I grew up an ASD kid who went undiagnosed until adulthood, which was hard. I wonder, however, if growing up without knowing I was autistic was a blessing or a curse. Perhaps it was indeed both.
Please do not misunderstand me, I am glad to have a diagnosis. Glad to finally know what is “wrong” with me; glad to finally have been able to fit the pieces of the puzzle together. But this isthe thing–i didn’t know, no one knew, so no one told me, “I couldn’t.”
Today, I do have a better grip on my own limitations, and there would have been a lot of heartache avoided had I known. However, I wonder if I would have what I do today if things were different.
No one told me that I would never be normal. They didn’t expect me to not succeed, not find love, not have a family. I never considered these things could be difficult.
An email from a fan this week caused me to start thinking about how we view our ASD kids. What does the world expect if them; what are they bring taught about themselves? Are we telling them and the world around them not to expect much? Or do we encourage and reassure that their lives matter; that they will have good lives.
The truth is for some, marriage and family may not happen. But isn’t that also true for”normal” NT people as well? Life isn’t easy; it’s hard, for all of us autistic or not. Maybe we should, instead of focusing on the difficulties, the disabilities, and what seems out of reach, we should focus on encouraging, and reassuring them that they matter. We matter; we have much to offer; we can do anything we out our minds to!
An autism diagnosis is not the end of the world, our lives are not doomed. We just will have to live in this world seeing it differently, and find those who are willing to accept that to share life with.
Hubby gets in the van and asks, “Hon…why is there a bra in here?”
Well I thought after all these years that the answer would be obvious. I took it off and tossed it! What else would it be doing in there?
I have been becoming increasing more sensitive these days. I am not sure if it is because of my increasing discomfort during the pregnancy, though I am sure that has something to do with it. As I am expanding, all of my clothing,and yes undergarments, are getting tighter and more uncomfortable by the minute.
I grabbed a maternity outfit out of a bin that I had stored from my last pregnancy, quickly shoved it on and ran out the door–late to my doctor’s appointment again. I had not worn this particular outfit very often during my last pregnancy and now I remembered why. The shirt collar was itching, the arms hole were uncomfortable (they must have shrunk damn it!), and I was already wiggling around and tugging on it before I hopped in the car.
As I drove up the road I fidgeted some more. I was becoming increasingly cranky and began growling at the other drivers on the road. I cursed at a woman who rudely cut me off and growled even more loudly this time.
“Mom, are you ok?” Aspie Teen asked from the passenger seat.
“No, I’m cranky.” I said. The bra must have shrunk too because now the lace was scratching (I thought I had pulled that tag in the back off already, apparently not.) and for some reason I felt like I had something metal stabbing me in the back–and I was having trouble taking deep breaths.
“Arrrgghh, that’s it!” I yelled when I pulled up to a red light. I unhooked the back of the damn thing, pulled the straps out the sides of my sleeves, and wiggled it down over my basketball belly. Then I signed in relief and tossed the bra into the back seat!
Aspie Teen shook his head.
It was like magic. I was free and my mood began to improve for the rest of the ride to the doctor’s. The appointment went by without a hitch, but I am sure that I would have been irritable and agrumentative about everything had I left that thing on to scratch, stab and choke at me.
Victoria can keep her satin, lace, and metal tangs–I was done!
So back to the orginal conversation…
“Hon, why is there a bra in here?”
“What? Oh…I tossed it at the stop light.”
Hubby shakes his head and rubs his temples.
Lesson learned: When I am irritable for no reason that I can pinpoint do a clothing and comfort check, it usually reveals something that is causing my sensitivities to roar and my emotions to be overloaded.
After writing the memoir, I began to get nostalgic and started pulling out old photos. Then I thought, hey maybe you all would like to meet the cast. So I’m pulling old and often embarrassing photos to begin to post and give you some faces to go with the people in the story. I will also be looking for some old pictures of me as a child.
I have one in particular in mind, and believe me it is an embarrassing one! I remember my mother having a picture of me at Christmas time wearing those god awful pearly framed glasses that the eye doctor prescribed for me, “as a precaution” and to help with my “allergy to the sunlight”.
I thought pulling out the old photos and sharing them might be a fun thing to do…especially in between writing projects. (I guess I am never really in-between writing projects, as I am always writing something!)
My first and favorite is from my wedding (almost 16 years ago, 1997) …and it is my favorite because it has my Grandpa in the picture (who died in 1998 while I was preggo with Aspie Teen), and it has Grandma too!
By the way, someone gave me that dress (or something that resembled it) and Grandma pulled the whole thing apart and put it back together the way she liked it and in my size!
Thanks for following along my journey from childhood through offical diagnosis of my Asperger’s Syndrome. For those of you who own Kindle devices, I just wanted to let you know that you can download the book FREE today. So go ahead, click the link and get your copy!
To those of you who have or will read my story, it would mean so much to me if you would take a few moments and leave me a quick review on Amazon.
I did not forget about all of you who do not read on the Amazon Kindle… If you would like paperback copy of Twirling… please go to Goodreads (clicking the link will bring you right to my giveaway page) and enter to a FREE copy!
The paperback is not available for sale yet, but I am anticipating it being available shortly. In the meantime, headover to Goodreads and enter to win.
