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.
creating a fulfilling life
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.
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.
Autistic burnout and the dichotomy of “living to work” when your reality tells you it’s the other way around
All my life, I have struggled with the fixed cultural idea of "work", the ability to perform a job of work, to succeed at it as others do and to not burnout when I have one (having done so in every job I have ever had). I have discovered this is yet another common factor of autism and that it is profoundly linked to chronic health issues, to lifelong feelings of shame, of not belonging and of "being a failure", associated also with strong desires to work differently to mainstream and to get out of the present culture, change priorities around and do something different with life. In fact, an autistic viewpoint on some of these things could be of great value in these times, especially post-pandemic and faced with some of the current challenges. Exploring some of these things today.
Hypermobility and the moon (and other natural cycles)
When we notice how our bodies work so closely (as does eveything in nature) with the cycles of waxing and waning, we gain the tremendous power that comes from accepting what is and ceasing to resist the natural rhythms that can also be our best source of strength when we harness them for our recovery.
Living with PoTS and dysautonomia
Perhaps more than any other aspect of chronic illness I have ever had to deal with, including chronic unrelenting pain, dysautonomia has the ability to throw your entire life into disarray, permeating every single aspect of your life in ways that can be as invisible to the casual bystander as they are devastating. Is there a bright side, things we can learn, ways of living with it better?
If you are a woman who even vaguely suspects you have ADHD…
Women with ADHD tend not look like men with ADHD; we often hide it, we work around it, we express it differently and we harness it in ways that allow us to excel and do our suffering in private, we even seem to feel about it a different way to most men, so its absolutely essential to find other women and hear what they have to say if you are going to work out if this is really you!
Getting to know yourself is, in my opinon, the single most important thing you ever get to do in your life...and its often a golden key to all those other unfathomables that may be "going on", such as persistent health issues. Above all, depathologising the way you were made is an essential step to discovering the sense of wholeness and peace in your life that may have so far eluded you.
Seasonal health turned into “season of growth”
Do you have marked seasonal difference in your health symptoms? Many people do! However, when we learn to accept them, know them and work with them we get to find a new kind of equilibrium in spite of them, and that brings its own seasonal gifts.
The healthy INFP: what migth that look like?
Coming to understand yourself is the single most important thing you get to do in your life! When it comes to healing a chronic condition, some of the tools you can use to understand your personality type can reveal explicit treatment approaches, lifestyle and even useful attitude modifications that might otherwise elude you, because they spotlight things about YOU that might not apply to the next person.