Tag Archives: mental illness

Autism Level 1: “Requiring support” – What Support?

Doctors and medical professionals are trying to nail down and better categorize Autism. The latest grouping places the entire spectrum into three buckets, depending on the level of support required for the person to function normally in society.

I fall in to the Autism Level 1: “Requiring support” category.

Level 1: “Requiring support”

Without supports in place, deficits in social communication cause noticeable impairments. Difficulty initiating social interactions, and clear examples of atypical or unsuccessful responses to social overtures of others. May appear to have decreased interest in social interactions. For example, a person who is able to speak in full sentences and engages in communication but whose to-and-fro conversation with others fails, and whose attempts to make friends are odd and typically unsuccessful.

Inflexibility of behavior causes significant interference with functioning in one or more contexts. Difficulty switching between activities. Problems of organization and planning hamper independence.

Making Sense of the Three Levels of Autism – verywell

So they give me this label and throw me back out into the world, ironically without support. Now what? I am supposed to have this key that allows me to ask for things. My doctor tells me I have protected rights.

At first I am excited, finally I might be able to be more comfortable in my surroundings. I can ask for things and there is a reason besides me being difficult or high maintenance. Finally validated, yes those burning lights DO cause your migraines and avoiding them would be good for you.

What next? Asking for supports turned out to be more difficult than I thought it would be.

This category does not do my life experiences justice. On many levels I can surpass my NT peers but on a social level I often fail. When I put on my masks I can play these amazing characters who are social and confident – but being this person, who they want me to be, kills me. I can do her I can “be normal” but summoning the strength leaves me empty and ill.

Holding up this mask is a necessary evil from time to time, she gets me through my work days and the hard times. She is a character, someone I wish I could be – someone I am forced to be when backed into a corner.

Because of my mask I have peers in both groups, but the NT’s have never felt like peers. Watching, and observing them, trying to memorize their pasterns and mannerisms. Hoping to decode their intentions and feelings. Even reading their faces is difficult for me.

People don’t want to give me support because “I CAN be normal.” I am capable of acting like there is “nothing wrong with me”. (Quotes representing their words NOT mine.)

I can hide my pain, panic, and discomfort, manage to hold myself together just long enough to flee from the public eye. I always do – but I still have sensory issues and meltdowns like many of my ASD peers.

I need regularity and a predictable schedule, I need natural light and calm conditions or my overactive amygdala goes crazy and I get anxiety related illnesses. In my mind I am strong enough to do anything but my body and nerves won’t let me push myself as hard as I used to.

As I get older my senses and sensitivities seem to be getting stronger, and my coping mechanisms and confidence grow. My Autism becomes more and more invisible, despite the disruptive symptoms, growing more intense.

I need help and supports more than ever but asking for them never goes well. Most people don’t believe I’m Autistic, and those who do say “but it’s  not that bad, you are normal.”

Employers don’t understand, they say things like “You only have to deal with florescent lighting three out of the five days a week you work – if you were here more maybe we could give you a window.” “You can’t wear earplugs today, we need you to answer the phones because nobody else is available.” For a job that was originally going to be FULLY REMOTE.

It always comes out like I am being unreasonable, picky, or difficult. At least that is how the opposition to my requests tend to spin things.

My accommodations are simple, let me type vs hand write, don’t give me spoken directions, let me sit in a quiet space (or wear earplugs) with natural light. Don’t ask me to stay late at the last minute if you can avoid it – if you know I may need to stay late tell me in advance. Most importantly please don’t make me go outside when it is cold. I have EXTREME cold sensitivity.

These are the accommodations that I’ve requested from my job – these are the supports that I would like to have because I feel like they are reasonable accommodations, and should be protected under the ADA.

The only support I get is a laptop – because it belongs to me and is essential to do my job (everyone at my work gets this so it’s not really a support). I can take notes on it, keep track of my schedule with it.

It is AMAZING that I get to work remote a couple of days a week. I am happy to have these things but the other items are important to me too and I haven’t been able to get any of them – not even the last one which always leads to meltdown.

Maybe I don’t complain enough. Nobody sees me on my worst days, when I am really struggling because I am PHYSICALLY ill from the stress of the environment and can not leave my house.

I “require supports” but it doesn’t mean I can get them. After all I’m (not always by choice) Anonymously Autistic.

Some days I feel like I am falling apart – if I stay in this world too long it may end me. Nobody can take care of me, I have to keep working.

#ActuallyAutistic #SheCantBeAutistic #InvisibleAutism #AnonymouslyAutistic

Remrov – Talks About the Spoon Analogy Regarding Energy

The Spoon Theory is an amazing way to explain the energy drain that many Autistic people feel. If I get too low in Spoons I get VERY sick so it is important for me to conserve my energy and avoid too many activities that take away the most spoons.

Some activities take more out of me than others, even enjoyable activities can be taxing on my spoon supply. Socializing and having a full time job uses almost all of my spoons most days. Sitting under florescent lights or being in a loud noisy environment slowly drains my spoons as well.

I limit my social activities and don’t get out on days that I go to work since these take up so much energy.

Also I need time to “regather my spoons”. After I get worn down it takes time to build my energy levels back up. It is extremely important that I have quiet time to recover or I can get stuck in a repeated meltdown / burnout loop.