Now that I have wrapped up Twirling…Ok well it is still being wrapped up and packaged it is time to look at what is ahead. I have already begun brainstorm for my next project. I have had such a great time blogging this book that I‘ve decided I am going to continue to blog what I write, as I write it.
My idea for the next project is tentatively titled, “How to Love an Autistic Woman: Tips from a NT/Aspie Marriage.” Since none of the “normal” relationship books I’ve ever read applied to me, I thought I would go ahead and write my own.
This is the plan: The idea is to pick several relationship topics like communication, dating, marriage, intimacy, sex…etc. and talk about them from both the autistic’s perspective (mine) and the NT’s perspective (hubby’s) to try to begin closing the gap between the two, and hopefully help others who struggle with NT/Aspie relationships.
Warning…this is going to very difficult for me. You see the idea is for hubby and I to take turns writing chapters on each subject, and since I am a complete and total control freak I will need to exercise much self-control and let him write what he feels to write—without correcting him, or telling him what he “should” say. It may get interesting that is for sure.
So your turn…what do you all think? Do you like the idea? Any topics in particular that are a MUST to address in this type of book? As always I hope you all stay with me on this next journey, as your input is always appreciated and desired!
So where to start?
Oh one last thing, please bear with me if I change the theme of this blog a few times before I find something that works for the new project. I need to figure out a way for anyone who is still reading, or wants to read Twirling…to be able to so do, without it getting all jumbled together with the next project. I just haven’t figured out how I am going to accomplish it yet.
First I want to thank everyone who has been following along as I write. Without all of you reading, I would have easily been distracted and lost my motivation to finish long ago.
I woke up to a sweet email this morning from Amazon letting me know that my Kindle Book (the one I’ve been writing and you have been reading) is now published and available for sale! Yay! Exciting News, which is why I am up at my keyboard with a PB&J sandwich before the sun and now cannot go back to sleep!
Clicking on the picture should bring you right to the Amazon page.
The paperback version should be available soon (hopefully within a week or so) and I will let you know when that happens. I suppose now I have no more excuses for not getting started on my next project(s).
When I woke up this morning I still felt exhausted because I had not fallen asleep until after 2 a.m. last night. I have been having tremendous difficulty falling asleep lately (again): enter the famous Aspie insomnia.
This morning, however, unlike the rest of the mornings this week I did not wake up to grey skies or the pitter patter of rain drops, the sunshine was shining. In fact it was streaming through the curtains in my room, and although I was exhausted, I looked forward to getting out of bed to see the daylight—the sunshine.
I am aware that grey dreary days make many people feel “gloomy” or “sleepy,” but for me the problem goes far beyond feeling glum. For me, my entire body is affected, my mood, my energy, even my outlook on life itself is affected. I guess you could say that my moods quite literally changes with the weather.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, more commonly known as Winter Depression, is amongst the host of diagnoses I have received over the years. It is true that wintertime has always brought on depression for me, and the summer sunshine brought happier days. The problem is that even Seasonal Affective Disorder did not explain the drastic change in how I felt from day to day and sometimes even from hour to hour.
I had not considered, until I read something in a book by William Stillman called Autism and the God Connection, that this could be connected to my autism. Stillman stated that some people with autism are so sensitive that they can sense even the smallest ionic changes in the weather, and it wreaks havoc on their neurology.
That’s when it clicked! I have not read the entire book, but it is on my to-do-list mainly because this particular statement has resounded so strongly with me. I can feel the slightest change in weather pressures, humidity, and temperature, but again, never realized that all other people do not feel the same things.
I am literally uplifted and energized when the sun is shining and drained when the sky turns grey—even if little times had passed between the two. The slightest change in humidity affects my breathing, and temperatures changes have always wreaked havoc.
My issue with temperature is a part of my sensory processing disorder, or deregulation is this case. With my sensory processing issues, comes a temperature regulation issue. I cannot adjust to the changes in weather. I am easily overheated when it gets warm, cannot stay outside during very humid times, and even need to rest, relax, and cool down after a warm bath or shower. It takes my body a very short period of time to overheat, and an extended period to cool down.
The same is true for cold weather—I cannot adjust well. Despite how warmly I dress, I will immediately be frozen down to the bones, and have a difficult time warming up. Sometimes after long periods out in the cold it will take hours of shivering indoors to “warm my bones.” Feeling cold down inside my bones is the best way I can describe the feeling, but again, I just always assumed that everyone felt this way—apparently, they do not.
Part of my temperature regulation problem is that when I finally “cool-down,” it is usually followed by a quick shivering chill and a feeling that I need to warm up. And when I try to “warm up my bones”, it is usually followed by a period of overheating—very annoying. I live in a state of discomfort, many times putting on a sweater or blanket one minute, and throwing it off in a sweat the next.
I had never considered that these sensitivities could have been in any way related to autism—now, I know that they are. I am super sensitive to all kinds of stimuli—including ionic weather changes. Maybe I need to move to Hawaii…
Kindle Edition Cover
This is what I’ve been working on the past few days, and cleaning up all the typos and missed words throughout the manuscript (oh the fun). What do you think of the cover? I’m hoping to have the memoir available on Kindle by the end of the month, and in print within the next 90 days. Tight deadline, a lot of work, and I am feeling like a lumpy blob who doesn’t feel like doing much of anything besides sleeping, and lumping around on the sofa eating ice cream. Not good!