As a proud autistic adult I have written 2 new books and these are about how to deal with the traumatic and emotional events that life throws at us like dealing with grief, social occasions, adolescence etc
As a proud autistic adult I have written 2 new books and these are about how to deal with the traumatic and emotional events that life throws at us like dealing with grief, social occasions, adolescence etc
For a person that has spent so much time time studying everything about Greece I didn’t until very recently know myself!
I had very carefully lost and hidden little parts of my soul all over the place very much like Voldemort did with his horcruxes. I had to turn detective to track down what these items were and were they were located to track them down. Just like In Harry Potter this involves the loss of life but this was in fact the one that I had created for myself and I needed to shed.
I have just started reading Codependent no more as I had identified myself as possibly suffering from this during Lockdown. The book took forever to turn up as I had accidentally ordered it from a thrift shop in the us on amazon so it needed to clear customs etc. This is an amazing book as I got stuck right in reading it. It’s life changing just like when you read the Power of Now or Metahuman/The Healing Self.
However the book I have decided to give up on after about 6 weeks is The Artists Way. This is a 12 week program so it’s very slow going but I don’t identify with it very strongly. It only vaguely speaks to me. Going on Artists dates is practically impossible if you start during Lockdown but I will say that the morning pages have been amazing for me. I write diary articles in addition to this and I have found that I have been dormant at my in laws house for too long. I’m triggered too much there as I’m bored. I get no social interaction as I’m in the countryside isolated from everyone. This is not healthy for me. I need input from people to be able to grow but this stopped as soon as I graduated from uni.
It’s no good for me to spend 3 months at a time living with my in-laws. The winters are bad enough with the weather that I don’t need to be adding social problems and drunkenness to cope with this. Christmas ok that’s food, drinks, parties. We’re stopping that now though as there getting to the stage where we need to be doing this. I have thought for a couple years now we need to have a smaller gathering to make it manageable.I liked it to begin with as we never celebrated in my family but now it’s over the top. My brain decides to hibernate when I stay there as do I as a result. My weight always increases too which isn’t good as I don’t want to be losing my figure which I am right now.
I don’t know what I’m going to do about the future as I need to start living in my own home but I don’t have a life in either the uk or Greece due to my lack of working creditionals or children. All this moving about isn’t good for giving me a settled life either. Lockdown was good as nobody could do anything about it but now we need to be moving forward. I think this is maybe why the child hasn’t turned up because I stopped progressing in life.
I have found that doing your side hussle as a way to keep yourself occupied because your unable to get a job means that your side hussle will fail. I have tried and tried and tried some more. I have worked to the point of burnout with no success.
If you are a self employed woman like myself you don’t have the pre existing business connections, the capital (money) or the resources to make it a commercial success. You also have our paternalistic society against you. In order to make it in a man’s world you have to deny your femininity. This means no relationships or children which is such an inhumane and demoralising way to live. Most women can only persist with this for so long. Eventually, their hormones get the better of them. By this I mean they might have a breakdown because there life just isn’t fulfilling anymore. They come to the conclusion that there is more to life then work and money.
If you do manage to have a child which I haven’t you will most likely find that you are not able and do not want to devote yourself to your job like you did before. Your priorities have changed but the working world hasn’t. Covid may have granted us a lifeline here with working from home but you have other new issues here. You now have more time and energy since you are no longer commuting but you still have the childcare problem in addition to your housework plus there is now no separation between work and home life. One intrudes on the other and everyone knows that bringing your work home is a bad idea. Trying to be a super mom is a disaster waiting to happen.
Most women that I’ve seen start new careers on maternity leave to earn extra money find that it is not sufficient which is why most mum-entrepreneurs as they have been called stop within the year. They don’t have the support that is required to really make there businesses a success. There is not generally anything wrong with them but the financial situation is usually what sways them.
I have come across a lot of women who have tried to start their own business. They have not lasted. The home beauty business model is flawed. Avon ladies are not particularly successful neither are the Virgin cosmetics girls or the ones selling Ann Summers products. Pick any company that relies on women to host parties and/or sell to their girlfriends and within a year they will quit. They don’t get the benefits associated with their old jobs like the socialisation that comes with after work drinks.
If you are always a stay at home mother then you start to yearn for a life outside the home like you did before otherwise you come to resent your new life which is no good for the child’s development. You miss adult company and conversations so much you wonder why you even thought having a child was a smart idea. Talking becomes very difficult as all young mums know since your life now consists of in the Night Time Garden and Peppa Pig.
