Here’s a stereotype that I’m sick of….

Disclaimer: this post is about my experience of Aspergers Syndrome, and is relative to my own experience. But I cannot take responsibility for any action taken as a result of reading this. 

I’m tired. Really I am. And not in the ‘physical sense’. I am SICK and tired of being stereotyped, based on my ASD.

Rainman isn’t the set standard for people on the spectrum, although it seems to have been perceived as such. What’s forgotten is how nuanced the spectrum can be. There’s a set perceived view point, and that’s how we all are, apparently. (I detest being stereotyped so much that I just had to put it into a post.)

I am also not a ‘math’s genius’.

And I am tired of being perceived as lacking in Empathy-there isn’t just one type, one set way of being so-as well as not caring, unemotional, etc. These are all based on assumptions, and although they are hallmarks of the spectrum, I feel it is unfair to characterise us all as being alike to what I just described.

Thank you for listening,

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I am pleased to announce that I am working with Basic Beauty Tools. If you go to their website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.

“What does it feel like to have Aspergers?”

“What does it feel like to have Aspergers?” 

It’s a question that I’ve been asked previously, and one that I’ve struggled to respond to. To have Aspergers is completely subjective, as it’s a condition that’s on a Spectrum; so what I may write in this post may differ from the experience of other people.

It feels isolating.

The amount of times just trying to talk to someone, but they have laughed at me, or made me feel uncomfortable, because of my lack of eye contact, flat voice, etc is something that I have lost count of. For years I did try to ‘fit in’ to whatever clique was dominating whatever school I was at; here’s a spoiler for you. It doesn’t work. I was the one who wanted to talk about politics, or to discuss Cold War history. That’s not what counts as ‘usual’ for a teenager, is it? 

It can feel lonely.

It seems like being in your own world at times, locked away, unable to communicate at the best of times. I don’t want to just sit, talking about boys, hair or make up. There has got to be more to life than this!

It feels as if I am winning, because of a special interest.

Special interests can be subjective to everyone; mine usually revolved around History and people. But it helped with what I would study, because there were so many links that I could make with what I already knew, meaning that I could get to grips with the subject more easily. And that is a good feeling, because I would otherwise struggle with a lot of subjects.

It feels like an unfair fight.

Because so many people do not understand. And I don’t understand so many things, because of the idea that I should inhabit a neurotypical world, rather than my own. It’s not helpful, and I’ve had to deal with this a lot. 

It feels like something gained, not something lost.

To be diagnosed with Aspergers was an end to a very long game; it was just so obvious to me that I was different from my classmates, therefore logically I thought of myself as being ‘on spectrum’. But knowledge gained is something good; I haven’t lost anything, and there’s nothing to loose. 

It feels as if I am NOT broken.

Because anyone with Aspergers or Autism does not need to be repaired. They are not broken, or at fault. Be supportive in this sense; to be autistic or on spectrum is NOT a travesty, or something to be mocked.

It can feel scary. 

Could we look at being on the spectrum as being something positive, just for once? Yes, it can be scary, because of places with a lot of people, unfiltered noise, etc. But there’s something powerful in it; we can specialise in a given topic, remember a lot of things, and create what we wish. This is something that is a strength, and maybe not something that somebody neurotypical has. Use it to your advantage. Hans Asperger described people on spectrum as being ‘Little professors’. And there should be no shame in that. 

Thank you for listening,

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I am pleased to announce that I am working with Basic Beauty Tools. If you go to their website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.

 

Here’s how I struggle with Asperger’s Syndrome…

For all of my posts about Asperger’s Syndrome, I haven’t really posted about what I struggle with, as a direct result of the condition. Because being positive matters, right? (Please don’t tell me otherwise.) But I wanted to post more than just a superficial impression, and what it is I struggle with most.

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People:

People. People! What more is there to say to that, really? ‘People’ is an interesting subject to me-and it’s why I write my column-but for me, it’s something I really do struggle with. I cannot tell how nuanced your emotions are, but what plays out on your face-they are blank to me. I also may not understand what you’re trying to tell me at times. And could you maybe not try and force eye contact with me? It’s really not something I’m great at, and it makes me feel uncomfortable. I also am not really a fan of ‘touching’-but I will come and ask for a hug if needed. I also don’t just want to talk about hair, boys, or make up. That’s not what I’m interested in. I would rather talk about Cold War history, politics, whatever person it is that I’m interviewing, etc.

