Tuesday, October 25, 2016

INFJ: Michael Pierce's Video, Segment Quotes, Personal Thoughts and Contrasting ISTP, INFP and INTJ with INFJ.

EDIT: This post almost was derailed by the new GILMORE GIRLS Trailer that came out because all I wanted to do was watch it over and over and over again. Gilmore Girls is my favourite TV show of all time and I feel I grew up with both girls and can relate on different levels significantly and of course with Paris ( LOVE Paris after the first season!) If you are a fan and haven't seen the trailer yet...HERE! Squeeeee...Literally, one of the highlights of my year! Ok now on to the post..*All images taken from Pinterest .)

I enjoy Michael Pierce's videos on Personality. They are usually around a twenty minute verbal and  visual window to introducing people to their cognitive based personality types. After my friends watch theirs, I send them over to Personality Hacker for specific articles and podcasts, but I usually use Michael Pierce's videos first. Below is the INFJ Video. HERE is the link as well. It's my type thus I am going to leave quotes that hit me specifically below and the time they are on the video with expanding thoughts. Also, if I say it's "bits" or "segments" in the time slot, you could benefit from listening to that point and not just the written quote:

I am skipping the introduction because listening to it gives context to the first quote below so I hope readers will listen to it first...

"...are audacious observers and profilers. These insights are very matter of fact and while the ISTP is far more wiling to share them despite the feeling concepts the INFJ will very much censor themselves for the sake of others. They are remarkably sensitive to the implications of their experiences. Metaphorically they have highly sensitive spiritual skin...as a natural result of this they feel the need to protect this skin with various layers of armour and clever strategies of escape and withdrawal from emotional threats.." (1:22- 1:42 Michael Pierce)

The whole video resonates but I love how the beginning starts off with the fact that INFJ's will censor themselves for others. I am constantly censoring myself almost 98 percent of the time and I don't do it for myself at all. I agree that I have a sensitive spiritual skin and I do protect with layers of armour and strategies of escape. My brain is always pondering these boundaries and protections in any given circumstance.

"...so remarkably private and reserved and their primary response is to withdraw...( fun part to listen to here- recommend) should they be caught and kept from retreating...um well, have you ever been bit by a wolf spider? Thus, the warmth of the INFJ is not unlike a genuinely caring and gracious host. Very willing to let just about anyone into their house but depending on the person very particular to which rooms can enter and enjoy and which are kept forbidden to them and how long they may stay in the house at all. But they do any thing in their power otherwise to do their duty to mankind to make their guests stay as comfortable and refreshed as possible." ( Bits from 2:08-  2:55 Michael Pierce)

Lol yes, should I be caught...Yikes a wolf spider is accurate! Don't withhold me when I need to retreat. However, most times I do not need to, in the circumstances I put myself in, and I love to host and meet the needs of people at my own leisure. It is true that both in my emotional psyche and my own home I have things that are forbidden to people yet the rooms that are open are to be enjoyed. I also tend to have time limits. I often feel stretched over two hours, unless it is broken up by a show or movie, then I can go on for awhile longer visiting between and after...but even if I am enjoying the company of others I have limits to how long I can handle other's energy, how I will pay, and how long I will take to recover.  (There are exceptions to this and long lost friends coming together are often exceptions- K.M...;)

As my family can attest to, I am very cranky towards them when people leave after a longer period of time, even if I was kind and generous during and honestly savouring the company. It takes a personal toll. I feel it is my duty. It does not come out of feeling although feelings CAN come later, as will be explained later in the video, but rather a sense of duty to what I want to achieve for people. And it ends up being my love...  I want them to feel like they have just been at a proverbial spa. The work it takes to create the spa, environment, conversation that is calming and insightful, and the energy taken out by someone in a spa space, is a sacrifice to all who work at the Spa or manage it, but it's one I actually, paradoxically, love to make in general when it is not being taken advantage of.

"...Can come across as obscure, mystic, seer or some other supernatural figure because their process is behind closed doors...in some sense they don't want you to see their house until they have had some time to clean up for you. In that sense they are theatrical. They are there FOR YOU to host and address YOU...very rarely is it the other way around." ( Bits from 3:01-3:30 Michael Pierce)

Yes, I am often told I am mysterious. Which used to baffle me but now I get it and love that part of myself. I prefer most of my process to be behind closed doors. The only exception to this is when I write and also my Instagram. I keep it small and write personal thoughts that I otherwise would not share in person. I consider those on my board an honoured witness to my otherwise private journey. I also consider myself honoured to have them listening to the randoms I put out there...yet even then, it's not my complex thoughts at all. Those I save for rare discussions.

On a practical level, it is true, I actually do not like people seeing my house before I have had time to clean up for them. I am not a clean freak or a type A at all...But I am dramatic. My house is my canvas and I feel it shows off best when clean and everything in it's magical place. It's cluttered and bohemian but particular in placement. The statement that INFJ's are there for YOU to host and address YOU and very rarely have it the other way is true. I have a very tough time being hosted. Very rarely do I enjoy it. I prefer to be there for others. I prefer to centre my space around others instead of being hosted on by them.  There are exceptions to this however (my mother, my childhood best friend, my husband, grandmother ect.) but generally it's how I work the best.

(Video worth listening to onward...)

"...Sharp contrast between the shallow courtesies of small talk and disarmingly intense and deep exploration of subjects. There is little to no gradation of the shallow and deep ends of the pool for them." (3:47- 3:56 Michael Pierce)

It's very true that I can jump from shallow courtesy to immediate depth in the span of a minute and see it as related. Unfortunately, unless the person is a type that shares one of my main cognitive functions this isn't an easy path to follow. Most people will say, "What did you just say?" or "Say that again" or my favourite "Where did that come from?" Though I see it as connected.