I have seen that in Lefkáda that female business ventures tend to work out better as they have big extended families to help out with all of the different tasks of daily life. They also have a much bigger support network so socialisation isn’t so much of a problem. However, even over there the ones that are apart from their family groups haven’t managed to make such a success of things.
Life is all about balance and if your supports are not present then your life is going to be uneven. You can look at raising a child as the cherry on top of a multi-tiered cake. If the layers below are not stable then the top will add too much pressure resulting in the collapse of all that is underneath it. We need to help each other out so that all women live the lives they deserve and if they desire children they can have them in an environment that is conducive to a healthy childhood. It prevents a lot of later issues that may not be able to be fixed in the future.
I just thought I would explain in these sections some of the comorbidities(conditions that exist alongside) Autism.
Autism creates the need to collect everything. This explains the popularity of Pokemon but also it’s a safety mechanism. We are scared and frightened of the outside world so we collect objects that are comforting to us. They reassure us much like when small children need a stuffed toy to be happy or a blanket to keep themselves warm.
Autism creates hyperlexia (always reading everything in sight, everywhere you go) as we get embarrassed about asking questions that we think we should already know the answer to and suffer in silence as a result. This most recently happened to me at a birthday party when they were talking about drugs but using a new code word that I had not heard.
Autism creates disassociation in order to deal with a world that doesn’t give you enough processing time to be able to communicate your needs. This is why autistics seem to live in their own world instead of the world inhabited by everyone else. It’s also why autistics talk in the third person like everything is happening to someone else.
Autism creates selective mutism as you have a lot of shyness and insecurities when in unfamiliar situations and with new people. Change is not good for an autistic person and this unsettling feeling prevents them from talking. They lurk in the background.
Autism creates alexirhthymia which causes panic(attacks) and anxiety in social situations because you suddenly become overwhelmed by emotions but you don’t know what they are so they unsettle you. You always need to explore every new environment looking for exits and toilets in case you need to make a quick escape.
Autism creates tics, stims (self regulating, calming, repeating movements and schedules) as well as blurts (random phrases characteristic of Tourette’s syndrome).
Autism creates an insular, introverted self in order to deal with all of the unhealed trauma in your life. As processing takes so long you need to isolate yourself from the world for increasing periods of time. You become like an outdated computer operating system as the lag time between actions increases and you need to shutdown more often. Unfortunately your memory or processor speed cannot be upgraded.
Autism creates an awesome long term memory for facts and figures because they are a lot easier to deal with than emotions and events. People are dynamic and spontaneous therefore any event involving them is subject to lots of change. This cannot be dealt with if you have lots of unaddressed issues lurking in your head.
Autism creates eating issues like anorexia and bulemia because you want some control over the world and the only way you can seem to do that is by controlling your own body by eating, drinking and exercising.
Since autism runs in families it creates attachment issues because their insecurities are grafted onto you like a new root stock is often attached to a plant to make it more fruitful or colourful and you take these new shoots in as part of your personality. Since autistic people are like sponges they mimic what they see around them so if there is a lack of love they will develop a lot of unhealthy coping strategies to deal with the world.
We’re highly perceptive, emotional, empathetic, caring people but our talents are hidden by all of this absorbed grief which blocks our ability to connect with others. This is why we cannot hug or kiss like everyone else. It’s also why we can’t do small talk. We say we don’t care when we in fact care about everything and everyone. We don’t know how to set boundaries yet or say no so there is no free energy left in us for us no matter how healthy we eat, how much exercise we partake in or sleep we get. We grow chronologically but mentally our minds are stuck in the past often on an event that happened so long ago we can’t even remember the details just the pain that it caused and is still present affecting us every single minute of our lives.
An autistic child suffers and cannot connect through having a unique brain but is also hindered by being highly aware of all that is wrong in the world and wanting to fix it. You only need to look at Greta Thunberg to see evidence of this in action. Being highly empathetic with low social, verbally communicative and emotional skills means you cannot communicate your hearts desire. This means that you have to act out your intentions since you are controlled by your emotions. As these just turn up you become very unstable. This makes you unpleasant to be around. It also leads to others patronising you and treating you as an insolent, resistant child that can be prone to violence or self harming as a way of exerting some control over situations you find yourself involved in. It may also lead to depression, suicidal ideation and eventually attempted/actual suicide.
