After sharing my last old video about my ideas of my projects and causes that remains the same in this video, I introduced myself to who I am, what I do, my passions, aims, and goals, purpose, mission statement, what patreon is, what I will use the funds for if they become pledges to pledge for my cause/future projects. I have now officially been working on one of the many projects and that’s my website which will be coming soon and live for you all to come and visit. When it is ready the website address is https://www.aspieanswers.co.nz. I also mentioned about my plans for the merch that I was thinking of either opening another store or doing it as a home business. I will hope to answer that question when I have a live video update of what has been going on.
I am creating and working on as we speak along with many other projects in the works. I’ll hope to do a quick live video soon. This is just a quick short glimpse of what I’ve been doing based on the projects of many that I am doing. There has been more progress since I last shown these onto my socials. Stay tuned to know when I will decide to have my website live and ready for all of you who’s interested.
Gratitude is simply taking time to think about all the positive things in your life. Rather than ruminating on the negatives. It does not necessarily necessitate actually telling anyone else you are thankful for the things they have done. (Although, that helps)
Gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools for increasing happiness. Research shows it is the single most powerful method of increasing happiness
Gratitude is defined as thankfulness, or gratefulness, from the Latin word gratus “pleasing, thankful”, is a feeling of appreciation felt by and/or similar positive response shown by the recipient of kindness, gifts, help, favours, or other types of generosity, towards the giver of such gifts.
There are many benefits of gratitude. Yet, I decided to do at least eleven.
1. Improves Physical Health
2. Improves Sleep
3. Reduces Stress
4. Improves your Mental Health
5. Enhanced Self Esteem
6. More Resilience
7. Changes Memories
8. Improves your Emotional Wellbeing
9. Better Relationships and Social Life
10. More Career or Business Success
11. Better Manifesting
Ask yourself the following questions
What am I grateful for in my life?
What am I proud of in my life?
What do I love about my life?
What made today great?
What was good about today?
Notice what comes up when you ask these questions. Gratitude questions are powerful because it focuses your mind on answering the question and this will lead to more things that you are grateful for.
Gratitude Bucket List
You probably already have a bucket list for holiday destinations, experiences and people you would like to meet. What about having a gratitude bucket list? Think of all those things that you have already achieved, the places you’ve already visited, the people that you’ve already met, Create a gratitude bucket list of all the things you’ve already achieved.
Showing Appreciation to Others
What can you do that will brighten up someone else’s day? How could you show gratitude or appreciation for something that someone else has done? You can show your gratitude and appreciation face to face, via text message, email or on social media.
As you can see, there are lots of great benefits of gratitude. I hope this convinces you that it’s worth practicing being grateful on a daily basis. Best time is first thing in the morning when you get up and just before going to bed.
However, practicing being grateful throughout the day is great as well. It will make you feel better about yourself and happier too. It will balance your life as you’ll be focusing on things you already have, as well as focusing on the things you want.
Disclaimer: I am no medical doctor as I’m your normal Jo Blogs if you see anything out of the ordinary of the signs and symptoms that are present to any of the diagnoses that I’ve shared in the past and present, do seek medical help or seek second opinion as I don’t condone self- harm. I have shared in the past some of the everyday terms that has been interchanged for many years such as autism, high functioning autism, low functioning autism and so much more. All I can say for this is to ask the autistic, what they want to be called and to be able to respect them as a person.
High-functioning autism (HFA) is neither an official diagnosis nor is there an agreed-upon definition of what the term means. In the broadest sense of the term, high-functioning autism may mean any of the following:
A person with relatively mild symptoms which, despite their mildness, are significant enough to merit an autism spectrum diagnosis.
A person with autism whose IQ is higher than 70
A person with autism who is successfully navigating a typical school or work environment
A person who is able to mask symptoms of autism successfully so they have in expected ways and can “pass” for neurotypical
A person who, at one point, had an Asperger syndrome diagnosis
Adding to the confusion is the fact that many people with autism may be bright and accomplished yet have severe symptoms (such as anxiety and sensory dysfunction)
that significantly impact their daily functioning.
