A little something different…

I know in my last upload I said I would be discussing my coping mechanisms and how I respond in situations but I have decided to take a slightly different approach. I will still be touching on these but instead of listing them off I am going to write about the week I have had…

As many people reading this already know I work in a nursery with children. I absolutely adore my job. It is my focus, my biggest obsession, my escape from my brain at times. Of course every now and again things are going to flow over into this world, I can’t ‘hide’ all my autistic traits even though for a long time I strived to be normal and not let these show. I have accepted who I am now, and see the benefit and support these little traits can have (sometimes anyways lol).

Something very minor to most happened this week. One of the girls I work with received new work shirts to wear and she pointed out to us how the name of the company and the size of the logo has changed slightly on the shirt. Now this is nothing major right? Its still the same company I work for, nothing has really changed. But I wasn’t aware that this was going to happen. I could feel the unease seeping through me, beginning small and slowly spreading. My hands crept up to rub my neck, below my ears and I could feel myself babbling. Its not that the change is bad at all, the fact that I didn’t know it was coming was the issue, and now we aren’t all the same. Our uniform is universal throughout our nurseries and that’s how it supposed to be. That’s the rule, we have a very clear dress code. This throws that out. For a while this will trickle in and some of us will be one way and some of us will be the other. This is taking some times for my brain to process. The idea of it all, the fact that our badges will change, the signs will all have to change buzzes through my head. This isn’t even my issue…I do not have to do any of this none of it actively effects me. Anyways I joked it off, continued to babble about it all day but acted like I was all fine with it. It still runs around my head now, days later, not enough to make me twitchy but the buzzing in my brain is still there.

I am going to refer back to one sentence in particular from above “My hands crept up to rub my neck, below my ears…” This is one of my coping mechanisms. I cover my ears. Push so hard towards my head that I cannot hear anything except the blood rushing through my head. I block everything out and just try to breath. When things aren’t too bad or I’m trying to hide the feelings flowing over me I rub below my ears, my neck, anything within this area that doesn’t look as suspicious. My amazing partner bought me ear defenders to support me during these times which made me fall even more in Love with him. The way he supports rather than tries to change me is outstanding.

Because of this and my mind feeling the way it has I have felt the hyperfixation streaming through me, controlling me, helping to settle things in my brain but it isn’t easy to control it. At night I have been dreaming about Castle and Beckett, all day in the back of mind I have thoughts of Tony Stark and Pepper fighting to take centre stage. I am obsessed with finding things online to quench my hunger for it, reading fanfiction when ever I get the chance, looking up theories on what will happen in the next avengers movie. Yes this all sounds very obsessive and I know many will think this is unhealthy and part of that may be right. But this is how I cope. I have learnt and continue to fight and learn to control it so it doesn’t overcome me and become the only thing I focus on. But it helps me, and I am no longer afraid of the rabbit hole it may pull me down.

Something else from this week was a discussion I had with a team member. I always ensure to ask if a team member wants to swap or would like me to do a job if I feel they have done a lot of it recently, such as changing nappies, and this team member always says its fine. I always worry that this is something people say because its a very social norm to just say that everything is okay and it is also appropriate for the other person to offer to do the job anyways. I cannot read this. I never know what way a person is being, If they are genuinely okay doing a job or are just saying it to be polite. After a few days of this I decided to come out and just say this to the team member. Thankfully she laughed and understood and said she would say if she didn’t want to do something. I know that some people find this rude but this is genuinely what I need. I need the black and white. No grey area thankyou. It doesn’t mean I will let people walk all over me and not do a job if they need to do it but I know where I stand and what my response should be.

I know this only scratches the surface of how things can be and how I cope with things but I thought it would be a way of explaining part of a typical week for me. These is much more to come and I will continue to explore my past, my present and the idea of my future and explain how everyday life has evolved and works for me and my autism.

Finally it has also been suggested to me that I should consider vlogging on youtube with these extracts. I am not yet sue how I feel about this, I would love to reach a wider community and continue to see this grow but I’m not sure I can do it. I was just wondering what peoples thoughts are on this matter. I would also really appreciate it if you could like and/or follow the posts on this website so I can see what the interest is. Also feel free to leave any comments on what you think was good, anything I could improve or anything you would like included.

