Dealing with Trauma

I have been beginning to see alot more tales of people like myself that have or is going through various types of trauma. I’m beginning to open my eyes more.

I keep bringing up mental health quite abit, now I know there will be plenty of people that even now when numbers are rising, a good majority will still go all British and say ‘get on with it!’. I will admit that I am someone who a long time ago would just think ‘oh here we go, get over yourself’. But now I try to really see it from another point of view. People in my life always say to me that I shouldn’t get so upset because there’s nothing I can do, I really hate that. I come from a background where we have to have tough skin in order to get by. In a way that’s the motto I’ve lived by. It’s so much easier to laugh at yourself then dealing with anything else. I get where comedians come from, the majority have had really tough lives, and by talking and laughing it off is the only way to get through it. How I tend to deal with things is just to have a cry, feel absolutely sorry for myself then move on. Most of the time it works. It sounds really selfish, but I have been unselfish for the majority of my life and it was taking a toll. In my world though, that’s actually alot harder then we consider. I have been reconnecting with people more recently and the stories that they’ve told me about everything they’ve gone through, still going through is absolutely heartbreaking. The one thing I have struggled to understand is the mindset when a person is that low they would consider the worst thing possible. Even when I had my mental breakdown, nothing really occurred for me to think so low. I went into a mental hiding, but that’s as far as it got. It does make me upset when I hear stories of people that have had or are in that mindset, because I don’t understand, I want to, because I want to help, but I can’t help someone when I don’t understand their mindset. I don’t know whether if it’s because I have been brought up with a tough skin mindset that when I see this, I find it hard to watch someone having a tough time. It’s almost as if like I suddenly become a robot and cannot compute with what is being said and done.

We had mental health day not so long ago, and even though there were many people who gave their accounts, it still feels alienating. We are living in a world where if you’re not perfect then you’re not human. I actually had a shitty evening myself that Thursday evening, my name was put into something that made me feel really shitty about a element of my life that I don’t have. Now it seems so silly how I got myself in such a state, believe me, I get so pissed off with myself. I know and have known people who have been through worse. We don’t know how to talk about it. I don’t like to give much advise these days because I don’t go with the same advice myself. I don’t like hypocrisy and I realise I am hypocrite myself. I struggle when things like old memories, unwanted memories that pop into my head and I absolutely punish myself. People don’t see that part of myself, this is the first time I have admitted this. Something will trigger and old memory and the only way I can get it out of my head is to cover my face and just swear at myself, calling myself names and that goes away. I think that’s why I struggle to feel good about myself sometimes. Like I said, it sounds absolutely crazy, but yet I feel like alot of people like me do this too. It’s not normal behaviour, I know that. That’s why when it’s only when I’m in my safe place I do this. I don’t know if this is trauma based, I’m scared to go and find out further.

It’s bad enough that we have the title of being Autistic, but then to have all these things added onto it makes it more frustrating. I tend to feel it more at this time of year more then the rest. I’m convinced I have SAD! Seeing everyone else in different stages in their lives is often heartbreaking too. The hardest thing for me is that even though it’s best thing for me to do, I have to let them deal and conquer those times, which is tough. Sometimes it could mean letting go, but I know if that’s what they need then I respect that. Obviously trauma is the worst thing and no one should feel it. It’s something that needs time. The world is complicated, it’s hard to be human sometimes, but I can assure you, no matter where you are, you are still human.

Just be you, Sarah x

Sarcasm…do we get it?!

Another stereotype that faces us in most conversations. Surely we can get this one? I’m sure we can!

When I was a kid, I did used to find the concept of sarcasm very confusing. Mainly I think it’s because I hadn’t quite got the concept of humour at that point. Now I can admit that sometimes, we can be quite dramatic people, so it will takes us quite a while to get it, maybe never, but it’s all with the teaching that we can sometimes have the ability to understand. Old sayings used to confuse me more really. Break a leg, no use crying over split milk, it’s not over till the fat lady sings…it would have a brain freeze over those phrases. I would to ask why, people would just say they’re just sayings, but to me that wasn’t good enough. I guess that makes me very stereotypical plain in sight. Which makes it harder sometimes is when they tend to laugh when you don’t get it. I was a sensitive child, I still can be sensitive depending on my mood. So when I see as people supposedly laughing with me, I felt they were laughing at me. Maybe we have these sayings and odd jokes to challenge our brains and challenge our mindsets. It’s actually pretty amusing watching our reactions when the old sayings get said and we all just go ‘what?’ When you think about it, most of them are pretty insightful, and everyone knows how often I am intrigued by these things. Although I am getting sick and tired of hearing ‘it is what it is’ after watching Love Island, not realising how many times my mum actually says it!

