My journey pt V – sleeping and eating

I have an confession to make. I am insomniac. Or rather I do sleep well enough once I manage to actually fall asleep. But even with my beloved Hypericum I occasionally do not sleep before 3am. So I wanted to blog about what it is like to be in owl mode. Of course this is all tightly connected to the neglect  going on in my life so there is this sob story too. I’m hoping maybe I am not all alone in this. Even if I frequently feel the kind of abuse I was subjected too is not at all discussed anywhere. It always seems to be about narcissists. So here is my story, in hopes I can find others with similar stories.

I started having sleep problems in kindergarten already actually. Maybe even before that. My mother would regularly lie down with me for the midday naps a toddler should have… My mother slept well during these hours apparently. I also could not sleep in kindergarten when everyone else was sleeping. The kindergarteners were very ignorant of my issues and I learnt to pretend I was asleep as good as I can.

My food sensitivities also made a flashy early entrance: I refused to be breastfed. Mother went through quite a bit of trouble because of me foregoing natural reflexes altogether. As a three year old I would only eat one meal, all the time. My various relatives all needed to be kept up to date which was the meal of the year from then on if I came over. There was stuff I liked to eat and there are MANY things I abhored.

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Absolutely hated it! It’s why I want it back!

I often struggle with having cut off my abusive family. Still I never seriously considered getting back in touch. I know many other people who do have a much harder time sticking to the resolve of walking away from their abuser. It’s already very hard for me. I feel for everyone who struggles with these kinds of things. To the observing eye it has to be next to incomprehensible.

So why do we all have such a hard time? Are we that dense? Devoid of any logic? Blind and deaf? Selectively amnesiac for the bad sides of our relationships?

I do not think we are dense. Humans are creatures of habit. We prefer things we know well, things we can predict and know how they work over the great unknown. This is the reason we have a tendency to reenact our trauma in first place. We are used to this. We know these feelings and situations well and we are attracted to what we know. In a sick way it makes us feel safe. In another way I think our brains have the weird idea that we can find a way to “fix” things by subjecting ourselves to the pain over and over and over again.

I remember the first moment when I was not depressed. I have been walking back from school and for a brief moment, one, two steps the transmitter party in my head was over. It was one of the most horrible moments in my life. I have been depressed for so long, I knew how to deal with not having any energy, with not sleeping at night, with not knowing how to be happy. I knew all this and I knew it well, that’s been all my life. Knowing what it is like to not be depressed even for just two steps was horrible. Knowing what I was missing out on, how it might feel on the other side of the veil. Continue reading

Internalised ableism, and how neurodiversity has helped me

Autism through the Medium of Cats

I’ve always had low self-esteem. But when I was a teenager it became an intense, burning hatred for myself. I believed there was something terribly wrong with me and I wished I was someone else.

Now I know about autism I can see that a lot of the things I hated about myself were my autistic traits. I was deeply ashamed of how I could barely sustain a conversation with people I didn’t know, of the number of times I’d tried and failed to make a friend, of my awkwardness and the way other people seemed to become awkward around me, of how I couldn’t cope with loud noises. My face and posture didn’t look right, and I hated the sound of my voice. It sounded thick and flat and unclear. It sounded disabled.

I’m not sure of exactly where this internalised ableism came from. I was bullied. I went…

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Why you need to stop using the puzzle piece to represent autistic people

I am a big fan of the neurodiversity symbol shown on the very bottom of this post!

Autistic Alex

I hate the puzzle piece. I hate it with every fiber of my being. Therefore, since in a lot of places it’s national autism awareness month, I’m going to write about why you shouldn’t use the puzzle piece.

First; a little history on the puzzle piece. It was originally a national autistic society symbol. It’s history is documented here , towards the end of the piece, but the important bits regarding the puzzle piece are quoted lower down here. (trigger warning for ableism on that piece).

That first logo was this.