HFA vs. Asperger Syndrome
Until 2013, many people who might be said to have high-functioning autism were diagnosed with either Asperger syndrome or PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified).
But, there are differences that set the two diagnoses apart:
Asperger syndrome was a distinct diagnosis which described a person of average or higher-than average intelligence and age-appropriate language skills who also had significant social and communication challenges.
PDD-NOS was a catch-all diagnosis. Often understood to mean the same thing as “high functioning autistic,” it really incorporated individuals at all functional levels whose symptoms didn’t fully correlate with classic autism. Perhaps more significantly, people with Asperger syndrome do seem to share certain personal characteristics that are not shared by all people with higher IQs and autism. For example, anxiety is often a symptom of Asperger syndrome but not one shared by everyone who might be described as having High Functioning Autism.
As of 2013, with the publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), neither PDD-NOS nor Asperger syndrome is an official diagnostic category in the United States.
HFA and Level 1 Autism
With the release of DSM-5, instead of separate diagnoses, there is just one big group of people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
But, people with autism are still very different from one another. So, to clarify these differences, the DSM-5 also includes functional levels. People who are bright and verbal are generally given the diagnosis of level 1 ASD.
Still, the distinction doesn’t offer a clear characterization of what level 1 ASD actually is. For example:
People with level 1 ASD can show affection, complete daily tasks, and use age-appropriate language, reading, and math skills. On the other hand, they can’t hold eye contact, maintain a conversation, engage in play, or pick up on social cues. People with level 1 ASD can have significant speech and language delays but are able to take part in an inclusive academic program because of their age-appropriate academic skills. People with level 1 ASD can have relatively mild speech and social delays but have severe sensory issues which make it impossible for them to take part in an inclusive academic program. People with level 1 ASD can have severe anxiety, learning disabilities, and sensory challenges but have age-appropriate speech and exceptional abilities in music, math, and engineering. With a level 1 ASD diagnosis, the possible combinations of strengths and challenges are almost endless. This not only makes the characterization of behaviors difficult but also can leave you confused as to what level of skilled support is needed.
Determining Support Needs
While few people with high-functioning autism need help with using the toilet or basic hygiene, they may very well need a good deal of support in other settings. For example, a very bright individual with severe sensory issues, anxiety, and perseveration might actually have a more difficult time in the workplace than a less intelligent individual with less anxiety and fewer sensory issues.
What’s more, a “lower-functioning” individual might spend most of his day in a supported setting where the possibility of dangerous interactions is almost zero. Meanwhile, the high-functioning individual may need to navigate a world full of complex and hazardous situations.
While it may be reasonable to think that people with high-functioning autism need less support, they are often faced with greater challenges in a real-world setting compared to lesser-functioning people in institutional care.
Navigating the Challenges
Autism is a puzzle—not because individuals with autism are so puzzling, but because the ever-changing definitions of autism mean we cannot come to a final conclusion.
Not only are the definitions changing but so are the social expectations that make high functioning autism so challenging. In the past, face-to-face communication was the key to personal success; today, many people with social challenges are more than capable of interacting with others online, making friends through social media, and even holding down a job at a distance.
Some businesses like Google are hiring high-functioning autistic people because of their unique abilities, while others cannot imagine hiring a person with compromised social skills.
If this leaves you feeling that the definition of high functioning autism is clear as mud, you’re not alone. At least now, however, you understand why the term is so tough to nail down—and you know you’re in good company with us autistics.
I know that this has been a long time since I last wrote in my blog. I had to come away from it for a while to regather my thoughts and also to know what I was hoping to accomplish for my channel as well as this blog site that I hold close to my heart. I want to try and be true to you all either via through my writing as well as through my channel when you see me in the flesh or not as a human too. I was doing a collab with Eneida Capaldi who’s from the UK and she’s a mom to an autistic son and she came to me by finding me on Instagram and was sharing with me that she wanted me to participate in a collab for her thesis based on her paper that is stated above in this title of my blog entry.
