Tie Dye Top by NikRik’s Workshop on Etsy

Hello lovely people! ✨💙✨

I had to share this awesome tie-dye jumper I bought from NikRik’s Workshop on Etsy. It’s a fairly light jumper so it’s perfect for Spring, chilly Summer evenings (when you don’t have a bloke around who will lend you theirs) and Autumn or layering up in Winter.

I love Cyan and light green as I find them to be the most uplifting colours, especially together. You can imagine how chuffed I was that my hair turned out Cyan, rather than the darker blue I aimed for lol

@nikriks_workshop

nikriksworkshop@gmail.com

What are your fave colour combos?

✨💙✨Chrissie✨💙✨

My Tiny Urban Garden

Hello lovely people!

This is how my tiny backyard looks at the moment.

I’m chuffed to bits that these are all still alive and thriving, several weeks after planting. I’m doing my best to water but not over-water them. Difficult when I’m only awake for around twelve hours a day so I don’t know how sunny or shaded it’s been earlier on.

Any tips, greatly appreciated!

✨💙✨Chrissie✨💙✨

How I Gained Weight and Got Healthier Over 10 Years

Photos: Clockwise from Top left – At my thinnest, Top right – At least my arms are a bit stronger, Bottom right – Doing well but tummy bloated from gluten, Bottom left – Curvy, healthy and happy!

Hello lovely people! Someone suggested it might be a nice idea to share my weight gain and consequent health journey with you.

The reality of me being so thin and also unhealthy in my late 20’s early 30’s:

I was ALWAYS cold; if I got ill I’d become under weight and weak so easily; if I fell down (which I am prone to do when fatigued/not concentrating) I’d get really hurt because I had no padding over my bones; I struggled carrying my heavy boobs around on such a narrow frame and always had a bad back. I was so pale and not olive skinned like I should naturally be (which I covered up with fake tan).

BUT I was constantly told by people that I looked amazing and should feel grateful that I was ‘so skinny’.

I honestly thought through my 20’s and early 30’s that it was normal for young people to be over-worked, slightly stressed and to push their body to it’s limits and then prop it up with caffeine, sugar and beer/cocktails because that seemed the social norm at the time.

How I got healthy in my 30’s:

I mostly cut out foods containing gluten and dairy as I have an intolerance to them (meaning the body doesn’t absorb nutrients from those foods as it can’t digest them properly but it can, confusingly, make people look fat/bloated in places). I eat regular balanced meals with enough protein. I priorities sleep (even though that means saying no to morning invites). I don’t push myself to the limit of my strength and energy for fear of missing out (using up all of my body’s resources). I got a full blood work-up and found I was totally lacking in B12 and Vit D (no wonder I was so weak, brain fogged and grey!).

Even though I have MS now, I still feel healthier overall these days!

Has wanting to gain or loose weight prompted you to start a health journey? Let me know what you think in the comments!

✨🖤Chrissie🖤✨

On The Come Up by Angie Thomas review

I really enjoyed On The Come Up by Angie Thomas about a young female rapper named Bri.

The story covers the pressure to live up to a parents past reputation; love and friendship; institutionalised racism; taking a stand whilst simultaneously trying to keep out of trouble; drug dealing and past addiction and struggling to pay the bills and keep the refrigerator on.

A realistic description of life in a dangerous neighbourhood, which is also a place where Bri has grown up, where she has family and possibly the best chance of realising her dream.

There are a lot of light hearted, funny moments between Bri, her family and friends which balance out the struggle and worry of everyday life.

This novel really is brilliant at showing the confusing choices presented and the emotional strength it takes for a young woman to remain authentic and respected when coming up in the industry.

✨🖤Chrissie🖤✨

Vegan Hotdog Meal from Zad’s Manchester

When it’s not possible to pile on anymore topping 😁

My tea from Zad’s Vegan Takeaway

Hotdog – odd little pieces of red stir-fried onion, okaaay 😐 but loads of spicy BBQ seitan pieces (to bulk up the skinny sausage), mayo and jalapeños, which tasted lush as a whole but I really missed having a big pile of soft, brown onions

Curly fries – who doesn’t love a curly fry!

