About alienhippy

Hi... I'm Alienhippy, I write about my journey through life, the ups and the downs. I love painting, writing poetry and sharing what I live. I am an adult with Aspergers Syndrome/Dyslexia and mild ADHD. I lived unaware of this until my daughter started school and problems she experienced were memories of my childhood. My daughter has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Dyspraxia and Sensory Integration Dysfunction. Also my Dad is now diagnosed with Autism…so I think I can quite happily sit somewhere in the middle of the huge spectrum we call Autism. I say happily because for the first time in my life things are now making sense. The pieces of the jig-saw are starting to come together. I am also a Christian and I love to share how God helps me to be me! Love and hugs. xx :)

Chameleon

alien cameleonChameleon
by Alienhippy
I write when I’m emotional, it seems to help at times
But lately I have not pushed through to find my words of rhyme
I let myself shrink back in fear and forgot I had a voice
That who I am is not worth less but I have to stand by choice
~
I hide when I am trying to please the masses not my needs
And fear and dread turn into pain, my soul and spirit bleeds
Invisible, yet in a crowd, a Chameleon act of protection
But still the aching void speaks loud, destructive self rejection
~
Being confident that I’m enough no need for validation
Just be myself not hide my shine that traps me in frustration
Be strong enough to walk away and hold my head up high
Better alone living in my truth than to live my life a lie
~
So now I stand and raise my voice in rhyming words of verse
As images of dancing angst replay, rebuild, rehearse
And as I push me past the zone of comfort one more time
I take deep breaths and now my heart is good yet on the line

Who else is going to share?

Has anyone noticed that I’m not really blogging much these days? I want to, I really do, but every time I open up a fresh document to start typing I feel a bit lost. I don’t know why this has happened, it just has. I have been feeling like this for a few months, I have been finding inspiration in my old posts. I’ve reposted old posts and added a few new poems but nothing I feel I will look back on and say, “Oh yes that was a turning point for me!”

Writing helps me

I will keep pushing through knowing that this will soon pass. I have been having no problems at all with writing in my prayer journal and reflective journal. Also I have shared many deep thoughts and inspirations privately with my closest friends. Its just blogging I’m struggling with. I seem to have lost the effort.

I thought maybe it was because I felt hurt

I have been struggling to comment on blogs because of fear. I have been blogging four year this year and other bloggers have not always been kind. Some have taken me wrong; they don’t know me or see my heart. I stopped commenting a while back and only comment on my friends blogs where I feel safe. Where I know they will protect me if I get taken wrongly or if I get bullied or verbally attacked.

I thought maybe it was time to call it a day and make my blog private. I even thought at one point of deactivating my blog; thank goodness I didn’t as all 667 posts I have shared would now no longer exist.

My not knowing loop is a big black hole

Some time ago my lovely friend Fi, from Wonderfully Wired wrote a post called “The Spinning Question Mark.” In this post was a beautiful conversation that she had with one of her little boys. Both of her sons are on the spectrum and reading about them helps me to remember. They are so very like me in their aspieness, especially *Harley!

In Fiona’s post *Harley speaks to his Mum about seeing in pictures. To me this is my normal; it was only four years ago that I realised that my way of thinking is different. He talks about his spinning question mark when he doesn’t understand something.

Here is small piece from Fi’s post.

So I thought I’d take it further.

“Harley, what do you see if I say the word ‘Volkswagen’? Do you see that same car again?”

“No”. He said. “I see an empty box with a big question mark over it spinning around and around because I don’t know what a Volkswagen is”.

Wow. I knew I was onto something so I dug deeper and asked him: “Do you see a spinning question mark a lot?”

He nodded. “Yes, every time someone says a word that I’ve never heard before. It is what I see when I don’t understand what the other person is talking about. I hate it when I see that question mark. I feel stupid and that’s why I sometimes get angry”

My thoughts that I shared.

My spinning question mark is a hole, a black hole like in space. And yep, when people all talk fast or over each other the pictures make no sense. Talking with one person at a time is so much easier. When in a group of people I can’t really listen and will zone out, daydream on a tangent thought triggered by an image.

