Thursday, October 6, 2016

Harmful "help" - remedial training is needed.

For a female aspie friend who just came out to a "helping" organization ie. trying to get support for a sexual assault, and instead she was misconstrued somehow, thus discriminated against, and further hurt. (I know all too well what this is like) I'm pissed off:
"Help" places often discriminate against and mistreat aspies, especially aspie women (because of their denial problems re: aspergers' presence in women, and by the way I'm going to say aspergers though I know it's not in the DSM anymore because I feel it describes things better, because we're referring to insidious autism with verbosity - the presence of such a thing is often denied in women especially - but ironically and hypocritically, they discriminate against the very thing they're denying!)
These "helping" programs, places and figures tend to do the very opposite of help, they further harm and hurt. Sometimes I call it "unhelpful help" and sometimes it's flat out "harmful help." It's disgusting, and going to them about a serious matter only to get wing-slashed (alluding to Malificent) is a prime and severe example of autistic person abuse.
These outfits, and all social systems for that matter, badly need remedial training ie. how to handle a verbal autistic adult who seems "normal" to them but will have differences and disabilities with expression and communication, and therefore will present with their dilemmas in a divergent manner.
They need to understand that divergent presentation and affect in reaction to a serious problem does NOT equal illegitimacy of the problem, and in fact, the autistic adult is often *more* vulnerable if anything.
Therefore, undermining the autistic person and their problem parallels structural violence via neglect and/or abuse. Whether they intend for it or not - and they need to see that this is the result, and how that must feel to an autistic person. It is *so* traumatizing. Being traumatized on top of being traumatized, it's horrendous. It's like flicking acid on a wound. Scar tissue gets really deep and damaging that way you know.
They need an educational programme and all need to mandatorily go through with it. Remedial training. It'll be a great day when that happens. #autistic #aspergers #women #neurodivergent #disability #sexualassault #ethics #humanrights #help #selfhelp #advocacy 

Rosie G.

www.girloutside.org


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

I think it's safe to say "she" is bona fide..

I'm not surprised by this article, at all (*article that I cannot share here, to keep anonymity. It's about the husband of this unnamed celebrity and the psychological mess state he is in, because of her*)

I don't say this at a whim about women who are "different" because I know how it feels to be an accused due to being misundersood strong-willed aspergirl...There really is a difference between NPDers and strong willed, more socially motivated "actor aspie" types, and it's almost like two polar opposites of a spectrum. Society is really poor at telling, and it looks "opposite same" because stuff like that often does, but there are key differences, most of them coming from internal motivations, but also external presentations. The innocent is more often accused whereas the guilty gets away with it. Society overall has it backwards, and I think it's cause overall most people seem programmed to obey and hail sinister forces as opposed to ones that can really lead positive change. Like favouring and hailing Henry the 8th over QE the 1st.
Anyways, back to Ms. J - in the case of her, and a few others I can think of, it's safe to say she's not just a misunderstood aspie, but a bone fide narcie. (I do love the movie Maleficent though, too bad it's her. *sighs*) In fact, I've been observing her long time and I have to conclude that I think she's a f***** psycho, and I don't know why everyone puts her on a pedestal/doesn't see through her. (Again, it's kinda backwards, the real narcies are seemingly put on pedestals, whereas the slightly awkward and trying hard, passionate-personality "actor aspie" types get accused of NPD and gaslit.)
It's like Joan Crawford ie. "mommie dearest" .. those kids, some of who she made herself look all "charitable" adopting, will likely be writing their own version of "mommie dearest" when they're grown. Poor things. They're rich but they're also prisoners. I know it all too well, having experienced this myself. This is why it's so insulting when ignorant ppl who don't know me have accused me of being this type, just because that "type" was my social role model and therefore some of my superficial social presentation sort of mimicked that (but in a bad, obviously awkward, mimicking way which you would think most people would recognize as awkwardness and not knowing how else to "act/say it" if they were at all astute...plus I don't do it much anymore I'm now just direct, take me or leave me.)
Yes, there's nothing more insulting that being a victim of a narcy parent, then being accused of being (and gaslit) that person who you strive to *never* be. However, back to Ms. J__ I think she's bona fide. I don't say that lightly.

-Rosie G.

www.girloutside.org 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Solid reflections amid healing burnscars (from brazenmusings.blogspot.ca)


from: brazenmusings.blogspot.ca

Oct. 2. 2017

I'm just thinking .. I really don't know how these people managed to stick their heads up there butts so far as to deny my EDS like they did, and far enough that for awhile they succeeded in gaslighting me..and I was starting to feel like I must be crazy. I think my EDS is actually pretty obvious. I have the look of an EDSer and I always have to some extent, but especially in the last 7-8 yrs. My skin is clearly very soft like that, I have the deep set eyes and even though I'm very short (5"1") I look taller because I have long somewhat lanky limbs, my arms go down longer than average like a marfan. I have the microgathnic jaw and crowded teeth/high narrow palate, the elfin appearance.