ZFC – spicy fried cauliflower, so much like popcorn chicken

Lemon sheese cake – Delicious

Overall really creative and tasty! 😋

✨🖤Chrissie🖤✨

How Depression Crept Up on Me and Advice

This time two years ago I posted the photo below to Instagram and said I was having a girly-night to myself and made it sound so positive.

What I didn’t say was that I’d had to go on Just Eat to find somewhere local which sold food and beer/wine because it felt like an overwhelming physical AND mental impossibility to go to the local shops. I was so hungry and really needed something to cheer myself up too.

I’d gotten into the habit of not getting (dragging myself) out of bed until 4.00pm (sadly after it had gone dark) so I hadn’t seen daylight for five days. I’d stopped being bothered to get dressed or comb my wildly frizzy hair or to tidy up.

The bloke had to be elsewhere and he was so stressed and busy he really needed to get on with it and I was trying to be as supportive as poss. But I was on my own all week, until weekend and felt really lonely. But I also felt guilty and silly bothering him.

I realise looking back that the Depression had crept back but at the time I was kidding myself that I was having fun enjoying not having any responsibilities or structure.

Ironically that is exactly what helps me, as it stops the endless days and nights all blending together. Plus someone to bounce my thoughts off so they aren’t swimming around in my head and growing more negative and repetitive is vital for me.

I wish I’d put an honest caption on Insta about how I was feeling at the time or told my Dad or my bloke how I felt. BUT I’d been fighting for decades to have my disabilities and chronic illness recognised and to get on ESA benefit so I could rest at home all day. I felt guilty that I wasn’t now happy and thought I must be being ungrateful or overly-dramatic. But actually, when you can’t or aren’t doing much, whole days and nights alone can seem like an eternity.

After doing this on repeat for about a month (literally just living for the weekend when my bloke would be able to come back basically) I phoned him in floods of tears.

We talked for an hour and worked out a better way of doing things and it made a vast amount of difference to my mental health.

———-

There isn’t always a reason though. Sometimes clinical depression can hit you for no reason at all and that’s perfectly normal, not your fault and just as valid.

If you are feeling crappy or apathetic to stuff you normally love doing or are struggling to keep your head above water, please don’t fool yourself you are ‘fine’. Admit to yourself that you aren’t feeling okay and then tell someone else, even if it’s just one other person (i.e. a considerate family member, a friend, an empathetic friend of a friend or your GP for instance) IRL or online.

You don’t have to be fine all of the time and forcing yourself to try can do more damage than good. Being open and honest about your feelings can lift a huge weight.

It’s ok not to be ok 🙃

✨✨🖤Chrissie🖤✨✨

15 Relatable Ways Brain Fog Affects People

‘Brain fog’ or ‘Cog fog’ (Cognitive fog) is a neurological condition where mental fogginess gets in the way of people’s cognitive skills; making it hard for them to think straight and recall and process information. It can occur in a lot of disabilities and conditions such as Lupus, MS, Fibromyalgia Hypermobilty Syndromes, Dysautonamia, chronic fatigue, menopause, pregnancy and anxiety.

  1. Recalling words. “You know that thing…where you…ah?
  2. Misplacing objects. Either loosing them or feeling like there’s a poltergeist in the house because an object has appeared in a totally random place (where you absent-mindedly left it). Spatula in the washing machine and socks in the sink?
  3. No sense of time passing or your place in time. Not being able to keep track of what time or date or even day it is, throughout the day.
  4. Trying to catch fog. Trying to express something that you feel passionate about but you can’t seem to pin down the important points or get them in order in your mind before they drift away again.
  5. Visual processing. Starring right at the damn product on the shelf and still not being able to recognise and find it.
  6. Auditory processing and recall. By the time the person you are talking to has finished their sentence you’ve forgot the start of it. For instance – you know that you agree with them but now are clueless as to what you are agreeing with.
  7. Information sequencing for basic math, writing and logic. You would automatically know this this normally but today you can’t make sense of what the logical order is.
  8. General sensory processing. Everything is too loud or too tight or too bright or you can’t sense/judge things enough like temperature, spacial awareness, speed, distance. Scary when trying to cross a noisy, busy road.
  9. Feeling spaced-out and oddly detached. Not quite being able to comprehend the seriousness of situations or people’s problems. Coming across as slow to react, flippant or even uncaring.
  10. Concentration and sequencing. Managing to loose your own point mid-sentence by getting easily distracted “I simply will not put up with…Ooh shiny!
  11. Struggling to make simple decisions or feeling rather apathetic to things and just saying “You choose, I’m good either way.”
  12. Literally going blank and ‘phasing out.’ Nope, I have no idea where I went there for a moment, either.
  13. Learning difficulties. Having to do something repeatedly and within a fairly short time frame to be able to learn it or get into the habit of doing it.
  14. Basic auditory processing. When you are deep in thought or involved in a task and someone talks to you, because you are not expecting to hear something, you can’t process what it was, only that you heard them say something. So they say it louder -_-
  15. Recalling specific details. You are having a great conversation and taking in everything that is being said, you feel today is a brain fog free day. The next day when relating the conversation to some else “They went on holiday to…somewhere and they went with…someone and it was last week or last month, ah crap, never mind.”

