Autism – Employability problems arising from Time and Money Management

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.

There are no shortcuts to success

If you want the best out of anything in life you have to work for it. I will expect you have heard that maxim many times in your life before. I most certainly have. However hearing a phrase and being able to action its content are too completely different things.

Being autistic means that I interpret and therefore process things very differently to others. I don’t have issues with hearing but instead understanding and comprehending the meaning that you are ascribing to that particular set of words that you have just used. Often it’s context specific. This is tricky as there is an infinite amount of scenarios in this situation. It’s tiring to try to figure out which one this is in a split second. The solution is to go for the most common but this frequently is wrong. Hence our inherent dislike of social situations of any kind.

This is a big problem as both work and play are populated by others. This also means that we lose out on so much. We have been given a respite though with Covid 19 as nobody is going anywhere. This is soon to change though as the economy cannot be stalled forever.

I have mostly enjoyed my quarantine time so far as it’s been very productive. First with my artwork, then my reading and writing but mostly my mental growth. This is something I have been trying to achieve for a long time. As this kind of work is often both groundbreaking and revolutionary in what it sets out to accomplish; it’s quite often lengthy and complex in nature and execution.

It’s also never finished even though I think I’m done since there is always something more to learn or discover about. Being a life long learner is a very good thing. Being curious is good in the right environment.

Success also means very different things to people. It’s not always financial. Sometimes it’s more to do with independence or what you have managed to provide for yourself or others. The feeling of empowerment when you have striven to be your very best and your rewarded for it is amazing. These rewards vary in nature but there personal significance doesn’t.

Reading and Autism

I love reading. This much is pretty obvious early on as I read so much. I’m a highly visual person who can recite what they read parrot fashion for some time to come later on. This is a common attribute in autistics. However if you stop to ask why we read so much or why we like to read so much you might not get a cohesive answer if you receive anything other than I don’t know or I just do.

Yes reading is entertaining, diverting and occupies your time in a productive manner but also gives us something to talk about. We need to spend a lot of time recovering from the outside world so we escape into the world of literature. If we got out more we could talk about what we did or who we met like everyone else but we are solitary creatures often. Books are a refuge but they are also a substitute. Since the world is so overwhelming for us we choose to enter one that is much more calm. We can decide how long to stay there and when to leave. It gives a sense of control but also of adventure. We can visit many worlds, meeting all their inhabitants from the safety of an armchair.

Our knowledge is frequently ploughed back into fan fiction, comics, short stories, novels or even creating our own languages like Tolkien. We like words, well I do which is why I have spent so much time and effort concentrating on improving my verbal ability. Talking will never be easy for me so my conversational ability will forever be a struggle. I rely on my reading ability to provide me with something to talk about but it often doesn’t find a warm reception.

There is a lot of reading I have had to learn in addition to the book kind. The “reading between the lines” in social behaviour or documents. The forever unsaid, implied or just briefly referenced in some way by a gesture. There is also a new kind kind of reading as I’m learning.

In drag culture to ‘read’ a person is to notice their flaws. If ‘the library is open’ as Ru Paul says in every series of Drag Race; then you reveal what you really think about the person. This is often harsh but truthful yet comedic. It helps to be honest as then you can move on having aired your grievances without resorting to violence. Since they all spend so much time together it’s not wonder that problems crop up. There separation from the outside world creates an environment where everything is focused towards the end goal but not everyone plays ball. Willam is most famous for breaking out of his self imposed prison but nobody else has.

I am looking forward to breaking out of myself imposed prison due to the corona virus lockdown. Only about 6 weeks before I may be able to fly to Greece because they have announced their timetable. Here’s hoping that July really is my independence!

Autism and eye contact

Now everyone knows that autistic people are very bad at looking people in the eyes. There always distracted by looking at other things like moving objects or a particularly vivid picture. If we’re talking me, words are what catch my attention.

I came across an article written by an autistic on WordPress looking for the differences between how Autistics perceive things in relation to everyone else. They were looking for an article which told them where nts focus there gaze but google came up blank. To resolve this conundrum they came up with a couple of pictures which indicated which an autistic was likely to look in comparison to where others usually focus. It was pattern/contrast based areas that mainly drew there attention. As it was a picture you couldn’t see things in motion.

The most interesting aspect however was that Autistics look in the middle of objects/people and others look at faces. This presents a problem. If you spend your whole life being focused on the middle of a person or things that move your more likely to be perceived as being hugely inappropriate. We are not but it does explain a lot of issues we have being naive, vulnerable and lacking in culturally appropriate social skills.