Noise:

This is a funny one, considering I love music, review concerts for my blog and column, and adore Rock. But noise I don’t have control over has a detrimental affect-such as cutlery banging, polystyrene squeaking, metal scrapping, chairs falling, doors slamming suddenly, etc. Don’t call me out, saying that “it’s not noisy in here”. Because to me it is. And it has an affect-I can’t think, my thoughts when travelling to my mouth get jumbled, and it sometimes affects my balance. (Too much overstimulation over a long period of time means I find simple tasks hard, even just gripping things.)

Academia:

I’m lucky to have had help, but a classroom is an environment I find really difficult. If information is relayed too quickly by a teacher, I may miss some things. I can also misinterpret what they may say. And at younger institutions-such as Primary school-there was always so much talking. I can’t always pay attention to both.

Organisation:

Here’s something for you; I may be the most organised person in the room, when it comes to managing deadlines and other projects. But I’m really messy. And I find managing time a chore. Balancing this blog with my want to study has been a problem at times. And my bedroom always looks as if a bomb has hit it. But I’ll probably make whatever homework deadline there is.

Thank you for listening,

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I am pleased to announce that I am working with Basic Beauty Tools. If you go to their website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.

The Lebister Award.

Whew! good morning. You’ll probably think that today’s post is really self centred, pretentious, but Blog Awards are a great way for Bloggers to connect, hence why I’m writing this for today. I was nominated by Daniella, whose blog you can read by clicking here.  For this post, you have to:

  • Post eleven personal facts
  • Answer the 11 set questions
  • Nominate 11 bloggers with a further 11 questions, whilst tagging them.

Sounds easy, right? Here goes-and my eleven facts are:

1.I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome in January 2015. Although that seems a long time ago, it really is not, in taking into consideration how long it took me to get diagnosed. (Because, well, to be blunt, it’s really obvious. I was the ‘different one’, the ‘freak’ who was picked on at various times. How horrible.) But I see it as ‘my job’ to raise awareness-because why should anyone be picked on?

2.The last book I read was called The Spy, based on the life of Mata Hari.

3.My hero is Jacqueline Kennedy, because she was a well educated woman, and restored the White House, spoke several languages, and was a book editor for the last twenty years of her life. *I’m always asked about her style-but I like her substance.

4.I LOVE Rock music-Queen, Genesis, Dire Straits…

5.You’ll probably find me in a library, enamoured with a dozen or more books, looking for something to read. (Or maybe with my cat, also reading.)

6.The first record I bought was A Night At The Opera (Queen) in a shop, and Resurrection (Anastacia) online. Quite the contradiction!

7.Of all the people that I wish to interview, Brian May, Queen guitarist and all around really cool person, tops the top of my list. (RT this, and @ him, okay? Ha ha!) I did meet him once, and he seems like somebody who could tell you a good story or two.

8.Funnily enough, my first cohesive memory is of listening to Queen-You’re My Best Friend. (who said I was a fan girl?!!)

9.I love to talk about politics, having taken it as one of my three A levels. Whilst I know that it can be polarising-just look at Brexit!-I think that we have a duty to hold those in power to account, and to be well informed.

10.Feminist? Yes.

11. In spite of the fact that I juggle being a full time student, a blogger, and a columnist-meaning that I have to be VERY organised-I am a very messy person.

And now for the set questions from Daniella to answer! (Still with me?)

