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Posts Tagged ‘mood swings’

WHAT IS ASPERGER’S 

“You don’t suffer from Asperger’s, you suffer from other people”   ~ Tony Attwood

“You may feel that people are blocking you from doing what you want to do. Most people want to keep things the same. In this modern world, where everything is changing so rapidly, people make conscious efforts to sustain the familiar and continue with the past. As such, any change in the directions you take may evoke anxiety in others who find it hard to adjust to your new ways, which may not fit their concept of you. Don’t be deterred by this. In fact, when people start questioning you about your new attitudes, take it as a clue that you have begun to move in the new direction you have set for yourself.” Arki Kiev, M.D.

Asperger’s Syndrome was discovered in 1944 by Dr. Hans Asperger, an Austrian pediatrician. Although Asperger’s was discovered so long ago, Dr. Asperger’s papers weren’t translated until decades later [1990’s] and the term ‘Asperger’ Syndrome was coined by Lorna Wing, who was doing her own studies of a group of children who displayed its symptoms. It was after this, that the medical field started to familiarize themselves with Asperger’s and it took years after that to start diagnosing their patients with it.

“People with Asperger’s syndrome, a highly function form of autism often report that they have difficulty recognizing complex mental states like envy and love in others. Rather than relying on their (often faulty) assessment of others’ mental states when a complex social interaction presents itself, they depend on a “library” of carefully stored memories of previous interactions when deciding how to respond. At the same time, though, people with Asperger’s syndrome are also aware of the strategy’s limitations and the computational costs of calculating, through learned contingencies, what others are feeling and thinking. Temple Grandin, an autistic professor of animal behavior, has argued that animals’ responses to social events are likewise guided by memories of previous interactions rather than theories about mental states (Grandin and Johnson 2005). Instead of analyzing beliefs and desires, animals use past performance as a guide to future behavior.

Indeed, there is almost no example of possible mental state attribution in animals that cannot also be interpreted in terms of contingency learning. People often claim that their dog feels guilty when he does something that he “knows” he shouldn’t do, like knock over the garbage container. Dogs certainly acts as if they know they have done something wrong; their Tai Chi slink is a caricature of guilt. But dogs often assume the same guilty postures if another dog, or even a human, tips over the garbage. Rather than experiencing guilt or remorse about their actions, dogs are probably responding on the basis of a learned contingency: when garbage is on the floor, people begin to shout” (Grandin and Johnson 2005) Baboon Metaphysics: The Evolution of a Social Mind ~ by Dorothy Cheney, Robert M Seyfarth

Asperger’s syndrome like ADHD is labeled a neurobiological disorder—the difference between the two is that Asperger’s has been considered a higher function of Autism. Asperger’s individuals have very sensitive, highly reactive nervous systems; they have problems with sensory overload, making it hard to process information coming to them. This is why they can overreact to changes or stressful events, which tend to produce strong physical reactions. Aspies also have a lot of difficulty reading faces or people’s reactions (verbal/nonverbal cues), which are important for social communication. In other words, Aspies have trouble interacting with others—they lack the awareness of knowing they’ve upset someone, causing relationship problems and misunderstandings.

“The whole prospect of dating is frustrating and uncomfortable to me.   When someone close to me is hurting, I don’t know how to cope. I never know how to cope! There’s so many ‘unwritten rules’ and ‘codes of conduct’; what you should and shouldn’t say and do. I’m practical and usually quite reserved; I verbally have trouble expressing my truth, and when I do try, it comes out in confusing negative ways!” Where’s the love in that!” (Asperger’s young adult wanting love without all the restrictions) 

“People don’t understand but I get hurt really easily. I’m extremely sensitive and have a tendency to react without thinking. I can’t control my emotions, it feels like they take over and as much as I’d like to hide them, the power is too great to hold in and they come out in blunt, drastic, and usually dramatic ways. I know this needs reining in but how to do it? (Teen with Asperger’s)

Aspies constantly try to use their heads to navigate through life. Their reactive, emotional states can be so contradictory because they overact to who, what, when where and how? They are extremely vigilant anticipating problems in their environment, particularly with other people. Their need to question, to pay attention to details and problems and know where others stand is their way to defend themselves from real or imagined dangers. This is why they are quickly thrown into a storm of confusion and emotional reactions. They so want to be trusted, yet their trust in others is constantly tested to alleviate their own suspicions.

 “Children and teens with this disorder have problems socializing with other children and adults, are not personable, lack social skills, and have poor eye contact. They are inflexible with their routines; become upset when interrupted; usually ask questions that are out of context, have odd behaviors; and grow obsess with objects, activities, or hobbies. They are often ostracized and rejected by peers and called “weird.” Children with Asperger’s disorder may be irritable and have mood swings and severe temper tantrums…These symptoms may be confused with the mood swings and irritability seen in youth with bipolar disorder.” New Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar Disorder ~ Boris Birmaher, M.D.

Many children with Asperger’s also may suffer from a smorgasbord of symptoms that seem to be at odds with each other. We’re looking at many different neurological disorders such as ADD/ADHD, Bi-polar, Dyspraxia, Tourettes, OCD, etc., making it harder for doctors/psychiatrists/neurologists to correctly diagnose them. Aspie’s can alternate between elation and ecstasy to suddenly becoming irritable and angry that explodes into tantrums or destructive rage. They can’t help themselves because they don’t know what’s happening to them—these moods or panic attacks just hit them. That’s where they need guardians, teachers, doctors and parents to support them physically, emotionally and socially and to help them grow into adolescence and into their adulthood.