As I have grown I have often used sarcasm as a defence mechanism. I kinda get easily annoyed by things, so I bite by sarcasm, although I do find it funny when the other person can strike back. I often hate that people say that Autistic people cannot understand the concept of humour, so it always to be a shock to everyone when say you hear one of us tell a joke or at least say something funny. It’s the same with sarcasm, I don’t like to think that people assume that we go dumb when sarcasm is said. It does tend to make you question when you do tell a joke, or say something funny, whether their reaction is legit. I was brought up to have tough skin, and laughing at yourself is often part of it. But there’s a fine line in laughing at yourself to then taking yourself down. Luckily for me, life and the people that brought me up keeps teaching me how I can look at these things and now I can have the ability to laugh at things. Sure they suck at the time, but overtime it’s easier to get over. For a lot of people that I know it seems harder to do.

I watch a lot of stand-up comedy and I love it. It takes you away from the seriousness of things. Although a lot of comedians that tell their stories are often hidden from the fact that once upon a time, something happened to them, when it’s not so funny. It’s so weird how psychologically we use humour to avoid the horribleness of the world. Sarcasm is a complicated thing. It’s like when you read something Twitter for example, when someone makes a joke, you can’t always read if it’s real or just a joke. I have a hard time reading things that I can’t make out the meaning behind it. I actually got upset the other night because my name was put into something that I hadn’t put my permission to. Now I can forgive the fact that that it probably didn’t mean anything, but I was so wound up. Then the guilt comes in because I let myself get in such a state, over nothing. I think that’s why communication is none existent because we don’t always have the ability to read each other’s intensions. I’d like to think that I am a foreword person, so when I am sarcastic, the people in my life know that I am joking. But I would also like to think that they would let me know when it gets too far because the last thing I want to do is hurt anyone’s feelings. I personally feel that face value is so important, I mean sometimes we can’t always look, but when we can it’s the best way to understand, depending on the way you look that is!

So the lesson today is don’t always assume that every single one of us Autistics don’t get sarcasm. By leaving us out just makes it worse for both parties. Believe you me, we are very humorous people. I find sarcasm very humorous, I’m sarcastic most of the time. I sometimes find it useful on days when I need it the most. Even when we might not get it, let us into it, it’s a lesson for us to learn and appreciate. We all like to learn a thing or two.

How do you deal with sarcasm?

Just be you, Sarah x

Why I don’t drink?!

Drink is always on the mind for alot of people. I’ve never been invested in it.

I remember the drink sip I tried, it was a Guinness. I know I was way too young to drink but all it took was a sip to make me squirm. To be fair, that is quite a strong drink to start with! Ever since I was a child, when it came to food and drinks, I did struggle alot. Most put it down as being a fussy eater, but in a sense, that is correct. Reaction to taste is very adamant. It’s taken years for the taste buds to have somewhat of a balance. This does include drinks. However, alcoholic drinks aren’t my thing. In Britain, it seems to be a customary thing to do, like you can’t be British unless you drink. I mean I sure it’s the same in most countries but it’s almost as if we have to be dependent on it. Hell, in the Victorian era, beer was the only drink people drank as the water was too contaminated to drink. I bet that’s where it really all stems from. Now I don’t mean to diminish those who are interested in things like winery and all the history behind it, nor do I want dampen people who are currently having trouble with it, it is something that I feel that has be understood in terms of a personal perspective.