Like holy smokes..I realize now that these people were choosing to deny me. I know why. EDS care is a worldwide crisis. I get that the notion of establishing best-practice EDS care, in a socialized healthcare system especially, could be really financially taxing. That's not to defend "them", just saying what is. 

They need to find solutions, regardless. But they're acting like "wasps in september", irate and defensive as their old ways are dying out and not working anymore, and new ways (and new budgets!) to solve these issues must be found. They're in a "No! We don't wanna!" thing here, and so they have been for awhile. The pressure is building though, and this stiff and creaky wheel will have to start turning a bit more fluidly soon. They cannot continue to do this to people. It only works for so long ...
With me, I think they knew all along, that I'm a zebra. They were just trying to keep it from me at all costs. That's why they inflicted that awful psychiatrist consult and horrific outcome onto me. I was tricked into that event, big time, and in that room, there was no normal discussion, only an interrogation that felt set up and preconceived in every way.

The first time at genetics they refused to do a blood test for Elliot and I, for the classical EDS gene. God forbid, it might be positive! I was actually called in to genetic counselling when pregs with Elliot because he had a thicker than average nuchal fold, which is a genetic marker of an anomaly, usually trisomy 21 (downs' syndrome) so we did an amnio and he was negative for Downs'..but I think that marker was to do with EDS.
Some of what they wrote in files alludes to that they always did know, like "do chest xray - in because suspected conn. tissue , but assure patient she's fine otherwise" Jerks eh? But seriously, in the long run, that game doesn't work with a genetic progressive illness. So silly...Silly lizard/toad brains ...they should not be allowed to get away with the kinds of systemic abuse that they inflict on zebras..but they do this to a lot of people, for varying reasons. Zebras and/or autistics do get the brunt for sure.

Being an autistic woman with EDS who tried to staunchly self-advocate, I got a mean double whammy of that! So funny that my head/neck are unstable.. are we sure there wasn't a Salem-esque rope put around it, lol? But I am healing now, and regaining my confidence back. 

After years of gaslighting, I'm finally truly healing inside, in spite of being kinda battered physically at this point and in the full throes of systemic EDS - some of which was inevitable, but some of which I don't think would have been as bad if stress had not been like fuel on a pre existing fire.

Anyways, I can't think about what could have been, I have to focus on the now. It's too bad I was so gaslit and beaten down that I couldn't get on with my music then, but I'm doing it now, and I believe that even if it seems unfavourable, things happen for a reason. My music is stronger and more lyrically poignant because of what I went through. Rise Above is about that; being bullied and gaslit, being broken, and coming back together to stand up to it and hold your own, be true to your true story.
It's bionic time for sure! Ie. Now that finally "believe myself" enough to realize that I do need all this bracing, especially along spinal column, I'm starting to see that it's very very clear I have EDS, and I'm able to take control of my symptoms a bit, know where their coming from, and "get out there" more.
Things will change eventually, and it's starting to, you know when push comes to shove. We just need to keep chipping away at it.

-Rosie G. (from Brazen Musings of a Rainbow Zebra)

www.girloutside.org 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Observe what happens to a lot of rainbow zebras

From Youtube.........
 

I'm in the same places with a similar diagnostic spread. Honestly at this point I've basically given up on ever getting treatment. I've been stuck in a continuous cycle of having to try to prove over and over that I am sick. It doesn't matter that I have evidence and tests. I've just accepted that my life is over. I'm 27 this year, I've been severely ill since I was 20. The harder I fight the more they treat me like I'm just crazy. i'm diagnosed with somatoform now despite the several positive test results, because I'm distressed over the fact it's been 6 years and I'm getting less treatment then I was in the beginning despite getting sicker. So I'm now blacklisted from medical help too, because the treatment for somatoform is refusing you medical care. Honestly I don't care anymore. I was pretty mentally healthy but now I just want to die. Like that is now my life goal. Die. I can't kill myself because if I fuck it up they can lock me in the hospital but they have taken someone who was doing pretty ok in all aspects of life, and made me a complete mess. Then blamed me for having severe PTSD from 6 years of gaslighting and being blamed for not being able to overcome POTS and EDS with diet and exercise.

+kaorugirl180 I'm so very sorry. Your story absolutely disgusts, enrages, and saddens me for you. I know exactly how you feel, as you know, it happened to me. But you are articulate and you did word it very well..probs exactly why they had to blacklist you, I suppose. I caught them with their pants down trying to do this to me, and I have had some success, maybe because I did put it "out there" in social media a bit. Though this can be a double edged sword, it's a power we can excercise when all else fails. Though I'm very sick myself, I am slowly getting somewhere (hopefully on time) and, I want to help you, and other people for in which this abuse happen to (and that's a lot) in the ways I am able... do you have an official EDS diagnosis, and POTS diagnosis. If so, you have more power than you think. (even if you don't, it's not hopeless, you can still get a dx) .. The grassroots activism re EDS and similar is getting stronger. We who are "getting somewhere" are coming to the aid of our fellows who are experiencing the brunt of medical abuse. There are organizations you can connect to, who can help you connect with people in your area that can help advocate. I will write you a staunch letter to do my part, if you like. This has got to stop. We will survive and we will put this to a stop so others never have to endure such horribly abusive and callous antics.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Capitalism is not our enemy! Here's why - Corey M.