I know people with Dyspraxia, Autism, ADD, ADHD (or a combination of them), will have struggled with some of the above naturally, since childhood – I know I have – but those brain fog moments make these things even more difficult, which is why Brain Fog has earned a whole list of it’s own ;o)

Which do you relate to? Let me know in the comments.

Chrissie

 

Signs of Dyspraxia/Aspergers in Females and My Own Quirky Examples

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I’m approaching this post from my point of view of being female with Dyspraxia and Asperger’s – a high functioning (sometimes) version of Autism. It’s really difficult to tell where Dyspraxia ends and Aspergers begins as symptoms overlap regularly and quite often people have both. Here are some behaviours which are related to Dyspraxia and/or Aspergers that are only obvious in children/teens/young adults if you know what to look for. Clearly no one in my life new about these and were just totally perplexed as to why I was so different, including myself. Hopefully this post will make things easier for parents who are confused or anyone who can relate personally.

Skipping the crawling stage

Lots of babies with Dyspraxia/Autism/Developmental Disorders go straight from sitting and reaching out to walking. It’s like we just don’t have that crawling instinct in us so we just copy what we see: Lots of people walking around! I used to pull myself up and wobble my way around the room going from couch to couch at a really early age. My parents and Paediatrician thought this was astonishing progress but it’s actually more of a red flag of a hidden condition.

Sensory issues (SPD) with food, clothing, noise, light, touch or movement 

This can just be Sensory Processing Disorder in-and-of it’s self but I find it’s often related to Dyspraxia and/or Aspergers. Sometimes it’s the texture of the food that the child might struggle with or too many flavours in their mouth at once. I used to eat everything on separate fork-fulls as it never occurred to me to mix them but I didn’t mind if different foods touched on my plate.

I was highly sensitive to the texture of fabric (and still am). Anything vaguely rough i.e. not soft, used to make me itch and squirm like crazy! Also sitting on cheapo carpet for story time, I’d have to sit on my coat. I also need weight on me to feel snuggly and calm. So even in the middle of Summer I can’t sleep without a duvet on me. I remember my Mum telling me every time I’d be upset I’d wrap myself in this really soft and (more importantly I realise now) rather heavy blanket, and I’d instantly calm down. That way I could ‘feel the outside of my body better.’ Google ‘proprioception’ for more on that.

As a kid high pitched noises or unexpected alarms were totally debilitating for me. Even slightly high pitched sounds cause me physical pain so I have to wear noise cancelling ear plugs to concerts.

My eyes have always be light sensitive so these days I have transitions lenses in my glasses and a great pair of sunglasses that are polarised and anti-glare.

I’m mostly under sensitive to touch and movement, meaning as a kid I loved my hair platted, brushed and cut but I know some kids find this painful and stressful even when it’s done gently. This also worked both ways so my version of tag usually involved clumsily and accidentally rugby tackling people to the floor – oops!

I loved swinging, bouncing, jumping, rocking motions, anything with speed and movement. I found it really exciting and calming in equal measure. I’ve gotten more sensitive to movement as I’ve gotten older though.