  • Why did you start blogging? I saw an article in Shout Magazine, which was a place I could take refugee in, being a lonely pre-teen. (Not a lot has changed.) It looked really cool-and a way to write-so, with the permission of my parents, I jumped in1
  • Who inspires you, not just in the blogging world but in life? Oh lummy, that’s a tough one. Jacqueline Kennedy is my hero, but I am also inspired by Anastacia (I created my own version of one of her outfits recently), Brian May for being just a really cool person, Caitlin Moran for the way she writes, Jodi Picoult for the way she writes and tackles issues, and Lesley Ann Jones, the lovely and supremely cool rock journalist and author.
  • What social media app do you find you use the most for your blogging? WordPress to write posts from, Twitter to post.
  • One thing you are most scared of in life? Dying? (Yeah, about that…) I do believe that there is a God-because there just must be more to life than this-but I don’t want to have wasted the time I have on Earth. Oh and the Tube. Too many people-it’s an ASD thing.
  • Do you prefer a night in with friends or a night out on the town? Depends on the mood I’m in. I prefer town because I can go down to Brighton, and get lost for hours. Everything exciting seems to happen there! But I love to host Netflix evenings.
  • What topics do you blog about most and why? Too many to count! Lifestyle encompasses a lot-so books and autism, I guess. I love books-and you can never be lonely with a book-and Autism, well to raise awareness. 
  • Do you find the blogging community supportive? Largely yes. I won’t elaborate as to the ‘no’.
  • If you were an animal, what would it be and why? Always a cat-I love cats!-and my nickname is the crazy cat lady. Apt, no?
  • What is your favourite genre of music? Rock.
  • What’s the bravest thing you’ve done in the past week or so? Probably talking to a lecturer with eye contact, and I managed not to feel anxious at all. (Eye contact is a hallmark for those on the spectrum.) I also can find it hard to interpret what they mean. And yes-I’m being neutral in case they are reading this. But they are such a good teacher-it’s just me being me 🙂 This is something that I find happens frequently, in that I cannot maintain eye contact, but it is something I am overcoming. 
  • Do you prefer savoury or sweet treats? SWEET!

The Eleven Bloggers I wish to tag:

Kimberly Jessica

Country Katie Uk

This Stuff Is Golden

Lisa Kallas

A Beautiful Caos

Freya Creech

Youralmostalice

Envy Fisher

Grace Brown

Blogger Badger (Emily)

Faz

And anyone else who wishes to do so!

My questions for you:

  1. How do you keep organised, in terms of a planner?
  2. Ice cream-yay or nay?
  3. Manicure or pedicure?
  4. Apple or Samsung?
  5. First album you bought?
  6. What motivated you and why to start blogging?
  7. Dream job as a child?
  8. Would you call yourself a feminist?
  9. Who is your role model?
  10. And hero?
  11. Pineapple on pizza-yes or no?

Until tomorrow,

Lydia

XO

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I am pleased to announce that I am working with Basic Beauty Tools. If you go to their website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.

My Perfect Boy: Part One. Guest Post By Lisa Kallas.

This is anbrave, personal guest post, written by Lisa Kallas at Sugar Loaf Dreamer. (Click here to view her blog.)

February 7, 1993: a date I cannot nor would want to forget. You see, this was the day my second child was born. A handsome blue eyed boy. I now had a perfect pair as he had a sister 22 months older. He looked so much like her it was uncanny. She had been a perfect baby and toddler and now she had a little brother to follow in her footsteps.

When I say perfect she really was as close as you could get. She slept through the night from 5 weeks old, only ever cried when she was hungry or sick and at the point her little brother was born she had never thrown a tantrum, not even a teenie, tiny one. But this was a boy, he would probably be a little different.

When he was taking a little longer to sleep through the night I put it down to he’s just a boy!! Looking back if I had a dollar for every time I uttered those words I would be living on an island somewhere by now!! He was also really fussy, fussy feeding, fussy playing, just damn fussy. Oh well, he’s just a boy, they’re different ….right?

He started to hit his milestones and even though I had read that boys are usually slower than girls he was right on par with his super quick, super smart sister. But something was just …..off. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was something. By this point he was just over 12 months old…..still not sleeping through the night. His behaviour was becoming a problem. For someone so small he was extremely strong both physically and strong willed. He was tearing apart the house and climbing….even on higher things that his older sister wouldn’t think of. He was physically hurting his big sister. He would get this look in his eyes that even though I loved and adored him…..it scared me too. He would stiffen and his eyes would glaze over; looking back now it was very frightening. Something had to give and my mum who up until then had remained quiet spoke up and agreed there was something not right. She had also noticed that he would rock back and forth at times. At first, being a musical family I just thought he was musical……then I realised that he was doing it whether there was music or not.

