Pondering life and one of the pieces that is empathy

I decided to take a much-needed break with the family to get away from my day-to-day living.  Things seem to be piling on top of me where I needed a temporary change to shake things up.

It was hectic as took my other half’s mother along as well who hasn’t been away for a break in years and years, but we all enjoyed the reprieve.  My anxiety is still being a bit of a pest and my imagination is getting the better of me and unfortunately, at times it’s becoming physical symptoms, but it will pass.

Now that I am back my mind is taking a little time to settle because I met a mass range of different people, whose stories have so much raw emotional truth it was a little overwhelming.

I met a young girl who bet me at the conga line the first night, that had me belly laughing the night away.  Over the course of the next few days, our two sons played brilliantly.  My son has only just recently in the last couple of months started interacting with others more.

I learnt on the 3rd night that she has to sign with her son when he was apologising to my son, I assumed he was deaf then the story unraveled the final night.  It put truth to the saying don’t judge a book by the cover, you don’t know the story.

It also got me thinking how we don’t teach lessons to children on understanding emotions in this day and age in the school curriculum, despite there being growing expectations on society to understand it.

Her son is suspected to have Autism and I could understand why when she started filling in the gaps to the story.  He did not speak when he was younger, no noises or babbling and he had never played with someone, not the way he was wth my son.

She says her son is able to feel empathy and has shown on occasion that he can, I also learnt that the only way a pressure cuddle relieves this boy is by lying on his back when he is face down, then he will calm down.

She also expressed how confusing the journey was and how contradicting the advice sounds at times, her son has a speech and language therapist amongst many others. In my opinion, her children were well cared for, managed, and, behaved regardless of the fact she was a young mum with a disabled child, who had her first at 17 who is now 21.

The reason I have brought that up is because of a story she told me from her previous holiday the year before, where her son took an extreme meltdown banging his head off the floor.  A lady a fair few decades older just came up and said to her that’s what happens when children have children.

I was a decade older than this girl but she put my organisation to shame, she was prepared for all aspects of behavioural issues that may have arisen, regardless of her age, I learnt a thing or two from her.

This boy fit the stereotype or core consistent ways of behaving, acting and thinking commonly seen in those under 3 with autism.  They played and interacted brilliantly despite there being the language barrier, it was nice seeing my son come out of his shell.

I used to wonder if my children were Autistic, especially my son as he had more traits than my daughter but the more I learn the more I realise yes we have a lot of traits but that may not necessarily be the right label.

I noticed my social skills are adequate even if I have to play the wolf in sheep’s clothing at times, I can still manage these interactions and not that I have lost the skill that took years to develop.

I can do this by reading the body language, energy and listening to the words coming from the individual I’m conversating with, I can manipulate, steer or remove myself from conversations I don’t feel comfortable with and enjoy the ones I do.

My anxiety and imagination keep getting the better of me at points but manageable. It’s spiking and becoming more visually detailed, especially at night when I’m trying to shut down, interfering with my day.

I’m now getting physical symptoms that are becoming noticeable to those who know me but still able to cover these from those that don’t.

This means I am not controlling it as much as I would like and if I don’t get it under control, I run the risk of falling back into the depression and self-critical thinking that leads to poor self-care and procrastination, for this individual.

A downward spiral I’d rather avoid.

Fear is closely linked to anxiety and when you have dependants it isn’t so easy to avoid your worst fears from coming to life in your head once you allow them to creep in and set roots.

There is so much out with our control to be fearful of, that putting these thoughts to the back of the mind isn’t so easy for many, regardless.  It takes self-management to control them before they get the better of you, even then they still linger.

Your body temperature rises as your heart rate quickens where you feel the vibrations from the palpitations pulsating at the ears, a clammy cold sheen of sweat coating the skin, all from the power of your imagination and way of thinking.

This is when things become catastrophised and your mind jumps to worst case scenarios although they may be plausible they are unlikely to happen.

These days I have this way of thinking more under control but when the thoughts appear they can be harder to suppress with reason, becoming more graphically detailed and harder to shake them out.

It’s my body reacting to the chemicals being produced as my flight or fight reactors kick in but it’s happening unnecessarily causing me to react, think and behave differently.

Makes no sense to have a fear of your thoughts which you have control over, which led me to another. I’ve been trying to change my way of thinking to two steps forward, one step back meaning stepping into my present then my future, only dipping into my past, so I did just that.

I saw my present needed attention, planned for this to happen in the future which has now past and I’m reflecting back on.

I once described my life as being smashed into pieces but bit by bit, piece by piece I’m beginning to restore it, the originality still there but becoming something else.

I have been on so many a self-destructive cycles only occasionally jumping off the loop for some time now as the clock goes tick tock, that I have no other choice but to place change on the horizon, that is self-manageable.

I am rebuilding the walls that I thought was the problem that I began dismantling a few years ago piece by piece, I have now learnt that was not the case.

The walls had to come down or else I would carry on being oblivious to how those around me feel, but enough is enough as now I have no protection leaving me vulnerable.

I was reading a comment that I was not able to reply to the way I wanted as it was a pondering thought that I haven’t found the words to explain yet. It was about empathy which once upon a time I was unable to execute to the level I do now.

I wrote about empathy and sympathy in this article Sunday 19th August 2018; Looking at heaven living through hell that explains the words and my way of thinking in more detail

I call myself the natural empathiser….

I am natural because I am human but the word empathiser does not exist in the English dictionary.

I do not claim to naturally be able to be empathetic I don’t think anyone is born this way. I’m worse at being sympathetic because I come across as dramatically theatrical, not so good at expressing emotions in ways deemed the ‘norm’.

Empathiser didn’t exist and since no one seems to be able to recognise me I found it fitting. My definition of it is to understand and explain through comparison an opinion, ideology or sentiment, which is what I naturally do. Therefore I am neither empathy or sympathy but I learnt to be an empathiser and a sympathiser.

I do not believe anyone naturally feels empathy, to begin with, some learn it earlier on in life than others but I think it is something that is taught.

You have the ideology, sentiment or opinion explained, you are compared to other human beings as your parent/carer tries to get you to understand, to be empathetic and considerate to others.

As time progresses experience, life and the lessons we are taught teach us through trial and error to feel empathy to some level for others, a part of personal growth that varies depending on the individual.

I am beginning to believe we can be selective in what we choose to give thought to for a vast and varied amount of reasons.  For too long now I have pondered and been frustrated by the word empathy.

A common opinion I have been reading is we are not born with it but have the capabilities and potential to learn to understand others throughout the course of life

What’s your thoughts or opinion on empathy?

Do you think it is a part of development or something you are born with?

Do you think empathy is something you are taught or feel it naturally?

Whatever your point of view I’d like to read it 🙂

Source of writing http://www.naturalempathiser.com – feature photo by  www.naturalempathiser.comSharon McCutcheon

Further reading

  1. Looking into the word individual
  2. Catastrophising; worst case scenario at an extreme
  3. Taking care of yourself whilst taking care of others
  4. Sunday 19th August 2018; Looking at heaven living through hell

Thursday 16th August 2018, evolution reaching a pinnacle moment

Source of writing www.naturalempathiser.com – feature photo by Pixabay 

My focus is how too refocus oneself in a different way depending on mindset, mood or individualistic requirements that influence, seems a repetitively effective method and technique for this individual that I abandoned, at  a time I needed it the most. 

I believe it was because I allowed negative influence, words and feelings to set roots where they didn’t belong. fighting in stead of acceptingly embracing and managing my quirky abnormities that once were just normal to me, before people.  Currently I am trying to remind myself of a once upon a time where I used to give it all out and get it all back.

