A friend with Autism

In honor of Autism Awareness Month here is a special post written by my best friend who discusses her first hand experience with having a friend on the spectrum.

When meeting Erica ten years ago, we made up two out of the 8 girls living in a college campus suite. I know what you are thinking, 8 ladies living together sharing one bathroom. That seems like the making of a good horror movie but it surprisingly was anything but that. It was a great experience mainly due to the group of ladies we were that year.

All in our early twenties and still struggling to figure out who we were, I think we all saw Erica’s struggles and took her in under each of our wings. I’m not sure any of us were fully aware Erica had Aspergers but we were able to recognize she needed a little more support.

Thankfully we were a group of ladies that embraced Erica’s quirks, along with each others, always with a good laugh and mutual respect. There might have even been an occasional celebratory drink for any and every occasion.

If we all had a different role in that suite, Erica was the brutally honest one. She was the girl you went to if you wanted to know if an outfit made you look fat. Sometimes the opinion was offered without even asking Erica. Thanks Erica, I guess I’ll return that new dress!

In the beginning of the year, Erica was the girl behind her computer instead of hanging out amongst a social group. Some might even have called her a loner. It became our mission to always include Erica and make her feel a part of our sisterhood. By the end of the year she was the first one asking what we were doing that evening.

Now in our 30’s I can honestly say Erica does not need protection from anyone. She is able to not only defend herself but she does a great job at it too. I think she is a wonderful example of someone who has learned to live with a condition and grab it by the horns.

She continues to speak her mind honestly, sometimes her honesty stings but like a true friend she has always apologized if offensive. Erica is smart, successful, works hard and is more confident then the Erica I met in her 20’s. I am very proud of the person Erica has become.

Katherina Mancuso

Department of Monstrous Villains (DMV)

Tomorrow I have to go the DMV and take another written exam get a new permit bc I let my old one expire. It sucks because I know I am good driver but I get chocked up and fail every time my chance to prove myself comes around! In a perfect world I wish I could be able to be accommodated like the way my Academic exams were so I can take my test in with a certified instructor who specializes in working with individuals who have disabilities!

Until then it’s back to harsh realities of the real world where I learned the early on that nothing in my life will come easy for me! I will continue fighting on the fight to get to where I need to go! It might not be next week or next month but eventually I will win this loosing battle and earn my drivers license!

Thanks for reading!
Autistic Female

Declaration of Self Acceptance

Recently I realized while I may not understand a lot of social situations or seem to have a lot of common sense smarts, I have talents not many people possess. I can put complex jigsaw puzzles of up to 2,000 pieces together in less than a day without even looking at the picture on the box for assistance. I can also remember how to get to any place I have been to even if I only went once because I already have the route mapped and imbedded in my head. I think my most cherished gift is that I have superior ability to effectively write on topics from any viewpoint. Writing is how I most powerfully communicate with the world and that works for me. I am just me and I am finally ok with that. I am no longer going to let anyone make me feel bad about myself. It’s a new decade for me and I am done playing games with those who don’t matter.

Thank you for reading

Autistic Female

The Tale of a Nasty Neurotypical

Growing up I always thought that I was the one with the “issues” as I could never relate to those around me.  I would sit for hours wondering what i was doing wrong to not be accepted.  As an adult I began to open my eyes and realize my inability to connect with neurotypical people may not be entirely my own doing.

Lately I’ve been observing the social interactions of higher-ups in the corporate environment and I can not stop but think to myself how on earth do people get so far in life being despicable. For instance, there is this one man in particular who has the worst people skills that he can not even speak without throwing a stab at someone.  I recently overheard someone ask him a question to which he responded “And did you read the email top to bottom? It was written in perfect English by myself so I don’t see what wasn’t to comprehend?” He walked away leaving the person and everyone around him speechless.  I am far from being the queen of proper social etiquette but I know for a fact that is definitely now how you talk to people, especially in a work setting.

Communication and respect is a two way street.  If someone is not treating you with dignity or respect than it is your right as a human being to not want to associate with that person.  It is my hope that after reading this my followers will realize that its only natural to not get along with someone but the reason behind it may not be your fault at all.

Thank you for reading!

Autistic Female 

Meltdowns Part Two

Before I begin let me just answer everyone’s question by saying NO, I have not been having a 14day meltdown since I wrote part one. If that was the case I probably would have aged about 10 years and my eyes would look bigger than major league baseballs. I have just become obsessed with trying to get everything done for my Autism walk next month and couldn’t really deal with anything else! My fellow spectrum mates all know how that goes when we become super focused on something. Anyway on a serious note I am going to share with all of you all most basic steps that help me ride out a meltdown without causing a scene.

Shut up: I know this sounds a bit harsh when you read this but it is the truth. There is a reason it is called a meltdown and that is because I can no longer physically or mentally process everything that is going on around me. Adding more unnecessary noise such as talking only makes things worse as it is more sensory that I have to try to filter out in my already crammed head. For all the neurotypicals reading this the best association I can give to you as to what it feels like is imagining yourself drowning in the water trying to get free only to have more water poured on top of you

Turn off the lights: I know this sounds crazy but it actually works for me. Sometimes when I have a meltdown the dullest light can seem to be bright like that sun to me. I find that when it is dark I am able to calm down much faster as I only have one stimulus to deal with instead of two. Also if in public and this is not a viable option the next best thing is to take a deep breath and close your eyes for just a few minutes. I don’t mean fall asleep I just mean to take a brief mini vacation from the environment your in.