Before I begin, I did some videos based on this topic about Dating and Relationships for Autistics which you can find by clicking on the link to the playlist here:
(Reference: Autism/Aspergers Syndrome & Dating & Relationships – Help Central)
We came to an agreement and understanding about how for many of us autistics especially females, we are invisible and majority of what is shared is based on a male perspective or experience of whatever that given topic is. It’s also known that with Autism/Aspergers Syndrome it was known to be a male diagnosis. In most cases, people receive an autism diagnosis in childhood, usually after the age of 4 years or even as young as 2 years old and this is usually for males. Research shows that Autism Spectrum Disorder is more prevalent in males than females by a ratio of three to one. But there is increasing evidence that this gender difference may be slimmer than we think, and that autism symptoms in women and girls are frequently overlooked and misdiagnosed.
However, some adults live with undiagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorder. Even people with more severe symptoms may not have received the correct diagnosis.There are some similarities between Autism Spectrum Disorder and certain other disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.A survey conducted in the United Kingdom by The National Autistic Society found that compared to males, women and girls are more likely to be misdiagnosed, with 42 percent of females diagnosed with a mental disorder other than autism when being assessed, as opposed to 30 percent of males.
There is no clear explanation as to why women with autism are often misdiagnosed. Child psychiatrist Meng-Chuan Lai, a clinician-scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, says that while there is a range of different reasons why women receive a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder later in life, one possibility is that autism characteristics aren’t so evident in females: “Girls and women may be more able to master ‘Camouflaging,’ so ‘Typical’ autistic characteristics could be masked when they learn social skills.”
Lai describes this as the ability to learn neurotypical social behaviors such as eye contact, gestures, holding conversations, and the utilization of social scripts. These neurotypical behaviors represent those who are not on the autism spectrum, in contrast to the neurodiverse behaviors which refer to differently wired brains and cognitive styles attributed to those on the autism spectrum.
In the foreword for Safety Skills for Asperger Women by Liane Holliday Willey, Tony Atwood describes this “Camouflaging” phenomenon, reporting that young girls mask the symptoms of autism by socializing and interacting with their peers, causing a delay in diagnosis.
Lai notes that another possible reason for the misdiagnosis is that women and girls tend to have restricted and repetitive behaviors that are less likely to be recognized:
“The issue is that some of these narrow interests of autism in males, if you only look at the content, are more traditionally male-typical such as trains, dinosaurs, trucks, and they are most easily recognized by clinicians because of our own stereotypes of autism. For girls, their restricted and repetitive behaviours might not be captured by standardized instruments as they are deemed as less noticeable.”
Recent research has touched on the idea of bias in the way autism is diagnosed. One study showed that girls are more likely to be diagnosed if they had additional intellectual disabilities or behavioral issues. However, without these, many women are receiving incorrect diagnoses or none at all. Hannah agrees: “Sometimes you might feel like you don’t fit in anywhere, everything everyone thinks about autism is male-biased. However, as slow and painful as the journey is, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. It takes us a little bit longer to get to it, but it is worth the journey.”
In a study looking at sex differences between children with autism, researchers recommend new strategies for improving autism recognition in females. In fact, Australia is the first country to form new national guidelines to help increase early diagnosis of women with autism. Considerations of social camouflaging, anxiety, sensory overload, and depression are being included in these new guidelines.
If these guidelines are implemented, it will be possible to decrease the number of misdiagnoses in women and girls who have autism, leading to less frustration for these women and more time to learn how to manage their diagnosis.
I talked about some of the Reference: Characteristic Traits in Females with Aspergers Syndrome which you can click here to find out more:
Receiving an Autism Spectrum diagnosis later in life can be helpful for many reasons, but particularly because it can provide people with better access to services and support.
I shared briefly about diagnosis in females that has autism on my channel which you can check the link here to view more about this: Reference: Female Aspies Young and Old on the Spectrum
Eneida Capaldi answered me the following questions to her thesis paper and they were as follows along with some of my answers in response to it which you can read and also listen to soon on my channel.
