Speaking in Public

ActuallyAutistic, asd, autism, Life events

I’ve mutually volunteered/been asked to do a presentation at work about autism in the workplace.

I feel kind of excited about it but also a bit unsure of where to start.

There are so many things to say but don’t want to say everything as to not overload people.

A million questions swirling and consuming my thoughts:

How detailed do I go?

How open should I be?

Do I really need to share that I sometimes have meltdowns in the middle of the night because insomnia can be overwhelming for me?

Will people understand what “executive function” means?

Will anyone care?

Will they think I’m making it up because they can’t see it?

Am I wasting my time?

Will I offend?

The list of ‘what if,’ ‘why,’ ‘because’ is expansive.

And then there’s public speaking.

But I’m comfortable being uncomfortable so have spoken publicly quite a bit when I’ve had to so it’ll be alright.

And, with age, comes experience and far less concern about what others think about me.

I’ve never really had that ego though; I’ve never really cared what other people have or do think of me.

Sorrynotsorry. 🙂

I am hoping for the best with this presentation.

It does leave me feeling exposed and vulnerable to open up about my brain like this but

there is a strength within that vulnerability.

Sidenote: I actually was able to be a “normal” human being and spoke to my neighbors for the first time by myself last week. I’m considering that a life event so tagged the post as such. I was recoiling inside but it did feel good to show myself how far I’ve come. Little steps = big progress.

Get Back Up & Do It Again

feelings, Life events

It has been a pretty rough start to this year, which may be mildly ironic given my year in review of 2018.

But things can’t always be peachy keen.

How dull would life be if everything was perfect all the time?

We would never appreciate the good moments,

the beautiful moments,

the vulnerable moments,

those moments that feel infinite.

I am a firm believer that hardships happen to spur growth and/or change,

and boy, I sure am going through some growing pains right now.

It’s easy to think that, with age, you become impervious to growth;

that you’ve learned all you needed to learn during your youth so now the world just sorta happens around you,

but that is truly naive thinking.

Part of what I am learning is that, while I thought I had learned almost everything there was to learn, I was wrong and I am learning a lot right now,

changing a lot,

metamorphosing.

I mean, I guess life has been pretty sweet for the last 4 years.

I’ve been long overdue for a rocky one.

So, here we are and here I am learning.

It’s kind of rough.

But there is so much shimmering wisdom blooming within this chaos.

sunlight in landscape

Life Is A Funny Thing

feelings, Life events

My stepdad passed away the other day.

Three weeks ago, he went to the doctor for back pain that wouldn’t subside.

Turned out to be pancreatic cancer; tumors from his pancreas pushing into his spinal cord.

The doctor told him he had at least 3 months.

The cancer was in his bones but not his other organs.

Radiation treatment began, chemo to shortly follow.

He was admitted to hospital the other night with shortness of breath and confusion.

His blood levels were very low oxygen due to the cancer being inside his bone marrow.

He kept saying to my mom “Let’s get through this so I can get my treatment,”

“This won’t impact my treatment, right?”

He became scared, confused and agitated.

Then he passed out.

They tried reviving him for 45 minutes.

He was 48.

They think he may have had a blood clot that caused the rapid decline in health.

My mom didn’t opt for an autopsy so we won’t really know for certain.

My birth father passed away in 2008 from liver disease.

He was ill for 15 years so was slow and gradual in comparison to this but no easier, obviously.

He was my hero.

I am still broken in places due to his passing.

This is my first real experience with a more sudden death.

I have a lot of complicated feelings right now.

Some of which I feel incredibly selfish for like “Why am I not allowed to have a father figure in my life?”

Others, less selfish like “Why isn’t my mom allowed to be happy?”

“Why did he have to leave scared and confused?”

“Why did he even have to leave?”

When my birth father passed, I developed this permanent heavy weight from death’s hands resting on my shoulder, whispering the Virgil’s quote:

“Death twitches my ear;
‘Live,’ he says…
‘I’m coming.”

I live with an intense urgency of life.

Multiple times a day I ask myself if I’m happy with what I’m doing,

if I should be doing more,

if I’m okay with my current life,

if I should change things,

if I should move back home,

if I should change careers,

If.

Life is a funny thing.

I’m a firm believer that we are all on our own paths that are meant to teach and we are to learn accordingly.

But I am struggling to understand what all this death is trying to teach me.

I mean, I know it has taught me humility and deep empathy for the human journey.

It has taught me patience and spiritual compassion that we’re all hurting inside from something; that we’re all working on something (even if many don’t realize it) so to be kind even if people are not kind back (something I think I will forever be working on).

I thought I learned all I could the first time around.

But I guess I was wrong.

And, really, it’s not even about me.

Grief is a deeply personal experience so I cannot speak for others.

I just know that I want them back.

Please, come back.

