Monthly Archives: January 2016

Autism, and why I have to force myself to rest …

Lately I have found that I have been canceling more and more things. I have not been going out as much, and often when it has come time to do something I have found myself feeling overwhelmed at the thought of having to go out, and do it. This has led to a strange situation where it seems that I have to cut right back on what I plan to do, in order to be productive.

What I mean by this is that I have reached the conclusion that there is no point in making lots of plans, and then not being able to stick to them. It is much better to cut back, and make clear plans for the week that focus on what I want to do, and feel happy doing, that I am able to stick to. The last few weeks have been hard.  Of course coming on the back of Christmas and New Year, the first few weeks of January are always a hard time for autistics. But they have been so even more this year.  As some of you might know I have had a lot on lately in terms of family stuff – most of it quite emotionally draining, time consuming and unpredictable. I think it`s a build-up of things like this which have ended up in me feeling the way I do.

I seem to constantly be on the point of getting overwhelmed and worn out.  Normally I might have twice the energy I have now, and be able to force myself to go out and about, and do things I don’t want to do.  But now I just don’t.  It seems that lately even doing a small amount is pushing me to the point where I am so overloaded I can’t do anything else.

An overload for those who have never felt it – for me at least – feels like this:

On one hand it seems as if I am full of energy, but at the same time as if I am too weak to do anything.  I feel like I want to plan out everything I need to do, but  my mind slows down so much I can not think clearly to do so.  It feels like a cross between a panic attack, and a metldown.  I feel angry, and yet at the same time worried.  All I want to do is sit there, and yet the less I do the worse I feel about not doing things.

Sometimes I am told to just give stuff a go, and see how it goes.  The thing is, that works sometimes, but not often.  Normally I can tell beforehand if I am going to have the energy to do something. Now I don’t mean that I won`t be able to go out somewhere. I might be able to, but I won`t enjoy it at all, and the impact afterwards could be huge.  And yet for years I have tried to force my way through overloads.  It`s not a smart thing to do, but it`s something I have done anyway.  Now I feel like I understand a lot more about myself, and the best ways of dealing with my overloads.  Right now I am worn out both emotionally and physically.  Therefore there is no point trying to force myself to do the things I don’t feel able to do.

What I am trying to do is cut right down to the point where I am at home most of the time, and only have a bare few commitments each week for the next few weeks.  I want a nice simple routine at home where I know when I get up, and what I do each day.  Not for ever.  Just until I feel I have got back to my normal levels of energy, and ability to go out and do things.  How long this will take I can not tell, but I do know that trying to force myself before I am ready will not help me at all.

You might think that cutting back on going out, and not doing a lot is a bad thing. That it leads to me being isolated and restricted.  Well what I would say to that is `so what?`  If that’s what I want why is it a bad thing?  I don’t want, nor do I think it`s healthy, to get to a point where I never leave my house at all. But I don’t think there is anything wrong with just doing what I know I can handle for a while.  If I use up all the energy I have on going out and doing things I don’t want to do, what am I meant to have left to work on my writing?  Or to do jobs around the house?  Or work-out?  Or anything I really want, or need to do?  At the moment not a lot!  That’s why I am cutting back.  Not so I can do nothing, but so I can do the things I feel I want, or need to do.

If you need any more help or advice about Asperger`s/Autism or simply want to talk about it check out our free help and advice service ASK-PERGERS?

Twitter https://twitter.com/ASKPERGERS

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ASKPERGERS?ref=hl

And have a look at our books (at the time published under pseudonyms, but we did write them trust us on that!)  http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/author/1762

Advertisements

The impact that visiting hospitals can have on autistic people.

Most people with autism will have to visit hospitals at one time or another just like anyone else. This is not about having to stay over night, but just about visiting for a few hours, be that due to going to A & E, or an out-patient appointment, or for the main part visiting someone else.  The emotional impact can of course be huge, but mainly I want to use this blog to talk about the hospital itself, and why just being there can be overwhelming, and stress-inducing for autistic people.

 

(1) Noise: Let`s get this one out of the way first. Hospitals are noisy places. They are full of people banging about, moving trolleys, shouting to each orther, crying, all talking at once and just generally making a racket.  Most of this noise can’t be helped, but that does not make it any easier to deal with.  Right from walking in the doors it is noisy, even if not especially on the wards. If you`re visiting someone then what time is it?  Well visiting time, which means everyone else in crammed in to that room or ward at the same time as you.  Young kids screams to adults who can’t seem to stay of their phones.  There is a bit of everything in hospital wards.

