Why now?

Why now?

I needed to know one way or another, I wanted to know why no matter how hard I try or how far I come on life’s journey, why there are some things I seem to always find incredibly difficult or tricky to deal with and also why I appear to feel all emotions and feelings so vividly in full technicolor pictures in my mind, when I have long suspected and I am now learning not everyone else does.

I don’t like change, even planned for changes make me anxious and unsettled, I feel and see fizzy on the inside, like it feels if you put your hand in a glass of fizzy juice but beneath my skin, the closer the change comes the more energised the fizz becomes, I see tiny bursting bubbles in my head they cloud and burst over the other images that gather in my mind.  All my hairs stand on end hyper sensitive to the lightest touch, they make the edges of the pictures in my mind look prickly and sharp around the edges, sometimes I feel physical pain, it is prickly like running a hard bristled hair brush over my skin.

Unexpected change makes me see and feel red, a burning searing scarlet sea of red, in my mind it resembles lava, in my body a burning heat starts in my stomach and shoots simultaneously down my arms, legs and up through my head, when I was younger I would lash out at others and myself, there are scars that act as a reminder to when I couldn’t regain control, it is only recently I understand why.

It is a fight or flight reaction.

Over the years I have learned that loud music, music played so loud that it deadens all other sounds and senses can help, I am never without a music source, my playlist and earphones.  Music is my escape.   I have go to songs, Fleetwood Mac’s “Go  Your Own Way” , Meatloaf ‘s “Bat Out Of Hell”, Cindy Lauper’s version of “I Drove All Night”,  Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” and The Beatles “Let It Be” to name a few, thoes songs make the pictures in my mind return to clear images I can focus on, until I let the thought of change creep in again.

Walking to the point of exhaustion can help calm the anger and anxiety, somehow movement helps, I often have to suppress the urge to jump up and down or flap when frustrated, I am doing both internally though.  I wonder if I ever flapped externally, I know I did the jumping a lot as a child.   In my head I see logs burning, I can’t stop walking until they are all burned out and a white silk veil falls suppressing the last of the flames allowing a cool calm feeling to wash over me.

I find socialising and meetings exhausting, I manage o.k at the time, well I think I do, but it appears some friends and professionals had worked out I was on the spectrum so maybe I don’t pull it off as well as I thought I did.  So far no one out of the handful or so people I have managed to tell have been shocked at the news.

I never feel I know when it is my turn to talk in a conversation and know I often appear rude as I butt in before someone else has finished, I think they have finished but they were just taking a pause, It is unbelievably confusing.  I just don’t ever get it right.  I have to really focus on the conversation and often loose track if it is a more than a 1-1 situation.  It aslo doesn’t automatically occur to me to ask the other participant in the conversation a corosponding question, for example I have to consciously remind myself to ask someone how they are in return, or what they thought of an experience having already shared my thoughts, it is not I am not interested, I am I just don’t have the ability to do this spontaneously. This makes following a conversation tricky.

The physical  fallout from meetings and socialising is complete exhaustion followed by three to four days of brain fog, sometimes the fog in my head is so bad, thick and heavy, I can’t safely drive my car or attempt anything that requires concentration or coordination and definitely not both together.  It literally can leave me a prisoner in my own body.  It frustrates me, I have still to find a way of clearing the fog, in the past I could sleep for twenty hours solid after a night out that didn’t involve alcohol.

I am a student and the brain fog affects my ability to study, process information and complete assignments.  I now barely socialise during term time and try to avoid meetings clashing with assignment weeks, unexpected meetings are a big problem.

When I learn something new it is like building a picture or making a jigsaw, it takes me longer because I take in little bits of information at a time, but don’t process it in sequence so have to then rebuild the information in the correct sequence until the picture becomes clear and then once I can see the picture in my head I have got it.

I couldn’t get the hang of driving lessons, for weeks I tried and tried.  I wanted to give up on so many occasions.   I would master the clutch, but loose the ability to work the pedals and vice versa,  and on top of that remembering to look in the mirrors, and signal at the right times, absolutely impossible.  Let’s not forget my inability initially to ignore distractions like spotting wildlife or interesting buildings too! I remember clearly waking up in the middle of the night one night and suddenly all the pieces fitted, in the right order and were all together, in my head I could see the pictures I needed to drive in the right order.  My next driving lesson I was able to drive that car in a way I had just about given up all hope of ever doing.  My driving instructor said he had never seen anyone go from the disaster I was to actually driving a car in the space of a few days.  I passed my driving test this year.

I needed to understand my inability to talk.  I am 35 and really struggle to talk about feelings, I think I may struggle to understand feelings and thoughts, usually of things that are important.  As I mentioned previously, I can see the words in my head all lined up but just can’t get them out.  Can you understand how frustrating that is?

