Update to The ribbit Saga

This is an update for any who’ve been following my story since I joined the guild back in 2011. Back then, I posted a very long post about having a sort of breakdown because I still couldn’t figure out how to make my way in the world at age 50. It was titled something like “Long, deep post - I could use an ear.” I had a different forum name back then.

A few years ago, I got tested for and diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This has made all the difference in my life - by opening doors for avenues of support and defining my difficulties as something that our society understands. I no longer have to struggle to describe my differences and limitations to people who have trouble understanding me - I can just say “I’m on the autism spectrum” and everyone knows how to treat me accordingly. This is an amazing thing after spending the previous 60 years of my life unsuccessfully trying to get people to believe that I need extra help.

Perhaps the largest effect this has on me is that it tells me where I belong. For the last several years, my process has largely been about letting go of the superman that I (and everyone else) always though I was and accepting the small, limited reality of what I am. Following this path has led me to an understanding of the extent of my limitations. I can now say with near complete confidence that the limitations imposed by the way my nervous system functions leave me permanently at the age of 14.

This realization is still only a few weeks old, but it already feels immensely liberating and relieving. I say 14 because 15 brought admission to the social game of trying on personas, which was a level of abstraction further than my mind could handle. I am unable to enter into the adult world (in many ways) due to the limitations imposed by my atypical neurology. Having this clear view of the nature of my limitations gives me valuable information about where I belong and what parts of life and society I should never expect myself to be able to participate in.

FINALLY! YAY!

Years ago, I wrote here that I had realized that I wasn’t transforming into a butterfly like most people talk about transformation and personal growth. Some of you encouraged me to still see myself as a butterfly, but I’ve continued to discover how it fits for me: I was never a caterpillar, even though everyone told me I was. I always knew I was different - it was obvious if you looked hard enough. I’m a centipede. I’m not meant to become a free, flighty butterfly. I’m meant to stay right here on the ground, continuing to go as slowly as I ever did. This analogy has helped me in my process of letting go of the pretenses of the past and accepting the reality of me that no one ever helped me accept or live with. Now, I’m happy to own the fact that I’m a centipede and not a caterpillar. As a 14-year old, I get to keep my authenticity and innocence and get to stay out of the complications and game-playing of adult society that my brain can’t handle. I’m 60 going on 14. Hehe. I finally know how to keep myself (relatively) sane.

Life begins at 60. Lol.

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Ribbit, you are still a superman in my book. It takes courage, and a lot of it, to open yourself up like you have. I guarantee you that you are good to go, just as you are.

Much love being sent your way>>>>> :heart: :heart: :heart:

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Thanks, Lyn. I hear you.

About 11 years ago, I realized that what had kept me from being able to be the bigness that I naturally am was that I kept trying to expand into the adult world. That kept me in a state of overwhelm that forced me to contract while trying to expand. Trying to expand kept me small. I realized that the only way for me to be as big as I am is to crawl into a hole that’s small enough to not be overwhelming for me. That’s what I’ve been doing since then. I’ve made a lot of progress and am getting close to finding that small hole. I still have a bit of fight in me about having to let go of so many possibilities for my life, but most of the distance has been covered and I’m getting close to home. Letting myself be small is allowing me to be big. Sometimes the craziest-sounding wisdom is the most potent. :wink:

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We love you for being able to open up like this. Always loved reading your prose in the old forums and new.

Hello Ribbit,

Thank you for sharing. I think being on the Autism Spectrum Disorder while navigating all of life is a difficult task. Like you, I’m almost 60 years old. Like you, I just received a new diagnoses in the past couple of years.

Let’s see, I have pes planus (adult onset flatfoot), hammer toe, arthritis in the hind foot, tarsal coalition, reduced joint space in ankle, peripheral neuropathy, arthritis in the knees, a damaged labrum in one hip, and a torn labrum in the other hip. My legs have been swelling lately and I have varicose veins in the both feet. I think that is everything. Other than that, I’m fine. Luckily for me, I can tie all of this back to my service in the US Army. As a Disabled Veteran, I get pretty good health care from the government and a small amount of disability.

Therefore, you could say that everything below my hips is pretty much shot. Just when I’m sure I have everything worked out, someone figures out another issue I’m having. The issues I’m having have made me change plans. The bad legs preclude me doing certain tasks and hobbies. Another issue, my Wife says each new hobby cost thousands of dollars and a lot of time. Therefore, I have to limit how many hobbies I pick up. However, my disability will not prevent me from transforming again. We do not lose our ability to grow and change because of our disability. You could also make the choice to stay as you are. Not doing something is also a valid choice. I can say that OTG and it’s members will support you in all your future endeavors.

My life is going to change next year. I’m going to turn 60 and retire. I will get about 50 hours a week to do as I wish. FREEDOM! I will have more freedom than I currently have.

Wish List

  • ART

  • Travel

  • Education

  • Gaming

  • Fellowship

I have just about finished my AA in Art. I plan to go on so Art and Education is kind of combined activity. My new found Freedom will allow me to travel on my own schedule. Travel also includes visits to art museums. Gaming is where OTG supports me. I’m thankful for that support. I plan to use some of my Freedom and hang around with other Veterans. OTG and the Vets take care of Fellowship for me.

Anti-Wish List

  • Pneumatic Compression Therapy (14-21 hours a week)

  • Physical Therapy (4-5 hours a week)

  • Budget and Fiscal Matters (1 hour a year)

Their will always be things that eat away at my free time. However, I can do another task while doing the PCT. Physical Therapy can count as physical fitness time. I spend a lot of time reading about money issues, but I have most everything simplified. The only time I really have to spend would be doing the taxes each year.

Our problems are vastly different. However, I think you would find that many people have problems, but they hide them. Since I’m retiring, I don’t have to hide my disability as much. I can be the person I want to be. My journey is no where close to over.

Life begins at 60.

Congrats on your progress. Enjoy your new life. :slight_smile:

I know that everyone has problems. We’re just taught to pretend that we don’t because “no one wants to hear about your pain”. That’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard, so I’m open about my problems and encourage other people to be open about theirs. Having to pretend we’re not who we are doesn’t help anyone. We’re all in this together and we all need each other’s compassion, understanding and support.

This is totally AWESOME! Congratulations and BIG HUGS!! :grin:
L&L,
Kangi