Tag Archives: equine therapy

Autism: Anxiety

A careless, piece of shit, unconcerned doctor once told me that there is no way I have any form of autism or any related disorders because I can speak and I don’t “flap my hands”. Instead, I was pressured to continue councilling for help with my social anxiety, which was pointed out had “nothing to do with autism”.

Now, I can throw out a number of quotes and findings by accredited doctors and researchers, putting this sorry excuse for a doctor to shame. But the main point of such “proof” would simply be that autism is a spectrum disorder, and anxiety is a largely recognized partner.

One of my biggest problems in dealing with autism is my anxiety. In certain situations, on bad days, anxiety makes my breath short, my pulse skyrocket, and when I break, total meltdown.

Anxiety can hit me at any moment, and last for a few hours, a day, a week. Usually my anxiety is triggered by something such as a group of people or an upcoming due date. Sometimes, there is absolutely no fucking reason for me to be anxious about anything.

When I do get my healthy dose of anxiety, the following happens:

》First instinct: seek solitude. Now. Now!
》Pray to remain alone. Usually, my prayers go ignored.
》Upon being confronted, anxiety is refreshed and at maximum power. Do/say anything to reach solitude again.
》Upon reaching solitude again, hate myself for being such a pussy.
》Convince myself to get over it and act normal.
》When I launch myself back into the general population, out from under my rock, I usually find that I can’t control my anxiety, and I usually can’t hide it. At this point, it will take one false move, a single hint of negative energy to launch me off the edge of a very steep cliff.
》Red alert! Bad interaction! Sometimes I’ll be able to find a dark corner to let loose in. Sometimes I just don’t give a fuck who’s watching. Whatever the case, I break down in a shit storm of hysterical tears, hyperventilating, shaking, and even hitting or scratching myself. After ten to twenty minutes of that bullshit, I find myself exhausted. Too tired to be so anxious anymore, but still on high alert for near future meltdowns. At this point, I want more than anything to just go away, hoping everyone I ever knew forgot my existence so I can just hate my pansy-ass in peace.

Anxiety keeps me from doing and handling a lot of things. I wonder how much I could have accomplished if I didn’t hyperventilate every time I was in a group of two or more people. I hate myself for being this way. And with only regression to show for progress, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is truly no chance for me to “get better”. I am this way and I better learn to fucking live with it.

The only thing I could hope for at this point is that the people around me would understand. Not necessarily treat me differently, and certainly not pity the flaws and complications I’ve been situated with. But for fuck’s sake, do you know how hard it is for me to go to the grocery store, the bank, or even a drive alone?

I used to think my anxiety could be filed down or “fixed”. I never expected it to be nothing, but maybe miniscule in comparison to what it is now. I used to think that if I forced myself into anxiety-induced situations, that I could desensitize myself into something almost like a neurological. I used to think it kind of worked like desensitizing a horse to a carrot stick, a tarp, or a plastic bag. Once he figures out that it’s not going to hurt him, he won’t give a shit about no damn grocery bag.

But after many everyday experiments, after so many failed attempts, I still have no successes of which to share. My only “success” in apprehensive situations is that I’m able to get away in time for a meltdown, or, on a good day, that I can talk myself out of a meltdown, keeping it at bay as long as I can avoid human contact for the next 24 hours.

My anxiety has been long lived and is quite depressing when I think about it, but I am learning to live with it. I don’t ever plan on being successful in social situations, largely because my anxiety makes it too scary to think about.

But I don’t give a fuck! A small part  of me still believes my desensitization theory is true, but as of today, I have abandoned all hope. Most of my hope.

I’m not really sure what to do about my anxiety. I think the right thing to do is to seek help. But I’m far too anxious to do that alone. Which is a hell of a bind.

All I can do now is advise:
》Have anxiety? Get help! Don’t know how? Me neither!
》Know someone with anxiety? For fuck’s sake, be gentle. Not pitying. Gentle.
》Anxiety is common in adults with autism. We are not freaks. We are not diseased. We are different. And quite selfishly, it is very difficult for us to learn how to behave as a neurotypical. I feel like NTs should understand us. Give us a fucking break, please. Patience.

