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An Overwhelming Feeling
posted at 07:39 pm on 07-17-2010
Today, I've met with a classmate of mine whom I've known since Grade 7, and who also has Asperger's. I've also met another one of my classmates who works at the coffee shop we went to. After the conversation, I am feeling a mix of emotions, mostly a sense of sadness. I don't know why, but I'm crying right now. I cry a lot, and for various reasons many of which I don't always understand. But as I'm remembering myself in the past, tears are swelling in my eyes, especially when I realize how much I've changed compared to back then.
I would like to share a couple of my memories here, because that may help me stop being so emotional about them.
I used to hide things. I used to unsuccessfully pretend that I was someone else. And it made me unhappy. I always knew that there was something off about me. Everything about the social world was confusing. Kids picked on me because I was unresponsive. I used to talk very seldom, not knowing how to respond to the things people said to me. Whenever I was approached, I always wanted to run away. I did not like being approached. I did not like being with people. All I wanted was a quiet, safe space where I knew that I would not be disturbed.
I did not understand why all kids in my middle school ignored me. Deep down inside, I wanted someone to listen and to appreciate me for who I am, even though I did not know how to approach people nor how to explain myself to people. I cried a lot. I remember trying to tell this one girl that another girl in my class was being mean to me, and I guess she was trying to be compassionate by saying, "yeah, she can be really mean sometimes" but then walked away with this fake grin.
I saw that other kids interacted with me differently then they've interacted with everyone else. I saw them being happy, and I wanted to be happy, too. So I searched for the answer. I read teen novels and tried to apply elements of the conversations from these books to real life, even though I loathed the process. I thought that once you get through that initial stage and spark people's interest in you, then they would be more open to a friendship. But whenever I tried to do it, it felt unnatural. I know that it came across as forced because I saw my classmates' reactions to me and compared them to the reactions of other people. But I had no clue how to break through.
I've talked to this girl back in middle school, and this is the part that upsets me the most. She saw that my body language was different and that I wasn't making eye contact, and she told me that she wanted to ask me whether I have Asperger's or not. But then she thought about it and decided that it was too strange to ask someone whether they have a neurological condition. I really, really wish she did, though. Who knows what would have happened if someone just had the guts to mention to me that one word? I would have definitely then asked what it is, and would have tried to inquire into it further. On the other hand, I tend to be not interested in anything that is outside of my narrow interest scope. However, it would have been lifesaving back then. If I had a chance to read more about myself back then, I would find a way to explain my meltdowns, and maybe even be able to control them the way I do now. I would have not been fired from my babysitting job if I disclosed and explained it properly. So what really irks me is... WHY DIDN'T ANYONE MENTION IT BACK THEN? When I was almost suspended back in Grade 8, the principal offered me to see a psychiatrist, but I refused because I simply did not want to spend time with a stranger. I was scared stiff of strangers, let alone having to sit with one in a room. I was also convinced that I did not have anything that would be considered to be a psychiatric condition. And people did not try to convince me. In fact, most people wanted to have nothing to do with me, because I complained a lot due to having to go through so much bullying and teasing every single day of my life.
As I was sitting there today, trying to take part in the conversation of my two past classmates for a fraction of the time I was out for coffee with that girl, I've realized how much I've changed as a result of learning about my condition. I am no longer ashamed of who I am. I used to hide the real me, and it made me unhappy because I was convinced that if I brought up my obsessions and my real likes/dislikes, people would decide that I am even more strange than they thought and as a result, they would tease me even more. Now, as I reflect back upon my past, I believe that if I let the real me flourish, I would be more respected by my teachers and even my classmates. On the other hand, I needed more knowledge and more experience to become the person I am now. I've learned a lot about how people think and how I think, and through interaction with others, I have been able to take on a more mature, well-articulated, and confident image. This experience would have been unaccessible to me, however, without knowing about my condition. Even though several of my friends are non-autistic, I've met them indirectly as a result of trying to meet more people on the spectrum. Moreover, we never became close friends until I've told them about my condition.