Social pressure around it is massive. You are weak if you don’t drink. You are not even normal if you don’t drink. Surprisingly growing up in a specialist environment, it wasn’t encouraged, but then again neither are most things, crossing the road when the red man is still on, being arrested, even getting pregnant from a toilet seat, all those thing they used to tell us would scare the shit out of us! They would show pictures of organs that have turned colours when you’ve been abusing alcohol. But anywhere else people would think I was odd for not drinking. Now I understand that people find it gives them a boost, as my father told me once ‘that’s why people drink’. I am someone who has to have some source of control with myself. I don’t like the idea of drinking something and it would make me do stupid things, especially if I have the potential of not remembering what happens. Now I realise that’s quite a big thing to say, I mean there are people who can have one drink and they have that ability to say ‘yeah that’s enough’. In my case, because I don’t like the taste of it anyway, there’s no point. People would offer, I’d say I’d rather have juice and people go into shock. They either think that it’s lame or they tend to shake my hand and say ‘good for you’. All the same, to me it seems very sarcastic. Why is it that people seem to have a problem with anyone that is different eh?! Do you know what is hilarious? I tend to act like I’m drunk even when I’m not! It’s the funniest thing. You might aswell say that I was drunk! I don’t know how they feel about it but I think it’s funny!

There is the other element that drink that scares me. People are very unpredictable depending how much a person has drunk. I have seen frightening things. I have witnessed two guys outside and one of them punched the other. It was the weirdest and frightening sound I have ever heard! I thought if that’s the kind of behaviour that comes with it, I don’t want associate with it. I’ve seen my sister over doing at a eighteenth birthday, that scared me so much. She won’t remember but I was absolutely concerned. If I have to be around anyone that’s had a drink, my attention instinct kicks in. I got right old paranoid, even when people are just having fun. My mum finds it annoying because it’s almost as I’m spoiling her fun, I can’t help it, that’s just me. I know I should not be so uptight about these kind of things, when you’re life is quite sheltered, you’re not quite used to it. I’m not even sure if it would have made much a difference if I did. It’s like that I go into protection mode, maybe more avoidance mode. I know the people in my life are somewhat thankful that I didn’t lead that kind of life. I don’t mind if you do drink alcohol, I personally think that going to places like bars or clubs are not for me. Social events are a struggle for me when drink is involved but I can deal with that. Me personally I find coffee more my style!

What’s your beverage?

Just be you, Sarah x

What can you do to help us?!

I always try to encourage us fellow human beings to try and help each other out. When someone hears a person is on the spectrum, people almost feel unsure. At the end of the day, it’s all about common sense. Our government wants to get people like us into a more diverse world, yet when it comes down to it, unless we don’t mention our needs, they are never met because all people want is perfection. This needs to change. Whether it’s in a workplace, social or even in an emergency…most likely during a ‘meltdown’, the advice is pretty much the same. If you want us, here’s a general guide:

Meeting Needs

Get to know us a little bit. Ask us what we can work with and what we can’t. Negotiate things for both parties. It’s true what they say, ‘a happy worker is a good worker’. We’ve seemed to lost sight on that. What I will say, don’t always assume our needs are the same. As an example, how I do a task will be different for another person. It also helps if you give a jist on what generally happens in certain situations. I always like to know what the process is when trying something different. It helps me be at ease.

Encourage

The biggest critics is ourselves, we know what we do right and what we would do wrong depending on the situation. Wording criticism is a very hard thing for anyone, it’s harder for us. Also there are times where we might feel overwhelmed by anything. Help us take us aside as much as possible and talk or write it out. If you believe the faith in someone like us, please say it, because we have had alot of other people tell us otherwise.

Listen

Our voices may not always be heard, but when it does, it has value. It might mean nothing to you, but on whatever circumstances, it’s huge for us. We might not always find the right words to describe what it is, so taking the time to help working it out helps too. We may struggle filling in the social ques but we can follow as much as we can. Also, from our part, it might look like we’re not listening to you, which is not the case. Eye contact is often difficult in mid conversation, so if we’re looking away when you’re talking to us, we are listening.

Patience

For me, patience is so vital in terms how I do a task. I have to deal with one task at a time. Call me a perfectionist but that’s how I do things. If too many tasks are presented at once, or if you try to rush us, then that is very likely for us to have frustrations. We drive to perfection just as much as anyone else, so we want to get things right, even if it means taking longer to complete. Even the smallest of things that you may not realise would be a huge deal for us, it’s key in order to make things work, even if it means waiting for a long time.

