I have been doing some oil paintings recently along with some ink drawings and Covid has infiltrated my brain.
I finally figured out why I can’t speak – preciseness of language. I had this drummed into me as a kid. I lived on a farm as a child so had very little contact with people. When for the first couple of years all you speak to are your parents, occasional fishermen, perhaps the vet and your grandparents if they come to visit then of course you can’t speak properly. You don’t have enough practice with forming your words as you don’t even have a sibling to practice with as your the eldest. This is why you try to compensate when your brother turns up and has the same problem. You have already been through the same problem and your trying to rectifying it but your making him codependent on you as he isn’t old enough to talk yet and you are.
In order to speak correctly you need to be able to make mistakes. As a child you need to learn all the different sounds of your language in order to know which are the correct ones. If your not allowed this trial and error process then you stop speaking. Your linguistic and therefore social development is hampered by your parents whose own issues are preventing you from being all that you can be. They are creating major problems for you and themselves by expecting you to be a fully formed adult in terms of communication before that is possible.
I figured this out finally at dinner last night as I was trying to order a lamb chop but the Greek words are no longer on the menu to refresh my memory. I thought it was arnaki as it sounds like little lamb to me based on the words for little and lamb. It’s similar but it’s actually paidaikia. This is one of those many words that are confusing because if you get the stress wrong you order little children paidi akia instead of lamb chops pai diakia. I was also contemplating the fact that his children might be coming to visit us soon so I can’t get away with speaking English as there too young to know any at 6 and 3 I think but I’m not sure as I haven’t meant them yet.
These mini crisis are important as they show up the problems that were created in your childhood that you are no longer aware of as it was so long ago. I was first alerted to this when my husband’s best friend changed partners and started bringing round their children. I had previously avoided all children like the plague because they made me uncomfortable. They reminded me of my own inability to have them. They also represented change which I can’t handle unless I’m in a relaxed, open frame of mind.
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.
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.
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.
I’m developing a list of resources that you can use to make sure your life is exactly what you want it to be. These are mainly free resources as you don’t need further obstacles when you have decided that you need some me time.
I have started to use the Artists Way by Julia Cameron. This comes highly recommended by many famous patrons that have benefited from the information inside. It is also stuffed full of quotes from pretty anyone who ever lived that said something quotable. I have borrowed the book from my brother in law who didn’t like it as he said it was too simplistic. I can see what he means if I compare to Metahuman by Deepak Chopra but I think this is unfair since they are for completely different audiences.
I also have the accompanying workbook that he bought to see what if anything it does for me. The Artists Way is a 12 week course consisting of daily morning pages and artist dates amongst other activities. Morning pages are 3 pages of stream of consciousness writing to clear your mind for the day ahead. Artist dates are where you set aside time to indulge in culture. There are also other tasks such as reading as detailed in the book.
I have also ordered one of Melanie Beattie’s books on Codependent no more. I found the online version beneficial. Having now endeavoured to use technology less where possible, I now going to try to switch over to the paper copy. It provides space to write what you think about the daily devotional as it’s called. This allows you to develop your ideas about the concept better.
I have the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle which was instrumental in me starting down this path and being that I now have a physical copy means I can read it and make notes where necessary. It’s so much easier to bookmark, read and absorb the information in a proper book rather than an e book. They may be more expensive and less portable but you get far more from them than their electronic copies.
In addition to these I have the Little Prince by Antione St Expury when I want something lighter and The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. Fiction is a necessary compliment to non fiction. There is something much more reassuring and relaxing for a bed time story in an actual book rather than a Netflix series or YouTube video.
This is a book I read at college but I didn’t like it. It was shocking and terrifying. I also didn’t like the way the book was constructed but I don’t think it could be done in any other way. It was meant to illustrate the power that such a revolution would have on you and it certainly did that for me. I was confused as to how such a thing could take place but so is Offred and everyone else. That is why they fight to overcome the system. Offred is very strong and resistant to the new regime but sensible enough to know that you have to act a certain way to survive. I don’t want to give the game away to any of you who haven’t read it or seen the TV series. I expect the follow up The Testaments is where the material for later series comes from.
