After an Autistic writer’s Drought .

It has been many months since I wrote.

I’ve written but not blogging, I’ve been

Writing to synthesise  my thoughts and aims carefully tightrope walking across the chasm of clumsiness and possible offence.

Wanting to return to painting and poetry yet caught up in writing to promote change in approach to Autism and Research.

Hoping  to foster a desire for an autistic run mini conference so that those of us who have  past presentations given  at mainstream conferences can share with the autistic community in Oz. Travel and accommodation is so expensive here on this continent that attending mainstream Conferences is prohibitive.

Fortunately Aspect organised scholarships for autistic presenters at APAC17 to pay part or all of the registration fee…. a great move to assisting Inclusion.

Autscape in England is so far away that it is impossible for us to attend  so a mini conference with minimal costs would be great. Great to share presentations, great to meet up with other autistics. Many of us living outside major cities have no face to face contact with our Neurological peers.

It is just a seed now and with a bit of gentle unforced nurturing this idea may come to fruition. We need to start small, maybe very small but ensuring that those outside major cities have reasonable access.  Many ideas to toss around, letting form evolve so that it all fits together … it doesn’t need to be fashioned on the Typical models of conferences…..after we are not typical.

 

At present I have no idea how this will appear … will it be under my nom de plume twitter or real twitter accounts. I’m lost in cyberspace as I am still not affair with technology… a continual learning curve … and it takes perseverance and  the risk taking of one blindfolded. If that doesn’t demonstrate Resilience… autistic resilience what does?

 

 

 

 

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Autburnout and me.

Recently I fumbled my way through an AutBurnout Chat, fumbled because I’m still struggling with Twitter, I found helpful advice re using the Chat and thought provoking questions about Burnout.

This session and some questions asked by others set my mind racing over my 60+ years on planet Earth as an Autistic.

1)Have I always experienced AutBurnout and how did I deal with it?

2)Were there differences in duration at different points over my life?

3)What may have triggered these episodes?

4)Can AutBurnout be isolated from other forms of burnout?

 

When I was a child it is possible that Meltdowns were like a circuit breaker when everything became too much. Focusing on rearranging books according to various criteria or spinning etc would have allowed me down time as a restorative.

I’ve always been a poor sleeper finding that night was the only time I was sure to have my mind to myself. This is still the case and that is when I’m free to think but at the expense of sleep.To retreat into my mind.

I’d say in childhood my Burnouts were more like Fadeouts that lasted hours  then in later adolescence to days 3-4.  In late teens and twenties-30’s  pushing myself to accomplish both physically and mentally demanding  goals could result in Shutdowns , removing myself from contact with others and retreating into a favourite quiet activity that was not mentally demanding or mentally stimulating.

In my 40’s I’d become wiped out and not be able to work a full week often ending to spend a day or two in bed without any physical or mental activity… exhaustion. I figure that one aspect that increased my susceptibility to AutBurnout was and is ” accepting personal responsibility” that is taking personal responsibility for self and various aspects of life… very wearing especially when having to look after self in all aspects , work ( working with people) and allow time for my own projects/leisure etc.

Taking on too much responsibility in personal relationship was crippling whilst working and /or studying resulting in Burnouts that lasted up to 3-4 weeks. By that I mean from exhaustion mentally and physically until I’d recuperated.

Naturally social and sensory sensitivities and co -existing conditions added to the stress bringing me to the state of inability to think , recall or relate.

Towards my late 40’s and in early 50’s AutBurnout dominated for some years rendering me unable to work , study or partake in leisure activities. This all escalated in my 60’s with accumulation of problems due to relationship, responsibilities, mixed cultural issues, lack of support . In fact I reached a point where I went from reading at post graduate level to not being able to read the TV guide…. concentration problems and exhaustion.

Had to gradually progress from reading poetry to short stories and so on until I was able to read all that I wished. My own rehab program.

My physical health greatly suffered and I realised that thinking used much more energy that physical activity… so that left me in position of trying to pace myself.

Didn’t succeed all that well as when physically wiped out my mind kept surging forward in curiosity and wanting to understand at depth.

Became seriously physically ill with cancer and side effects of chemo and radiotherapies. I found that I was too ill to think and my physical health gradually improved a little but when I was able to pursue interests of the mind my physical health and fitness has greatly declined.

I’d say that I live in one long AutBurnout that occasionally eases and I leap at a slight increase in energy only to overdo it both physically and mentally and then end in Burnout fully again… social contact is only rarely tolerated by body and mind.

It is hard to live like this and there is a loneliness that is different from aloneness… there is also the frustration of not being able to function and also of not being understood. By that I mean I’m so far removed from mainstream by AutBurnout and other conditions that I’m pretty well a recluse.

There are many things I’d love to do and many past joys I’d love to recreate but I have to accept my limitations. I say that but still push myself, push myself is being myself and only the scope of what I’m able to do is lessened. Lessened greatly. I continue to break new ground in my life.

Ageing is another matter that feeds into AutBurnout, that and high expectations of self… a desire to feel vital, alive and existent… exploring new possibilities, potentials, via getting to know how my life has been formed by my autism even many decades before diagnosis.

This has become a  cathartic piece and  has strayed from my original  design. I’m sure there are many aspects i’ve not included if that be so I’ll address those issues later. I’m  now in quite a trough of minus energy and oversupply of fatigue .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Addressing the Elephant.

