Tag Archives: autism

recovery

I want to talk about recovery because I noticed that I changed the way I think about this, I think the new way I think about it is more realistic and helpful for me.

for those who don’t know I have autism (pdd-nos) and suffer from depressions and anxieties. I use to think that recovery would was about eliminating bad moments anymore but now I think its about being okay despite the bad moments. if I would be recovered when I didn’t got sad or afraid anymore I would wait till hell froze over because I realise that, that isn’t going to happen. I can’t be cured, there is no cure for autism and I always be vulnerable for my mental health problems but I can recover.
I am on the road of recovery as we speak, I have and am learning how to be okay in the good and especially in bad times. recovery for me is also about learning what things I can make better and what I will have to live with and learning to accept that I will have to live with them. I now have a much better understanding of my problems and look more at how I can deal with them other then trying to eliminate them completely, this way I am less stressed and even happier.

Relationships and me.

I often find it difficult to deal with other people, even tho I do like to be around them, I suppose this makes me often lonely. 

meeting new people

I have always found it very difficult to make that first connection, I never quite figured out how to do that and the uncertainty makes it quite scary as well.
If someone greets me I will respond but unless I really know the person I won’t be the one that says hello first. I have learned that because I am frightened at those first meetings that my body-language and behavior doesn’t invite people to try to connect with me. So I could go to a bar or something to meet people but I would be at the end of the evening probably still alone because I can’t do the meeting thing. When I have to meet someone new (for work or something else) its very frighting because I am never sure what to expect and what will be expected of me. I am very aware of the fact that I am not very good at it and that some people won’t respond well to my social clumsiness what makes it terrifying.

Social interaction

there are too many social rules and they are in a state of constant flux, every time I think I figured it out they change. I don’t see the point of many things and just do it because I have to. Giving of hands, shallow conversations, I do them because you are suppose to but I don’t really see the point. Its not only playing the game without knowing the rules but also without really knowing why you are playing in the first place.
I don’t look at people when I speak to them, there is something about another persons stare that feels threatening. Most people see my avoidance of eye contact as disinterest or even as being rude, I have had even health care professionals who knew about my autism ask if I could please look at them when they where talking, I can’t.
When it comes to socializing I like to stick with the people I know because I can mostly predict how they react and they know my difficulties.

friends

I have a few friends, never had many because its hard to make friends and maintain them.
Finding the right balance of contact is a challenge, because I don’t have many friends I tend to too much and that can be annoying for the other person but contacting another after a longer while can feel like a first contact and is difficult.
Especially in the past I had the other setting all the rules of friendship because I had no idea what they would be and if I could ask for anything without upsetting the other. Now I am learning to let others know what I need and experiencing that its okay to do that.
The fiends I do have are very important to me and I care very much about them, theres not much I wouldn’t do to help a friend out.

Love

I fell in love once, or better said I allowed myself to fall in love that one time. I have liked others but always was too frightened of making myself vulnerable that I would deny myself the chance. I just virtually ran the other way when anyone came too close.
The one romantic relationship I had was lovely but also difficult, its hard to know if what I did was right and I had a strong fear of messing up. I also found the emotional side of such a relationship hard to deal with, its illogical and overwhelming, for me it was surprising that I could feel such a way for someone especially someone that I knew relatively for a short time. I couldn’t say if I would try it again tho as the ending of it shattered my heart.

 

Coworkers and bosses

I have worked for about 4 years at one company and it had its ups and downs.
I have good days and bad days, on the good days I can be chatty and quite pleasant to be with, on the bad days my social skills go south and I isolate myself.
The production manager wasn’t a fan of me and I didn’t like him either, we where two people from a different world who couldn’t understand one other no matter how much we tried. That I think in a different way caused conflict every now and then, I am not good in conflict situations it makes me rather nervous and upset, I usually walk away or try to smooth it over as soon as I can. With my coworkers I had another problem and that was surprisingly enough my good behavior, I always was first to offer to work longer or in weekends, I really tried to do the best I could at everything, I did it so well that often I was made an example to follow for the rest, they did not like that I made them look bad.
We started as a group with mainly man but in the years the number of women overtook the man and that was noticeable for me. Its not that I have anything against women its just that a group of women interact in a different way, they often don’t say what they mean and you have to hear from someone else if they don’t like something you did. I have a problem with that kind of interaction as I never know where I stand and it makes me highly insecure also I am incapable of playing those games.
I no longer work, I just couldn’t work there anymore as a lot has happened there when I became ill, I hope I can get another job but my difficulties make this hard too.