I just thought everyone thought like this. It makes so much sense now I know they don’t. No wonder other women can chat like they do. It really fuzzes my head being in a group of women all talking at the same time, way too many pictures bumping into one another…hehe

I cope by either being the quiet onlooker, the one that looks shy and listens. You know me better than anyone Fi; you know I am not shy or quiet. Or, I can cope by being the loud one that doesn’t listen at all, the one with loads of ideas who is a bit bossy. This depends on my confidence level and who the people are.

The pictures are so strong they can stop me from eating. I tried to explain this to Mr Locoman the other day. I cooked a soup and couldn’t enjoy it without my soup spoon. It just didn’t seem to taste at all. I told him that all I could think of is my soup spoon because I am at home and when I am at home eating soup I need to eat it with my soup spoon. I did try a different spoon but the size was wrong and all I kept seeing was my spoon with the pretty engraved roses on it. As a kid I would have refused to eat. As an adult I try to fix things, I try to fix me. So many of my past experiences can be explained by understanding myself and how I tick. Understanding why I am different and why people have treated me the way they have.

I have hope that things will change

I believe that it is when NT parents and adult aspies combine their journeys that we will bring true awareness of Autism. I only know my spectrummy ways but having a friend like Fi (who is NT) helps me to understand the way others think. Also me helping her to see it through my aspie eyes has helped her to understand her boys, she told me so and that has got to be helpful…right?

So, why do I keep sharing?

I share because:

  • I have a head full of thoughts that might just help someone.
  • I have a life time of history on the spectrum.
  • I love all people even when they show very little love in return.
  • I hate the thought of any child going through school unnoticed.
  • I hate the thought of any child sitting thinking of space because of all the black holes in a day. Then being told they are stupid, ignorant, thick or a nuisance.
  • I hurt inside knowing that there are kids whose parents want them fixed.
  • I believe that maybe my life has a purpose and me sharing is a good thing.
  • I know that through fighting my fears I grow and I want to grow and learn.
  • I want people to understand that Autism doesn’t mean lacking empathy.
  • I have traits that are unnoticeable but every day I struggle, writing it out helps me.
  • In writing I have found connections, I no longer feel alone.
  • I have a need to communicate; most people are not interested in what I have to say.
  • I can’t always talk; sometimes I go for days without talking at all even though I want to. I share to release a build up of stored away expression.
  • I need an outlet and writing is very freeing for me.
  • Also…One day I won’t be around to tell my kids about this journey.

I share because it’s the right thing to do even when the fear of being me to the world keeps me awake at night. Even when I know there is a possibility of waking up and finding comments on my blog that are full of hate and manipulation. Even when I know that something I share might not be what someone close to me wants to read.

This is my journey and I will jolly well write about it.

I’m sick of hiding behind a mask, I’m sick of walking on egg shells. I will keep writing and I will probably get it wrong a few more times yet but I will not be sitting in a corner with my coat pulled over my head. That was me at school. I am not a child anymore, I have found my words and I will use my words. People need to know and little aspies can’t speak it out for themselves. I remember and I can write about it, it’s up to others if they want to read. Who else is going to help? Textbooks given to teachers and a few lectures is NOT enough in my opinion. I have lived it and my life is not worthless, it is worth sharing.

Who else is going to share?

perfectlove

Filtering (Autism Awareness)

WIND-jpgsFiltering (Autism Awareness)
by Alienhippy
You would not believe the filters I have to use to free
The processes I go through so I can truly see
The rehearsing and the questions, constant battles in my brain
If I attached a loud speaker, you’d think that I’m insane
~
It will start with something simple, an interest that gives safety
Or acceptance from a person who likes me for being me
Then that safety forms a blanket that covers all the crap
That the world has thrown upon me, sealed me in my trap
~
I document my way out through journals and through rhyme
Reflect on change to routine and re-organise my time
Then make plans to share the burden that I feel I may become
Praying to rebuild any damage I have done
~
I cannot change this process I have lived and I’ve obsessed
I have walked this path for many year alone and left depressed
I have to fight right through it, calling out to God above
Held accepted in His wisdom, His Guidance and His Love
~
I don’t know how to be any other way
I collect and filter everything so I can have a say
In what goes on within my life, it seems my ways are strange
‘Cause no one else collects these thoughts to interpret every change
~
I don’t like sitting still too long I feel I will stagnate
I keep my mind and spirit calm avoiding strife and hate
I feel this hope inside me, even though I feel a mess
And in His love I understand my ways are NOT worth less