 “Sometimes I get really angry at people in my life (parents, siblings, children, co-workers) for no reason and replay over and over memories and conversations in my head that happened yesterday or even years ago. It’s like every waking moment of my day is spent muttering angrily to myself about something and I have no control over it. When this happens, I pretty much hide in my room all day and stay mad.” (Young woman with Asperger’s syndrome)

“Prominent individuals who have forever put their mark on history in their respective field might have had the condition described by Hans Asperger… Maybe one could even speculate that historic progress has quite often been made by people with Autism Spectrum Conditions. The perseverance, drive for perfection, good concrete intelligence, ability to disregard social conventions, and not worry too much about other people’s opinions or critiques, could be seen as advantageous, maybe even a prerequisite for certain forms of new thinking and creativity.” (Gillberg 2001) 

 “Children with Asperger’s Disorder are rarely able to read social cues without specific training. They are seldom able to express empathy, except in a strained intellectual sense, with others in virtually any situation. Their anxiety in social situations can be extreme, especially if something unexpected happens.” Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children And Adults: ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger’s, Depression and other Disorders ~ Great Potential Press – edited by James T. Webb

On the positive side, I think Asperger individuals (Aspie’s) have a great talent at keeping tabs on the time, organizing and filing important papers and keeping every receipt in perfect order. They are the great achievers of our world because of their ability to focus on what’s important to them; when inspired by an idea, they’ll marshal all their forces to pursue it.  But gawd forbid if you’re three minutes late for dinner or an important meeting, Aspies have a short fuse when you mess up their schedule that was prepared precisely to the minute.

“From a neuroscience standpoint, people with Asperger’s are extremely reactive due to an enlargement in the amygdala, which along with the hippocampus in the emotional center of the brain and part of the limbic system (Adophs et al. 1995). Limbic dysfunction can account for difficulty in reading faces and judging emotions of other people (Cohen, Klin, and Schultz 1999), which is probably why some people would refer to as a deficit in theory of mind. Heightened reactivity and anxiety are almost certainly a result of the enlarged limbic areas including the hippocampus that, on the positive side, gives those with Asperger’s a tremendous long-term memory and recall.

This constant social anxiety can create a fight-or-flight mode and can cause internalized panic that could lead to making insulting statements..to some extent, that is why people with Asperger Syndrome need to make a concerned effort to try to slow down and logically think things through before expressing themselves. It is a rational way for them to compensate for this deficit. It is a great adaptive function that can serve them well.”Asperger Syndrome and Bullying: Strategies and Solutions ~ By Nick Dubin

Both of my sons have difficulty expressing their emotions in a way that they think everybody else expects them to. Instead of showing empathy by listening or giving me hugs, they show empathy by offering a solution to the problem—and most usually, they’re right!

DAILY OM printed a wonderful article called Laboring under a Label written by Madisyn Taylor…

  “We live in a culture that uses labels as a means of understanding the world and the people living in it. As a result, many of us find ourselves laboring under a label that has a negative connotation. Unless we can find a way to see the good in such a label, we may feel burdened by an idea of ourselves that is not accurate. It is important to remember that almost nothing in this world is all good or all bad, and most everything is a complex mixture of gifts and challenges. In addition, different cultures revere certain qualities over others, but this does not mean that these qualities are inherently good or bad. For example, a culture that elevates outgoing behavior will label an introvert in a negative way, calling them antisocial. In truth, the ability to spend time alone is one that most great artists, mystics, and visionaries share. Owning the positive side of this label can lead us deeper into our gifted visions and fertile imaginations.

  When we look into the lives of any of the great people in history, we always find that they had quirks and eccentricities that earned them less than ideal labels from the societies in which they lived. Many famous artists and musicians were considered to be isolated loners or disruptive troublemakers, or sometimes both, yet these people altered history and contributed to the world an original vision or advances in our understanding of the universe. If we can remember this as we examine our own selves and the labels people use to describe us, we find that there is a bright side to any characterization.

  If you have been labeled, remember that all you have to do to see the positive side is to turn the label around. For example, you may be considered to be overly emotional, and the fact that you are perceived this way may make you feel out of control. But notice, too, the gifts of being able to feel and express your emotions, even in a world that doesn’t always encourage that. You might begin to see yourself as brave and open-hearted enough to stay alive to your feelings. You may also see that there are certain paths and professions in which this is a necessary ability. As you turn your label around, the light of your true nature shines to guide you on your way. http://www.dailyom.com/articles/2014/44326.html

Both my sons have been labeled with the Asperger’s syndrome, each in varying degrees.  They are smart, articulate, persistent, organized and highly focused. They don’t openly share their feelings and inner thoughts and are very uncomfortable around emotional issues and people.  Because they struggle with understanding the physical signs of the body; which by the way is known to contradict ‘verbal’ communication, they frequently withdraw from uncomfortable encounters OR will confront people who appear contradictory.  You want the truth, ask an Aspie!!