I truly believe that I wouldn't be where I am today without this awareness. I am very open about myself, my condition, and my real identity nowadays, and it's something that has not backfired on me even once. When I tell others, it really helps them understand where I'm coming from. As a result, they start seeing me in a more positive light. I find that I say something wrong more often than I say something right, and people frequently think I'm rude until I explain to them why I acted that way and that I did not mean to do it at all. I don't know how people can cope without disclosure, because for me, it's the only way to get through to people.
In the past, I used to hide the fact that I enjoyed talking to adults. I didn't want people to know that I have specific interests, and that I like to learn about them in my spare time. I think that people could see through me, nevertheless. I remember being told that I'm a "geek". Someone once asked me, "where are your emotions?". Just this year, I've overheard my classmates in one of my classes say, "MathGirl always has this grim expression on her face". No matter how much I try to smile, I can't do it all the time. No matter how much I try to be nice and polite, I will still end up saying something rude unintentionally. I had no awareness of that back then, though. I thought that only if I worked a little harder, I would manage to be like everyone else. I tried to be as normal as possible. Not talking to adults, not reading my books, not being silly in my own way, not doing any excessive fidgeting. I was like a social scientist, observing people's behaviour and contrasting it with my own, trying to find a set of general social guidelines and trying to adjust myself to them. But it didn't do me any good. I was working hard, I was getting good grades, but I wasn't happy.
Now that I've found that happiness, I can't get enough of it. I used to think that I wouldn't be able to relate to anybody, like other people were from a completely different universe. I thought, if I could find someone on the same level as me, I would be happy. I was dreaming, imagining someone there by my side with whom the sharing would feel natural and uninhibited. In my mind, it was a boy, because I've always felt closer to boys as opposed to girls. I remember listening to the song "We're Going To Be Friends" by The White Stripes, the lyrics of which went along with the person I've imagined as my friend – someone who would walk with me, and wouldn't mind even being silent, being content just to be by my side. I watched "Napoleon Dynamite", which is supposed to be funny, but it made me feel bad because I could relate to the main character so much.
I've finally found these people, and it's so refreshing to be able to finally be myself after 18 long years. Now that high school is over, I wish I were able to show my classmates the unique me. I wish I were able to appreciate myself like this back then. Now, when I share my experiences with other people on the spectrum and they can relate, it makes me so happy. That's why I am often eager to share bits of myself – it is really because I just want to hear that confirmation. Even though I know now that I'm not alone, whenever I get that reassurance that nothing is wrong with being the way I am, I feel so happy that it's hard to describe.
I'm crying again, stronger than before. I just can't believe that I've finally found that happiness. If I knew it back then, I would have never tried to attempt suicide. I wouldn't have wasted so many hours wondering who I am and where do I truly belong.
This feeling breaks my heart. It's undescribable.
posted at 07:47 pm on 05-23-2010
I've been scouring through my old documents and have found this brilliant intro to a diary I wanted to write. I've never kept a diary, but at that point, I wanted to get myself to start one. This was probably 3 years ago. Here is the entry:
I have come to realize that I absolutely do not need any friends. It is absolutely useless to spend hours on the phone, on writing e-mails, days spent hanging out together, and they really do not give me any advantages for my future path. However, no one can survive being completely alone. There is one single person in the world who shall become part of my life. A man. One who is not yet aware of his destiny, he who I have yet to meet. Here, I shall record everything I ecounter during my journey - a journey to find my perfect man, a soulmate for life.
I am at the point of my life where I have gathered all the pieces. Now, everything is becoming clear as I am assembling those pieces, pieces sent to me by the deity which is watching over me. This will allow me to foresee my future, and following these predictions, I shall make my decisions accordingly to ensure that this time, the victory would be mine. Everything I have come to predict will be recorded here, in the diary of dreams. Nothing shall intervene with the messages that continue to be sent to me through these foreshadowing dreams.
