Intellectual Regulation and #Aspergers

Dysregulation

I think in complex epiphanies. I never have a single thought, except “I am insufferably bored!” Thoughts stay with me, whispering, connecting, birthing ideas faster than I can speak or write.

Life is a procession of instantaneous and profound moments. Some would consider my experience spiritual.  I know it is neurological.

I have little to show for my excessive mental energy. Too many ideas crowd me.  Sprawling narratives stream from my fingers. The ideas dart about so wildly  they hold meaning only to me.  Weeks pass before I whittle a simple blog post to lucidity. The world outside my skull is so slow it crawls.

Excruciating boredom opposes intellectual excitement.  The sensation is physical. Hold your breath until it hurts. The burning for air in your lungs is how boredom feels deep in my muscles and joints. Intellectual nothingness is drowning.  Movement is a gasp of air, but until my mind can latch on to the right thought, I flail.

I exist either dazzled by thoughts or restless with fidgety, aching boredom.

I am intellectually dysregulated.

Vroom

As a child, my mother smoothed my way. She fed my brain continuously or pressed me into captivating activities. She scheduled my time.

The hardest part of my life was young adulthood. I chose the wrong career path. I mistook intellectual ability for intellectual motivation.   Electromagnetics and calculus were easy, but boring. Despite natural talent, I failed.  I did not possess the maturity, the wisdom to find a good path for myself.

Only in the past few years did I become self-aware. Raising an autistic child placed a platter of insight before me. He is me revised. Perhaps most parents take this journey; a complete digestion of their own lives, absorbed and reflected upon to nourish the next generation.

My son must learn that uncommon intellect comes with a caveat—the rest of his abilities will lag.  One day he will celebrate not the marvel of his genius, but the other skills he mastered to balance it.

The Inferno: Twice Exceptional Raising Twice Exceptional

The Inferno

The Dream

Six months ago, I dreamt I lived in a vast black basement and never slept.

My singular duty was to stoke an enormous and intensely hot furnace. I heaved mound after mound of dusty coal into the roaring inferno.  My back ached. My mouth burned with thirst. Yet, I shoveled on.

At intervals, I rested.  The sudden stillness dizzied me, as if I were falling asleep. Heat and light jarred me back to alertness.

I pondered the purpose of the inferno. Does it fuel a city? Power a massive factory? Or is this subterranean monster an entity of its own?

I waved away the thought. Work resumed in minutes. I needed a few moments of mindless relief.

I shoveled.  Unequivocally ravenous and implacable, the fire vaporized  fuel as quickly as I could provide it. I increased my pace. The walls of coal began creeping closer. I shoveled frantically to avoid being pushed into the flames.

I could not maintain this furious pace.

Should I make peace with my doom or continue to  shovel?

I woke up.

 

The First Interpretation

The struggle of fueling a voracious furnace resembles raising a twice exceptional child.

Forever vigilant, I juggle interventions for anxious, tourettic behavior. Today I dab balm on eyelids chapped from compulsive rubbing. Tomorrow I hide tomatoes and bananas under dishtowels.  Our home is a stage constantly reset to remove temptations. Everything is just so, to reduce spills, plumber bills and frustration.

Tyoma’s intelligence generates another kind of perpetual effort. Keeping pace with profound giftedness demands more than hiding scissors or stowing away hand soap.  Intellectual thirst requires mental fleetness, abundant creativity and cognitive endurance. Without stimulation, a gifted brain agonizes. Boredom triggers unedurable tension and restlessness.

I strive to support our son. Should my attentiveness wane, I fear I will be engulfed. Meltdowns,  intense emotions, and wild behavior disorient me. I fear I will fail him.

I secured these thoughts in a notebook. My legacy to Tyoma will not be an interminable online ode on how hard it is to raise him.

The Truth

A week ago,  I revisited my notebook. As I re-read my words, I realized the inferno dream was less about raising a twice exceptional child and more about my own struggle with twice exceptionality.

Long before Tyoma entered our world, I shoveled. I fed the fires of schools, university degrees, jobs and interpersonal relationships. I put forth enormous effort to maintain impossible standards.  At times, the furnace snuffled me in; blackening me into deep depressive spells.

No six year old holds me captive in a basement. I’ve always been here. And now I have company.

My dear, sweet, bright little boy grips a shovel in his hand. His furnace roars. I hope to teach him the finest shoveling techniques.  I hope to teach him to enjoy the radiance of his gifts without being gobbled up by his differences. Above all, I hope to teach him how to brush away the ashes and begin anew.

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Birthday Mom