Asperger’s often feel isolated and alienated by society. Many times when my sons were growing up and in school they were harshly treated, teased, abused and bullied or taken advantage of by others—especially from those who saw them as ‘odd’—or not as aware or adept as others. This is why Asperger’s prefer to be alone, shrink away from relationships and have only a couple of close friends.

“In working with children who suffer from Asperger’s Disorder, despite their often high intellectual functioning, one must break down every social behavior into its smaller components. For example it may be necessary to physically show the child exactly how close one typically stands when having a conversation, or to specify it is important to look directly at the face of the person with whom you are conversing. Instruction in social skills must be detailed and concrete, and it often must be repeated for several different types of situations due to the difficulty that children with Asperger’s Disorder have with generalizing. Often these children rely on rote memory for the “rules” of social interactions. Sometimes instructions do not help because the child lacks the motivation to improve social skills (lack of insight) and finds the behaviors (such as looking someone in the eyes) very uncomfortable. Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children And Adults: ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger’s, Depression and other Disorders ~ Great Potential Press – edited by James T. Webb

 “I’ll let you know right now my opinions are very strong and if we disagree, I will research your arguments into the ground even if these were disputed months or even years ago; this is the kind of stuff I obsess over. To you, it may seem ignorant when I speak but I have this problem of not being able to shut up and I can be extremely blunt with absolutely no empathy of what you’re thinking or feeling or how emotional you’ve become.” (Frank with Asperger’s)

ASPERGER’S GIFTS

Not everything that steps out of line, and thus “abnormal,” must necessarily be “inferior.” ~ Professor Hans Asperger

You’ll find most ‘gifted’ Asperger individuals studying engineering, physics, computer science, genetics, teaching, etc. Most of them are highly intelligent with above average IQ’s. They are exceptionally bright, quick thinkers and learners; they love to learn, read, watch movies, or anything that inspires them to peer deeply into the meaning of life. Their greatest desire in life is to be secure and stable. They love to process any information in an orderly and chronological manner; everything must be meticulously detailed and calculated in a step-by-step orderly manner. Everything in life ‘must’ have a logical and rational explanation—they won’t usually believe in something unless they’ve been shown the evidence or they can prove or discover it themselves. They can be quite blunt and insulting to people, unaware of the amount of force and intensity they use in their interactions—especially to those who have little self-respect or problems with their self-image.

“Prominent individuals who have forever put their mark on history in their respective field might have had the condition described by Hans Asperger… Maybe one could even speculate that historic progress has quite often been made by people with Autism Spectrum Conditions. The perseverance, drive for perfection, good concrete intelligence, ability to disregard social conventions, and not worry too much about other people’s opinions or critiques, could be seen as advantageous, maybe even a prerequisite for certain forms of new thinking and creativity.” (Gillberg 2001, p.134)

Aspie’s enjoy the high feeling they get when they assert themselves in challenging situations. They want to do the impossible to succeed where others have failed or others have said ‘it can’t be done’. If they’re reasonably sure they’ll come out on top, they will take the chance and enjoy the excitement.

Asperger’s people love the intense feeling of joy and contentment.   With emotions such as fear, irritation, disappointment or anger, they will endlessly search, analyzing the problem, until they find a solution. They’ll sit for hours searching the internet, reading books, asking questions.  Sometimes all they need is a shift in perspective to keep them on track. When they choose a solution, they apply it. If it doesn’t work, they’ll keep trying until one does.

TESTING FOR ASPERGER’S

This is an excellent site on diagnosing Asperger’s for an adult or child.

http://www.autism.org.uk/about-autism/all-about-diagnosis/diagnosis-the-process-for-children/diagnosis-what-to-expect.aspx

Have you noticed your child has problems making friends? Skips school whenever possible. Avoids eye contact? Extremely sensitive and easily hurt?   Often misinterprets what you mean or say? Has a deep special interest? Does the same thing over and over again? Panic when he or she has to do or try something new? Finds it hard to interpret gestures like head shaking? Finds empathy hard? Is his/her speech unusually formal? Any evidence of anxiety, depression, or hyper sensitivities to taste, touch, smell? Poor handwriting? Picky eater? Bullied at school and/or easily fooled and conned? Becomes easily confused or overwhelmed? Has your child expressed they must have been misplaced or from another planet? If so it’s ‘possible’ they may have Asperger’s, but you won’t know for sure unless they are properly tested.

I think all children and adults display symptoms of Asperger’s at times, which is why sometimes identifying and treating Asperger’s can be quite a challenge. In this world today, many young people are mislabeled because teachers and doctors don’t have the time or the resources to treat the symptoms and ‘not the person affected by it’.

 “A young child with Asperger’s syndrome often assumes that other people are thinking exactly what he or she is thinking; or the child assumes that other people’s words match their thoughts….each person may have very different thoughts and feelings in the same situation, and that what people say may not always correspond with what they are thinking. The Comic Strip Conversations…from the book “The Complete Guide to Asperger’s syndrome ~ by Tony Attwood

There are a few test sites for adults which I’ll post for you.   Children would need to be referred to social workers and psychologists. Though it was quite some time ago, I do remember some of the tests, where Jason and Brandon were shown picture books with children and adults in different situations. They were asked to ‘read’ their faces and if their expressions were surprised, sad, happy, angry, etc… Both Jason and Brandon scored low points in this test.

