English Translation in main key points and statements = I’ve been experiencing anxiety for two days and I don’t know why.
This happens to me sometimes. I cannot connect to what emotion I’m feeling but I know it is discomfort. Then I have to think what this discomfort means and why I am feeling this way. I experience delayed emotional processing and this can happen with a lot of Autistic people.
It may not be until hours later whilst I’m emotionally processing that I realise I’m actually experiencing anxiety. So what I’ve learnt to do when I’m not comfortable is to listen to my body cues. So with anxiety I sweat and pace around the house because I need to move. The pacing helps me with emotional regulation.
I become forgetful of what I was doing and why I was doing it. I’m vulnerable right now in front of you. I’m going to talk about my diagnosis and my childhood. I had great difficulty as a child not knowing what to do with people. What to say, how to say it. I observed people and how they interacted with others to learn what I should do. I am not neurotypical and when I am with other Autistic people, I am at my most comfortable as I don’t need to think and process their forms of communication.
With non-Autistic people I need to process and think about their communication styles. When I am anxious, I have to minimise all sensory input around me. I don’t want to leave the home. I feel hungry but yet find it difficult to leave the house to get food. There’s a lot of sensory input outside my home with weather re rain and wind, people, I have to drive a car. I will ask my husband to go get me food.
When I was younger and was raising my children, I was not like this re I had some difficulties but not to this degree. I did what I needed to do with my children. I will explain later why this is now occurring with me. I have these photos of me as a child which I don’t look at often because they are painful memories.
If I stop talking during the video, I’m needing that time to process and connect with how I am feeling. I have some videos my father gave me with mixed footage of me as a child. I watched the first video. Relatives are gathered in groups talking in the backyard and there I am on my own taking myself away from relatives.
That’s how I remember myself often as a child. Relatives and teachers describe me as being a introverted, shy, quiet child. What they didn’t know was that I was an Autistic child with a lot of anxiety. Anxiety from having to interact with people. Anxiety from sensory input – school bells, movement of lots of other children, the smells of their school lunches, the noise of the teacher writing on a blackboard. I was an awkward child and the other children saw this and knew I was different so they then teased and bullied me. I didn’t have many friends.
Typically one friend at a time. I’m very sensitive to the weather -rain, wind and I particularly don’t like feeling cold. In school, they ‘turf’ you out during lunchtimes in that weather. Then all the other kids are socialising in their friendship groups but I have no-one. They are smiling, laughing, talking and I don’t know which social group to join but they wouldn’t accept me anyway. I’m going to combine these filmed snippets of me in these videos as one video. Then I will post that film on this page – Autistic Seka.
It will take me some time as there’s a lot to go through and it’s emotionally difficult for me as well. (Shows childhood photos) I liked bike riding as a child. I liked moving a lot and I didn’t like to have to sit still in one spot as that was difficult to do. I liked looking at pictures in books and on papers of sorts. I had dolls but I don’t recall creating social interactions between the dolls. I recall pulling their hair and taking the dolls everywhere with me by their hair, arms, legs.
I particularly loved climbing and was always climbing the fruit trees. I liked being on my own a lot in the backyard and to not be bothered by others. I would lay on the grass and repetitively pull grass blades out one by one. I loved observing the ants and what they were doing. I collected bugs all day in a jar. I felt like I was connected to and understood bugs and animals but not to people.
Bugs and animals felt like my friends. I loved the swing and the movement was repetitive. I also collected rocks and liked playing with mud, dirt, water. As I hit 8, 9, 10 years of age, socially life became harder. By then it was more obvious to other children that I was different to them and they called me names. I was bullied and teased a lot. In these photos of myself (8+ years old), I’m not smiling much.
I was awkward with stance, walking, talking. I noticed and others noticed. Then I learnt to ‘mask’ which is what a lot of Autistic people do. I watched non-autistic people to learn how to act like them. I didn’t understand much of the ways in which they interacted. It was like they were lying sometimes because their facial expressions didn’t match their words or they said one thing but did something other.
