When do I notice ASD in me?
- When I am not in charge
- Motor planning
- Sensory overload
- Hyper-focus (concentrating)
- In a group of people (i.e., more than Joan plus one)
- While attempting small talk
- Trying to do anything requiring sequencing:
Trying to organize/order piles, files, clothing, dishes, etc.
Cleaning a room
How do I experience the ASD manifesting itself?
I notice feelings of apprehension, fear, defensiveness. I get dodgy and anxious. I start to fidget, bounce my leg, check my surroundings continuously, as if anticipating an attack. I start to pace. If the feelings of apprehension are really escalating, I will find a quiet space to do wall push-ups, knee bends, take some good deep breaths, stretch my arms above my head or swing them around, blow out with motor lips – proprioceptive activities to calm my nerves.
I believe a lot of this behavior reflects a history of trauma.
Here’s my thesis: To have ASD is to be vulnerable to developing CPTSD.
CPTSD: see Pete Walker’s excellent website: http://www.pete-walker.com
Tell him I sent you!
Self-care: anticipating that the ASD might very well get triggered anytime, anywhere.
To keep myself as safe as possible, whenever it’s feasible, I plan way ahead to rule out as many variables or surprises as possible in any situation. For example, whenever I go anywhere, whether it’s a talk, a play, a concert, a new church, a friend’s house, I try to arrive at least 15 minutes before anybody else is likely to show up, except the setup crew, to check out the space, find a spot on an edge someplace, as far away from the speakers as possible. If I will be someplace all day, or even for a weekend, such as a conference, I might try to visit the location days or weeks before the event, to check room temperature, the feeling of the space (is it tight? open? claustrophobic? how is the air circulation? is it stale? old cigarettes or moldy rug smells? Is the seating stationary or flexible? where are the bathrooms? where can I take a break if I need it?) I walk around in the room, checking out how it feels to me, trying it on for potential sensory assaults, as I attempt to acclimate my system to this space.
I want to be able to stay in the room once the program begins, but to do that, I need to gather my own information about the space.