Capitalism is not our enemy! Here's why:

The answer isn't taxing the rich CEOs that are producing things. It should be voluntary. I believe there should be zoning for businesses to determine how many of the same type of service can be in that area and the amount for one business franchise too, in a way to expose variety along the way before reaching them. 


This happens in malls but, the franchises are being phased out with little to no traffic for smaller businesses. Then they should tax unproductive and retired billionaires no longer producing things or an unproductive inheritance. I just shared a sad picture of this; A small mom and pop being punished for producing things here in America. 

We should also tax nations to do business with us as well or they would just lose revenue. This would insanely stimulate the worlds' economy, if other nations adopted this as well. 

My other criticism is healthcare can be free and adequate privately and publicly. For instance, if you work for a company they won't tax you for your plan nor the CEOs either. Going back to fees and taxes for service. This would kill three birds with one stone - Including inadequate care for the disabled who don't qualify for private care from service taxes and fees, shortcuts (due to paying everyone to live and not just survive to where they hate their jobs and take it out on patients and lack of pride) and boost the economy. 

I swear, the world would be like a better Fifth Element if the regulations and politics were left out. We'd even have flying cars if people would get their heads out of their asses... 

The more government positions created by the government to oversee and regulate private affairs the more money they're going to want which mean higher taxes passed on to us by struggling companies to remain afloat without outsourcing. 

People should be able to survive doing whatever they want. You can if you can start your own business or if others are allowed to work amongst large work forces and no one is left out and are only appreciated. Capitalism made this happen in the 1800's, the 1930's, 40's and 50's and the 80's. There are risks in infrastructural jobs but, it should come with the territory and be on contract and wavers. 

We don't need stupid oversight and government regulation organizations telling them what to do if it's well under the law. We also need to get rid of the Sierra Club and the EPA. They are the greatest environmental offenders than all of the factories were that they shut down. 

The more regulations, the more room for shortcuts and deception to arise to remain under code and keep from being docked pay on an already struggling revenue stream and death by taxes. These fucking organizations could at least make sure that for every asset they faze out to save the environment at least make sure it's been adequately replaced as to not displace the workers in secluded towns where they were their only means of world. 

Spoiled f****** totally disconnected making these decisions and it needs to stop. 

That's all I have to say about that.

-Corey M. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Meditation for aspies/auties - A helpful and practical approach , by Leo Nikol

Meditation For Aspies

The Room

My room is where I love to get some meditation done. For an Aspie there are many methods and ways to bring about the calming of the nervous system, the relinquishment of unwholesome thoughts, dispulsion of anxiety, or even cultivation of mental discipline. But first and foremost, my "set and setting" is my room: "The Room."

I love the claustrophilic coziness of my room. My room gives me a refuge from the cacophony of the city; my room brings me comfort and safety the likes of which I could not possibly find anywhere else in this world.

For Aspies our room is our home. Leaving it means traveling to a foreign country. As I sit in the quietness of the insulation, I still gaze out my window and appreciate the golden sun set. The beams flow into my entire domicile, brightening all the walls and objects in lucid brilliance. Just enjoying that moment is enough.

 The Meditations

Don't let images of an exotic oriental lotus posture be conjectured in your minds. I'm no wishy-washy, otherworldly, and outlandishly spiritualistic New Age guru, but I love a nice deep contemplation in the aloneness in my room. All that common talk of "mindfulness" and "staying in the moment" are all and good - and I certainly concur with those - however, for Aspies, remaining in the moment-by-moment awareness of our minds and bodies, however calming and wholesome, is simply not enough. Following the breaths in the process of inhalation and exhalation, or counting them may be a formidable feat of mental discipline but it has its own limitations. Let me explain.

For Aspies, we can't just shut off our thoughts and stay focused "in the moment." We cannot just curb our minds from forming thoughts, concepts and ideas as is the goal of meditation - whether it's called "mindfulness" or "zen;" We cannot just relinquish our self-stimulatory repetitive behaviours (i.e. "stimming") because these are the very tendencies and proclivities of our autistic brains. Shutting off our so-called running thoughts would be to shut off the vital part of ourselves; quieting our "discriminating intellect" is stifling to us; getting rid of our obsessiveness is definitely not the autistic way; stilling our stims takes away our self-soothing mechanisms which are both natural and necessary to us; likewise, remaining in the "here and now" rather than "then and there" is very limiting to us - in fact, many times the Aspie mind needs to dwell in both dimensions, sometimes even simultaneously: because hey, this is autism.

So, the above form of meditation, however beneficial in certain ways, can be something not-very-wholesome to us, since creative thinking and endless thought processing is the very heart of who we are: the autistic mind inclines towards ideations, mental conceptions and abstractions, analysis, mentation, creativity, and forming notions through the intellect. These are the very life-blood of the autistic mentality. we cannot afford to dispense with those essential components of ourselves.

