I noticed I was different early in life (kindergarten) and I quickly learned my way of being was unacceptable.
I was often critized and questioned by class mates, teachers and other people.
It was apparently wrong to be shy, anxious and (as I learned by 35) autistic.
Since the questioning came from everywhere I had no other option than believing them. They could not all be wrong. It was not the words of a single or gang of bullies, it was from everyone around.
It was not just words, some people shook their head, sighed, stared or prentended I was invisible.
Children who learn they are wrong usually do not hate their parents/close adults/people – they internalize the hate.
And as I was apparently wrong I started to feel disgust towards myself.
I didn’t believe I was worth talking to or hanging out with.
I felt sorry for the adults that had to handle me (therapists, teachers, relatives, etc.). I was a disgusting kid. People who talked to me would lose their status/rank in the society. No one wanted anything to do with me in school since my low status was contagious.
By 11 I finally talked to my parents and a therapist and was matched with two classmates who started to hang out with me. I was not left out and bullied the following school years but the multiple friends I made throughout the school years always left me after a year or two so I was quite alone. (Possibly because of neediness, shyness or autistic traits.)
I studied how to be ‘normal’ (neurotypical) and learned how to behave socially. I could start accepting myself.
By 30 I learned I am an introvert and during therapy and after getting my autism diagnosis I have worked a lot with finding my true self and respecting her. I don’t love myself yet, but I may be getting there.
I have started working part time after years of being home sick. I am among other things doing administrative chores that a lot of other people deeply dislike.
I am scanning documents, sorting papers, matching receipts with a list of expences, double checking peoples’ list of working hours, etc.
My (autistic mind) is very structured and I like to organize stuff. I write notes, use paper clips and I thrive. I love to do these hands on, important stuff. Chores that makes a difference.
On my previous job I was working with a big car company website, but I always felt so small and that my work was unimportant. There were so many people working with that website.
My new job is adapted to my autistic needs. I will be mostly working from home or in a separate room. I will avoid unnecessary social contact with clients. (I have a ‘manager’.) I will have long deadlines and no stressful projects.
It’s great when companies and work places get to use the autistic traits as assets. I do with joy what a lot of people would found utterly boring or hard.
Yesterday I tried out the mindfulness/meditation class at the rehab centre. I have tried meditation before but not really enjoyed it, but since I need to go to at least one activity per week I thought I could give it a try.
But it was really not my thing this time either… I see where they are going with it, but as a neurodivergent person I just can’t relax and let my thoughts pass by. As with ADHDers I get too little stimuli. My brain doesn’t work that way.
I think the mindfulness people try to reach a state of mind (being present) that I already go to in other situations.
I can just watch the insects or flowers or floor tiles or lamps and feel truly present. As autistic I even struggle with being too aware of beautiful details. When I walk or drive the car I tend to get stuck on things I see around me and kind of lose sense of what I am doing.
When writing this I’m not sure if it’s the same thing, though? But I sure am present when doing this. Even if it’s not exactly the same thing.
Another thing I think people are trying to find (especially when they are soulsearching in India or Mount Everest or whatever) is the sensation of flow.
It’s like the opposite of mindfulness/presence since time and room disappear into a flow of feeling good with what you are doing.
ADHDers and autistics usually go into flow rather easy (hey, special interests!), but I guess neurotypicals can’t since they keep trying to find the feeling by doing quite weird stuff like taking drugs, running marathons, dancing all night long at rave parties, parachute diving, etc.
Anyway. I prefer the state of flow when my thoughts wander freely. Counting the minutes at a mindfulness class is about the opposite of what I need in my life. (But I do believe other people may benefit from it.)
I’ve always been afraid of swimming in the in the ocean when the sand is full of creatures, as here on the west coast in Sweden.
Since it was my last day of the summer vacation and it has been very hot I decided to go to the beach today and actually wear a swim suit instead of just wading with pulled up shorts.
There were a lot of creatures though, but I decided to use my sandals and then I was fine. (I am sensitive to textures and just can’t stand having animals/seaweed/similar touching my feet.)
But it was really fun to wade around and check out all animals. Maybe I should get some swim shoes and go more often?
I am now staying at my third place this summer. We are in the very south of Sweden, staying in my brother-in-law’s new house.
I don’t know if it’s me getting older or due to exhaustion and/or autism, but there are so many things that must be in place for me to sleep. (In my early 20s I could sleep at the floor, in the forest (LARPer), etc.)
I have to have a comfortable mattress, my memory foam pillow (I always bring it!), the room cannot be too hot or light and I always listen to audio books when falling asleep.
I need a toilet close by and a lot of stuff when I wake up in the night (1-2 times) allergic nasal sprays, tissues, water, saliva spray, pain killers (my body aches due to being so tense), charger, lip balm etc. I also take melatonin and some light sleep meds. I normally stay in bed for 12-13 hours per night due to fatigue.
This will be my bed the following four nights. I think it will be alright.
I wonder if it’s just me or if it’s aging, autism and/or fatigue?
As autistic I mostly hang out with other neurodivergent people (ADHD etc.). There are many similarities between ADHDers and autistics, but there are also huge differences.
I live with fatigue, stress sensitivity and a need to plan ahead. I always finish well before the deadline to avoid stress and panic. I can’t think straight when I am short of time. (I don’t know if this is autistic or stress management?)
My AD(H)D friends and relatives on the other hand just can’t do stuff without the adrenaline that comes with deadlines. They use to ignore upcoming things until it’s almost too late and then they get the energy they need to complete the task.
This of course stresses me out completely. I try to accept the behaviour, but I get stressed anyway since the late solutions often affects me.
If the ADDers make it in time (kind of) they are probably less affected than I am who have been worrying about the deadline for days or weeks. So, I guess both behaviours are draining energy in different ways.
But imagine having to work together with these different kinds of behaviours. 😳 (That’s my life. 😬)
We were hiking in an area with a lot of remnants from the last ice age yesterday. It was a really beautiful place but as always I get so mentally occupied with my interoception (sense of signals within my body) that I had a hard time enjoying it.
I get worried about getting hungry, going too hot or cold, having pain or needing a toilet. I usually bring food, a fan, a sweather and toilet paper and try to feel confident in me solving my needs, but it’s not easy.
I go mute when I feel too uncomfortable in my body and if someone tries to talk to me I get very rude. So I try to stop my meltdowns before that.
I wish I could enjoy trips more and not long for my house. But it’s hard to get around in this body.