My home is my haven: an ode to woollen blankets, beeswax candles, glossy plants, locally-roasted coffee and home-baked cake. But I often forget that drawing my comfort zone too close can be cloyingly claustrophobic.
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.
I’m thinking about my brain as I play the piano. I’m not having to work hard every minute to ensure that the words make sense, but instead I’m translating the dots on the page (effortlessly now after more than thirty years) and turning them into a place of safety and joy, coupled with tantalising moments of visceral bodily feedback.
At school I was that kid who was always playing with his hands, tapping on a desk, or a wall, or a lunchbox, or anything really.
#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.
There is an innate value in patterns and maps, as tools for exploration – of worlds simple or complex, imaginary or realisable, and the porous boundaries between.