First post…beginning my story

This wasn’t something I ever thought I would actually write, nor something I even know how to begin if I’m honest. I am autistic. That statement alone has loads of ideas and theories of what I am like running through your head. I can almost guarantee that not many of them are accurate. I can also tell you that although, yes, this is a story about my experience with autism this will not be the same for everyone who lives with autism.

As far as autism goes I am what would be classified as low on the spectrum. I am able to communicate, I am able to engage in social situations and I can engage in every day life. In fact the majority of people I meet are ‘shocked’ or ‘never would have known’ I have autism. In some ways I guess this makes me feel proud to be able to deal with the struggles I face inside daily enough that I can have what people would classify as a normal life. The other part of me is angered by this, why does autism have to look one way or another? What about someone defines them of having autism or acting like they have autism? This also makes it harder for people to understand. Just because I can give you eye contact most of the time and communicate with you and am not flapping my arms or spinning around all the time doesn’t mean that there are not still things about every day that I don’t struggle with. Now before I delve into what life with autism is like for me it is worth noting that I didn’t have the best childhood, and I know that much of this has resulted in some of the struggles which I have had to deal with whilst growing up and some of this may spill over with my autistic traits or be why I struggled with them as much as I did whilst growing up.

The first sign that I ever really identified within myself was my extreme hyper fixation. I have always overly attached to things and when I was younger I believed this was just part of my coping mechanism for things with my parents or how I was feeling. As I have got older I began to realise how it wasn’t ‘normal’. I began to think I was crazy, couldn’t understand why I was so obsessed with things and everyone around me didn’t seem controlled by the things they enjoyed. The first thing I remember fixating on was the film the lion king when I was 6 years old. I needed everything lion king. I would watch it all the time, I had my simba teddy which came everywhere with me. I couldn’t sleep without him, in fact I still have him now although I have moved on from needing him. I had the lion king lampshade, toys, sega game anything I could convince my mother to get me. I even needed the magazine which came out regularly, one of those ones where you collect different things each time and build up a collection. I couldn’t handle not getting it on the day that it came out. Following this the next thing I remember becoming immersed in was the girl group atomic kitten. This was one of my worse ones ever. It controlled my life for years. My whole bedroom was filled with posters and pictures from every magazine they were in, including my sloping celling. I had to buy a magazine even if it only had the smallest picture of them in it as I needed to add it to my collection. I recorded everything that they were in and I hated having to go out somewhere and missing a programme that they were on and would have to record the whole show and it was all I could think about whilst I was out. Every time a CD was released I had to have it on the day it was released and I had to have both copies if there were more than one, which there normally was. They were all I listened to and I couldn’t stop a song part way through or skip it once it had started. I listened to the charts and if they didn’t get number one it would physically upset me. When they split I was broken, I was convinced that after a year, like they said, they would come back together and things would be right. Even now 10 or so years later I am still not sure I am over this fixation. But I have moved on, on to something new that is. Hyperfixation was worse the older I got, when I started earning my own money. Especially if I was having a particularly bad day I will go online and search for things which I can watch, listen to or purchase relating to whatever my current fixation is. Right now I have two, a tv show called Castle and the marvel Iron Man story. Over the last few years it has occurred to me that the things I tend to fixate on as an adult have a strong female character within whom have been through bad things in their past and end up coming out on top and with the love of their life too. Namely the obsessions have been with Sara for CSI, Meridith Grey from greys anatomy, Kate Beckett from Castle and Pepper Potts from Iron Man. Sometimes I know I’m becoming obsessed but I cannot seem to stop myself, to prevent it. I have learnt to control it more as I have got older but it this is one f my biggest struggles, shutting out my obsession long enough to focus on every day life. Its a challenge not to immerse myself 24 hours a day. For everyone in my life that has to deal with my constant babbling and discussions and everything else that comes with my obsession…I am truly sorry! But this is me.