Health care professionals

as a child I use to have a near pathological fear of doctors, dentist and others alike. Its not that something horrible has happened to me, with doctors and alike the fear was mainly that I was expected to speak, to explain what I felt and my incapability to do so. Dentist are a different kind of fear, that is the possibility of pain that terrified me. Now I am older its better but still I am not quite comfortable around these people.
This made that I was rarely to be found at the doctors office and only when I really had to, I was until a few years ago always accompanied by a parent, I just couldn’t go alone and didn’t want to try either. Then a mental health crisis left me little choice other then to seek help. You can probably understand that seeking help for a mental health problem was very difficult as it involves talking about emotional feelings, it made me feel vulnerable and insecure as I never know if I’m making any sense.
I still see a therapist every week but after more then a year I still can’t quite define our relationship, I would have said friendship if it didn’t lack a certain balance. Its all about me in those hours and even tho I do care for her it doesn’t seem right to ask her how she is doing for instance. I really need her to set the rules and boundaries and even to let me know if I threaten to cross them because I just don’t know otherwise.
I also see the psychiatrist but just once every few months and that makes that I am far less comfortable to talk with him, he knows and accepts that. I do like the matter of fact way we can talk about serious topics, its easier when the other doesn’t make a big fuss over it.

The mindfulness (obstacle) course.

When my therapist first suggested that I took a mindfulness course I thought she lost her mind, mostly because just the idea of attending any group was terrifying me and there was just no way I could do THAT, without really knowing what THAT was. It took quite some time but I finally caved and agreed to give it a try. The course that I attend might be slightly different from the regular once as this was one specially for autistics like myself. I would like to compare it to the regular courses but I can’t because I have no experience with them. I am still in the middle of it but wanted to explain what I am doing and how I am finding it so far.

Obstacle 1: going to the course

doing new things is always difficult for me, its not knowing what to expect that is really getting to me. It feels like jumping off a building and just hoping there’s a net to catch me at some point, its terrifying. New people are just as scary, thoughts like “how will they react to me?” “what is expected of me?” “I’ll act like a freak” will plague my mind and the only way to find out if they are realistic is jumping into the deep.

 

What kind of new-age crap is this ?

Was pretty much what I thought when I first looked into it and in my defence, on the surface it kinda looks like that. The origin of mindfulness isn’t new age, its quite old. It has its roots in Buddhism. I am not a spiritual or religious person at all, I am more seeing is might be believing if what I see makes sense. So you can say that I was sceptical about the whole thing and will keep questioning the things I learn because I need everything to make sense for me or I’ll just be confused. Most (if not all) courses are given in a religion neutral way, so that you don’t need to be or become a Buddhist to practice it. There are also been done a lot of scientific studies to the effectiveness of the method for several (mental) illnesses and complains. Here is a (probably incomplete) list of published studies, if you really want to get into it.

 

Obstacle 2: practice

the main reason I go to the course is I am not a very disciplined person, to really get the hang of it you’ll need to practice the meditations daily. I need someone that expects me to do it. Even tho the tutor would never tell me off if I don’t, the idea that I have to is enough. I have no self-discipline but am very faithful to my obligations. If I can stick with it when the course is over isn’t entirely sure but chances are better now I have experienced the benefits.

 

so, it works but how ?