I always get there in the end landing on an answer that places me in the eye of the storm out of the chaos, showing the direction to the calm, eventually seeing, accepting and fixing the destruction left behind.  Starting the process all over again repairing and strengthening the foundations in avoidantly demanding preparation, for what I once did not have the time or ability to see.

What direction, method or timeframe is unpredictably predictable in some of the most orthodoxly simple, sometimes immeasurable in a humanistic statistical way that puts reason to logic.  Manipulating and managing natural chemical balances for any individual is a daunting task regardless of the method,  may it be the long way round, the way the crow flies cutting directly through the middle, or sitting on the side lines biding your time….

Whatever you do never give up because there is always light at the end of the tunnel, do not fall into the dark hole of abyss, cloaking and submerging yourself in the self sabotaging way of thinking that is depression, sadness is unavoidable but manageable before it manifests into something, way more ugly.

It is up to you not to let anything snuff out your light, an inner battle that can be helped with sheer will and determination to survive, and an empathetic hand to find what yours is.  If you know it or when you find it you may have to dig real deep, but anchor to it and never let go of it. Before my children I used to just follow my feet, brushing off the dust and getting back up, no matter what because once upon a time I only had me, myself and I for whatever reason, to many to pin point just one.

Now I follow my children’s, partner’s and mine in some of the most challenging dynamically frustratingly unexplainable ways, but I do eventually turn the corner to see what I once avoided.

There within is the reason I wouldn’t change any of my colours, just like to understand and manage them better in a more beneficial way, for everyone.

What I’m learning to be a more important factor though is accepting and having faith in myself primarily, as I fight another battle with my biggest critic that is self-hatred. Whether I lose or win this one is not the questionably relevant outcome that determines all, because I will win the war against my inner Bermuda triangle, regardless.

Something I once was ignorant to but becoming more aware of is nowadays, I’m always hesitating, second guessing myself, not for myself but for others, to the point I appear to be lost, at times. 

The amazing thing I find about my brain is, I always leave a cookie trail to follow my way back carrying knowledge and understanding in some of the most innovatively revolutionary, but sometimes  destructive ways for myself, and others.

I have perfected the art of Silencing and protecting my inner core through perfectly imprisoning masks, takes a spectacularly observant eye to see the cracks and showing them seems to have had the worst, but best impact on my mental health and wellbeing for myself, and others.

As my action man once said ‘I am really resilient’…. I find myself saying I have very thick skin because nobody could be harder on me than I am myself, but how many theoretical burns does one person need to take to learn their lesson.  If a lesson is not learnt, the negative will continue, thus the positive in any bad situation being the lesson learnt and what actions, behaviour and outcomes that you take from them, that determines the path, you end up finding yourself on.

This is how I always manage to bounce back and land on my feet, some what like my nemesis known as the cat.  Our energies do not mix both equally wary of one another, approaching with caution.  Just a thought but probably because were both as unpredictable as each other, relate better with dogs, cats make me nervous.

Through writing and people there is a voice emerging behind the silenced, removing the veil figuratively speaking unravelling the tangle, allowing insight and glimpses into my hidden world, that I am now learning many others are trapped in.

The hope and intent is to make room to blossom fully opening up, by no longer holding myself back and getting nothing, in return.  I have personal reasons that make me continue this journey with my mental health team as do they, which is the reasons for many as I have learnt first hand, to why they do their job in the first place never giving up, everyone has a story.

What isn’t needed or doing any good for you, can’t be ignored if the cost is yourself.  If you need to hide do it temporarily until you reflectively recuperate or ground yourself.  If you do not like it express it but in an empathetic way, only then can we truly blossom into the true reflection of ourselves.

Right now the best way to describe how I feel is with these words….. I am looking at heaven whilst living in a hell of my making, asking questions that have led me to answers I never thought or imagined, I would find. I don’t know what I believe but I have learnt not to allow my eyes, ears or any of my senses to be deceived.

Answers live indefinitely and what we once may have thought, may not have been the case which we often, learn too late.  So for me personally it is time to face it, stop running or hiding from the reality, bursting the bubble I no longer need.  Today has been a day where I face the music instead of, hiding behind it.

I have been a busy wee soul in the right and wrong ways, but managing the negative and positive in a balanced way, is never easy.  I’m a firm believer that you have to have faith in yourself to have faith in anything else, to maximise full potential and growth.

So, a little about my day that allowed for an evolutionary pinnacle moment on a personal level, different from what had become my norm.  My wee mans first full day (9:00am-3:20pm) in nursery couldn’t have gone better, neither could have my first day of putting my big girl pants on and getting back out into the big wide world, where real people live, child free!!.  Could have been more productive in some ways, but it was my first day with that amount of hours kid free, man free, and time for myself to do with as I please.

I managed getting kids too and from school without turning it into a military operation of get in, get out ninja style with as minimal notice, or small talk as possible. For a change my brain didn’t switch to high alert, danger or high voltage, internally wanting to mimic my sons behaviour of hiding under the table.

I am an Adult, so that I believe may spark some questions and sideward glances making the cracks visible, so standing like a statue seems to be my usual mask and way of coping to cover the cracks, one extreme to another.

I managed to control and manipulate my thoughts as soon as I was aware my mindset had shifted back to catastrophise my way of thinking.  I’ve created habits, systems and strategies to avoid, a little to well, forgetting I’m a living breathing organism.

I had a great morning but I have to say to all mothers used to getting two kids ready in the morning for nursery and arrive on time, hats off to you because I was not prepared for the mass difference at 7:00 o’clock with the 3 and 9 year dynamic.  Smoke was coming out my backside as I made pack lunches, dealt with melt downs and hormones, using negotiation techniques in the skilled, unquestionable way.

My avoidant behaviour to the previous demands the night before, were surely noted.  I need to have everything organised and prepared the night before, which is next weeks plan

So as I say dropped kids off, had bumped into a friend on the school run home the previous afternoon, and planned a proper catch up for this morning.   We met up after dropping my wee man off 10 minutes before 9 (early bird for a change), and chatted for about 5-6 hours.

I have not been so social in the past few years… most definitely not a social butterfly, slowly changing it but not making much progress as I continuously shut myself away.  Time frames always varying from some time, too uncalculatable amounts of time.  More often increasing becoming more extreme a shut down than a melt down, as time has progressed.   As of late I seem to have managed a lot more forced and unavoidable social interactions.

I’m learning to trust and enjoy it, with the right people and manipulate the energies with the ones that I don’t.  Building up your self esteem and confidence is no easy task, especially when it is in the gutter but I’m not one to shy away from a challenge

I even managed a 40min gab with mum, catching up and hearing how good things are starting to become after my grandad passed in April and my Mentally challenged Nana in her mid 70’s, come to live with them a few weeks ago.  I am able to be an empathetic ear but unfortunately due to distance, not able to actually be of much use when their working.  In time I hope to change that but unfortunately, that is something out with my control at the moment, that will change in the future.