Autistic children grow up into autistic adults with these same issues but they no longer get any help from anywhere so these problems fester and grow. As autistic people want to communicate they turn to the universal subject of sex to talk about and engage in it often if possible. This is why they can be part of big families. They love the physical release they get from sex but it’s only temporary like any other drug only this is a natural one which is why we are attracted to it more than anything else. It’s another coping strategy that doesn’t help us really in the end.
We need to tell our stories whether it’s written, painted, filmed, photographed or signed. Communication is what makes us human and if we can’t do that something is wrong in our psyche that will take a lot of coaxing to resolve if that is even possible. However, therapy is not the answer. Real human connection, awareness, appreciation and understanding is.
The best article I’ve seen about what it feels like to grow up as an undiagnosed autistic woman.
CW: Gaslighting, self-harm, intrusive thoughts
(Long Post, Summary/Conclusion paragraph at the end)
This blog post came about after having a dissociation episode after watching Westworld a few nights ago. This post has helped me realize the reason and cause of my dissociation, likely from being an undiagnosed autistic person for 25 years of my life.
The Undiagnosed Autistic Life
Imagine all your life, you’ve been told that you just seem a “little” off. Just, you know, a little different. When you give your opinions, you’re either ignored, or simply told it’s “not a big deal” when you were not trying to complain, you were trying to collaborate. Whatever you do, whatever you say, is annoying, is rude, is unimportant, is inappropriate. Other people make excuses for you. “Oh you know, that’s just how she is. She’s just a bit different from the rest of us.”
GIF of the mother in…
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During lockdown I engaged in a lot of self reflection and analysis through spiritual means. As you may know I painted extensively, took photos to document the changing landscape around me and watched a lot of informative documentaries on Netflix. In addition to this I also mediated, wrote a lot of diary entries and read self help books to assist me in my journey. I studied buddism, sufism (a type of Islam) and I got back to my roots with Christianity. This allowed me to process a lot of events and in the process removing a lot of deep seated anxieties that had been lurking in my brain for almost 30 years!
When reading up on attachment style on Wikipedia a lot of things started to make sense. I could see why I had done certain things and why certain things had happened as well as why certain things had persisted for so long. When you get the clarity that you so desperately needed it makes life a lot easier. You can see why socialisation was so difficult along with the eye contact and everything else that everyone takes for granted. I understood the reasons for not connecting with the people around me is because they are not my people. There is nothing wrong with either them or me but that magic just isn’t present.
Lockdown has made me realise how I had quarantined myself into a deep, dark hole whose only end was eventual suicide. It was my insecurities from my attachment style had caused a lot of problems in my life. I have only once before read an article that explained my life so well and that was the second language acquisition article which I also wrote about at length on here. This is why I have been so interested in sociology, anthropology, psychology, neuroscience and languages throughout my life so far for autism is not just a social communication problem but a developmental one too. This is not pleasant to admit that while you may have a good IQ score your other values are so far below what they should be you cannot function as a human being on your own without hurting yourself or others. This is why I couldn’t get a job of any description and volunteering was tough for me.
My life now makes me recall a lot of potent things from my Deepak Chopra 21 day abundance meditation course that I engaged in with a friend. It helped me enormously with the fact that my attitude to money was out of control which is why I never had any. My emotions also were running riot. They were controlling me so my life was happening to me instead of being run by me. This is why I was unpleasant at times to people for no reason cutting myself off from the world.
Also, it identified the relationship I had with my mother was not the best it could be. It helped me to realise that she had tried her best without any guidance on how to raise an undiagnosed autistic child just like I have tried my best to live my best life without help. She had issues that she hadn’t healed from just like I had. So it was good to connect with her and realise that our lives are not that different living with men who also have issues which may never be resolved due to their own stubborn unawareness.
I have now got quite adept at socialising and have learnt tact. I can also see that other people are just as flawed as I was before I started working so intensely on myself. The difference is they have gone back to their pre lockdown selves where I have had the opportunity to grow like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. I feel sorry for those that have had to work all through lockdown but I appreciate their sacrifice. Without them we couldn’t have got through this pandemic. It’s not over yet but it never will be by the looks of things at the moment. People are still catching it in outbreaks all over the country left, right and centre. It’s just up to the rest of us to be vigilant and live our best lives while social distancing which is the best idea in the world.
