John Elder Robison dealt with autism for 50 years. He had his life in place, with a wife, son, and a job. Then he underwent transcranial magnetic stimulation, or T.M.S., a non-invasive therapy for depression that is under experimental study for the treatment of autism and other uses. In his case, it was wildly successful, which came with a price. How does one deal with suddenly being “non-autistic” after 50 years?
After one of my first T.M.S. sessions, in 2008, I thought nothing had happened. But when I got home and closed my eyes, I felt as if I were on a ship at sea. And there were dreams — so real they felt like hallucinations. It sounds like a fairy tale, but the next morning when I went to work, everything was different. Emotions came at me from all directions, so fast that I didn’t have a moment to process them.
Before the T.M.S., I had fantasized that the emotional cues I was missing in my autism would bring me closer to people. The reality was very different. The signals I now picked up about what my fellow humans were feeling overwhelmed me. They seemed scared, alarmed, worried and even greedy. The beauty I envisioned was nowhere to be found.
The changes in Robison’s life hinged on the way he had built that life to fit around his autism. It’s a fascinating read that highlights the need to add professional counseling to experimental treatments, just in case they work. -via Digg
(Image credit: Giselle Potter)