This diary shall remain private, untouched by the eyes of human and spirit alike. It is meant to guide its owner to the ultimate conclusion of her life. It is merely a log, a planner to help its owner keep track of life to ensure that she comes out as a superior, unmatched and unbeatable, since she had already been predestined for victory at young age. She is the chosen one, and this diary had been chosen for her.
It is not yours to comprehend, not for your mind to grasp. Everything you happen to see beyond this page shall evaporate from your mind immediately.
If this diary does not belong to you, please abandon it and return to your work immediately. You are better off writing your own diary, as everyone's life is unique and whatever will work for this diary's owner may not work for you. There are also no perfect writers, and even though this diary's writer is a genius, your attempts to conduct your own work in her style will not bring you the results which you yourself are naturally capable of. So please refrain from reading this diary, as it will truly not do you much good.
Perspectives on Asperger
posted at 09:19 pm on 04-09-2010
I have decided to make a list of different threads about Asperger's I've found on various forums. There are some interesting perspectives on some of them that are distinct from the threads I've seen on forums dedicated to Asperger's.
While there is some debate over whether Asperger's is just a personality trait, for people who actually have Asperger's, it's not. It's all a matter of the severity of the symptoms. One might find that they identify with a lot of the symptoms, but they don't have the more severe symptoms such as meltdowns and executive dysfunction. People with AS would also have childhood development patterns that would mimic autistic traits. When a child does not understand what to say at the right time, what kind of behaviour is acceptable, and also has a very rigid gait as well as the evidence of sensory problems and obsessive behaviour, that would signify AS. I think that often moms see something that is a little off about their child and become really worried, so they take their child to the psychiatrist. The psychiatrist would be compelled to give the child a diagnosis that suits them the best because if a parent brought their child to them, it would already mean that the child is having significant problems. There's also the issue of money. I've heard that psychiatrists actually get paid more if they diagnose their patient with something, as opposed to nothing.
But speaking of adult self diagnosis, it's also not accurate, in my opinion, unless the adult makes a decision that they have it and then ask some people who know them very well if they've observed something different about them. If they know what AS is, that's even better, because then they might be able to pinpoint specific things about you that they've observed that seem like symptoms of AS. But if you know many people and you might choose to tell a few of them that you think you have it and they say that you don't have it, especially if they're teachers or counsellors who have known you and observed you for many years, that should be an indicator of a possible need to reconsider.
Even if you're diagnosed, although misdiagnosis is rare, if you really don't feel like you identify with people with AS as well as with neurotypicals, I think that signifies a possibility of misdiagnosis. I remember having a conversation on the phone with another man with AS a while ago, and I remember this exact phrase that he said: "because if you feel like you identify with neurotypicals more, that would be a very curious case". I don't support the idea that people with AS necessarily like each other better, but from my experience, they find it more natural to get along with each other.
And one more thing. Before one self diagnoses with AS, they should consider they feel that it is appropriate for them to consider themselves autistic. I think that even on some level, even the most high functioning individual with AS would find something that they can relate to in the most low functioning autistic individual. I don't like using this high functioning/low functioning distinction, but here I've used it just for the sake of comparison. And, although the online questionnaires can be helpful when working towards trying to understand whether you have AS or not, they aren't always reliable. The best advice I could give to someone who's trying to see whether they have it or not is to meet other people with AS, and see whether they can identify. I read the descriptions of ADHD online and thought I've identified, until I've met some people with it. I felt completely out of place around them.
Aspie Supremacy: My View
posted at 09:59 pm on 03-23-2010
I used to be a huge aspie supremacist last summer. Now, I look back, and I'm terribly ashamed of myself. I used to be passionate about making some kind of community full of aspies, or even an island. In fact, I was obsessed with it. Truth to be told, the only reason behind that motive was the novelty of discovering people who are a little bit more like me. I did not meet that many aspies back then, so I thought that they were all going to be happier of living together instead of living in a world full of NTs. I've had this adrenaline rush throughout the summer simply because I've finally found people who have had similar problems to mine. I've suffered a rejection I'll never forget. However, I've also finally managed to meet a few groups of AS/autistic people who have helped me to open my eyes and to discover that my black and white thinking has made me have unrealistic dreams.