*** Reference: To find out more on this collab, you can find me answering more to the questions of what she asked me during the collab on my channel here is the link to it:
How do you describe/define a romantic relationship?What does it involve? My definition of a romantic relationship is especially for autistic females coming from myself as an Autistic female adult would involve like similar workings as for Neurotypicals that they would have an emotional and spiritual connection between them (Male and Female) or whatever their gender type is. Platonic love from my understanding starts out as being friends and then it grows more into another level of the relationship. Most friendships begin as either personal or professional. In the latter type of relationship, the connection is intellectual and revolves around a common work interest. Loving others means understanding them in a special way, and as author Judith Blackstone (2002) says, “The ability to love goes beyond having an emotional response to or understanding another person. It requires a capacity for contact, and this contact does not necessarily have to be physical. It can include how you speak to them, the emotions you display to them, and the awareness you have about them. It’s about being in tune with another person.”
How is it different to other types of relationships?
As we are aware that there are many different types and stages in a personal relationship that we go through in our everyday life. They may vary from person to person yte it works the same as you continue to grow a relationship of any kind. Yet, these are just a few based from Terry Hatkoff, a California State University sociologist, has created a love scale that identifies six distinct types of love found in our closest relationships.
Romantic: Based on passion and sexual attraction
Best Friends: Fondness and deep affection
Logical: Practical feelings based on shared values, financial goals, religion etc.
Playful: Feelings evoked by flirtation or feeling challenged
Possessive: Jealousy and obsession
Unselfish: Nurturing, kindness, and sacrifice
Researchers have found that the love we feel in our most committed relationships is typically a combination of two or three different forms of love. But often, two people in the same relationship can have very different versions of how they define love.
3. What should healthy romantic relationships be like from your perceptive?
A healthy romantic relationship always starts the very beginning of any relationship and that is built on friendship, trust and honesty. Along with that you will have commitment and communication, being able to accept one another’s differences in their ways of who they are and what they are as well as accepting the faults, flaws and imperfections. Being willing to stand by them through the good and the bad times.
Characteristics of a healthy relationship:
While in a healthy relationship you:
Take care of yourself and have good self-esteem independent of your relationship.
Maintain and respect each other’s individuality
Maintain relationships with friends and family
Have activities apart from one another
Are able to express yourselves to one another without fear of consequences
Are able to feel secure and comfortable
Allow and encourage other relationships
Take interest in one another’s activities
Do not worry about violence in the relationship
Trust each other and be honest with each other
Have the option of privacy
Have respect for sexual boundaries
Are honest about sexual activity if it is a sexual relationship
Accept influence. Relationships are give and take; allowing your partner to influence you is important; this can be especially difficult for some men.
Resolve conflict fairly: Fighting is part of even healthy relationships, the difference is how the conflict is handled. Fighting fairly is an important skill you help you have healthier relationships. (Reference: Conflict Management/8 Steps to prevent anger with someone who has Aspergers – Link to video:
4. What is an unhealthy romantic relationship from your perspective? What are the signs of an unhealthy relationship?
At times all relationships will have some of the characteristics listed below. However, unhealthy relationships will exhibit these characteristics more frequently and cause you stress and pressure that is hard to avoid. This tension is unhealthy for both members of the relationship and may lead to problems in other areas of your life.
While in an unhealthy relationship you:
Put one person before the other by neglecting yourself or your partner
Feel pressure to change who you are for the other person
Feel worried when you disagree with the other person
Feel pressure to quit activities you usually/used to enjoy
Pressure the other person into agreeing with you or changing to suit you better
Notice one of you has to justify your actions (e.g., where you go, who you see)
Notice one partner feels obligated to have sex or has been forced
Have a lack of privacy, and may be forced to share everything with the other person
You or your partner refuse to use safer sex methods
Notice arguments are not settled fairly
Experience yelling or physical violence during an argument
Attempt to control or manipulate each other
Notice your partner attempts to controls how you dress and criticizes your behaviours
Do not make time to spend with one another
Have no common friends, or have a lack of respect for each other’s friends and family
Notice an unequal control of resources (e.g., food, money, home, car, etc.)
Experience a lack of fairness and equality
If some of your relationships have some of these characteristics it does not necessarily mean the end of that relationship. By recognizing how these characteristics affect you, you can begin to work on improving the negative aspect of your relationships to benefit both of you.
