Simulacrum of normal

Aspergers Syndrome in the adult life

Non-verbal therapy May 2 2011

Filed under: Just living — adah @ 1:19 pm

I know, I know. I said I’d post at least once a week, and now it’s been months since my last post. The thing is, things happen in daily life and I think to myself,  “Oh, this would be good to talk on my blog about,” but then when it comes to putting things into words, my mind shuts down.

Verbal communication is hard for autistic people. Some people classify Asperger’s Syndrome as “high-functioning” autism, because many people who suffer from this are still able to communicate verbally, whilst those with “low-functioning” autism can’t. Very few people realise that I am an aspie because I can speak fairly loquaciously. What they don’t realise is that I didn’t actually learn to speak until I was about 5 years old, after which I was able to speak rather well, parroting things I read in books. I now know that this is quite a common phenomenon. Parents and teachers “forget” the earlier communication difficulties because once the child is able to speak they are able to use big words. Regardless of my apparent verbal skills, I often find it very difficult to express myself verbally. Sometimes I think I’m going to explode with the suppressed emotions I have churning within me trying to find a way out.

This is where non-verbal therapy comes in. As a child I loved music, dance and art. They gave me an outlet that didn’t require words. As an adult, I realise that I need these forms of expression. I don’t think I’m a particularly talented artist, but what I do isn’t about producing “fine art”. It’s about letting out what’s inside me. It’s about being able to be honest.

Over the weekend I attended a “Mandalas and Meditation” workshop. We basically learnt some of the history of mandalas, meditated, then drew mandalas. These days it would be called “Intuitive Art”, meaning we drew from our hearts rather than sitting down and planning the art. What was different from my usual practice, was that after we had finished our drawings, we would put them on the wall and look at them. I have never really looked at the things I draw, or listened to the music I play, or video myself dancing so that I can watch it later. I have always used creative art to express myself, but I realise now that I had missed the next step of acknowledging myself. Looking at the artwork after I had finished forced me to see myself, and I had to accept what I saw. I don’t know if I am expressing it accurately, but it was amazing.

Well, the outcome is that I am aiming to draw a mandala a day and post it on another blog. Carl Jung saw mandalas as an expression of the unconscious self. I don’t think this applies to just mandalas, but really to any intuitive art. I’m curious to track what my art will show over time. I”ll post a link here once the new blog is up and running.


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