Have you found any unexpected novels that you persevered with and later understood them much better?
This is quite an unusual article to me to write based on my past history but I feel now is the time to start exploring it. I have realised that actually I’m a strong woman. I need to start embracing this characteristic of mine. A person can only go so long not recognising who they are before they start to develop their inherent potential.
The woman’s struggle has existed since the dawn of time and I have been guided through my mother and others to study the Suffragettes at college, to see exhibitions about them, to gather information about Virginia Woolf, visiting Sissinghurst where she stayed and acquire lots of books about the subject. This also led to me reading a Handmaid’s Tale as it was on my high school book list and later on watching the TV series. I will get the Testaments later. Other books that are on my list are Vox, The Farm, etc.
As I got quite into feminism through an alternative viewpoint on classist history I wrote several articles on what I discovered. I think it’s a novel idea because history is written from the standpoint of the victor. This traditionally has been male so to put another spin on it is quite good. It also helps me to learn about myself as my mother and my grandmother have been very strong influences on me. I’m only starting to realise the extent that impact has had on me.
About a week ago (or so), I had the luxury of attending a Facebook interview with Madeline Miller and a light bulb went off above my head. YES! …
I love reading. This much is pretty obvious early on as I read so much hence I think I’m hyperlexic. 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 and is demonstrated by Clare Danes playing Temple Grandin in the movie about her. 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!
I have long wondered how is it that I have dedicated countless hours over the years to this task yet I’m still unable to speak?
I know it’s possible as I can do it in a pinch and I have written about the methods which have allowed many others to do just that.
It turns out that since I’m reticent to speak in English, it applies to all languages and has nothing to do with my intellectual ability at all. I can learn a language, any language and enjoy it. I just don’t like speaking.
Since most conversations are inane repeats of what has been said previously I don’t join in. The point that they are therapy and checking up on people to make sure they are mentally well as well as physically has escaped me until recently. I am entirely capable of talking especially about special interests but my conversational skills right now have descended to word play games with my father in law.
Yesterday I was trying to say to my husband in Greek that since he had got a baked bean stuck in his throat (he had baked beans on toast for his lunch) he wouldn’t be ordering them when he got back to Greece. Mia fazoula parakalo (polite and I enunciated it wrong) but then his dad joined in with strawberries fraoula since it’s a similar word and he was waxing lyrical (mountain strawberries like I have in Greece) about them yesterday dinner time. We ended with me saying that a frauoula was a little German housewife thereby mixing German with Greek which might considered a bit of a heresy considering the history involved here.
This is a good article that I came across just now that I thought I would share with you all so that you can also benefit from its wisdom.
Autism – The cultural immune system of human societies
There are some brilliant articles being written right now about what it is to be autistic in a neuro typical society.
I love it when you watch a foreign language video and when you finally get to see the English translation you realise you already understand what the song was about through the acting. That to me is the sign of a good song. I love Sergei Lazarov for this reason. I don’t understand Russian but I respect that he is not afraid to bend gender boundaries for a good performance. It’s all her
I also used to like Greek videos for this reason but they are becoming very generic which is so sad. I have previously talked about Greek videos that have spoken to me though so check them out although it’s not letting me recommend them to you right now.
This is a film set in 1970s Russia based on a real life author struggling to get published. It’s in Russian with English subtitles. I love the authenticity this provides and how it correlates with other films I have seen of this era. From what I can remember of when I was previously very interested in Russian films; the 1960’s and 1970’s was a good time for Russian film making as lots of good films that are available on YouTube were made. Since I don’t speak or write Russian here is a list compiled by someone who does
I added this in as a bonus because I like to listen to foreign songs as they tend to be more realistic and you can figure out the gist even though I have no clue what they are saying. Russian songs on YouTube.