Respect

We are human beings too. Just because we are the most likely to be very loyal people, does not mean that should be taken advantage. We just want to live life like everyone else, there’s alot of prejudices that we all know about. We have boundaries and if there are disturbed, we will lose trust. I see a lot of posts from parents who gets looks when they’re trying to calm their child during a meltdown, if you see it, don’t judge too quickly. Offer help if you see fit, but don’t be offended if they say no, either way they will appreciate that little kindness.

Our worlds are often very small, but the smallest things to you may be bigger for us. But we to have the right to walk amongst the human race. For the longest time I thought I had to be the one to adapt to how society works then I would have everything. Turns out that is not true. I was that desperate, in the end it almost killed me. Over time it was a whole realisation that really I had to be realistic. My disability will never go away, and life is too short to try and change it. We too deserve to be here and to be happy. But we can’t if society still has certain perspectives of us. So if and when you can, help us out, even just a tiny bit can make a difference.

Just be you, Sarah x

Working Around Other People’s Interests!

Not so long ago I went to an escape room that was Star Wars themed for my friend’s birthday. Whilst I know they enjoyed it, it was very hard work…since I know nothing about Star Wars. But it’s important to work with every other person’s interests!

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely support any interest that people have, I do however do have the intendancy to nod along sometimes. Absolute human nature, I know anyone who do the same to me. A lot of my interests would be considered very out there. There is a balance of nerdy to general interests. Like the average person, I can sit and watch car crash television like TOWIE and Love Island, but then I can easily sit and watch wrestling to even know all the famous memes from Vine. Very different worlds, but very interesting ideas! The downside to my interests is that I get to share that because my friends aren’t all interested in those things. I can imagine that can be quite frustrating for some who would love to have hours of conversations about things that they truly liked. I’ve managed to have the gift of trying to make up different topics of conversations as much as possible, and I like to think that I take the time to listen and even learn about some others interests. In school that was a very vital thing that we had to constantly learn…the gift of conversation. It’s really funny because there were a good majority that was just happier living in their own world then have something to talk about, yet I do have fond memories when sometimes, a little echolalia works in my favour. Echolalia is the terms mainly associated with us Autistic people that has to ability to memorise quotes, sounds and so on. Some of it would be considered to be a form of stimming, a comfort. I consider myself to be excellent at this. Especially with all the things I love. Now I realise that this something that people do not understand, and sometimes it can come across as threatening depending on what is said, but trust when I say it’s all absolutely innocent. I love the moment when myself and a friend are quoting something from a film, let’s say Wallace and Gromit for example, the smile that a person can give is the best thing to see. They recognise it and become an audience. We become happy because it’s made someone else happy. I do kinda miss that sometimes. Although that one time this person that we entertained did actually say to a staff member ‘what are they doing?’ to which they’re reply was ‘I have no idea!’

When it comes to organising something, I have to try and think of something that everyone has an element for them in it. There’s nothing that scares me more then say trying to sort out a birthday and choosing something that everyone likes. That’s one of the best skills I have if I could compliment myself for. Then there’s making sure that all parties are good. There have been moments I will admit, but I try and keep that under wraps. I don’t take any nonsense. That’s what I have learnt recently. Certain priorities and standards need to be placed to keep things smooth. I have struggled recently with alot of social events that I have been in and although they did as much as they could to make sure I was settled, it’s the social aspect of it I struggle with. Meeting new people is my worst thing. I’m never good at introducing myself and talking about myself in a proud manner because there isn’t much to offer on my part. Luckily I have alot of people in my life that defend me in the best light so I can always count on them for their input. Trying new things aswell is often something that proves difficult for me. My mum always wanted to go on a cruise with me so I agreed. I was better on land then I was on the boat. I dealt with motion sickness all the time, even if it was supposedly smooth. But I did it because I wanted to something with mum. Needless to say I won’t be doing it again, and she now understands that.

Comprise is so vital for someone like myself. Yes it’s hard work, but it’s the only thing that you’re going to get some sort of result. I don’t mind that, I have to challenge my PDA every now and then. It’s good to have challenges, as people always say. If you care about the people in your life then sometimes you have to cave in and try out the things that they like. They would certainly appreciate it if you do. But also make sure that they do things that you like too, because you’re interests are just as valid.