I learnt to be like them but that’s not natural for me. I’m nearly 50 years old now and it’s still not natural to me. Autistic people such as myself go on autism-related FB pages and we are then told by non-Autistic people that we are not really Autistic because we are on Facebook and we can write. That we are not like their children because their child cannot write. Or you are not Autistic because you can express ourselves. Or you are not Autistic because you can do this thing or that thing. Then when I try to explain to people that I was not like this as a child and I have had 50 years to learn to be like I am, people do not understand that.
They think that how their Autistic child presents now is how their child will be at 20, 30, 50 plus years of age. Your Autistic child will not be the same as an Autistic adult. They will grow and develop because all people grow and develop, whether they are Autistic or not. So, three years ago I started to realise I was Autistic after younger family members were diagnosed. I will not talk further about their situations because I respect their privacy.
I had a talk to them when I created this FB page and asked them what was okay for me to talk about and what was not. Then I realised older relatives than me had Autistic characteristics as well. I read about autistic characteristics and realised I could relate. That was confrontational because I had searched all my life for answers as to why I was different. I read psychology books over many years previous to learn about human behaviour.
Later, I learnt that many Autistic people do the same and they too have an interest in psychology. I was studying at University at the time and one of my lecturers was openly Autistic. I approached her explaining that I thought I was Autistic. I did not know what to now do with this information as I was almost 50 years old and had been searching all my life for answers.
She added me to a closed FB group for Autistic adults. Then when I heard how other Autistic adults were talking on that page and explaining their situations, I could relate and then it became clear to me that I was probably Autistic. Around about that same time period, I experienced what is referred to as an Autistic burn out.
I was working 5 days a weeks at 8 hours a day and now I just could not do that anymore. Everything became too much for me with sensory overloads and people. I transitioned to working 2-3 days per week. Now I only work 1-2 days per week and only when I want to work. It was almost like I was returning to what I was like as an Autistic child. I was sensory overloading, I didn’t want to leave home and I wanted to be on my own. I found out that that can all happen with Autistic burn out. I went for an assessment with a psychologist who diagnoses autism in children and adults.
When that psychologist told me that I was Autistic on that day, I was happy but it was also hard because I thought had I of had that diagnosis earlier in my childhood, I could have received the support I needed. People may of also understood me better. I don’t mind that I am Autistic at all. I like my brain the way it is but what is hard for me is non-Autistic people all around me who do not understand me.
I want to just be a free, authentic Autistic woman but some people think I am strange with what I do and how I talk. I cannot mask anymore. The masking is finished for me.
I had a burn out three years and now my Autistic characterised are out there for both myself and others to see. I do not want to return to how I was when I masked. I’ve been acting neurotypical for fifty years and it is very hard. It takes a lot of my time and energy and I cannot freely be myself. When an Autistic adult tells you that they are Autistic, please don’t tell them that they are not Autistic because they are not like your Autistic child.
We are not going to be like your Autistic children because we have grown up from childhood. You have no idea how hard it is for us to pretend to be neurotypical every day with our masks. We have learnt over time that we are not accepted by society to be our Autistic selves. We are told we are strange and to not act like we do.
- Autistic Seka | Experiencing Anxiety For Two Days & Don’t Know Why | Danijela Turner
- Wake. Bake. Caffeinate. | International Projects, Greta Thunberg and Martyrs… oh my | Eve Reiland
- Autistic Seka | City Shopping, Sensory Over-Stimulation| Danijela Turner
- Autistic Seka | Autistic people can be sensitive to the taste, smell, colour and texture of food. | Danijela Turner
- Autism Seka | Autism is a neurological difference | Danijela Turner
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- The Life Autistic: How Three Odd Questions Made One Good Friend – The Life Autistic
- Going Back, Moving Forward – Eclectic Autistic
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