What diagnosis do you identify with it? Can you tell me a bit about how you realised?
I shared about my diagnosis with Aspergers Syndrome on my channel which you can find me on YouTube:
Life of an Aspie/Part 6.1 My Life Story with Aspergers Syndrome
To be short and brief about how it all came about for me in the way of my diagnosis. When I was younger about sometime before I hit my early pre-teens that my parents found that something about me was different. I used to struggle in school and also when I was in kindergarten. I used to go through speech therapy when I was in primary years to play catch up as well as also during my primary or intermediate years of schooling my parents decided to take me to also see a person that specialises with children with Special Needs especially with specific learning disabilities which is known as SPELLD NZ. When I was in my intermediate years of schooling while I was being tested that I was diagnosed or misdiagnosed as having ADD/ADHD and then in my early teenage years or about to be diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome to confirm this at the time when I was 16 years of age.
· Asperger’s Syndrome, A Love Story. By Sarah Hendrickx
· Women and Girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder. By Sarah Hendrickx
· Love, Sex and Long-Term Relationships: What people with Asperger’s Syndrome really want. By Sarah Hendrickx
· Asperger’s in Love. By Maxine Aston
· Ultraviolet Voices: Stories of women on the Autism Spectrum. Edited by Elizabeth Hurley
· The girl with the Curly hair. By Alis Rowe
· 22 Things a Woman with Asperger’s Syndrome Wants Her Partner to Know. By Rudy Simone
· Aspergirls: empowering females with Asperger Syndrome. By Rudy Simone · Autism in Heels: The Untold Story of a Female Life on the Spectrum. By Jennifer Cook O’Toole · The Asperkids’ (Secret) Book of Social Rules: The Handbook of Not-So-Obvious Guidelines for Teens and Tweens. By Jennifer Cook O’Toole
Books written by or for professionals or parents:
· The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. By Tony Attwood
· Asperger’s and Girls. By Tony Attwood and Temple Grandin.
· Girls Growing up on the Spectrum: What parents and professionals should know about the pre-teen and teenage years. By Shana Nichols, Gina Marie Moravcik and Samara Pulver Tetenbaum.
“I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Quote from Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day – a real great example for black and white thinking.
Black and white thinking can sometimes feel intentional or manipulative, especially when it happens again and again and in similar situations when it arises.
Black and white thinking is also known as “polarized thinking patterns”. Polarized thinking patterns are ways of thinking that just make sense to people with Autism yet other people with mental illnesses such as Bipolar, Depression etc. Black and white thinking is a pattern of thoughts that are characterized in thinking in the extremes as they will work in way of being polar opposites.Example is that everything will be the worst day ever or best day ever. Individuals on the spectrum struggle with the nuances and non-verbal gestures and communication that exist in interpersonal interactions and communication standards that may come more naturally to others.
How many times a day do you find yourself thinking, feeling or talking about something as if there must be only one or two possible choices or ways to go?
For example – Either I’m a winner or I’m a loser; I can prove I was right, so that proves you are wrong; to take care of your needs I have to give up on mine; if you can’t be open and spontaneous (like me) then you are inhibited; I only have two choices, fight or give up; you are controlled by your feelings and he is controlled by their own mind.
Another classic example here is that anything lower than a 100% on a math quiz = failure. And, that’s even if the actual grade earned is a 97%. Handling conflicts is a tough one to begin with, but for someone with Autism, an argument or lack of agreement about a topic = no more friendship. A young woman with Autism may get in an argument with a friend at school and immediately feel they are not friends with this person anymore, struggling to understand that disagreements are a natural part of any relationship and can and should be able to be worked through with communicating to one another. These automatic thoughts can lead to significant setbacks in a child’s academic and social functioning.
Notice also that this way of looking at the world also contains very strong judgmental elements. The essential energy behind each polarized thought is that one idea, one person or one side is good or powerful and the other is wrong or powerless. So, what is going on that locks us in to this limited way of looking at life and robs us of our freedom of choice?