It’s Not A Race To The End

2018 wrap up, asd, Assessment, Life events, Musings

Imma jump on this 2018 Year in Review bandwagon right quick because this year, for me, has been pretty eventful so I am moved to write about it.

I don’t normally write stuff about this since I think of time more contextually rather than numerically but here we go.

Two large life-changing events happened for me:

  1. I bought my first house
  2. I received an affirmative autism assessment

I’ll elaborate:

House Purchase

I don’t really see the house purchase as such a huge deal in like a societal achievement or whatever. I guess partly why it’s a big deal is because it’s taken up a lot of money and a lot of time to get it all sorted, fixed up, etc.

It is also in another country, which I guess makes things slightly more complicated but not really because if I ever decide to go home I’ll just sell it.

The main reason it’s a big deal is that I never thought I would be in this position. I always had this vision of myself that I would be in a quirky apartment with 2 cats living the single life forever. But I found someone super special just before I was going to go home and many things aligned that allowed us to be together.

Fate.

Finally.

So it’s been a large and expensive undertaking but the mental benefits have been surprisingly profound to me. I finally feel like I have a home again after moving away (drastically) to start uni. It’s been a long, hard road with many ups and downs, deeply regrettable encounters with a couple of people (though they lead me to where I am now so can’t really regret it as roses grew out of mud for me but still very bad memories) and wonderful learnings from others. I doubt I will ever go into the details on this blog but trust me when I say that the struggle was real and the hustle has paid off.

Assessment

This time last year I had booked my autism assessment and was compiling information from my mother and those closest to me for anything that I do or did that may be related to autism. I went private for my diagnosis since the NHS waiting list is incredibly long and I needed the answer sooner rather than later.

It cost a lot of money but it was worth it.

It was a pretty straight-forward assessment but grueling and long, and I think the two women who conducted my assessment knew long before we were finished that I was/am autistic.

It has been a phenomenal revelation and has filled in every missing piece for me.

I am 35 years old and have been on a quest to understand why I have felt like such an outsider and/or Frankenstein/Edward Scissorhands my entire life. I was in and out of different therapies, taken on and off different medications, etc., from about age 10 onward and struggled very badly with depression, anxiety and other negative feelings because no one could really tell me the why or because of my behavior. Now I have an answer that, had I been a kid right now, I probably would’ve received but no one was really looking out for autism when I was growing up much less diagnosing it for young girls or women.

Anyway, I started this blog to give myself a space to anonymously write my feelings about my assessment and whatever else is on my mind with the hope that maybe my words will help make one person out there on the interwebs feel less alone and feel supported in their own personal neurodiverse or neurotypical journey.

Because, you know, at the end of every keyboard is a flesh-and-blood human being who needs love and support just like everybody else whether they’re autistic or not.

I feel good about my assessment now. Some days, I still don’t know where autism starts and ends in my brain for me but I don’t really care. I am who I am. No one really fully understands autism and I have my own ideas around it but it just doesn’t matter. We are all having this human experience together despite our differences and I am happy/proud of who I am.

Plus, I always wanted to be part of the X-Men so this is the closest I’ll get. 😀

I always thought I would be dead by the time I reached 30. Once I graduated uni forever with my BA and MA (which was around the age of 31 or so), I thought to myself that anything that happens after that would be a bonus.

Four years later I am sitting here with full revelation of who I am, a home to call my own, a partner in crime and a good job with kind, friendly people.

And it’s those little things that matter the most to me. Yes, the political and environmental state of the world is profoundly depressing on a level that I do not wish to discuss on my blog.

I don’t know how I managed to turn my life around like this but I have and I am so grateful.

My new goal in life…

…a different kind of hustle, if you will,

is to be kind to people because, as I’ve said in other posts, we are all on a journey and all have baggage. We could all do with a little more kindness in our lives and I hope I can bring that while I’m still here.

Smile with clenched jaw

Assessment, Life events

The last few months have felt like a chaotic whirlwind.

Numerous life events happening all within close proximity to each other.

Well, closer proximity than I prefer.

Traveling overseas to visit home.

Starting a new job.

Getting married.

Getting diagnosed with High Functioning Autism.

Moving house.

Most of these happened within the last 30 days.

So it’s been a lot to handle.

It’s kind of weird (though not really) because the busier I am the more I forget about my diagnosis.

But then things happen that bring it right to the forefront.

Things like sensory overload when unloading furniture at a busy disposal location.

Misunderstandings at work because something wasn’t said direct enough for me to understand.

The plethora of feelings when I tell acquaintances (out of necessity) that I’m autistic.

Or even moving house in general because, you know, routine.

This pretty much sucks.

But it’ll be over soon and it will be worth it.

I’m not sure I’ve come to terms yet with my diagnosis.

It’s hard to think about it in this chaotic whirlwind.

It’s brought up a million and one new feelings.

And it has changed the way some people have interacted with me.

Some for the better, some for the worse.

Hm.

It’ll be good to have some down time over the summer.