Another test I remember Brandon playing, was a game of cars with the social worker who continuously carried on a conversation with him.   Brandon was so absorbed and focused on playing with the cars, he didn’t hear or remember words spoken to him.

Both Brandon and Jason did language and logic tests which were done with a child psychologist.

Some Asperger tests are informing but should not be used as a diagnosis.

http://archive.wired.com/wired/archive/9.12/aqtest.html

http://www.rdos.net/eng/Aspie-quiz.php

ASPERGER’S AND HEALTH ISSUES

Aspies have very finely tuned central nervous systems, which cause them to be highly sensitive to environmental stimuli such as noise, fragrances, certain foods, chaos, beauty, and/or pain. All these sensitivities can cause physical reactions in the body, such allergies, nervousness, panic attacks, nausea, migraine headaches, and auto-immune diseases.

“The immune system even under normal circumstances has a marked impact on behavior. Chemicals secreted by the immune system, called cytokines, are known to bind to sites in the brain and cause changes in areas such as sleep, attention, and mood. Recently there has been speculation that immune system problems may trigger the development of autistic symptoms. This system has drawn attention because of:

 1. The unusual patterns of production of immune chemical signals and antibodies observed in individuals with autism.

 2. the recent reported rise in the rates of autism

 3. the suggestion that autism could be related to inoculation procedures and/or inflammatory disease of the intestine

 4. the use of the diet therapies to reduce possible food allergies in autistic children.

 (“Cytokines are small molecules found in miniscule concentrations in our blood stream, that affect the behavior of others cells, especially, cells of the gut and immune system. It appears that the immune system—especially allergic and inflammatory components of the immune system—rely heavily on signals from cytokines.   Cytokines are divided into several different families which are sometimes referred to as interleukins, interferons or tumor necrosis factors. There are [thirty-five] different types of cytokines and their names get very confusing…….” Bacteria for Breakfast: Probiotics for Good Health ~ By PhD, RPh Kelly Dowhower Karpa)

 Research in this area has thus far not produced any major revelations. There is, however, some evidence of reduced immune function as well as overactive immune function in children with autism…analyzing whole blood from autistic children [there was] a significantly higher production of two inflammatory response signaling chemicals–signs of an overactive immune system. It is possible that some symptoms of autism, such as sleep mood and attention problems are reduced after treatment of an infection or removal of allergens from the child’s diet because the activity of the immune system is reduced….

 A serious problem arises when the immune system attacks tissues within the body instead of outside foreign agents’ such a response can lead to autoimmune disease. The term “auto” in from of immune system refers to a response against “self”…Research indicates an increased rate of autoimmune diseases in families of children with autism, the most common being Type 1 Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis (adult form) systemic lupus, and hypothyroidism.” The Development of Autism ! Thomas L. Whitman

CANDIASIS

 “When bacteria are present as part of the gut’s normal flora, the very presence of the bacteria stimulates white blood cells and epithelial cells to secrete cytokines. These cytokines, then, serve as signals to other components of the immune system.   Cytokines can send allergic signals, inflammatory signals, or anti-allergy/anti-inflammatory signals.   The type of signal that is transmitted depends upon the type of bacteria present; different species of bacteria stimulate release of different cytokines. As you are probably beginning to see, the bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract play an important role in determining the actions of the entire immune system…..it is the balance of cytokines that controls initiation of allergies/inflammation, perpetuation of allergies/inflammation or the cessation of allergies/inflammation.” Bacteria for Breakfast: Probiotics for Good Health ~ By PhD, RPh Kelly Dowhower Karpa

There are so many disorders related to candida that I’m sure not to have listed them all. Candida can be the cause of anxiety, multiple sclerosis, OCD, allergies, food intolerances (make one forgetful and super emotional/irritable), migraines, learning disabilities, celiac disease, dyslexia, acne, dyspraxia, epileptic seizures, bipolar disorder, bed wetting, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, psychosis, substance abuse, depression, impaired social skills and perception, eczema, psoriasis, touch and light sensitivity, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, asthma, and lupus. If you’d like to know more about Candida, you can look at it here

MOOD SWINGS

Histamine is a chemical that’s naturally found everywhere in the body and in all foods too. It’s plays an important part in stimulating the hypothalamus to release vital chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine and norephinephrine. With too little histamine, dopamine levels are elevated — Dopamine’s a chemical that produces anxiety, stress, nervousness and aggression. When levels of dopamine are elevated, a person may feel insecure, paranoid and/or fearful.

Histamine becomes a problem when its levels sink too low or rise too high.   It can have a bizarre affect on mood swings—an almost Jekyll and Hyde behavior. It can create paranoia, obsessive-compulsive behavior (OCB), tension and depression.   Histamine also acts on the nose, throat, eyes, lungs, skin, and even the gastrointestinal tract, triggering the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Both serotonin and norepinephrine are important chemicals that affect our moods and mental well-being. People with low serotonin levels can suffer from mood swing and anxiety as well as internal anger and depression. These people may gravitate to some sort of an addiction such as alcohol, drugs, overeating, or become workaholics, perfectionists or procrastinators.