The fact we have the National health service is a blessing even though we constantly exhaust the resources making the time-delays appear unavoidable.  But the right people are becoming involved opening doors for my Nana and myself by taking the time to gather information, starting therapy in our futures to help heal and allow for a clearer, more acute understanding allowing for clarity where there once, appeared to be none

This Journey and process has and will change mine and others futures, it is taxingly exhausting on every individuals mental health involved.  The system is in dire need of a resurrection but there are people trying to do that by NEVER giving up on those, who need their help.  The journey is hard, but my scales always balance out eventually and this time I know inside and outside, I am not Alone

www.naturalempathiser.com for more reading, understanding and depth

Further Reading

  1. My Feministic journey, into the spectrum
  2. Trip down Memory Lane
  3. Mirror-Mirror, Show me my true reflection
  4. My Journey through Mental health
  5. The words of Lilly falls Beautifully unfinished
  6. Welcome to the natural empathiser

Facebook Group and page: Natural Empathiser and Natural Empathisers

Source of writing www.naturalempathiser.com

To truly understand you have to delve deeper, accept this invitation to walk with me for a moment into so many contradicting, confusingly frustrating answers, questions and revelations.  Maybe together mysteries or already answered puzzles can be solved or connected. (Human Rubik cube’s)

We are all moulded to fit certain expectations but what happens when you force yourself, or are forced to fit into rigid structures? Does it create depression and anxiety? Are social pressures becoming more intense or are we becoming a permanent fixtured reality tv show like big brother where privacy is outdated? As myself, yourself, and others open their books, allowing insight into their stories, I hope to broaden my understandings and hopefully find answers, where there once appeared to be, none. (turning my ignorance to awareness)

When ones mental health and wellbeing are skewed, it seems like common sense to have issues with your personality. I’m newly diagnosed as an adult and untreated for 30 years, and I don’t mean medicated.  This has created many a psychological disorder over the years, creating lots of confusion to whether or not I am Autistic.

I believe through time, research and help from those able, one day I will get a definitive answer to whether I am only ADHD, Autistic or both.  All my days people, society, and systems have told me in many a varied way, that I am different and don’t fit the ‘norm’.  Being referred to as abnormal most my days has now been given the label to fit, but life has already delivered many detrimental blows with many knock on effects my entire life, whether intentional or not.

This has led me to a new path, where the therapy I will undertake can help gain insights into what damage needs repaired, in relation to my mental health in order to gather more resources, to answer the question whether I am on the spectrum more accurately?  I have created the blog/website www.naturalempathiser.com for those who can relate, who may find my words of use, but my primary goal was for those who can help, to have and be able to, gain access and insights to my words, without any systems or procedures getting breached or causing miscommunication, in a more timely and effective manner, which I believed was achieved to some extent, so what next?

I don’t agree with everything I or others have done before, but it’s through others and our own mistakes we learn. The problem wasn’t solely people, or systems, it was fitting in to somewhere so contradictory and insensible, a society that disables itself repeatedly. I do question whether it is possible for humanity to reach equilibrium, as I do not believe we are naturally supposed to live the way we are, but it is how you create an orderly society in which we all can live.

There are many whose stories or voices can’t or won’t be heard, for a vast and varied amount of reasons. This group is a place to share your stories, experiences and insights in an individual way, where the labels are just guidelines to allow for deeper understanding and insight, not set in stone. There are approximately 7.5 billion people in the world, so any label or categories you are placed are generalised not individualised. How many people in the world have the same diagnosis, neurological or Psychological disability/disorder, personality or whatever else, as you do? I’m interested in the difference between them, to find and understand the Individual, behind the label.

This Facebook group is a new project stemmed from the website http://www.naturalempathiser.com  for those relevant to hear or read, mine and others voices. I hope to open a communication platform of sorts, for whoever finds it of use, or the words relatable, who have difficulties at times with their psychological and neurological disorders. A virtual community where labels and words are just guidelines and insights for a deeper understanding. As I learn, my blog, group and page will grow with me, any suggestions, feedback, insight or thoughts please comment. I hope you enjoy or find use out of my words, as I will from yours and the peoples I hear or see past, present and future.

Just either click here and in the menu you can like, follow or join the group

www.naturalempathiser.com for more reading, understanding and depth

Further Reading

  1. My Feministic journey, into the spectrum
  2. Trip down Memory Lane
  3. Mirror-Mirror, Show me my true reflection
  4. My Journey through Mental health
  5. The words of Lilly falls Beautifully unfinished
  6. Welcome to the natural empathiser

 

What is the difference between mental health and Autism?

Source of writing www.naturalempathiser.com – feature photo from my 2016 journal

It is thought to be believed, that mental illness is most common for people on the Autism Spectrum than in the general population, and is more often, overlooked.

My life has been filled with so many confusing questions, some answered, but the majority of the time, the answer doesn’t seem to fit when it comes to expressing or explaining me.  I remember my response when it was first ever verbally said, that I may be autistic, two and a half years ago.  That is the first time I had ever heard it, in that context directed towards myself, I was 28 years old.  Bearing in mind, I had already been thought to have, postnatal, PTSD, depression, then bipolar, and medicated for these.

I was also in the system since 12, many a professional trying to help to the point I had to go into care despite my parent’s best efforts.  All these people from all walks of life and job title, so many a professional with many an opinion, technique or medication. In my opinion they were and still are, relevant pieces in the puzzle that is me, the process of untangling, but still not allowing enough to balance my scales.  Linkable to the fact that ASD is something entirely separate but interchangeable from mental health, and I seem to fit to well in both, currently diagnosed ADHD, which is biologically more a male orientated diagnosis, were as mood disorders are more commonly diagnosed in women. (I am a minority it appears, still treated like the majority, no wonder damage control varies.

This has all happened in the time frame of 2016-2017-2018, but the reality is, it has been more than half my life, and all my life.  Sometimes I find it so ironic how people worry abound legalising cannabis.  There was a story I signed a petition for with regards to a young boys meds for his fits, containing a key ingredient found in a marijuana plant.  Unbelievable what that family and boy had to go through due to debates against facts and fiction, easy to go buy a pint or vodka though, turning many into nutters by choice.

Well believe me you, from personal experience, prescriptions, and tested medications, used for all sorts, can be, and has been for me personally, the most aiding and disabling trips I’ve ever had, in my entire life, unless educated or experienced, opinions influence, make sure it’s for the right reasons.  Everything has a side-effect, what works for one, may not for the other, the key is knowing your own internal balances to ensure your scales aren’t tipping. (equilibrium/balance).

Something I learnt back in 2016 when I was put on a mood stabiliser is, epileptic medications are used to treat some with bipolar.  One actually helped what I once described as the black cloud from suffocating me, but I was far to medicated to give a clear outlook.  Dramatic word choices I use at times I know, but verbally, words can fail me majorly and that was the only way, I could describe it.  Meds seem to work really different for me in many a way, also I’m extremely aware of my bodies internal chemical balance depending how inertly focused I am. (just don’t know the words sometimes or how to explain)

Further down the road of discovery, and also an opinion of a gentleman on our very first meeting, was once nicknamed my action man, and a woman I called the delicate flower (the hand over process when one nurse leaves for good), ADHD was my action man crisis nurses opinion, which I’m currently diagnosed, and finally, it appears for me and those I hold dear, we may finally be on the right path to answers more suitable or helpful, the unanswerable in some ways, Autism.  Autism I now believe given my understandings, is separate from my current diagnosis of ADHD (mental health)

I will never forget mine or those that are closest to me, first response or opinions to the thought of me being Autistic….. no chance, and that is putting it mildly, obviously influencing my way of thinking, and those around and relevant, to some regard.  The reason I thought this was because of the narrow-minded view and education I had on the subject, also what others, my entire life’s views have been, even professional.  I have no obvious physical deformities (there are and were some), but i am beginning to broaden my understanding through experience, just being me, and educating myself, I have learnt so much more.