In all seriousness, anxiety and autism are very serious. I’ve done my best to paint a general picture. I honestly don’t know how to handle it, whether having it or knowing someone with it. Please feel free to share your experiences and advise in the comments section.

Thank you for supporting autism. Also, horses are great. If you don’t have one, you should get one. Fuck that, get one even if you have one. Horses need friends too. Don’t buy from breeders, though, they’re bastards. Adopt from your local horse rescue. Those horses are saved from everything, from slaughter to abandonment. Adopt, don’t shop! =)

Autism: Equine Therapy

Horses are magnificent creatures. Horses are gorgeous, intelligent, and capable. Having the advantage of being around horses has done wonders for me. I’ve learned a lot about reading thoughts and feelings by watching their body language. Unfortunately, it’s not the same as humans. Humans are much more complicated and I’ve learned that a shrug, for example, doesn’t always mean “I don’t know”.

Horses have taught me a million things, but the most important thing I’ve learned in my experience is that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Particularly given my current level of anxiety, the tranquil environment surrounding horses is imperitive in my own success, not to satisfy my obsession with horses, but to continue to learn and understand that there is nothing to be afraid of. The simplicity of a horse’s feelings, emotions, and reactions along with the complication of their bodies and altering behavior, introduces a while new light on autism.

Personally, horses have taught me many things, including how goals are executed, how to read certain feelings and respond accordingly, and they even introduced a sense of bravery without which I’d find myself still locked away from the world, afraid of any sort of contact beyond the walls that held me safely for so long.

Today, I am able to go outside with little question, drive myself places I need to go, have a conversation over the phone or in person, order my own food, and other seemingly simple tasks that I never thought I would be able to do. However, on a bad day, when my brain is a scrambled, confused, anxious mess, I find most of these seemingly simple tasks damn near impossible.

The only thing horses seem to lack in is direction. But that’s like getting in a car and expecting it to magically drive you to destinations. It doesn’t work like that. Good horsemanship is maintaining a place higher on the heirchy than any horse. Fear, submission, exception. These things will get you run over, stomped on, kicked. A horse with no respect for a person could be dangerous. The only thing I can’t seem to get out of horses is instruction. Horses, as herd animals, require instruction, which thankfully, can be learned, as I have done. But their way of providing instruction is by taking advantage of the weak.

Instruction, or help, guidance, is a thirst for which I am parched. My throat aches for a sip, though I am afraid to drink. Seeking professional help with autism has not gone well for me in the past. Since I had given up, I decided all I need is horses. But there are some things horses can’t teach. I finally broke and requested help. Today, I wait anxiously in the queue.

For the most part, I think horses are a fantastic means of breaking free of the autism ball and chain. However symptoms are always subject to remain or return, I think exploring the equine world is still wonderous in conquoring some of the symptoms that cause complications in everyday and long term life.

For anyone with autism or knowing someone with autism, I highly recommend equine therapy. If you’re looking for a solution, then you’re doing wrong by autism. In my opinion, autism is a gift and a curse. It takes a strong person to learn to live with autism. On bad days, though, I myself find autism the worst fucking thing I could have possibly been cursed with. Either way, learning horses is a great way to strengthen strengths and weaken weaknesses.

Nike, a beautiful black thouroughbred, came in to my life a few years ago. I’m ecstatic to have him back in my life today. Nike is with a small newborn rescue whose determination to save every horse is a true inspiration to me. I recently began a campaign to save Nike, the beautiful black thouroughbred,  in hopes of providing him a healthy life and promising future. I hope everyone feels the same for him and would support him at http:// http://www.crowdrise.com/SaveNike.

I also hope people living with and around autism and similar social disorders consider horses as a means of strength encouragement. I would love to answer any questions in hopes of helping autism, horses, or any variation. Hoping for the best!

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