As I am dictating this blog to my beloved siri in my phone. It’s 6:30am, although I’ve been up for a lot longer.
I’m sure you know that when your tired, the day seems to just drag by, and you may feel like you are wasting a day.
But the thing with God is he can use you at whatever place you are in and he’s defo doing this with tired, anxious little me this morning!
BUT… incase you have stopped reading because you don;t believe in God so feel like this isn’t relevant to you.
I’m here to tell you that this isn’t about your beliefs. It’s about the life-changing experience you can have my simply saying one or two words to the one above. Even if you don’t truly believe in him!
So anyways, besides that little disclaimer. Lets get into this little story!
As I am walking at 6:30am this morning. Whereby the farmers begin their day, I feel like ending mine as I am SOOOO TIRED!
So I am praying for for strength to get through the day!
As I was doing so, I looked at my beautiful dog in front of me and watched as he always looks back to make sure I was there, with those big happy eyes and a smile full of pure joy!
And even though his morning routine was disrupted, as he had to get up early and didn’t get breakfast.As well as anxiety leading me to be a bit impatient with him then normal. He continued to smile at me and trot ahead with his gorgeous little paws.
But this morning when he did this it didn’t feel like it did all the other times…
Because when my Jake looked back at me it was like God was reminding me that he goes before me and is always looking back at me to guide me the way. There’s a bible scripture that In Deuteronomy 31 (a chapter in the bible) that says ‘The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
When you feel like life is falling apart and you feel like nobody around you has the answers, know that there is someone above who does!
And yes you may be thinking, that there is no supernatural being who made me and this Earth. And that this is all just something to make people feel better about death!
Well even though that is true, for believing in Jesus gives us reassurance for the future, he also guides me to make rational decisions and gives me strength when I’m down! (SO BASICALLY HE IS THE ULTIMATE BEST FRIEND WE CAN HAVE)
And if you read this and still would love physical prove that God exists (so get why you would want prove). I’m here to tell you that…
-There is physical evidence that Jesus exists (documents etc)
-Peoples lives seem to transform one way or another when they accept Jesus
-Plus if you are a big believer in the Universe! That is probably because the creator of the universe has your back too!
-And many famous scientists in the world like Newton believed in God!
Plus there has probably been a time in your life when you have questions the purpose of living and why you are here. And wondered if there if God does exist!
TOUGH THOUGHTS RIGHT!
AND I’M HERE TO TELL YOU, YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE TO THINK THAT WAY ALONE!
That’s why I would really encourage going on an alpha course! Whereby those who are seeking life’s deeper questions get some answers! (You can find the nearest one near you, by just searching for local alpha courses online)
But anyway, I think what I’m trying to say is…Life can be tough!
And sometimes no matter how many amazing people you have around you or don’t have around you. You wish you had that never-changing, loyal friend that you can just dump everything on.
Well… Jesus is just that!
As he always has your back whether you believe in him or not. `Best of all no matter how anxious, fearful or depressed you feel! He is going before you and has a plan for you beyond imagination (Just like my dog showed me this morning!)
All you have to do is be kind, choose love and pray for help and guidance along the way. Even if you don’t feel it in your heart and watch him change your life for the better! xx
If you have any questions on faith, because faith is one of the most difficult but rewarding journeys you will ever experience! SO PLEASE don’t be afraid to ask! (I’m still learning too)
If you spend a lot of time in town, you would be guaranteed to see me at least once a week on my own , walking or skipping through the street with a pink sparkly water bottle and a book under my left arm Most likely walking from or to my favourite plant-based cafe with a huge smile on my face!.
And I know what your thinking…YOUR HAVING A DATE ON YOUR OWN?! You must’ve no friends!
And if you are thinking this, most likely many people agree with you. As I’ve had people stare at me weirdly whilst I sit at a table on my own, whether it be after school on a week day or getting a cup of tea before I start worship rehearsals at my church on a Friday night.
And yes there have been moments that I’ve agreed with you there! With everyone around you having a drink with their friends or family or doing work emails(apparently the only appropriate social situation to be on your own). You can feel a bit ‘different’ some times!
But then I have to tell myself, how would I feel if I was sitting around a group of people in a coffee shop?
I remember sitting in those groups with my ‘friends’ a few years ago,before getting diagnosed with autism. Feeling so socially drained all because girl world confused me so much! And to try and cope, I started imitating the girls around me, their tone of voice, the things they would talk about, and although it felt really uncomfortable to talk about and I didn’t feel like me at all!