Every time things go skewed, it’s usually due to interactions or input from people, other human beings. Maybe relationships is a more accurate word for this setting, and not just intimately, regardless of what shape and form, relationships seem to be the answer or word, making the most sense.  Looked at more acutely, people, linkable and compatible with emotions. Time and time again, I tell people my need, not my want, but my need for time to gather ones thoughts uninterrupted or influenced, unless chosen, never seems a possibility, just a pipe dream.   No doubt everyone can relate to some degree and beg for space, but it is fundamental to keep my mind healthy and functionable at points, or the aftershocks are defragmenting.

This has led me to the question, what does mental health look like in someone with Autism, given current knowledge.

My thought process is as such, if I can figure out what areas of my mental health is skewed and fix or enable them to be less problematic, maybe just maybe I can figure out what autistic traits are interfering and impacting on my life, in a negative way because there are many a positive.  My theory is, once this is figured out I can learn the abilities to counteract, making it easier to cope and get my life finally on the right track, where I may be currently disabled.

I feel so trapped and it is becoming more and more suffocating internally, eventually manifesting and spilling outwardly.  Always a similar pattern with similar outcomes, just slightly shifting and changing whilst I continue losing and winning battle after battle, will I ever win the war?? Or were the odds never in my favour?  No doubt more unanswerable questions with many a different view so I will move on from this way of thinking as the odds are in my favour, when I make them.

I wrote an article about self-hatred, anxiety and depression a time ago, now my research has taken me deeper into the questions asked or relevant to that first Article.  Roughly 40% of individuals who are autistic will suffer one anxiety disorder at any time, compared with the general populations statistical figures of 15%.  This can then influence and create sadness and depression.   Vulnerability and stress seem to be the key words popping up time and time again when finding the words to describe how I feel.

I have always given the impression I rebel against the label, or so I have been led to believe, which is not entirely true. I just want more of an accurate or closer fitting one, given as wide a scope of the situation as possible for all parties involved or relevant to this exchange of information, so I can get access to the help already available out there, but unreachable to myself and others, who could really do with it. This has led me down a very long complicated path, which at this present moment, seems to be more focused and orientated around Autism.

Leaving no other choice but to personally search for answers to questions such as where on the spectrum do I fit? What do the 4 categories results of the RAADS actually mean or tell ones-self and others? When do I start following the cookie trails in my medical records, or should I even do that? I can tell statistically and through research that this genre of writing seems to be needed, therefore I will continue to write what I discover on this journey, for all those interested, as I’m tired of hitting a brick wall due to time restraints, debates, negligence, my disabilities or disorders and my gender.

My way of processing data seems to be, naturally categorise everything, for deeper analysis and understanding. Knowing what is relevant and irrelevant is a complicated process all humanity relates to and stumbles upon daily.  They deal and react given their own unique coping mechanisms and abilities, accessible and relevant to the situation.  I appear to put labels/categories on everything to help me remember and to put relevance, where there was possibly none, depending on where they fit in my head given that days abilities.

“There are definitely things I will never be able to do, but, I can learn new abilities to contradict the disabilities.  I try to achieve this by creating better order, where I once may have been disorderly, to the best of my capabilities”

Every time questionnaires are pulled out I swear I internally implode and metaphorically poop my pants, depending on the setting, context, understanding on what I am actually being questioned for or, if I can even answer the question by paying enough attention where relevant, it has my hackles, guards, and walls shooting as high as possible.

Aggressive I’m told, but a more fitting word may be protection with enough cause for it to be my primary reaction. I’ve been on the receiving end for trio of decades repairing the damage, it is not for the faint hearted hence why I rely on my primal instincts to guide me, they have kept me alive since a young age, where people intentionally and unintentionally have failed.

Please remember it is my health in question here not yours, I am not just a label, category, or statistic, I am an individual pointing her voice out there in the only way I know how. All I ask is to please tread more carefully and have the support necessary for dealing with the landmines and implications you happened to stumble upon in my mind, without a second thought to damage control. Trust is a two-way thing, and it’s getting harder and harder to trust those, who continuously say one thing, but do a complete other, leaving disappointment and a lack of hope.

I was reading through the words I had to pay for, written by my clinical psychiatrist and she had asked me to write a time line, life story, keep a journal and we were supposed to do the RAADS but I had never understood that or had the time to recall the words.  I have created a free way for my clinical psychiatrist and any other professional aiding in dealing with my care, can have access to my words, understandings and insights, hopefully limiting lack of communication and confusion, resulting hopefully in effective results from the limited time slots available, for helping an individual..

Now however, I have completed one to the best of my ability available on another post which is better than nothing I suppose.  I apologise for the time delay, I always seem to be reflecting on what I miss, but I do get there in the end.

The overall score for yours truly, a 30 year old whose gender is female, in a long-term intimate relationship alongside being a mother to, a preschool boy and a tween girl, who given my knowledge and understanding meet autistic thresholds for Autism but back to their mothers score on the RAADS, of 171.  I will retake soon and see what the results are as I believe I have more understanding into the questions therefore the patterns will have changed, my compass shifted.

When I understand more of the words within the question, its relevance and what the results tell, or give insight into, for the clinician or those relevant, yourself included, I’ll post an article, but I stumbled upon this piece of writing below today.  I remember how lost I felt when I lost all ways to communicate, when my mind was that tangled and crammed full, it was reflected in every angle of communication, but most devastatingly so in the words I wrote, refusing to allow them a reality I went into a complete malfunction of sorts.

February 2018 (my skill returns to give comfort to oneself)

How to start!!! The ultimate question that has left so many pieces of paper blank, possibly writers block implemented in my brain for the past few years.  I miss it, my mum says its something I’ve always done is write it down.  When thinking back she is right, it is when I’m not getting what I’m wanting to say across verbally, I write.  I have not lost the skill, just the ability to use it in the short-term, even what I write is so below my normal skill set but I don’t care I want it back, therapeutic arguably and the more I do it, the more it improves, the better I can communicate as proven back in February 2018 with my GP, a  man I have struggled with emotionally over the years, butted heads with, but formed a genuine bond in which together, we can now laugh at the history in past memories over the years. 

I will never forget our first meeting end December 2012/January 2013. I had just moved to the land of the lost, after seeking refuge.  We had our appointment and his eyes unsettled me to the core near the end as they noticed things my poker face couldn’t hide, asked questions that no other doctor has, in the context he done it, maybe compassion is the word I’m looking for.  I clammed up so tight as his brain and eyes were far to observant and sharp, unsettling me and leaving me feeling vulnerably exposed.

I remember the phone conversation with my mum after where I described him as one of these hillbilly doctors, probably living in some cabin in the woods (not stereotyping something from the movies at all here!!) I’d just moved from the city to the country, I was used to the conveyor belt treatment).  His eyes unnerved me because they appeared to look as if they could see through my armour, past the chameleon that is me, as if he could look into my very soul, I left with my tail dangling between my legs.

He wanted to help, always has and regardless of the struggles, he always will if he is able, and that was why I cried out for help to him, as I was failing with everyone else.   I knew he would listen and try everything he could to help, I just had to communicate it right so that he could.  I feel honoured and privileged to of had him as my doctor, a pillar to the community and that’s not just my words, most sought-after doctor here, a credit to his profession and believe you me I’ve only met a handful like him over the years, I wouldn’t be where I am at the moment without his support, understanding and patience when my behaviour is less easily explained.

I have a plan, a focus, fixing my inner foundations and structure…. That’s if I don’t flat line on appearance and become trapped in an inner hell, looking for anything to clutch so I can come out the other side.  After my appointment back in February 2018 where I handed over words so raw and open to me, overwhelmed was an understatement, silent tears flowed, triggered by anything happened for hours, got stuck in my past, these words are found in the post defining a rebel is someone who does not fit the ‘norm’.  

