My auditory processing was a little patchy at college today, but pretty good considering the busy times I’ve had recently.
Something new is saying things without conscious effort. I no longer think, after a processing time lag: “They said that. What does that mean? How do other people respond to similar thing? What do I think? What do I want to say? How do I say it?” In the past, before Johansen, this processing slog my brain went thorough made every sentence in every conversation really long and difficult. By the time I thought of an answer, (if I heard what friends said in the first place), by then they were already on a new topic. Here’s a computer analogy (because computer analogies seem to make sense for lots of people)- the speed my brain processes at now is like the processing speed of my up-to-date windows laptop, compared to the speed of the room-sized computers people used about 50 years ago. You can probably do on a gigantic, ancient old machine, most of the basic, important things I do on my laptop, such as word-processing and emails. The difference is the effort and energy required for processing. The more energy required, the less energy remaining for other tasks and everyday life. Yes, you can get by with windows B.C. or whatever, but it’s awful nice to be able to read my emails with one click, then just get on with my day.
Nowadays I find myself talking and responding almost spontaneously. It’s less effort, and also a more genuine response from me. I don’t overthink about what to say until the opportunity to speak has gone, with that slow old processing route. My brain is a-moving with the times.
Johansen and MLC therapies really helped by giving me a solid foundation for life. Now, gradually I’m going through stages of development I missed and growing into my own age. For anyone else who has chosen to go down the route of MLC and Johansen therapies, in my experience it is normal to still be seeing improvements 3 or 4 years later. I’m very lucky that I was diagnosed during my teens. As an adult, I would have much more to catch up on, perhaps even most of a lifetime of missed social experience and development. Something I noticed recently is how much I can be influenced by behaviour and information from people around me. I can learn a lot of social skills in one day, and more about myself in the process.
Being able to hear clearly, and also the benefits of MLC, are something to get used to. It takes a while to adapt to your brain’s strengthened, faster-functioning neural pathways. Here’s another computer analogy: It’s like putting the SIM card from an old brick-style mobile into a brand-new smartphone. You know instantly that it works faster and the same old information is there, but you are yet to understand how to use the new system. And with this upgraded version there are new things you can do that you haven’t even discovered yet.
Any emotional habits and problems related to retained reflexes etc. will also have to be dealt with. They won’t vanish overnight. Sometimes it might seem that the same old problems are still there. They might be, but without whatever was holding you back before, this time you can really change.
I once joked that I never got round to being a difficult, stoppy teenager. Well, technically speaking maybe I didn’t. Perhaps stroppy isn’t my natural temperament, but more and more I feel like I’m catching up with my age group. Over the last year I’ve been listening to heavier music, got a new ear piercing, don’t worry so much about the small things, and am finding it considerably harder to get out of bed. Some of that sounds like the beginning of puberty, although I just turned 20. My parents might be relieved that I’ll no longer be living at home with them for the delayed teenage years.
Tonight I had my friends over to watch the end of Hot Fuzz, which is hilarious. One of my favourite films.
One of my friends is teaching me a Death Stare. He’s very good at it. I can’t do it yet without cracking up or smiling. Death Stares could be a very good life skill. Something my friend is teaching me is that sometimes it can be useful to put up a bit of a front to protect yourself from unsavoury types. He’s a really nice person, but can give a stare to freeze your blood.
In the past when I felt threatened I used to go the opposite way, becoming more goofy and confused than before. Safety through looking a bit simple rather than scary. Now I don’t feel confused all the time, and when I’m nervous my brain can still string a sentence together. I don’t need to do this anymore. Within a few years I’ve gone from not talking much at all, to enjoying chatting with new people and making friends. But I’ve only got a few years of social experience, and sometimes have an overly optimistic view of people. I’m still learning how to judge characters. So although socially I’m much more able than before, if one day I realise that I’m in a situation with some bad people, a well-practiced death stare may come in handy.