This sort of meditation is good for neurotypicals whose minds are diffused all over the place, and who lack a focused mind. Do we really need that form of meditation then? I mean if there is one great strength we Aspies have is our single-pointed mind. Our mind obsesses and fixates insatiably, we don't need any special effort to get our minds concentrated in one thing, for we already excel in that very thing. If the goal of meditation is to bring the mind into "single-pointed mindedness" as the Dalai Lama preaches, then we don't need it because we already have that quality.

Therefore, living and placing our minds outside of our autistic boundaries is disrespectful to ourselves and it will only take us to the brink of a severe autistic burnout or even a meltdown.

Ahh, so what forms of meditations can be of benefit to us? Well, like I said, the above meditation can be good for us, taken in moderate and appropriate measure. I, for instance, like to do some mindful meditation - or a form of zazen - through following my breath before I go to sleep sometimes - though I like to do this lying down in my bed rather than sit in the cliched lotus posture we see in popular culture.

I find chanting or mantras to be more up our alley since they can be used as excellent stimming tools - and they are to an autistic. I used to chant repetitive phrases to calm myself down when I was a kid and sometimes even in my adulthood. So anything vocal or repetitive is good.

I also heard of monks and nuns and even charismatic Pentecostal Christians rocking back and forth to induce calm and even a form of a trance. That sure works for us since rocking back and forth is instinctive to us.

Concentrating all our energies on single thought, image, or idea that we're obsessed with or are especially interested in (e.g. our special interest topic) can also be construed as a form of meditation. Visualization can also accomplish that end for those who are able to mentally visualize vividly and naturally.

Pacing around the house or some enclosure where we can make rounds and circumambulations are also good form of meditation for autistics - something else that both naturally stems from autistic brain and also that is practiced by meditators in many different traditions (cf. "walking meditation" in Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Christian monasticism).

What I especially like is what's called "body scan" where I lay still in bed, relaxing every muscle in my body through concentrated effort while keeping my mind alert and awake - sometimes this could induce what's called an "out-of-body-experience" or as I like to call it astral projection. Lucid dreaming is also another form of this type of meditation.

I could certainly go on for hours. When dealing with meditation it is important for Aspies to keep the above information in mind. You do not want to do anything that would go against your basic neurology. Respect your habits and tendencies, know that there is nothing you can do to thwart your autistic brain. We must rather harness it, strengthen it, and expand on it. By being more of ourselves is better than running away from it or masking it. Remember, stimming itself is a form of meditation so consider yourselves master meditators already!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Other - by Heather M

Picture in your mind, a completely unique creature. Get creative. Is it tall or short? Fluffy, scaly, or smooth? Maybe it has a tail or a horn. Give this species a name. Have you got a name picked out? Good.

Now imagine this creature, somehow trapped inside a human body all its life.

As a baby, things seem fairly average, but then life starts to get tricky. Especially when school begins...

Things that come easily to other children, don't come easily to this creature. She's no good at PE, because the body she was meant to have had a lot more legs, or a different way of balancing. Writing and crafts are challenging because her hands should have been tentacles, or claws. 

She doesn't always understand the other children, and they don't seem to like her very much. This is not the language she was meant to speak.

But this little creature is intelligent and motivated. She works very hard. She feels misunderstood, and wants to communicate, so she becomes obsessed with words and language, and spends a lot of time reading. She develops an impressive vocabulary, but the other children still don't seem to like or understand her. 

Her recesses and lunch breaks are spent alone, reading, or watching the other children play.

She watches the popular children, and notices that the clothes she likes to wear are different from what they are wearing. That must be it! She tries to pick out clothes that the other children will like, but she never seems to get it right.

She notices that the popular students are good at sports, so she tries to learn all kinds of sports. Sometimes she practices for hours on end. She has improved for sure. She can catch a ball (something she could never do before). But being able to catch a ball (which was a huge accomplishment with her would-be tentacles) doesn't make her popular. In fact she is still the least talented kid in her PE class.

She doesn't really like who she is. She doesn't like her hair because it doesn't look like the popular girls' hair. If she had thick hair, or curly hair, the other children would like her. She doesn't like her name, Heather, because all the popular girls have better names. She wishes her name could be Amy, or Ashley, or Ann. She spends a lot of time imagining she is someone else.

School is a daily struggle. The teachers say that she is lazy. Clearly she is very smart, so she shouldn't have any trouble doing her schoolwork. Perhaps the natural environment of the creature she was meant to be is just not as loud, or as bright as a classroom, but that never crossed the teachers' minds.

She feels ill often, especially at school. Sometimes she can gain some strength back by lying down in the nurses office, her favourite place in the whole school. The nurses office is always quiet. All of the surfaces in the room are cool and clean, and it is usually dark. Heather enjoys lying back on the vinyl cot, and counting the ceiling tiles over and over again. The result is always the same, and this comforts her. She lies still and silent, actively listening for the occasional echoing footsteps of a passerby heading to the washrooms.

The washrooms are quiet too. Not nearly as nice as the nurses office, but they have to suffice when the teachers stop allowing Heather to visit her sacred space. They tell her that an illness that occurs at the same time every day, is no illness at all. Especially if it is time for PE.