This way of seeing the world (polarized thinking) is not only common, it is often emphasized during childhood and teenage years, by our parents, (you are a good child or a bad child; if you don’t tell the truth you are lying) our teachers (If you know the ‘right’ answer or do your exercise the ‘correct’ way you pass; if you can’t do it correctly you fail) and our spiritual leaders (until you are ‘saved’ you are not a true believer; this is only one ‘true’ faith, no other faith can get you into Heaven).
Polarized thinking is the very essence of our legal system (either you are innocent or guilty, if you can prove it you win the case, if you don’t have the evidence you lose the case). Polarized thinking for black and white thinking can go to the extremities.
Our government and our political parties operate very much within the limits of polarized thinking, which effectively rules out most opportunities for compromise or consensus.
Most wars are between two sides, each stuck in the same kind of restricted thinking but polarized in opposing positions with no room to move. (We are right, they are wrong and we must kill them to prove it).
Sports such as football encourage the same approach to life.
This sort of approach is like known for as a “All or Nothing thinking.” As this will interfere with our lives of a healthier relationship or friendship with someone.
Does this seem to look and feel familiar to you of what we say to ourselves?
With this type of thinking this can distort our reality and contribute to negative impacts of our lives such as anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses. How we change our way of thinking is up to us.
HOW DOES BLACK AND WHITE THINKINGAFFECT US?
Black and white thinking can create helplessness. Example is that we may put our partner down by saying that they were a complete jerk for not doing what you asked them to do and you on the other hand isn’t willing to change your thoughts and outlook of the problem at hand.
*Invites defensiveness in others:
Example you never done the chores I asked you to do. You start yelling and all and that makes them feel worthless and defenseless due to you attacking them with your words. There are a lot of reasons why they may not have done that they could’ve been busy, tired, forgot to do them and not intentionally trying to drive you insane. This sort of thinking behavior towards our partner will then result for break-ups, divorces, arguments and so much stress etc to the point that you will be left alone. So, we need to be careful how we use or choose our words to whoever we’re talking to as this can result in consequences. You can always find ways of improvement for your communication that you’re having issues with. Also, be patient with them.
*Negatively impact your relationship with others.
Say that you’ve been dating for a while and everything felt really good with being with that person. You feel on top of the world and then all of the sudden they’re the worst person to be with. You’re in a vicious cycle of love and hate, good and bad, up and down. When this happens all too often in a healthier relationship the black and white thinking can impact your peace and comfort with each other and being able to connect with each other on a deeper level as you crave for love and acceptance from your partner.
It can hurt your self-image
How and what do we see ourselves as a person can be another way of looking at it as we may think either we’re a good or bad person yet in reality we’re in between. Yet, when we think black and white we risk being overly self-critical or we end up refusing to see our own faults, flaws and imperfections. This can lead us being hypersensitive towards others opionions and make it difficult to accept cristicism without deep insecurity that will in turn lead us to not being able to love ourselves and allow for growth in all areas in our lives.
WHY DO WE USE BLACK AND WHITE THINKING?
Black and white thinking can serve as a purpose in the right way yet this is a form of a defense mechanism for us as we act like we’re a victim from a traumatic experience or that we want to be in control of everything and everyone around us.
So how can we begin to help our children and adolescents develop a sense of the gray area? Below are a few strategies that can be used to help the black and white thinker in becoming more comfortable in all of the gray areas that life tends to throw our way.
Define the gray area for them
Since black and white thinkers don’t naturally see the gray, it can be helpful for others to define it for them. For example, if a child who has Autism worked on a long-term project in art class and brings it home, claiming they are disappointed with how it turned out and writing off the entire thing as a failure, a parent can ask their child questions such as “did you have to learn any new art skills to make this project?” or “what is one thing you do like about the project?” Asking these questions prompts children to see that both positive and negative aspects of one thing can coexist.
Changing our thinking patterns
Another way to define the gray and expand the walls of black and white thinking is to ask the child or young man or woman if there are other reasons that a particular outcome may have taken place. For example, if you are driving along on the highway and notice that there has been a car accident, engage the gray area thinking by asking, “How do you think that car accident happened? How else could it have happened? What else? Anything else?” The goal is to help him to identify that it could have been the red car that hit the blue car. It could have been the driver in the blue car was texting or focusing on a phone call. Perhaps the driver in the red car sneezed or was arguing with the passenger and wasn’t processing that the driver in front of her was slowing down.