When we sport or shop, our body is active, when we learn or puzzle the mind is active. When you want to give your body rest you sit or lay down but how do you give the mind a break ? Thought is a process that goes on and on, attempts to stop it will fail and will even tire because you trying to stop the unstoppable. Sorry but there is no off-switch for the brain, well a 9 calibre bullet might do it but I wouldn’t recommend that. The theory is that a focused mind is a rested one, instead of letting once thoughts bounce around from subject to subject or thinking about how to make world peace happen 24/7 you will be taught to focus your mind on something that is in the present like a breath. worrying is about the future or past, by focusing on something that is here and now you can stop worry in its tracks. The meditations can also help to improve concentration, to be better in touch with your body (by directing your focus to it. That is part one, by meditating you can learn how to give your mind a break and direction. Part two has more to do with how you approach the problems you face but also yourself, the principle is that its better to be kind and accepting then to be negative and fight against things you can not really change anyway. For example its raining, everyone knows you can’t stop the rain from falling. then you can do two things, getting frustrated or upset by thinking about all the things you wanted to do outside and why does it always rain when I want to do stuff and even the weather isn’t nice to me etc. or you can accept that its raining and either pick up an umbrella or do something inside. (the example is a bit extreme but it makes the point) neither one will solve that its raining but with the second you’ll be in a better mood then the first. Thoughts are regarded as just that, they are not good or bad they are just thoughts. Something you can just let pass by and doesn’t necessary need action or further attention. The same goes with feelings, you acknowledge that they are there and they don’t need to go away but also don’t need any more thought or attention. Even the worst of feelings and thoughts will go away again. This doesn’t mean you can’t change things that you find unpleasant but the idea is that you are in control of them rather then the other way around, if you are then the choice of what to do is yours.

 

Obstacle 3: kindness and acceptance

I think that most people would say I am a kind and tolerant person (at least I hope they do) but I am not always the same way with myself. And with reason, I found that I am so troubled by fears that I need to be strict with myself if I want to do anything. I am also a perfectionist, if I can find fault in my work, actions or even emotions I will find them and even make them more important then the things that did go right because these are the once I find should change, so they need more attention. I am a practical person, so if there is something that I don’t like I want to fix it, accepting that some things just are the way they are is quite difficult. I have also bettered myself in ways I didn’t thought possible before so what is to say I can’t do it again?  Because I feel that those qualities have been helpful for me in my life, I find it hard to let them go, I am protective of them even tho I recognize they aren’t very helpful or even healthy.

 

what goes on behind closed doors?

 Now we have had the theory, lets move on to how I am learning this new skill set. Every Monday afternoon I have lessons, the group is made up out of 7others the miss who will teach us and me, for this course this is a full group but other courses might have more people in it. The whole thing takes about 2 hours, about 80% of the time we are meditating, then a good 15% discussing the meditations we have done and how we did at home. The other 5 % is getting information and homework. We do the meditations sitting on chairs by a large table, other courses might choose to lay down on yoga mats. The discussions after the mediations are about how we experienced the meditations and if there where any obstacles we met when doing them. The instructions come from a book written specifically to learn mindfulness to people with a ASD (autism spectrum disorder) with the somewhat unimaginative title mindfulness for adults with autism. The book is written by Annelies Spek a clinical psychologist who has chosen autism as her field of expertise. The homework we get is a combination of reading the information in the book and practicing the different kinds meditations on a daily basis.

 

Obstacle 4: talking

you know when someone suddenly asks you “and how was it for you?” and you suddenly can’t find a word to describe the experience ? Well that happens to me a lot (now pack up that dirty mind and remember we are talking about a mindfulness course). Sometimes when given time I can kind of explain it other times I just fail to do so. I am well aware of this weakness what makes me insecure what is not helping the whole thing.

 

Tips and tricks.

  • Get all the information you need, its good to know where you getting yourself into.

  • Be patient, we all want direct results but it doesn’t work that way.

  • Make time, practising takes time and you have to be willing to make the time for it.

  • Be motivated, it will never work if you don’t really want to learn it.

  • In a group or on your own, choose the way that fits you best.

