Know thyself

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.

The struggles that women face when trying to become self employed

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.

Autism and its problems

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.

Autistic Masking, Late Diagnosis, and Dissociation: The Toll It Takes on Autistic Mental Health

The best article I’ve seen about what it feels like to grow up as an undiagnosed autistic woman.

Autistic Science Person

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 Fantastic Mr. Fox talking to her son: "I know what it's like to feel, different." as she is wiggling her hands. GIF of the mother in…

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Defragging my brain

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.