"The image overall - a mysteriously wealthy newcomer to town...generous but almost off putting ...
to where they come from..." ( Bits taken from 4:09-  4:22 Michael Pierce)

Yes, I like to benefit people with my spaces but if the conversation is turned to my inner workings I gently lead it back around to the other. That is what my writing is for. If they care to learn about me, I feel they should read my writing, instead of have me explain. If I sent them something it is not out of a belief they SHOULD read it but an invitation TO read. If they do out of desire and a genuine connect I feel they just got my part of the conversational sharing:) I don't have the patience or desire to repeat most conversations and I find myself clearer about my own self in writing. My biggest love language is verbal validation with comments or paying attention and giving feedback to my written word. This does not apply to those who are not reading out of spite, vindictiveness or to try to figure me out for curiosity sake. But the ones who take the time to care about my writings or are genuinely loving them or finding insight, validation or encouragement...or even relating- those are often my most favourite people because I don't have to explain myself. They have taken the time to know. Then when they are in my space I will make SURE it is all about them.

(From 4:49 onward he gets into the cognitive functions which are important but I will make the assumption that most searching this post already know those or will watch it themselves:) 

"...Easily grasping complex subjects...they watch the motions of causes and implications that are hidden beneath the surface appearance of events. INTJ's deal with their NI insight by reconciling by their personal value system...the INTJ therefore comes to have very deep desires or sometimes perhaps fears regarding their insights...deep feelings naturally motivate strong forward action to bring things to pass or prevent them. But the INFJS realm is to introverted intuition and thinking, therefore they are instead reconciling their intuitive insights with a valueless logical, rational system with a purely rational blueprint of the universe. Feeling only enters the picture, when the INFJ considers the implications of their ideas for others and their well being. They are motivated instead to understand the universe in a rather ISTP way and impart that knowledge to others in a way that will benefit them. The INTJ starts however, with the evaluation of the vision, deciding for and of themselves whether it's good or bad, and blue prints do not come into the picture until the INTJ begins bringing the vision about. The INTJ then is much more of a visionary in the regular sense of the world, the INFJ on the other hand takes on the relatively passive, contemplative wisdom imparting role of the wise man." ( Bits from 5:48-7:38 Michael Pierce. I highly recommend to listen to this whole part if you are an INTJ or INFJ)

It is true that as an INFJ, I find complex subjects easy to grasp...explaining this outside of paper and pen/computer and screen (or my brain for that matter!) is not as easy! My bestie is an INTJ which makes sense because we both share the NI insight. Where we are different is how those insights come across. She will often be motivated into action to do something or prevent something with her insights. I will want to assess and step back without feeling at first to see the whole picture, then I will ADD feeling when I speak for the sake of others. It's actually a choice I have when I consider the implications of my ideas that my insights will have on other people. I want the world to be a better place. I want the well being of souls to be high on the priority list.

My INTJ friend is a visionary. Especially in the real definition of the word! Amazing! However, I often prefer to have the same insights but look at them from a place of passivity and understanding to then impart to others. I do like the role of a wise man. The wise man or woman in every story I read was the character I wanted to be or could relate to. It was never the main hero. It was the seer or the witch, or the outcast who came for an instant to say something profound and then hermit away once more.

"If there is anything the INFJ lives for it is to positively impact others through their hard earned wisdom and understanding. To enlighten others like a wise man...( a lot more verbal explanation here to listen to) always something to do with the well being of other people..." ( 7:38-  7:60 Michael Pierce)

Yes! And I DO feel it is hard earned. A fact I wish those who asked for my advice would take seriously or those who listen to the times I do impart what I see of the world. But, as always, I believe people to be able to take or leave my advice. I value freedom of choice. I am not married to my beliefs but rather see them as observations and outcomes that have been proven over and over to often be true, but a choice that people can take or leave, because ultimately their well being could very well come from making mistakes. Who am I to stop those mistakes? But warning of them, I do feel is my duty, if I see a pattern.

"...To help steer people away from dangers, to help steer them away from something they are unable to see for themselves, so the INFJ takes on the role of a concerned observer who seeks to help, uplift, and edify others with their knowledge even to help them see the world from the INFJS far reaching eyes. In a word... to enlighten them." ( 8:16- 8:38 Michael Pierce)

I am having a tough time not saying a resounding, "Yes!" after each of these quotes. Anyway, steering away from danger is HUGE for an INFJ. We value safety and a lack of harm in general. We observe deeply in a way that most people do not even know they are being observed, but we see patterns in relationships, choices and the environment. We want to use these patterns to uplift those we love. We want to validate where they are coming from but then steer them closer to their own personal deep down desires...sometimes even unknown to them. And help them remove the behaviours or beliefs that are standing in their own way. Enlightenment would be the operative word.
(My daughter was watching Gilmore Girls while I was writing and happened to glance at this picture and laughed, "Oh my mother. So true. You are so funny. I love you.")

"INTJ and INFJ...both dominantly perceiving types, seeking before all else to take in information from the environment without taking a judgment upon it thus very image based with strong imaginations ...seek to open people's eyes to the things they themselves see, especially the INFJ... To shine light on an issue and often do not think to add any meaningful judgment on it, at least not yet, their first concern is to get a clear view of the thing and how it works. This can be confusing to say the INFP because while everything the INFJ says is quite interesting to them none of it seems particularly meaningful to the INFP because of how unattached and impartial the INFJ always strives to be towards things, but the INFJ feels that a judgment of this kind would conceal or could obscure  aspects of the full thing from view. ( 8:44- 9:43 Michael Pierce)

Both my INTJ friend and I LIVE off of taking in information. We are constantly bouncing this information off of each other. It's why we work so well together in general. Neither of us judge the information either. We are both inclined to allow information to be simply what it is with no good or evil attached. I am probably the one more prone of us to share my insights with others. I want to help people open their inner eyes and see connections. Especially if I think it will improve quality of life but I also am not disappointed if it does not, after an initial adjustment phase.

I do find that this is confusing to my INFP friends. While the INFP has much in common with an INFJ they are also VASTLY different. I don't like to have feelings get in the way of the entire process. INFP's are one of the most feeling types so I can see how this would bother. I will of course, consider feelings, but only after the whole picture has been brought to light. To an INFP this can come across as fake or callous.

