Time for some good news...I've landed upon an approach to healing from chronic pain and other chronic conditions that has made some amazing inroads that look a lot like recovery and I have to share it or burst!
“You’re looking really well”: The curse of the invisible disability
The way human society is devised, the very foundation stones of its connectivity networks, is based on us all having relatable, sharable situations and people being able to recognise when another person is in strife. When you have chronic conditions that not only isolate you from other people due to an equally chronic lack of spoons, also causing you to be misunderstood by other people (as people tend to assume you are making up lame excuses when they can’t see the energy deficits you are having to work with!) then having the additional pitfall of nobody being able to recognise that you are ill, because your disabilities are hidden from sight, even when you finally come out of the woodwork, is the final sting in the tail.
Exploring the link between hypermobility and neurodiversity
The very fact of constantly having to adapt, to meet alien-feeling situations on their terms, when others just slide into circumstances like a hand into a well-fitting glove, exhausts systemically when we don’t even notice how much we are having to do it, how much we are constantly having to bridge the gap between what is and how we are. This may have been damaging our health for years, as surely as long term smoking or heavy drinking, only we didn’t realise it until it was too late to avoid the consequences to our health. This is why I am passionate about helping other high adapters, women especially, to realise, embrace and advocate for their neurodiversity early on in life. It seems to me, autistic women often have a sort of hypermobility of a more subtle kind; one that enables them to become whatever people expect of them…but at what cost.
When stress and excitement are much the same thing: mechanism of a shutdown
I simply can’t be this finely tuned autistic person and not have a reboot setting to clear static off the lines. Exploring the anatomy of shutdown, how it is received and why it might be necessary.
Who I am, how I choose to live; an autistic reappraisal, one year in
Diagnosing as autistic is just the very first step. Reappraising you choices, what truly motivates you, how and when to engage with others, how much of yourself you have been giving up to conform and what you are going to have to let go of to become more authentically yourself...these are the next steps in the ongoing journey of overhauling your autistic life.
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.
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.
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.
The fascinating cross-over of ADHD and chronic illness (and other unsolvables)
I was at an outdoor concert in an idyllic setting listening to some of my favourite music and yet, less than 5 minutes into it, I realised some part of me was screaming an existential scream, knowing I was going to be sat there like this for the next couple of hours. Admitting I have ADHD, that I am wired to need more dopamine than most, that I am rewarded by all kinds of stims (and not all are created equal...plus some are much harder to come by when your health is compromised) is proving to be a massive step towards understanding chronic illness, how it came about and why it perpetuates.
A NEED for hyperfocus
Exploring the healing gift of hyperfocus (once realised, owned and embraced as a valid choice) for those of us who derive clarity, calm and sense of groundedness from the sheer intensity of our interests.