I’m Back | Why I Haven’t Been Posting

Hey everyone, I want to first start out by saying sorry for my lack of consistency in publishing my blog posts. My last post was back in April. I really told myself that I was going to start posting weekly but obviously it didn’t happen and I hope you all will understand why I’ve been so off track.

If you recall my last blog post from April, I talked about autistic burnout. If you’d like to read that post, click here. If you don’t know what autistic burnout is, then I suggest you do go read that blog post and then come back to this post to continue reading so you’re not so confused.

Now, to continue with what this post is about….

As you all should know, I’m autistic! I also have ADHD! I struggle tremendously with executive function. I’ll go more into details on a different upcoming blog post but to keep it short and simple, I have a hard time getting things done. It’s really hard to shift my focus on to a task when I have soooo many tasks to complete. I’m easily overwhelmed and then nothing gets done. Another thing that also tends to interfere with me getting things done is having children. I have a 6 year old autistic son and a 19 month old daughter possibly also autistic. She has an evaluation coming up real soon.

My daughter tends to want the most attention from me when I’m trying to be productive. She’s extremely clingy and has separation anxiety. I’m in the process of trying to wean her off the breast due to some feeding issues and weight issues which now resulted in her needing feeding therapy weekly.

Here’s a picture my son snapped for me of me tying up this blog post you’re reading while holding my daughter who just cries and screams by my feet if I don’t pick her up. Also, of course you see my Pepsi because I need my daily dose of caffeine. Also I know my hair looks atrocious.

I’ve had a bunch of doctors appointments which I haven’t been able to keep up with all because once I feel like there’s too many close together, I just start cancelling some of them. Then I forget to reschedule and then I just sit here feeling like a failure. Both my children have appointments as well that needs to be prioritized so mine gets cancelled if they overlap. I also need to work around my husbands schedule because he also has several appointments. He drives, I don’t!

Even though I haven’t been focused on my blog, I have been on TikTok posting content. I haven’t been 100% consistent there either but what motivated me was the fact that a few of my videos blew up and I felt like it was the perfect platform to thrive from and also drive them all to my blog site when I start posting here consistently. I’m building up my followers on there which is currently at 7,835 followers. If you’d like to follow me on there, click here.

I’ve been so burnt out for a while now. I want to be completely honest with you and tell you that around the month of April, I started self harming again. It was just one time and I’ve been able to maintain control since then but I’ve been spiraling really bad emotionally since June. I have high support needs that tends to fluctuate on a daily basis which makes me very unpredictable. I spent my whole childhood masking my autistic traits because my family saw it as me ‘attention seeking”. I was never given the tools that I needed to thrive. Now as an adult, I’m struggling with my own identity as an autistic person and trying to figure out who I am and what works best for me. I’m learning more and more about myself each day but I feel so far behind because I really don’t know the real me since I’ve had to suppress the real me for so long. Now that I’ve started to unmask, I have this constant feeling of being a burden to everyone around me because I’m “too needy”, I’ve been trying to make sense of everything and trying to connect the dots but nothing really makes sense.

I’ve been experiencing shutdowns where I dissociate and I have also had non verbal episodes. I shutdown because it’s easier for everyone around me when I’m not having a full blown meltdown. The more meltdowns I suppress, the more shutdowns I experience. Then I feel so helpful not being able to help myself get through it fast enough. I’ve noticed I’ve been running off to a dim room more often. I have a sensory lamp that satisfies my visual and auditory sensory needs when I’m overstimulated. A really great friend I met on TikTok, bought me a bunch of things off my Amazon wish list. One of the biggest things that she bought me was a sensory swing. That swing has been the biggest reason why I’ve been able to stop myself from self harming some more. It provides the deep pressure and compression that I need to release stress that I just bottle up inside every day. It’s such a blessing to have this major accommodation and I’m thankful for my husband who put it up for me in my craft room.

I’ve been working on myself and trying to focus on my special interests to keep my mind busy. I’ve been coming up with new ideas for my website and can’t wait to show you everything I’ve been working on. For those who don’t know, I have my own fashion and art business. I’m currently working on a autism jewelry line. I already launched my first piece. TikTok was the first platform to see it.

I have a lot more to say and everyone who knows me, knows I can info dump all day. So this is where I’ll end this blog post. But before I end it, I want to say that I think I’ve come up with an effective way to post consistently on here. I’m going to try and type out a bunch of blog posts at once but have it scheduled to post whenever I want it to post. Which right now I’m only going to try to commit to once a week. A post will be published every Wednesday at 9 am EST. If I see things are going well and that I have enough energy to keep up that pace, I’ll then shoot for twice a week and see how that goes. I need all of you to wish me luck and send me positive vibes. I need the motivation. Thanks for reading this post and can’t wait to post again. I appreciate everyone’s support while I navigate my way through this autistic burnout that seems never ending. Bye now! ….. Before I continue to info dump and then can’t stop.

