Monthly Archives: May 2016

Anxiety & Stress, and the physical impact they can have.

We all know by now that autism and anxiety come hand-in-hand.  Anxiety can be provoked by even the smallest of things because to autistic people these things are not small.  It might be knowing that you have to go out, or worrying because your routine has been changing. But what kind of impact can this high level of anxiety, day to day, have on your physical health?  Well I can’t talk for everyone, but I can tell you the impact it has had on me over the last few years. First off I need to point out that with starting university, and some serious family issues my stress levels have been higher in the last two years than they ever have been before.

Normal physical reactions: What do I mean by normal? Well it`s common to feel some level of physical reaction when you have anxiety.  For example if I know I have to go out at eight at night then from around five I will start feeling cold inside, have pains in my guts and maybe even get a headache. I am more than used to this by now as I have had it all my life. When I used to have to go to school (I was home educated after age seven) I would feel sick all night and all morning before I got there.

That might be the case for everyone autistic or not, but being autistic I feel anxiety more than most. In fact anxiety affects me daily, as it does a lot of autistic people. But what about at times of high stress and anxiety? How severely can anxiety impact on my physical health?

Loss of sight: A little over a year ago, as I was coming to the end of my first year at university, I woke up one morning and tried to walk to the bathroom. As I walked across the landing I could feel myself growing weaker to the point where, when I got in to the bathroom, I had to lean up on the wall to stop myself falling to the floor. As this was happing my vision was also fading to be replaced by blackness. For a good few minutes I could only lean there dripping in sweat and unsure if I was throwing up or not due to the fact that I could not see a thing. This lasted for approximately five minutes, and once it had passed I of course went to A&E. and the doctors there said it was caused through stress and anxiety. Now I did end up getting very ill with an infection around the same time. But the view of most of the people I talked to was that this would not have brought on the loss of sight, but high stress might have. Having talked to someone who used to lose their sight quite a bit due to stress as a teenager I do think that stress/anxiety had a large role to play.

Chest pain: A few days ago, and around a year after the loss of sight, I woke up and got out of bed again only this time instead of my eyes it was my chest that was the issue. I had sharp pains around where my heart is, and when I sat up on the side of my bed they only got worse. I dressed, but when I bent down to tie my shoes I found I could not due to the pain that it caused me. This lasted for a while, and then only returned twice that day, with one-off sharp pains. All in all I had pains like that for four straight days. So how do I know it had anything to do with anxiety and stress? Well I did go to the Dr and was told it might be stress, or something to do with my muscles. But I think it was stress. I have had pains like that before you see, but only once or twice. The first time I got one I was in the middle of a meltdown, shouting and highly stressed. I had two sharp pains in my chest. Over the past week or so there have been a lot of meltdowns, and a lot of stress. I don’t see it as any coincidence that the pain came back worse than ever during those four days when I was extremely anxious and stressed.

When you live with high levels of anxiety and stress almost every day of your life you are bound to be impacted by it in some physical way. The human body can’t take that level of worry without reacting somehow, even just as a warning to you that you need to change something. After the pain in my chest I decided to take a short break, and then come back with a new plan, and routine to try and make my days less stressful.

Have any of you had your anxiety/stress impact on your physical health?  If so what have you done, if anything, minimise the chances of it happening again.

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?

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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

 

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Autism & Animals – the benefits of animals for autistic people.

After about two years work we are getting close to publishing our book, Autism & Animals – the benefits of animals for autistic people.  The book looks at a variety of animals, and how they might be helpful to autistic people.  But why did we want to write about this subject?  And what’s the point of the book?

For as long as I have owned dogs they have helped me with my autism: making me feel more confident, more relaxed, helping me to understand my emotions, and also helping me to calm down after outbursts.  But it was not until we set up ASK-PERGERS? and got more in touch with other autistic people, and their families that we were able to see that this was far from uncommon. In fact it was getting to a point where hardly a day went by without us seeing a story about how an animal of some kind was helping an individual with autism.  We love animals, and both know first-hand just how beneficial they can be to autistic people, so it just seemed like the most obvious thing to do was to write a book on the subject of animals and people with autism.

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Over the last few years the book has gone through a few incarnations.  At one point I was more involved in the writing than I have been in the final draft, at others the plan was to send it off to a professional publisher.  But in the end we got to where we are now – a self-published book compiled of real-life stories contributed by autistic people, their families, and charities that work with therapy animals.  Intermixed with these stories are some ideas on why animals might be of benefit to people with autism, some research studies on animals and autism, and some accounts from our own lives.

What’s the point of the book?  As corny as it might sound the point of the book is to both entertain, and educate.  As I say we take a look at some of the research and theories as to why animals might be beneficial to autistic people, but the book is also full to the brim with images of all kinds of animals.  Even though my Mum did most of the writing I was heavily involved in the making of the book, and for me one of the most interesting parts was reading all the stories that were sent in to us: horses, frogs, dogs, and all kinds of other animals that have impacted on the lives of autistic people, of all ages, are featured.  As an autistic person it was great to be able to read them, and to hear people talking about something I could relate to.  I hope that if you read the book you find the stories of us autistic people, and our animals, just as interesting as I do! IMG_7526 (2).JPG

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