A Little to the Left of Normal: Aspie issues – Processing Delay

I have mentioned before that I struggle with reading but I have never really fully explained how I – someone who wrote 3 novels in the space of a year – struggle to read. Granted it seems an unlikely claim and yet, it is no less legitimate.

I have been like this throughout my life and it has been a deeply embarrassing and hugely frustrating thing to live with. Up until recently, I had no idea why I had such difficulty. And then I started researching Asperger’s and Dyspraxia in the run up to my diagnosis. And after speaking to the specialist during my diagnosis I discovered that it is a processing delay.

This effects all information processing and can be better or worse depending on the day and how overloaded I am. On a great day I might struggle with large chunks of information (say a letter or a novel) sometimes I will be able to read it with little delay and repetition of lines to make sure I understand them, on other days this can be slow and stunted – and this is on my best days. When I am overloaded with things, too much for me to process at once, whether that is a current overload of sensory information, or whether it happened earlier in the day or even the previous day, and I am struggling on in an overloaded state, I find I can’t read at all. Maths is out of the question also. If I am overloaded, any extra processing just won’t happen. It all goes to pot and the more I try, the more overloaded and frustrated I get.

This is one of the ways I feel Asperger’s really limits me. Even in high school I was the same. I used to play the guitar and sing. And I could read music, but once I got past a certain level, the need to read the music faster meant I could no longer do it – at all. I just couldn’t keep up. I learned all the complex pieces I needed to play for my highers and the West Lothian Guitar Ensemble (a collection of hand picked school guitarists across West Lothian who put on concerts) by watching my guitar instructor play and mimicking his hand movements. Basically I learned Vivaldi and Mozart by mirror playing – imitating what I saw and heard. Where singing was concerned, it was a memorised word, pitch, tempo thing – feeling the music as it were. But yeah, information processing is my downfall.

An example of how poor my information processing can be on a good day (which is today – so far. Who knows what will happen later.)

 3rd sentence (2nd line) I had to re-read no less than 12 times before I finally understood it. It’s not even a hard freakin’ sentence! And even now that I have pre-processed the damn thing, if I read that sentence back, my mind questions whether or not I really do understand the words on the page. This processing delay is the bane of my life. Sometimes I can’t read at all, sometimes I can read and recognise all the words but- nothing. There is no meaning to them, they are just empty and a seemingly unlinked series of words. Sometimes it’s more dyslexia-like where the words are out of order as I read them, or the letters are jumbled, or I read the words in a weird way (2nd few letters then first few like reading the word “forgotten” as”ottenforg”)

(Ottenforg…that’s an awesome place name by the way *scribbles it down for latter use in a book*)

This processing delay can be problematic when traveling… things like: not able to read signs and notifications quick enough or at all, not able to accurately follow directions, counting turn offs on roundabouts and a million other ways make traveling by car a long journey of wrong turns even when you have preplanned the route, lets not even talk about the public transport minefield!

At the end of the day this is something that effects every aspect of my life, it always will. It is frustrating and embarrassing in sooo many ways, but I wanted to share this, because most likely there are others out there who have the same problem. And it’s nice to know that even if you can’t fix it, you aren’t the only one.

Feel free to ask any questions and let me know your experiences with processing delay in the comments.

Cherie-bye the-noo! xx

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Micro Update

Well good morning all. I have some wifi available today, so I thought it best to post a wee teeny update as I've been pretty much MIA for the past month.

So firstly… the kids and I are okay. That's the most important thing I need to say. We're okay.

Secondly, I have no broadband and only 2gb of phone data so when it's gone it's gone. I have all push notifications turned off on my phone except Messenger and WhatsApp which are on but limited in the frequency of notifications to save data.