Questioning and Analytical Personality

From a young age, maybe seven or eight, I started wondering about EVERYTHING. What is the meaning of life? Why can’t we feel the earth spinning and why don’t we get dizzy? If we evolved from Apes will we evolve into something better than human or is this as good as it gets? If fate existed then who would decide it? Why do different people around the world all think that their god is the real one? Are there aliens out there and would they think that we were the aliens if they saw us? I’d contemplate these things with my best friend for at least half of playtime each day and then we’d go home and ask our parents these baffling and sometimes amusing questions.

horse

Issues with Co-ordination, Balance and Spacial Awareness

Our bodies internal compas and steering tends to be badly calibrated, making it hard for us to do things like throw and catch a ball, ride a bike and swim. I only learned to ride a bike when I was 7 and my mate lent me hers (mine still had stabilisers on) and pushed me down a gentle grassy hill. For once, momentum worked in my favour. When I’d try to throw a ball my hand would open to late and I chuck it at the ground in front of me. Same for catching, I’d react too late because my brain couldn’t process the fast movement and it would just hit me.

I tend to use the word ‘proprioception’ instead of ‘spacial awareness’ as your body’s proprioception helps you judge the objects around you, your own limbs and how much space both things occupy and the space between them. A person who cannot automatically judge this will end up bouncing off things, walking into things, falling over things, tripping up over their own feet or throwing drinks at their face when drinking from an over-sized (and therefor unfamiliar) cup etc. I get bruised daily from having poor proprioception. I also do not possess the natural reflex to put my hands up when I fall or if someone suddenly throws something at me, so I’ve amassed a rather wonderful collection of scars.

Difficulty with Spontaneous and Unstructured Play

At the age of around three Mum dropped me off at a play group to learn social skills and how to exist separately from her. The assistant suggested I might like to go on the slide after me pointing at it while jumping up and down enthusiastically the moment we got there. When my Mum came to pick me up it turned out that’s ALL I had done. For an hour. My Mum was a little annoyed that the assistants hadn’t suggested to me that I do something else because she knew that it wouldn’t naturally occur to me, even though I was surrounded with other things to play with. I hadn’t talked to any other kids either, again because it hadn’t naturally occurred to me that this is what I was meant to be doing, simply because no one had explained this was an option.

No Idea of Boundaries or What is Unsafe

Oddly enough, considering my lack of communication with little kids my own age, I would enthusiastically say a loud “Hiya!” to any adult within 12ft. As I was getting older I started acting fearlessly when it came to jumping off stuff that was too high or climbing giant trees or standing up on swings and wondering if it might be fun to let go of the chains (it really wasn’t). Oddly enough, I was stupidly scared of going on fairground rides with the theory that if I couldn’t cope with it, I’d essentially be stuck on the bloody thing until it finished. Having tested this logic a couple of times as an adult – with literally sickening consequences – I now stick rigidly to it!

At the age of 10 I got chatting to one of the keepers at the zoo we were visiting who was around 18 I reckon. When I say chatting, it was more strolling and chatting to the point where my parents where tagging along behind. My ability to make this guy laugh and to ask questions that he actually found interesting, both pleased and worried them equally and I think they were very glad that he was a zoo keeper and not some random man! I think this behaviour also ties in with being able to communicate/feeling more comfortable with people who are much younger or older than ones self.

Not Getting the Natural Rhythm and Impulse Control in Conversations.

I would butt in constantly because a) I would mistake someone taking a breath or pausing to think, as them finishing their sentence. b) It would take me so long to process what someone was saying and think of a response, that they would have moved onto another topic. I’d suddenly blurt out (but actually I’d been waiting for a gap in conversation and missed many of them) what my thought on their previous topic was and they’d look at me like I was nuts. c) I’d be constantly saying “Oh I did that as well.” or “Well, when I did that…” not because I was self absorbed but because I was delighted to have something in common with some one (proving I was normal) and I really empathised with them. Not the best idea though when someone is trying to tell you something important that’s bothering them or what they did well etc.