At least I was fitting in right?
I’m sure you also have felt this way a few times if not everytime you meet people.
AND IT’S EXHAUSTING ISN’T IT?
Plus it probably annoys the heck out of you as it does me, because you know for a fact you are an amazing person, but why doesn’t that get reflected in social situations?
And this my friends is the art of MASKING!! For you have copied and are copying other people in order to appear ‘normal’ in society.
And yes, masking may feel good for a short time, because at the end the day you can celebrate for behaving like a normal human being and nobody looked at you with that ‘oh that was a weird thing to say’ face.
When you should really be congratulating yourself for being who you are, no matter what others think of you! (Of course thats an entirely different blog post but will save that for another time)
So…when you do see me walking down the street with a book, a pink sparkly water bottle and a pair of car keys. Know that people may look at me weirdly, but i just came from a fun car ride, whereby I sang my favourite songs! I probably smile and talked to a few strangers on the way. I’ve had a morning reading my bible, and am about to sit down with my favourite book whilst eating a yummy meal! Maybe I had an anxiety attack, maybe I’ve been feeling a bit off today, but because of God I find joy in every aspect of my life!
And ain’t no weird stare going to get in the way of that!
So if you do always feel so socially exhausted all the time, or when you hang out with certain people… whether you are…you know whats coming….AUTISTIC OR NOT, then why not spend a little bit of time on your own for a while and see what happens?
P.S Little disclaimer (as per usual): This does not mean i have no friends! I am incredibly blessed to have the friends I do have in my life. Who except that i shut down in social situations and sometimes pull out of plans last minute because of anxiety (sorry guys, I’m working on it)! But it took me four 5 years to get here!
If you feel like you only have friends who don’t understand your autism (or who you haven’t told yet because you are not sure how they are going to react). Then maybe this alone time will be the best possible thing for you!
Because I want you to experience the same joy I have within my ‘Me time’! Here are a couple of tips on how you can experience the same!
But before I get into that know that this has been a LOOONNNG JOURNEY FOR ME! So don’t think that by tomorrow, you will love your alone time if you are struggling with it at the moment! So don’t rush or punish yourself when you get it wrong! We are all a working progress so give yourself grace (For God already has!).
1.Don’t think ‘me time’ necessary means being on your own:Being on your own for long lengths of time isn’t a good thing. For it can easily get you into negative internal thinking, which as you can imagine…IS NOT GOOD! That’s why I usually take myself out to town or to a cafe, thereby I am able to watch people go about their lives, smiling, laughing, or anxious and pray for them! Whilst trying to make them feel hope with a passing smile or a little positive comment! Therefore I am interacting but still having alone time!
2.Turn that phone off: If you struggle with ‘me time’ and you get FOMO. Then please turn of your phone, not even that put your phone away! And enjoy the presence of the now. Your family, the book you are writing or reading and the dance party you are about to take part in after! Yes you may struggle your body and mind and feeling anxious without your phone, but that’s a negative power luring you back in! So stay strong take heart and DON’T PICK UP THAT PHONE. Don’t give yourself the opportunity to say yes to that party or send pics to that boy/girl who is giving you attention. Give yourself the attention, because that will never change!
3. Pray:I will say it now, as I will say it on every blog post and self-talk when I am stuck in a situation. We all have emotional baggage, maybe an inability to be ourselves, an inability to give up our friends even though they are draining us. Or an inability to leave the house, because your social anxiety is getting too much.
From being a girl who experienced this FOMO and always felt like I had no friends. God has answered my prayer within tears, happiness and a drunken mind. I’m telling you now…IT WORKS! It really does!He sees your worth and insecurity and he wants to help you. All you have to do is ask xx
So there you have it! I hope that this will make you feel less guilty and more worthy, because frankly- You are so so amazing, and you are going to have an impact in this world, even if you don’t feel like you are yet!
So breathe, bake, take yourself out of a date, listen to ‘Good thing by Zedd and Kehlani’ the ultimate empower song for solo time! And watch how life could just become that little bit more enjoyable!
Your value doesn’t decrease based on somebody’s ability to see your worth
You are probably looking at the title right now thinking, Phoebe how on earth am I a masterpiece,who is as delicious as a muffin! When I am constantly feeling anxious and down, I always get rejected by people and have been made fun of in the past. So really, I feel more like a rotten piece of garbage!