Go to a safe haven: The best way to avoid unwanted attention is to remove yourself from the situation your in and go to your “Safe place” where you are most comfortable. When I am at home and feel like I am going to have or are already having a meltdown I go to my room and close the door behind me to let things unfold. If a meltdown occurs during working hours my best piece of advice I can offer is go down to the infirmary and just relax until your in a better place to get back to your activities. If that is not an option you can always go to the restroom or take a quick walk around the block

Do not drink alcohol: I learned this the hard way and it does not make you happy like you see in the movies. Trust me just avoid at all costs!

Do your favorite activity: Believe it or not this may actually curve the amount of time a meltdown lasts for. Whenever I am having a down I usually out of habit just go to doing some of my favorite activities such as doing a jigsaw puzzle or artwork. I find that by participating in activities that I like or am good at I refocus my energy and forget what caused my meltdown to begin with.

Go with the Stim: I can say this after having thousands in my almost 30 years on earth that when you meltdown you will stim. My advice is to just go with it and let it happen. You’re already fighting with yourself internally so why add another fight when a little stimming never hurt anybody? After all, I know plenty of neurotypical people who have been known to stim as well.

Thank you for Reading!

Autistic Female

Meltdowns part one

For those of you who want to know what a meltdown is like in the shortest and simplest answer I can give it is sort of like having a seizure.  You can’t tell when when one will occur, how long it will last for, and you are always left physically and mentally exhausted after one happens.  Part two shall come tomorrow after I too finish my current meltdown as I am having a very hard time today dealing with my Autism

Thanks for reading!

Autistic Female 

The Good The Bad and The Flirt

After having a debate with someone in one of my groups I run on Facebook I decided to post this to see how others view things. Would you consider flirting with other people when in a relationship an act of cheating or harmless fun? I have my opinion and think its playful fun bc if your secure within your own skin and you trust the person your with it should be a non issue. Also if someone your dating no longer likes you they would just get up and leave so they can go find happiness elsewhere.

Thank You for reading!

Autistic Female

The Best Revenge

Sometimes the best revenge you can have against someone trying to embarrass you is to to make them feel stupid.  During the work week my normal routine is to get on the train, take my regular seat next to my commuter friends and fall asleep as I usually do every morning.  On Friday it was business as usual until I jumped out of my skin when the door slammed shut after the conductor left the car. I took a quick look around me only to notice that the gentleman in front of mstarted hysterical laughing and told his partner loud enough so I could hear “What the hell is with that lady? Did you see that?  I can’t believe she reacted that way” Now of course being the type of person I am I was not going to let him get away with this inappropriate behavior and figured it was the perfect time to put the spotlight on him for his lack of humanity. I politely answered what the hell is with me is that I have Autism and I do not always have the ability to control how I react to certain situations such as unpredictable noises like the one that just occurred.  Also I know you think this is hilarious but really your just pure evil for thinking that having a disability is  something that a person has a choice to make.  Needless to say he turned whiter than the ghost of Christmas past and promptly apologized after he got up with his partner to move into another section. Basically the point of my story is that you should never feel bad for things that are out of your control and if someone has an issue with that then the real problem just might be with them. 
 
Thank you for reading!

Autistic Female 

Big City Adventures

This past weekend I put myself up to the ultimate challenge by taking my boyfriend to a sporting event in New York. Normally I try to only stay in my comfort zone but I wanted to prove to myself that it is ok to venture out and try new things. Now don’t let this fool you by thinking it was a spur of the moment decision. It took weeks of planning with my mother to make sure everything was laid out so a meltdown would be avoided. On the day of the game I was as prepared as I was going to be. We left three hours before the event even started leaving us ample time to take the railroad and figure out the subway system before it got too crowded with people. Luckily I made myself screenshots of the subway route so I knew where my stop was as the conductor never made announcements as to where the train was heading. When we got to the stadium, I am not going to lie my first reaction was ” I did it! I actually got us here without getting lost”. My self confidence was soaring as I now know I can do anything with the help of a little preparation and Autism will only stop me if I let it.

Thank you for reading!

Autistic Female

My Boss The Bully

After watching a prime time special on personalities and behaviors in the workplace I have come to realized that a majority of people in management positions are bullies.  It is also known now that after watching this segment that my boss is definitely an active member in this community.  In fact my boss is so good at bullying and insulting that he could be the club president.  Over the last couple of months this man and his sidekick (aka “puppet” because he clearly lacks his own mind) have gone out of their way to make my professional life a nightmare.  One of the “puppet”s favorite activity is to pay surprise visits which causes me to jump from the unexpected noises.  Of course being a bully his automatic response is always “HaHa I Gotcha!” As many already know from my previous writings this is one of the worst moves to make with a person on the Autism Spectrum as it is a sure way to land in a meltdown.

The other reoccurring event is their insults about my ability to comprehend and articulate.  The other day my boss’s office he asked me if it is possible to listen when someone talks or are my ears clogged with $hit!  He was trying to explain something to me but all that came across was a bunch of fragments and other meaningless words.  When I asked for clarification he added more insult to injury by telling me I needed to work on my articulation skills because they suck.

Never wanting to lose my professionalism I use all the strength I have to laugh it off with them but on the inside my blood is boiling hot.  The way I see it if you know someone has different abilities why must one especially a manager go out of their way to make them feel worse about themselves by pointing out his or hers deficiencies.  Life is 10xs harder for a disabled person and I think it is about time that society looks beyond a label and opens its eyes to the gifts they have to offer the world.

Thank you for reading!

Autistic Female

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