Working on a autism poetry book

I’ve been working on something really exciting for the last few months that I can’t wait to share with the world. Not sure if all of you know this, but I’m an author. I currently have 4 books published. I’ve been working on numbers 5 and 6. The 5th book is going to be an autism poetry book. My goal is to write a poem on every single relevant topic related to being autistic so that I can help others see the world through my autistic eyes. My plan is to launch this book before April 2022. I want it out just in time for autism awareness month because I think it’s very important that autistic voices are uplifted and heard in a month where people like to talk over autistic people. I also think this is the perfect opportunity for my friends and family to learn more about autism explained in a way I know best, which is poetry. Life being autistic will be broken down into details. This book is my whole life and will be packed with my own experiences. I’ve been working so hard on this book. I already have the photo taken for the book cover. One of my best friends let me take a picture of myself on her tree in her backyard.

Picture of me smiling while climbing a tree wearing a leopard print shirt and holding one of my favorite stim toys.

I figured I’d let you all know about the book so you can keep an eye out for the big announcement when it’s finally released. I hope this book becomes a best seller. I hope I make a difference. I’m on a mission to bring this world 1,000 steps closer to accepting autism and busting all the myths and stigmas of autism. Autism is not a tragedy.

I’m still trying to make sure I have a blog to post weekly but if for some reason, I end up skipping a week or 2, it’s because my focus is on writing poetry. I’ll try my best to juggle the 2 without falling off track. I also have to keep in mind I also have a business that I run and two kids to take care of and a husband. I’ve been trying to type out these blogs weeks in advance and scheduling them so I have enough wiggle room to do other things and not feel too overwhelmed. Wish me luck!

What it’s like being autistic and married to an allistic

Picture of my husband and I underneath the sun shining down on us

For those of you who don’t know what the term allistic means, it’s simply a non autistic person. I use that term because my husband is considered neurodivergent so therefore he’s not neurotypical. He just isn’t autistic. I won’t disclose his neurotype on here because I want to respect his privacy as it’s not my place to tell his story. He will do so whenever he is ready.

At this time I’m typing this blog, we’ve been married for 4 years and together for a total of 9 1/2 years. It really has been a crazy ride for us filled with ups and downs. When we first got together, I did not disclose my autism diagnosis right away. I didn’t want him to think I’m too weird and then lose interest in me. I did however mention it at some point within the first year together very briefly but he never asked me to elaborate so I didn’t push it either. I felt like as long as he was just aware of it and made that informed decision to continue on with this relationship, then all was good. This is why autism awareness does nothing for autistic people. You can be aware of it but if you don’t learn about it and accept it, then it’s a dead end.

He had already spent time with me so he didn’t really think me being autistic would change anything. It was more like an “oh ok, cool”, and that was it. He didn’t know much about autism and had only knew one other person who was autistic, which was one of his family members.

His lack of knowledge really made things complicated. I can’t understand social cues so that made friendships and relationships hard for me. He used to send me flirtatious messages and I didn’t understand I needed to reciprocate so instead I would reply with “I miss you”. When I didn’t know what to say, that’s what I replied with as a way to keep the conversation going. I’m not really great with back and forth conversations. I’m sure he was very confused but he never questioned it. Being with him long enough, I eventually did pick up on how to respond to him and now he can’t handle it, haha.

When we first moved in together, he couldn’t tolerate some of my sensory seeking behaviors. Over time he got used to most of it and now just lets me do my thing.

Sometimes it’s really hard to communicate with him because I see things from my perspective and he has his own perspective on things but can’t seem to reach my level. He often doesn’t understand that I feel emotions on a much deeper level than a allistic person and I can’t regulate it. I also tend to come off as needy and he doesn’t always understand why I need constant attention. Sometimes I feel rejected by him and then I internalize that and feel like the marriage is falling apart. We’ve managed to pull through every obstacle so far which is great.

If I had to say what our biggest struggle is, I’d have to say communication. I often need things explained to me in explicit details or I can’t visualize whats being said and it doesn’t get processed in my brain. Him not specifying enough details often results in me not performing the task he asked me to do correctly or at all. He has gotten upset over it which overwhelms me. I’m always feeling like I’m performing wrong even when I’m not.

I’m also always stressed about the subtexts in conversations. I don’t understand it very well and would rather things be explained in a more direct way, no beating around the bush.

