Autism and toxic friendships and relationships

YennPurkis

This week I said goodbye to a friend I had known for a long time. I sent her a message explaining why I needed to distance myself and was blocking her. It was a very hard thing to do but it had become apparent that our relationship was not based on mutual respect and that she had become a toxic presence in my life. I did not do this lightly but it got to a point of no return. I won’t go into detail because this post isn’t really about my friendship. It is about understanding, identifying and managing toxic friendships and relationships for autistic people generally.

Autistic people can have significant challenges around managing toxic friendships. A friendship may start out toxic or become that way over time. For people who may be isolated and lonely, the offer of friendship can be a welcome thing and it may be…

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Welcoming Accessibility

This! This would make it so much easier to go out into the world…

Autism and Expectations

I am aware of my autism. Sounds are grating, they twang through my ears like over-extended elastic bands, and I wait for them to snap and hit me.

I have things to plan, and I am putting off planning them so that I don’t miss out on what is actually happening now. I don’t want to spend my time in a continuous cycle of minute detail, data analysis, and variable controlling, instead of living.

People are aware of my autism, I have had two such examples of adjustments given to me in the past week. Both were thorough and thoughtful and considered, one was unsought.

Can you guess which weighed less heavily upon me? There is something about listing your deficits to strangers, that is unsurprisingly horrible.

I hate having to say that I find things hard, I hate having to point out what I need to make things easier…

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The Dark Side of the Stim: Self-injury and Destructive Habits

This is really helpful to me

The Artism Spectrum

selfharmFULLIn my previous article, Stimming 101, I wrote about autistic stimming as a normal and healthy aspect of autistic identity. While this is most often the case, I want to follow up with a slightly different article, because not all stims are created equal.

Sometimes stimming is unhealthy or even dangerous.

Parents, caregivers, and autistic people all need tools to deal with these types of stims. We in the autistic advocacy community often paint all stimming as wonderful and healthy, leaving high and dry those who need help. So, let’s talk about the dark side of the stim.


The Dark Side

One of the most frequent questions I get from readers is what to do about unhealthy stimming. These requests come from both non-autistic caregivers and autistic people. A few typical examples include children who bang their heads against walls, teenagers who bite their fingers and nails until they…

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The very real anxiety of transitioning.

As a person who has always worried about being late and experiences anxiety of making a journey I found this post by Danielle spot on. It’s so so important not to dismiss a child’s anxiety…

The Autism & ADHD Diaries

When I was in primary school, my dad drove me to swimming lessons every Saturday morning. I loved my lessons, but the journey to the pool I absolutely did not love. In fact, it was the most stressful part of my week. Why? Because even at the age of 8 I suffered from anxiety. Anxiety that I would be late, that everyone would be staring at me as I walked in, that I would fall over and be laughed at in front of 30 or so people. My fear of being late still subconsciously grips me today. If you know me personally you will notice how I’m often early for pretty much everything. This is because although I do not fear being stared at or falling over in the same way, my habits to protect myself are completely ingrained in my every day behaviour. And believe me if I’m ever…

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‘Just keep away from them’ – Saying ‘NO’ to victim-blaming

YennPurkis

I give a lot of presentations about autism and resilience. Right after the slide about what resilience is, I always add one about what resilience is NOT. There is a reason for this. One of the first presentations I gave about autism and resilience was at a large conference in Queensland a few years ago. Many of the attendees were parents of autistic kids. My resilience talk was in the big theatre and I was on quite a high stage. The whole way through my talk I noticed a woman in the second row on my right. I could tell she wanted to ask a question. I expected her to interject – she clearly had something important to say. As soon as I finished speaking and it was time for questions her hand went straight up. I gestured to her to speak and told me she had enjoyed my presentation…

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More WP problems

Firstly, clicking on ‘like’ often takes me to a blank screen…

Secondly, everybody’s reblogging button has disappeared…

Apparently I’m not the only one with the reblog problem but I don’t know if anyone else has the like issue.

Just thought I’d let you know.

Tree down Art up

The decorations came down today. They went up early due to a visit from the grandchildren very early in December. Kind of sad to take them down but some normalcy is needed. The loom is now back in its normal spot rather than hiding behind the sofa.

So the art work is back on the wall where it lives happily until the Christmas tree 🎄comes out again.

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This is graphite and white acrylic on paper. Drawn/painted by me c. 2011. It was a complete break from what I had been doing and came about through working through angst that had started as anxiety because of what I had drawn underneath it.

Ok, so I guess you want to know more now I wrote that!

I had drawn a tree, a Moreton Bay Fig. This particular tree is growing in the Auckland Domain. It’s been there since I was a child. Move on a few years to when I was a young mum to my daughter, then five, and my son, aged two. Friends had collected us and taken us to the Domain. I had just left my first husband and was living in a women’s refuge with my children. My friends kept asking me questions and I ended up having a very public, very loud meltdown. It was horrendous. It was school holidays or a weekend because there were many families there sitting having picnics on the grass. I remember the stares. I was extremely distraught.

And my children witnessed it.

I love trees, especially Moreton Bay Figs so I started to draw one but I was overtaken by anxiety due to aforementioned reason. I threw paint at it, drew into it and became happy with my creation. Happy enough that I can live with it on my wall and don’t think about its past until, like now, I started to write the bit under the image above. (The trees in the image above are no particular species.)

I had no plans to tell you that. It just suddenly came up.

I use to feel embarrassed, humiliated, shameful… etc but I don’t now. I now know I’m autistic and I was pushed much too far at a very stressful and vulnerable point in my life.

Anyway, I’m fine now 🌹🌻🌼❤

And a Meltdown in a Pear Tree

Lol, certainly made me smile…

Stim the Line

Merry Christmas Everyone! Or for anyone that doesn’t celebrate Christmas, Happy Belated Hanukah,  late Solstice, early Kwanza, and a Very Happy December 25th!

I think no matter what you celebrate, The 12 Days of Christmas carol is probably something that you’ve heard. The math has been done, and to purchase all 12 days of gifts would cost you almost $35,000!

I’ve replace the drummers, pipers, lords and ladies, the maids, the swans, and the geese, the gold rings, the calling birds, French hens, turtle doves, and the partridge with things that are a little more relatable!

So I present to you-

The Twelve Days of Autism 

On the First day of Christmas, Autism gave to me, A meltdown in a pear tree

On the Second day of Christmas, Autism gave to me, two info-dumps, and a meltdown in a pear tree

On the Third day of Christmas, Autism gave to…

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Standing outside

It was the village carol service tonight. I find this event very difficult to deal with each year as I cannot tolerate the lights and noise in the church anymore. So I went over and peered through the windows hoping I wouldn’t be seen. It was rather strange behaviour!

So I feel sad.

I took some photos with my phone as the church looks very beautiful. The image quality is poor but I think it gives something worth sharing.

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