 

autism and me

on the second of April its world autism awareness day and I do want to do a bit for that, so I tried to write down what it is for me to have autism. I came up with this:

autism and me

its feeling without explanation

its talking without connection

its fearing without reason

its playing without knowing the rules.

understand me correctly,

this is not a disease

nor is there a cure to reach

cause tell me honestly,

how would you like to cure me from a part of me?

if you really want to do anything for the autistic community then I ask you not to just give money to a charity but also learn about autism. try not to judge people and make a effort to get to know them. if your a parent  please teach your children that being different isn’t a bad thing and that its NEVER okay to bully anyone.

thank you.

world Autism Awareness day

on Friday the second of April it is world autism awareness day. I want to tell why it is important that there is such a day and why it is important to me.

I have always said that my condition isn’t all that I am and I stick with that but mostly in the last year I have found that it does make up for a larger part then I ever thought who I am.  It has a big influence on how I think, feel and react and isn’t that what makes me who I am ?  I have also pretty much accepted my autism for what it is, although it is still frustrating at times (that will stay me thinks).  all with all I got it pretty good, I life on my own, I work, got a great family and some fantastic friends but even with all these good things life is a struggle for me. a struggle against fears, a struggle to do everything right at work , and a struggle to do the all basic housework.

I mentioned that I work, at work they don’t know about my autism because I don’t dare to tell them. I am pretty sure I wouldn’t be hired if I did mentioned it in the  job interview, they just see trouble when they hear that word.

growing up, most people who I met thought I was slow/stupid or worse. almost non seem to believe that I was a child with normal intelligence (what I was) even my paediatrician (who should have known better) thought I wasn’t all that bright.  they thought like that because I couldn’t express myself the way others did and in some ways I still can’t.  I know people still think I am slow/stupid I can tell by the way they speak to me. specially when they know what I have they speak to me as if I am a child, and not a very smart one.

people with autism can be of great meaning to society, we just need to get the chance and a small step in our direction is a great help. you can take that step by learning more about the condition by visiting one of many websites or just by asking me, I don’t have all the answers but do know something.

you can contact me here by posting a comment, tweet me @fryfan20 or email me: fryfan20@gmail.com. I will answer as soon as I can.

Autism and vaccinations and cures

2 days ago I was shock to read a tweet from actor Jim Carrey that said there was Very important news and linked to a website with a article that stated that Autism was caused by Vaccinations. I know that sientist have never proofed that there is such a connection between the two.

I have done some looking around as where these ideas came from and found that in 1998 there was a British report that said that there was a noticeable connection  between the rise in diagnosed children with autism and vaccination. there where studies all over the world into this matter but every single one concluded that there was no relationship between the two.  even in Japan they stopped the life saving vaccinations but the number of children diagnosed with autism kept raising. most of the people who wrote the first article retracted there opinion and even said it never should have been published in the first place.

even with science telling that there is no connection there are some who keep believing otherwise, there are also parents who believe this and in this there lies the danger. because dangerous diseases are given a change when parents don’t vaccinate there children, these diseases are deadly (that why there are vaccinations for them) or leave them disabled for the rest of there life. they become the victims of parents who are not unloving but just unknowing.

there are also “treatments” who say they can completely cure autism with homoeopathic drugs  that would erase the imprints of vaccinations  and other “causes”. this is in my opinion a load of crap, or even better put a scam on people who are desperate for a cure. even I couldn’t resist thinking for a sec or two what if ? but then I started thinking again.  these so called medicine is made by extremely diluting a herb or other substance – that in there pure form would give similar symptoms as the  disease the person suffers from – the dilution is so extreme that there isn’t a molecule from the original substances to be found in the end product. the most common dilution is the one that is diluted 60X this means: on average, this would require giving two billion doses per second to six billion people for 4 billion years to deliver a single molecule of the original material to any patient. the theory behind this is that the property that makes it work is transferred to the solvent. to me that sounds utterly insane. I wouldn’t mind it much if it didn’t harm anyone but it does  because there are people who don’t see a doctor about illnesses and there is the financial side because you can trust that these so called cures don’t come cheap.