Becoming Autistic

Kate Fox. Writer, Broadcaster and Performer: Where There's Muck, There's Bras.

Two vignettes:

The day after my Mum died I had to call someone about a project. During that call I said I was going away to my Mum’s funeral and it emerged that she’d died the day before. The person said “But you sound so cheerful!”. I remember wondering how else I was going to sound, given that I’d been phoning them about a professional project, not for sympathy. The easiest default option I had available in my voice register was “Happy to help”. It would have taken some work and effort to find or perform “Feeling some complicated grief, identity confusion and dread right now”, and wouldn’t have been relevant to the subject of the call anyway.

Many years ago I worked in the open plan office of a radio station. I’m not sure now what the context of our conversation was, but I remember being surprised when one…

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Finding your Polytunnel: Autism

Autism and Expectations

What on Earth has a polytunnel got to do with autism? What even is a polytunnel? What are you talking about? Is this a tangent too far?

All fair questions, and all with answers – tangential as they might be.

I’m writing this from my polytunnel. It’s a ten metre, steel-framed structure covered in some kind of poly-material, for growing plants in. I am sitting in its centre. The wind is flapping at its fabric, the rain is an occasional patter to remind me its there, but it is warm and still inside.

I am surrounded by growth. There are pea and bean and tomato plants all around me. There are optimistic melon plants and a hopeful grapevine that I will regret planting inside by the winter if I haven’t managed to rig up some kind of self-watering system by then.

I’m sitting and remembering how tiny these seedlings were…

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The Journey

Forest journey

Learning oneself

From the trips and falls

When ones life about turns

Flips upside down and inside out

What was once never again

The true self.

Struggling and competing

Merging and blending

Eventual crash

Shutdown

Complete shutdown

Slow rebuild

Lost abilities

Fighting and yearning

What was life

But a mask.

The crash

What once was is long gone

Everything takes time

So much time

Processing is work

Battered and bruised

Bullied and discriminated.

Did they know?

Were they humouring me?

Arms weak from mask holding

Began to slip

Knowledge sought

Fix oneself

Fix oneself

This is oneself.

Was once lightning quick

Sharp and diligent

Will it return?

How long does it take?

Missing out

Beaten down

Impatient.

Bearing one soul

Resembling stepping off a cliff edge

In the hope of catharsis

Nakedness

Will the body heal with the mind?

Pain beats down like a thousand horses

Existence.

 

Guess what?

I’m only friggin autistic!! Whoop!! Formally known as Aspergers.

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I knew it, have done since the realisation truck hit me late last year.

I’ve finally found my tribe!!!!

Since leaving the diagnostic centre I have felt awash with a wave of calm. My shoulders sure feel lighter too!

Now comes the tricky stage – self-acceptance. My default has always been one of self-critique and loathing. Always setting unrealistic and unobtainable goals.

I don’t know what to do with regards to my mindset of my life being one based on imposter theory.

What I need, and could do with, is a month or two off work, so as I can process everything, to readjust and realign.

I’m currently attending Autscape and it’s now the early hours of the morning. What am incredibly liberating, and exciting introduction to the autism community. I’m loving it. Everyone’s just like me, or should I say, I’m just like them.

I found my tribe. And they get me. And I get them.

Feeling the happiest I’ve felt in years.

Mental note – I need to write more blogs to document my process/progress.

Where I’m at.

Sorry I’ve been away for so long. I’ve been going through a bad time and have been desperately kicking those feet to keep my head above the water. Sometimes I limit what I read and look at, because I simply don’t have the emotional or physical energy and concentration has to be forced and is utterly exhausting.

Do you know, I feel like I would begin to function better, if I worked 1 week, then had 1 weeks off to process everything from the previous week, and then another 1 week off so that once I’ve done all the processing I need to do, then I will have 1 week to actually relax and do things that I enjoy.  I think that cycle would work the best for me. Never gna happen….

So, I have my diagnosis assessment on Friday. Yep. I booked these couole of days off before because I thought I would be really stressed/anxious about the impending appointment, but I’m not. Well, it’s not as simple as that. Whilst dodging and very much hopping about trying to dodge stressful situations at home, I’ve been having occasional waves of anxiety, with the fearful thoughts such as- what if I don’t get that diagnosis and instead they send the white coats. I mean, I’m not mocking mental illness here, I have mental illness (anxiety & depression) but I fear misdiagnosis. Fortunately, these fearful thoughts don’t last long, as i am calmed and reassured that I am more than confident that I have AS.

I had an epic, Britney style (I didn’t go so far as to shave my head, but the thought did enter my mind, as my long hair is such a bloody maintenance) all-day long meltdown.

A positive being I saw the GP yesterday and overcame my fear of them thinking I’m some sort of hypochondriac that diagnoses herself, and went in and told the GP that I strongly believe I have fibromyalgia and ran off a list of my symptoms, which correlate with that of fibromyalgia. She took me seriously, and has referred me to a rheumatologist. Yey! Also, she happened to find that I had an ear infection…wow.

Yeah so I’m just tired, absolutely bloody exhausted.

But I miss you guys on here so much.

Catch up soon xx
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Dear Neurotypical World

Perfectly written.

Adventures of superaspiegrrl

Dear  Neurotypical world,

I am tired
I am tired of playing Annette (or Annette as most people know her)
I am tired of doing and saying things to please you
I am tired of hiding the struggle that furiously rips me apart everyday

I am tired of feeling judged for every misstep in social etiquette (that I still don’t understand)

I am tired of fearing the next social faux pas I will commit
The slip, the blunder,

the next person I don’t recognise,

the next misunderstanding

I am tired of pretending I understand everything

I am tired of pretending that I am OK
that I am enjoying myself
that I am functional
that I am unbroken
that I am fucking “normal”

fuck “normal”

I don’t want to please you
I don’t want to apologise for myself anymore
I don’t want to internalise the meltdowns
I don’t want to stop myself from…

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5 Supports That Changed My Life

Another great blog. Very helpful. I like the look of Habitica.

Erin Human

It’s been over a year and a half now since I first began to realize I was autistic, and what originally kicked off that process of self-discovery was that the demands of ordinary life were beginning to outstrip my personal resources, and I needed to know why. I’ve since heard this described by autistic people in different ways, from “rolling burnout,” to “my workarounds were no longer working,” to Cynthia Kim’s phrase “playing life in hard mode.” I myself often described myself as being in survival mode on a daily basis, and my therapist once said that I needed to get “out of the basement level of functioning.”

When I sought a diagnosis in spring of 2015, there was some magical thinking involved in my expectations for psychological diagnosis and therapy. My goal was to go from being a flailing, falling-apart passing-as-neurotypical person to a thriving autistic person, which I…

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