Just be you, Sarah x

My North Wales Holiday!

It’s time of year again where my mum and I took ourselves away for a mini break as the kids start preparing to go back to school, the best time for someone like myself to have a holiday!

I like discovering all the gems that Britain has to offer. There are people who go off to places like Benidorm to Dubai for their holidays but that’s not my style. Now you probably think that it is too much of a safe bet just to stick around, but when things like plane and boat travel are the most stressful things for me, I’d rather stick to where I am most comfortable. There are places that I would love to go to, Amsterdam, Australia, Ireland and dare I say Disney World I would love to go to, maybe one day I’ll pick up those dreams one day. But for now, I am just as happy going to places like Wales. In my childhood my Dad used to take us there as a holiday, unless it was Center Parcs. So I kinda wanted to go back to see if I could remember, but to be honest, I hardly did. But it certainly gave me peace with a change of scenery. We stayed in a Premier Inn just outside Conwy, my mum was going to a wedding so it was literally killing two birds with one stone. It was a good room, plus there was a Brewers Fayre next door so breakfast was pretty standard in my books! The first full day I started my first trip to Zip World in the Fforest, doing the coaster ride and the zip safari. My poor mother ended up on her phone most of the time whilst I did all the activities. I made a slight error when it came to booking them. We arrived pretty early so got worried about trying to kill time. Luckily they were kind enough to rearrange my confirmation and let me on. The coaster was pretty good, pretty fast round the corners which did leave me abit scared at times but it was still pretty fun. The zip safari was the better one out of the two. I ended up joining a group of people that were on tour I think. They sounded Canadian so they were on their summer break. It took me a while to figure out the mechanics. It was a system of clicking in and out a certain way. I didn’t quite appreciate the tone that the guy was giving me but all was forgiven once I had figured out the system. I do find it exciting doing stuff like that, it makes me feel free. I know that sounds daft but that’s how I generally feel. I would actually consider doing a job doing that but there isn’t really anything like that round where I live. There was a point where we did absolutely wet through with the rain, I’ve never been so soaked in such a while. It was rather annoying, weather like that can make activities like that difficult to bear. Later on that day we went to the Mountain Zoo which I absolutely loved. It was quite a trek but it’s deffo worth it. We got to see a tiger having a sleep which was the cutest thing! I also saw my favourite animals, penguins, seals and meerkats. The meerkats actually had some baby ones which are the sweetest things. We then went into the next town and got ourselves some fish and chips…as you would!

We mainly checked out all the little hidden villages and tiny towns every now and then within driving distances which was quite nice to see. I often wonder if I could live in a village, it just looks so peaceful. There was a nice one where they was a dock, a little cafe where we had tea, scones and cake and there were little spots of beaches where people just chilled. Oh my God how I would love that! The homes are very colourful aswell, almost like Balamory! If you’ve never seen that show…it’s such a treat! The next day we went into Llandudno which is like the big nearby Wales town. We had a walk along the pier and I found a little kiosk where someone was selling Lego figures of famous characters from film, TV and Comics. I didn’t end up buying one, I have so much crap, it is something that could be good as like presents for people. We then took the train up the Orm and had a look up there. It was quite an experience looking up and downhill from a train like that. The sea view especially is pretty cool, I do often don’t appreciate things like that. Depends on what mood I’m in. We later on went for late lunch at a pizza was a lovely little place. It was certainly a better day in terms of the weather. The next day I did the second part of my Zip World experience. The first being the Titan which was my favourite thing I have ever done. Going down whilst looking at the hilly surroundings with is just so amazing. The second I did the Bounce Below, which was good but I would have preferred doing it with my own group of people, I looked like a right loner…that and motion sickness kicked in slightly. I had to come off twice because it was quite overwhelming when you’re trying to move around other people bouncing. Whatever I could spend time, I went to the top one. I would have liked to have done the Caverns but wasn’t sure when I originally booked that I would have had enough. I could always go back, maybe I can gather more people with me whilst I’m at it.

