An Imaginative Exploration of Self
Psychemagination is an imaginative audio-visual illustration of a contemplative journey into mind and spirit. A combination AI art gallery and psychological memoir, Psychemagination was written and illustrated by Tahlia Newland and set to music by Kris Newland. It is designed to be an immersive experience where the reader uses the words, imagery and music as inspiration to reflect upon their own experience.
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The Inciting Incident
‘You know we’re all autistic,’ my sister says, referring to our family.
‘What?’ I laugh, thinking of a young, non-verbal boy rocking in a corner.
I shake my head. ‘I’m not autistic.
Couldn’t possibly be.’
She just shrugs. ‘Maybe look into it sometime.’
Until I do.
Which happens when I remember what a neurologist said when he read the results of my electroencephalogram.
‘Well, you definitely have epilepsy,’ he’d said.
No surprises there, since a seizure had brought me to him.
‘And you have a very interesting brain.’
That got my attention.
‘What do you mean?’
‘Your brain waves are neuro-atypical’
‘And what’s that mean?’
‘It means your brain works differently to most people’s.
Your whole family is probably the same.’
‘Oh.’ I frowned. ‘Is it a problem? Can I fix it?’
He shook his head. ‘No, it’s just how your brain is wired.’
Nothing to worry about.’
So I forgot all about it,
Curiosity aroused by the memory, I research the meaning of ‘neuro-atypical’
and it leads me to the word ‘neurodivergent’,
then to ‘autism’, ‘dyslexia’,
and myriad acronyms, like ADHD, PDA, RSD.
I discover that autism isn’t what I thought it was,
that on girls, and especially older women, it looks very different to my preconceived and outdated ideas.
For several weeks I devour articles, books, videos, and every autism questionnaire on the internet.
I do very little else.
It’s called hyperfocus.
Driven by curiosity,
an intense desire to know.
The questionnaires all indicate there is a high likelihood that I’m autistic.
Looks like my sister was right.
I resist the idea.
I don’t want to be autistic,
but it explains so much about my life,
about how I am,
and the things I find challenging.
I find a psychologist who specialises in adult autism.
We work through autism screening tests,
after which she tells me I’m clearly neurodivergent,
probably twice exceptional.
She’s also pretty sure I have ADHD.
There’s a label for it.
Does it really apply to me?
The question sets me on a journey of self-examination,
looked at through the filter of neurodivergence.
But I’m going to have to go deep
and it’ll take me a while to discover
what’s been hidden,
in an effort to be normal.
I’m a little nervous about what I might find
what I might have to face,
but I have to do this.
I have to look,
to discover what lies behind the masks.
Welcome to the journey.
Psychemagination is not only my journey.
I take it not just for myself, but for all.
It is also your journey.
Regardless of brain wiring,
a journey into self illuminates ourself,
makes the unconscious conscious,
and helps us live our life with greater awareness.
I hope you’ll use my reflections to inspire your own,
to illuminate your own self
and your own life.
Join me in this journey
into the depths and heights of being.