Social distancing is awesome as you now have the perfect excuse to refuse hugs and kisses from those that you don’t like. All unwanted physical contact comes under Covid awareness. So does small talk with shopkeepers etc. I feel that I’m now more motivated to live life as places as not so noisy or filled with people so no one will bump into you. Going to the pub is strange but it makes you realise that meeting unknown people doesn’t have to always be bad. It can be quite enjoyable learning new things and that has been missing from my life for a long time. It had become stagnant so now hopefully I can refresh it with new friends and hobbies since I’m now able to communicate with others. I have a lot more energy now even though I still drink a lot as I have a high tolerance level now due to quarantine and a few extra pounds. Here’s to a new healthy lifestyle with less alcohol, more exercise in the good weather we have been having and more social events to attend.
Since we are still unable to leave the country as they haven’t decided on which country there can be air bridges too and having had my flights to Greece cancelled twice this year already; I thought I would share some images of Spring transiting into summer in the UK.
Since here in the UK the lockdown is only just starting to be eased with shops opening, social distancing being reduced and the ability to see friends and family through bubbles I thought I would show some of my art that I have made recently.
Lefkás inspired ones followed by Coronavirus inspired ones and pictures of the area.
Autistics are like children in how wilful they are as everyone knows regardless of whether they have personal experience or not. They are both dedicated to what they want to achieve, how and when but because they don’t/can’t prioritise it’s not always a good time so this creates issues. Dedication is a very important quality to have but it needs to be put to use in the right areas. Time management is an adult quality so challenging when they want to achieve something because it’s bed time for instance is reminiscent of those bed time battles you have with toddlers. Nobody wins here as it’s the immovable object vs the unstoppable force.
We know what we want but that’s not always a good thing. Delayed gratification is an adult skill so we either want nothing at all living a monastic life or are frivolous with our money because we want everything. This is why we often are bad with money as we haven’t learnt enough financial self control yet. We are great copiers also so we see everyone else involved in consumerism and think this is another way to fit in. It’s hugely damaging to us and the environment to behave in this way. Money is power and if your constantly giving it away to anyone who asks then you are diminishing yourself.
Autism can also be considered a throwback to an earlier time in human history because we don’t filter, have good social skills, have difficulty speaking and we are very instinctual. These are all qualities you would associate with prehistoric people. This hyperfocus on our interests however can be very useful though if your in the cattle industry like Temple Grandin is. It allows you to see things that others simply cannot see because there minds don’t work that way.
There are many different kinds of Autistics in the world just like there are many different kinds of people. Some of the common ones you come across are linguists, artists, gardeners, animal scientists, scientists and mathematicians. Artists need lots of time alone but they also need people where as scientists just need lots of time alone. People are optional to them. A partner and possibly a best friend are all that is required. This is of course generalising as some are introverts and some are extroverts. Some are even ambiverts. There are of course many other factors involved which would make this post tedious in the extreme if I was to go into them all.
There is room for all kinds in the world from Chris Packham with his animals as shown on British tv, Greta Thunberg with climate change shown all over the world and Daniel Tamnet with his number & linguistic skills. He proved that even though Icelandic is one of the hardest languages in the world due to its isolation; he learnt it within a week and had a conversation on live tv with native speakers. So every difference has a positive side which is often never seen.
Autistics, like kids are often creative idealists and dreamers. This is where meditation and journaling came be extremely helpful. It helps to channels there thoughts and ideas into order as frequently they are jumbled up. They have a unique grasp of the world which should be respected as they could possibly really change the world with one of them. They want to make the world a better place through there creations. Sometimes this is altruistic through empathy of which they often have in excess but this can seem egotistical if it comes out through numbers and structures. This is however what the world values so they will mould themselves to be likeable and appreciated even if this is not who they are.
Autistics are hyperaware of the world around them and there very conscious of the fact they don’t fit in. They know they are different to everyone else and this causes them discomfort. They may wish to mitigate these problems in many ways but these often reveals there true self and causes isolation. Since they are not money motivated and therefore cannot start there own business to take advantage of there creativity; there unique insights are often left to rot in their brains. As they are primarily ideas people this doesn’t get them anywhere in this modern commercial world. Often this leads to others who are much less scrupulous but with an eye for profit and innovation taking there ideas and making loads of money from them. This should be changed as inventors like Nikola Tesla are needed to continue the change our world is currently experiencing through the corona virus pandemic.
Autistics like to perform deep dives and go into detail about obscure details. Everyone knows this. However what people do not know is why autistics do this. They just think it’s a quirk of autism to get hung up on these things.
