I am blogging for you instead of vlogging over on YouTube, because i have a face only fit for radio. That being said, i’m sure you may get to see this face from time to time on here, lucky you…!
Why am i blogging for you, you ask? Well, I am in the last few months of my 20’s, i’m a female with Asperger’s syndrome and somehow I’m succeeding in life! (To some degree…) And so i felt it was the right time to share my knowledge, experiences and life advice for any who is interested, good enough reason?… I’ll let you decide that one.
What is Asperger’s syndrome? It is a spectrum condition, where individuals will see, hear and feel the world differently to other people. It is not a disease and cannot be ‘cured’, it is a lifelong condition (National Autistic Society: 2016). Although Asperger’s is not autism, it is on the same spectrum and so those on the spectrum are all referred to as being autistic. Asperger’s is high functioning autism, meaning those with the condition tend to manage the condition a little better in their own way.
Did you know that over 700,000 people are autistic in the UK alone? And the ratio of male to females who are autistic is 3:1 (National Autistic Society: 2018), although this number is predicted to be slightly higher, it is just that females tend to be more difficult to diagnose and so tend to be diagnosed later in life or sadly not at all.
Is everyone who is on the spectrum a genius? Let me put it this way… I have discalculia, in layman’s terms, numeracy dyslexia. Sure, i generally over achieve in most things i put my mind to, but genius? I wish! Although there are many people on the spectrum who have above average intelligence, it is known, but sadly not for myself. Don’t even get me started on the ‘Rainman’ theory….
I want this blog to be real, raw, helpful, light hearted, fun, uplifting and hopefully inspirational for someone. I was diagnosed late at 27 years old, although i knew my entire life I was different, but i’ll save that for another blog. I am a mother to a 7 year old, I run my own business that i have had for a few years now, I am waiting to start my degree in nursing this coming February and now i want to blog to the world! No matter who you are, no matter if you’re on the spectrum or not, you are all welcome here and i hope to be of some help to even just one of you! I know the struggles of being autistic and i will not shelter these from you but i will also share the proof of being successful on the spectrum too!
Thankyou for stopping by, I hope to speak to you soon! Please subscribe below so you don’t miss any new blogs that are coming your way soon… Stay tuned!
I cannot emphasize enough, the importance of a good teacher.
– Temple Grandin
Yes, the very word itself can send your brain spiralling down into the depths of hell, am i right?!
Whether you have meltdowns, know someone who does, or maybe have come across what you may have perceived to be one from a stranger in the street, it is a scary time for all involved.
If you see a stranger in public go through a meltdown, it may feel very disturbing to witness, but i can assure you that the individual going through it is in a darker place.
If you know someone personally who has meltdowns, they may come as less of an immediate shock, but this can still make you feel uncomfortable to see, but i can assure you that the individual gong through it is in deeper distress.
If YOU experience meltdowns, then i salute you. They are no joke. They are NOT for attention. They are NOT a tantrum. They are NOT to get your own way. Worst of all? Most of us who experience them are unaware of them happening until we come back around to the real world around us.
My personal experience with meltdowns? Where do i begin?….
As with most who live with meltdowns, mine are triggered by a constant build up of heightened senses leading to sensory overload. I find that my meltdowns occur more regularly when in a stressful situation, such as a heated debate/argument. Mainly through frustration of being ignored when i try and speak my part of the debate, being talked over and not given a chance to speak. This has a knock on effect to my trail of thinking of the right and wrong way of doing things- for example, i feel it is right that BOTH people should be allowed their say so i feel it is wrong when this does not happen. This plays havoc on my mind, it almost freezes my brain (sounds strange, but hopefully someone understands). The sound of raised voices then sends me into a panic and the angry faces frighten me.
Sometimes i can feel my body shutting down and i am semi-aware that a meltdown is on its way…. Other times there are no warnings. The warnings i do get when i get them are; dizzy head, foggy vision, clouded mind, rapid beating heart, a sense of extreme fear, deafened in my ears by surrounding sounds, just to name a few.
Most times when i have a meltdown, I self harm without even knowing about it until after my meltdown has ended. I rip my hair, i scratch and slap my face and i bang my head against walls and floors. I can see how distressing this may be for people to see, but i have no control.
When i come back around and see the aftermath, i feel ashamed, exhausted and slightly sorry for myself.
So i feel that sharing top tips for those involved when an individual is having a meltdown will be helpful and very important for anyone who is going through the meltdown and for those who are there at that time. Here they are…
1- Low, quiet, calm voices using simple words
This will avoid even more stress build up and less sensory overloading to happen. The individual will be feeling frightened and confused, so, simple, calm communication is always the best way to communicate. Sometimes it may be best to keep completely quiet especially if you do not know the person.
2- Be patient
A meltdown will vary in time and extremity every time. No matter if it is the same person having them, their meltdown will be different each time due to many factors. Please be patient. If you feel frustrated and want to know when it will all end, then please remove yourself from the situation all together because the individual will feel the tense atmosphere and this is not going to help.
3- Remove triggers and potentially dangerous objects
You may not always know what has caused someone’s meltdown, but if you can pinpoint certain triggers and you are able to safely remove them from the situation in a calm manner, then please do this. The trigger may be an object/objects such as a phobia they have e.g a spider. The trigger may be a person, kindly ask them to step away, if that person is you, please stand back until all is settled. The trigger may be a situation, such as being in a busy place that is too noisy. This may be difficult to remove the person from that place if their meltdown has already started, however, do try and guide them away when they begin to grow uncomfortable.
4- Don’t come into personal space
When the individual is having their meltdown, they will be very frightened. If you try to get close to them whether it is to get face to face with them to talk, or even to offer a hug- which may seem like the most obvious thing to do- please do not do this. It is very possible that they may lash out without meaning to which will cause them more distress as they do not want to do this. If they hurt someone unknowingly, then when they come back around they will feel even worse than they already will be doing.
5- Try to intervene if there is self harm
I know i have just spent the last few bullet points advising you to keep your distance from the person having the meltdown, however, there is ONE exception…. Self harm. As I previously mentioned, I am a self harmer during meltdowns. I do not know I am doing this and i hate that it has happened after the meltdown has ended. It is not always possible to intervene, but where it is safe to do so, please try. Find a soft, comforting object such as a pillow and place it between the person and the body parts they are harming. For example; If the individual is banging their head against a floor, gently place the pillow on the floor where they are hitting.
6- Keep the after talk brief
After the meltdown has settled, the individual is most likely feeling highly emotional, absolutely exhausted and sometimes even ashamed and embarrassed. It is almost impossible not to discuss what has just happened, but please only do this if the individual starts this conversation first. If they do this, then keep your opinions thoughtful. Think before you speak. If they do not instigate the conversation about what has just happened, please offer kind supporting words, such as; “I love you”, “It’s ok, you’re safe now”, “Do you want to watch…” (their favourite programme) etc. Make them feel as normal as possible without dwelling too much on the situation.
These were my personal 6 top tips that I feel work from my own experience. This does not mean that thy will work for everyone. Please feel free to comment below any tips you can add to this list that you may feel i have missed 🙂