(Geez hope you breathed in that sentence because that was LOOONG!)
BUT I GET YOU GUYS AND GALS I GET YOU! But you should know that it is your limiting beliefs that are affecting your ability to see yourself for who you are (beautiful and unique)! This is why it is so important to know how to deal with these beliefs or to learn to tackle them in a way that is loving to yourself!
P.S If you are still a bit overwhelmed hold on, it will make more sense soon!
Another thing you might also be thinking is that what does this have to do with autism? (I know I’m a mind reader).
Well, one way in which limiting beliefs is affected in those on the spectrum particularly in girls, is through a thing called MASKING!
Which as we discussed in previous posts , we imitate others to fit in. This can be extremely emotionally exhausting for that means we are never truly ourselves. Possibly because we do not see our authentic selves as good enough to be able to fit into everyday society!
However you were never meant to fit in! Your beauty, flaws, and all the things that make you you! Is what has given you the ability to achieve something really special and unique to you in this life! However I don’t want to undermine any of these limiting beliefs that you have built over your life experiences!
BECAUSE MAN ARE THEY TOUGH and again is not your fault! I can tell you my limiting beliefs and feeling less then I have got in the way of my own life, as I have a fear of staying away from home for too long because I suddenly feel that I have to put a front on that I can’t relax! Maybe you are reading this, thinking that you do the same thing in a different situation
DISCLAIMER: These points count for EVERYONE, not just those on the spectrum! (Probably should have mentioned that)
Let me show you an example of this in everyday life in a little drama scene (For all my dramatic Queens and Kings…AND ACTION!
Ok ok, so I’ve got this event on later but i don’t know if i should go or not because they are not my typical group of friends, and oh no now I feel really anxious and shouldn’t go! Oh but what if I get FOMO! Ahhhh
Oh no…everybody is doing something I don’t want to do! I could join in but my stomach is already churning…Ahhh I bet to do it because I don’t want anybody to make fun of me or think I’m different!
Been there done that! And I get it, you think that in your situation it is better to do what everybody else is doing rather than live up to your amazing worth. Or you don’t feel like you will be yourself in a certain social setting, so you spend ages worrying about what you should do or reflecting on the situation!
But what these both have in common is that you are telling yourself , you are not good enough to live up to your worth and be yourself !
This feeling can be heartbreaking, tearful and depressing, which again shows how limiting beliefs can taste like a piece of rubbish sometimes!
BUT GUESS WHAT??
YOU CAN CHANGE THIS!
BUT HOW MIGHT YOU ASK?
By believing this…
You are who God says you are not what other people say you are!
Or if you are not a christian change God to someone who you know loves you unconditionally (but I’m telling you even if you don’t believe in God he believes you unconditionally anyway!)
In the book of Ephesians in the bible, God calls us masterpieces which is a definition of your self-worth. Whether you believe it or not…
THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE WORTHY OF! FOR YOU ARE UNIQUELY AND BEAUTIFULLY MADE FOR A SPECIAL PURPOSE IN MIND!
You might be thinking how am I worthy of being a masterpiece, when my mental health is a mess and I’ve done ‘bad’ things!
Well the word masterpiece is just that. You are pieces that have been put together to create something beautiful. So ok you may be a bit broken at the moment and your pieces are scattered everywhere. But slowly day by day, the pieces are being put together, you are healing from negative experiences and shame. And one day you are going to look back to see how far you have come!
However, what’s really interesting about this analogy, is that without the broken pieces you couldn’t have been made into a masterpiece.
Which means your worth now is seen as just as worthy back then. Amazing right! Well in other words you’re amazing!
On the other hand, if you still don’t believe that, here are some tips on how to put yourself back together!