The final day we drove around Anglesey on the most windy days ever. We walked around Beaumaris castle, a castle of King Edward I that was never built. Such a shame really because it was a really pretty castle. We stayed at another hotel which I think we might have regretted slightly in terms of the standard of it. My poor payed £145 for the tiniest room, hardly any space on my side, damp walls and of course we’re by the fans from the kitchen, proper stank. I don’t think we’ll be going there again any time soon. But all and all it was a good trip. We actually packed in quite alot. I would deffo go to Zip World again. Though I must admit, it did give me such hilarity when mum’s had a few and keeps talking why I should watch Peaky Blinders…I’m scared that if I don’t watch it she’ll tar me like on the show!

Just be you, Sarah x

Why we trust nostalgia?

I have watched the latest series of Stranger Things to which I absolutely love. I’m sure people that watch the show for the exact reason as I do. It goes back to a time where people often feel most comfortable, the past. As someone on spectrum, we’re often very reliant on that.

The one common phrase I used to hear at school all the time is ‘do you remember the time when…’ It wouldn’t matter what they were trying to remember, but you can sense the happiness from whatever the people involved in that conversation was going to say…and even know exactly that what they’re going to say. I’m sure alot of people we’re annoyed everytime someone said it, mainly the staff at the school, because it’s almost as if they’re saying ‘can’t they just move on!’ I often feel that sometimes too, yet now more them ever I seem to cling on to the past as much as I can, and it seems to be that everyone else to aswell. I don’t know if it’s because we’re so afraid of losing those memories. I know a few people that fear of the idea of growing up, because sometimes it’s almost promoting becoming something that they’re not. Not all of us can wear the old business suits and work the full nine to five, only to get home two hours later and therefore the time for yourself seems wasted. At one point I thought I could do that, mainly because I wanted to fit in, but that doesn’t work for me. I want to live happy, like most people on the spectrum just simply want. ‘Live in the moment’ as they say. When illnesses like dementia is more of a common storm, it’s certainly something I often worry about. I have a grandmother who has a rare form of the illness. It’s at the point now where although she won’t know me by name, she will feel familiar with me, which I can handle yet it is hard because whilst we’re weren’t close as we didn’t see each other enough, it’s still heartbreaking. But there is one thing that has been guaranteed to help ease the illness to which I witnessed.

I do tend to hold on to the classic moments because it’s what I an used to. Disney is one of those companies that are definitely attempting to make movie remakes that are more culturally appropriate. I can understand why, you only have to look at the originals and pick point anything that people won’t want to see on their screens anymore. What I’m having trouble with is that they way that some of them are filmed, it just seemed so lifeless. Take the Lion King, my absolute favourite Disney film. The new one, it didn’t do anything for me. I wanted to love it, and I think that’s part of the problem. We crave to like something but in the end all that effort can feel like a waste of time. It’s not the worst of the remakes, Dumbo is…even though I am a Tim Burton buff, it was by far the worst. Stuff like that is something I think a lot of us can identify. It can be hard to like some new stuff when you grew up with the old. Though I cling on to the past sometimes, it also makes me see why everything in the now is so vital to take on. I have learnt so much of myself then I could have done when I was a child. You get told so many things when really it’s all lies. The world lives in hypocrisy, which is one thing I absolutely hate. I get told how a woman should be when they don’t even know. It actually offends me more and more these days when people tell me how feminism works. I lived in a feminist household, I was brought up by women…never tell me what kind of woman I should be. Anyway, going side-tracked again! I am supportive of people trying to make the world a better place. I am admired by people like Greta Thunberg that is absolutely amazing. I don’t think I have ever known someone on the spectrum that is so passionate in doing the difficult task. I mean given the fact she puts up with out-dated grownups having a go at her, I mean who has a go at a child?! My God!

We should appreciate the old because it’s a way to embrace the new. That is something I definitely something that I am always grateful for. I mean it is nice to look back and think about all the things we loved growing up, but I really love the things the new things that makes the human race even better. Change is hardest thing people go through, for people like us it’s even harder. But it’s not something that can’t be done. I used to hate pizza, now I love it!

What piece of nostalgia do you hang on to?

Just be you, Sarah x