"It is common for both the INFJ and the INTJ to often feel as though everyone around them does not see as far or as much as they do. Other people do not seem to actually think but always stop short of the fullest version of the thing...the causes and implications from what's on the surface...the INFJ often feels like the enlightenment of others is the goal....feel very alienated from people." ( Highly recommend listening to the rest of this for INTJ and INFJ types. BITS from 9:51- 11:54 Michael Pierce)

The image for the quote above was the new Sherlock, whom I can relate to but is an INTJ. I see myself in the many ways he speaks and observes. He, however, does not bring the feeling of consideration in as much when delivering to others, which is what the INFJ generally strives for. Thus, we have an F instead of a T, even though we are not an exactly a feely type of person. Both my INTJ friends and I often feel like we are aliens apart from others. This is because of our dominant cognitive function that is vastly different from the other types. We do often feel like others are watching an entirely different show from us even when they can relate. In this case it takes one to know one. However, for myself, I feel that enlightenment of others is my goal, but it is NOT for others to see the world my way but to promote perspective for peace.

10:00 - 10:60 made me laugh. INTJ's may laugh too. "They don't believe you either huh?" ha ha...You will have to listen to know why. Then he goes on to contrast the INFP and INFJ. If you are either personality, this part will be particularly interesting to you. I highly recommend the listen.

" Ethical...because you have discovered that you must do it, regardless of how you feel about the matter, Kant later adds that if you happen to want to do it later, all the better...This is very abhorrent...especially to the INFP...reason is conversely treated as impersonal...this view finds its epitome in Kierkegaard who claims the exact opposite of Kant...because you truly DO want to do it..." (Listen to hear for in depth analysis on why ect. Highly recommend the rest of this part. BITS from 12:43- 13:36 Michael Pierce)

The above quote is one of the most important. Regarding the ethics of INFJ's, we are propelled towards morality not by our feelings but by what we must DO. We can feel greatly opposed to something but if we see that it is the action that must be taken, we will do so. I can see why this would especially be disgusting to an INFP who works from a place of feeling into the world. It would seem very impersonal. I agree with Kant but I can see the validity of Kierkegaard, even though I find him not quite deep enough. I also think that just because I agree with Kant more does not mean that Kierkegaard is not valid or of equal standing in viewpoints. In fact, I see both as benefiting to the world at large. We need both.

 "This is why the INFJ can find INFP and other FI preferring types irritatingly selfish and self centred while the INFP finds the INFJ sometimes to be irritatingly insincere and ultimately untrustworthy and unpredictable." (14:08- 14:32 Michael Pierce)

Oh my fellow INFP's...I am surrounded by you on my Instagram and my personal places and let me say first and foremost - I adore you and learn from you. You are valuable and you often bring a missing aspect to the table of my life. On the rare occasion, I can feel slightly frustrated at the constant exaggerated feeling portrayed and I admit I used to find it selfish on the rare occasion. UNTIL I learned about the INFP personality on podcasts and the companion INFP video by Michael Pierce. Then I understood that really it's just the cognitive function stack. You are NOT selfish nor self centred. Just like I am NOT insincere or untrustworthy. Granted, I can be unpredictable. But if INFPs have read in depth at personality hacker about INFJs they will know we deeply value trust and sincerity. Just like I now know that INFPs are not wishy washy artists who do not follow through because of their whims. They are simply feelers whom have a tough time being attached to a particular time or place. Neither is better. Sometimes I will forget this fact and see selfishness but then I remind myself of perception itself and neutrality. Because I WANT to see this instead of use my feelings which can not always be trusted....see what I just did there?:)

"But the INFJ refuses to let anyone see this core because who they are is NOT this primordial core but how they chose to manifest it at any given point for the sake of others..." (14:37- 14:49 Michael Pierce...Fun part about magic tricks following.)

"The INFJ cares about what they actually do about the effects of their actions, while the INFP is more concerned about the intentions and the purity behind their actions." (After this segment he goes on to describe the difference in empathy which is important but I am not going to cover here.)

Can I just say, "THANK YOU MICHAEL PIERCE for pointing this out." An INFJ core is whom we choose to manifest. Our core is NOT our feelings but our choices. Our hearts ARE our minds in a sense. I often don't care about the purity of my actions. In fact, I will often do what is opposite of what I desire for the sake of another. To me that IS authentic because it was a CHOICE I made with self control and observation FOR someone else. My husband is an ENFP and this is where we contend. Because like an INFP he can sometimes think this is unauthentic because it was a choice. I believe both are authentic -  just different processing. I care more about what I do with information and not how I first felt about it.

"...The INFP acting more like a personal therapist, while the INFJ is more removed acting like a personal psychologist or diagnostician. But both still feel very deeply for other people it's just that the INFJS method is to dispassionately understand other people...comes into play as a sense of injustice towards those who created such horrible circumstances for the sufferer and a desire for things to be set right by their TI system." ( 16:36- 17:08 Michael Pierce segments)

Yes, INFPs are amazing at listening. They are sensitive and kind and love to probe people's feelings to get them to a place of safety. My goal is the same but I do seem like I can dissect from a less feeling standpoint. I LOVE diagnosing or helping others find their own diagnosis and a professional to help them out. I feel deeply for others but I find I work best when I detach myself from how I feel and concentrate on how they feel. I will also become the most passionate if I feel a grave injustice has occurred to me or to those in my life. I will definitely be the harshest on those who created a horrible circumstance and I will desire to set it right with my TI system.