(2) Emotions: This one might be a bit harder to explain, but let me try. When I walk in to a hospital I can almost sense the emotions all around me. The staff have heightened levels of stress, there is grief and fear everywhere.  Of course there are good emotions too, but they all blend it to one.  It`s like walking up a mountain; you start off at the foot – AKA the car park – where things are normal, and the higher up you get the lighter the air. The harder it gets to breath. Only the farther you go in to the bowels of the hospital the more the air is tinged with strong emotions and feelings. It clogs up the atmosphere and makes it heavy and oppressing.  For someone who finds emotions hard at the best of times it can be like walking out under the boiling sun.  Yes I can do it, but being in such a harsh atmosphere takes a huge toll on me mentally, and physically.

(3) Smells: We all know this and everyone says it – hospitals smell funny.  Of course they do if you think about it, they are full of people being sick, going to the toilet where they are not meant to, bleeding, and well, dying.  They have to do something to cover up those smells so they seem to just blanket the whole place in cleaning fluid.  I don’t blame them, but as you all know that hardly smells nice!  For people with sensory issues though it can smell far worse.

(4) Change:  I wanted mainly to look at how things are inside the hospital, but of course visiting a person in hospital is going to mean a change of routine for most autisitc people.  But even when you get used to someone being in hospital there is still a  lot of change – you might go and visit only to find someone has been moved to a different room or ward.  This might happen more than once, meaning you can’t really get to grips with where you are in the building even if you go each day.

(5) Autism is not the main issue: What I mean by this is that when you go to a hospital to visit someone, or because you need to go in to A&E, your autism is not going to be the first thing on peoples` minds. If you are visiting then the staff working there might not even know you are autistic, and your family might have a lot on their minds, and not be able to notice if you are becoming overloaded. You might go yourself and plan to not stay long, but get caught up in something going on and have to stay a lot longer.  And the time you are there your autism is not going to be the first thing that other people are thinking about. You might not be getting the help and support you need as there are others there who are, rightly so, the focus.

 

These are five reasons why I think hospitals can be overwhelming, and difficult places to visit if you are autistic. That’s not even getting in to how hard it can be to have to stay in hospitals for any length of time. I for one take days to recover just from going to visit someone once. This can make it very hard to have a sick relative. I find myself torn between wanting to go and visit, and knowing the impact it will have for days.  And not just on me, but on those around me affected by my mood and the way I act, for example my increase in meltdowns.

 

If you need any more help or advice about Asperger`s/Autism or simply want to talk about it check out our free help and advice service ASK-PERGERS?

Twitter https://twitter.com/ASKPERGERS

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ASKPERGERS?ref=hl

And have a look at our books (at the time published under pseudonyms, but we did write them trust us on that!)  http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/author/1762

 

Autism and Anxiety:How anxiety feels

For me it is akin to what you might feel if you have a relative who is sick in hospital, and a doctor comes up to you with a grim look on his face.  In those few seconds you might know you are about to get bad news before he’s even spoken.  Your chest will go tight, and you may feel sick.  And in your head you know something bad is about to happen.  But that feeling only lasts for a few seconds because when something bad does happen new feelings take its place.   But if you suffer from anxiety those few seconds can become days, weeks or even months. It’s like being in a constant state of anticipating something terrible.  But not in a conscious way; in your head you`re not thinking something is about to happen or go wrong, in fact you might be thinking completely happy and contented thoughts, but your body and mind react as if you are anticipating the worse.  What I mean by this is that in my head I am not thinking that I am about to get bad news, but I know that my body is feeling the way it does when that is happening.

Because that’s the thing about anxiety, it does not actually mean you are anxious about something in particular.  Sometimes it’s just the feeling, and that can be the worst part about it.  Most times if you’re anxious about doing something, then once you have done it that feeling goes. It might be replaced by other feelings, but the feeling of building up to something bad will be gone.  But if there is no one thing you are anxious about, how do you get rid of it?  Well you don’t. You have to keep reminding yourself that there is nothing to worry about, and that something bad is not just about to happen. This will not always help, but it is still important to do. This article is not aimed at giving tips on how to deal with anxiety – the aim of this is to talk about how anxiety feels, or at least how it feels to me. I think there is an idea out there that anxiety has to have some basis in real life. So if someone is anxious is must be about something they have coming up.  But that is not always true.  It does not have to connect to anything real, and there might be no good cause for the feelings.  But that will not stop them.