To escape, she spends a lot of time in a world of her own imagining. A world where she can do anything and be anyone she wants to.

She develops an interest in acting, and she gets pretty good at it. It seems to help her act more like the other kids do. Heather is determined to make friends; she wants so badly to play with the other children, instead of watching them from afar. She practices using the kind of words they use. She tries to be like them in every way. It seems to help. She makes one or two close friends. They are not popular kids, they are outcasts like her, but that's ok...

Heather learns that it helps to be agreeable. If someone says they don't like peas, she says she doesn't either. If they say they like the colour purple, she says she likes it too.

There's a girl in Heathers class who seems to dislike a lot things and a lot of people. Her name is Christa. She has beautiful thick hair the colour of caramel and freckles on her nose. She always says what she's thinking, and she has five or six close friends. Heather wants to be her.

They become friends. Heather can't believe she has a friend who is so cool. Sometimes Christa even lets Heather brush and style her long, thick hair.

Christa plays tricks on Heather, and calls her mean names sometimes, but that's ok, because they are friends, and she says she's only joking. Heather tries her best to be agreeable. After all, she is lucky to have a friend like Christa.

Over the years friends come and go, some are true friends who love Heather for who she is (or appears to be) and some are "cool Christas", the ones she's dying to impress.

But having friends doesn't feel as great as she expected it to. She's become so good at acting, that even her true friends don't really know her. They don't know she's a pretender, a fraud, an outsider. Whether or not people love her is irrelevant because of her deep dark secret. She is an "other". 

In school, Heather struggles to do what's expected of her, and then all but gives up. Deep down, she knows she is bad and wrong. She feigns apathy, pretending she doesn't care about sports or school or being popular. She refuses to participate in gym class because she's terrified of being humiliated, but she doesn't tell the gym teacher that. Flat out refusal to participate is all the explanation he gets. She stops doing her homework, except for English homework, since her best is never good enough anyways.

Eventually, the feigned apathy becomes real. Nothing brings her joy anymore, not reading, or writing, or music. One evening her parents order takeout from her favourite restaurant. Fettuccine Alfredo. Her favourite dish. She looks down at her plate, realizes it brings her no joy, and begins to cry.

The floodgates are opened. For the next week or so she spends more time crying than not. She cries in the shower, on the bus to school, in the classrooms. Some days she doesn't go to any classes because the other students tease her for crying all the time. She cries herself to sleep every night.

Heather is afraid. When she reaches out to friends and family, she's accused of being dramatic. Her loved ones insist that these feelings are normal for teenagers, and nothing is wrong. She is instructed to "suck it up".

Heather wonders what it will take for people to understand that she is not ok? She begins to behave erratically. She no longer cares about fitting in or having cool friends. Sometimes she darts randomly into traffic, praying that she will be hit by a car. Eventually, she is admitted to hospital. She is upset and afraid, but she also feels relieved. Now they know something is wrong, now they will help her!

The doctors know something is wrong, but they don't know what. They say that she is depressed and they give her medicine. Medicine that is not made for the creature she was meant to be. Medicine for humans who are depressed....

Her mind and body react violently to the assault of strange chemicals flowing through her. Any ounce of self control she had is lost. The erratic behaviours worsen, so the doctors increase the dose. Heather soon becomes aggressive, hurting herself and those around her. Her clothes are taken away and she is given a pair of yellow pyjamas.

She is led to a small, brightly lit room, and a heavy door is shut and locked behind her. She is alone. Although this room is similar in many ways to the nurses office of Heathers childhood school, with its cool, clean surfaces, she finds no peace here. She screams and sobs hysterically, pounding her fists against the door, before crumpling, exhausted, onto a cot in the corner. She is disappointed that the ceiling is smooth, and not tiled, like the rest of the hospital.

The doctors decide that anti-psychotic medicine is the best course of action. The effects of the various drugs they try make the next 5 years or so a blur of hysterical crying, blue pyjamas, and counsellors telling  Heather that getting well is a choice, that it takes effort, and that she must "do the work".

At some point during this blur, the doctors (failing to see that she is a strange creature trapped inside the body of a human, violently reacting to drugs that aren't meant for her) decide that she has a personality disorder.

"Borderline Personality Disorder is our working diagnosis", the psychiatrist explains to Heather and her mother. Heather fidgets with the elastic waistband on her blue pyjamas, as tears fill her eyes, obscuring her vision. She looks up at the lights on the ceiling to watch how they change shape, bending through the prism of tears, and tries to tune out the sound of the doctors voice, as he continues...

"People with this condition typically"...."strain on the caregivers"....."emotional manipulation".... "attention seeking behaviours".... "until she wants to get better, there is little we can do."

Heather shoots the psychiatrist an icy glare. How dare he accuse her of wanting to live in this torturous hell?

"Do you have something you wish to say to me?" The psychiatrist asks, smiling sweetly as though he hadn't just called her a manipulative bitch who doesn't want to get better.