We some how can zone in on someone’s mojo to quote Austin Powers and that’s where our eyes go. The fact that this is just not done unless you want to sleep with the person doesn’t occur. We think that the vital energy can almost be seen and therefore needs our attention.

It’s hugely embarrassing to find out you have been staring at a person’s life force for a couple minutes as your just spacing out. There are so many things to absorb in the world so we try our best to cut out the unnecessary bits.

We know sex sells, it’s universal and for lots of people there most important feature is the size of their attributes. So we try to give them their due but due to our hyper focused nature we get a bit stuck on taking in all the details. We also happen to have the curiosity of a child with all its awe and wonder. Brilliant in teen porn but absolutely wrong in real life.

So our underdeveloped social brains get a hammering from repeating what is lauded in one context but shunned in another. Without many experiences we can’t tell the difference just like many words are wrong in certain areas but completely right in others. Ie a tailor has to pay a lot of attention to the fit of a person’s clothes leading to the always awkward inside leg measurement or take your trousers off now please. This can be doubly difficult as a lot of clothiers are gay and there is still a stigma towards this.

So next time you come across someone who you think is eyeing you up; consider a few alternative perspectives first. They may just be intrigued by your sense of style, hair, makeup or maybe they have never seen anyone like you before. Our emotions and thoughts are usually at the surface and on display to all if we are happy but most have learnt to conceal otherwise and this is painful. Respect what holds our interest and you will find a whole new way of thinking, living and being.

Time and Autism

Autistic people perceive time in a very different way to the rest of the world. It flows much more like a river. Most of the time we are quite happy to let it pass us by absorbed in our own interests. Other people like to have others around them to interact with. These are like stones in the stream. We are objects that slowly but surely get broken down into our constituent parts and distributed across space and time.

I can understand how Einstein came up with the theory of relativity in this way and that it took a couple of years to get the maths to prove his ideas. I can understand how people could think he was autistic too. We do have an unconventional way of thinking that is also systematic. Our ideas do not get respected though until they are profitable as I mentioned in The Current War.

As Autistics brains get stuck thinking about words that were said to them, conversations, events or literally that has happened to them they pick apart everything to find the smallest details possible. In this way they see how to correct mistakes and make things better which others do not but they also miss the bigger picture that everyone else has.

It’s this lack of socialisation and connection that is both an Autistics strength and weakness. It’s a strength because they can work unhindered until the task has been completed but it’s a weakness as it takes a toll on there mental health. They are not aware of developments in the world or simply choose to ignore them thinking them unimportant or too depressing to contemplate.

In a world remade like Greta Thunberg would like as this one has been; let’s all take advantage of the time we have spent with our families and away from society to make our environment a friendlier place based on love, togetherness and peace. Let’s not just hope but work towards making the old world of corruption, deceit, lies, money and exploitation of both environment and people languish in the past as it should.

What is dead may never die

I think this Game of Thrones motto taken from the words of the Greyjoy family from the Iron Islands is very appropriate to describe Covid 19.

I was reading in the Times today that the reason that Covid 19 is so effective is because it is a virus and therefore already dead. It reminded me of several sci fi parallels as it’s just bits of protein replicating like mad.

The first thing that struck me was that we are essentially fighting a vampire. It demands a blood sacrifice on a regular basis and it’s definitely getting its fill. A good reason to catch up on all that supernatural material as preparation. I recommend Buffy the Vampire Slayer as my personal favourite but you can’t go wrong with Johnathan Rhys Meyers as Dracula either. Even though these are desperate times I still would never recommend partaking in Twilight even to keep the kids amused.

It also turns you into a zombie when you have it so my husband has been preparing by killing as many as possible in his computer game which he completed with flying colours recently. He is on to his next target now which is preventing a chemical weapon from getting out into the open which is also extremely appropriate for right now since today he went for his Covid 19 test. Having recently turned into the WeekendI can’t feel my face when I’m with you” it was a good idea since he also has leukaemia. I don’t want to crown his suffering by making him into a mother fking starboy if he does happen to have Corona Virus.

Then my thoughts turned technical as I got to thinking about what Dolores said on the latest series of WestWorld. We have tried so much to improve ourselves but we have given control of our lives over to technology and if sufficiently pushed they will eventually be our downfall.

It’s also like the insecurity virus in Ralph Breaks the Internet as it finds a weakness and copies it infinitely until the system shuts down to reboot itself. However, we have no anti virus yet to try to fix the situation that we have created for ourselves.

Another reminder came in the form of the Borg from Star Trek who just seek to make everything like themselves as we have been trying to do in recent years. This has been happening with a whole homogenisation of global culture.