Accepted, Loved Unconditionally

Inspired by Psalm 40

Patiently I wait on words spoken to my heart

I listen through my noise and hear the still small voice

My heart yearns but my spirit calls peacefully

I feel raised from the unknown and set on solid truth

That truth is I am loved unconditionally

An inner peace fills me and my heart sings

My lips have a new song of praise

Fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of the one I trust

I look to the heart of the one who gave His life

I know that He is the one to fix my gaze upon

Blessings are at my step as I follow His lead

When I fall I know he will always catch me

When I fail to trust and when I lose hope He remains

His gentle voice spurring me on

Holding me in His love, His light everlasting

Whispering soft reminders of His hopeful, caring promises

He has no desire for sacrifice, but a willing heart

He just calls my name and wants my love

He has me in His heart and He is living in mine

So many do not see or feel this love

They feel that it is not real but I stand in His love

I received His gift and will call out Jesus is Lord

When troubles rise and the waters are deep

His hand is upon me guiding and teaching

So patiently He is always loving

Helping me grow in all I do for Him

His plan for me is always better than my own

Bringing me ever nearer to the image He sees in me

Refining me from the inside starting in the heart

Always providing just what I need, I rest under His wing

Exposed and humbled I stand in His presence

Quickly I am covered by His grace and mercy

New every morning I am washed clean in His love

Accepted and loved, created in unique design

Crafted by the master’s hand

I am enough because He loves me

I can be loved because He loved first

I can love because He shows me the way

He will never leave me, He will never forsake me

I just need to call

Then…Be Still And Know

~

Listen to my cry for help, O God. Pay attention to my prayer. From the ends of the earth, I call to you when I begin to lose heart. Lead me to the rock that is high above me. You have been my refuge, a tower of strength against the enemy. I would like to be a guest in your tent forever and to take refuge under the protection of your wings. Selah ~Psalm 61:1-4 (by David)

My daughter loves to draw

Some of *CAL's stories

Some of *CAL’s stories

*CAL has always loved drawing.

As a small child she would make her own story books. She would draw all the pictures and tell me what words she wanted to write. Then we’d sit and write out her stories together. I still have all those little books; they hold such wonderful memories for me.

Art has always been something she loves to do. So learning art doesn’t mean sitting still and being told about it, for *CAL it means doing it. It’s about her living it, feeling it, seeing it, molding it, shaping it, mixing it, finding it, creating it, imagining it.

For me it’s about capturing it and being present in that moment when she calls out…”MOM!!! Do you want to see what I’ve made?”

One thing that my *CAL is able to do more of now (because of home education) is focus on what she enjoys doing. Focus on her talents, her gifts, her special interests. She is enjoying the journey of everyday in this amazing adventure of learning.

While she was attending mainstream school she was unable to tap into this gift. Even in her art lessons she found it hard because of the noise and movement of the other children. Also the demand to produce work that she wasn’t always interested in, or she felt totally uninspired by, didn’t stimulate her joy for art. Meeting targets, ticking boxes and the overwhelming sensory experience she went through daily was actually switching off her love for art and switching off my little girl. However, she does have a few fond memories of her art lessons at school. Art was the only lesson she looked forward to, it’s a shame it was only an hour a week.

I’m not going to blog anymore on this post about the damage done. It’s in the past, it’s behind us now. This post is about the success we are having. You can read my previous post if you need to fill in any of the background.

In our short time of de-schooling, unschooling/autonomous learning *CAL is really flourishing. Her confidence is coming back along with her words, she’s communicating again now. She has a gallery of over fifty 3D compositions. She attends pottery classes and has created amazing sculptures. We have recently found a home education group for structured and unstructured art where she is able to work with a small group of home educated children in a professional art studio.

salad spinnerShe also has a little friend (4 years of age) who she enjoys creating art with on a regular basis. This is a piece of art they did together with poster paint and a salad spinner. I love this painting and have it hanging in my living room.

This week *CAL has started to research, learn and apply her knowledge to computer animation. There is no stopping her, she just loves to learn. My child who just a few months ago told me that reading is boring is now constantly reading because she WANTS to learn.

I’m so excited today because my *CAL has given me permission to share one of her wonderful new drawings. It has taken a while for her to want to share her work and that is totally fine. I understand her need to have her own special place and I will always support her with this and respect her wishes.