Pray: I know a lot of you are reading this right now thinking you may not be christians or struggle to believe that there is an invisible being who created the world and looks after you on a daily basis! And man do I get you, which is why It has spent me 4 years to now be in a state of mind that God is 100% real and Jesus died for our sins! So trust the process,and know that God only wants you to speak to him, even if it’s just you saying ‘I need help’ and you’re not even sure if God is real yet! But TRUST ME! God has transformed my life in more ways than I could ever imagine,helping me forgive those who I thought I would never forgive and giving me the strength to say sorry when I’ve hurt someone else. Whilst always blessing me with great friendships, relationships and the small everyday miracles!AND GUESS WHAT THIS LEAD TO…AN IMPROVEMENT IN MY SELF-WORTH! AND HE CAN DO THE SAME IN YOUR LIFE TOO! All you gotta do is ask
2.Nutrition: I’m sure you are either groaning right now or saying you already do this and are tempted to skip to the next point! But HOLD ON!You might be surprised and get some good value from this point!As you already know, eating well can bring a lot of physical appearance such as energy levels, mood and physical appearance! But have you ever thought about the mental benefits of nutrition? For example, eating a colourful diet can result in improved hormonal balance, which in return will improve your mental health and cause less sudden moments of sadness if hormones are imbalanced! Furthermore, eating healthy always makes me feel like I am being my true self, without underlying tiredness, emotional roller coasters that can come from comfort eating or fad diets which has led me to be a more emotionally in control person! AND NO, healthy eating is not green salads with low calorie dressing (unless you like that, then a big round of applause for you!). It’s yummy smoothie bowls and sugar free desserts that honestly taste better than chocolate sometimes!All with a recipe you can find a quick search on google! And man does eating yummy foods that are good for you make you feel so freaking good! And your confidence and self-worth will skyrocket!
Of course, quick disclaimer! Your confidence will only skyrocket if you are eating healthy for the right reasons, so please please don’t let your motivation for eating healthy be instagram modals and calorie counting. For it means you are claiming your self-worth is built after you have achieved your ‘dream body’, Which isn’t the case at all because you will be a master price before and after you lose weight! So try and show that to how you see and in return treat your body!
3.exercise: To follow on from the last point, usually nutrition and exercise go hand in hand ( I know you are probably groaning again). But like nutrition, exercise doesn’t have to be a long run,or gym work. It could be a good old dance around your room, or a quick power walk in nature! And yes I do these on a daily basis, and yes you will get fitter and look more toned! But like nutrition, exercise helps you get rid of negative emotions and release endorphins. I remember once I was having a bad day,and had been feeling numb and the last thing I felt like was going for a run, but I decided todo it because I knew I would feel better after! Anyway as I was running I started crying my eyes out! And although this probably doesn’t sound like a good thing, exercise was helping me release suppressed feelings, thus making me feel better and more like the valuable QUEEN I am! Did people stare at me, yes. Was it worth it, heck YES!
So remember to do exercise and nutrition because you love yourself, not because you want to love yourself!
4.Cold water swims: Ok…this may seem bonkers, but on the days I don’t like to exercise and they days I do1 Cold water swims were the best thing I ever started doing! One, because the cold water instantly takes your thoughts away from the worry or sad thoughts you were having before! Plus they are sooo good for your bodyso whether its a cold, shower, bath or swim in the lake, sea or pool, trust me you will thank me later, just tale a deep breath and JUMP IN!
5.positive everyday habits; Exercise, nutrition, prayer and cold water swims are all everyday positive habits! But so is reading,planning your day, spending time with your hobbies and arranging a cup of tea with your dad everyday at 4pm (even if you live in the same household)! So make time to do one of these just 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes before bed everyday, even on the weekend! You wouldn’t believe what this has done in my life and can help one grow into the person they were meant to be! So start small, maybe read a book when you wake up and make a list of things you are grateful for before bed! Without even realising it, you will grow in self-worth and understanding!
If you have made it this far, thank you! And I hope you gained some valuable insight into what an amazing Masterpiece you really are! And that you should aim to live up to this worthy calling Gdd hintended for you! Hope you guys didn’t mind the slightly longer posts today, accidentally deleted the first one, so hoping this one was slightly less wordy 9or atleast better worded!
Catch you all next week, and thank you so so much for reading and catch you all next week!
Ok ok let’s be honest, we all struggle with relationships because love is one of the most confusing, strong, weirdest but also most amazing emotion we have in my opinion!
Now I by no means want to talk about relationships (trust me if you hear about mine you would know I’m not an expert ;)). However, I can tell you a bit from my own experience (with the help of some valuable research) and what it is like to be In a relationship and have autism.
I remember when I was researching for an extended essay on autism, I listened to a podcast. One of the speakers said that she would imitate her peers in order to seem ‘normal’ , before she found out she was diagnosed with autism. When I first heard this I thought that imitation was just an autism thing, but don’t we all at one point or another copy what others are doing just to fit in? I’m definitely guilty of thinking that, because to me, relationships were like a fairytale! Watching rom com after rom com, and enjoying Disney movie marathons as a child (and to this day but we don’t talk about that :)). Love became like this perfect ideal reward that is where our life begins but it’s NOT!