Being around me can damage your own mental health when I am like this and verbally communicating, dissecting as my mind raced all because I managed to get the words down, someone took the time to read and I knew I had got across what I wanted to say.  At the time his answers gave so much relief and hope it was intense.  I wanted to hide, thought of hospital, hiding in my room in a pain no one should have to witness or be around.

Through time I became more high, metaphorically running around looking, listening reflecting on ways I could fight the dark fog threatening to suffocate me. I then became higher emotional instead of low, flat and deflated if that’s the right word, my mum understands my language and even though verbally to anyone else, they wouldn’t have understood, just left the conversation exhausted and confused, my mum managed and helped to change my perspective slightly. 

Best I can explain but to the next point, triggered from the change in perspective, ignorance can be bliss, but I no longer have that option, knowledge and understanding is what I’m lacking, so fix it.  I read mass amounts always have, but have stuck to more fantasy and supernatural, time to come out of fantasy and into reality no matter how badly I want to avoid it.  

What I’ve found on mental health has been exhausting, a point-less or more in some ways, so decided to start looking in to the one I refused to believe many a moon ago, ASD but resources are limited and time consuming.  I have found a book written so brilliantly, I have decided to read the whole thing in one setting.  Would have been done February 2018, would have been an all nightery as the first 50 pages had me so intrigued but I had promised to switch off, if there is such a thing, to try switch of. 

To date I have still not managed that book and to many tasks to list as far too much has clouded my focus, knocked it off or changed it entirely for that moment in time (mostly out of my control).  Unfortunately that bit of space with no influence has not been possible and I’ve exhausted the resource that is me yet again. When it does become a reality and space is not just a fantasy, I image I  will have already found most my answers and more, eventually they will become reflective, time frames are just to long though, that is something requiring immediate attention. 

My compass is forever shifting as I pass by, no matter how tiny or huge, always shifting to point me in the direction I need, want, or must be at that present time.

www.naturalempathiser.com for more reading, understanding and depth

Further Reading

  1. My Feministic journey, into the spectrum
  2. Trip down Memory Lane
  3. Mirror-Mirror, Show me my true reflection
  4. My Journey through Mental health
  5. The words of Lilly falls Beautifully unfinished
  6. Welcome to the natural empathiser

 

What are some of the sex differences influencing diagnosis for Autism?

source of writing www.naturalempathiser.com – feature photo Scottish Loch

Over the course of the past several years, there have been many studies done, creating a number of explosive and insightful discoveries, into the disorder Autism, especially for the Females.  More people have been able to observe how, why or even if, Autism presents differently in females.  A development becoming more openly welcomed rather than shunned, but there is a unique presentation of Autism in females, that is fundamental in helping better identify and treat, those who may have the disorder.

I am terrible with consistency out with my personal comfort and timescales, also I medically pop in and out on paper, for help due to all the labels, stigmas. Worst of all can come from those you put your trust in to help, their treatment can be the most damaging from those claiming, to only be trying to help. Unfortunate but true, sometimes your biased, stuck or uneducated view makes everything extremely more challenging, for all parties involved, especially the patient or clinician.  For me it can put me on the slippery slope of depression, because all the professional words continuously contradicting one another, leave me more confused at times, than when I started

These challenges are for a number of reasons because, not only are females just as diverse as any other groups of individuals with the disorder, but there is a more pressing matter I would like to stress.  I yet again keep hitting a metaphorical brick wall that makes it harder for me to gain access to the help I need, and that is because most autistic screening and diagnostic tools were developed and based, primarily on, observations and behaviours of boys.

I was reading an article by a clinician who was expressing her views and opinions that I happen to agree with.  That was in relation to specialist research and those closest to the individuals in questions, which was the matter at hand of, missing girls with symptoms who do not fit the “typical boys presentation”.  This brings me back to an article I previously wrote with regards to three tests added to the mix, one for the female, one for the male, and a combined more generalised one and see what that produces.  I very much would like a test more relevant to my sex plus a more generalised to give me the answer, it would be very much appreciated. PDA is one of the better questionnaires, especially with wording, that has not had me wanting to pull my hair out.  My next articles will include the different profiles, will include PDA, an area of personal interest I will be delving into.

Anyways this article written by the clinician, helped me to be able to, word, that as a female parent, by my own and many professional opinions, am in fact Autistic, but where I fit seems to be the time consuming and frustrating process, that is like pulling teeth out, the most mentally, invigorating, deteriorating experience I have ever been through, which believe me you, says a lot.  My children are raised by a self diagnosed ASD (awaiting diagnosis if relevant) but a clinically diagnosed ADHD female mum, they are not going to meet the levels of ‘norm’ for your criteria necessarily or to the T, I work really hard flipping their stuck mindset and helping them gain broader and greater understanding.

For that reason, I listen to what my children’s words and body tell me, that is why I listened to my tween’s teacher as she explained, my daughter met the criteria for both ASD and ADHD, she even went for a second opinion, but doctors dismissed it, hitting another brick wall.  Therefore with the 10 years of knowledge gathered between raising the two of them, 30 years of being me, and what others have learnt, written or communicated, I am beginning to find answers and better ways of doing things.  Not everyone has the ability to be a self-directed learner and it comes with its costs and sacrifices to.

My daughter is the double of me in so many ways its unbelievable, she see’s the world in the most amazing way, and like her mum can learn and excel at anything she puts her mind to, but her focus is language.  My 3 year old son appears as a mute in nursery at times, didn’t start communicating properly till 3 and really flags a lot of the criteria.  He took years longer with verbal speech but is a little mastermind, when your truly listening and watching, he has to be comfortable too, he’s a possible mathematical Wizz in the making.  So here are 3 possibly undiagnosed Autistic people, who are unreachable and unhealable by those who could, but simply unobtainable due to stigma and stereotyping.

That is why as a female parent, who by my own and many a professional opinion, am in fact autistic, and now that I am in touch with someone from the National Autistic society I might actually get somewhere with the diagnosis, hopefully one step closer to those that can give it.  Because of how easily dismissing the process can be, (I’ve been in it since 12) I’m scared to let my daughter walk in my footsteps and it isn’t right to be made to feel this way.  I have a feeling things are about to change though, for the better and maybe my trio can be helped

I started by looking and reading a little into biological science, which tells me I’m delving into a subject that is, extremely confrontational and debateable.  As a minority myself I agree and disagree with what is to follow but they are personal opinions, I’m not educated enough and have nowhere near enough information to say anything without a shadow of doubt, but I need to start somewhere.   This is just what I’m coming across on my personal journey for answers into where my cluster fits on the spectrum.

This is the beginning of research, delving into the mystical world that has become the  differences between males and females.  Something I see often happening, is sex differences put solely down to culture differences, but science suggests a biological difference between the male and female, in relation to the brain.  These differences are not absolute, have been generalised as the majority and tend to be skewed depending on ones sex.

I looked through a narrow scope into why males appear geared towards math, where as females language, why women are more emotional, how the sex’s feel pain differently, how males are more likely to suffer neurological disorders, where as women are more likely to suffer mood disorders.  The gender difference’s apparent before birth and, why it appears women handle stress better than men, and finally why we are led to believe males have weaker impulse control.  But what if you are a minority?

Changes are noticeably presentable from birth, but even before that, taken to the development stages when you are still in the womb, things are different.  Gender is determined immediately upon fertilisation, meaning the sperm is the only one that knows what sex it is going to be, and the egg only carries a stationary X.  The 23rd pair of chromosomes establish the sex of the baby.  So to illiterate more clearly, the female egg contains one X chromosome, whilst the male sperm carries either the X or Y chromosome.  Once they meet the egg becomes XX=Female and XY=Male, so in a nutshell

“The baby’s gender is known before it is even consider a foetus” during the first few weeks the external and internal genital structures are the same, but this is just the process within the development stages.