Most people in the AS community are indeed easier to communicate with than anyone else I've ever met before I knew about AS. With the exception of that one guy at school, who I clinged to (again, I was so excited about getting to know people with AS that I've shown myself to him in a completely wrong light). As a result, he rejected me pretty hard. He was one of those people who does not say much about how he feels about someone, until the feelings go WAY overboard. With someone who is very energetic and talkative but absolutely cannot read nonverbal cues, these kinds of people can be very risky. Luckily, I haven't met another aspie like that, and I've met around 15 people who clearly have Asperger's so far. And I'm not counting other people on the spectrum I've also met.
Anyway, back to the aspie supremacy issue. I regret having this obsession now because it's simply not practical. People on the autistic spectrum are needed among NTs to do certain jobs that NTs cannot tackle. Although many autistic people cannot find jobs, many are successfully employed and are thus playing their part in the community. Moreover, aspies don't always get along. Unless they have a common interest, they are likely to just become extremely annoyed with each other. I've realized that it's not so simple, not so black and white. In fact, the Asperger's community is the most diverse community I've ever come across. This makes perfect sense. If you draw an outline of a small circle and call it the boundary between autistic and neurotypical, there will be more possible places to put a dot inside the circle rather than outside.
Another reason why it would be difficult for people with Asperger's to work together is because they would expect each other to know what they're thinking, while being almost incapable of reading other people. An NT can read an aspie. Thus, there is at least a one-way road. When two people with Asperger's get together and it doesn't come naturally to explain themselves to either of them, they are pretty much stuck. It then all boils down to talking about special interests. And if they don't have that in common, then they're completely and hopelessly stuck.
I've come to a conclusion that the best place for someone with Asperger's to find acceptance would be at a common interest group. Be it a movie discussion group, LAN parties, anime conventions, or anything similar. For those with more esoteric interests, it would definitely be harder to find a group like that. But there are no perfect solutions. In addition, on the Internet, one can find a special interest group for virtually anything. This could also open up the opportunity to meet someone with your interest locally.
Another reason why aspie supremacy is dumb is because it's silly to be proud of having a condition. Why isn't there an ADHD pride movement, or a schizophrenia pride movement? People with ADHD also have some admirable qualities. They often are very creative and can make good performers. Visual artists with schizophrenia often produce artwork that has a very unusual, stunning quality to it. Except for the symptoms, of course, I don't see how Asperger's differs from any other condition. All conditions have their positives as well as their negatives. I see the point in gay pride as being gay is not something that can be considered a disability. I also don't agree with people saying that Asperger's is not a disability, because it is. If the world was entirely composed of people with Asperger's, it would be very difficult for people to communicate with each other on a large-scale basis. The more high-functioning people would be better at it, yes, but there is a lower-functioning aspie population, too, that can barely reciprocate in a conversation. I'm stuck somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. Sometimes I, too, need someone to be able to read me and to thus help me convey something that may be very difficult for me to express to someone else. I'm constantly misinterpreted because of the awkward way I word my thoughts. Plus, there are sensory processing issues, and delays in processing what someone else is saying to me. So, while the vision of a perfect world with mutual understanding and acceptance is certainly marvelous, it is merely an illusion.
When it comes to evolution, people with Asperger's are most likely not the superior race. It's merely a mutation in the gene pool, along with any other possible mutations (look at other neurological/mental disorders out there, many of them likely have a huge genetic component). The reason why autism is on the rise is because doctors have become better at recognizing signs of autism. People with Asperger's, in the past, were commonly diagnosed as having Bipolar or ADHD. With a misdiagnosis, being given meds for these conditions would have disastrous results. I know a few people who went through hell because of that. But going back to the issue of evolution. Not being socially able is not a favourable trait to have, given that animals communicate nonverbally for the most part, as well. Plus, if anything, humans have become MORE sociable. The society places much more value on social competence today than it did 50 years ago. People with Asperger's or high functioning autism have simply become more conspicuous today because of changing social values. That's all there is to it.