On the other hand, you may find that relationships are more like a necessity, because everyone around you is in a relationship. Therefore, you may feel that you need to copy everyone and be in a relationship just to fit in or feel less lonely.
AND I SOOO GET YOU!
I’ve always felt that if I was in a relationship, people wouldn’t notice my autism, and maybe i could even persuade myself that I wasn’t autistic. Of course, this was before I understood what an amazing and beautiful thing autism is and I know now that when i do enter a committed relationship. Yes parts of it are going to be difficult, butI also know that I will be honest, say things how they are and NEVER EVER leave a conflict unresolved!
Because people with autism tend to not have no filter and so say it how it is! Which makes me proud to be autistic!
Anyways, sorry for the tangent!
But just a little disclaimer, I by no means am trying to say that being in a relationship means that you are deeply insecure or trying to ‘fit in’, because without love. I wouldn’t be here today and neither would you!
So if you are in a good relationship autistic or not,then I really truly am glad! But one lesson that I’m sure you have learnt is that love is not a fairytale. There are tough conversations, arguments that you choose to fight for or choose to let go of, let alone doing all this while you have autism and you don’t completely understand social interaction that well (Phew that was exhausting even to write let alone do)!
As you can see…it’s tough and so here are a couple of tips to get you through it!
1.Let the other person know you have autism: I know this has always been a difficult one for me, and to this day I struggle with it! But what we all got to remember is that being on the spectrum is apart of who we are! The good bits and the bad bits! And don’t you want your date/partner to know who you are? Thought so! and you never know,if they are kind caring people they may start researching autism to understand you more! And if they do, then they are really special!
2.Ask Questions: I know this may be difficult as you may be unsure what to ask or when is the best time to speak! But your date will really appreciate it, and although it’s great for them to learn about you! It’s equally important for you to learn about them, as then you can see if a future for you lies ahead.
3.Dress well: I know I know, being in a par of tracksuits and an oversized jumper or your usual outfit everyday is really really comfortable, and everything else is second best! However it is important that the other person knows you care about them, and i know dressing may not be your way of showing it, it’s a start! I’m not saying you have to wear the most itchiest or tight out fit ever1 Just maybe take your usual look and glam it up a little bit, therefore you are comfortable and smart!
4.Try not to get needy on the follow up: I know I know, this is a difficult one! Because with autism we tend to have obsessive tendencies! So it can be easy to act clingy or overthink how the date went. I do this a lot with friends and not just relationships, so talk to your carer (the person who typically helps you with your autism) and ask them what to do! I know it’s difficult but you will thank me in the long run!
5.You know what’s coming…BE YOURSELF! In the past I found the more conscious I was of trying to seem normal the more anxious and less myself I became ! So please please, no matter how you feel about being on the spectrum. Even if you don’t fully accept how amazing and gorgeous you really are! Know that nobody criticises you as much as you do, and your partner should accept all of you, FLAWS AND ALL! And you should do the same!
Will it be easy…NO
Will you want to be at each others throats sometimes…Probably yes.
But we are all imperfect people and although we can’t strive for perfection we can strive for progress and that’s enough!
So whether you are autistic or not, know that as long as the other person wants to grow with you. Makes you want to be a better person!
If you have read my recent instagram posts or watched my live yesterday, you would know thatI am a big believer in the importance of self worth.
(Oh no, Phoebe please don’t make me cringe)
I know, I know, talk of self-worth, esteem and confidence can often lead to a lot of eye rolls (trust me I’ve been there).
Because let’e be honest…Whether you are comparing yourself to others or you’ve had mean comments said about you, sometimes all you want to do is be sad and not get to the deeper root of your self-esteem and self-worth!
P.S I’m not trying to undermine being sad because crying and reflecting on your emotions is a good thing, healthy even! However, life has a tendency to throw us some nasty obstacles that can affect our self-worth and confidence.
Making it so important that you build a foundation of self-worth, because you may not know this yet, but your worth is beyond what you could ever imagine!
(This is in quote marks so you understand how important it is :))
So…how does this relate to autism?
Well, as we know people on the spectrum struggle with understanding the emotions of others as well as their own emotions
This makes it difficult to grow their character, thus understand what their values and worth is.
Although this is tough, and your self-esteem may take a hit, a good support system can help you understand just how worthy you are!
