to have the sides of their boxes dismantled or blown apart, or for whom their structures are the only thing holding them intact against a tide of behaviours that feel alien to them, suggesting they surrender to wholesale softness is to risk that they will fall apart completely.
My growing theory is that people with autism are amongst that cohort; not because we are not able to hone our awareness into something evolved and without barriers but because we are already so honed! We arrive in this world wide-open and perceptive to things that NTs seem to have no idea or sense of and with trusting hearts so full of unconditional love, such transparency and truth, such an all-pervading knowledge of the sameness of all living creatures, that it takes a lifetime of being told we are “wrong” and “broken” for us to perfect the structures that hold us intact, in spite of the relentless tide of contradiction to what we still know and hold so tenderly inside. The last thing we need is to dismantle our structures; for they hold the treasure within. Until the world becomes a far more benign place, we will continue to rely on these structures to exist side-by-side with others in this world. Our chosen points of focus keep us distracted from a degree of awareness that is torture to our sensibilities. The towers of fixation we build enable us to see the light above so many heads bent down in chaos and to maintain order in our own personal domain. Like sacred geometry, we hold to our patterns as proof (and reminder) that there is a perfect design underlying all things. We each come to know what our structures are, what they need to be made of (often, special interests that we become fixated upon, causes we become passionate about, the complex webs of our deepest thinking and the structures and coherence made out of our words when writing) and then we learn to lean on them, using them as both support and motivation to continue with our baffling existence. We already know what the void feels like, we are more than familiar with blankness and no-thought, with pointlessness, emptiness, incomprehension and neutrality but…if we are lucky and diligent…we find ways to fill all those spaces with such beauty, purpose and joy.
It can take one well-meaning therapy session to undo that or, if you are like me and lack the executive function to realise this is what just happened, you can find yourself going back again and again and again, trying so hard to gain from these sessions what the average neurotypical might get out of it and never the closer for the effort. Sadly, the void made of loneliness can feed this trait but then, I have decided, far better to be lonely than to kid myself that relationships born of transaction hold any real substance beyond the duration of a treatment session. There is an addiction in me to seeking out the longed-for attention of one person for an hour at a time and I know it is a weakness born of a lifetime’s loneliness as someone who cannot “do” smalltalk nor function in groups of more than one person at a time. Akin to many with Asperger’s, I long for someone to talk to about what really interests me, at the level I seldom go with such conversations, but I see no point in continuing to try and achieve this under the false pretences of a “therapy” session.
One other point to add (as I feel I must given how, initially, alarmed I felt by the pronouncement that my AT was “irreversible” once I knew it had not helped me), there is no harm done as long as you keep in mind that no such method or its teacher is infallible. If we ever feel worse as a result of any modality we have been subjected to, we can edit and even reverse these effects as we so choose, whatever anyone may try to tell us (as when I reinstated my seven chakra system, in spite of the AT literature insisting that “this was not possible”). If we found any part of these methods useful, perhaps when we worked on them alone, as is our usual autistic way (rather than working with others who inevitably have their own expectations of outcome) we may be able to continue playing with these methods…with our own modifications. For instance, I still use a large part of what Dr Joe has taught me about visualising space in and around cells, even without doing the daily meditations as such, and I continue to explore the territory though the uniqueness of my own body. None of these people with their methods are God, however wise and successful they are; and not one of them holds the ultimate key or the right to say we are doing it wrong, that all enlightenment lies “this way” (their way), plus it is so often in the paradox that we find the most surprising breakthroughs lurking. In never surrendering our unlimited approach to life, we contrarians…which is what Asperger’s types most certainly are…can spin the most promising parts of these processes (which do sometimes run the risk of becoming ingrained and dogmatic processes in NT hands) to all-new heights…as ever, doing it in our own particular way.
Or, eventually, you may realise that the reason none of it works for you is that its not for you…you just don’t need it. In our eagerness to join in, to do things that other people do and, yes, our propensity to dive upon these kinds of methods because they are closer to our interests than most, we may have given it our best shot but, unless it is really working, and especially if it is undermining us, its time to reexamine. If such approaches are not for you then you can smile at the way these processes are helping so many NTs to wake up to the broader reality that we already knew about. These new age methods are groundbreaking, they are viable, they are just so important, welcome and necessary in this phase of our human development because they are relatively simplistic in the way that they bypass the pre-programmed brain and, thus, help NTs to get out of their own way in order to get to where we already are. Then, perhaps, instead of us always having to meet the world on its terms, it may one day come to meet us where we were to start with!
UPDATE January 2021:
I continue to recommended Anthony William, The Medical Medium, and his food avice but with the caviat that you should be observant around the effect of any high-oxalate foods such as spinach, sweet potato, almonds, beetroot, even potatoes and consume them in moderation (or not at all) if you feel they are adversely affecting your pain levels; as in, notice if consuming them repeatedly corresponds with a flare-up (for more on this see my post Back to Centre Again).
