When I was in my teens and early 20s, I had a severe panic disorder. It peaked in my second year of University, when I was so anxious that I only attended a handful of lectures. As my world shrank, I realised that I had to do something.
#AskingAutistics What are your top tips for getting to sleep and staying asleep?
I am an autistic woman, I have been working in the autism field as a mentor, adviser and advocate for many years but I trained as a Pilates teacher in 2016 with the aim of providing more autism friendly teaching and classes.
This experience changed my life. I’ve become much more confident with who I am and I’m now able to use running as a strength, its become more than an interest for me, its become a passion.
This morning routine was not developed overnight but, instead, was crafted slowly over time, with lots of trial and error. It took realizing and accepting my morning reality, and then working with it intentionally. Eventually, a routine developed that created an excellent flow to my day and I knew I hit paydirt.
What I didn’t ever consider when I began the gym was how good weight lifting is for self regulation. When the barbell is on my shoulders, it almost has the effects of a weighted blanket – it feels really comforting and grounding.
Encountering the extremes of cold drew us both into that most clichéd space, the Moment, forcibly pulling our minds away from ruminating on the past or future, or tilling over an endless to-do list.
For me, mindfulness has become one of my techniques that allows me to make sense of the world around me. It allows me to take control of my thoughts and bring into context how frequently they are overstimulated.
Growing up as I did – trans, bicultural and autistic – without knowing how different and sensitive I was, I had accumulated layers of emotional debris that would randomly explode, wrecking life projects and relationships.
In 2019 I carried out a study to explore how late-diagnosed autistic women (like me) managed their health and wellbeing. This is the second of four blog posts describing the themes I identified when analysing the interviews