This drawing of Amy Rose is a redesign and *CAL created it on her 3DS using colors 3D. To some people my child may look like she is playing on a gamer gadget, but what she can create freehand on that gadget blows my mind. Did I mention that on the 3DS it can actually be seen in three dimensions, she built it up in layers…it really has the WOW factor!

Amy Redesign

Amy Redesign

NOTE: *CAL is only just 13 years old, she is diagnosed with ASD/Dyspraxia/SPD she has fine and gross motor delay. None of this will stop her from achieving her full potential. The diagnoses were needed while she was in mainstream school to try to get her extra support. The confusion of too many people and too much change on a daily basis was causing her sensory overload and constant shutdowns. I’m not at all against the education system in my country; I just understand that the structure and environment of school isn’t always beneficial for everyone, especially a person with sensory processing disorder.

It is time….

Ross MountneyI want to thank all my readers, all who leave me comments or send me emails. I’m sorry that I haven’t been writing much lately. I’ve wanted to. I’ve really, REALLY wanted to. To be honest, I haven’t known where to start. I’ve sat many times with a blank document trying to find the words and then switched off the pc and blocked out what I was feeling.

I made a start today

“I want to encourage you to keep going on your path. You have amazing gifts to reach people with ASD, like me, like the children of those parents in the group you have come to dread. We need people who understand us, and you are one of them. May God reward your faith and perseverance!!!” (Sent to me by a reader)

I made a start by going through the emails that had accumulated for my blog. The words above are from one of those emails and it was those words that helped me to decide that “It is time.”

Time to tell where I’ve been hiding. Time to tell why I’ve been so quiet. Time to tell what’s been going on and why I couldn’t write. Time to tell a bit of our story.

We started homeschooling *CAL

You may remember a post I wrote back in March. It was called, 7 packs of hardwood. It was during this time that I had come to realise I had no choice but to find alternative education for my daughter. I was hoping and praying that she would settle and she would thrive in the mainstream school, as my *AJ had. But her transition to secondary school had not gone well and I could see that it just wasn’t happening. The environment was not kind to her sensory system, it did not suit her at all. In desperation I wrote the following lines in my post.

I am more than Autism, I’m an encyclopaedia of my own Aspie traits. I don’t need lessons on how to parent my Aspie kids, I love them more than life itself. I will always find what is best for them.

What is best for them

*CAL had been at her new secondary school for six months and in that time she had become a selective mute. Just simple decision making had become too much and her shutdowns were constant. Our only reprieve was weekends and even then Sunday afternoons she became so quiet as her anxiety took control. It was agonising to watch as my little girl disappeared into her shutdown Aspergic shell that I know the depths of all too well. Sunday nights she couldn’t sleep and Monday mornings she would wake up limp and unresponsive. By the time we were at the school gates she would be rocking backwards and forwards in the front seat of the car trying to regulate her overload of emotion and fear. I can’t even say that I saw her moods changing; it was like she just switched herself off. At only 12 years of age she stopped smiling, stopped chatting, stopped doing the things she loved and just went through the motions. On her really bad days she couldn’t even do that.

It became my routine to walk her into SEN

Each day I would sit with her and wait for a teaching assistant to walk her to her first lesson. I would collect her after school and by the time the school day had finished *CAL was so drained from the constant over stimulation and rush of lessons, the bombardment to her sensory system (of over a thousand pupils) not to mention the demands on her for tasks, performance, assignments, tests, time management and socialising with no aid and only minimal support. When she got home all she had energy to do was sit staring at repetitive DVD’s or non-stop children’s programs. They say welcome to high functioning autism; I say it was the hardest 8 months of my life watching my daughter being chipped away.

We started home education in May

We saw the difference in a matter of weeks. Within a month of *CAL being de-registered from mainstream schooling her clinical psychologist was happy to discharge her from CAMHS. After two months of homeschooling, Elective Home Education paid us a home visit (optional) but they were happy with the education we are providing and they are happy that *CAL is happy and thriving.

Now I’m not saying this is the answer to all ASD related problems. *CAL still has difficulties with many things. Her sensory processing disorder, Aspie traits and her difficulties from dyspraxia are all still very real. Just that now we can help her find her own way of coping. She gets one to one tutoring and her “curriculum” is set around her interests. She’s not constantly drained and switched off anymore. She’s not just the invisible child in a mass of a thousand. She is the center piece, the hero and the gift of my new full time job that I totally love. She is my focus and I want what is best for her which means I have to do a lot more reading than I used to do.