INFJ and ISTP similarities from 17:08:

"A common INFJ idea is don't get angry but seek instead to understand. Generally people are all for this idea they think its great until of course the INFJ seeks to understand rapists and child molestors  for the sake of knowledge, and should they present their sympathetic findings, as always in their comforting FE fashion, the contrast between these two things: The FE and the TI honesty, well, the contrast can be rather disturbing." (17:47- 18:16 Michael Pierce) 

I can be angry but often the feelings I have are slight irritation or frustration. It's rare that I am seriously angry. Even when I say trite statements like "That makes me angry." I'm not actually all that enraged because my brain is working to understand what is making me angry while I am saying it. I seek to understand. And yes this has gotten me in trouble. My husband often says that he feels for me because no other type of personality feels and understands their enemies so much. I spend thought into the motivations and trauma of others...what makes them THEM. Even if I do not condone an action I CAN actually understand how it happened. Even when it is done to me. Which is quite conflicting. It's unfortunate that INFJ's will never be given this courtesy, to this extent, by anyone other than another enlightened INFJ. Also, it is true that I present a person's motivation with matter of a fact, deadpan honesty but also with compassionate insight and this can confuse people or even disturb them.

"Sometimes the INFJ DOES get angry or irritated and here, they become rather the opposite of the detached psychologist... It would be a serious mistake to consider the INFJ always dispassionate - they only come off that way because they are following a personal TI sense of duty or set of principles that they will not break no matter what they feel or fancy at a particular moment. " ( 18:16- 18:39 Michael Pierce)

That being said, I DO get angry. And when I do TRULY get angry, anyone in my way will know. I will verbally destroy someone and I have to watch what I say. I come across as neutral a lot because I squelch my own feelings under a sense of duty, but the times that I don't squelch are the times that involve injustice towards me (particularly disability because I know in the end it won't just affect me but the behaviour will affect all those disabled so I am not just angry for myself) or any other person I love.

Usually I have a set of principles I will not break even with those closest to me. I will constantly redirect my negative feelings to find a proper outlet and open communication. As an INFJ, my feelings are secondary.

"As a rule, their strongest principles are towards others welfare and when these are violated in their eyes it is remarkably easy for the INFJ to set all empathy for the trespasser aside." (18:47-18:57 Micheal Pierce)

Yup. All empathy. It's so easy to let go of it all in these circumstances...I also struggle with people whom have biased prejudice, make ignorant assumptions, and critical observations made through a narrow lens. Those attributes get my back up more than anything and unfortunately I have to distance myself from anyone who makes a habit of these statements even if it is grounded in naiveté or I understand where it comes from. First I will try to open the perspective and give a chance for change, but it if still happens regularly it's distance, distance, distance.

(19:01 made me chuckle too...I can see that and yes, it comes out occasionally in my writing...LOL the examples slayed me...but as any INFJ can attest to- too true, too true. Yet, we have Ghandi as one of our own so I am not too concerned.)

"There is a sense both to INFJ's and INTJ's of wanting to scour the whole entirety of existence and experience in the most raw and real way. For INFJ's this is often a method of shocking people by suddenly illustrating something with unprecedented graphicness. Perhaps the best example of this is Dostoyevsky who described the brutal murder and depravity in his stories with solemn but unflinching honesty. Another example would be Dante who gave the scenes of hell an unsettling realism and rawness." (21:24-  21:57 Michael Pierce.)

The writers he discussed I relate to yet I can not handle reading in large doses. Why? Because it's already my brain in the works. My ENFP husband ADORES Dostoyevsky, and years before I even knew about personality, I said to him in response to his question on why I will not read Dostoyevsky in large amounts, "Because my brain already lives in that frank darkness, I see the depravity and it hurts ALL THE TIME. If I read, I want a reprieve from what and whom I am in general. While I love intellectualism and will read some of his brilliant thoughts I can only take it in doses. I need light and fluffy to counter balance myself." After reading personality this made even more sense. I relate to INFJ writers but I don't crave reading them all the time. My husband does because it is deep enough for his brain but different enough from his own cognitive stack to be hugely insightful and mind blowing. I adore Spinoza but I can't handle a ton of him...it's too much like my own mind. Although there are exceptions of course like Montaigne and J.K Rowling whom I can not get enough of because I relate so well. But if I am going to pick a philosopher to read more in depth it is usually an INTJ. I LOVE Friedrich Nietzsche! Because it's similar to my thought as we are both NI dominant but since we portray it differently I can learn a little bit more and chew on a bit more information that can be slightly different from my perspectives but I can still grasp. I have heard the same said about INTJ's regarding INFJ's philosophies.

If I wanted to describe something in gruesome detail I could. Even in my writings I do not go towards poetry often or words that evoke deep feeling. That type of writing most likely manifests in an INFP writer like Tolkien or C.S. Lewis. I prefer to write matter of fact paragraphs with imagination swirling through on occasion. I prefer to write to shake the common beliefs surrounding, give alternatives, and pure reality. I want rawness...while I deeply enjoy beautiful lyricism I prefer it with a dose of reality and have a tougher time reading pure poetry. It's not better...it's not less...it just is what speaks to me as an INFJ.

If you found this insightful I strongly urge you to enjoy all or any of Michael Pierce's videos on personality types.  Also I strongly urge you to listen and watch the entire podcast to get the context of the quotes as well as the fun cartoons and pics in the background. If you crave more after watching, the best site is Personality Hacker for personal podcasts found HERE. I also have another post on INFJ personality, which happens to be the top hit on my blog daily, HERE. 16 Personalities is the best place for a common, quick written overview of each personality. (click HERE.)

My hope is greater understanding to create a better world. Understanding creates peace. Peace promotes an environment of love and well being. May it be.

I'm leaving the below pin because it resonates and makes me laugh:


Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Importance of Physiotherapy for Chronic Illness, Weight, Muscle Weakness, and Injury.

It took me a month plus a couple days to really face the fact that I gained two extra sizes in clothing. But I can honestly say I have adjusted now. (See previous post HERE.)

I have a plan and it's no longer hinging on weight loss. First, I saw my therapist and doctor. We figured out that while I am eating fairly great ( I have made a few tweaks here and there but nothing major... less cream in my tea ect.), and walking almost every day, my muscle weakness is not burning calories for me. I have the bare amount of muscle to get by in life. He said, even if I am walking, I won't lose because my muscles aren't engaged enough to burn calories, thus he wanted me to start muscle training and squatting. My heart sunk at this statement because I knew my history. I try exercise, it goes well for maybe a few days, then I put my back out, injure myself and end up far worse than I was before. And depressed. He told me to work with my physiotherapist to come up with a plan that could work. That felt hopeful.