His tone throws her off. She tries to scream at him, but chokes on her words.
"I, I do want to get better" she croaks out meekly. "That's good!" he says in his most patronizing tone, and chuckles to himself, "That means we won't have any more incidents like yesterday, right?"

Heather tries to remember what happened yesterday and is immediately overwhelmed by scattered images that make no sense. She becomes frozen, like a statue, unable to form a response.

"Well?", the psychiatrist leans forward in his seat, looking into Heathers eyes as she tries not to feel him looking at her.

"No" she whispers. "No."


by Heather M

Monday, February 8, 2016

Like walking on needles while dizzy.

"Good old meltdowns. It's hard for people to understand/relate to the pain they have not experienced in a certain context. Doesn't matter if you are on the spectrum or not, another can discard your agony as fictional, because they cannot imagine what it feels like or it isn't rationally possible for them. The same experience for two people can vary greatly in stress levels. 

I've had meltdowns from emotional overload forever and decided eventually to suppress/hide them for years to avoid "bothering" others (BAD decision). It's like walking on needles while dizzy till you can exhale and melt down properly (does it sound similar at all?). 


As long as people can understand that a meltdown comes from extreme stress and pain, I have faith that they will relate, because everyone has experienced emotionally painful and devastating things at least once in their lives. For someone with autistic traits, it can be a daily experience. 


Obviously, such high levels of stress need to resolve somehow! I do hope this issue will find its proper definition and description in the world and will be treated without stigma."


- Natasha P.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Trying To Find A Balance, by Kristin N.

"We have to start communicating with one another if we are ever going to truly understand and be able to accommodate the needs of others. Too many of us suffer in silence, because when we try to speak up, we get shut down. It’s like no one really wants to listen, and they’re only out for themselves. All it takes is just a little compassion and the willingness to come up with solutions that will be mutually beneficial. I feel like this would solve a lot of problems in our world. 

We think that there’s no way everyone could get exactly what they need, but that’s not true, it just may not be in the way you had anticipated it, and you may have to find a balance with the needs of others. We make things out to be much more difficult than they really are. We say that it can’t be done, when we haven’t even really tried. You can’t just attempt to do something once and hope everything changes overnight. It’s a gradual process, that needs time and consideration. 

I guess people just don’t want to take the time to do things a different way. They would rather try to find a quick fix that doesn’t actually do anything to fix the things that are broken. We have a broken system that we keep trying to repair. But the truth is, the system needs to be rebuilt completely from scratch. 

The first thing that comes to mind is how much time it’s going to take. Time means nothing when it comes to creating a better life that everyone can enjoy to the fullest. We are already wasting time by doing nothing. We have to take responsibility for ourselves and the planet. The very first thing you can do is work on your own personal transformation which inspires others to do the same. 

You can’t make changes if you do things the same as everyone else. We all have our own unique purpose and they are equally important. We need to embrace our differences, because there is only one YOU on this planet. YOU are the only person who can do what YOU were meant to accomplish. No one else can take your place. Your experience is vital to the healing of every last soul that walks the earth, so make the most of it, and don’t ever give up!"

- Kristin N. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A tribulation of Self-Advocacy.


An unfortunate truth (which needs to change): 


"Self-advocacy is somehow conflated with self-promotion and egotism. It has a strange unarticulated connection with accessing limited resources without having "earned" them. It's somehow tied to some part of our lizard brain." - M.K.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Struggles With School - by Kristin N.