So I made an appointment and took him to our family Doctor, at this point he had not long turned 2, but he was causing absolute chaos in the family. My Doctor listened to me, watched him tear his office apart and told me there was nothing wrong with him and I just needed to be a little stricter with him.

So I took him home but certainly not feeling any more comfort than before. My mum suggested I take him to her Doctor as he has 4 sons, surely he would know if there was something wrong?  I agreed as I, by this point, was at my wits end. Long story short…..after being observed for 20 minutes I was told this was NOT normal and given a referral for a paediatrician. OK….now what?

So after a 2 month wait we finally had our date with the paediatrician. In the meantime I had been writing copious notes on sleep patterns, behaviours etc. The kindly, older Chinese origin paediatrician read through my notes quietly, at all times also observing my boy without it being obvious. He then re read through the Doctors referral. He then very quietly approached my son and engaged him in a couple of questions before leading him to the bed for some testing. Based on everything he knew from watching, reading and listening he was 90% sure my son had Hyperkenetisis…or in modern terms ADHD. Finally an answer, not one I wanted but at least it meant my boy wasn’t just the naughtiest kid in town. At that point I didn’t really know anything much about it and I certainly didn’t know anything about the Autistic Spectrum..Anyway, we were referred to one of our largest children’s hospitals for an assessment with a Child Behaviour Specialists ,which was a leader in the the field of ADHD. He confirmed the original diagnosis and at that point, being a mum that would do absolutely anything to help her son and her family, I agreed to trial him on some medication.

Medicating your child is a very personal decision and I butted heads with and lost a few friends over my choice but the positive results in him were outstanding. I had my son back, that was my main job as his mum. His improvement over all areas was outstanding….except sleep, we were now 3.5 and had never slept through the night..do you think I was tired? Just a tad!

We started kindy and for the most part fitted it, but something was still not right.

You need to remember I didn’t own a computer, let alone know what Google was, so all and any information I could gather came from pamphlets the Doctors would give me and books.

We went on a family holiday to America, my parents, my children and myself. I would go into every book store I saw and would come out with a new book. I remember my dad saying to me why do you keep buying another book? My hope was that there may be just a snippet of information in one that was different to the others that I could learn from.the medication on its own was not enough, there was more and I needed to fix it…..I was his mum and his advocate that was my job. My dad joked to one of his specialists that I had more books on the subject than he did, he said maybe I could lend them some. You see I would take both or one of my parents to every Doctors appointment with us as I was always given so much information, I couldn’t always remember it myself. So between us it was like putting the pieces of a jigsaw together every time we went home.

Through all of this and his increasing doses of medication something just wasn’t right. He would metabolise his meds very fast so we would have to split them as doses every couple of hours to sustain him instead of just morning and afternoon.

He was becoming angry and violent , still not sleeping, extremely fussy with his eating…..when he started primary school he was restless, and sad as it is for me to say still after all these years he was bullied terribly due to the fact he was different. Not just because he was different though, because the parents of the other kids were so damn ignorant! I’m not sure how ADHD is, or was portrayed in the media in other countries, but here in Australia these kids were almost shown to be the devil incarnate. They would only show the worst of the worst in behaviour and this in turn frightened people, in believing that they were demented and dangerous. Unfortunately like most behaviour disorders ADHD has a spectrum that runs from the mildly dreamy ADD child ( without hyperactivity) to ,yes, the very destructive, angry and malicious ADHD child. However this usually is because other co morbid conditions run with the worst of the worst.

Children learn what their parents teach them and all I am going to say is there were some horrible, uneducated parents out there at the time. The bullying continued for my son right through school from the age of 6 through to 16….10 years of hell. No wonder he came to me and begged to leave when he did…….of course I said yes, it was still my job to be his advocate and protector and at the the age he is now, which is 24…..I still am.

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I am pleased to announce that I am working with Basic Beauty Tools. If you go to their website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.

Autism is not the problem…

Good morning-

For this post, I wished to explain my view on something. This has come up in conversation recently-and to be honest, it did upset me, just a little bit.


