Autistic females often get blamed for being ‘too much’. I understand this as being dramatic, emotional and overthinking. I do understand it can be difficult for the environment to deal with this and I also wonder what can we do to minimise negative impact of those behaviours on others. I believe this is all due to the fact that we often don’t really know what is happening to us on social level and, as we are trying to understand it, we have to do the overthinking, but it makes us really stressed in the process. We can’t not overthink and just relax, because if we do that, we won’t make any progress.
It does seem to me that autistic males don’t react this way and I wonder why? I’d like to know a bit more about it but I don’t really have anyone to ask. John is not someone who’s eager to talk about his thought process, although I did notice he gets stressed a lot when he’s unable to buy new trousers or shoes and he can get into ‘too much’ mode because of that. But then, that is not really social situation, is it?
By social situation I mean things like being on a radio show, when I try to control my impulses, talk normally, and then leave and constantly analyse whether I did well enough. Things don’t add up because I kind of did ok, but even the idea that I had to control my impulses made me think that I did badly. It seems to me that if I was meant to be on the radio then my impulses would be supporting me, that my instinct would be suggesting all the right behaviours to me. So as I leave an internal battle starts: did I do well or was I hopeless? Or possibly I did well enough but deep in my soul I wanted it all to be different?
By analysing every single thing that I remember I make sense of my experience. But it is stressful. And I’m confused. Then I see that comment on Instagram that we shouldn’t be ‘shrinking’ ourselves for others and it totally changes my thinking. I am too much the entire time, but then no one knows, except of the people who read my blog.
So blogging is a therapeutic activity. And I noticed something really strange lately: whenever I am going through a certain mental state posting about it is what allows me to move on. Sometimes within a very short time, like a several minutes only after publishing a post I realise that the thinking process I described in that post was incorrect and I move on to another hypothesis.
But I can’t do that without making a post – it seems like my thoughts are stuck in my head if I don’t post about them. Yesterday I was really trying to avoid making those posts about how I buy dresses online, but just couldn’t move on without that. It seems like I create a certain habit for myself to follow, which forms part of my coping skills. It certainly helps me, but what would people think? They may think I am really not coping, while in fact this is how I cope.
I’m really tired today. It was a lot to take in. But I guess it’s good that at least I know that being in a public eye (or ear) may be difficult for me. Which is strange, really: I did say on the blog a few times that I find it difficult to imagine at times that people have any thoughts about me at all, I almost believe at times they do not exist. And yet, I’m worried about how I did on the radio show. Maybe because I still somehow believe that the collective is real?
I am also starting to ask myself the question if blogging and lived experience speaker career is what I want to pursue. I mean, certainly I can keep blogging, that’s for sure, but maybe I should just stick with that? It has been a year since I pretty much stopped working and I have a bit of money to keep me going for good few years, if I only work a couple of days a month so I could dedicate the rest of time to volunteering in the radio and similar activities. I used to think that will be loads of fun. But I’m not quite sure now. Some people are so opinionated, and that refers to us, autistic folks, as much as neurotypicals. The neurotypical narrative is ‘you don’t look autistic’ which I, personally, didn’t hear for quite a while but people still complain about it online. The autistic people narrative seems to be all about ableism and the fact that our lives would dramatically improve if we were only allowed to be who we are. I am not prepared to deal with that.
I almost miss my old, boring life.