Children with Asperger’s also suffer from low serotonin levels causing them to become unfocused and lose memory and concentration. They too may overeat or eat sugary, starchy foods causing an override in their systems; then their insulin kicks in and they suffer from an extreme drop in blood sugar, causing a vicious circle of eating more sugary foods again.

We find out who we are by action. Action makes us and creates our future. It has been said that those suffering from mood swings and even bipolar are not living a life that is in accordance with their own inner nature….they have unfulfilled potential. Their roller-coaster emotions and boundless energies take a dramatic plunge into bleak depression. Many have and can utilize their dramatic abilities and extravagant behaviors to inspire others.

“In its mild state, bipolar disorder allows people to produce very high levels of intense creative output. There is a large body of evidence showing that creative people have a much higher likelihood of developing various mental illnesses, such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, then the general population.” Mind-Body Health and Stress Tolerance ~ by David Jameson

We’ll be discussing bipolar in great length in the next article on this blog.

One of the most important nutritional supplements for neurological problems is essential fatty acids (EFA’s). That’s because our brain is made up of mostly lipids (fats),and EFAs aid in brain development. It is best to get the wild, triple fish oils as well as flaxseed, evening primrose and borage oil. All these have shown to help decrease inflammation and increase feelings of well-being.  Calcium and magnesium are also useful for their calming effect on the nervous system. Grape seed extract is a powerful antioxidant and protects the cells of the brain and body. The dosage depends on the size and age of your child. Follow directions on the labels.

POOR MUSCLE TONE

I’ve included this as a health issue as both my sons suffered with muscle spasms, clumsiness, jerkiness, muscle tension and lack of coordination as children. They frequently fell, tripped or bumped into things and people. Poor muscle tone can interfere with the circulation and lymph flow of the body causing muscle weakness, extreme fatigue, indifference, constipation, and lack of feeling. This can also create problems in the intestines, causing bacteria, gas, leaky gut and candida to grow.

‘Leaky gut’, allows undigested food particles from the intestines into the bloodstream that normally wouldn’t get through—the body sees these particles as invaders and attacks them. If these particles resemble molecules of your own body, then the immune system can start attacking them—as in the case of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This form of the body attacking the body is quite possibly the most common cause of thyroid problems. The pattern begins with an overproduction of thryoxine and as the ‘attacks’ become more frequent, then the thyroxine levels drop, leaving you hypothyroid.

“Muscles absorb and respond to tensions and feelings.  If they do not relax sufficiently following stress, then the tension accumulates and causes deeper, long-lasting damage. If this continues over a period of time, the muscles become set and fixed in this restricted form. This is where you “hold” issues, emotions and trauma.  Frozen anger, fear, or grief creates a kind of body armour, which further blocks and holds back feelings, locking the musculature into fixed positions…

The muscles enable all the bodily systems to function, such as circulation, digestion, breathing, and nerve impulses.  Their freedom of movement is essential for optimum health. When the muscles are restricted…your energy will be unable to flow smoothly…Stress release and emotional expression are therefore essential for muscle ease. Exercise is also vital–it not only releases muscular tension but psycho/emotional tension as well.” YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND ~ Deb Shapiro

 ANXIETY AND STRESS

When the brain’s blood supply is redirected for ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ in the body, our logic center or creative center simply shuts down. With the shutdown, the synchronization of brain function is lost and we cannot ‘think’ clearly. Anxiety and stress can also cause a number of physical symptoms such as: high blood pressure and hyper-intense muscles, leading to stiffness, clumsiness and aching limbs and joints.   Increased muscular tension is also an aspect of the flight/fight reflex which is associated with an increase of adrenalin/epinephrine fueled by the adrenalin glands.

The sympathetic nervous system is often referred to as the “fright, fight or flight” system—when these nerves are stimulated it’s usually because something is seen as a danger, epinephrine (adrenaline) is then secreted by the adrenal glands. When epinephrine levels are high in the blood we experience pounding heartbeats, shivering, sweats, trembling legs, dry mouth, and shallow rapid breathing. Mentally we feel completely ‘wound up’ and in some cases anger or the feeling of losing control.

Aspies have a highly reactive sympathetic nervous system When out of power Aspies can become frightened and disoriented and in their effort to orient themselves may turn to addictive substances such as alcohol and drugs. They may berate themselves later because in truth they are extremely health conscious except when taken suddenly off balanced.

When we lack faith in ourselves, we find ourselves repeating patterns and continually living to the beliefs and habits we rigidly rely on and cling to for familiarity.   In this day and age, the pace of change is picking up and many of us, in an effort to control our lives are finding it increasingly overwhelming. No matter how slow or fast, life never stops changing and changes are necessary steps, allowing us to move forward and reshape ourselves.

Our need to do, to succeed, and to accomplish is often a deeper need to feel loved and accepted. Aspies are great achievers; they’re extremely good at focusing what is important to them. These people need to seek and find supportive environments that will honor their brilliant remarkable minds. In turn, Aspies need to devote time to slowing down and observing their reactions/tensions and using them as messages to learn more about themselves.  They also need to realign their values and focus on ways that their goals are not just about them but in helping to improve the quality of other people’s lives.