I want to share some of my story about my struggle with being on the spectrum in school and how I felt I wasn’t accommodated. This was also because when I was growing up, they didn’t have very much information on what Autism actually was, especially when it came to women, so I was never diagnosed. People have this idea that those who are Autistic are one specific way, but we all have differences as well. Not all of us are male and enjoy things like Science and Math. Some of us are very much female, and as for me, I’ve always done better with English. Before I started school, my Mom would take me to the library, where she taught me the alphabet. She read some stories out loud for me, but I learned very quickly and was able to teach myself how to read after only learning a few basic words. 
By the time I got to school, I was already reading way beyond my years. I always had my nose in really thick books with language that the other kids hadn’t picked up on yet. I would get these reading certificates for being the best reader in class. I also taught myself how to write, but my handwriting wasn’t always the best so my teachers would struggle with being able to read it. I wouldn’t put enough space between the letters and words, and my ‘a’s looked like ‘o’s. They could never tell that my check marks were check marks. I still have sloppy handwriting at times to this day, and even run off the lines so that’s why I prefer to type. My teachers would try to teach me how to do it, but I couldn’t get it right. I could tell they got frustrated with me, and just didn’t know how to approach the situation. 
I was in speech therapy for stuttering for the first two years of school. I started being able to speak better, at least enough for them to understand, but I still had trouble with certain words, and because they sounded as if they were well spoken, my teachers didn’t realize I had trouble processing these words before they would come out of my mouth. It took everything in me, taking away a lot of the energy I had, just to get these words out that I struggled with, but because the issue wasn’t visible to them, they never thought it was a problem. For example, I was in the 2nd grade and I asked my teacher if I could use the “potty”, so I got in trouble for using that word, was told that it was inappropriate, and I should use the word “restroom” instead. I remember how frustrated I would get trying to say it, I tried to explain that it was difficult for me, but she just assumed I was being defiant, and forced me to say the word that was harder for me to process and get out. 
I feel as if I got in trouble for a lot of things my teachers didn’t understand. I had difficulties with many things, so they thought that it meant I was being a bad kid. I had trouble with sleeping during nap time because of my sensory issues, I would just lay there the entire time with my eyes open, and if they saw me awake, they would yell at me to go to sleep. I was asked to stay after class to discuss my behavior, especially when it came to my disorganized desk, and constantly forgetting things like my textbooks at home. I didn’t mean to be this way, I just didn’t think the same way as the other kids. I was constantly searching my desk through wads of papers stuffed in there, so I could barely find anything. No one tried to teach me how to get organized, at least in a way I could understand, so I got punished. Because of the constant sensory overload and social anxiety, I would do things like balance the back legs of my chair, rocking back and forth, because that's how I felt comfortable stimming. I was told I needed to stop what I was doing because I was distracting the rest of the class, but I had no clue what else I could’ve been doing differently to help me focus better.
I remember being in class for an exam one day and being allowed to chew on a candy necklace. It was the one day I felt like I was actually being accommodated for the way I was, occupying myself with the candy necklace made it so it was much easier to take the test. But of course, it never happened again after that. I loved writing on the inside of my desk which obviously had my teachers upset, so I had to spend the entire class once scrubbing it off. I didn’t know that it was wrong, because it made me feel better to carve things into desks and draw in them, so I saw no problem with it. I tried wearing these leather gloves to class a few times but the teachers got furious once again because it was strange to them, they didn’t understand that it helped me. I tried to do many things differently, and felt very misunderstood because of it. I loved to vocally stim the most out of anything and that made people think I was just being rude. I interrupted class a lot because I would get super anxious, yelling out random words I liked, making sound effects, humming, and repeating things over and over that made me feel good. This always caused the other kids to laugh of course, but they weren’t really laughing with me like I thought, they were laughing at me. 
That’s when the bullying really started. I would make these animal sounds in particular, getting completely animated mimicking different animals, barking like a dog, etc. The kids called me ugly, weird, and stupid, among other things. They made fun of the way I walked. I constantly struggled with keeping my shoes tied so I was always tripping over myself. I hated that I could never get the shoelaces tied just right, so I started wearing high heels to school a few times because I grew tired of being made fun of. I would end up being late to class because I would struggle getting up and down the stairs. I would have to take it step by step very slowly until I would get to the top. It wasn’t comfortable to say the least and it just ended up making it so I got made fun of even more. My Mom would pick out my clothes not realizing a lot of stuff she picked out didn’t match or would end up being see-through or something. I got teased a lot for the way I dressed.
I accidentally started a rumor about myself that I was a lesbian because I had kissed my friend and told another friend so word got around. I went along with it thinking guys liked lesbians based off of what my friend said, so I was tortured for years because of that. They had something else now they could use to get under my skin, and it was actually my fault that it happened even though I wasn't aware of what I had done. I would stare down guys I liked and people in general, which had people constantly talking trash about me, making me feel as if I was a sick person because I stared people down and couldn’t help it. I hated lining up at the door with all the other kids because of how close we were while standing there together. It sent my anxiety through the roof and I always got this sense of relief when the line would start moving. From the very moment I started school, even at the orientation, I hated being in groups of kids. We sat down for story time, and I grew very uncomfortable sitting there, so I just broke down crying, begging my Mom to take me home, at the orientation before kindergarten. Most of the kids didn’t want anything to do with me because I was so different.
I would play on the playground by myself a lot and ended up getting physically hurt from doing really impulsive things like standing on the pull-up bars and jumping off, smacking face first into the concrete. My favorite thing was the monkey bars, anything where I could dangle myself, feeling that pressure in my legs. The other kids would be playing on the slide and jumping rope while I was hanging upside down. One of the guys I had a crush on used me in this tag game they made up. I was so excited to play with the other kids for once, especially a guy I liked, so I didn’t realize that they turned me into the big, ugly, scary monster that chased them around the playground. They would tell me how gross I was when I would come close, but at that age I had no clue that it was a bad thing what was happening. I truly thought they just liked to play with me, but I was very wrong.