If I don't message you back, don't take it personally, I am most likely low on data and/or haven't even gotten your message as my notifications are limited (as already mentioned)

I have found myself a new author I am able to read (which as you may know, for me is a feat in itself) 2 actually though I have only read 2 of Alwyn Hamilton's books (Rebel in the Sand & Traitor to the Throne) I want to read the 3rd which isn't available yet. The other is Joe Abernathy. He has that raw, kick in the balls, spade rule style of writing that really works for me. It's my method of writing and so how could I not love it? I devoured his Half a King, Half the World & Half a War books in only a week. Considering my problems with reading and processing that information, that's crazy fast for me. I think the only other books I have been able to read that fast are Sabriel, Lirael & Abhorsen by Garth Nix and Demon Bound, Demons Unbound (Beta) & iCon (working title and very Beta) by David Parkland. It's well known that I can't read most of what I pick up and want to read, so it's nice to find a new author I can add to my small collection.

I would like to put up some reviews for these books I have been reading, but at present I don't have the will in me to sit and write them out, and not really anything in the way of a connection to post them if I did, except for when I am at my mum's or the library where there is free wifi. So reviews will have to wait. Just like pretty much everything else right now. Life is on hold. And while I'm not okay with that, I know something better is just around the corner, and I'm prepared to be on hold for a good long while.

So that's it for my micro update. I hope you are all well and I hope it won't be too long until I'm back in the game rather than sitting on the sidelines.

Cherie-bye the noo luvvies xxx

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My blended Graded Unit 2 & Packaging 2 brief from my Graphic Design HND

Hiya luvvies!

I thought I would share with you today some images from my Graded Unit 2 &  Packaging 2 units (that’s 2 double credit units… i.e. this project is essentially worth 4 units in total) from my HND.

This blended project was an absolute joy to work on. I loved every last second of time I spent on it and would happily have spent more time if I could have.

This work gained me not only the highest mark in the class but one of the 2 highest marks ever achieved in the college for my course (and the other guy was a teacher) so as you can imagine, I am outrageously pleased with what I have been able to produce.

I’ve included the images below (Click to enlarge) minus images of one piece (the panda box seen in the last image) as I hope to develop that one further. When it’s done you will see it. Whether you see images of it here or see it in a store is another matter entirely! 😂😂😂

Feel free to comment/query 😉

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What does ‘fine’ mean?

Funnily enough this was like reading about me and certainly like reading about Sophie who is more and more often complaining of tummy pains that I think are related to anxiety (she has a hospital appointment with the paediatrician on the 29th just to check it isn’t something else mind, but I am certain it’s anxiety related.) Well worth a read xx

It Must Be Mum

By Rosie and Jo’s mum.

“When she’s in school, she’s fine…..”

“Once you’ve dropped her off, she’s fine.”

“She’s been fine all day.”

I’ve probably heard these phrases and other variations of them hundreds of times over the years.

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No. It’s not ok.

So last week something happened at college that I didn’t expect to happen. I made a comment to my partner in creative crime Holly (@hollyjollyfish) and the reaction of the class was really quite over the top and utterly unnecessary. I wanted to stand against it at the time but my small attempt at explaining was drowned by their berating of me so I was unable. I would have appreciated if someone had come to my aid but they didn’t and it was seemingly accepted as a fine action to take. That it was ok to verbally gang up on me.

No. It’s not ok.

The original comment I made stemmed from a conversation about university housing prices and number of students per flat for where Holly will be studying for her degree. There was note that searching her uni’s website showed the halls were extortionate and that you share washing facilities with 50 students (or a number similar) which is where I interjected in a sing song voice “thats why you should go to  ******** uni instead” (Another uni in the same city)

Now. Holly’s immediate reaction was an inevitable misunderstanding of my meaning. She made comment that what I said had been mean and before I could explain to her what I actually meant certain other classmates leapt into action saying I was mean and that was a horrible thing to say. ‘Why would you say that, it’s so mean?’ ‘That was a horrible thing to say.’ And other such comments repeatedly over a number of minutes.

Not everyone spoke. But those that did only muddied the situation further.

I was hurt, embarrassed, angry and honestly quite let down that no one spoke up for me when it was clear I couldn’t manage to do it myself even if all they said was, ‘ok that’s enough.’

After they left to go to the other classroom I explained to Holly that I was meaning the other university website as their halls have flats of only 5 rooms and I remembered them being much cheaper that her uni. Not a mean comment at all. And she understood then that in actual fact I had been noting something and not teasing or being mean. It was a simple comment blown out of all proportion because certain people can’t keep their noses out of other people’s conversations.

