I want to take a moment to consider how much writing this blog has helped me personally. I started out writing it because I was angry. Angry that some people didn’t accept I was autistic or that I was always having to explain myself, now I enjoy sharing all my experiences with people and talking about what autism is like with me. It has helped me to process everything about myself, my traits, my coping mechanisms, my past and actually develop acceptance of myself and who I am, every little part of me even the bits that frustrate the hell out of me at times. I know its okay to have a rough day and a down day. I can’t stop them and of course there will still be times where everything feels too much and I feel like I would be better off being ‘normal’ (my perception of normal that is). But you know what, I like being me. I love that I invest myself so fully into things like my job and I get enjoyment from all my obsessions and immersions. I am quirky and actually that makes me interesting and I’ve found that people actually like some of these parts of me. Of course there will be people who don’t, and yeah that hurts when sometimes its for things you can’t control, but I am happy being me. This is me.
These past couple of weeks I have spent some time thinking about ‘autism’. My aim when I began was to educate people close to me about how autism presents in me but now it feels bigger than that. I want to help educate the world on how autism can present in high functioning girls. I want people to be aware of the signs and how to spot these earlier. I want autism to be celebrated for the amazingness it allows people to be. A whole different perspective of the world that is just waiting to be tapped into. I’m not sure yet how to go about achieving this goal but writing this blog is as good of a start as any. Even if one more person in the world is educated and understanding of autism in a different way then I have achieved something.
Learning to control and minimise my reactions to my obsessions is something I struggle the most with. They give me joy, make me excited and its something I am actually good at being able to communicate about, however this can become very annoying to people and I know I can be too much and go on wwwaayyyy too much! For example, I was having a conversation with a friend at work the other day and she began talking about the lego games for ps4. I love these games, especially the marvel superhero ones! (obviously) and we were discussing them and I could feel myself wanting to just talk and talk, it bubbles inside me, excitement rushing through me like I’m going to explode, pop the cork like champagne. I knew I was going to start talking about little details within the game that would be too much, little details she wouldn’t even care about like how I love that it has the rescue version of pepper Potts or start going into detail about different missions and parts that chances are she wouldn’t be able to remember. When someone starts talking about one of the things I am interested in then I get a bit carried away. I get too excited and want to just talk and talk and talk. I don’t see the problem with it at first because someone is actually communicating about something I love and isn’t that a good thing? Its great to share interests but then I go too far and I end up loosing them, or going completely overboard and then when this happens and I loose their interest or they start not knowing what I am talking about then I feel the fear and melancholy coming on because I know I’ve over done it and messed up socially. Yes people are normally really polite about this and don’t act like ive done anything wrong within me I know that they aren’t like me and don’t really care as much as I do. I move on from this pretty quickly thankfully, often immersing myself in some fan fiction or watching clips to make myself feel better. I can’t change this fact about myself but I do apologise to anyone who falls into conversation about one of my obsessions with me, it really won’t be easy to get me to shut up, but it could be worse at least im excited to talk to you!
This week at work we have begun completing some assessments which we do regularly throughout the year, anyways, as it isn’t something we do daily like some of the other jobs I wanted to double check a detail that I was sure we included but wanted to confirm. Well I checked the policy which confirmed my theory but I noticed that none of the completed ones had it included. Well this made me begin questioning myself. I asked the others who said they had never added it in before and one of my managers wasn’t 100% sure either but said as I’ve worked for the company for so long I was probably right and to let the others know to add it. I started going round talking to the team when one of the others whom has recently transferred across to our setting said she couldn’t remember doing them either. Okay so maybe I was wrong, that didn’t matter right as it meant less work right? Well not for me, being wrong is a horrible feeling even over something so small and silly as this. I began to feel anxious, nervous energy inside me and the possibility of a melt down edging in. I know my job, and I know it very well. It’s the one thing I am confident about and am often referred to with questions similar to this concern so being wrong about it is a big thing, it makes me doubt myself completely. I feel like a failure. Well I went back to my manager and suggested calling across to one of our other nurseries. Anyways turns out thankfully I was right, but it took a while for the uneasy feeling to pass. I know this sounds like I am being big headed but it isn’t meant in that way at all. When it comes to my job I strive for that perfection, to know what I need to know, everything I can so I do the best I can do. I know that no one likes the idea of being wrong about something but I believe that for me, and as part of my autism this is magnified further and the negative feelings are a lot harder to control resulting in a possible sensory meltdown. Thankfully this time it was averted but each time does make me aware and make me want to strive to be better at my job.
Finally I would like to end this weeks blog by discussing the emotion and understanding of empathy. People will often comment and perceive people who are on the spectrum as lacking or having no empathy. The real issue isn’t that of empathy at all, I may not always know when someone is upset with me or not, read the cues that others might as well but when I know that someone is upset with me of course I feel empathic. If anything I think I feel more empathy than others when I realise as I worry enough about upsetting people or messing up socially that when I have done something wrong I feel terrible for it. Also drawing back to something I discussed in a previous blog post I tend to ‘feel’ rather than ‘think’ so it actually breaks me to realise that I have done something to cause hurt to someone else. This will often lead to me over thinking and asking people regularly if they are upset or annoyed at me, reading too much into comments or silences and assuming that this must mean I have done something to annoy the person. I feel anxiety regularly over the idea that I have inadvertently done something to someone. An anxiety bubble sits inside of me until I cannot think of anything other than checking with the person. I’ve learnt I am mostly better to ask, but that this too can then annoy people.
Thank you all for reading once again, if anyone has any ideas on how else to promote and develop understanding of autism in girls I would love to hear your ideas.
Tammy xx fff