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 🌹🌻🌼❤

Sensory Anxiety: Not your ordinary anxiety

Thank you to The Sensitive Giraffe for pointing her followers to this blog post. For some time I’ve thought a lot of my anxiety is different but couldn’t pin point how; this post goes a long way in explaining it and I feel it is pivotal in helping me understand myself. It’s brilliant!

The Sensitive Giraffe

I’m reblogging this from Eating Off Plastic.

I never considered my anxiety being different because of Sensory Processing Disorder. But after reading this, it makes a lot of sense. I think this also helps explain why repeatedly trying to face situations doesn’t always make it easier or less stressful. In many instances, the physical symptoms keep showing up with the same intensity.

This is probably a good explanation for why I’m jolted awake by my neighbor and experience the rapid heart beat. I mean, this has been going on for months. My body still isn’t adjusting to it. It still reacts as if this is the first time.

For those who don’t experience anxiety in this way, perhaps this post will offer some insight for why saying “just keep trying” doesn’t always help.

Before you dive in, a quick note. This article was written for the STAR Institute for…

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Close to tears

Yes that was me at lunch time today with Lovely Husband. It was about financial stuff so I’m not going into details. Don’t worry, we are ok.  The finance stuff is about what happens if LH dies first. This is so hard for me to write as it’s a fear that crops up everyday in my mind. And, you know, people, especially Brits, don’t like talking about money.

It’s all come down to what I think must be dyscalculia – something a bit like dyslexia but with numbers instead. I’m not diagnosed but as I’ve always struggled with math and talking about figures creates great anxiety as numbers fly around and don’t settle anywhere, it probably is dyscalculia. It does help if it’s visually represented, but only a little.

I read lots of blogs written by Actually Autistics but money isn’t or doesn’t seem to be discussed. I’m not a materialistic person. As long as I have a bit to spend on creativity and in the giving to others via what I create I’m contented. So this is not about being rich or poor.

As you can probably guess LH deals with everything financial and it’s mostly computer based – another terrifying prospect… things are great as long as it’s all working smoothly. Not all Aspie’s/Autie’s are computer geniuses.

So if LH dies first the only money immediately accessible will be that in a physical ‘go to the bank’ bank account. The rest, pensions and stuff is invisible to me. The computer, the temperamental computer, and people the other side of that cloud is like a terrifying forcefield that I can’t ever penetrate. And that’s aside from the grief – ‘that’ which cannot be thought about.

Do you know, I think it’s the thing at the top of the pile that makes me feel both extremely vulnerable and disabled. LH is trying to simplify things but that takes so much time and what if the most horrendous thing was to happen tomorrow. I shall have to depend on family to sort it out for me. The thought of that makes me feel so inadequate and embarrassed.

So maybe that’s enough for the moment. Maybe voicing this much might help. Maybe other autistics reading this struggle too? It would be of some help to know I am not alone.

 

Snowflakes can cause pain

Hello,

Snowflakes are lovely… mostly… I like real ones, and I like them knitted, crocheted, cut from folded paper, still photographs etc etc.

But…                                                                                                                                                                      I                                                                                                                                                                                      don’t                                                                                                                                                                                            like                                                                                                                                                                                     moving

snowflakes                                                                                                                                                                              across                                                                                                                                                                                         a                                                                                                                                                                screen                                                      of              text.

What we do with the appearance of our blogs is really up to each author; but if I follow your blog and you have chosen to have snow falling across your page I’m not going to be able to read your posts. I know that I could read via the other way – bright white background and wide width of text – but that too is problematic for me. So please don’t take it personally, but I won’t be able to hang around long enough to ‘like’ or write a comment.

I’m interested to know if this is an issue for other people?

I hesitated in writing this but thought best to be upfront about it.

With love, Tracey xxx 💙

Postscript: the column of words above were meant to be in a different space on each line but publishing has put them into a column. I have tried editing but the words stubbornly refuse to do as they are told. Tut tut… such naughtiness.

Postscript 2: I’ve edited again because what Jasper has to say in the comments is correct. It did sound like I was apologising for myself.

 

StitchFest 2017

I made it! I went to StitchFest in Totnes on Saturday 🙂

The whole week before I managed to squash any anxiety when it reared its ugly head. I did preparatory research so that I knew which stall holders to head for and made a list of what I wanted to look at. I knew that my time in the buildings would be limited due to sensory issues so preparation was key.

The one and a half hour journey down was ok for me. We managed to get parking at the school in the centre of town where one of the two venues was sited. I looked around that venue and decided to go back after I had seen the stalls in the town hall. This didn’t happen though but the intention was there.

I had an Auti moment when trying to find the town hall. They said town hall so I looked for town hall… It’s actually called the civic centre. In my head I was visualizing the words town hall so I was looking for that pattern of letters…oh well, I felt silly but nevermind, I was on a mission!

