Rough few days

It’s been a difficult one to write, this one.

The emotional journey I’ve been on recently I’ve hit a bump in the road, although it feels more like a tree branch through the windscreen. A classic case of making mountains out of molehills.

It’s said that a common autistic trait is the inability to judge what is socially appropriate behaviour. In my case I’m very aware of my own lack of ability. Thus the defense mechanism is to inhibit myself. Constantly.

For all the good stuff I’ve been doing recently, the feeling of failure has been coming from several directions, the worst of which has been failing to build close relationships which make me feel good about myself. Thoughts of hopelessness and despair have really done a number on me these last few days.

Mercifully I feel a lot better today.

As it is World Autism Awareness Week, I’ve been reminded that there are plenty of us out there, all with our own struggles. I’ve really begun to dislike my autism at times and I’ve neglected how important it is to accept myself for what I am. I hope now to be there for others to give proper support for anyone who’s struggling. And spend less time obsessing in my own head.

Which brings me to World Autism Awareness Week.

There’s been a fair bit written “Awareness”. I support awareness when it comes to education and understanding but, rather than offering acceptance and support, some view Autism as something to be eradicated. Despite my own issues around my Autism I can’t help but feel repelled by the idea that we should be “cured”.

So I recommend boycotting Autism Speaks and their #Lightitupblue campaign.

Support these guys instead https://autisticadvocacy.org/

#Redinstead #Lightitupgold #Paleittopurple #Toneitdowntaupe

#ActuallyAutistic #AutismAcceptance #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs

Thank you for Reading

Jamie

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My ASD

As promised I’ll begin here.

A year ago I was diagnosed, at the age of 35, with Autism Spectrum Disorder (what used to be called Asperger’s), mainly manifesting as systemic thinking and difficulties with interpreting non-verbal behaviours and processing emotions. This has caused great amounts of anxiety and isolation over the years. It is taking quite some time for me to come to terms with it but with a bit of help and guidance I’m beginning to understand what I can do to change for the better and what I can accept as part of who I am.

Some useful advice from CBT was that I am guilty of all 12 unhelpful thinking habits, namely :

Mental Filter (gloomy specs)

Prediction

Mind-Reading

Compare and Despair

Critical Self

Shoulds and Musts

Judgements

Emotional Reasoning

Mountains and Molehills

Catastrophising

Black and White Thinking

Memories (here and now)

All of which are bolstered by rigid systemic thinking.

The worst thing about having ASD is the masking. The all-powerful shield that protects me from the projected judgement of others. The mask is so prevalent that it feels like the real me, even though it has never been, nor will it ever be, the real me. It does nothing but paralyse and imprison the real me.

To defeat the demons of anxiety and hence, to take off the mask, I’ve learnt now to keep engaging with others, to spend time with friends who understand and support me, and to keep active doing what makes me feel good about myself. These are what deprives the demons of their room to operate.

So, job interview tomorrow and I’m actually feeling good about it. When that’s done and dusted I’ll take some time to get into some artistic creativity.

I’ll be back soon.