When gray area thinking isn’t happening naturally, provide choices or ask questions. For example, “Do you think it could have been the fault of the driver of the red car or the blue car? Do you think the driver didn’t notice that traffic was slowing down?”
And here’s another big set of questions – ask about perspective and feelings. “How do you think the drivers of the cars might feel? What do you think the driver of the red car is feeling right now (if the red is obviously banged up more than the blue car)?”
These conversations will not be met with ease and it will take persistence to initiate discussions about other reasons, feelings, and perspectives again and again until the language and thinking patterns begin to change, even if just a little.
Remind children that a bad moment does not equal a bad day
Many black and white thinkers are very quick to write off an entire day as a failure after making one mistake, or having one behavioral issue in school. Hearing from their teachers, parents and peers that the day still has a potential to improve can empower these children to move past their assumptions and generalizations.
This is another tough idea to internalize because one bad thing = bad day. It’s difficult to weigh the good and the bad of the day and come to the realization that although 1 or 2 bad things happened today, it was still a good day overall. Riding the ups and downs of the day is a life skill that will benefit black and white thinkers as they grow older and learn to navigate the world of school and work and everything else around them.
Utilize a visual
Visuals are an excellent tool to use to help expand those parameters beyond the black and white. Incorporating a rainbow with multiple colors or a traffic light visual can assist black and white thinkers by developing alternative options and will lead them to selecting the most likely and realistic outcome. That is, use the colors or different color lights to identify multiple solutions to a problem, or different possibilities that could take place if a decision is made (e.g., to end a friendship because of a disagreement, or to try to work through it and keep the friendship or to work through it to keep the friendship if it is worth having or losing a friend). A number chart that includes rating scales of 1-10 can also assist children in understanding that the in-between area does exist. The bigger the range, the more the gray area because the nuances of the emotions expands and the child or adolescent has to make a decision how she feels without it being just happy, mad or sad. It could be a combination of feelings, or variations of angry or mad or sad.
Start to see the signs of the all or nothing thinking that arrives in our mindset.
Just think about what was shared earlier about how we speak like always, never. Trying to make someone perfect.
Challenge our thoughts
Just because you’re thinking it, doesn’t mean that you may act upon it or it doesn’t sound true. Take away your negative thoughts and replace with them with positive thoughts.
Replacing negative thoughts to a moderate standard of thoughts
Increase your willingness to feel all your emotions.
It’s okay to feel not okay some days but the number one thing to remember is how we express or act upon it. Talk to someone that you trust or even to talk to the other person that you’re having issues with and try to work on a solution than making it an everyday problem.
List your options
We know that when we do end up thinking negatively we should be able to weigh up our positive thinking as well. Black and white thinking patterns can have quite the impact on everyday functioning, both in and out of school, relationships, friendships and more.
Incorporating some of these strategies can assist black and white thinkers in challenging their automatic thought patterns. For those who see the world in nothing but extremes, it is important for them to gain some perspective and learn that life rarely fits itself perfectly into an “all or nothing” approach.
Life sure can be tough and have a lot of different feelings and emotions that comes with it yet again as I said it’s up to us how we are going to approach the situation and ‘how or what we think. Can someone love me for who I am and what I am
10. Ask others for help.
Sometimes it is good to have someone else to talk to and being able to share our thoughts etc so that we can gain a better understanding and perspective to what and how they see if there was a problem. As said communication is key here and two heads are better than on.
Bottom line here is that with all these strategies and knowing what is causing you to think the way that you do, the sooner the better you can get help for yourself. It’s all about taking care of yourself first and foremost. It’s all about accepting the fact that something isn’t right and with the right methods we can go further in our lives. Remember what we say and do in our lives is up to us and starts and ends with us. We’re the authors and painters of our stories.