The autistic obsession is a way of controlling all of the input that you have to deal with in life. Right now the world is changing in quite a dramatic fashion. It wouldn’t surprise me if this is freaking out a lot of autistic people. We don’t like change because we have difficulty with processing all the possibilities of life. We like structure for this reason. With nothing changing there is no fear so life can continue as normal. This is a very debilitating way to live your life.
The autistic brain gets stuck on ideas that it has yet to process. This can take years for it to be done to their satisfaction. They do end though when enough information has been gathered and a decision has been made. The autistic brain is a conundrum because it’s childish in liking novelty but conversely having a strong dislike to new concepts without any apparent reason. This is usually a result of triggers residing in the brain that have been absorbed through there environment or carers but they themselves are unaware so they can’t be spoken. All you can see is the result of these hidden programs.
Autistics like animals because they like us are much more instinct driven. We don’t have filters so can make decisions based on all the information out there but this comes at the cost of movement and speech. Speaking is a highly cerebral activity. It is bound up with so many things it’s unbelievable. If we are choked up with a recent event we will not want to go anywhere or to say anything. Most people react to grief this way after the initial shock has passed but to us this kind of event lasts much longer. We need to examine everything in great detail. Also we have difficulty with processing emotions as we are not sure what they mean, where they come from or what to do about.
Recently I learnt that it was not in fact sulphates in wine that was making my eyes prick every time I drank it. It was in fact emotions bubbling up to the surface. I was noticing the change and now I know the real reason behind it. It was not square eyes from too much screen time which is another lesson in itself, dehydration which is self explanatory or lack of sleep which you can fix yourself.
I’m always searching for the truth, the real truth nothing but the truth. However everything is so nuanced that it can be difficult to find out what this is in constantly changing world. To separate myself from everyone in order to do this is not the answer. Finding mechanisms that allow me to participate in life while still being my self is the way to go.
Watching this on Netflix brings back a lot of memories of when I went through a similiarly traumatic experience. I am now more or less the same age as Lotje was when she went through the experience. I can really empathise with what she is going through because I understand the confusion. I know what it’s like not to be able to talk, to wonder what has happened to your life and to break down when you can’t do the simplest of tasks. I’ve done the exercises and felt acutely embarrassed that I’m doing activities fit for a pre schooler. It’s astonishing that such an incident can set you back so far in your development.
As I’m watching the video I’m remembering more and more about my own experience. I was hospitalised at the Wolfson Neuro Rehabilitation centre in Wimbledon. I think I was there for a week I don’t recall but I might have had visits in between. I remember my physiotherapist being called Adam and his assistant who was shadowing him at the time as he was a student nurse being named Massimo. Adam was English, about 25 and Massimo was Italian and about the same age. Miy roommate was called Katie. She was an English girl about my age who had fallen off her horse and severely injured herself. She was still horse mad though. I hadn’t thought about any of this experience until the video brought it back to me.
It’s amazing how similar her memory, her speech, coordination, sequencing ability, focus and maths ability is to how mine was. The absence of my previous mathematical prowess would not become apparent until I returned to school 9 month later. My writing ability improved to compensate for this loss but I think my reading ability is more or less the same as before. I did think about the correct way to read when I came across Temple Grandin’s book but I quickly overcome this with fervent practice. It is strange though that only just recently have I started writing by hand again which I haven’t done in such quantity since college because of the advent of technology and my spelling is becoming terrible!
Back in 2002 I didn’t have a smartphone to record my experience and I was only 17 so while Lotje is just recalling her previous abilities I hadn’t even started my working life so there is nothing to work with only school. This is why there are no work friends to assist me and why I’ve not been able to progress in this area. I have however been to UCL college in Queen Square, London just like she visits many times to have my autism tested.
As this is an incredibly emotional video – I was in floods of tears within 2 minutes and had to in fact watch this in pieces. It was far too emotive for me to handle in one sitting.I have left this link in case you want to read about it insteadLotje
While reading a book on Blinkist called Help me! about a lady who tried every self help book going over a period of 18 months; it summarised Brene Brown. I had tried to watch her show on Netflix but couldn’t get through very much of it. I understood better from a couple of lines what she was trying to get across as I had been experiencing it too. I had been through all the phases so now it’s time to bounce back. She had also been to Tony Robbins who I also watched but couldn’t get on with either.
I recently learnt through reading Metahuman by Deepak Chopra that the reason I can’t remember my accident is it’s a side effect of the medication they use to resuscitate you. I think that’s a good trade off since it was such a traumatic occasion in my life. It’s one less scar to carry through your life and it’s nice to know that somebody else has been through something similar.