“Autism is not a problem. It does not need to be cured. It does not need to be altered. It does not need to be edited, changed, improved upon.” Sounds a simple manifesto, almost a mantra, doesn’t it? It’s what I try to stick to, and talk about-be it through my blog, to if people ask me questions, etc.

Since being diagnosed in January 2015-seems a long time ago, doesn’t it?-there has been some mixed reactions. People are seemingly reluctant to be my friend anymore, in spite of the fact I haven’t changed, not really. For others, it slotted into place a puzzle that had finally been solved. To others, it ostensibly gave them the excuse, even apparent legitimacy (!) to be horrible to me. Others haven’t cared in the slightest-I’m still just plain Lydia to them.

I do struggle sometimes, I’ll freely admit it. I cannot read the emotions that anyone’s face plays out daily, neither can I read a social situation. I cannot make friends very easily. I do not keep a friendship very easily. People my own age are so hard to talk to at the best of times. My interests can be perceived as obsessive, boring, even dull and mundane. Other people sometimes do not know how to talk to me. I have problems with my environment-such as loud noises, some sensations, etc. Keep organised can be an issue. Eye contact doesn’t always work.

But I’m sick of having to see my Aspergers as ‘the problem’, ‘the hindrance’, ‘a trouble’, ‘weakness’.

Sometimes it seems that society isn’t as accepting-just some pockets, tiny areas. And I’m tired of having to care what they think about me. It’s moments when I’m told by people that they don’t care is when I feel happy, at peace almost, with my ASD. They accept me in spite of what others see as something terrible.

The problem is that Autism is seen as a weakness, when its hallmarks have the potential to give us better abilities, thus allowing us to achieve greater things.

(This is a paragraph merely meant to illustrate, not to boast, to prove my point.) By the age of eighteen, I have built this blog-which I regard as being something to be proud of, interviewed Anastacia, met Queen Extravaganza and interviewed them, seen Derren Brown give a book talk, spoken at Portcullis house, become a Columnist, made a front cover of my local magazine, met Brian May (he’s my hero!), and made friends along the way. I’m also still getting my qualifications also.

For anyone reading this who has been recently diagnosed, or thinks that they may be in the spectrum; please do not be afraid. Autism is not something scary, devilish, or to be feared. We should embrace it, use it as an advantage. We are capable of achieving far more than we can know, simply by utilising these traits that put us on the Doctor’s spectrum of people. We are people, and we care as much as anyone else. Hold your head up high, and tell yourself daily, “these are the people that are going to watch me run. I can do anything I wish, and I have nothing to loose”.

Lydia

XO

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I am pleased to announce that I am working with Basic Beauty Tools. If you go to their website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.

Let’s Have An Honest Chat About Aspergers Sydrome. (A note to fellow Aspergians like me…)

Let’s just have an honest chat, shall we? From the ‘aspergic’ blogger whose blog you’ve been reading, to you, the presumably neurotypical reader. (Or maybe you’re a fellow ‘Aspergian’-in that case, welcome! You are among friends here 😃)

Having Aspergers Sydrome is hard; over on Twitter, I saw one parent saying that her son refers to it as “my trouble”. The problem is that we are often in our own worlds-the comforting place inside our heads, where we can escape, almost. It’s the outside world that intrudes in, I feel-those sudden load noises, horrible sensations, and not understanding what your classmates are trying to convey. (Believe me, it is so difficult. And although I could probably count my friends on both hands, it is those that be deciphered that are scary.)

Questions are hard to interpret.

Conversation is hard to maintain.

Noise is hard to bare.

Sticking to the social code is hard.

And that’s just the beginning.

Aspergers is something complex, complicated, but at its core it’s caring; all the ‘aspergic’ people I have met are some of the most brilliant minds there are. They care in different ways for you. And they are so incredibly loyal. These are the people that I take strength from, and who this post is on tribute to. They are the best in human nature.

And if you’re reading this, as a fellow ‘Aspergian’, I want you to know that you aren’t as ‘bad’ as sometimes made out to be; you have so much potential, and the ability to move to a higher plane. Forget these so called popularity contests at schools-they don’t reflect the real world. Keep your friends close. And you’ll be fine 😁

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I am pleased to announce that I am working with Basic Beauty Tools. If you go to their website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.