REALIGNING YOUR VALUES

Aspies don’t always know what feelings their experiencing as they confront certain issues in their lives.  To remain physically relaxed, they need to stretch or do deep breathing throughout the day.  As an Aspie, you need to get plenty of exercise and lots of fresh air.  Disciplines like Karate, Aikido, Tia Chi, Yoga, etc., are excellent in keeping your body balanced.  Observe your tensions and use them as a message from which you can learn more about yourself.

If you feel frustrated, hurt or angry at someone’s response to what you’ve asked or said, don’t jump down their throat…step back in your mind, take a deep breath and examine your motivation for communication.   ask yourself “what is it I wanted from this exchange. How did I expect or want the person to respond? In this way, you learn more about yourself as well as giving the other the opportunity to learn more you and him or her self.

You need to become conscious of your expectations…focus more on the moment-to moment process and less on the end result.  Let TIME be your friend and not a constant opponent that you’re always fighting with.  Get lost in the moment and lift the pressure of your self-imposed deadlines and plan realistically, then do the best you can in each moment.

Concentrate on drawing your self-esteem and sense of identity from all that you are, rather than what you do.  See that what you do is only a partial expression of your energy.

Begin to look at your work in terms of how you can help others. By helping others you are also helping yourself to grow happier, freer and more relaxed and fully alive human being.  This in truth is what we all want.

The effects of these changes of attitude toward your life and work will be profound.  You’ll find yourself being more relaxed, flowing through your day without getting ruffled by the things that used to bother you.  You’ll be less tired with more energy to do the things you want to do.

MEDITATION

Meditation is a technique that will enable the mind and body to become quiet so we can focus our attention on the inner self. Ironically our search inward will ultimately lead us outward, past the self-centered preoccupations of the ego, to an openness with life.   If our entire focus were on ourselves we would eventually reach a dead end. But when we go off in search of our souls, we are going beyond the self, looking for more meaning than the limits of the self can provide. When we go past the ego, we open our perceptions to a greater scheme of things.

If we can learn to trust that a greater power than our own exists, and if we allow ourselves to go past our limitations, we will discover that we are capable of transcending the boundaries of the self and that we have a wealth of resources available to us. By using the power of faith to take us past the immediately obvious, into the realm of beyond, we will find a place where life is constantly in a dynamic state of change and growth and where our imagination is stronger than our will.

Links to follow….

Interview with Temple Grandin on autism http://www.autism-help.org/story-temple-grandin-autism.htm

Children and Asperger’s   http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/brain/asperger.html#a_Treating_Asperger_Syndrome

What does it mean to have Asperger’s Syndrome      http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/aspergers-diary/200804/what-does-it-mean-have-asperger-syndrome

Meditation for Asperger’s  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yvuylRojMg

Excellent article on Asperger’s  http://nymag.com/news/features/autism-spectrum-2012-11/

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“PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME (PMS), which has reached epidemic proportions, is concurrent with the increase of media advertising.  These ads continually hammer home the concept that the female body must be sprayed and powdered and douched and overcleansed in numerous ways to make it even barely acceptable.  At the same time that women are coming into their own as equal beings, they are also being bombarded negatively with the idea that the feminine procresses are not quite acceptable.  This notion, combined with the tremendous amounts of sugar being consumed today, creates a fertile breeding ground for PMS.”  Louise L. Hay YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE

PMS can include many physical and emotional changes such as weight gain, acne, headaches, depression, food cravings, poor concentration, breast swelling and tenderness, bloating, muscle aches, constipation, nervous tension, insomnia, mood swings, rage, fatigue, heart palpitations, urinary problems, anxiety, and many many more different symptoms.

If you are one of the many sufferers of PMS then you are all too familiar with the wide range of the numerous physical and mental changes that begin between two and fourteen days before menstruation. Tension and irritability can be so severe, it can literally turn any woman into a raging lunatic in minutes! Women who have experienced this have described PMS like a spring being turned tighter and tighter until suddenly it snaps, causing temporary insanity. It could also be likened to a repressed volcano that suddenly and inexplicably throws everything around it into chaos.

If you are a teen reading this, I cannot stress enough about the extremes of dieting and PMS. Dieting places the body in the famine or starvation mode, which causes your metabolism to slow down when you try to diet. What happens when your metabolism slows down is the hypothalamus in your brain moves into a high state of alarm. The hypothalamus is part of the limbic system or old brain that controls your eating, drinking, sleeping and maintenance of your reproductive functions. If you are constantly dieting or changing your eating habits this can cause premenstrual syndromes and/or delay your sexual development. Puberty, especially in girls could be delayed because body weight is a factor in your reproductive function. If your weight drops below a certain level than your menstrual cycle and especially ovulation could come to a halt. This may not only be the cause of your PMS troubles but possibly will affect you later in life when you are thinking or contemplating pregnancy.

The same is true for the ‘older’ woman. If her fat-to-muscle ratio—drops below a certain level, then her reproductive cycle and the delivery of her eggs will most likely to come to a halt.