As I’m struggling to occupy myself right now due to the enforced isolation; I thought I needed the challenge of watching a Russian program from another era. As you know I love history and languages so why not?
As I sit and write these various articles at different times and moods it reminds me of War and Peace as that’s very clear to me it was written and rewritten several times. It doesn’t flow well in many places to my mind and it appears very disjointed like his own mind and life no doubt. Perhaps that is the beauty that I’m missing. The imperfections as that’s what makes us all real at the end of the day.
It also would be nice if WordPress told you who was reading your blog other than 1 person in Greece reads this etc. Is that the same person all the time? If it’s who I think it is thankyou for the inspiration and recommendations and if it isn’t thankyou anyway for checking out my blog on a regular basis. Thankyou to all the other people who participate in my blog too.
This is an Audible book that I listened to recently while I was on holiday. Listening to an enjoyable story that is engaging makes long road journeys pass so much more quickly!
It’s alternative history based on the fact that Alan Turing wasn’t turned insane by taking oestrogen tablets to cure his homosexual urges. With this in mind we end up with a very different 1980’s. We have advanced sufficiently with AI to build completely life like humans that tests what it is to be human after all. They are an exercise in humanity as it teaches us whether we can accept machines into our lives as equals.
I loved the philosophical debates that Adam engages in with his housemates Charlie and Miranda. I also loved the technical, mathematical and physics details along with the anthropological studies. Adam raises a lot of interesting questions and provokes strong emotions which you wouldn’t expect a machine to be capable of. He is not really a machine though; but a conscious being capable of existing all by himself as along as he has the same comforts were used to like shelter, sleep and fuel.
This is essentially an exploration of the contradictions of being human. This is what every child has to learn and what autistics struggle with greatly. The same things that Adam can’t comprehend are also what we have difficulties with. There is however no real solution to these issues as life is such a messy business.
This is a clip that a friend of mine posted online with Greek and English plus an auto translation below.
What confuses me the most when trying to figure out the Greek language is where do you take a breath? There are no commas, semi colons or full stops. There isn’t even any speech marks, exclamation marks or question marks!
The Greeks also have a love of sentences that start with And. I think this maybe because they are trying to artificially add in punctuation in newspaper articles. It’s very confusing trying to figure out which words belong in which sentence since they run on forever!
Spanish I think may have the opposite problem of using exclamation marks at the beginning as well as the end. Kind of like the Spanish themselves being very enthusiastic.
I haven’t learnt sufficient about other languages like Russian yet, to be able to comment properly; but from what I’ve seen far they don’t seem to have the same issues.
Do you have any issues like this in languages you have learnt?
This is the third program of this name but the one I’m referring to is the 2019 Turkish TV series Atiye not the 2000 or 2015 psychological thriller films.
This is an interesting looking series of 8 programs about an Ottoman era archeological dig in Anatolia based on a Turkish book and author that has been filmed for Netflix.
It’s Turkish originally of course but it’s available in English dubbed or you can have English subtitles. I personally find it jarring that when I was streaming it, the American voices are slightly out of sync with the actions. The actors and actresses are vibrant in their movements but since Turkish and English are such different languages it’s never going to look or sound exactly right. I tried turning the sound off and relying on the subtitles but then you lose so much of the program as your reading and not paying attention to what’s going on. If you however download it and put the subtitles on you can concentrate on what’s happening much easier.
It’s very modern and female forward which I’m surprised about but this is maybe Turkey trying to show to the world that it can live in the 21st century at least in a show that is about abstract art. If I didn’t know that they were speaking Turkish I would have figured it was perhaps another Middle Eastern nation like Israel who have participated in Eurovision each year since the 1980’s.
These are blogs that I’ve started following as in order for me to be able to talk I need to read an awful lot of content from native speakers on varied subjects. I didn’t publish anything for the National Greek Language Day that we just had and I was reminded that I should get back to my language studies again.