Autism awareness day isn’t until many months from now, but I felt like writing a short post about it, as much is happening in the world of understanding autism (ASD) and Asperger’s. Also, there is a relatively big difference between ASD in males and females, and the spectrum is very broad and diverse! Not everyone with ASD and Asperger’s has all the traits and (dis)abilities 🙂 (Asperger’s syndrome is part of the Autism spectrum).
How it has manifested for me (in good ways and bad ways):
– Sensory sensitivity; overwhelmed by light, sound and things happening around me
– Extreme focus on numbers, names, symmetry and details (finding errors)
– Very keen long-term memory (I tend to associate clothes and colors to events) Short-term memory has declined a lot due to my M.E.
– High need for familiar surroundings and routines, finding it extra hard to adapt
– Panic attacks/meltdowns (have gotten better through meditation, almost completely gone!)
– Difficulties in certain social situations, and reading people’s body language/facial expressions/becoming overwhelmed
– Very specific interests
– Sometimes difficulties communicating my feelings, prefering to write instead of talk
– The need to do things in a certain way, and becoming very frustrated when they don’t get done like that
– Very visual imagination, thinking in pictures (comes in handy in meditation and creative work!)
– Need things to be almost spelled out to me
– Feeling emotions very intensely, almost gets too much to handle
– Finding fullfilment in my hobbies rather than work
– Problems with certain textures (for me, it’s untreated wood. Haha!)
– Tend to zone out/space out, or become hyperfocused on some detail/subject
– Listening to the same music and audio books over and over again
It’s fairly recent that I discovered that it is in fact an autism spectrum condition I have after doing an AQ test. It feels like a massive relief to finally know what has been sort of a mystery to me, and it feels like all the pieces of a puzzle just fell into place all at once. Funny how close people around me (Heidrun and Karl Henrik) knew already and have hinted to me about it, it just took me a while to admit it I guess, haha 🙂
Here are some interesting videos and articles on the subject:
What women with autism would like you to know (YouTube video)
Are you autistic? Channel 4 documentary (YouTube)
Our Recent Study on the Overlap between Autism and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome/Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders (very interesting as I have Hypermobility as well)
Treating Autism and ME/CFS: Could One Drug Help Both? (super intriuing article connecting autism and ME, which I also have) Excerpt from the article:
“ASD is not Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) but some similarities exist. Both diseases affect cognition and sensory processing, cause problems with stimuli, cause significant social withdrawal, and are associated with increased levels of oxidative stress, reduced glutathione levels, and a Th2 immune response shift.
According to Dr. Naviaux, “ASD and ME/CFS are on the same biological spectrum.” Dr. Naviaux has encountered teenagers with ASD who develop ME/CFS, and adults with ME/CFS who develop autism-like symptoms of mutism, social withdrawal, sensory hypersensitivities, and OCD-like symptoms.
Both, he believes, are caused by a failure of the cell danger response (CDR) to shut down normally after a chemical or biological injury has been healed or cleared. Both disorders lead to abnormalities in metabolism that he has characterized using a laboratory tool called mass spectrometry and metabolomics.
[…] Dr. Naviaux believes that the energy and other problems in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) may be caused by the same cell danger response he believes is present in autism. The strange wired and tired symptoms, the inability to settle down and rest, the hypersensitivities to stimuli, the ADHD-like problems, even the mood issues like anxiety – all are the consequence of the body being put in a low energy state. Ironically, people in low energy states just can’t relax because, Dr. Naviaux asserts, “it takes more energy to relax than react”.