For me this has always been my faith, because coming to understand myself as a daughter of Christ has been the biggest identity comfort of all!
Of course having an amazing family and group of friends helps that too 🙂
So, whoever in your life is the most trusted to answer the big questions on self-worth, please talk to them!
Because let’e be honest, whether you are on the spectrum or not, we all struggle with low self-worth at some point. Making it important that we support and be kind to one another!
However,it can be seriously hard to remember your self-worth and to be kind after a rude comment is said , a bad break up, or watching your friends sell themselves short.
(GOSH! Being an awesome person is so hard!…I know gir I know)
But remember when someone isn’t nice, and you smile and walk away, who looks better?
Plus it shows just how worthy and amazing you are, which is why you should always show kindness even if it’s the last thing you want to do!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading this more factual blog post, and remember that no matter what people have said about you. They don’t know what you have gone through to behave in a certain way, so be kind and be non-judgemental always :)!
We must accept finite disappointment but we must never lose infinite hope
MARTIN LUTHER KING
I get it. When reading blogs like mine, self-help books or a thousand positive quotes on Instagram. The minute life gets really tough is the minute all these positive things becomes the last thing you want to read.
Trust me I’ve been there!
So why is it that when we are having a mental breakdown whether autism-related or not, do all our life lessons and self-development go out the window? WELL, It’s to do with something called perception vs reality (sorry for the lesson but bare with me! You will understand why in a second :)).
When our mindset is positive, we are working on a special interest or are in control of our situation, we see life through what I like to call the HAPPYLAND LENS! Leading you to walk with a spring in your step or feel at peace with the ‘me time’ you are having 😉
But then BOOM! Someone knocks on your door, you get a fright and there is now a big black pen mark right across your work. Or you are out in a public setting which you didn’t think would have this many people in, and now all you want to do is go home, work on your special interest, AND FOR EVERYONE TO GO AWAY!! (P.S Sorry mum for storming out of that family gathering, autism querk :))
As you can see, life doesn’t go to plan, and no matter how kind, generous and selfless you are, one thing can turn you into the exact thing you have tried so hard not to be!
So what can you do to fix this? Well… YOU REMEMBER THAT THIS IS YOUR PERCEPTION NOT YOUR REALITY. What I mean by this is that you are perceiving that everything is going wrong when in reality, your dad has just knocked on your door to tell you that your favourite dinner’s ready, and the public setting is just people gathered together to have fun!
Of course, I’m not saying this is easy! When you are on the verge of a mental breakdown, the last thing you would want to do is change your mindset!
So take a deep breath, tell yourself that it is ok to feel like this and that you are doing REALLY WELL! Remember that you will be home soon with your special interest, your favourite snack and a T.V show in no time!
NOW YOU ARE READY TO CHANGE YOUR NEGATIVE PERCEPTION TO REALITY!
So…quick recap! Remember what is happening, what the situation is and that a change of routine, although is REALLY DIFFICULT! It is something you will get through because you are AmAIZINGGG (Started singing the MAIZING so I can emphasize that to you all!).
AND THAT’S THAT
BUT DON’T FORGET! It’s ok to slip up and this technique does not work sometimes if it is an EXCEPTIONALLY BAD DAY.
So give yourself some grace, but also apologize to those who you may have said some things that you regretted, as a result of you having a bad day 🙂
Let me know if you used this technique during the week and how you found it! Would love to hear from you!
Disclaimer: I’m a sucker for pretty filters so I hope these pictures are as aesthetically pleasing to you as they are to me 🙂
The truth is, yes these photos are bright and vibrant, and I am very lucky to experienced all these things. From going market shopping in Hong Kong or zip wiring in Queenstown New Zealand to admiring the beautiful view Sydney harbour bridge has to offer and having a surprised party thrown for me by my best friend and my mum.
I am so very truly blessed, but I could not have been this blessed if it wasn’t for the amazing people have had who have helped me along the way. To the friends who put up with me when I needed to cancel a plan last minute because I felt so anxious, and my family who were there to help me through the struggle. But in all that was my God, from the beginning to the end he listened to all my prayers, heard my cries for help and always gave me what I needed. Even if what I needed wasn’t what I wanted.
So to all you amazing readers out there, whether you are on the spectrum or not. Know that we are all on our own journey and experiences, and from struggling at school and having up to 3 panic attacks today to writing my own blog to helps others…Know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and by surrounding yourself with kind-hearted people, they will help you see that light xx
I’ve talked a lot about all the incredible and beautiful qualities people with autism have (much like how everyone has)! However, we can’t have a rainbow without rain, so here is a sneak peak into the rain of an autistic person’s life.