Another point I want to touch on is my sensory needs. I’m typically a sensory seeker so I don’t mind touch as long as I’m not overstimulated and feeling touched out. I crave affection from him and deep pressure from his weight on top of me. I crave skin to skin and being caressed and loved physically. My love language is physical touch. I often feel as though he sees affection as a chore and often resists. Usually when I try to explain how it makes me feel, it seems he has a hard time understanding and may say hurtful things without thinking. I completely understand that it’s almost impossible for an allistic person to understand every aspect of my needs as an autistic person but I also don’t want to be invalidated for it because this is my reality.

Aside from all the struggles, we have many many happy moments. I can go on and on about all our memories and show all the pictures we took over the years but it’s too much for you all.

When he’s not in a irritable mood, he’s very loving and sweet. He’s very quick to come to my defense when someone else upsets me. And on a good day, he can be more affectionate. He’s still learning and growing and I hope that we only continue to grow closer. He has definitely come a long way from when we first got together and I’m very proud of all his improvements and his eagerness to learn more about what would accommodate me so I can live a happier life. He’s watched me at my best moments and he’s also seen my worst from severe meltdowns to intense autistic burnout and going non verbal. I’m sure that’s a lot for him to take in and he has to be strong and keep it together for me. It’s a hard task but he chose to ride it out with me until death do us part. I love him so much and want nothing more than to be with him forever.

If you’re interested, I posted a Autism Q&A Spouse Edition video on YouTube linked below if you would like to listen to my husbands perspective

https://youtu.be/4-0p5HKxf3M

Autistic Burnout

Autistic burnout is intense physical and mental exhaustion. It can also be accompanied with loss of certain skills.

Having to navigate through a world that was only built for neurotypical people is very exhausting. Having to keep up with all the societies list of “norms” is very draining. Autistic people often end up masking their autistic traits which is very harmful.

Autistic burnout may look different from person to person. What you see in one autistic person; you may not see in another. As I mentioned above, it can be an intense physical exhaustion. It can also manifest as intense anxiety or emotional outbursts. It can be the inability to regulate emotions far more than usual. It can contribute to depression and suicidal behaviors. It can involve an increase of stimming (self regulating behaviors), increased sensitivity to sensory input and difficulty with changes. A lot of autistic people struggle with these things but when a burnout is happening, all these things can be amplified; making it seem like you’re regressing or much worse than usual.

Some autistic people lose their ability to speak during a burnout. Also, loss of executive function is common during a burnout as well. Executive function will be discussed in another blog.

Burnout can affect our thinking process and also affect our memory (which we already struggle with in general).

When I’m experiencing a burnout, I feel disconnected and disengaged from the rest of the world. I lose focus on the small things and can’t process my thoughts very well or my emotions. I tend to be very forgetful. But the forgetfulness also stems from the fact that when I’m told something, I’m most likely paying more attention to the sound of the electricity in the house; like the wind coming from the fan or the buzzing of the microwave. I can’t focus on too many sounds at once. It’s the increased sensitivity to sensory input that affects my ability to focus on conversation and information storing. I can’t process what you said if I hear the fridge. It’s a distraction. I struggle with these things on a daily basis but it’s 10 times worse during a burnout. People assume I’m not paying attention to them when I’m reality, I am. It’s just really hard for me to process too many different things at one time. I have lost my ability to speak during a burnout but it doesn’t happen every time I go through a burnout. My executive function is crap on a regular basis but it really goes down the toilet during a burnout.

The smallest things can be sensory overload for me during a burnout. Others around me don’t understand this and just brush it off.

Autistic burnout can last anywhere from a few hours to a few years for some autistic people. The main way to recover from burnout is to remove yourself from the situation that triggered it in the first place.

For me, it’s almost always caused by suppressing my emotions and meltdowns and other autistic traits in order to “keep the peace” around others who don’t understand me and so I’m not a burden to them. After so long, I don’t have the energy to continue to keep it all contained. It drains me to the point that it can be dangerous. I tend to physically lash out on myself by self harming and I also have attempted suicide before.

During these hard times, what I need is compassion and understanding. I may also need space and some alone time. I also need reassurance and not judgement. I’m trying as hard as I can but I can’t keep being sorry for who I am. I can’t keep apologizing for the way I am because I can’t help it and it’s not my problem people choose to not understand it.

I’m not entirely sure how long I’ve been in this current burnout so far but I only hope I can regain my strength soon so I can get back to the real me.

If you read this blog post this far, thank you and I hope you’ve learned something new here. More posts will be up soon, I just need to save up the energy to type it all out. I just really felt like this topic needed to be discussed.