I can not stress enough, the importance of Physiotherapy to anyone who is suffering chronic illness, muscle weakness, fatigue and injury (all of which I have.) Because my physiotherapist is well versed in my whole physiology and muscle composition, she automatically ruled out squats. Our goal will be to GET me to a point where I can manage squats. It will take a few months. Which is both depressing and validating all at once. She said because of my back injury and because my muscles are so weak, I cause myself injury because I lift from my back, which can't withstand the weight. My back is stronger than my thigh muscles which shows the imbalance of my body. Basically we have to start from breathing exercises, triggering stomach muscles into action carefully, and basic lifts. She gives me little exercises every day to build on. I see her regularly. In the last session, I was allowed on the bike for six minutes but then she wouldn't let me use any resistance. What's hilarious is a seventy year old was using resistance beside me for longer. Which was depressing and humorous all at once. I'm really laughably sore and it has only been two weeks of daily intentionality. But I have lost one full pound in that time, so I really do think that muscle control/burning was my missing puzzle piece. Someone suggested I run but she said no running ever  because my postural muscles are not strong enough to sustain the wear and tear running causes. Plus, my one leg is shorter than the other which requires balancing muscles... so there goes that plan - luckily we don't live where the lions are.

I want to be strong. I miss being able to do simple hard work without paying for it. I resent disease and dyspraxia combined causing this, plus a past injury. I envy those whose bodies are lucky enough to do squats without preparation. Who can build muscle simply for more strength and enjoyment. I miss moving muscle for muscle sake. I'm craving energetic activities. I want to be back in the game. I will do what I can for the stage my body is at. My husband reminded me to be grateful I can do this much compared to a year ago. Chronic illness can be so vast for different people and it's important not to judge myself against anyone else. 

For years, I would try different exercise programs and end up in bed for weeks at a time. I WANTED to get in shape. I desired to be strong, but no matter what I tried from high intensity to gentle yoga or stretching, I would cause further harm and injury. Some of this was because Dyspraxics can't often tell how much pressure they are applying in the moment or even really feel strain until a few days later. But most of the issue was that, despite doctor's aid or permission for "lighter" programs, I was missing a piece of the puzzle. Physiotherapy. I needed a trained health care professional well versed in the muscle composition of the body, to start me off slowly and re train my weird body to get to a point when I can even begin to do an exercise program. My first physiotherapist was previously a Gynaecologist as well and she was the one who informed me of my back, hip and abdomen injury composition. We worked for five months on breathing alone before she moved ( I was at a point in anemia where I barely functioned.) Where I live, the physiotherapy is free but it's a two year waiting period. So I waited while walking (the only activity I could manage and if I walked too much in one day I would still put my hip/lower back out) and I gained a bit in the meanwhile, and finally received a phone call a year and half later to meet my new physio gal.

TIP: Getting to know your physiotherapist is quick because they have their hands on every aspect of your body within the first session. It's always uncomfortable for me because I am actually a private person, despite what comes across on this space. I learned from the first time that it's important to wear flexible, form fitting capris, tanks and over shirts that can come off. I also wear socks even though I don't wear socks in minus 4o degree weather in my outdoor boots. I hate socks so much and they often make me feel colder.  But at Physio I wear grip ones because runners are a pain to change into (plus I don't own any) but bare feet is gross on the hospital floor plus they also tend to touch the feet a lot, so I don't want them to deal with anything unpleasant. Even with the appropriate attire, they tend to lift up clothing.  No area of the body is off limits. They assess EVERYWHERE. Something I was not prepared for the first time I went in. It's professional but it DOES feel invasive as they press into your buttocks to feel the muscle groups, lower pelvis and so on. I also make sure my legs are waxed/shaved/ ect. and I smell good because I can't imagine how that job would go for them dealing with so many aspects of various bodies. If you feel uncomfortable with a certain gender, keep these aspects in mind when choosing a physiotherapist.

My priorities have gone from wanting to lose weight to wanting to gain strength. The weight was my trigger point. I will admit I plummeted into an obsessive state for a few weeks. I got a calorie counter (and found out I am usually 200 calories under what I need to lose weight so that wasn't super helpful but I use it every day to see how I can maximize the healthier calories first.) I scrutinized the mirror for fat lumps. Basically I was off balance in my perspectives. But I needed to move through that phase to get to where I am now. It's just how I am. I spend a couple months in obsessiveness when a change happens, then I adjust my perspectives, change some things, let it go, and move on.

I realized, like anything, there are pros and cons to weight gain or loss. When I look at normal people and weight changes, I see the good and the bad. The thinner I get, the more wrinkles show ( unless using botox ect.), dark circles are more obvious, there is a general lack of glow, smaller boobs ( a con for me- ha ha), and less of a square face shape. With weight gain I benefit in different ways. However, on the flip side, when I am a few sizes down from where I am now, I fit into clothes I love. I get to shop at my favourite store which does not carry much at the size I am currently at, and come home with loads of happy options. I feel better belly wise. I tend to carry the most on my belly and I like it not digging into my pants. 

When I looked at this list, I realized that the weight no longer mattered anymore. I am what I am. Both sizes have attributes I miss in the other category. Both have aspects I benefit from. However, I realized what DOES matter to me is strength. I was getting the two mixed up. I want to be able to lift my nephew without putting out my back. I want to spend more hours with him than I usually can manage, because I am stronger. I want to be able to open jars without calling my kids or having to skip out on it entirely because no one is around to help me. I want to be able to carry a box without injury, lift groceries without feeling a rip in my side, manage the times the kids pile up on me and I can't breathe, dance without getting out of breath (due to anemia but I think strength will give more oxygen), and any other numerous activities that require muscle tone.