Because of this issue in myself, I can now add another “it…almost…didnt work for me” to the list. I have followed Anthony Williams – The Medical Medium’s eating plan for 3+ years (and a further year before that on and off). However, there was a problem for me, in my tendency towards evangelical enthusiam (of which there is a lot amongst his followers), which in my case is also a built-in an autistic trait, when I got carried away on his enthusiasm to the point of overdoing certain high oxalate foods. This happened, most of all, during the summer of pandemic lockdown when I was both working to build up resilience through diet and also focusing, a lot, on those foods I could get my hands on. Some of those foods – spinach, sweet potato, beetroot, almonds and even celery when eaten in quantity as per the daily juicing – are very high in oxalates.
For more on this and how I resolved it, by bringing in much more balance and restraint, please go to my post Back to Centre Again since the healing power of food, as primary medicine, still holds very true for me and perhaps all of us.
This blog, it’s content and any material linked to it are presented for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or prescribing. The material and opinions shared are anecdotal and should not be considered to be medical advice or diagnosis. This article does not constitute a recommendation for or against the treatment or choices described and the effects related are my own anecdotes, not a prediction of how anyone else might respond. Please consult with a licensed healthcare professional if you have or suspect you might have a health condition that requires medical attention or before embarking on a new type of exercise or physical activity.
4 thoughts on “…but it didn’t work for me”
This is so helpful! I’m luck that my boyfriend recognized early on the value of structure for me, and always helped encourage me to avoid activities that, for my brain, body, and processing, would be too dissolving, while encouraging those activities that provide a healthy external structure into which I can relax. It took me a while to accept this myself, for I find all the New Age and alternative modalities so appealing, probably, as you suggest, because they help bring others into what is, for us, our natural state. But if that is our native state, then we need the activities and assistance to be able to achieve the more structured state required to function in this world.
Reading about your loneliness felt a little raw to me. It’s really my life story, no matter how many people are in my life.
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Its reassuring to hear you relate to this as it still feels like a precarious topic to put out there…almost blasphemous! But it felt important. Yes the loneliness part was raw for me to write about too, I can feel it in my gut tonight…the effect of just saying it outloud and knowing there is no ready solution since no NT solution would work (or has ever worked). It feels all pervasive in the wiring of this state you and I share yet connections like ours, where we at least relate to one another like this, have made a lot of difference lately.
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I have not written in a while, but this blog called out to me. I could relate to so much of it. The writings of certain people have always been a portal for me to new understandings about myself and this was one of those times. I have not been diagnosed with being on the spectrum, but I know in my gut that I am not neurotypical. At least in some ways. I know I am just wired differently and that I am sure there are a infinite ranges of neurodiversity that have yet to be discovered. My nervous system can feel like a live wire and when I am stressed or in certain parts of my menstrual cycle, I feel completely untethered and have no energetic boundary between myself and others. I have been a kundalini yoga practitioner and teacher for 10 years and I am starting to see very clearly which practices and treatments help me, and which aggravate and exhaust me. When I read your post I felt so relieved and also clear about many puzzle pieces I had yet to put together. So, I just wanted to tell you thank you and also let you know that I hear you, I am grateful for you, and your contribution to this world is important.. Sometimes those of us who struggle to thrive in the world as it is feel like what we do is not big enough or is not heard. In a world where if you are not a huge presence on social media or leading big workshops, the quiet ones can be overlooked. I am one of those quiet ones and I want you to know that even though we have never met, I think you are one of the bravest people around.
Hi Kerry, I’m so touched by your response….and for gleaning the huge reserve of courage it has taken me to write this. I must have reread and edited this post a thousand times today, even since publishing it, incase I said something unfair or heavily biased by my experiences and yet I do still feel I have been fair and true to my observations “across the board”…and it helps enormously to hear I have been true to yours. You mention menstrual cycles…I would say those and sun and moon cycles have a huge bearing on this propensity to “soften”, I have much more to write on these topics at some point. So whatever part of the neurodiversity scale you are on, and I do agree the full range is as yet to be discovered, I would say you are sure to be profoundly affected by these things which, by design, seem to be devised to assist with the wake up call of humanity…women open up to their intuition at these times, for instance. But when you are already neurodiverse, you simply dont need the strength of “softening effects” that it takes for the average person to wake up and so the effect can be very intense and destabilising. Recognising this and knowing what works and doesnt work in your case is so important and such an empowering thing, even if it can feel as though it is another reason you “stand alone”. My hope is that through honest conversations like this one, more and more of us can make ourselves relatable and of support to each other! Thank you again, it is so lovely to hear from you (oddly, I thought about you today on my walk, before I got your message). Helen