Autistic Burnout

Autistic burnout is intense physical and mental exhaustion. It can also be accompanied with loss of certain skills.

Having to navigate through a world that was only built for neurotypical people is very exhausting. Having to keep up with all the societies list of “norms” is very draining. Autistic people often end up masking their autistic traits in order to seem more normal. Masking can be very dangerous; but I’ll go into that further in another blog post.

Autistic burnout may look different from person to person. What you see in one autistic person; you may not see in another. As I mentioned above, it can be an intense physical exhaustion. It can also manifest as intense anxiety or emotional outbursts. It can be the inability to regulate emotions far more than usual. It can contribute to depression and suicidal behaviors. It can involve an increase of stimming (self regulating behaviors), increased sensitivity to sensory input and difficulty with changes. A lot of autistic people struggle with these things but when a burnout is happening, all these things can be amplified; making it seem like you’re regressing or much worse than usual.

Some autistic people lose their ability to speak during a burnout. Also, loss of executive function is common during a burnout as well. Executive function will be discussed in another blog.

Burnout can affect our thinking process and also affect our memory (which we already struggle with in general).

When I’m experiencing a burnout, I feel disconnected and disengaged from the rest of the world. I lose focus on the small things and can’t process my thoughts very well or my emotions. I tend to be very forgetful. But the forgetfulness also stems from the fact that when I’m told something, I’m most likely paying more attention to the sound of the electricity in the house; like the wind coming from the fan or the buzzing of the microwave. I can’t focus on too many sounds at once. It’s the increased sensitivity to sensory input that affects my ability to focus on conversation and information storing. I can’t process what you said if I hear the fridge. It’s a distraction. I struggle with these things on a daily basis but it’s 10 times worse during a burnout. People assume I’m not paying attention to them when I’m reality, I am. It’s just really hard for me to process too many different things at one time. I have lost my ability to speak during a burnout but it doesn’t happen every time I go through a burnout. My executive function is crap on a regular basis but it really goes down the toilet during a burnout.

The smallest things can be sensory overload for me during a burnout. Others around me don’t understand this and just brush it off.

Autistic burnout can last anywhere from a few hours to a few years for some autistic people. The main way to recover from burnout is to remove yourself from the situation that triggered it in the first place.

For me, it’s almost always caused by suppressing my emotions and meltdowns and other autistic traits in order to “keep the peace” around others who don’t understand me and so I’m not a burden to them. After so long, I don’t have the energy to continue to keep it all contained. It drains me to the point that it can be dangerous. I tend to physically lash out on myself by self harming and I also have attempted suicide before.

During these hard times, what I need is compassion and understanding. I may also need space and some alone time. I also need reassurance and not judgement. I’m trying as hard as I can but I can’t keep being sorry for who I am. I can’t keep apologizing for the way I am because I can’t help it and it’s not my problem people choose to not understand it.

I’m not entirely sure how long I’ve been in this current burnout so far but I only hope I can regain my strength soon so I can get back to the real me.

If you read this blog post this far, thank you and I hope you’ve learned something new here. More posts will be up soon, I just need to save up the energy to type it all out. I just really felt like this topic needed to be discussed.

Autism and Low Self-Esteem

On December 23rd, 2020 I made a post on Facebook: (screenshot and link shown below)

https://www.facebook.com/149314469068800/posts/673339509999624/?d=n

I really felt the need to come on here and talk to you all a bit more about that post. But before I go on, please go visit that page by clicking the link above and please hit the like button for my page. Also feel free to scroll and share some of my posts and then come back here.

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You’re back? Did you like my page? Ok, great!

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So I’ve struggled with low self esteem almost my whole life. I’ve been through a lot of things that didn’t really help it either but I’ll go into all of that in another blog post.

Today I took a moment to really reflect on my emotions and I’m sitting here trying to figure out how can I love the skin I’m in if I can’t even tolerate being in my own skin due to sensory processing issues. It almost feels to me like I’ll never be able to love myself again and that’s honestly a really painful realization. I’m sure I’m not the only autistic person out there who feels this way. We live in a world that treats us like we are less. We aren’t less, we are different!

I KNOW I’m different and I think that’s what the problem is. I’m AWARE of my deficits and I constantly sense people around me are embarrassed having me around. It’s the high expectations people have of me and knowing I can’t do it because I’m different. It’s the extra needed support that I feel my loved ones are forcing themselves to try to give but they really prefer not to deal with it. I feel like I’m a burden!