I don't want to be a weight lifter nor am I in admiration for the look of muscles. It's fine if people look like that, but it has never been a goal for me. It's not about looks at all...it started out that way admittingly, but I have moved on. It's about quality of life. I finally think I have found a way to master aspect of chronic illness plus meet my body from a place of strength. I felt hopeless for so many years, watching others be in health, muscle and achieve awesome goals for themselves. But now, I have my new physiotherapist. I make sure I engage in her exercises every day. 

This may seem small to most, but I feel so sore every night. Last night I tossed and turned till three because my abdomen was burning so much. I have to apply hot packs (at her suggestion.) But, it's been two weeks and I have not put out my back yet! Which is amazing. For the first time since my early twenties, I feel that I may be able to heal parts of my body. She thinks that we MIGHT be able to heal the injury spot. She says it will always be a problem area but if we do the right muscle groups, we may be able to trigger it less and less! That is HUGE for me. She also suggested I see my naturopath again to get more minerals into my body. I feel these are all things I can do. For so long my life has been about what I can't do and what I can't eat. I suddenly feel empowered. There are small changes happening already but it's not automatic or linear. It's the long haul journey of setbacks and forwards. I want to enjoy it...I think I can do this.

Coming from a place of empowerment versus helplessness is so important. I highly encourage anyone who is suffering from chronic illness, injury or Dyspraxia to find a knowledgeable physiotherapist. She has made all the difference for me. I finally feel hopeful in these aspects of life.

Song Choice: Michael Buble's new album came out. Love this song- it encompasses how I feel:

Friday, October 14, 2016

Dyspraxia Awareness, Weight Fluctuations, and Body Image and the Light that is you.

I love the light on this photo. It was a mistake. Because I didn't realize the flash was on the mirror it did this neat floaty, gauzy effect giving the illusion that I'm holding light. Which was a little parable in itself. Most of my mistakes can be turned around into some sort of beauty. I have to always remind myself that just because it wasn't intentional does not mean it can not be made intentionally into something good.

Being Dyspraxic means I get to make mistakes into beauty often. Or at least own my perspective on them. I wrote about the struggles HERE (click) and it happens to be the third top hit on this blog. Which shows that people want and need to hear about the struggles adults have with Dyspraxia. Since I wrote about the struggles thoroughly I won't get into them here. Instead I will leave a link with my favourite paragraph of another's journey with Dyspraxia or Developmental Coordination Disorder which both my son and I have been diagnosed with. (His also come with a very low processing speed while I have a high processing speed...so he struggles more than I do and has multiple learning disabilities due to the .75 processing speed.) The blog below reminded me that it's Dyspraxia Awareness week...I never remember any of these things but they can be good prompts for writing sometimes. 

"Sometimes one line of the algorithm will be deleted and the information will need inputting again, especially if the algorithm is a fairly long sequence of steps. Dyspraxics often have difficulty remembering a lot of instructions at once, so for example whilst cooking we may completely miss out a certain stage. To compensate for this we often have to have instructions written down.
There are also simply times when random errors occur in the algorithm. Continuing on from the cooking example, there are times when things will be dropped and spilt – things that are definitely not in the programming code! If a line of the code is randomly changed without warning, this can often cause the operating system to crash and go into chaos – i.e. a complete panic when our routine suddenly changes! The DYSP operating system is simply unable to cope with this sudden change effectively, whilst other operating systems can. "
The fact above is part of the reason why I have a complete meltdown when my favourite jeans will not fit up my thighs. Most people have a tough time with this, but for me it is so much more than weight. The toughest part is the ADJUSTMENT. It's bad enough when I have to adjust my operating system to the rest of the world but when it happens WITHIN me...well, that causes my entire self to crash for a bit. It feels sudden and I don't know what to do with it. The clothes that were comphy standards can no longer be worn. It feels like putting away friends.

Now I know that there are a lot worse things than losing clothes. My husband often remarks that he is baffled at how I am a soldier when it comes to the big events of life. I can cope with death,trauma ect. with resolve, but the little things throw me into complete meltdown. One of the biggest meltdown triggers for myself is weight- either losing it or gaining it. It's not just about gain... I love a woman with curves just as much as a woman who is thin. I love all types and even on me I end up liking whatever. READ THIS POST FOR MORE. I end up rocking whatever I have to deal with and loving myself... but I have to be honest,  it takes me a lot of time to adjust to that point of acceptance. Whether going thinner or bigger. Thinner is slightly easier due to the clothing factor because there are usually more options. Something I hate clothing companies for.

Because of Dyspraxia and Autism I can't handle the abstract reasons for it all. I can be abstract when it comes to my beliefs, stances, thoughts ect. but when it comes to physical things I become a tad black and white. I'm baffled at my fluctuations and why they happen. I'm not a yo yo dieter. I'd rather die than upchuck (I can't even say the other words) I don't misuse, abuse or over exercise. In other words my body is my temple. While I don't exercise either due to pain, I force myself to walk almost every day and I attend physio every week.  I don't drink because of Lyme disease issues nor use any sort of medicinal helps. I don't take Tylenol even when in large amounts of pain unless desperate. I'm so aware of all I put in, on and around my body that it baffles me when my hair falls out in clumps still and my weight yo yos around like a crazy train wreck. It just makes me so confused and I hate being confused... ha ha I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to my body. Why is that? Because so often I am out of control. With Dyspraxia I am constantly running into things, hurting myself and being clumsy. With Autism I am continually experiencing sensory overload. (Click HERE and HERE for more.) So I control what I can. Most people feel like this sometimes, but imagine feeling like you are walking a tight rope of complex wires all the time. One wrong move and you fall. When you are differently wired you need to have a bit more control or things spiral. Without control we lack autonomy. Without autonomy we lack respect, health and general well being. Without well being, well, you get the idea.