Why I Do Not Watch Television
posted at 01:26 am on 03-23-2010
When people around me start talking about TV shows, I become extremely annoyed. I absolutely cannot concentrate when watching television, unless it's something that has to do with my special interest. Now, I can concentrate on reading stuff that's not about my special interest. Not for a very long time, but much longer than I could concentrate on watching television. The reason why I'm so bored with television is because it's bland. It's predictable. There aren't many possibilities.
In my mind, I can conjure up anything. I could close my eyes and imagine myself on the beach. I can imagine a scene at a party. I could go anyplace I've ever seen in a picture or in a video clip, let alone places I've been to throughout my life. The latter are even more enjoyable to recall, as I have special associations tied in with each of my memories. I enjoy recalling things from the past and making connections to my present, as well as to my possible future. I can speculate what will happen in the future. Or, I can go to the secret place in my mind that makes me happy. A retreat for the soul.
I don't understand why people enjoy watching television. I was into anime for a while because it often has very unusual storylines and is often graphically vivid. Plus, in anime, anything could happen. It's very much based on the imagination of the director because animation allows for a lot of freedom. You could argue that any cartoon is like that, but I've found some anime to be much more imaginative than any American cartoon. Plus, from anime, one could learn a lot about Japanese history and Japanese culture, which I find very fascinating. I have also found that I could often relate to anime characters very well, as they are often very realistic, multidimensional, and sometimes are even depicted as having very complex emotions and intentions. But again, there are very few good anime shows. You have to really look for them. When it comes to American shows, or any conventional TV shows and cartoons for that matter, the characters are often based on simple stereotypes. The storylines of these shows are also very banal. No wonder so many people are drawn to shallow reality shows - they require the least thinking.
All in all, I'd rather lie down, close my eyes, and retreat into my head than watch television. Or, I could read a book. Because text leaves much up to your imagination, unlike a TV screen.
Lost in Asperger World
posted at 07:52 pm on 03-19-2010
Randomly found this and felt like posting it. Feel free to claim it if it's yours.
Lost in Asperger's world
Standing in the dark, trying to understand what left me here.
One morning I woke up, the world was....different, I was no longer me, I was just a machine with feelings I couldn't control.
By Michael Hastrup Bendsen
posted at 03:18 am on 03-18-2010
This is a speech I will present at Toastmasters this weekend. The syntax is not perfect since it is meant to be spoken and not written. I hope you don't have too much trouble reading it.
I've edited it a little since first posting it.
If the word "autism" is mentioned, what do you imagine? < br/>
Most people will imagine someone who cannot talk. Someone who constantly rocks back and forth all the time. Someone who is mentally retarded. Or it may be someone like Rain Man, with savant abilities.< br/>
The truth is, these are all stereotypes. Autism is not a single disorder with clearly defined symptoms. It is a spectrum disorder where a certain number of criteria have to be met in order to be classified as autistic.< br/>
This continuum goes from Asperger's disorder on the milder end to severe autism on the other end. Other diagnoses along the spectrum include Rett's Disorder and Childhood Disintegrative disorder. All these diagnoses are united by three core impairments: Communication, Repetitive Behaviours, and Social impairment. < br/>
Despite these negative aspects of being autistic, people on the spectrum often have special talents. They may also become experts in their field and achieve public recognition. They may succeed at academic studies and even be excellent public speakers. < br/>
I personally know a high functioning autistic at my school who has achieved a 97 percent average. He also won a French language public speaking contest at my school. But you may ask, how is he then autistic? Aren't all autistics, after all, mentally retarded?< br/>
The answer is plain and simple: NO. In today's society, social skills are considered to be superior to professional skills. High functioning autistics have brain wiring that grants them a different way of thinking that gives them power to solve problems in a way that a non autistic cannot. One of such characteristics is exquisite attention to detail. But a gain in one domain does not come without the loss in another. This unique mindset comes at the cost of the abilities to interact with people well and to adequately process sensory input. < br/>