The foetus gonads will either become ovaries or testicles, the phallus either a clitoris or a penis, and finally the genital folds will become either Labia or scrotum, depending on whether or not testosterone is present, which in turn determines the “default sex” of either categories of male or female.  Remember the sex is determined by the males sperm , to the mystery of whether it is carrying either an X or a Y, because the egg holds only an X.

Intersex describes a variety of conditions, where the minority of individuals who are born with, a sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit typical presentations, of a male or female.  Examples would include a person born with genitals that are between the usual descriptions of, male and female parts, or, they could be born with both XX and XY chromosomes.

A way that has been described to try and help understand intersex, were words written to think of gender like the colour spectrum. As sex organs vary in shape size and dimension, of course it seems only common sense, that so would the sex chromosomes determining the default sex.  As these conditions are very rare, however, they do still exist.

“It is argued to be a humanistic way, of categorising people into gender categories, not the original way of nature”

As gender is determined upon fertilisation, at around the 16th to 18th week of pregnancy, the foetus produces a bud called a genital tuber, at the site of the genital.  By the end of the 20th week, the external sex organs should be fully formed for both the male, and female sex of the foetus. At around 26 weeks, the female foetus generally starts developing thicker corpus callosum, which is the part of the brain that connects the right and left hemispheres, than a male foetus.  This information helps explain why women tend to use both, whilst men tend to lean towards the left hemisphere, which leads me on to my next point, that might explain what you have just been reading.

I often hear people saying that he or she is not in their right mind, but if looked at in a biological sense, women are the ones more in their right mind the majority of the time.  I say this because men mostly use the left hemisphere, to process information, where as women are more skilled at using both hemispheres, as we see happens because of differences in the making, of males and females in the womb.  So there is an obvious difference between males and females, which would affect the workings of their mind, would it not?

“So in a literal sense women are the only one’s in their right mind.” but what about the minority of males who do not fit this notion?

It is believed women are more likely to suffer mood disorders, than Autism and ADHD, because male brains, synthesise serotonin, far more quickly than the female brain.  Obviously when looking into biological factors, it’s then placed into categories and researched for many a year, seeing patterns develop, so yes the majority of people fall into the criteria’s described, but now doors are opening for more insight and analysis into the minds of the minorities, who may be more alike to some once classed, part of  majority, than we once thought.

Standardised intelligence test show no statistically significant differences, between males and females. When looking at the brain we can see lots of differences, take the findings that suggest that genders tend to slightly lean towards, categories with regards to their abilities, in maths and language.  Males are said to have a larger inferior-parietal lobules (IPL), than females, which is an area of the brain that is thought to, influence mathematical abilities, which matures in boys about, 4 years earlier than girls?!

The frontal and Temporal areas of the cortex, are larger in females, and are thought to influence language, matured approximately 6 years earlier, than the males.  All these words I have written to date, are just me summarising my findings so far from what I’ve gathered, and this is a subject I do not specialise in, I’m learning for vast and varied reasons now. It is a very debateable subject obviously, because a minority or girls can be maths wizzes or vice versa, minority of boys can be language masterminds, that comes down to individual choices, opportunities and circumstances. Personally I excelled in all subjects at school just some more acutely, some of my most traumatic problem’s arose during high school, with social communication and interactions, where my biggest cost, was my education.  These are the years where I learned to become a chameleon the best, with some of my harshest lessons.

So, from that we see above the majority of males mature quicker mathematically, by approximately 4 years, and the majority of females mature 6 years earlier, than males in language.  There and always minorities and splinter groups, who do not fit where the majority of others do.  Take the way we feel pain, there are even differences there between males and females.  When men experience pain, they tend to activate their right amygdala, where as for women, they tend to activate their left amygdala, which leads us to believe, women feel more pain.

“The left amygdala is more closely associated with the ‘internal functions’, this is the reason behind why it is often thought and expressed, women experience more pain than men do”

According to biological science from where and what I’ve been reading, males are more likely to be dyslexic and autistic, than females, this is noticeably explained in the skewed differences in ratios, between males and Females.  It is also said, that males are more likely to experience Tourette’s  and ADHD.  Females appear to be found, and thought, to be more likely to suffer, mood disorders.  The reasons for this is because, females have larger hippocampus, and deeper limbic systems, than males.  Therefore allowing females to feel the full range and depths of the emotional spectrum, more so than males. Is that why this minority female, keeps getting caught up in the Bermuda triangle effect of, Autism, ADHD and bipolar?

I wonder what a visual image of my brain would give insight into for someone, me in particular.  Since someone once said to me I am like the human equivalence of the Rubik’s cube, it has kind of stuck in my mind since, because no one seems to have figured out the riddle that is me.  If someone specialising in neurology or psychology was to take an active, time-scale appropriate interest, into researching my brain, I wonder what findings would be discovered, as I’m already aware I’m a minority thinker.  Maybe one day that will be possible, but at the moment, it’s a fantasy, my reality is just words, opinions, views, theories and a lot of both reliable, and unreliably communicated evidence, and experiences, in the search for the answers, to my questions.

I’ve been reading that, when it comes to differences in intelligence, between the two sexes, there are more males than females that differ, and become more skewed on the results.  Male IQ has greater variance from one perspective, than the female IQ.  This is why females appear to be more clustered around the middle, where as the males occupy the extreme high and low end, of the intelligence scale.

Studies have shown that the majority of women, handle stress better than men.  Science shows that whilst both the male and female release the hormone oxytocin during stressful events, the difference is by combining oxytocin with the female estrogen, it produces a calming effect, whereas male testosterone only makes men more aggravated.

It is coming to a point in need to finish up writing this article, before I end up writing the never ending story, that never gets published.  I will stress, I am no expert, just someone currently going through the process of life, just like you.  If I’ve worded something that upsets or offends, I assure you that was, and will never be my intention.  I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read my words, message me personally, shared and helped me on my feministic journey into the spectrum.  If you have a story that’s related please comment.


I personally am recieving extreme difficulty waiting, like many of my readers and those taken the time to message, just to see someone who can analyse and determine, whether or not i have autism before gaining access to, the help that is available.  I’m aware we do not have a vast number of people that specialise, but something does need to be done here to accomadate.  So the studies indicating it is more challenging for a female, undiagnosed in childhood, to obtain a diagnosis later, i fuly agree with, from first hand experience.  I am living proof this is the case, for getting access to the help already out there, that one requires, firstly you need the label that is the diagnosis.  I was suspected back in spring 2016, referred and awaiting specialist input, many a moon ago.  This week is the first time i have met with someone, who does specialise in an area i need help with, who looks like she can and will help, where she is able, she gave me hope, that things are changing, and that space may be possible.

www.naturalempathiser.com for more reading, understanding and depth

Further Reading

  1. My Feministic journey, into the spectrum
  2. Trip down Memory Lane
  3. Mirror-Mirror, Show me my true reflection
  4. My Journey through Mental health
  5. The words of Lilly falls Beautifully unfinished
  6. Welcome to the natural empathiser

 

My personal RAAD results done by yours truly, for insight

Source of writing www.naturalempathiser – feature image personally drawn

My Personal RAAD results

I recorded my initial thoughts after taking this test written on 17th June 2018; immediate thoughts after taking the Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale-revised (RAADS)

(RAADS) Mine 17/06/2018 Threshold Female

average (4644)

Male

average (5375

Language 14.0 4.0 12.9 11.6
Social Relatedness 66.0 31.0 75.7 71.8
Sensory/motor 56.0 16.0 42.1 34.9
Circumscribed interests 36.0 15.0 31.1 27.8
Total 172.0 65.0 161.8 146.1

“My life seems to be resembling the shape and dimension of a triangle, with three angles continuously shifting”

This requires watching for signs and how symptomatic I am, just to be aware of what energy, me or others are generating and how that influences and impacts one another in a negative, positive or balanced way.  It can become exhausting.