I have the hardest time lately and most of it is due to not fitting in my clothes. I cried. Which is both ridiculous and not... at once. It sounds so shallow but I'm a person who generally only swims in the deep ends of thought, conversation, and BEING. Thus, it is more complex than it sounds. It is about so much more than a few pounds. It's about more than body image as I generally have that down after an adjustment period of acceptance. It's always a cycle for me. I struggle at first, then I justify, then I accept, then I am free. And then it begins again. I'm human after all even if I am a differently wired one that often feels like a different species. Which brings me back to the image at the beginning of this post in my white tank top. Instead of a photo of the outfit and my extra poundage, I accidentally received an image of a light carrier. Something I should have seen in myself all along. Something I strive to see in others. Something that is usually hidden but should not be overlooked. Another lesson and beauty moment given to me by my differences. My lack of memory and mistake giving me a visible reminder of what I can BE.

When I used to be a Christian in the nineties...(yes this ages me) I ADORED Michael W. Smith. I liked the almost whiny tone of his timbre. His voice was soothing to me. His lullabies for my kids I still listen to today, his christmas tunes, and the songs for his girls. I sing "Anna" to my girl often. I guess my range of music tastes falls into my many paradoxes and ironies. I can listen to songs about god without applying them like I used to but still appreciating them. Anyway, the lyrics to one song I often listen to when I am feeling very insecure is in the video below with it's hilariously epic eighties guitar rift. Here is my favourite lyrical segment that fits this post;
"You -Going through this stage, It's a restless age. Young and insecure. Still. There are doubts to fade, Moments to be made And one of them is yours . On the wire, Balancing your dreams, Hoping ends will meet their means. But you feel alone. Uninspired. Well does it help you to? Know that I believe in you?" 

ONE OF THEM IS YOURS. That's a beautiful sentiment. Often people with disabilities or differences will feel like they will not have their own moments (be it family, career, future or even daily little moments they can call theirs even with aid and support around.) They can feel like each time they seem to get something of their own it is taken away by either someone else or ironically themselves because of their own wiring. Some of our own moments are not accepted or considered out of the norm and judged when we are at our happiest. It can be hard. 

I am here to say that I have struggled. I still struggle. But I have had gorgeous moments with people, experienced depths of beauty in nature, made deep lasting friendships and happy short ones, and have lived some enchanting moments. If I continue to live I will continue to struggle but I will also continue to get the beauty too. The light is sometimes unexpected but it's there. Sometimes you have to make a few mistakes to get to it.

For what it's worth...I believe in your light. I believe in you, in kindness, and in bravery and beauty. Especially those who struggle with differences or struggle to see light within themselves.

Song Choice: Emily- Michael W. Smith ( I have no idea whom the people are in the video. It was the only version I could find.)
P.S. If you have read any of my other posts you know that I believe in darkness too...for without it there would be no light. I hold both in equal esteem but sometimes one needs to be focused on more. Even being an aspiring beam of light at times I am also an aspiring holder of the darkness  appropriately as well. I feel both are legitimate. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Guest Post From Erin: When Do We Get To Be Autistic?

POST EDIT: I also read the post in the links Erin had and THIS (CLICK) one was so on target too, I could have written it.
The following is a guest post from Erin at this blog:  https://eisforerin.com (CLICK) I have always loved Erin's posts and look forward to the insights in her writing. This post resonated with me because no matter how much I advocate, find great support, or accept myself in all my differences, I still often find that I am censored for who I am simply because of the world we live in. I do not think most would guess it from my posts or emails, that most blogs I debate over posting at all. I often feel tempted to whisper my stories, truths or being. Even on forums, I find myself heavily editing. It's who I am partially and partially whom I have to be. 
If I don't have a voice and allow myself one, how will my children get theirs? How will our world hear diverse ways of being? My blog space hits people usually one of two ways- they write me telling me what they hate, how I am judgmental or any numerous ignorant comments that are listed below and how I should be on a private space...or how I have touched their lives for the better, how I made someone feel less alone, how I soothed, encouraged and inspired...and how I am a voice worth BEING. I have learned to take both with a grain of salt, but the difference isn't that my writing is so crazily different on each page but that the audience member is very different in how they perceive who I am. 

I learned some lessons the hard way that I feel are unfair lessons to learn in the first place. Some were well intentioned and others were mockery guised as "helping me." I was told, multiple emailing a few days in a row, even if it is genuine and just how I communicate "was wrong" or "too much" or "inconvenient for people." I was told my emails, texts or time spent talking were "too long" and that length meant that I was aggressive, upset, trying to defend myself or taken as harm intending. This baffled me. I was just being me. I am long winded because my brain needs to discuss all thoughts. To me they are woven together but when I put them down, I need more time to get to my point. Plus, writing is the only place where it is clearer and where I can communicate the most effectively so of course it will be longer if I have to stay silent elsewhere. I have learned how to shorten this in general but it's painful to do so. My thoughts were- if people don't have time- simply delete and skip. If they love me they will just smile and save it for later, skim it or ask me if it was important to read. If they don't love me they can block me. I thought it was pretty straightforward as that is what I would do.  Turns out most people prefer to mock, make me pay with petty comments at dinners for my differences, joke with little digs, call me on it, tell me what the "appropriate behaviour" is, fix me, ask me to change or take offence.  I had to learn the hard way how to communicate "appropriately" though most rules still seem silly to me and inconvenient but I try to follow them as best I can to cause the least harm. It seems unfair that a simple difference can cause so much uproar and indignant outcries from others...and that if I write about it- I am apparently revelling in bitterness. The difference between a normal perception and mine...Just because I write about it to bring it to light- does not mean I am feeling anything about it at all other than genuine bafflement or injustice.

I have also heard numerous times that being autistic is easier than any other difference to find support. That apparently the Autistics get all the aid, the support and the time. Nothing could be further from the truth. Only one professional actually knew as much as me on MY OWN CONDITION. Which is very frustrating when you are seeking counsel. On the government websites and  previous others who received funding, I learned that the funding often ironically is most often approved based on our co conditions like Dyspraxia/ DCD / severe Anxiety and ADD ironically. I have had to fight to be heard and I have to normalize to be respected. 