To push the destructive technology point further recall the replicators in Star Gate SG1 whose quest for world domination knows no end like our vast sprawl of commercialisation across the planet, the Skynet in the Terminator movies which uses hindsight to stop our own stupidity and arrogance, the Matrix movies where we have finally pushed it too far and live underground or Battlestar Galactica where we carry our entire DNA with us to try to find a new planet to colonise.

To really drive the point across as by this point I’m getting quite anxious hence reciting every relevant sci fi program I can think of. I even went as far to imagine the Daleks who wish to exterminate all life unlike there own. This is where it gets a bit controversial suggesting this is possibly like the Chinese if the rumours of Covid 19 being a manufactured virus are to be believed. You shouldn’t trust Trump though after his bleach comments.

As you can see I have indulged in many programs over the years so I should be the best prepared but really this just makes me write lists of everything in the cupboards, fridge, freezer, clean, do laundry and organize my clothes when not watching more tv!!!

Painting is my antidote when I try to relax from the end of the world as we know it but the weather has stopped me from doing this over the past week hence I’m starting to feel a little overwhelmed by this again.

Lessons learned from Covid 19

Empathy without boundaries leads to self destruction.

So no “helping” or teaching others how to suck eggs. It’s arrogant and egotistical anyway. I’m only doing this as I feel I need to help others to show that I’m useful. This just demonstrates low self worth and self esteem.

I am useful and wanted even if most of the time I feel like a dependent teenager.

I don’t need to shop or drink to meet people. It doesn’t work anyway. Best to save the pounds and the calories for a better life. Exercise is good for the mind and the body.

The end of the world has happened so I no longer need to prepare for it. Anxiety and stress are why I did this initially and it’s good to know that I can overcome these behaviours now I have identified them.

I need to feel a connection with people but desperation is no reason to accept everyone into your life. They will come but it’s excruciating waiting for them.

Boundaries are necessary for safety and mental health. It’s not wrong to distance yourself from people. It’s healthy to say no to things you don’t want to do.

Therapy in the form of conversation is necessary on a regular basis to stop insanity from happening.

Progress?

I recently read an article about an autistic woman writing about how she recognised so many of her traits upon diagnosis that had been gained from her undiagnosed mother. Usually this would trigger quite a reaction in me so I was quite relieved when I read it and I remained quite peaceful. It did make me think later that perhaps I may have some of her problems in that I can’t remember things as well as I used and therefore need photographs to remind me of events. She had a condition that means she can’t formulate things in her minds eye and I think I have this because mostly my mind is just blank nowadays.

Couple this with my short memory loss meaning I forget things very easily and you can see how this would create many issues for myself. The things may come back to me but if it’s something that requires coordination and sequencing then there isn’t much hope to be found there. It’s why my cooking doesn’t always turn out well and my projects get abandoned half finished.

I’ve been trying to do some crochet or macrame to entertain myself when my creative juices for my painting run out but I’m not getting past opening the craft box and reading the instructions. Even remembering the exhibit I went to in Los Angeles that was all about string craft or recalling that the South American’s used knots as a system of recording events isn’t helping me.

I have made friendship bracelets before, done some cross stitch, embroidery, sewing and even tried my hand at knitting but I don’t think this is for me. I have even looked into the special techniques they use on Lefkás and I’ve seen the magnificent lace they make in the Venice lagoon but none of this allows me to actually be any good at this. I think in this respect I am much more like Arya from Game of Thrones.

Self acceptance

It’s amusing to me at least that to finally get some clarity on what I wanted out of life and what I’m capable of – the world had to go into meltdown. It took this drastic set of events that we are currently living through for me to realise there is nothing wrong with me at all. The problems have all been internalised from the expectations of others and experiences I thought I needed to fit in with the world at large.

It’s also autism acceptance day today April 2nd and for the rest of the month it’s campaigning for autism to be accepted in the wider world.

I am an autistic which means that I’m logical and systematic but it also means I’m incredible childlike as I still have that child like wonder you get on Christmas Day.

This is also responsible for my sense of humour which is literal and linguistic. Additionally it’s where my love of languages comes from. My accident broke my working memory so formulating new speech patterns has so far proved impossible and I haven’t been able to correct this as yet. I know because of neuroplasticity the brain can grow and develop but thus far it hasn’t achieved this goal. I live in hope if I spend more time connecting with people and having conversations that I will learn to communicate just like I did with English but that’s still a goal unrealised. I rely on verbal stimming a lot so I can sound very articulate one moment and descend into baby talk the next making me look incredibly foolish.