As a high functioning autistic adult grows up, they learn to develop ways to adapt to their communication problems. Autistics also tend to be good at mimicking people. You may have met somebody with an autism spectrum disorder without realizing anything other than the fact that they were a little socially awkward. < br/>
Each of you in this group has already met at least two people who are on the autistic spectrum. How do I know? Because there are two people on the spectrum who are in this group. I am one of them. I have been diagnosed with infantile autism at the age of 4 back in my home country. I was then recently re assessed and re diagnosed as Asperger's. The impact of it on my life has been tremendous. I have almost been suspended from school twice due to having sensory induced emotional breakdowns at school. I've also never been able to emotionally bond to a person. Thus, friendships can be extremely difficult for me to maintain. I also have very specific abilities, but have worked very hard at bridging the gaps between them in order to succeed academically.< br/>
I've met autistic people in all shapes and sizes. They can be introverted or extroverted, hardworking or lazy, and strongly opinionated or passive. There are some autistic savants out there, but they only constitute about 30 percent of the total autistic population. So, the Rain man stereotype is not true for the most part.< br/>
Some people argue that being autistic does not mean disabled, but "differently abled". Because if most of the world's population was autistic and you, the non autistic individual, were in the minority, then you might very well be considered as disabled.< br/>
Taking Action in the Community
posted at 09:49 pm on 03-10-2010
I used to spend reasonable amounts on my time on this forum, and in order to get to know how my condition affects me better, I have been more and more actively involved with other people on the spectrum in my community. Now, lately, I've been having this thought: what am I doing here, spending hours, reading and typing silly messages, when there is such a big mess in the way that autistics are being treated in my community? I doubt as much can be done online compared to in person, and being capable of going out there and talking to people, what prevents me from doing so? Many people on the spectrum who are my age are not aware of the dangerous reality that is ahead of them. That only about 15 percent of those on the spectrum are currently employed is a disturbing fact. I know one high functioning autistic who's lived for two years. I also know an aspie social worker who was denied a certificate in her CBT studies because she was incapable of expressing herself in the way that the course demanded of her. I got her message earlier today, and I was appalled. She actually met Kevin Stoddart in person (the guy who edited the book Youth and Adults with Asperger Syndrome). She spoke to him about this. He told her that they shouldn't have done this, but other than that, there's nothing he could do about the situation. Now, me and this person are both interested in self advocacy. The problem is that we need a neurotypical on our side to help convey the message to the neurotypical population, but who, at the same time, would be well aware of the way we think and the problems we are facing. I may be too young to have experienced any major problems, but I would like to see change before I emerge into a more independent life. I first need to figure out, though, how exactly we would find someone like that and how this should be planned out and organized. There is no ASAN here. Autism Ontario is supposed to be doing something, although I don't see much being done at all. A lot of people here still hold the belief that people with autism are only the nonverbal ones. Even with nonverbal autistics, the funds for their care are being cut by the government. Obviously, if any action is being taken, it is not effective enough.
Autism: Problems & Solutions
posted at 01:05 am on 02-10-2010
Autism: Problems & Solutions
While there are traits of autism that are beneficial, such as the ability to hyperfocus and the ability to think on a different tangent, some traits can be extremely incapacitating at times. It can be helpful to examine all of these problems and to formulate ways that can help you cope. The following suggestions are drawn from personal experiences only. Any opinions/suggestions are welcome; I would like to make this entry as helpful as possible.
Problem: Finding it difficult to switch from one task to another quickly. Therefore, some simple daily things, like cleaning up a room, cooking, or taking out the laundry, can take much longer than usual. You might find yourself getting stuck on something and unable to move on.