Sometimes I blurt out something which is meant as a compliment and certainly sounded like it in my head but seems to get lost in translation between my brain and my gob. As a teen I enthusiastically said to a lad I fancied “Your hair gel makes you look like Sonic The Hedgehog!” I thought Sonic was The.Best.Thing.Ever at the time but everyone laughed and the poor kid just looked mortified. Oops!

Something that amuses me is when I’m deep in thought with an imaginary scenario going through my head I might end up saying a bit of it aloud or doing the corresponding facial expressions. I swear my imagination has a life of it’s own and not just in my really vivid hyper-real dreams. Something that drives my bloke mad is when I don’t answer him because I’ve thought the answer in my head so strongly that I’m sure I have said it aloud already.

I tend to take people with dry humour very literally, even though I’m quite dry humoured myself. With expressions that I might not have heard before, it never occurs to me that it’s a tern of phrase and I take those literally as well.

glasses

Memory and Concentration and ‘learning difficulties’

I’ve put ‘learning difficulties’ in quotes because I think a lot of people with Dyspraxia and/or Aspergers are usually fairly bright but struggle to learn things because of short term-memory, recall, sequencing and concentration probs. As a kid in class I would have this whole amazing adventure in my head and I mean an epically long adventure. What completely escaped me was the fact I only had just under an hour to get it down on paper so a) It should be a manageable length and b) I should start writing as I went along, not think it all up first and then start writing five minutes before the end of the lesson. When these two things were explained to me I attempted some vague time management but again and again I disappeared into my own thoughts where it was like time stood still.

My recall is useless, it’s like I know I know something but I can’t figure out where my brain has stored that piece of knowledge. In Junior school my hand would fly up and I’d look chuffed that I knew the answer but when the teacher picked me I’d just sit silently with a very confused look on my face as the answer slid away the more I tried to think of it. I confidently told the teacher once “Give me a minute, It’ll come back to me.” and everyone laughed, apart from the teacher who frowned and told me “Question and answer time doesn’t work like that as you well know!” I didn’t know or should I say I hadn’t remembered how structured it was. After that, I didn’t put my hand up again until I was well into high-school many years later.

When you notice absolutely everything it’s hard to filter out what’s not relevant to be able to concentrate. The sound of the clock ticking, the smell of someone’s deodorant (or lack of it), what the weather is doing outside, how tight the neck of your top is, what you’d like for dinner, that joke about the llama you heard last night, why is there a stupid silent ‘gh’ in words like ‘night’. Ah, right, what was I doing again? Why is this in my hand? Ooh, I can use it as a clue!

Sequencing (thinking straight) and Logic

My thought processes seem to go from A-B-D-A-E-D and then No! Now it’s ALL slipped away! Those logic questions like ‘If Suzanne had 12 apples and she shared 3 with Bobby and…” Bloody Suzanne and her frickin apples! Why’d she have to share them unevenly anyway! Even as a teenager I would physically have to arrange my pens and pencils into groups as if they were the apples (using them as counters essentially) to be able to answer these questions. My logic does not work in a straight line. I’d think myself into a loop with the same two bits of the equation going round and round yet I’d manage to miss out the third part entirely and I’d go straight to the last bit, then be utterly confounded as to why my answer was wrong.

In high school I started making notes for maths. Notes which looked nonsensical to anyone else. I was utterly delighted when the teacher said we had to show our ‘working out’ to show her our logic. I made my copious notes in a circle all around the sum and crossed out each one as I used it and proudly handed it in. Her face was an absolute picture! It turned out I had to show my working out in a way that everyone else worked things out or even that part was considered wrong as well. I learned how to write my notes to keep track of all foggy, sum related thoughts on a separate piece of paper, then I’d neatly write down my fake ‘working out’ in the style that they wanted to see in my text book. This meant I took three times as long to do every sum/problem and never finished the page, making the teacher think I didn’t understand the questions in the first place. *face palm*

Not the case at all. I found a lot of questions in high school – not Science or Maths related – to be mind numbingly boring. Not the actual subjects just the textbook questions so I liked to ask my own, which drove teachers crazy, partly because they didn’t always have the answer and partly because they had a lesson plan to follow. I’d also just go onto the next page of questions which I didn’t realise were supposed to be for the next lesson. Seriously though, four painfully simple questions (where the obvious answers were in the first four paragraphs of the text) were supposed to keep us busy for an entire hour. Oh my gosh the boredom!