I have to seem capable to get the results out of the world, but seem incapable to get funding. An irony that my children also face. I have heard it's because I am "high functioning"  (a concept that I don't believe in -SEE WHY HERE) that I don't need aid. I have been hushed, censored, mocked and strongly disliked because of my autistic brain. I get that not everyone will like me. I am not a person who can have a numerous amount of friends and stay happy and sane, due to being an INFJ, so that does not bother me. What DOES bother me is being disliked simply because of my differences in communication. It's not right and those kind of mentalities will also bleed into the world, my children, and the future.
My favourite paragraph from Erin was her third from the bottom of this article. I fluctuate between feeling somewhat safe on my own forums and being a confident, vulnerable voice to feeling completely unsafe outside of my home or even on my own blog/spaces ( even with people I generally trust.) Sometimes, after I hit publish, my stomach crinkles up and I have a tough time sleeping. Always, I edit the piece at least ten times within the hours after because my words are so often taken the wrong way. It's sadly, just part of being autistic in the world we live in. I am glad that at home, I can be Autistic fully, as it is the only place that this actually can happen. I am glad my children and husband accept me as me. It's wonderful. Even then, I can say some things that sound as not what they are intended to and accidentally hurt, but the difference is, that my little family GET that it's who I am, realize after their hurt that my communication style is different and allow me to be Autistic. I wish that could be true elsewhere...

Erin puts this concept into better words. Enjoy her insights- The following are ALL her words, guested with permission. See more at her space in link above:
Image is a yellow/blue watercolored background with the text: I have been congratulated for “overcoming autism” : a well meaning gesture that means nothing at all. For a time I thought this was applause for having the ability to pass, but I have learned that it’s code for “we expect you to act normal now and anything that you can’t do we will consider a personal failing.” – eisforerin.com
I’m seeing a new therapist and I’ve told her how much I like to write; last week I told her that I haven’t blogged in a while because I haven’t had the time, but this morning I told her that I’ve realized I am not writing because I don’t know what to say.
She told me that it’s important to keep doing this so that I have a voice.
So I’m going to try to say some things.
I have a friend who is autistic and also a kind of mentor to me, someone who’s been around for longer and I look up to her because I admire her sense of fairness and the way she applies a gentle touch to fighting for social justice. And also because she has this way of leaving me with these jewels of words that I keep forever – and she probably doesn’t realize she does this, but perhaps she will recognize herself when she reads this – like when I fretted that my inability to express convincing enthusiasm would put her off and she told me, “you don’t have to do the face with me.”
And when we were talking about another autistic person who was under fire for the way they talked to other activists and she said that she was sad because she knew this person was kind and thoughtful and was being misunderstood because of their communication style, which made her wonder, “when do they get to be autistic?”
This is a post that is not about me, or it’s partly about me, but it’s also about all of us. We’re pattern seekers, you see – we Autistics. Or maybe “pattern receivers” is a better phrase, as so often the patterns just seem to be there, revealing themselves to us. The pattern that lately reveals itself to me everywhere I turn is that it’s still not acceptable, sometimes not safe, to be Autistic in this world, no matter how much lip service is paid to awareness or acceptance.
This is about me, and it’s about all of my friends.
It’s about my friend A whom I won’t name without permission but who has spent hours with me dissecting what is really going on in our conflicts with non autistic people and how to balance self care with bridge building and… well. Without A I don’t know what I would have done these past few months, really.
It’s about the people at the Autism Women’s Network meetups who express how much they long to show the world what they can do, what they have to offer, what they’re good at, but struggle to attain even the most basic supports, not because those supports are impossible for others to provide, but because the people in neurotypical environments think that we should be able to just suck it up and deal with: painful lighting, overwhelming noise, fast transitions, sudden schedule changes, our inability to communicate verbally under stress.
The awkward thing about being an autistic adult who communicates in words is that we are expected to have “overcome our autism” when we have no such goal even if it were possible (spoiler alert: it’s not). I have personally been congratulated for overcoming autism: a well meaning gesture that means nothing at all. For a time I thought this was a kind of applause for having the ability to pass, but I have learned that it’s code for “we expect you to act normal now and anything that you can’t do we will consider a personal failing.” For adults who were not diagnosed until adulthood or are not diagnosed but have self identified, this goes double.
We still ping as different, as other, as unacceptable; but everything that pings as non-typical about us is attributed to a cause that is NOT autism – it’s just a character flaw or something we are doing wrong.
– if you have social anxiety, actually you are just
—> rude, unfriendly, antisocial, self-isolating, a misanthrope, a snob
– if you have a direct communication style, actually you are just
—> rude, confrontational, aggressive, insensitive, argumentative
– if you are drawn to deep connections in conversation, actually you are just
—> too serious, too intense, a downer, socially awkward
– if you have sensory aversions, actually you are just
—> fussy, entitled, irritable, negative
– if you have executive functioning challenges, actually you are just
—> lazy, disorganized, incompetent, a complainer… or not that smart.
So the people who “just don’t see it” when you say you’re autistic or who think it’s so great that you’ve “overcome” the way your entire mind and body are designed simply because you can say words with your mouth or type words with your fingers (sometimes), definitely see that you are not like them. They’ll tell you so all the time, in their own way.
I worry that because I fumble to express myself in a room with people but manage to find my words when I’m alone with my fingers on the keys, I will be seen as
—> disingenuous, passive aggressive, two faced, or just plain
Crazy, like those old coworkers once called me when they found my blog…
I’ve had a pervasive feeling of not being safe lately that’s been impossible to shake. I don’t mean that I have felt myself to be in physical or mortal danger, but my soul, my true self, is afraid to come out. I’m aware of being too much, too intense, too serious, too too… . I worry that owning the word disabled will cause people to see me as incompetent. I feel that asking for more help or support will cause others to think that I can’t do it at all. I can’t stop pushing myself to prove my worth through my hard work. I will wear myself out trying to earn a place in the world.
I look on others who come out to the world with powerful vulnerability, who find their strength in softness, with keen envy. I feel miles away from that. Light years away.
I don’t feel brave enough to speak. But someone told me that I should keep writing because I need to have a voice. If this is my voice, I have some things I’d like to whisper.