One thing that can be incredibly hard for an autistic person is not understanding social interaction: It may seem for most people that social interaction is like learning to walk.However for those on the spectrum it can be an ongoing battle of understanding, usually leading to anxiety and low self-esteem (another symptom autistic people are prone to have).
I wrote this after I read Genesis in the bible. Although as a christian, I love reading it and learning more about the word of God.However, as an autistic christian, I am extremely sensitive to pain, so reading the old testament which was full of sin,is something I take literally and can affect my mood significantly.Therefore it is really important that I am able to look up and understand things from others perspective, and from this I understood that underneath the pain was a loving God who was faithful to his people!
You’re probably thinking, Phoebe we are hear to talk about autism not about God! But my experience is showing you that autistic people can be extremely sensitive to the world’s properties. For other autistic people, they may feel down after having a conversation in a classroom or workplace that involves a sensitive topic to them or being around certain people can make them feel anxious or sad….
BUT STOP RIGHT THERE, I don’t want you to read this and get down about it! it wasn’t meant or that reason (Don’t take it literally ;)). I’m telling you this so you can understand a person on the autistic spectrums struggles a little bit more. However if you are on the spectrum and reading this, I hope you understand that there is not something wrong with you to feel this way. BECAUSE GUESS WHAT!
I feel it too 🙂
On the other hand, If you are not diagnosed on the spectrum and personally feel that you have experienced deep sadness or anxiety from these reasons, know that you are not alone. Everyone is somewhere on the autistic spectrum, so it is normal for everyone to have one or two of these symptoms 🙂
But anyways, I think for everyone in this world no matter how many times we meditate, have a social media detox or watch a nice movie. Sometimes nothing is going to make us feel better and that’s ok. we can get sad for no reason, whether we are autistic or not!
But if you spend time with an autistic person or anyone in special needs for that matter. You are doing so well! Sometimes you may feel emotionally exhausted because you are not looking after your own problems. That’s why I want you to remember to look after yourself too! You’re are only human, and I would hate for you to feel guilty, because you are trying to be super human. So breathe, and know that your struggles are just as valid as a person on the spectrum’s struggles.
Hope you all have an incredible week in Lockdown! And want to give a BIGGG THANK YOU for all our amazing NHS Staff, can’t wait to clap for you on Thursday as well as everyday of the week in my prayers!
I’ll never forget in my late teenage years, sitting opposite someone who I hadn’t met in a couple years.
I watched the person laugh, talk and studied every action, demeanour and facial expression they portrayed (facial expression being the hardest one to understand…autism quirk!). The longer I was in this person’s presence the more a feeling of deep depression clouded over me, and it wasn’t until a few days later that this depression was released, and I cried to my mum. She asked me why I was upset and I replied saying…
‘They are so sad’
I didn’t know why I thought this, but it turned out I was completely right. This person was facing some issues at the time, and I knew it without even being told.
You’re probably thinking I’m one of those meditation guru’s who can sense ‘vibes’ off people (P.S If you are one of these people, you are awesome!). But younger teenage me, didn’t even know what meditation was back then, so the conclusion to this sense of peoples feelings seemed to be unknown…
This was just one example of how my perception of the world seemed to be different. Flashing lights, crowded rooms seemed to bring on a similar feeling of anxiety as did the school environment.
This heightened sense of reality, gave me the greatest capacity to enjoy the countryside, sunset beaches and those precious movie and dance parties with your friends. When we know, and when we sense kindness and love around us, reality for an autistic children becomes every bit more amazing.
It can be emotionally exhausting sometimes, but it can also be one of the greatest gifts in the world.
Think about it! You understand people and places on a deeper level, without having to understand their facial expression. You have special interests which you are so enticed by, you could make it your full-time job one day!
You have qualities that neurotypical people, don’t have. So don’t avoid them, embrace them, the good and the bad!
Working in the Big Wide World
As someone with autism, feeling ‘obsessed’ with certain things, is another thing added to a list of what makes us us. For me, my church and my faith have been something I have been OBSESSED OVER for much over a year now, which lead to my dream of becoming a pastor,and study at Hillsong college Australia.For many people the opportunities to get a job would be endless, because there are so many office and cafe jobs out there! But for people on the autistic spectrum, the idea of being in a crowded office,workspace, whereby you have to be social all day and jumping from one small job to the other, may be really daunting, especially if your work doesn’t know you have autism!