A lot of the time I loose the point of my sentence and then just try to wing it but end up coming to an increasingly quieter waffle that just trails off. It helps to quickly loosely plan the structure of my sentence before I open my mouth when I’m around new people. Sometimes when I’m listening to someone, by the time they’ve come to the end of their sentence, I’ve already forgotten what they said at the beginning. Sometimes when I’m telling someone something I don’t start at the beginning of the sentence so there’s no context to what I’m saying. I tend to recognise that specific confused look on people’s faces these days and quickly (almost as if it’s part of the original sentence) add on what should have been said at the beginning. This makes me backwards like Yoda talk.

Sequencing issues also apply to the order of letters in a word and the order of the words in a sentence, which is why it’s taking me forever to write this post! If I left this utterly unedited, some words would be unrecognisable and some words would be left out and some words would be repeated twice etc. As well as everything mentioned in the paragraph above. It would read as jumbled up as I think basically.

Just not getting stuff

It used to be really difficult for me to weigh up new situations. I don’t naturally have the ability to asses what I’m supposed to be doing or how I’m meant to be doing it straight away. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just blundered straight into a situation and someone has said “Excuse me! Can I see your ticket?” and I’ve looked at them blankly, having walked right passed a very obvious illuminated ticket office. I remember being totally sensory-overloaded one summer after being stuck in a huge, noisy, meltingly hot cue at the post office, only to find out it was the wrong cue! I was told I’d have to cue up all over again in the right one. I tried to reason with the lady that it wasn’t fair but ended up bursting into tears. It was a really good lesson though as it taught me to just pause for a moment and assess situations first before throwing myself into them. I’m actually really quick at assessing stuff these days because of that.

After saying all of this I need to state that Dyspraxia/Asperger’s does not effect intelligence unless there are other developmental problems.

Honesty, Naivety, Tactlessness and Manipulation

My honesty meant that I was blunt to the point of being tactless. Often if someone was avoiding saying a certain thing or they’d messed up in some way and were trying to wriggle out of it I’d assume that I mustn’t have understood the situation properly (pretty average occurance for me tbh) and so I’d say “Yes, you did! You told her that blah blah…” or “I thought you knew you were supposed to do blah blah because I was there when they told you to.” That made me really popular in the first years of high school!

My natural in-built honesty meant that up until I was around 11-12 it never occurred to me that people lie. They lie to make themselves look good, feel better, to get ahead, to stir things up or simply to see if you are daft enough (or naive enough) to believe them. I was. Even aged 12-13 I believed that if someone was your friend then they wouldn’t play a joke on you or manipulate you because that’s a mean thing to do and friends are never mean. Wrong! It would take someone else to notice what was going on and point it out (practically bang me over the head with it) before I’d realise. Luckily this stopped when I got friends who were more mature and kind and realised that I had ‘difficulties’ in certain areas that they shouldn’t take advantage of.

Oddly enough I became a really quick study in reading people as I got into my mid-late teens in order to fit in and appear ‘normal’. I think this is why Dyspraxia/Aspergers is so overlooked in females as we can be great chameleons at blending in enough to pass for being Neurotypical. I’d never just go along with stuff to be popular but I was good at staying quiet and observing peoples tone of voice, or little gestures or how they would back track and subtly change their meaning if what they were saying wasn’t going down well with others. I started to notice people’s pride and the need to be popular and the fact that they were more prone to agreeing to do something if they thought it was their idea in the first place. I also learned that people like people who listen and give just enough advice that’s helpful but doesn’t entirely go against what they ultimately have already decided to do anyway.

I was becoming, without realising it, a little manipulative. All those years of studying human nature to be able to understand it was meaning I was now able to predict it and use it. I’d say 80% of the time it was just to talk my way out of forgetting something yet again or to hide something quirky thing about myself or to pretend I’d listened to or understood what was being said but the other 20% was to get my own way. I found it easier than people respecting me enough to take my opinion seriously, especially when I was struggling to explain it properly. Plus, when I couldn’t mentally keep up with group conversations to be able to give my input at the time, manipulation was a handy short cut to steer things the way I chose later on. I was only strongly presenting the pro’s of what I wanted to do and none of the cons but still kinda manipulative.