I never really felt welcome in that class and I certainly don’t feel welcome at all now. No matter. I am not there to play socialite. I am there to get my HND.

I thought long and hard about posting this I was going to say something to them face to face, but really, what’s the use? They will likely have dismissed the moment minutes after it happened whereas for me it rolls round my mind again and again while I mentally dissect every little detail of the encounter. Not because I want to but because that’s just how my brain processes it. I have no control over that.

With me spade rule applies always. It always has and it always will and that can cause wires to be crossed because these days people expect you to say one thing and mean another. Or say things in a roundabout way. That’s not how I work. And that’s fine. Leave it alone. It’s not broken, it’s just blunt. Information is just information.

But please. If you are going to stick your sharp little nose where it’s not wanted, perhaps you should be asking for clarification of meaning rather than just attacking because it gives you the ability to put someone down or feel powerful for a few moments. Because you know what? That’s mean.

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Why We Need to Take ‘High-Functioning’ Anxiety Seriously | The Mighty — REBLOGGED

When you imagine anxiety, what do you see? Shaking, crying, screaming? Panic attacks, hyperventilating, incoherent sentences? For some people, this is what it is like. But it’s not always the case.

What does “high-functioning” anxiety look like?

It looks like you have your life together. You smile, your clothes are freshly pressed, your hair is shiny, your arrive on time. You try your hardest, finish your work on time, help others and have hobbies. High-functioning anxiety makes it look like you’re busy living your life — and you are — to a certain extent.

For me, it’s keeping busy so I don’t lose my mind. The more I do, the more tasks I assign myself and the more things I can keep in control, the more I can control my anxiety.

The issue with not speaking out about high-functioning anxiety is the risk of people thinking it’s not real. And it is. Because I live it. And countless others live the same life. And when we need to take a sick day, when we are brave enough to take some time for self-care, we need to be taken seriously. I’m not faking being sick. I’ve been faking being well.

Just like the belief every person with an eating disorder needs to look like they have an eating disorder, the ability to be high-functioning doesn’t negate the anxiety.3 I was in desperate need of a mental health day, but I was too afraid to call into sick to work because I knew nobody would believe me. Because they couldn’t see it. This is the downfall of having an invisible illness. The trouble with having a disorder that masks itself as “just fine.”

Looking at me, you wouldn’t know I struggle with self-harm or eating disorders. You wouldn’t ever guess I have suicidal tendencies. Behind my work ethic and ability to do my job is a girl struggling to breathe because of a small typo in a tweet or because my lipstick might be one shade too bright. I don’t know how I can be high-functioning, I just know I am.

It makes it that much harder to ask for help because I don’t think anyone would believe me. I don’t want to be labelled as the girl who cried wolf. I want to be taken seriously. But until we even acknowledge high-functioning anxiety exists and it’s a real illness, it will never be part of the conversation. And without awareness, we can’t ever move forward and ask for help.

Source: Why We Need to Take ‘High-Functioning’ Anxiety Seriously | The Mighty

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The Gas-lighting of Women and Girls on the Autism Spectrum

I think this is well worth your time so I am sharing it here on thistleyroses. It hits home with me in such a deep and profound way that I couldn’t pass it by without sharing xx

Seventh Voice

Artwork by Mirella Santana

Of all the traits attributed to Women on the Autism Spectrum, there remains one that not only continues to go unrecognized as a valid trait but has also suffered the fate of being reconstructed by professionals as a rationale for denying Women a diagnosis.

The trait I’m referring to is that of developing a strong sense of self-awareness.

In almost every description pertaining to the experiences of Women with Asperger’s Syndrome there is evidence of the development of an early, inexplicable sense of ‘otherness,’ to be found.

This sense of ‘otherness’ expands exponentially as girls grow older and develops into a keen sense of self-awareness.

Their strong sense of self-awareness in turn, increases their sensitivity toward any and all experiences that suggest or confirm their perceptions of themselves as different.

Undoubtedly, whilst at school, undiagnosed spectrum girls will find themselves showered, almost daily, with an endless array of situations that…

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