Continued from my last post…
Several things have helped me with my triggers not necessarily in order, I wrote them as they came.
2) Learning about trauma, abuse, bullying, and how it affects people, and can affect Autistics differently.
3) Discovering what triggers are and why I had them.
4) Learning to recognize my triggers and the art of redirection. (I am still learning this and believe it will be a life-long learning process. I have discovered some of my biggest ones that have the potential to send me into deep spirals of anxiety and confusion.)
5) Learning how to discern my emotions from others and embracing my emotions without judgment. (Still learning, it’s all about the process.)
6) Being mindful of my thoughts and actions.
7) Discovering that sensory issues can and are traumatic to me and that I cannot simply acclimate or “overcome” my sensory sensitivities.
8) Accepting these things about myself and utilizing the tools and resources I have found to help me.
Such as listening to music with my headphones on in a store while I shop, so I do not become overwhelmed by all the other sounds.
I also try to keep my focus on my list so I do not become overwhelmed with all of the visual input that can make me cry on some days. I try to plan ahead as much as possible before going to the store. Then, there are my other distractions like taking pictures of things I find amusing. These types of things help me. See even going to Wal-Mart can trigger certain traumatic events in my life. If I hear a song, it can remind me of a person that can rapidly connect all sorts of events throughout my life. It can cause me to relive that moment in the store feeling the full effect of sensory, social, emotional, and physical sensation.
This does happen to me while reading things as well.
I have been able to decrease this and not be filled with anxiety and confusion. I have seen progress in this comparing my reactions even a few months ago to similar situations I have encountered lately. This has progressed because I no longer stay quiet about my anxieties or cognitive distortions. I remind myself of cognitive distortions when I feel my thoughts start to feel anxious and I make a mental note or write down which ones I am doing. I then, counter it with realistic possibilities. I am aware of when my mind wanders into these negative patterns. Since, I have become more aware of negative thinking, causes, and effects of these thinking patterns it has helped me pull out of the spiral sooner.
I do my part to work on stopping them before they spiral.
I still struggle, have challenges and do spiral at times. We are talking about rewiring an entire 40 years of mixed up, confused, anxiety-ridden thinking. I do not voice my negative self-talk. I have been sensitive to not saying things out loud (They were still internalized, and I know that has some sort of affect on me and those around me.) because of how my mom’s negative self-talk affected me growing up. However, it seems hardwired in my kid’s brains. Ariel is the only one who does not voice it, but there have been times when she expressed her “need” for perfection. She gets so frustrated when she does not get something right away. Daniel and Joshua have expressed clearly at times by saying things such as, “I am not good at anything.” “There is something wrong with me.” “I cannot do anything.”
These words rip at my heart.
I do not understand why they automatically think such things. Sometimes I ask and they really have no answers other than, it is how they feel. I try to reassure them and reiterate that emotions are fleeting. I wish I would have known this as a child. I had no one to tell me that what I was feeling was not TRUTH. The negative self-talk and image became my truth because I did not understand anything about emotions. I did not understand that I could feel the emotions, but I did not need to accept them as my identity. However, it is a bit difficult to explain emotions to someone who does not know what they are feeling.
My Aspie mom who did not understand emotions either raised me. We had happy, sad, anger, and depressed. Everything mixed into that was simplified into “You did not clean your room = I am mad.”
“You did listen to me = I am happy,” type of communication.
I learned how to make her happy so she would not be angry because I did not want to feel sad. Gaining knowledge and perspective on emotions has given me the ability to heal. I have been processing and working through so many years of emotional and social confusion (they go together) since October really.
It was then, that I started to see things with more clarity and realized just how much I needed to heal.
Before I used all of my research as a distraction from my pain. It was still very beneficial because it slowly chipped away layer upon layer of distractions, distortions, fears, anxieties, and familiarity. I have not arrived that is for sure, but I have come a long way. It makes me more aware of my children’s environment and it has given me the ability to help them a bit more in learning about emotions, expression, and self-image. I believe this will help them in the future with relationships. I want them to have it better – I think most parents do. I read this other day and it helped me a great deal The Cracked Vessel. I am no stranger to pathological relationships of all sorts. This article reminded me that my PTSD is not going to disappear miraculously.