Home education is our answer

We are constantly researching and finding ways to help our daughter to reach her full potential. And she will reach her full potential because I believe in her, love her unconditionally and accept all her ways. I love her in all her colours, all her moods, all her achievements and all her failures.

Alienhippy’s blog is no-longer just a place where I can be me.

It’s a place where I will share our journey in home education.

Love and hugs. xx :)

(If you are considering home education and live in the UK this link is a good place to start)

Educate Otherwise…. education is compulsory school is optional

CAL BKGW

Out for the day on a home ed meet up. Happy and smiling again.

Trying to write again

1012232_4448425467485_238298099_nTrying to write again

by Alienhippy

From the depth of my emotion and the mess within my mind

I know that words will come as I write my way to find

A comfort deep inside me and a voice which often calls

Ignoring it is pointless, how I’m made cries out for rules

~

Trigger words and images that cause my mind to bend

Trying to filter through the crap and not hide from my friends

I want to be the way I was and share my poetry

But times have changed, I’m feeling lost, I’m struggling to see

~

Where I fit and if I’m needed, so I grasp this safety rope

Begging God to help me find a way to not lose hope

To accept the place I’m given and the distance that we share

And pray to love with deeper love because in love I bear

~

This pain of never feeling in the same room, time or space

Wanting, waiting, praying for acceptance, face to face

Hoping that one day being me, I will embrace

But for now I ponder on, knowing God will show me grace

~

I’m not like many others I care deeper than most do

I cannot switch off thought nor heart I have to pray them through

I have to take myself, my pain, my love, sin, fear and loss

Being still and listening and learning from The Cross

Letter to little Lisa

little lisaAs Autism parents it’s heartbreaking at times to see our kids trying so hard to fit. Only those who live it daily can possibly understand. If you have stumbled upon my blog it stands a chance you are in some way interested in knowing about ASD’s.

What makes the difference?

I had a wonderful Mom who loved and accepted me for just being me. My Mom is what made all the difference. I know how much hard work I could be at times, but I always felt loved, accepted and safe when I was at home with my Mom.

I didn’t realize I was spectrummy until after my Mom died and my Dad at the age of 64 was diagnosed with Autism. It was reading about Autism, trying to help my Dad, that first brought me to finding out about Aspergers Syndrome. Reading those first few books, finding out that there were others like me, was like finding my planet. That MASSIVE light bulb moment. But truth being told, it was only when my little girl started school that I truly, deeply made the connection.

A place where I can be me, that’s what my blog is about.

I wrote a letter back in January 2009, it was part of my counseling. In this letter I had just started to understand that I am on the Spectrum. The letter is written to myself as a small child and it was very hard to write it at the time, I felt a lot of guilt and sorrow for my childhood self. I am now at a point where I can share most of this letter. There are a few parts I decided to take out.

I believe….

With early intervention, with nurturing teachers and if school was a kinder environment things could have been so different for little Lisa.

******************************************************************

Dear little Lisa,

It is very hard to write this letter, maybe it is so hard because all of your life I have stopped you from being you. Now I need to take a good look at who you really are, not who this world has made you become. I need to tell you it’s ok to just be you.

This is a scary step because I have spent so long and worked so hard trying to make you fit. I don’t really remember who we are anymore. So please little Lisa can you help me remember so I can help us to be who we are created to be.

My earliest memory is a pair of red slippers with zips up the front. I remember the carpet being fitted on the stairs, you were so terrified of the grippers and your slippers were in your bedroom.

I remember the pink swirly, floral wallpaper in your bedroom and how the light reflected on the walls and ceiling making the flowers seem somehow alive.

I remember your first day at school, the pain of being separated from your Mommy. You screamed all day and held onto the hood of her coat that had detached itself when the teacher dragged you away from her. I remember you feeling totally alone, you were terrified at school by everything going on around you. The other children were so rough and loud they destroyed everything you tried to do. There was no-one who cared enough to stop this. Every time you found a quiet corner someone would come along and make you do something you didn’t want to do.

You loved to sing and make noise with instruments, you loved painting, drawing and playing with clay. You loved climbing and dancing, doing handstands, being upside down and spinning around until you fell over. It didn’t matter that no-one else was doing it, it was fun.

