A frustrating myth that persists about autism is the notion that those who cannot verbalize their thoughts have none. Simply stating it in this article is enough to make most people cock a skeptical eyebrow, Yet the idea hounds autistic folks, fueling ignorant assumptions about functioning and intellect.Read More →
Over the past two weeks I have been reading this grappling true-life story of the son of notary author Danielle Steel. While this book has nothing involved with Autism itself, it does deal with some symptoms many on the spectrum, including myself face regularly.
“This is the story of an extraordinary boy with a brilliant mind, a heart of gold, and a tortured soul. It is the story of an illness, a fight to live, and a race against death.
I want to share the story, and the pain, the courage, the love, and what I learned in living through it. I want Nick’s life to be not only a tender memory for us, but a gift to others. . . . I would like to offer people hope and the realities we lived with. I want to make a difference. My hope is that someone will be able to use what we learned, and save a life with it.”–Danielle Steel
From the day he was born, Nick Traina was his mother’s joy. By nineteen, he was dead. This is Danielle Steel’s powerful, personal story of the son she lost and the lessons she learned during his courageous battle against darkness. Sharing tender, painful memories and Nick’s remarkable journals, Steel brings us a haunting duet between a singular young man and the mother who loved him–and a harrowing portrait of a masked killer called manic depression, which afflicts between two and three million Americans.
At once a loving legacy and an unsparing depiction of a devastating illness, Danielle Steel’s tribute to her lost son is a gift of life, hope, healing, and understanding to us all.
Likewise, as I have spent time nearly each day reading this hearwrenching book of a young man that went through so much, it reminds us to be thankful of the advacnces since he completed his suicide over 22 years ago. DS mentions how the manic depression took a toll on so many but yet she let him follow his dreams with the help of tag-team parenting of a once-in-a blue moon counselor she met in a D&A Program.
However, like many youths even to this day, finding that diagnosis as was in Nick was no small feat as it is today. Plus back then, the meds were powerful and he was in recovery which made more cumbersome. Myself, I have been through several diagnoses over the past three decades before landing with Aspergers in 1998. Furthermore, while I thought of having Bipolar (to which I still have to a degree.) I have been also recently diagnosed with Genreralized Anxety Disorder. Nonetheless, it has taken a great deal of time to get to this point in my recovery and I am not done yet.
Lastly in the afterward of the book, DS mentions the advancement of Depakote to treat the symptoms of the illnesses that her son faced. As one who has take Depakote for over 20 years now can honestly say that without it I wouldn’t be nowhere near as successful as I am today without it. Like her son, when he went some time without his medicine, he was very sick and had a wide array of effects as a result. Myself recently, for one reason or another went through one of those rebellious phases and it became realistic that I needed to take my medicine right soon.
So, if you need a good read of someone who has been there and experienced a rough recovery from mental health symptoms, His Bright Light is defenitly a good read!
Around the time this book was written the author’s name was brought up in conversation as “the one who got it.” Little did I know of 17 years of molding into the man I have become, and a unique 50 cent book in a thrift shop, I would discover that the book would make me get it more.
I was in an interdisciplinary meeting at the time, it was stressful we were about one year out of the RTF, about one year near the completion of High School, yet I was still in services that I now know were at thw time were excessive and not a proper fit given the age. However, in this meeting, a gentleman who was a represntative of the County Mental Health Office, and now serves in a more indirect role of my employment had mentioned the gentleman. Myself and my parents were skeptic and it even brought emotions in the meeting very deeply. However we would move on. By the way that county representative is acknowledged in the book.
Fast forward to two days ago, when I was reading the book, it tells of what we as individuals on the spectrum feel and how we want what we want, and how we express what we express it in the way we do, even if it may seem odd to others, however it is the way it is.
He explains several things that make sense to me. Like the adrediline and cortisol and the necesity to exert energy regularly to relive it as well as the stimming along with the person centered language and the importance of treating an individual on the spectrum for who they are although we are unique in our very own way, to see the entirity of the person as a whole and to have them feel as they feel in their own special way.
Many who have heard of Mr. Stillman have heard of his Wizard of Oz Obsession. As he got older it would be precarious to explain this to a friend, however he was allowed to keep his obsession, in a secluded private place in the home. This being said, any individual has the right to enjoy whatever it is to enjoy. For those who “age out” of that thing to the point where it may seem inappropriate, it is best to find a private place of the home and let that indivual visit that obsesion from time to time. We have to keep in mind this was before the internet came into play, which has made individuals on the spectrum grow their intellect by leaps and bounds. My parents had a conputer given to us by my late uncle in 1998, not many had a computer at the time, I cannot tell you how grateful I am to my uncle for donating that to us. Nonetheless, it has made me mold into my techonoligicla capable self that I am today.
Sometimes, we need to take a break from the Internet and social media and be thankful for the goof old pleasaure of life like the outdoors, friends, family, etc. We are grateful for the advances of technology, however it is important to get active and stay active in many activies that human involvemnt can provide.
Lastly in his biographical chapter of the book, he gingerly discusses his sexuality a bit. While 17 years after this book was published, this was a very heated are to discuss about individuals on the spectrum, i felt it was a necessary component to the whole picuture because sometimes you have no idea what that person feels until you ask them and heck, they may not even know. Yes, the LGBTQ community has come leaps in bounds as a whole, however discrimination still happens, as such I feel there needs to be openess to this subject in both sides of the Autism Spectrum Communities, both in the I/DD field and Mental Health field. Professionals are afraid to ask, training is needed for each and every professional and yes there are views that a person may have, but they have to put them aside to see what makes the person happy. Because once the persons close to them leave, they many not be happy with societal norms and want to believe what they want. We have made policies and statements about this in the governmental communities, however we need to “stick to our guns” in this effect.
The book was one of the best books on the spectrum I have read in a while.