Everything connects, Autism, sensory, anxiety, depression, PTSD.
They can work together in positive ways to bring healing/understanding or they can work together in negative ways to cause me to spiral. We know that Autism, sensory processing disorder, and synesthesia were part of my DNA working its miracles in my mother’s womb. What we did not know was how traumatic, assaulting, and damaging this world could feel. (Not only to me, but I can only speak for myself.) Who knew that this world would be chaotic, attacking, confusing, and overwhelming to me because of the way my brain processes.
We have just skimmed the surface of what the brain does or what it is capable of doing.
Yay! Neurology I love you! Can’t wait to see what else you discover. I wrote this post in hopes of helping others see that the world they may find full of pleasantries and loads of fun can be painful, scary, and confusing to others. It is not all negative, however, the majority of my life it seemed that way. I am working my way into this world on my terms and in healthy ways for the way my brain works.
Things that may seem very minuscule to some could be traumatic to others.
This goes for everyone, something that I feel is not a big deal could be devastating to another and vice versa. The thought of a sudden loud fire alarm still causes me to feel panicky, sick to my stomach, and makes my ears hurt. I see red blinking lights and my hands over my ears yelling, “Oh, my gosh! Why do they do this?” While my teacher tells me to be quite and just do what I am told. Agg! Flashback! I hope these two posts give some clarity to how the sensory, social, and emotional world can affect someone on the spectrum. I will list C-PTSD symptoms below because I do not feel enough people know about it.
I will also link to PTSD symptoms along with several more resources, like always.
I know that I have written about some of this before, but once again I have a better understanding about myself. I believe there are many people out there who do not realize that they are suffering from C-PTSD and/or PTSD. When I understood what it was and that I was suffering it opened up a door to healing. I had answers for why I was reacting in certain ways. I finally, understood that I could do something about it. I understood these things for my children, but I had not connected it for myself. I hope this post brings a little more awareness and some practical ideas that others can use. If anything I have resources that can be beneficial!
What additional symptoms are seen in Complex PTSD?
An individual who experienced a prolonged period (months to years) of chronic victimization and total control by another may also experience the following difficulties:
- Emotional Regulation. May include persistent sadness, suicidal thoughts, explosive anger, or inhibited anger.
- Consciousness. Includes forgetting traumatic events, reliving traumatic events, or having episodes in which one feels detached from one’s mental processes or body (dissociation).
- Self-Perception. May include helplessness, shame, guilt, stigma, and a sense of being completely different from other human beings.
- Distorted Perceptions of the Perpetrator. Examples include attributing total power to the perpetrator, becoming preoccupied with the relationship to the perpetrator, or preoccupied with revenge.
- Relations with Others. Examples include isolation, distrust, or a repeated search for a rescuer.
- One’s System of Meanings. May include a loss of sustaining faith or a sense of hopelessness and despair.
Resource list. (Reminder, I may not always agree with the resources I share, but I leave it up to you to determine what information helps you. I find good stuff in all sorts of info even if I do not agree with it.)
An interesting discussion on WrongPlanet.net Complex PTSD and Autism
I do not want to leave out the pressure and challenges that parents can be under as well. I will share this link about a mother who stated that she felt trauma from situations with her ASD child. I ask people to open-minded about this. There is no attack toward the child. The parents are not trying to make their child(ren) look horrible, they are simply sharing their experience. As with everything, stress, love, empathy, anxiety, trauma, we all differ in how we are affected. We all differ in how we process and respond. I can relate, but mine is enhanced by other factors as well. I have to work very hard at keeping my balance on a daily basis. Some days I do not do so well, other days it more joy than I can articulate. That is life. Here is the link. ASD and PTSD
Everyone has their own triggers they can be from food to health issues. I will share some other things that I read in regards to different triggers.
I might have shared this before I cannot remember I consume so much information! Uncover and Manipulate Your Triggers to Optimize Your Work and Life
These next two are geared toward employment, but I decided to share the information anyway.