At school the things you liked to do didn’t happen very often and you couldn’t play the games the other kids played. The play ground seemed too dangerous for you, I know I remember, you were always getting knocked over. You didn’t like the running games because you fell over a lot. I remember the special shoes you had, they were blue and built up on the one side to make your feet turn outwards.

I remember your thoughts each day as you went through the school gates, “Maybe today someone will play something I want to play. Maybe today they will be nice to me!”

I remember the time you decided to just be like everyone else. I remember the friends you tried to be like, none of them stayed around for long. You tried so hard to make them like you and each time felt more of a failure.

It’s ok that you couldn’t read you learned eventually, once you found something you were interested in there was no stopping you. Also you were really good at a lot of other things it’s just that at school no one recognised these. They just pointed at what you couldn’t do.

You are creative, you write poetry, you love to paint, your mind solves puzzles and sees things in a way that other people can’t see. You are impulsive, it’s not a lack of organisation it’s a flow of active creativity and your body needs to keep up with your mind, so you fidget a lot. You sing and make up songs and when you are 8 you learn to play the guitar. You’re kind and compassionate and you feel very deeply for people and animals. Sometimes you can’t communicate that and run away because you hurt, but that is ok, you will learn to express these things one day.

Now I want to tell you something, the language that we spoke that no one understood was called echolalia. It helped us and we did learn words and copied other peoples words too. I am learning about this now. I found out about a thing called Aspergers Syndrome, it’s very complicated but it is an Autism Spectrum Disorder. I think this is what is different about us, I’m going to learn about it so we can learn to be us again.

We never did learn how to make a time machine, but it’s ok to dream. Your daydreams take you to wonderful places and they help you to see a happy world of fun and friends. Your imaginary friend is real to you and that’s all that matters, Weena helps you to understand how friends should be and how they should treat you. She stops you from feeling alone and helps you to understand when you are being treated badly in the future.

This letter is getting really long but this is what I want you to know

People will make you change, they will make you conform to what they see as normal. You will be made to feel a freak, weird, thick. Everything you are good at you will be made to feel is unimportant, and the things you find hard will be the things people make you do. You will get to a point in your life when you feel no one cares and people just use and abuse your nature. You will lose all trust and hope but you will always have a safe place. You will always have your secret place to go. They can never take away what you see inside your dreams, what you feel inside your heart.

You grow up innocent and naive because you live in a daydream with people of another time/world a nicer place. But that is ok, it gives you faith and your faith gets you through everything. There will be tough times, times when you are no longer the person you want to be but you are strong enough to get through it and you will learn to say no.

At the end of the day all this is just lessons and it will all pass, you are unique, yes different but not boring. What my adult self wants to say little Lisa is it is great to be you, you just need to realise it.

Sensory, empathy, fight and flight

Hunting Happiness Project

Hunting Happiness Project

Sensory, empathy, fight and flight

As I was buttering my toast this morning I felt a gentle breeze blow across my arm. The kitchen window was open; there was the smell of damp grass mingled in the cool breeze. This combination of coolness, scent and light touch instantly took me into a visual replay from when I was about 10 years old.

This memory was a happy memory of a camping holiday. I was quite happy being back there with Mom, Dad and my brother. I was lying on the top bunk in our little touring caravan. Dad was making toast outside and passing it to Mom so she could butter it just the way I liked it, while it was still piping hot.

(I wouldn’t eat toast if it wasn’t buttered correctly; I didn’t like the texture…hehe)

Now usually the smell of toast takes me back to my Nan’s kitchen. So I pondered on the differences that the emotional and visual response had through my sensory system. My visuals are as clear as a film; it’s as if I step back in time. Sometimes though, if it’s a negative experience, I have no visuals, I have blank spots and just emotional reactions that I cannot place or understand. It was this that made me stop and think as I know I can misplace feelings especially fear.

What I asked myself…

Could it be that such a subtle change can cause me such a different response?

Does this happen throughout my days without me noticing?

Is this another thing that affect my emotional and mental state?

What does this mean to me personally?

I also thought about how I can be perfectly happy some days and then for no reason I can understand suddenly become so anxious and insecure I can barely function.

