There’s something about being upside down that’s very calming for people with Asperger’s.
When I was a kid I used to lie on my bed, on my back, with my head hanging slightly down, and look at the ceiling. I had a room with a very interesting antique light fixture and dormer windows, meaning that the moonscape of my ceiling was unlike any other, and it fascinated (and calmed) me.
Ditto hanging by my knees from a tree branch or the crossbar of a swing set.
I once had a physiotherapist put me in an “inversion frame,” where I hung upside down by my ankles (with the aid of special hooked boots). It relaxes the spine and reverses the effects of gravity. One day she ran to get the phone and forgot about me. When she returned half an hour later I was sound asleep; this has led to more than one joke about me being part bat. (Or maybe that’s “batty.” Never mind.)
Anyway, my point is that for some of us, upside-down-ness can be a way to cool out a nervous system that’s all Asperger-ed out, for lack of a better word. Yoga teachers, tellingly, save the “inversion” poses for the end of their classes because they’re so relaxing.
I have no idea how it works — you’d have to ask a yoga teacher or a physiotherapist about that — but I know that, for me at least, it does. Apparently it’s also good for varicose veins, so if you suffer from those as well, this is your lucky day!
So here’s how you do it.
1. Pick a bare spot on the wall — you don’t want to be kicking that painting of Aunt Euphemia (or do you?) or accidentally unplugging your stereo.
2. Take your shoes off — bare or sock feet are best unless you enjoy scrubbing your paintwork.
3. Sit on the floor sideways to the wall, with your hip (the side of your bum) and your shoulder touching the wall.
4. Now, lean a bit back and sideways and swing your feet up onto the wall.
5. Lie back and put your arms a bit out to the sides.
Voila! You’re there. Squirm around and adjust a bit till you’re comfy. Your legs don’t have to be straight; in fact, it’s better if they’re a bit relaxed. The point here isn’t “form” so much as “purpose.”
If you like, put on some music or a radio station you like, or even an audio-book. Or just silence; it’s up to you what works.
I generally try this as a last resort when I just can’t calm down and typically I’ll think “Oh, I’ll just do this for a minute or so” and end up chilling there for about 10.