That’s why it’s really important that you look at jobs and pathways that suit the needs for autism, because that means you will thrive and not just survive in your work environment! Plus you will most likely LOVE YOUR JOB, and isn’t that something we all want to be able to say!
I know what you’re thinking…BOY IT’S HARD WORK BEING AUTISTIC! We pick up emotions easily, we live in a society that possibly doesn’t address us enough .AND WE HAVE TO FIND A JOB THAT SUITS US!
Ok ok, you got me! But doesn’t everyone thrive in better work environments then others? Haven’t you heard of someone who started an office job and hated it, so did something completely different. Or did a degree, and then got a job in a completely different field? The truth is, we are all trying to figure out where we thrive best…But you know what’s great about being autistic…YOU’VE ALREADY GOT THE ANSWERS FOR YOU!!! Yep Phoebe here to save the day (You’re welcome :)). So here’s a list of tips that are known to help you thrive environment for people with autism!
TELL YOUR BOSS: I know, it’s scary and you may be scared that your boss won’t have enough sympathy towards, probably because they don’t understand how amazing we are! But if that is the case, then you know that maybe this work environment isn’t right for you, and it may be time to find a new job. On the other hand, if your boss is sympathetic, then they may come up with policies to support you! I’m a part-time waitress at one of the busiest cafe’s in my home town, and i am telling you now, having a supportive and understanding boss makes all the difference!
KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS: It can be easy with autism to focus on the struggles that you have, but you also have soon many strengths that neurotypical people may not
KNOW YOUR SPECIAL INTEREST AND SMASH IT: One of the blessings of having autism is that you usually have a special interest. That by doing it,you feel at peace and focused. Imagine doing this for the rest of your life and with thousands of jobs out there, I’m sure one has something to do with what you love!
Whatever you chose to do as a career. There may be times when you feel like giving up, because the setbacks are too tough, but keep thinking of the long term vision.
YOU WILL GET THERE I PROMISE!
The Big Wide Technological World
So…you understand how people with autism struggle with social interaction in the BIG WIDE WORLD! But what about in the technological world?
Well I don’t know about you, but for me the technological world makes sense! You follow those you like, unfollow those you don’t like and comment on those who are closest to you! You can post pictures of your interests, passions and text friends without having to understand body language, different tones of voice or knowing when is a good time to jump in a conversation (the last one I find the hardest).
It opens up so many doors for people with autism, because even if you may be around people who aren’t like you in the ‘real world’, you are most likely going to find someone like you online! All you have to do is search #Minecraft#Art#Autism or whatever your hobby or characteristic is into instagram and you can find people just like you!
I know that without social media, I probably would have never written this blog let alone started my instagram! I don’t know what it is, but there is something really special about finding people who are so open about who they are on social media, whether on the spectrum or not. It gives you a confidence boost like no other!
Of course, I wouldn’t be being honest with you if I didn’t talk about the negatives of social media for people on the spectrum.
Like anything, it is important to never become obsessed or overuse social media, even after all the positive things I said!
For example, all of us on the spectrum do generally struggle with social skills, therefore if we are prioritising social media to be our source of interaction. We may struggle when we go back to school or work and there is no texting or private accounts to protect us from trying to understand body language or facia expressions (I know I’m sorry)!
Also…not everyone is nice on social media, That’s why when I first started my instagram account, I didn’t tell people and just followed people who were like me (mental health and autism advocates…and travel accounts, just because they are soon pretty :)).
Final negative (this is the last one I promise!). There are some things that I still don’t understand to this day about social media, which include sarcastic comments, people creating themselves in a way that isn’t true to who they are (most likely due to their low confidence levels ) and of course CYBER BULLYING! I know that these are things we are never going to be able to control (I know I hate it too). That’s why it is so important to follow those accounts that make you happy and not just following what the trend is (Although we are pretty good at this already :))
I know these points may seem like a lot of work, but some of the best things in life DO NOT COME FREE!
If you read my first blog post in this topic, you would understand that that the cost of being on the spectrum is nothing compared to the many positives us lot on the spectrum will experience!
SO PLEASE REMEMBER: The rain within the struggles in the real world and the digital one, comes along with the sunshine, making you a beautiful rainbow! Don’t ever forget that…please xxx