I’ve had a couple people tell me to commit suicide just because I’m autistic. Things like that really do take a toll on me and does make me wonder if not existing would be better for me and for everyone else around me. I’ve also been bullied when I was in school for being different.

I try to tell myself every day that I’m worth more than what people think and that I’m talented and creative but giving myself those little pep talks only work for a short time. It’s really hard being in a world where I’m so misunderstood. I feel so alone! I do have my immediate family who support me but I can’t change how I feel about myself.

My self esteem dies a little more each time someone makes me feel like being autistic is an issue. I can’t help being who I am. I don’t hate the fact that I’m autistic. I’ve accepted that as who I am. I just hate how easily hurt I am by people.

I often feel like there really is no space on earth for me. This world wasn’t made for me. I’m not disabled by my autism. I’m disabled by this world. I also feel if I had gotten the proper love and support growing up, I probably wouldn’t be feeling like this now but I can’t change the past. I’m just having a really hard time moving on from it.

I also struggle in general with regulating my emotions so I can see why it’s hard for me to find my value and internal worth. And growing up, I struggled with self identity as well because I didn’t know why I was different until I was 11 when I got my diagnosis. Even after that, I struggled for a long time to understand my diagnosis and accept it complete. Now I almost fully embrace it. I just still struggle with low self esteem which prevents me from embracing it completely and fearlessly.

I grew up being told everything I do is wrong. Even as an adult, I just can’t handle criticism and I wish people would at least follow it with something positive like “oh you messed up on this BUT I appreciate your effort and you did an amazing job with that other thing”. Pointing out my failures without filling in something I can be proud of really erodes my self esteem and a lot of people don’t realize that. I already feel like a failure from it being drilled into my head all my childhood. I don’t need to feel worse. I like to see the good in every bad thing. That may be one of my fatal flaws but that’s how I wish people would treat me at least. My loved ones have no idea how much acknowledging my successes helps me. It does make a positive difference. I know they’re probably thinking, “I shouldn’t have to constantly praise you for things you are expected to do”. The thing is being autistic, it’s often hard for me to get my mind set on doing just about anything. So any small task completed should be celebrated because it took everything in me to do it.

I know it may seem like I’m jumping into different directions with this blog but it’s because I don’t have my thoughts in a set order so whatever comes to mind next is what’s being typed up.

Andddddd I’m not sure why I’m trying it explain myself……

Since my thoughts are starting to race right now, I’m just going to end this blog by saying be more sensitive to my feelings and be more accepting of me. And I mean GENUINELY accept me, not just merely tolerate my presence. There’s a difference, and I am able to sense the difference. I love all my blog readers and thank you for reading to this point. Have a good night/morning!

Autism & Friendships

One thing about me is that I’m VERY friendly…. to the point that it does become socially awkward and people will try and avoid me. One thing that makes me feel so overwhelmed is hearing new friends promise me that they understand and would never stray away when things get weird. Almost every single time, that ends up being an empty promise because as soon as my autistic traits start to show, they suddenly can’t handle it and walk away. Without mentioning any names, I’m going to go into a situation that occurred. So a few months ago when the pandemic started, I made a new friend. She promised she’ll always be myself and swore up and down that she understood me. Well, I started making masks for people and I had a big mask order to complete. She wanted me to make one for her mom for free since she was an essential worker. Since she was a good friend of mine, I was going to do it for free BUT I told her I needed to get the paid orders out the way first. That’s where the misunderstanding came along. Since I have autism, I have a set way of doing things. I have to do things in the exact order I had planned it out to be in my head. She wanted me to make her mask first and my brain told me to get the paid order done out the way first. She then said she’ll just pay me so I can do it first. But still, I wouldn’t get to hers until the first order was done because I had to do it in order. She got upset and made me out to be a bad friend and eventually blocked me on Facebook. It’s very hard to persuade me to do something a different way. I don’t like change of routine. Things have to be done my way or I won’t be able to function. I wish she knew I didn’t mean to be a “bad friend”. I just can’t change the way I do things. Just a simple research on google, and she would have known this to be a fact even though I already had explained my autism several times because I wanted to make sure I was understood correctly. But still she managed to misunderstand me and now we aren’t friends. It made me sad and even though it’s been a few months, I still find myself questioning why our friendship had to end like that. It makes me feel even more shitty because I just want friends who understand me and don’t fault me for my autistic traits. I don’t intentionally do things to upset people. I just process everything in a different way than everyone else. This is just one instance and there’s many more I’ve experienced as far as failed friendships. I felt compelled to post on Facebook not too long:

