Notes from Between The Worlds: Austim from an Autistic Perspective with Sean Donahue
Here are my notes from this lecture for blood-and-vitriol because I think she might appreciate the information. :)
Sean Donahue is a Traditional Herbalist who lives in British Columbia.
Notes from Between The Worlds lecture:
-For me, personally, I am linguistically precocious and I do well in one setting, but I am often put in overwhelming situations that set up for failure.
Self awareness and connection with the autistic community is healing. It helps us all share successful strategies with each other.
While not for everyone, somatic therapy approach works best for me because I can appear to be progressing in talk therapy, when that isn’t really the case.
-Finding ways to be embodied helps me. Weightlifting by myself has helped me be aware of my body. I weight lift alone because I am not interested in weightlifting culture.
Another way I am embodied is through plants. I work with damiana. It allows me to have plesurable experiences and is relaxing. It pairs well with corydalis as well as prickly ash and wild cherry.
Herbal combinations that work for me:
There is something we call the ‘autistic fog’. Sensory overwhelm can lead to 'fogginess’.
Here is my Between The Worlds formula when I’m moving toward shut down, but I’m not there yet.
-Wood betony for the nervous system in a low dose mixed together with equal parts of Calamus and Mugwort.
If I am already overwhelmed:
Hawthorn is great for early overwhelm.
Keep in mind- if a person is pushing a boundary, this will not work. This only works if I can remove myself from a situation, take my herbs, then return later.
(Answering a question about herbs for autistic children)
-Hawthorn and wild cherry
-Syrups made from these
-Reishi mushrooms are great for long term use.
Kids on the spectrum are excited to try drops of tinctures.
(Answering questions about autism and cannabis)
For me, it can be regulating. It keeps my mind from being a wreck. It’s not for everyone. My favorite combinations for myself are:
-Cannabis and damiana
-Cannabis and calamus
-Cannabis and mugwort
-Cannabis and (a small amount) of wood betony
(Answering a question: Can you speak to the influence of hallucinogens for people on the autistic spectrum?)
For me I feel hallucinogens allow me to get a perspective on myself. I am able to see layers and levels and it’s helped me understand my processing. I have an ongoing relationship with mushrooms. I love engaging them and in different ways.
Hallucinogens are really good internal housecleaners. I make extractions of mushrooms with alcohol and vinegar. The vinegar is for extraction and the small amount of alcohol is to preserve. I usually take 2 drops of this. It enhances my ability to process sensory information.