“This is true of malnourished women and, in our society of some athletes and some overenthusiastic dieters and joggers. And if she is exposed to something that her brain-body system experiences as stressful, then the same effect is likely to be found. Such a response would be adaptive. It is not in a woman’s interests, evolutionarily speaking, to commit herself to conception, childbirth and child-rearing either when resources are scarce or when the environment is less than congenial….Deep in woman….not in men, are buried the gene-hormone-norepinephrine pathways of the Stone-Age Venuses of Menton and Willendorf, figurines of Paleolithic woman who were grotesquely fat by our standards, but who were highly valued, it seems, as reproducers.” Jo Durden-Smith and Diane deSimone Sex and the Brain

PMS can physically, mentally and emotionally sap us of energy. Not only do our behaviors and feelings run totally out of control, we can also feel unsure of who we are, losing touch with our bodies, our emotional needs as well as the needs and feelings of others. Premenstrual syndrome can be so uncomfortable, miserable and isolating, it can bring out the worst side in all of us. At the office we may manage not to explode but as soon as we get home, we’re ready to bite somebody’s head off. For no reason we’ll quickly attack our husband, lover or children for any little thing….we become like a ravenous dog that’s lost all control of its body and mind. The brain has automatically switched into overdrive, creating a massive release of adrenal hormones.

Our sex hormones are among the most subtle and powerful chemicals in nature. They have a profound effect on the nervous system as well as increased electrical activity in the brain. When the brain and nervous system are thrown off balance, we are at the mercy of uncontrollable and abnormally high and unstable emotions.

(Receptors for estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone have been found in different regions of the brain and these three hormones play different roles at different times. One area in the brain that is particularly rich in these hormones is the limbic system, which governs our moods and emotions. When your thought processes are in a jumpy hyperactive mode, they affect the hypothalamus, in the limbic area of the brain that is highly sensitive to your moods and emotions. When the hypothalamus is thrown off balance, it affects and drastically alters the production of the sex hormones in the brain, causing an array of negative emotions to flood your system.)

Michelle, a good friend and client of mine, use to experience confusion, anger and anxiety almost every month, for a few days before her period. “At first I didn’t know what was going on. It seemed that for almost seven days a month my life would fall to pieces. I’d experience a buildup of anger, irritation or frustration either with myself or with those closest to me. I’d become overly critical with everything little thing and go absolutely berserk on my family, husband or children. I felt totally out of control with my life. And even when I was in the throes of anger, I had a knowing I was picking on the ones I loved most because of what was happening within myself. But at that time I didn’t know how to help myself or undo these rapid mood swings. Guilt would set in and I’d find myself crying uncontrollably.”

PMS has been known to be quite destructive to the quality of one’s life. Working with and touched by people like Michelle who have suffered extremely painful periods has motivated me to try and understand why women suffer such an endless array of symptoms and behaviors.

Something I noticed with Michelle and many other menstrual women, including myself, is the strong cravings for sweet, starchy foods before our period started. This temporary loss of control is mostly due to the rapid changes in all hormonal levels after ovulation, especially estrogen and progesterone.

When progesterone in the body is on the rise, it can cause a dramatic fall in our blood sugar levels. When this happens, the hypothalamus, in the brain, signals the nervous system to tell the body it needs sugar—fast! Sugars and starches can raise our blood sugar in about 5 minutes, but almost as soon as we gobble all those high carb foods down, a mad rush of insulin is released into the blood stream, taking the excess sugar out of the blood causing our blood sugars to plummet dramatically.

Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia can cause an array of symptoms in the body. Not only can hypoglycemia make you feel dizzy, weak and shaky, it also causes fatigue, mental confusion, irritability, headaches, nervousness, migraines, depression, muscle aches, poor concentration, heart palpitations, sweating, tinnitus, irritable bowel syndrome and a whole lot more problems.

Although hypoglycemia isn’t the main offender to PMS it does have a huge impact on the liver, which has a very important role in regulating blood sugars and removing toxic substances from your bloodstream. If the liver can’t function at its best, it gets weary and tired. Not only is it the breeding ground for negative thoughts and feelings, it physically affects the blood, the immune system and your ability to fight infections.

“The functioning of the liver is very involved in addiction behavior, whether the addiction be to food, alcohol or drugs, as it is the loiver that removes toxins from the blood and deals with th excess fat and sugar intake. The emotional tension that gives rise to the need for release through an addiction is felt here, as this tension may be based on anger and resent (towards the world, or towards specific individuals). Often the toxins are ingested through the addiction as a way of hiding from those toxins already in our system: hate, frustration, rage, incompetence, self-dislike, hurt, greed and a need for power. By taking in external toxins we do not have to admit to, or face up to, what is already inside us.

The liver is closely connected to the third chakra, that which focuses on power and self identity. By transforming these qualities we are able to rise above them to the highest levels. But it can be just as easy to become a victim of these energies as it can be difficult to transform them. The liver then reflects the anger and confusion experienced in trying to find ourselves and our purpose.” Deb Shapiro The BodyMind Workbook

This quote from Deb Shapiro fits well with a quote by Louise Hay

“The probable cause of PMS is allowing for too much confusion, giving power to outside influences and rejecting the feminine processes. Louise Hay

During my healing profession, I’ve worked with women who have expressed their unhappiness and depression with the way they see their bodies. Their main concern, or so they say, is about losing weight and wanting to look model-thin. But really this is only the tip of the ice-burg.

Usually in a healing treatment, I encourage people to express whatever is on their minds. As the healing begins, and our auras merge, I mentally ask the client’s spirit what the hidden cause of her PMS symptoms are, and what can be done about it. This type of communication also helps an uncomfortable and rather shy person to become more relaxed, open and spontaneous.