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PSA‼️

Please read up about autism BEFORE you decide to make empty promises to me about always being my friend and not running away when things get weird. I noticed people are fine when I say I have autism but as soon as my autism traits start to show, suddenly people don’t wanna be my friend anymore because they often misunderstand me or misinterpret my actions and the way I do things. As an autistic person, all I want is acceptance and love. If you’re going to be quick to disappear on me, please don’t bother calling yourself my friend and letting me get attached. It really breaks my heart that it’s so complicated for me to maintain friendships. 💔

jessicasautismjourney #lifewithautism #autismawareness #ASD #autism #autistic

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I really hope that post reached people in ways that will help them understand me and never jump to conclusions and ending the friendship. I felt like doing this blog because I wanted to vent and make it known just how hard it is for autistic people to make friends. I have a fear that automatically sets in every time a new friend makes a promise to me because I just don’t know if it’s empty or genuine. Please, if you’re going to be my friend, always keep in mind that I have autism.

10 Things You Shouldn’t Say to Someone with Autism

Hey there, it’s been a while since I posted a blog so I feel it’s time. For those of you that don’t know, my name is Jessica and I have autism. I’m going to get into 10 things you shouldn’t say to someone with autism. I think if blog is very important because it’ll leave my family and friends a little more educated and more prepared to be around me. I know sometimes people say things without thinking and don’t necessarily know how rude it sounds to us. So here we go….

1. You don’t look autistic!

This has to be the most annoying thing you can say to someone with autism. You just simply can not look at someone and figure out that they have autism. Autism DOES NOT have a look!

2. Everyone is a little autistic!

WRONG!!! Not everyone is a little autistic. Yes, everyone has their own struggles. But telling someone with autism that everyone is a little autistic is rude because it seems like you’re undermining our struggles and chalking it up to something everyone struggles with. You have no idea what struggles we go through unless you have autism yourself.

3. You’re just doing that for attention!

We don’t do anything for attention. Our daily struggles are very much real and unfortunately it’s something you just won’t understand unless you were us.

4. You don’t care about anyone but yourself!

I know it may seem like we lack compassion but that’s far from true. We just don’t get social cues and have a hard time interpreting body language. Therefore, if we don’t have a normal response, it’s because we were not able to process it. The information didn’t come to us in a way we can fully process so it then seems like we don’t care. But the truth is, autistic people feel everything. We feel every emotion deeply and intensely. It’s just a matter of how the information gets processed and perceived in our brains.

5. You’ll grow out of autism!

NO, you won’t grow out of autism. Autism grows with you. I was diagnosed when I was 11 and I’m 24 now and it seems like it’s gotten worse for me over the years. I’m not an adult with autism. Although it doesn’t define me, I have it and it’s not going anywhere.

6. You’re lazy!

We aren’t lazy! It just takes us a while to process something and get our brains set to do it. It’s especially hard when our brains are already set on something else. It becomes hard to sway us from that one thing we were focused on. Most people with autism can’t multitask. I can focus on just one thing as long as I’m able to block everything else out. If I can’t, then I tend to shut down and not want to do anything.

7. I know someone with autism and you’re nothing like them. I don’t think you have autism.

There’s a saying that says “if you met one person with autism, you’ve only may ONE person with autism”. No two autistic people are exactly the same. What you see in me, you may not see in someone else and vice versa.

8. Stop stimming so much in public. It’s embarrassing!

People with autism stim to keep themselves leveled out. It’s an effort to counteract whatever sensory input is disturbing us at the moment. It helps prevent a meltdown! Telling us to stop stimming is like telling a baby to stop crying. It’s not happening!

9. You’re high functioning so it’s not that bad!

Just because I’m high functioning, that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle on a daily basis. High functioning only means my IQ is at least average or it’s above average. But it has nothing to do with his easy my autism is because one thing you will never understand is it’s not easy for me at all. I still struggle with sensory integration and sensory overload. I still have meltdowns. I struggle to maintain friendships and I struggle to regulate my own emotions. Yes, I’m verbal, but that doesn’t make it easier. I’m just more self aware of my struggles and how different I am and that’s what makes it worse.

10. Is there medicine for that?

First off, you should be asking a professional that question. Second, asking someone with autism if there’s medicine for it only implies that you’re not accepting of us. We don’t need a cure or a fix. We want to be accepted and loved for who we are. We don’t need to adapt to this world. The world needs to adapt to us.

Well, that is all I wanted to say and I hope you all got something out of this blog. And if you’re my friend or family, please keep this as a reference so you don’t cause me any unnecessary heartache by saying something without thinking. Please be sensitive to my struggles and be more accepting of me. Next blog, I’ll touch base on autism and friendships so stay tuned. If you read this far, thank you so much for taking your time to read this and it means a lot to me that you’re trying to understand me and other people with autism better.