Turns out I am one of probably thousands of people who been profoundly affected by misophonia all of my life and yet didn't know what it was and could never put a name to it (or quite dispel some of the shame of it)...until I began to research the effects of autism more and more by listening to other women's real-life stories. Sharing in case this is any of you too.
High-functioning autism is often missed or misunderstood, not least because those with it so often overcompensate for their traits. The term has also been phased out in "official" quarters and yet it still applies to just so many people, not least those who have reached midlife undiagnosed (and especially women). Tackling this controversial topic on behalf of those of us who still fall between the cracks, with a link to some useful resources to help you find your way.
Two horse buggy: learning to drive the double horse team of autism and ADHD
Burnout or even trauma can be a very real risk if you are autistic and find social engagement really challenging or have poor track record; however, it can also be a highly positive "stim" from which you may get far more positive effects than you know. How to reconcile this two pony team, and the completely different directions they pull in, can be a lifelong conundrum if you happen to be both autistic and ADHD but getting it right can potentially lead to far better health and a vastly improved quality of life.
When you're hungry for good vibration, when your system basically runs on it above all other motivators, it runs the risk of sucking vibes in from many sources, not all of them equal. Exploring the cross-over of neurodivergence, stimming, addiction risk, the need to source the right energy for your life and the possibility of finding good health, even thriving, once you realise your energy needs are fundamentally different to other peoples.
Being on the spectrum doesn’t mean one person lives at a high functioning end and some other autistic person lives somewhere in the middle or at the bottom. It means we are all a range, within ourselves, and some of those highs can mask the lows (a primary reason for missed diagnosis). One trait alone can overcompensate for several shortfalls and mean adults are so blinded by your ability they don’t accommodate or even see your considerable struggles. You then exhaust yourself by overcompensating for, or masking, your own struggles for years, burning yourself out by having to work twice as hard as everyone else just to get by or meet high expectations set by others which you took on at face value. Suddenly, you are hit between the eyes by the pathos of this…you were never really that person they thought you were, which you took on at face value, but rather this other person with such a wide mixture of gifts and challenges they almost seem to cancel you out.
Autism and feeling too much (not too little)
There are so many areas of human experience where autism is assumed to mean less than or shortfall whereas it’s often a case of more…so much more that it’s untenable and excruciating to be in the experience. Sometimes, the very appearance of so-called shortfall should prompt the question “is way too much going on in there, so much so that it can’t be handled or made sense of, can’t be articulated or processed in conventional ways?”.
Menopause…the time when “my autism broke”
Many women report that menopause was the time when their autism became much more pronounced or even a problem in so far as they were attempting to continue the status quo of their largely "adaptive" life as before yet that ability to mask and appear typical suddenly flew out of the window. It may even be the time when they first realised they were autistic, such were their adaptive skills up to that point.
How the ingrained behaviours of family may clash with neurotype to provoke a chronic response in the body
How much do epigenetic components, mere accidents of circumstance, parenting styles, and other peoples expectations feed into chronic states of health, not least when you are autistic and have been entrained, all your life, to adhere to behaviours that fail to meet the preferences, abilities or sensitivities of your neurotype? Is chronic illness a form of demand avoidance that takes shape in the autistic body when it refuses to continue being ignored as before?
Coming out as you truly are, to yourself and to others, can be so utterly monumental, so pivotal, to your own personal wellbeing; yet also something which cannot be adequately conveyed to anyone who has not ever had to feel like an exile fumbling about in the darkness of their own bewildering life until this point. Nonetheless, it's an experience that deserves celebrating and encouraging, as I do today in these few words on the topic.
Freeze response: the intersection of autism, trauma and chronic illness
What happens when huge amounts of energy get stuck in the body as trauma, leading to a freeze response or shutdown? How does this intersect with chronic conditions such as CFS, fibromyalgia, sensory defensiveness or other syndromes and does being autistic make you more prone to this? How can somatic therapies be used to discharge years of trauma? Exploring through my own deep-dive into the territory.