Anger – Asperger’s Girl Anja Melissa Explains

I don’t talk about my anger issues any more. They are behind me now and I don’t like to dwell on negative things in the past.

When I was younger I was much more explosive and even experienced the blind rage described in the video below. I’ve overcome these difficulties, with much work. Anger is a toxic emotion and I am happier when I don’t allow it to get the best of me.

Now my one HUGE pet peeve is – I HATE when someone changes my plans or interrupts me in the middle of a planned activity.

I instantly have an internal explosion of anger in my head like an atomic bomb when this happens. Its a knee-jerk reaction that I cannot. These feelings are held inside behind a smile or a downward gaze and an inhale or sigh.

I don’t know why it happens but it is distressing and illogical. I know I should not be upset by an interruption but I can’t help the way my adrenal gland fires before my logic kicks in. Something in the way I am wired. It is nice to hear that I am not the only one.

I love Anja Melissa‘s YouTube channel! Please check her out, like her videos and subscribe to her channel. She’s doing good work making these videos and educating the world.

Baby Robot Talks About Harmful Stims on Her AMAZING YouTube Channel

I never realized that I have harmful stimming behaviors – mine are EXTREMELY minor – but I do scrape and pick my skin till it bleeds sometimes when I am over stressed.

Actually, if we are being fully honest, I am CONSTANTLY fighting the urge in my head to scrape at myself. Stim toys help but if I stop paying attention my hands have a mind of their own. Its frustrating to have so little control over my own body.

Normally I tear my cuticles off.

It is also very had for me not to pick at or mess with any cut I have in my body.

I have to constantly remind myself to stop and try to do something else.

I keep stim toys in my hands and that helps me to stim in non harmful and positive ways.

Some harmful stims can be very dangerous and I do not have a lot of experience with those.

Please do not think that I am minimizing those in not mentioning them – I just don’t feel as if I have authority on this subject.

I know that I am more likely to harm myself more intensely IF I am having a total meltdown but most of the time I hide myself in a soft bed to prevent me from hitting my head or punching things.

“Stim freely – without shame.” – Baby Robot

I REALLY love Baby Robot‘s YouTube channel. I can take NO credit for her video please like her videos and subscribe to her on YouTube.

Journey to Adult Autism Diagnosis – Baby Robot

I discovered another YouTube Aspie today. I can NOT tell you how excited I get every time I find a video of an Autistic person sharing their own stories and point of view.

Baby Robot talks about what lead her to eventually being diagnosed at the age of 29.

I searched and searched and was unable to find a reasonable number to represent the average age that women and girls are diagnosed with Autism, but most of the stories online that come FROM other Autistic women seem to be in the middle of a life transition.

Some Autistic women may not be diagnosed until MUCH later in life while others are diagnosed in their mid to late twenties. When our struggles can no longer be hidden from the world we are forced out, labeled and identified.

Finally after years of wondering, we are diagnosed.

I can take NO credit for Baby Robot‘s video. Please check her out on YouTube and subscribe to her channel for more great content. She is a rock star and I will be following along with her adventures.

Off the Spectrum – How Autistic Are you?

YOU ARE ASKING THE WRONG QUESTION!!!

I HATE talking to people who do not know me about my Autism (face to face). I get comments like, well you must be one of those Higher Functioning Autistic’s – since you have a house and a good job. Your life looks great. There is nothing wrong with you.

In general I am a pretty happy and positive person. I’ve worked hard to learn to love myself as I am and have made effort to eliminate all negativity and bad people from my life. I smile all the time, even if I am not feeling well or having a bad day.

Technically my smile is more of a grin or smirk – no teeth. If I force teeth it’slike that scene from the movie Terminator where Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to learn how to smile. I wish I was exaggerating. I can smile with teeth if I am genuinely happy about something,  but this is one thing that I can not fake.

What they don’t see is my suffering. They don’t know that sometimes I am panicking on the inside or going through sensory overload right in front of them. How could they?

Growing up undiagnosed, I learned to hide these things years ago. Nobody sees me freaking out, knows when I am having stomach issues, or my head is pounding from the florescent lighting of the office I work in two to three days a week.

I don’t complain. I smile, push forward pull up my big girl panties and do what I have to do to make sure that I am able to provide the best possible life for myself. I have a good job because I work hard.

My mother allowed me to start working at the age of twelve. I started out with simple jobs like folding towels. She told me to always stay busy, find something to do. If I am on the clock I need to find work to do. So I did.

I put my heart and soul into everything I do THAT is why I have a nice home and a good job NOT because I am a “high functioning” Autistic. Honestly, I am not a fan of these high and low functioning labels.

People say I am high functioning because I have well developed coping mechanisms which basically means I keep all my suffering to myself to make Neurotypical people feel comfortable. Because I can pass for “normal” blend in and be one of “them” I must be high functioning. How offensive.

Please do not ask an Autistic person (or parent) how Autistic they (or their child) are (is).

This would be the number one on a list of things not to say to an Autistic person.

Thank you!

I found the following website while networking with other Aspies online and was VERY pleased with the following info-graphic. Please see the full thing on the Living Amongst Humans blog.  I really enjoyed it.

Full info-graphic here.

asp spec