Since this is not the ‘norm’ I decided to take screening tests such as, well renowned autistic tests where definitions of words had to be found, because I didn’t truly understand the questions intent, purpose or meaning with the words used.

My first and major stumbling block was the difference between sympathy and empathy, which I truly believed I was naturally able to do, and there lay an answer I once never understood which is explained on Sunday 19th August 2018; Looking at heaven living through hell .

People can use the words empathy and sympathy differently, understand and express them incorrectly all the time, sometimes confusing the meaning with other words.  But what does it mean when you lack the ability to feel empathy and sympathy when you were younger but have learnt it differently through time?

I knew the real meaning which had got caught up, and tangledly confused by others descriptive words over the years. I am a constant natural empathiser which comes with its pro’s and con’s, Sympathy I view as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, playing the clown and becoming a chameleon.

I want to communicate my inner thoughts and questions in a written way, relevant to my timeline. I have no idea how to write a timeline request of my life, no idea where to start given social norms and influences of society, relevant to the timescales in question.

Times change non-stop regardless if we want them to or not, that is why we have to move with the times, where we were once uneducated, become educated and where we were once unable, re-enable or become able if possible.

Ignorance is an excuse, one necessary at times (but when is the key).

I do not believe it should ever be your primary resource in life, your just disabled then, (cowardly avoidant), becoming a part of the problem or creating new ones as your actions give the solution to old ones.

I have used writing and words my whole life, if no one gives them or gives the wrong ones, (myself included) I create or find the fitting ones to fully understand, given my capabilities in relation to the matter at hand.

I have been told over and over in too many different variations of wording to reiterate so I will stick to the message they were voicing.

Too much is too bright for some not all, know your audience but isn’t that a pickle, especially when the audience doesn’t even know themselves.

Do we need to turn our colours down if we are never physically aggressive or cause physical pain to anyone or thing, only enthusiastically expressive and passionate? Should you turn it down?

If so who, when, where, why or even how should one go about doing that??? Why do other people’s view and opinions have to matter if it causes negative internal complications within one’s mindset?

Why do we live in a society portrayed in some sense like a living breathing version on big brother? No matter how much we try to say we don’t, if that was the case then why does invasions or invites into privacy, continuously influence all levels of society.

It’s amazing how many thought processes can go through the mind in just one day. I’ve always been a thinker, I go far to in depth, analysing and dissect things until I have a broader perspective and understanding, which can create its own problems.

My teens were extreme, to say the least, I cringe at a lot of things I have done and wonder what was going through my head at the time. I have always said I don’t have regrets and what I mean by that is everything I have done and been through has made me who I am today.

I’ve always felt like I don’t fit anywhere even with my family, somewhat like the black sheep. The most recent episodes were triggered but my life is so calm now and has been for a while, that’s why I think it became more noticeable.

On my own, I would have gotten over it somehow as that’s the way it’s always been, but trying to keep those I’m attached too close whilst I was not thinking in my right mind, and doctors telling me it’s part of the process of postnatal, I’m on the mend just exhausted.

This did not fit or make sense to me, therefore, it sent me spiraling down a road that was so out of control, it was honestly the worst thing I have ever been through.  I will do everything I can to prevent that happening as I don’t know if I  can keep surviving it.

When I become unbalanced the fight for equilibrium can take its toll on my body physically, as I become trapped mentally where times ceases to exist.  The knock on effects appears predictably unpredictable.

When I look back now I can see how out of control I was then, but there was plenty of drama for me to feed off that was not my own to control, manage or fix.  Another piece to add to the puzzle

Why do women on the spectrum, fall short on some diagnostic tests?

Life can be alienating and challenging at times, especially if you’re driven primarily by both intellect and intelligence, head strong and far to independent in thinking at times.  If your someone who does not seem to fit the female, or any stereo type for that matter, and not so common at all as it would appear, a minority, life can have its more challenging complications in a sense. The more learning done through time seems to highlight, that personally, I don’t think in the common sense kind of way the majority do.

Many a time I have been asked question’s, answered and returned In kind, been given insights and returned them, have helped and been attempted to be helped, for more than half or all my life. In some proceptions and perceptions it hasn’t worked yet though, not in the ways it should, well that has and is my opinion as of late, after what I’ve been reading and learning.  This is yet another branch, and the reason behind the question, why do women fall short on the diagnostic tests for autism? (More acutely me).

A clinical psychiatrist once told me she would be very interested in reading my analysis and views on where I fit on the spectrum.  This is why I am going to be dedicating a separate section headered in my side bar on the Natural Empathiser, titled My Feministic journey into the spectrum, in a question based theme, in the order there done and published, A book Blog so to speak. To many questions needing answered in my head that keep bouncing off one another, needing an out let.

Questions along the lines of what are the statistical differences between diagnosing a male or female? Are the features harder to recognise? In what way do you consider something a repetitive behaviour or restricted interest? What does it mean to show signs or not? What signs would you like me to show you, me or the chameleon? When I show me I confuse, frustrate or simply annoy the person trying to get the answers, becoming disabled or appearing disorderly under certain lights.

Before going further I will give a brief outline of the journey being diagnosed autism entails, from my knowledge and understanding at this time over years of gathering and experience.  Hopefully getting my point across that the diagnosis can come with many terms and labels, as I have discovered.  Names associated with the spectrum include Autism, Autism spectrum disorder, (ASD) or condition (ASC), three types atypical/classic/Kanner autism, Asperger syndrome or pathological demand avoidance to name but a few.

There are constant changes, some more recent than others, being done to the main diagnostic manuals for the ‘autistic spectrum disorder’ (ASD), which is predicted and most likely to become, the most commonly given name when referencing someone diagnosed on the spectrum.  Obviously additional terms will be used for deeper understanding and analysis, but ASD is the one word it is categorised and generalised as, when describing the particular autism profile showcased by the individuals.

Another point to note is, someone diagnosed or symptomatic of the spectrum, may also have learning disabilities, mental health issues and other conditions separate to the diagnosis of ASD, which can and often does, complicate the diagnosis period. In my case the Bermuda triangle, ADHD, ASD and Bipolar type 2, the trio from the start of this journey that still seems quite accurately insightful, but needing further analysis from those qualified. I believe that for more consistent and linkable communication, for all parties involved, possibly lessening the confusion, can be obtained with more frequent periods of time spent with the individual in question.  In my current opinion, if possible, it would help or at the very least give more insight, into the individual whether autistic or not, or so one would think.

If the clinician or person assigned to aiding an individual lacks experience in autism, or other conditions/illnesses, they can make numerous assumptions that are incorrect, both informative and misleading, disabling and influential at times, and vice versa for the patient to the professional.  People or systems, whether consciously aware or ignorantly, that do not take the issues related to autism into account, are part of the problem that needs a solution through teachings and learnings.  The reason I say this, is because you could find your self stuck on the long road around, instead of cutting right through the middle, which can be a dissatisfying and detrimental cycle to become stuck upon.