I then processed deeper

Those who know a bit about the Autism Spectrum will have heard of the fight or flight response. Fear is what makes all people either run and hide or fight for what they believe in. Those of us with sensory processing disorder (SPD) can’t always understand the feelings or emotional reaction we get from fear. We can also misplace fear with other stimulus. I have been told that I seem aloof; this is how I am perceived in a group of people. I am not an unfriendly person, those who know me know I love being with others. I just struggle to process when there is too much going on. This makes me shy away so I can feel safe.

My mind is puzzling all this out for my own benefit at the moment.

I know from past experience that the only way I have been able to not let the actions of others or the ways of this world affect me, was to isolate myself and switch off to caring about people. It was a sad a lonely place that I don’t ever want to return to. But in not caring about people I also stopped caring what people thought of me, why I wasn’t part of things and why I was always left out. When I didn’t care, nothing seemed to matter.

Through allowing myself to care, to feel, to switch on my heart means I experience empathy at a whole new level. But it also means I am not alone and I have found deep friendship. Allowing myself to be in the shoes of another and feeling the pain they carry means I feel it too. I have found prayer helps me most of the time. However on my not so good days I am unable to release this pain through prayer because I am looping too much in my mind. These days I have to retreat and not add anymore confusion to filter through.

I know that I am an extremely sensitive person. I can’t always process the overload of emotional and sensory input. I choose to not hide anymore, I choose to ask questions and seek answers. I choose to find others who are like me so I no longer feel alone in the world. Through the internet I have met many people who are like me, spiritual, sensitive, loving people who courageously choose to keep giving.

I wrote a post back in 2010 called Toys and Empathy.

It talks about how as a small child I watched some film footage of starving children in a third world country. The emotional and physical pain I carried from this visual was so intense it pushed me to giving all my toys to charity in the hope I would save a child’s life.

In that post I also said this…

I think that the lack of empathy thing is just a shut down mechanism of self protection because emotion is so intense…

I just know that when I gave my toys away it was because I cared deeply for children I would never meet, and I was willing to go without my faithful friends so they would live. I don’t believe that I lack empathy and I don’t believe other Aspies do either. But this is just my understanding.

I read a post recently that is a new theory written by a professional. It backs up some of what I am saying here. Aspies do not lack empathy; we switch off because we feel too much.

Quote from the post…

A groundbreaking study suggests people with autism-spectrum disorders such as Asperger’s do not lack empathy—rather they feel others’ emotions too intensely to cope.

Link to that post… A Radical New Autism Theory

I am still processing all this information.

Once I pull my thoughts together and find a way of helping myself through this I will share more. I can see that as a small child I seemed to know myself so much better. It is trying to fit into what’s considered the social norm that has chipped away at everything I once was. But it has also given me who I am today.

Thank you for reading. Love and hugs. xx :)

The Aspie Coach

The Aspie Coach

Doodles and Dragons

IMG04588-20130407-1825 - Copy

I created this doodle yesterday after a friend inspired me. Doodling this was like therapy for me. I combined two things that teachers had punished me for as a child. Doodling and my special interest/love of/passion for dragons and monsters.

When my sister saw this doodle she said,

Looks like it was very relaxing to draw sis.

Scary things are looking at me!!!

Which was just perfect. It expressed just how I felt.

The constant eyes, staring into me, causing me indescribable fear. Always watching me ready to ruler my knuckles, stand me in a corner, rip up my work. Over 30 years later and I am finally able to release this fear of wrongness. I’m glad that this doodle seems scary as that’s the emotion I was releasing.

Children and adults on the spectrum find comfort in our special interests. Yes, we can seem obsessive at times but a lot of us can learn to understand time and place. Some of us struggle to form words, especially when we are in sensory overload. Being able to express in a different way gives us the ability to communicate our discomfort. Comic strips are used a lot now with special needs children to aid social understanding.

Link here… “What is comic strip conversation?”

As a very young child I was caused fear of both my outlets, back then no one really knew what Aspergers was. I was a quiet hardworking child, with learning difficulties and I struggled to fit into school routine every day. School to me meant two things, total boredom or feeling terrified.

There are so many adults on the spectrum who still can’t find words and are still learning to communicate the best they can. If what happened to us in school, and what happened to our undiagnosed Autie/Aspie parents, was happening today….

Well it just wouldn’t be happening today, would it?

For more background on my doodles and dragons follow this link.

Stories and Doodles