To hear a client’s inner voice, a healer needs a focused, clear, calm receptive mind. Approaching a patient in this way is done with a non-judgmental attitude of acceptance and love. A spirit that has unconsciously imprisoned itself will relax and unfurl like a flower when loved, leading you into that person’s heart. Energy that was crimped up and congested in the lower chakras begins to flow, reducing backed-up pressure and increasing a client’s intuitive perceptions and inner awareness.

I can’t tell you how many times an ‘external’ muscle has been the cause of PMT, stomachaches, heartburn, nausea, urinary incontinence and heart arrhythmia. These muscles can clamp down on the blood flow in an artery making a part of the body feel cold. Pelvic congestion (enlarged veins in the uterus) can also cause vaginal and bladder problems, painful periods, irregular bleeding and painful sex. When the veins in this area become enlarged, they cause slow circulation and the blood to stagnate in the pelvic area.

If you suffer from thyroid problems, such as hypothyroidism, one of things you may have noticed was an increase in muscle cramps, muscle weakness, stiffness and pain. This is one of the typical signs of low thyroid problems, which could also be a major comtributor to your PMS.

Muscles are known to hold past memories. traumas, repressed fears, guilt, tension and feelings. Knotted up muscles in the lower abdomen and inner thighs have been known to frequently squeeze nearby nerves. Nerves that pass through a muscle are even more vulnerable. They can distort the electrical signals that travel along it, causing sensations such a numbness, tingling, or burning.

Confusion, guilt, anger, fear, worry, etc. not only put a crimp in our circulation of energy, it can, and especially in PMS sufferers, cause energy to back up in the pelvic region. It is in the abdominal region where our longings, unfulfilled desires and everyday pressures and outside conflicts are assimilated. If we don’t allow the body to cleanse itself, tension and pressure will continue to build to a point where it causes pain, psychologically then physically. Not only will this cause the abdomen to swell, our ankles, fingers and feet usually will too, as well as swollen painful breasts.

One more thing I’d like to mention, in regard to PMS, is a yeast-like fungus called Candida. Candida naturally exists in your mouth, intestines, bladder and vagina. Normally it is a friendly fungus that helps to balance normal body functions, but antibiotics, excessive stress and even depression can cause it to grow out of control causing a yeast infection called Candida Albicans. Candida Albicans can cause a multiple of symptoms, such as vaginal/urinary inefections, allergies, arthritis, depression, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Autism, ADD/ADHD, sugar cravings PMS, colds and infections. It can cause low energy and fatigue, irritability, anxiety, fear, headaches, muscle and joint pain, heart palpitations, bloating, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), eczema, itching, rashes, acne and the list goes and on.

“High blood sugar levels increase the amount of sugar stored in the vaginal cell walls, and yeast loves sugar. In fact woman who suffer from chronic yeast infections are encouraged to be screened for diabetes since the infections are so common in women with diabetes.” The Canadian Type Two Diabetes Sourcebook by Sara Rosenthal

If you suspect you have Candida Albicans, your doctor can do a cultural swab or a stool sample to check this out. The problem is, is that there is no test that positively confirms whether you have this yeast infection or not. The reason is because Candida exists naturally in areas like the stomach and intestines. However a stool sample will show if you have abnormally high amounts of yeast.

“In using dietary strategies as a treatment for candida overgrowth, a restricted diet should be followed for several weeks. Actually this diet can be followed for an indeterminate amount of time, and foods can also be added back eventually. This should be done in a gradual one-at-a-time manner, to determine a specific food’s effect. If symptoms recur after a particular good is introduced, that food should then be avoided.

The main thing to remember as you follow an anti-candida diet is to exclude sugar. The idea is to guard against the continued growth of yeast and to fortify the immune system, and since sugar is a main food source for yeast, and does not benefit the immune system, it has to be eliminated. Don’t just ban granulated sugar, though; also be on guard against honey, corn and maple syrup, fruit, ,maltose, artificial sweeteners, fructose, cornstarch, sodas and lactose (a milk sugar found in dairy products). Gary Null, Ph.D. The Complete Encyclopedia of Natural Healing

In Part II of this PMS series we’ll look at the metaphysical causes of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and in Part III we’ll look deeper into the hormonal issues and naturally find ways to become ‘a well nourished woman’.

“In women, puberty is the starting point for what can be called cyclical intuition, the intuition available to most women throughout their formative and reproductive years. This is intuition that ebbs and flows in rhythm with the menstrual cycle. In the days before ovulation, intuition is at a low ebb. But then, right before a woman gets her period, the intuitive flow begins, and a woman gains increased access to intuition. Mona Lisa Schultz, Awakening Intuition

ravenstarshealingroom@gmail.com

Links

http://www.drnorthrup.com/womenshealth/healthcenter/topic_details.php?topic_id=139

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/premenstrual-syndrome/DS00134

http://www.healthy.net/scr/article.aspx?Id=3166 (Thyroid)

http://www.netplaces.com/health-guide-to-pms/oh-my-aching-headphysical-symptoms-part-two/joint-and-muscle-pain.htm

http://www.livestrong.com/article/106163-causes-sugar-cravings/

http://www.livestrong.com/pms/

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