The longer it takes me to find a meaningful way of communicating the more the words build, they get bigger and the text bolder in my mind as if shouting to get out.

Sometimes when they do eventually find the way out they all come out wrong.

I went through years of counceling after traumatic experiences but it was a disaster because I couldn’t talk. The words just wouldn’t come out, instead I ended up with the traumatic images stuck in my head, constantly there every minute of the day and night for years, I attempted suicide on three occasions as a teenager because I couldn’t stand constantly reliving the pain.  Eight years ago I tried a new therapy EMDR, it gave me my life back after more than two decades of being unable to process the horrific events of my past, the traumatic pictures finally faded away completely, I found freedom and peace.

It is only the last few years I have learned to take a huge deep breath and to challenge situations I am not happy with and to try and get my views across,  I learned to do this for my children because if I don’t speak up for them who will?  I often make a mess of it though because I don’t see things in the same light as others do.  I can have a completely different perspective on a situation that no one else had considered!  It can also be difficult because of how I learn and process information for me to see where others are coming from.  It is absolutely hopeless finally getting the point of a conversation or meeting twelve hours later.  This is a regular issue I have.

I would be interested to know if how I see and experience life is the same as others, because it is how my life has always been I never gave it a thought that everyone else wasn’t the same!

I get the impression my experiences are different because I am not neuro typical.

My ASD diagnosis is proving to be a quite a revelation to myself even if it appears to be unsurprising to those I have found the courage to tell.

 

 

 

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Me too.

I learned last week that I too have autism spectrum disorder.  I say me too as two of my children have a diagnosis.

I feel blown away, I can see the massive wind cloud in my head blowing me over literally!

How can a woman get to their mid thirties before anyone noticed?

I am still the same person who went into that appointment, nothing has changed, I am still me.

Why does it feel so heavy then?

Now I see a massive anvil above a tiny me waiting to crush me.

Does everyone see pictures in their head like I do?

I don’t know how I feel, angry? Maybe a little, maybe a lot, all thoes times I screwed up, I have some major colossal screw ups in my past, or put myself in danger, I took foolish risks, huge risks, I didn’t see the dangers, perhaps the hardest one to face for which there may never be an answer, did I give this to my children?

Confused, no, I have always known subconsciously, deep down, I just ran away from it, hid it away.

Now I see a little girl hands over ears shouting so as not to hear.

I tried desperately hard to fit in and conform, problem is, that made me so unwell, the day I made a conscious decision to stop running five years ago this Christmas was the day I won what had been an almost life long battle with depression a depression so bad at times I didn’t want to live,  I woke up one day and knew it was time to find the real me, she was inside me somewhere.

No more hiding.  At least not from myself anymore.

It still took me four years to ask my GP for an assessment, I was sure she would think I had literally lost the plot completely.

Now I see me turning the house upside down looking for something….

Or worse laugh and tell me not to be so silly.  As it was a refferal for assessment was no problem, from request to diagnosis six months, why can’t children’s diagnostic services be so efficient?

Relieved, yes to a point. I am different, I always have been, now I know why.

Shocked, yes definitely. I don’t think it could ever be anything other than a shock, no matter how sure you already were, no matter how ready you felt to face it, it is still a huge shock knowing you may never fit it, no matter how hard you try, not ever.

Sad, yes quite a bit, but not for my future, for my past, 30 years I have been living a lie. Too ashamed to be myself.  I have suffered severe trauma and abuse by being forced to conform to societies idea of neuro typical, I have been greatly miss understood and have misunderstood others in return.

Lonely, yes very, I long for someone to talk to, a real friend, I keep friends at arms length, though I have a few amazing friends who have stayed with me over the years, whom I love greatly, but I literally can’t talk to them, although I can be amazing even outstanding at verbal communication I find it impossible to talk about what I really need and want to talk about, I used to try but I open my mouth and the words won’t come out, I can see them in my head all lined up, but they won’t come out.  I have an irrational fear I have never been able to overcome that somehow the world will end if I speak thoes words I so badly want to say.  When I try the words all come out wrong, wrong order, wrong words, stuttered, just wrong.  I have to remind myself consciously during conversations to ask questions in return, I give all the wrong answers, people expect me to tell them how I really am when they ask? Don’t they?

That is why I am here, writing right now, my head is going to explode if I don’t let these words out.

Now there is a big black cartoon bomb fizzing away in my head..

Will I ever learn to talk, I mean really talk about all the things I can’t talk about?

What could I have achieved if I had, had a diagnosis years ago?

Will I ever get a chance to purse the proffesion I long to belong too?

Can I still follow my dreams?

Will I ever find the courage to share this new found yet somehow old piece of information?

For I was born neuro diverse, autism is a part of who I am and always have been and always will be.  I belong to a different neurotribe.