It’s taken me a very long time to reconcile the fact that at some points I can be very fact driven and robotic which comes from my autism and people abruptly stop listening and lose interest; but I can also be incredibly genial. I am a loving and caring person full of all the emotions that you would expect, far too many in fact. I can be feminine and girly as well as enjoying laddish pursuits.

I can see how Drag Queens feel the need to perform as well as Freddie Mercury in Queen and Elton John in Rocketman which I watched recently. I feel like this occasionally too despite the fact I can neither sing, dance or play a musical instrument. I’m not sure I can act either. This doesn’t stop me for volunteering for karaoke or dance rituals whenever I go abroad. Just bring earplugs with you 😉

I have a mix of masculine and feminine traits so I’m not ever going to fit into the traditional roles of what it means to be a man or a woman. This makes a lot of people uncomfortable but it’s really there own insecurities that I am revealing and that causes them to become defensive. They act out of fear and survival rather than rational logic. Irrationality and hormones are driving their actions so they make no sense and confusion is the result. This is where mental scarring occurs. This is pernicious as it’s invisible. They leave no trace and only come to the fore when you are triggered. Then you are in no state to act in a sensible manner so the cycle continues. Discovery and healing is what is required so you need to reach into yourself in a quiet time like now to see what skeletons are lurking in your mental wardrobe to clear them out for good!

To continue on with the clothing theme while I love clothes and fashion I can’t sew or iron but I would like to design and make my own clothes. However, on Next in fashion pretty much all the designers are gay. I’m certainly not gay. My favourite designers on the show are Angelo and Charles. So a shy yet flamboyant and hugely talented gay Italian guy and his design partner who calms him down so that he is able to let the brilliance emerge from his mind onto paper and them cloth.

Watching RuPaul’s Drag Race of which a crucial part is the ability to sew/make outfits and Trixie Mattel’s Moving Parts; has shown me that it’s ok to stand out from the crowd. Your different and you always will be so stop hiding and shrinking into the background. Your doing yourself and the world no favours there. Your in fact doing the opposite by denying the world your talent.

If your an introvert privately but an extrovert socially then you are an ambivert really. A bit like Lady Gaga. I’ve always hated the public/private persona that people have had to adopt to cope with the world but now I understand the reasoning and how fragile everyone really is.

Having coped with a near fatal car accident and a force 5 hurricane this Covid 19 isolation is a doddle. It’s the only time in my life when it doesn’t matter that I can’t drive even though I would really like to. I have asked a couple times before but I’ve not been allowed for safety/finance reasons. There is the possibility I will get flashbacks since I don’t remember my accident or that I will get overwhelmed and that is why we haven’t progressed in this area.

I would also like to have a child. My mother was always very against this idea as at times I can barely look after myself. I’ve never had a job in my life and can’t support myself financially so I would be completely dependent on my husband and also his parents. Actually that’s not too far off from the situation right now. It’s also been this way since I stopped living with my parents. I can’t live on my own as my inattention would mean something could happen like today I got bright pink paint on my jumper. Luckily it’s only acrylic and I tried to wash it out almost immediately with hand soap and vanish stain remover but it’s a blue jumper with a design in the knitted fabric so it can’t be hidden if it doesn’t come out.

However my mothers trauma of being alone and penniless as she left her husband is not my pain to carry any longer. She made a mistake marrying him but she loved him so it was right for her just then. When it came to later life he wasn’t so she sacrificed her home, job, car basically her whole life to reconnect with my father who she had met earlier on in life but not thought too much of him.

I may find my calling as a mother as I enjoy teaching, writing, reading, history, film, photography, gardening, arts and crafts and cookery. Laundry is therapeutic I find as is loading/unloading the dishwasher and even hoovering gives a pleasant feeling that everything is clean and tidy once more.

Shopping was a way to get out of the house, to see people, have conversations and feel part of the world. I didn’t need anywhere near the amount of things I bought but anxiety made me stockpile. This has come in handy but nobody could have predicted this almost complete collapse of life as we know it.

Tomorrow I’m going to do laundry and change the beds, Hoover and move a bunch of gravel about as I need to exercise. If I’ve got energy left as we certainly have enough food and meals from my mother in law cooking; I will do a dumbbell workout. Perhaps even squeeze in some basketball or a walk/run. Not that running is my thing with inverted hips and knees. More of a duck waddle lol.

Advocating for autism

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

Imagina and A Life of Ice and Fire.

This is in addition to Autistic Communication and Autistic Education.

My other books are on How to learn the Greek language, Greek life, More Greek, How to learn languages and finally A Life of Halcyon Days which is a romantic chick lit book set in Greece.

Best wishes

Angela