I’m pretty sure my grades started to drop most of all due to the bullying, and due to the fact that nothing was ever done about it. It became much harder to concentrate with all that anxiety. The sensory issues and problems with interacting socially caused me to get physically ill, so I ended up in the school office a lot laying down, waiting to get picked up to go home early. I did have a few times where I had faked it, but most of the time I was truly sick. I couldn’t ever handle being called on. I absolutely hated being surprised, getting caught off guard to give responses to questions being asked, because I couldn't process it quickly enough. I didn’t mind if I was ready to give the answer by raising my hand on my own accord, but my teachers constantly targeted me, putting me on the spot when I wasn't ready to give an answer. So many times I would just say “I don’t know” or nothing at all which caused people to think I was slow. I would tell my Mom I needed help with my homework, but she was always more concerned with my sister because the teachers stated she had ADD, so my Mom spent the entire time helping her, telling me I was smart enough to figure it out on my own, because I was able to focus better than my little sister. Little did she know I struggled with comprehension, simply understanding what I was reading. It would take me a long time to figure out the answers, sometimes I would sit there for hours on one problem, and just eventually give up. Luckily a lot of homework assignments got graded on completion instead of accuracy, so that kept my grades up for a while. I was always confused how I would get some of the answers. I never knew how I was doing it, I would just do it. I did the pronoun reversal thing as well, always switching the point of view of the person while writing, and I still struggle to this day with it and have to go back and edit my work constantly. I continued to vocally stim in middle school when I first got there, but because they kicked me out of class so much, getting all these lunch detentions, I stopped doing it for a while. So I began taking my pens and pencils and poking my arms over and over to offer that stimulation that I needed. 
This is when I really started becoming more mute, because I was always on guard with the other kids, and also wasn’t allowed to do the things I needed to do in order to cope. I switched middle schools halfway through my 8th grade year, so I began vocally stimming again in class, but this time I wasn’t really interested in learning anymore. I was purposely trying to turn it into a joke because it made me feel good to express myself that way, I just didn’t care about anything else anymore. I would mostly shout out random words, I believe my favorite one was “Cookie”. I do the same thing now with the word “Butts” where I just repeat a certain word I like over and over again. My grades started dropping more drastically where I had failed a couple of classes for the first time in my life, but I still managed to pass enough to get to high school. I became disruptive because either I suffered in silence filled with all my anxiety and sensory sensitivity, or people thought I was a complete weirdo shouting and making noises to make myself feel better. My teachers always saw me as a problem instead of trying to figure out solutions to help me. I think that’s the biggest issue with the way these educators treat the students in general. They automatically assumed I was acting this way as a way to act out, but I was just doing what I needed to do to survive school. They had no clue what was going on with me and neither did I. I believed what they thought about me, which made things really depressing because I saw myself in a negative light instead of seeing myself for who I really am. I couldn't figure out why I felt I was doing everything so wrong. 
I feel a lot more at peace now that I’ve discovered that I’m Autistic, having figured out that society is the problem. I absolutely dreaded presentations, they tried to get me to do a lot of them. It was easier for me to do as a small child but the older I got, the worse it got. I even backed out of a presentation, taking a zero on it knowing that if I didn’t do well on the midterm, I wouldn’t have graduated high school. I was so scared of getting up in front of the class, that everything I had worked for meant absolutely nothing to me. I skipped a lot of high school but still managed to get by. I ended up dropping classes immediately in college where they tried to get me to do presentations as well. I also had this one teacher who purposely saw I was the quietest in the class, so he called on me over and over, and even used me as an example for sexual harassment which made me very uncomfortable considering all the sexual abuse I had endured in my life.
I felt like I was always singled out because I tried to fade into the background, so I wouldn't be noticed. I would’ve much rather worked on my own instead of constantly being concerned with whether or not my teacher was going to force me to communicate. I ended up skipping college as well and would get picked up by friends as soon as I would get dropped off. But many times I didn’t have a ride, so I would just walk around the school while class was going on. I would sit out in the hallway and read. I also sat in the bathroom when I started feeling weird because I was out in the open, I got paranoid I was going to get caught, or someone in my class was going to see me walking around school, noticing I had been skipping class. 
Little did I know that no one in college really cared or paid attention, because I barely said a word. I ended up not going back to class when I would get let out for bathroom breaks. My teacher even called it out one day, and said that we weren’t going to get those short breaks if people didn’t stop leaving for the day. He also tried to make it so we would have to take tests after the bathroom breaks just so people like me would actually come back to class. I would memorize the review sheets right before taking the quizzes but forgot all the information immediately after I was done. I didn’t learn much of anything. It was just memorize, take the test, repeat, because I wasn't interested anymore. I feel being in school didn’t utilize any of my strengths, especially because I’m such an abstract thinker. I need to think outside the box and do things my way in order to do well. They don’t offer the right tools so people like me can function better in a classroom setting.
I never knew how to cope. I was never properly taught, and I was never given any guidance. It also didn’t help that no one was really informed of my autism or anything else for that matter. They turned a blind eye to me and I suffered greatly, thinking I was stupid for many years because I couldn’t do things the same as everyone else. I did things with my intuition and from the heart instead of using a more logical approach, which made things even more difficult for me. I eventually figured out the answers but it took a very long time for me to get there, and I had to do it all on my own. Our voices need to be heard and we need to be recognized for who we are, instead of allowing them to mold us into just one way of thinking, since there's never just one right way of doing things. I think and learn differently as an Autistic woman, so that should be accommodated for. I feel we definitely need to put an end to all this stigma around kids who seem like they're being disruptive when they actually need help. It’s also another reason I’m afraid to ask for help to this day, mainly because I never got it as a child. We all deserve the same kind of treatment any other kid gets, and that’s why I'll continue to let my voice be heard so we can prevent this from happening to anyone else ever again.

-Kristin N.