After a week of ” socialising” I’m a wreck… so why in the hell did I do it?

Spent time with life-long friend… away together  sharing accomodation.

Me I’m a recluse so not used to speaking… so it all poured out, interests, autism and associated conditions … felt so much of a ” kill joy”… so many dietary and mobility issues.

Instead of just feeling like I’d ruined another’s holiday I spoke out about my self blame and I guess my fear at losing a friend may have surfaced. Crunch!

My home isolation and her inability for self time at her home…. Crunched.  Acknowledging it to each -other, acknowledging each other, smoothed out the sharpness of Crunch.

Articulating, acknowledging the elephant allowed us to caress it to ask it to sit with us, to ” be” with us as we listened to its silent witnessing we realised that we were at home being at times not at home with each other.  Being real! More so than ever before.

Three spoon drained days… ended  well with a wave from the long distance bus.

OK! That may seem, as it was for me , exhausting but there was no time to recover. It was one of those ” it never rains but it pours” situations.

Another long time friend from the city had commitments in nearby towns. A great opportunity time and location -wise to ” catch up” so I’d invited her to stay the nights in between.

Don’t know about you but when I’m a wreck I become a blithering mess… but before that stage, whilst I still have some sense of lucidity I launched into common interests … sounds fine … excitedly speaking at the pace of a bullet….

Aware of it but not knowing how to get out of my self woven spider web… i ground down to gibberish… to admitting my brain had ceased up… not  even able to answer  simple questions like ” would you like some watermelon?”

Witnessing my web weaving at a frenetic pace I became self reflective… to announce my ” intensity” my inability to  “stop”… to do those social etiquette things..to take appropriately timed turns…..

Confessing that nowadays I’m not able to communicate with speech to most people… only those with whom I share common interests… I pegged out on the imaginary clothesline my autism… frailties and self perceived strengths.

In each scenario I revealed the elephant in the room.. and through sharing my awareness of my autism and how it impacted  upon my friend/s and myself…

Autism lost its label status/quality and my autistic traits pegged out without shame, manifested in the reality of  “being”…

What now?  Rest … Rest… and much more… seclusion….and what of the next encounters with these friends?

It will be easier to openly self monitor both my energy levels and my dominance of speak time… I won’t need to fumble in a hidden panic hopefully I’ll openly care for self and in doing so care for my friends.

 

 

 

Removing the Door

p1030341Perspectives on the Freeze Response as I experienced it when violated Trigger Response…abuse/violation. This piece refers to a rape situation many years ago…so difficult to write that word… rape.

There will be no description of the physical assault, I do not wish to relive that experience but to witness it for what it was to me and my response.

This all happened as a result of my naivety, my trusting nature  when offered a safe place to sleep  for the night in a city where all accomodation was filled by displaced people. Displaced  a few years before by an earthquake.

I was woken by a man I’d never seen and knew instinctively that there was no possibility of ” flight or fight”. I guess I detached myself, my inner and emotional self from the scene.  What happened was inevitable. Emotionally I froze, cut myself off from engaging in any way with what was happening and that included ” fear”. Fear happens when confronted with the unknown and not dealing with the reality of the ‘now”. That “now’ was happening and with no where to run  and no one to alert there was no point in fighting.  That could result in further affliction.

May be things that happened in my childhood  spoke to me  and I  recognised  my powerlessness.  Things that related to various forms of abuse by people who were supposed to be trusted. Trusted by the family.

Once that part of the ordeal was over I matter of factly prepared myself to leave that premisses.  I walked into the hallway with backpack on, heard a bath running, no towel seen just a doily type thing and then the man sharpening a huge knife, not a kitchen knife, and silly me wondered why he would be doing this early in the morning. Was he preparing his breakfast?

It was only much later that I realised the enormity of his plans.

He saw me quietly standing there still in a frozen emotional state. I was calm and ready to leave. He put away his knife and backed his car into the porch , opened the door, told me to get in and lie low on the back seat. Some kilometres later he stopped his car, told me to get out and then drove off.

I cannot remember how I managed to get anywhere from there that part is still unclear. Somehow I was safe.

My  autistic naivety may have  led me into this dangerous situation but my autistic freeze response saved my life. I’m sure that the man expected some dramatic scene that I did not give him and this may have calmed him,  he may have known  by then that I’d not be calling out ” rape” or reporting him to the authorities.

It was  quite sometime later that I  made awful sense of that bath and knife.

My freezing had saved me but also saved him from committing a further crime.

Late DX older Autistics struggling with Social Media 2 connect.

As an older late DX autistic I have trouble connecting with the online autistic community. Came to this site by chance. Am still figuring out myself since my diagnosis. Am sure I’ve made many mistakes trying to connect .

After decades of being excluded it is easy to take offence when my friendly overture is ignored at a Workshop,I take it as a conscious rejection instead of a by product of the other’s autism.  Results in a wariness to approach younger autistic adults. It can feel that there is a big invisible sign saying ” no autistics over x years welcome”.

It is difficult to deal with  decades of exclusion by NTs  followed by perceived exclusion by those who espouse Inclusion. Is there a support avenue for older autistics whose birth year plight hasn’t provided a DX by middle age nor equipped them to be included via social media etc?