Occupation: Girl

Please close the door and switch on the fun without fail.

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cleolinda
As I just said on Twitter, I keep forgetting that chronic health issues are chronic and that I can't just wait them out. "Oh, I feel like shit today, I'll post/work/exercise once the aches and/or pains and/or anxieties have let up." And then they just... don't, and another four weeks have slipped by. In fact, I'm typing this straight into the "new post" field on my phone because if I try to ~draft~ something, I won't finish it. I wanted to post something, several somethings, more substantial about the last few months, but: ow.

At this point, the best and easiest thing I can think of to do for myself is drink a shit ton of water, healthwise, and try to catch up on some reading, considering that I am specifically in physical pain right now. I feel like there is probably always something you can do for yourself, even if that something is "breathe deep and drink a water."

I have a yearly PCOS checkup scheduled for September, which I think is also when I have my next quarterly med check (for bipolar II, if you do not have my health conditions memorized, she said dryly). You know, I'll go ahead and say--it's a long long story that I don't really know how to start or finish, and so maybe I'm finding reasons to put off more in-depth posts on (subconscious) purpose, but: it seems, based on some preliminary discussion, that I may be on the autism spectrum. I have a referral to a clinical specialist, but I don't think I can afford another doctor's visit right now, or maybe even for 2-3 months.

So it's not an ironclad clinical diagnosis. But it would explain A LOT about my painfully lonely and anxious childhood, why I have panic attacks while trying to drive, problems I have both starting and/or finishing things, and those times when I'm just like "that's it, I'm done, I have lost my will to function, I will be sitting in this corner of the convention hall if you need me." And I know some of these things may be true of many people. But in the preliminary research I started doing, a revelatory preponderance of them turned out to be true of me.

And that's the kind of thing I wanted to post about in depth. Things like how autism can present very differently in girls, how many women aren't diagnosed until adulthood, how (contrary to a lot of stereotypes) empathy overload and high verbal skills can be involved, mirror neurons, how bipolar disorder often overlaps with or is mistaken for autism, intense world theory, executive dysfunction, sensory overload, how Hans Asperger only studied boys, how I'm not sure if Asperger's syndrome is still clinically a thing or if it even reflects what's going on with me but who am I to say that, how I'm not entirely sure if "high-functioning end of the spectrum" is a thing or if that terminology upsets people, how I might be blundering into an existing community, and not knowing the right words and being afraid I don't belong because I don't KNOW for sure, but how it's already helped me a lot to reconsider how I think and feel and function. It has, perhaps contrary to expectation, been a largely positive experience.

Anyway. I think I am stealing my own thunder here because trying to write about Autism, Maybe has been turning into Let Me Slideshow You My Brain. Like, we could be here a while. So. Voilà.

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I'm really glad it's been a good experience for you — I always find things about myself easier to cope with/explain when I have a word for them. I'm (to the best of my knowledge) neurotypical, but because my brother has Asperger's (or the Artist Formerly Known As Asperger's, idk) I've been interested in that area for a while and the writing from that community helped me SO MUCH in understanding my own problems that resulted from my longterm anxiety disorder chronic depression, like sensory overload (sometimes everything is suddenly really loud and I feel sick and it triggers a panic attack) and executive dysfunction. I also had a similar experience to findingawayh0me with asexuality, in that it's something you already experience but when you find the words to describe it (and the community that comes with) it's such a relief. Plus, I didn't have to keep telling people that I wanted to be an atheist nun, I could just be like, "I'm asexual! Don't know what that means? Google it!" and skip away :P

PS: I finally found someone selling a copy of your M15M book and I am very excited for its arrival.

Aw, yay for the book!

Yeah, honestly, what helped me realize I was bisexual was seeing people on Tumblr (I know, I know) talk about how female desire is normalized as "well of course you're attracted to women, EVERYONE is, women are just beautiful," sort of in service to herding women back towards men and heteronormativity. There's this vested interest in making sure questioning and/or bisexual women don't FEEL "queer enough" to count, and I definitely didn't, and therefore I didn't even consider it until like 2-3 years ago. (I think this is not unrelated to my fear in the main post about "WHAT IF I'M NOT AUTISTIC ENOUGH AND THEY WANT TO KICK ME OUT?!") So basically, yeah, it was seeing other people talk about sexuality as a more fluid and low-key thing that didn't have to meet a Queerness Threshold that helped me figure that out. And this realization that I was "enough" was just such a huge relief.

And yeah, sensory overload was a HUGE factor in realizing I was really very probably autistic. I would literally tell someone, "I'm having another I Hate Voices day" or "why is everything so loud. why." I was wearing earbuds around the house and playing music because the sound of the TV and people in the room talking was just driving me batty, to the point where I just wanted to SCREAM. Or someone would be venting at me about their day, and about thirty minutes in I would suddenly feel like I was just shutting down. Or like, I would be out doing stuff for the afternoon, and suddenly I would just be DONE. Autism really, really explained that, and it's made it easier to say, "sometimes I just can't handle a lot of sound, so if we're going to be talking anyway, can you turn the TV off."

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