For years I’ve had professional and unprofessional opinions telling me I am or am not this or the next thing, so who do you listen to when your own voice can be so confusingly frustrating at times, forever entwined with the voice of many? A wise woman pointed out that to much information can be a bad thing as well, but I argue against this to some degrees, it’s knowing what to do with the information in question that can lead to the most interesting discoveries.  Moving this piece, creating or uncovering a new piece to fit the gap,  manipulating and imposing the abilities to expose insights into seeing the bigger, more precise and clearer picture.  Words and how they are implemented paint a picture, body language paints another, and so forth.

Back to explaining the diagnostic manual and the one in question being referenced, being briefly described to give some insight for those interested. It is the tenth edition, which is the most current, for the International Classification of diseases, (ICD(10)).  Inside this book, which I am yet to find time to properly delve into, contains a number of autism profiles such as Asperger’s, under the Pervasive Developmental Disorder heading defined as,

recordable abnormalities in reciprocal and social interactions alongside patterns of communication.  Also restricted stereotyped repetitive patterns of interest and activities determining how they function in all relevant situations

There is a manual that is not most commonly used in the UK, it s the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical manual.  It is predicted to significantly influence the next edition of the  ICD which is used by many diagnosticians.  It has been recently updated so the diagnostic criteria are simplistically more clearer, and now includes sensory issues, which is where I score extremely high in comparison to the other criteria, followed closely with social and communication.

Here is where my interest spikes because if this is the case, it would be extremely useful to me, and I hope it does significantly influence the next edition of the ICD.  My reasons to support this statement are as follows. I am living proof of how detrimental these issues impact day-to-day living and because I do not have the diagnosis, I can not access the help and support to hopefully change that cycle, impacting my children and those attached.  It also includes support needs and other factors that impact on the diagnosis.  So what is the current criteria for being diagnosed with the official label of Autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

To get a full diagnosis instead of a partial if my knowledge is correct, you have to meet all 3 of the criteria for social communications and interactions, restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviours, activities or interests (including sensory behaviour) present from early childhood, that influences and impacts day-to-day living.  Also you have to be able to answer these questions which can be challenging if communication falls under your disability.

“Knowing where to draw the line is challenging for everyone and is at the end of the day, a choice influenced by vast and varied circumstances, situations or events, but a decision down to the individual.”

The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, documents the behaviour of the adult, when they were children.  I am a 30 year old female adult who’s gender is female, with at least average intelligence, by my own opinion and others. Without a shadow of a doubt, I would now agree and say, that it is in fact, an extremely challenging group of individuals to diagnose. It seems, where women are concerned anyways, the ones diagnosed have dramatic signs in one domain, usually communication or social interactions, and mild to moderate signs in the other two domains.  Whereas more commonly documented research highlights that the majority of males show more moderate signs across all three domains.

The reasons for looking into Autism started off personal, and still is to some extent but runs much deeper now, I don’t know if I would be this persistent if it only involved myself.  Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on perceptions and conscious knowledge and understanding ,when I’m looking into it I have three people in mind, a pre-schooler boy (3-5), tweeny girl (10-13) and a mature female adult (25+).  From what I am learning there seems to be a pattern developing, a focal point seems to be that women more commonly flag up for one criteria, where males more consistently flag up for all 3, this is not always the case though.  Even in the majorities of the minorities, you have splinter groups where they are outnumbered and often missed.

I keep hitting a brick wall where the population seems somewhat divided on their views with regards to sex differences.  I keep hearing quotes and references along the lines of;

“giving the scope of the study, surely if there are sex differences or whatever else they are bound to show up??”

Not necessarily because to me it seems common sense their are differenced between sex’s in some regard or another, taking further to difference in the individual.

The gap between differences in sex and individualism seems confusingly wide to myself and others at times, therefore I intend to look further into this when the time arises.  What I do know is that our body make-ups are different, grouped into the male and female sex at birth.  What stems from that is another story entirely, and one I am still at the baby stages of learning and understanding.

There are current consistent patterns developing over time and analysis in the majority, in relation to repetitive behaviours and restricted interest.  Studies that point to the possibility that both women and men present differently and would benefit from, diagnosis tools that take gender differenced into account.  Is that just me or is that yet not again common-sense to the process of finding answers for the individual?

My opinion is starting to lean toward the notion there should be questionnaire’s structured around these criteria’s and differences considered and implemented.  I’m never going to struggle getting an erection, I do not have a penis??? The medication is not effecting my man hood, or the questions are not relevant because you are aiming it at the wrong sex, therefore the question and questionnaire is a point-less and irrelevant in some shape to me, the individual in question.  Therefore it is just one point that gives credit to the argument, that it is mostly male orientated and research based at this present moment, that can change.

Are we beginning to blur the lines too much between individualism and sex differences, this remains a question pin balling around my head.  Both sex’s and those stemmed from it are stigma and stereotyped in some way, everything can be and is expected to dance to the steps orchestrated and choreographed by societies expectations and wants, from whichever and whatever group you may fall into, given the current timeline.

The ADI-R appears to highlight the possibilities caregivers and parents tend to recall, fewer repetitive behaviours during their childhood for women than men, which then trudges up more questions.  Am I caught up in the loop of researchers relying on the ADI (R) to diagnose me?  If so is that why even the partial diagnosis is so hard to obtain here in the UK for a female, the other diagnosis given beforehand fail in comparison on an emotional wellbeing level.

I thank my persistent, dog with a bone nature or I would probably still be stuck on the slippery slope of depression.  There is no fail safe guaranteeing I will not fall back onto it if all patterns and behaviours were so transparent.  I’m not saying that the ADI (R) isn’t one of the best ways for identifying those behaviours, I’m not saying it is either.  What I am saying is they are all relevant in highlighting different linkable, comparable and relevant information.  What is done from this information is down to the individual and those involved.

Leads me yet again to the thoughts that maybe, 3 test specifically designed and structured for a male, a female and both sex’s combined, as the root basis.  What would branch from there is something unknown and above my knowledge, understandings and education.   By adding 2 gender orientated questionnaires alongside the combined into the mix already there, might increase the likelihood of reaching more individuals.

Many women (men as well for the minority), do not receive a full diagnosis and are often misdiagnosed with conditions such as ADHD and social communications disorder, rather than autism.  The reason for this is because the individuals relevant to this statement do not meet the criteria with regards to their repetitive notions.  I’m forever shifting my compass, from one end of the spectrum to the other just trying to live.

As I have said there are so many different terms associated with the word diagnosis such as autism profiles, diagnostic manuals and tools, alongside varied research and quite commonly said, misdiagnosis.  Life affects everybody in multi-dimensional complex ways on many vast and varied levels of difficulty, depending on the individual.  Subjects I’m focusing on currently are language and cognitive development, emotional intelligence, motor development, avoidance to demands and expectations, anxiety, control and social demands.

One thing I can say that I am sure of,  all these questions both disable and enable, influencing and impacting the individuals involved, both the patient and the professionals.  More so the patient though who is there, probably in crisis but also a choice based on necessity, creating difficulties predictable and not, in obtaining clinical support and access to more useful and beneficial resources.

I for one am extremely clumsy at times, disastrous and end up quite bruised especially on my legs, is this possible dyspraxia. My body language and behaviour is unexplainable to some at times is this border-lining personality disorder. Depending on the current clinician aiding in the search for answers, experiences, insights and views impact what is transpired. Sometimes I am so switched on its intimidating for the majority of personality types, as my passion in what I am discussing or saying, can be mistaken and commonly misinterpreted as aggression, something I’m working on so I don’t retreat back under the rock, I’ve just managed to resurface from under.