I was ever so excited 😁 that a blogger I follow was exhibiting there and I was going to get to meet her. Allow me to introduce you to Nikki of Dartmoor Yarn Company 🙂  It was already getting very busy but we were able to have a short conversation and shared a hug. Bekki’s stall was chocca full of her wonderful wares and creations. As I’ve been following Bekki  for a while I know how much work she has put into designing and printing her new pattern book “27 Knitted Santa Sacks”. You can see the little sacks hanging in the image below. They are so sweet. Also if you look by the pattern book you will spot larger sacks that are exactly the same as the little ones but knitted with a heavier gauged yarn. I can’t wait to work up some of these sacks for Christmas 🎄

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I wanted to take several photos as I had this blog post in mind but it wasn’t to be and this is the only photo I took… one small part of Bekki’s stall 🙂

There was a lot of yarn for sale, I was after fibre though. First I came to Fleece Witch who sells alpaca fibre from her own herd. I bought two plaits of space dyed alpaca/merino/silk blend and 200 grams of the most gorgeous silvery baby alpaca fibre.

I had hemp on my shopping list and I was pleased to find that Adelaide Walker had not only hemp sample packs but a number of other unusual fibres also. I was well and truly in yarny heaven!

I managed to stay for about 40 minutes before sensory overload drove me outside. I managed to text Lovely Husband to say I needed to go and also managed to get myself back to the car. I had never been to Totnes before and would have very much liked to wander around the town but that will have to wait for another day.

The drive home was difficult and the following day I was rather tearful. Today I’m good though so I’ve recuperated really well and quite quickly. It really helped that the event was exhibiting something I’m passionate about plus I have my little haul to gaze at 🙂 I started spinning one of the plaits today. I’ll show you progress on that in another post. In the meantime I’ll finish with four images of my ‘haul’ 🙂

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Aspie Moments #5: The Event

I relate to what is written in the following blog post quite closely.
I’ve been trying to analyze my anxieties… I’ve discovered that the anxiety before an event feels quite different to that experienced afterwards. Pre-event anxiety is somehow understandable and I can cope with it. I find rescue remedy and aconite help. Post-event anxiety is more elusive in finding understanding of it and is far more difficult to control. It coexists with forms of exhaustion, overwhelmedness, sensory overload and irritability. Nothing but quiet and rest will heal it.
Thank you so much for sharing this with us Little Sparrow 🙂

Counting the Ways

This weekend was the middle one of three in a row when I have to socialise and “do things” for long periods of time. Last weekend was probably the most stressful. It involved driving 200 miles to an unknown place, meeting up with 15 people, spending all Saturday afternoon and evening with them, staying overnight in a hotel, spending the Sunday with the group as well until I could finally get away at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I knew all the people, and they are very nice, but still it was very stressful. I survived with only a couple of wobbles (those little crying fits that I get instead of meltdowns). Fortunately I had Monday off work to recover. I needed it!

This weekend involved only one evening event. I was kind of observing myself as I went through it, so here is what went down:

I was…

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Ground Yourself when Anxiety Hits

I’m reblogging this for future reference plus I think many of you may appreciate this too. I have found grounding very helpful in the past but not something I’ve thought to do lately.

Discovering Your Happiness

We all know how terrible anxiety can feel. From the nauseous feeling before you give a presentation, to the panicky sensation when you have to try something new, to the overwhelming anxiety that incapacitates you.

Grounding is a simple but effective therapeutic technique that can help you when strong anxiety hits. You can use grounding when you feel like the anxiety is taking over, when you feel numb, like you are in a dream, lost in past events, or having an out-of-body or out-of-reality experience.

Grounding helps to bring a person back to the here and now, to realise that they are safe and in control of their reality and emotions. It helps a person to refocus and find calmness and strength in the present moment when they are highly anxious and emotional.

There are many different grounding techniques for anxiety and the following 5 ways are some of my…

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Public parenting and social anxiety

The description that Susanne quotes in this post fits so well…

(Sorce: The description is from here. )

Meanwhile, in the real world...

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I had been writing a post about how much I’ve been struggling with parenting in public – I sobbed myself to sleep over it on Saturday night and have felt miserable for the last few days. But then another blog I read made mention of social anxiety and the example they gave resonated with me, it was yet another “Oh me too!” moment. It also made me realise I didn’t really understand what social anxiety is, that there is more to it than I thought, and so I decided to do a little googling. The first internet hit had me literally saying “Bingo!”

People with social anxiety disorder usually experience significant emotional distress in the following situations:

  • Being introduced to other people
  • Being teased or criticised
  • Being the centre of attention
  • Being watched while doing something
  • Meeting people in authority (“important people”)
  • Most social encounters, especially with strangers
  • Going around…

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Realization

I’ve just read a blog post where the author was writing about bullying and social anxiety. Joel, I believe that is his name (I’ve lost the link), mentions that he experiences it even when out in the car; that he worries about what people will think of him if another car pulls up next to him. Also if his window is down and he’s playing music he will shut it in case he is judged for his choice of music.

The ‘penny dropped…

This is such a revelation to me. I feel so silly admitting to this but I now realize I have had social anxiety since I was about three years old. I thought it was only in the last few months. I’m 57 years old!! I feel silly because I didn’t recognize it as such until a few minutes ago.

I’m sure i clicked on follow so I’ll go search for the link…

Here it is 🙂

This is going to take some working through. I think another post may well come from this.