[Image description] A disembodied weeping head on a puzzle piece. [Image description] A disembodied weeping head on a puzzle piece. “’The Committee decided that the symbol of the Society should be the puzzle as this did not look like any other commercial or charitable one as far as they could discover’. It first appeared on our stationary and then on our newsletter in April 1963. Our Society was the…

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Do people on the autistic spectrum have one or many home planets?

Today I want to discuss some of the ideas researchers have about the autistic spectrum. As you read this a LOT of money from a certain “charity” organisation claiming to speak for us is used to research a cure which the majority of grown up autistic people do NOT want. In fact many of us say acceptance of our quirks is all the cure we need. And mind you this doesn’t cost a single dollar, euro, pound, yen or whatever currency you want to not spend. But that is again a topic for another post.

Anyhow aside from this assortment of people claiming to do the best for us the holy grail in autism research is the root cause of it. The biggest question these day seems to be (aside from what is broken) if there is one root issue that causes autism (such as the broken theory of mind which I have already about) or if there are multiple causes. The biggest trick with the one cause hypothesis is always that finding only one among this diverse bunch who does not display the root cause already refutes the entire theory altogether. Unsurprisingly I can’t give you an answer to this question. I can only give you my gut feelings and some observations which might hinder current autism research. Continue reading

Tryptophan supplementation to medicate depression

During the last year I have experimented with ways to help me deal with my depression. Since my depressive symptoms are severe medication was an option that I felt was necessary. From earlier experience I am firmly not a big fan of psycho drugs. Hence I have been travelling roads that are not well worn and a bit experimental. Here are my experiences with tryptophan. There will be quite a bit of physiology involved in this. I tried to put it into terms that hopefully will make sense to you even if you have no degree in the field. Sometimes physiology looks really random and out of the blue so I hope this works 😀

Let’s get the basics down first. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid which is not very soluble in water. What means all this you ask? Let me be your science guide! In all living beings there are proteins, which built significant parts of the body. In most living being every protein is built by a combination of 20 different amino acids. Tryptophan is one of the 20 amino acids.

So what do these weird amino acids do inside of us? Wait acid?! Are they poisonous?? No they are not. Someone decided to run with a funny name, consider yourself pranked ;). They are the building blocks with which enzymes and proteins are built. So they are teeny tiny building blocks of who we are. A little like mortar is used to build a house maybe. Enzymes in turn are responsible for almost everything in our bodies. Varying things like digesting, building cells and helping us move our muscles. So enzymes are important and without the building blocks we could not build enzymes and would be royally screwed. Just like houses without mortar have a tendency to be blown away by big bad wolves. Ask the three little pigs, they will tell you all about it. 😉
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What are we afraid of? Why we label and shun the “others”

So I’m sure you know about homophobia, racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, religious discrimination and all the other heinous ways prejudices poison our relationships with each other. With it running so rampant I thought I’m gonna tell you my ideas of why we are that prejudiced in first place.

These prejudices are old. Really really old. In fact many mammals are know to shun members of their own species which look different such as say albinos. So in order to understand a concept that has apparently been around for many many years we might benefit from looking how it originated in order to understand it better.

So let’s go back to our sabertooth tiger again. The one I have already invoked . Same situation again: you are faced with this animal. Let’s assume you have never seen it before and you do not know yet that you might benefit from instantly developing the new hobby of running or fighting for your life. Well you won’t make that mistake twice.

The next time you see something huge and alive, especially with protruding canines you won’t ponder whether or not that poor thing is just an orphan looking for a mommy or wants to talk to you about it’s religious beliefs. Once you have made an experience with something as very painful and possibly life threatening you develop fear of it and even things looking like that. You attach a name to it and tell all the members of your social group how they should not mess with the big stripy kitty.

So now they are afraid of sabertooths as well, even if they never had to fight one and life to tell the tale. From then on the sabertooth will be discriminated against as dangerous and it only took one incident, because this one incident was life threatening. Bears and wolves might be considered dangerous by proxy of being big, alive and predatory as well. We overgeneralise what we are afraid of and for many hundreds of generations this has helped us surviving.

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