Turns out I was so emotionally guarded (to make sure I didn’t get my very fragile emotions hurt), sarcastic (sometimes I was being serious), ironic (again thanks to my many observations of situations), totally calm in stressful situations (naturally detached) that my group of friends thought I was actually kinda cool. Bahaahaa! No. Apparently I was also cool because they (mistakenly) thought I didn’t care that much about social norms and had a strong sense of self. It was more that I just didn’t get them. Like when someone dies and you say “I’m sorry” to the relatives. My reply was “I’m not saying sorry. It’s not like I killed them!” Dark humour right? Nope. I did know exactly who I was but that was someone who was clearly from another planet. I had been getting the distinct message from teachers and society in general that I was wrong in some way, which was upsetting and so confusing. It was due to my amazing friends and in-part to my parents unconditional love and patience that I managed to cling onto my sense of self. Although I have to say, some days I was genuinely praying for the spaceship that must have dumped me here, to come back for me!

My naivety still effected me into my mid 20’s as a travelling temporary Admin Assistant where I wouldn’t be able to tell if groups of people were just humouring me and letting me hang out with them, as they felt too mean to ignore me. I would think I was genuinely friends with these people until others strongly hinted otherwise.

Empathy and Highly Sensitive Emotions

A lot of females with Dyspraxia and/or Aspergers feel emotions really deeply so things like a situation being unfair, involving us or another person can really bother us. When we empathise with some we really empathise with them to the point of feeling upset because they are and crying and we might end up crying with them! It took me all of my teens and 20’s to realise that even nice people don’t always behave in a fair way though, and just because you may have massively gone out of your way for someone many times does not always mean that will do the same for you.

Me: You didn’t do that really important thing for me that you said you would.

Friend: I was a bit busy with, er, something.

Me: But I did that thing for you that time, even though it was really inconvenient for me, which you knew.

Friend: I didn’t make you do it, that was your choice.

Me: Whaaa?????!

I realised that however that a) It’s not fair to expect everyone to be as emotionally involved and intense with everything as you are, including your friendship b) There is such a thing as being too nice to the point where people take you for granted or even take advantage. c) Self respect comes from setting boundaries with yourself and others. d) EVERYONE makes mistakes or forgets things, or stops paying attention, it’s human nature and it doesn’t mean they don’t care. However, it’s good to keep in mind just how regularly this occurs as they might be trying to tell you something!

Coping with Change and Unexpected Situations

I’m still getting there, day by day. However, I no longer have a melt down over takeaway orders being wrong – even if I’ve looked forward all week to the one thing they’ve forgotten to include. Recently my bloke suddenly suggested we go to a Thai restaurant in town which we’d literally just read about and which closed at 11.00. It was 9.30 so we had to go right away. I was in my PJ’s and in relaxed slob mode but I calmly said “Yeah let’s go”. I acted (notice I say ‘acted’) like a serene in control person the whole time I was putting together my outfit and tidying my hair and applying concealer all within a 20 minute time slot before the cab arrived.

That would have been completely out of the questions 6 months ago. The mere idea would have been ridiculous to me because I would have immediately felt anxious. Anxious because I hadn’t expected and therefore gotten my head around what was happening. I’d have been in the totally different mind set of “Of course I can’t.” It also helps that I have a little black dress which looks great with leggings and black boots. Simple.

It’s also about things not happening. Looking forward to going clubbing all week and then people saying they’re not in the mood. I’d be gutted. I’d planned it. I’d gone through scenarios in my head about it on a loop. ALL WEEK. I’d skip straight over distraught onto determined – determined that the person would go! Now I realise that’s selfish and slightly insane. I deal with unexpected situations a hell of a lot better these days. It’s all just part of life and no big deal most of the time. The unexpected can even be a good thing. That Thai place was great!

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I hope this has helped people to feel a little less weird or to be proud of how weird they are. Remember that your neuro-diversity means you are just different (to Neuro-typical people) and not inherently wrong. And as comedian Francesca Martinez says “What the F**k is normal anyway!?”

Chrissie

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