Solution: Break everything down into smaller steps, as even just thinking about doing something can be too overwhelming. I try to avoid being around people when performing these mundane tasks, because paying attention to both people and the task at hand at the same time causes me to be very clumsy and forgetful, which means that it takes even longer to accomplish whatever I have set out to do.
Sensory Overloads & Meltdowns
Problem: When you are surrounded by too many overwhelming sensory stimuli for a continuous period of time, you might eventually find it increasingly difficult to think clearly and to adequately process things around you. Too much disorder and unpredictability, both in the environment and in your disorganized thoughts, may cause you to either completely withdraw or to explode in a tantrum. A tantrum-like explosion usually happens with me if I've been sensorily overloaded already, but there is a sudden sensory input that is disturbing, like a touch or a strong smell. This stimulus then instantly triggers an outburst of uncontrolled emotions, followed by a period of almost complete inability to process anything new (with me, it's usually about one or two days). You might mistaken this for regular fatigue.
Solution: Regulate your environment as much as possible. Watch your behaviour in an overwhelming situation where you have to remain for a period of time, such as a crowded mall or a social gathering. Once you find yourself blanking out mentally, finding it difficult to process what is going on and finding your mind thinking in repetitive patterns about something that is outside of the situation, then go somewhere quiet and rest for a period of time. Bring something that either has something to do with your special interest, or reminds you of it, and occupy yourself with it while you're de-stressing.
Self-stimulation is helpful if you cannot escape the stressful environment. At this point, do not be concerned with how other people perceive you if you indulge in self-stimulating behaviours that may seem peculiar to others. Having a meltdown can be very devastating, and you should resort to any possible measures to prevent one from happening.
Problem: Tripping on things, dropping things, spilling stuff, bumping into things, and overall, a frequent occurrence of generally annoying and embarrassing situations that make life only harder. This can be caused by abnormal depth perception and a narrow focus on certain objects while not capturing the surroundings of that object.
Solution: Because these two features of autism make it harder to execute certain actions that require spatial perception, when you are thinking about something else while doing something, you are likely to do it way more inefficiently than if you were focusing on doing the actions directly. Therefore, trying to focus your attention on the particular things you are doing and nothing else should at least facilitate the process. Due to executive dysfunction, however, it can be difficult to do at all time. Establishing a routine helps, because, having a defined set of tasks to accomplish in a particular order every day will eventually make these transitions easier.
Problem: When under anxious tension, it is much more difficult to process things. Therefore, the above problems may arise. You may also notice yourself deviating from your routines, which in turn puts your mind into even greater disorder and may subsequently cause overload, a shutdown, or a meltdown. It is also much more difficult to learn things when you're too anxious.
Solution: If anxiety is caused by repetitive thoughts, such as thinking about the future or thinking through the events that have happened in the past, or even during the day, over and over again, then write down some of your thoughts. Some may be indescribable, but the point is to get rid of as many of these thoughts as possible. For example. I often tend to think about the conversations that I've had during the day and replay them, adding in some details that I may have mentioned. In order to stop these thoughts, I write down the things that I wanted to mention in the conversation but didn't have the chance to. Another solution might be to Google something that you wanted to insert into a conversation, especially if it was a question that you wanted to ask.
Problem: There is nothing wrong with self-stimulating behaviours, even with doing them in public, but when this evolves into potentially harmful behaviours like head-banging, hitting oneself, and cutting oneself, measures must be taken to control these impulses.
Solution: Get something you can punch and throw around as much as you want. Using weighted objects also helps, as well as vigorous non-harmful self-stimulating behaviours. Resorting to pain is a way to gain more sensory awareness of their body; an alternative to that would be either pressure or wrapping oneself in blankets so that you can feel every part of your body in space.
You can certainly combine two or more of these factors to produce better results.
I haven't been able to completely cope with these problems. However, these techniques have significantly improved my level of functioning over the years. I have spent ample time researching ways to prevent myself from having these problems long before I knew about AS/Autism.
To be continued...