suzefricker@mylifeaccordingtome.org Available all the time, just send me an email and I will get back to you.

The Autistic Brain

Through talking to other autistic people I feel like I can say this with confidence. When you have to get something out you gotta get it out. I regularly find myself with songs stuck in my head and the only way to get it to stop is to sing it. It is important for me to get it out otherwise I get stressed out.

Before my diagnosis, my ex used to get frustrated with me because we would be having dinner and then I would just start singing something. Before my diagnosis, I did not understand why I did it, but now I do and when I need to get something out, I just gotta get it out. Sometimes it has to be a couple of times before it goes but it goes away eventually.

Just remember if you are autistic and you need to get it out just do it. Don’t be concerned about the people around you. It would be worse if you kept it in and that lead to a meltdown.

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Meltdown – remembering

So because today I have been recovering from my meltdown yesterday, I have been thinking about my childhood. Obviously, I was not diagnosed with my autism until very later in my adult life and I have pushed things to the back of my mind but today I have been thinking about all the random times.

There are two that I currently remember. Once when my mum decided that my sister and I had to walk to school on our own. I was thrown because she had never done this before and I broke down into a major wreck until and crying massively. My mum had to come down and in the end, had to take us to school.

In hindsight, this was due to the change in my routine which I could not handle. This is something that could have been worked on had I been diagnosed as a child. My mum would have known not to change my routine and honestly, it could have saved some people some stress. I had to deal with many things that day, however, I remember that meltdown clearly in my head.

The other time was when I was a teenager. Once again I was supposed to be able to go to the library with my sister. My parents were supposed to come with me however, my dad had to work suddenly and could not come. My mum was also sick that day and could not come to the flat. Once again this was a change to my routine and I broke down into tears and kept saying “bye” to the front door. My sister, at the time, got so annoyed she punched me in the stomach. My dad heard my scream from the flat and came running down the stairs and brought us up to the flat. I then spent the rest of the day curled up on my parent’s bed and I wouldn’t speak to anyone including my sister.

Again, in hindsight, had I been diagnosed maybe they would have not made plans that could potentially be changed and maybe be a way in which they would be kinder to me. That would seriously have been better.

What I remember is that I was drained after each meltdown, however, I don’t remember having it feel like this before. Maybe the older I get the harder to deal with the aftermath of a meltdown.

Honestly, I wish I had a service dog to help me 😦 What I am noticing that now I have been diagnosed I am trying to embrace both the positive and negative parts of it, however, the negative sides can be quite horrid. Now I have the diagnosis I do not need to hide it which made it worse, however, embracing it would be so difficult.

My Autism

A lot of people say to me when I tell them that I am autistic is “you don’t look like someone with autism”.  I have given up explaining to them that not all autistics look the same. So here is the down low on my Autism. Because I was diagnosed later in like I have learned to deal with some situations or hide certain things so here is how my Autism affects me.

I find it very hard to talk to people in a meaningful way. I either get very quiet or over talkative. When I get over talkative I can be too open and end up talking about things that you should not really discuss in a normal conversation.

I can be too open and I have to check with people as to whether or not things should be discussed. For me logically, if you tell someone something it is hand in hand that you tell them why. An example (Prior to diagnosis) I was asked by work colleagues if I wanted another drink and when I said no and they pushed I told them all of the details why. I was told later that this was something I should not have done and I didn’t understand why I was being told not to talk about it.

I also take things very literally. If you ask me a question you must give me a full question. When I had to appeal my disability benefits the judge asked me “What would you do if you needed to go out for milk?” I answered the question as “I wouldn’t”. When the judge asked me why I told her, “I don’t drink milk”.  If the judge had asked me what would I do if I needed to go out and get something from the shop, then the question would have been answered in a different way

I find it very easy to get lost and when things are changed or I am in an unfamiliar territory then I get very overwhelmed and get on the verge of meltdown mode.

If my routine is changed without my knowledge beforehand I get very upset. For instance, Friday night is Pizza night. If no one tells me at least 24 hours prior that they are going to change the routine then I find it very difficult to get my head around it. I can once again head to meltdown mode. My routine is sacred to me.

I hate change. I accept that there are times especially in work that change happens however when there is not enough communication around it then I am very stressed and at the same time I can fall into a meltdown mode. Even when someone who changes something in my room, then I get very anxious around it and then I have to have it moved back the way it was. If I move something its fine but when someone else does it I have major issues.

I have issues with food. There are certain foods that I can’t deal with because I am struggling with the texture. Brown bread is one for me. I can’t do it and therefore I do not eat it. The same is with white bread with bits in it, I can’t deal with it. I have lots of issues with meat so even as a child I had to go to vegetarianism because I could not deal with it. Along with that, I had a problem with the fact that I could tell when someone changed brands in my house. If you went from Birdseye to another brand I could tell the difference and wouldn’t eat what was in front of me. This is yet another reason why I became a vegetarian. It would be easier for me to be a vegetarian and have fewer restrictions on what I eat.

Smell is something that is a problem for me. I can tell when people change their perfume or deodorants and get really affected by some smells especially when there is too much. I get honestly sick.

The sound is something that I have issues with. When I am at work I have to block my ears when we have a fire drill because the noise is so loud. I have always had sensitive hearing. I can hear when the tv is too loud from the other end of the flat and I can also hear both sides of the telephone call.

These are all the things that affect me.

Anyways from this, you can tell just because we are diagnosed the same, we do not look the same. When you know one person with autism, you know one person with autism, don’t assume we are all the same.

Personal Thank You

Being Autistic is something I am still learning about. I have triggers and sometimes I know how to deal with them and sometimes I don’t. My biggest one at the moment is one particular tube station in London. It is HUGE for me. There are so many different escalators just to get off the platform that I get overwhelmed and get lost. I have had to use this station 3 times in the last few weeks and every time I get lost in a new way :S

But my thank you goes out to the Metropolitan Police and the City of London Police as I don’t know which police officers I met or which one they were from. Every time I have gotten overwhelmed and lost I always seem to manage to find me a Police officer with a service dog. The two-legged officer gives me directions that I can understand and the four-legged officer gives me love and affection in a lick of letting me pet them that I feel able to get off of the ledge of full meltdown and find my way to where I need to go.

So to all of the two legged and four legged officers in the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police #ThankYouForYourService and thank you for helping this Autistic Woman out. Your officers won’t of known I was Autistic, but it made a BIG impression on me and I am super thankful for that as it helped me avoid a meltdown which would have made me feel very embarrassed when it passed.