I am sure different people feel anxiety in different ways, but all I can do is explain how it makes me feel.  Hopefully my description will help some people recognize their anxiety even if they don`t understand why they feel the way they do.

 

If you need any more help or advice about Asperger`s/Autism or simply want to talk about it check out our free help and advice service ASK-PERGERS?

Twitter https://twitter.com/ASKPERGERS

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ASKPERGERS?ref=hl

And have a look at our books (at the time published under pseudonyms, but we did write them trust us on that!)  http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/author/1762

Change in January

I know that a lot of you find this time of year just as hard as I do. When I say this time of year I mean from around the start of December well in to January.  For those two months we go back and forth between holidays. There is so much change.  We change everything: what we eat, what we drink, what time we go to bed, how our homes look with decorations, and the Christmas tree. And even if we don’t change these things we can’t do anything about school’s or places of work being closed, or everything else looking different.  And then at the end of this, just when things are starting to return to normal, we have a another huge change – that of one year going in to the next.

While in truth nothing really changes as the year moves on, it still feels like a big change.  What I mean is that normal routines are resumed in January, but due to the concept of it being a new year it still feels like there has been a huge change. But the change that I, and I am sure a lot of other autistic people find hard to take, is that of going from Christmas back to normal. Of course the change into Christmas is hard, very hard for a lot of people.  It is one or two weeks of the year where everything changes.  But with all this there is something to look forward to for a lot of people. Even though I find the change hard I still love Christmas time.  But when it comes to changing back there is not often much to look forward to.

Yes the pull of getting back to an old routine can be good, but when I spoke to other autistic people they made the point that in the holidays you can make your own routine instead of having to work to a routine set by school or work.  And I do find that this is true.  When I was at college and had to be up at six in the morning to sit through a day of IT, I hated the idea of going back to my routine.

I think this really is something that is different for everyone. Some people will be glad not to have to plan their own days out anymore, and to be able to get back to a set routine.  But others will be unhappy at the loss of freedom over their routine. Whatever you feel though the chances are that for a quite a large part of a January, if you are autistic, you will find it hard to deal with the changes taking place, even if they are positive ones for you.  It is important not to just plan on how to deal with the change in to Christmas, but also to adapt the plans and techniques that you use to help you change back at the end of the holidays.

I have always found transition hard to deal with, just like a lot of autistic people. Because of this when I was younger my Mum came up with techniques to help me cope with transition and change. Some of these relate to changes from Christmas/New Year back to normal, and details of these and other changes can be found in our book Helping children with Autism Spectrum Conditions through everyday transitions. http://www.jkp.com/uk/helping-children-with-autism-spectrum-conditions-through-everyday-transitions.html

 

If you need any more help or advice about Asperger`s/Autism or simply want to talk about it check out our free help and advice service ASK-PERGERS?

Twitter https://twitter.com/ASKPERGERS

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ASKPERGERS?ref=hl

And have a look at our books (at the time published under pseudonyms, but we did write them trust us on that!)  http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/author/1762

Writing 2016

You might have noticed that 2015 was not a great year for writing for me. This was due to various personal reasons. I think I had a grand total of eight blogs up in those twelve months, as opposed to something like forty the year before. I failed to get my horror/thriller book edited and put out, and near to the end of the year the online magazine I wrote for changed ownership, and I have heard nothing about whether I will still be writing for it.

But this is not a blog post intended to wallow in self pity – what I wanted to do was just quickly tell you what I plan on writing for 2016.

I want to put up at least one blog per week. I might do more, but one a week should be a basic.

I want to write more for The Guardian.  I know a lot of you enjoyed the stuff I wrote for them last year, so I want to keep that up.

I want to help my Mum self publish her book on autism and animals – something I think a lot of you will enjoy, and find very helpful!

I also want to edit and publish my horror/thriller book.

Now I don’t want you to think this is a new year new me blog post. It is far from that.  In fact it is more getting back to how I used to be.  New year same old me I guess you could say. Some of you might know that I got a deal to have a new book published last year. So I aim to get that edited, and I think you will be hearing a lot more about it on here before it comes out later this year.

Overall I hope and plan to write and edit a lot this year, and I hope you will enjoy reading it.

If you need any more help or advice about Asperger`s/Autism or simply want to talk about it check out our free help and advice service ASK-PERGERS?

Twitter https://twitter.com/ASKPERGERS

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ASKPERGERS?ref=hl

And have a look at our books (at the time published under pseudonyms, but we did write them trust us on that!)  http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/author/1762