As we know that as we grow up at this point of time as we transition from a child to an adult that we fully rely on our parents as they’re the first one that are in our lives and that they’re first in contact with us.Our parents should be our role models, mentor, guide and all these other labels in front of it based on what we go through in our everyday life.
We should be able to trust our parents and what not to actually share our problems too or what have you. It’s all about trust and communication, I believe also.
During adolescence, your child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is forming an independent identity. This is a normal and important part of becoming an adult, and you can do a lot to support your child and build his self-esteem along the way.
As an autistic adult, I can tell you if you let me tell you that without hesitation, that I wasn’t always confident and had great self esteem as this took time and patience with people around me along with basically having to have the right people around me. Young children and adults with autism have self-esteem problems. (In my video, I talked about my life growing up from a child to a young adult to who and what I’ve become based on my experiences and some life lessons I’ve learnt).
When you are critical of your child’s behaviors or social interactions with their peers or with you or whoever they are, they often feel hurt. They feel like that you’re judging them, you’re criticizing them on how they should be living or whatever. It’s just how you come across as an adult when you’re actually teaching your child especially about self- identity and self-esteem. I’ve noticed that sometimes in saying this that some adults tend to what I’ve witnessed just bear with me and don’t hit me hard in the comments in the comments or what have you to what am about to share about this as this is based on my own experience and what I’ve seen and heard basically in my lifetime that many you know parents tend to bully or just make the child so small to the point that they don’t want to come out of their own shell. They already feel as if they are under a microscope because of the doctor visits, occupational therapist sessions, and the stream of interventions we try. I’d feel like everybody was trying to fix me in the same set of circumstances, and it would hurt my self-esteem, too. (I have enough problems feeling good about my cooking when my anyone who comes in my circle criticizes me.)
Kids with autism don’t understand subtle jokes very often, and social interactions often turn out badly for them, which erodes their self-esteem even more. Combine all this with the expectations of siblings and the all-too-frequent bullying, and it’s easy to understand how devastated a child with an autism spectrum disorder can feel.
So, the big question I ask is, “What can we do?” It’s crucial that family members, educators, and professionals learn strategies and techniques to build self-esteem in kids with autism and Asperger’s. Everyone needs a reminder now and then of just how precious they are, and our very special children need those reminders every day. For example, “Sammy, you are doing a great job cleaning your room. If you pick up those clothes over there, it would look even neater. Boy, you sure are a good listener.”
It Starts with You as a Parent
In order to build your child’s self-esteem, you need to believe in your child’s inherent value and convey that to everyone else before that child’s self-esteem can begin to improve. These kids know when we’re faking our compliments, and the therapy books say we should give five positive comments to each correction. We have to walk in our child’s shoes and empathize with how they feel. We need to look for these special gifts, tune in to the child with our hearts, and find ways to bring out their precious essence.
It helps when you go to conferences, read books, research and share information. Teach extended family, educators, and other professionals to help your child integrate into groups. Be intuitive when advocating for children, and be persistent, not abrasive or not abrupt.
Emphasize the Positives
In addition, keep a positive attitude. Children with autism oftentimes have an incredible sense of humor. Say what you mean and mean what you say. So, what you say we are usually black and white thinkers.How you speak to us is important and avoiding any misunderstanding or conflicts as this is crucial here. I already have spoken about how you can speak to your autistic child as well as literal language which you can click above me or look into the description box below me. Look for the good in every child, even if you don’t see it at first. Many people don’t get it as they think that autism is a disease. Autism is a curse. Autism whatever the label is going to be for many of us. We are not broken. We don’t need to be fixed. I don’t believe that we don’t need a cure. We just need to be treated like a human being because again we are still humans. We still have feelings. Model a mental attitude of “things are great.” Express yourself in the positive, rather than the negative. Kids with autism/Asperger’s are masters at copying what others say, act and do so make sure they’re hearing things that are good for them to copy. When we say, “You are great!” to a child often enough, he/she, too, will believe it and feel valued for who he truly is. Also, encourage children to share their thoughts and feelings. This is so important, and it often sheds new light on existing situations.
Balance the Physical with the Mental and Spiritual
Like most people, kids with autism feel better about themselves, when they’re balanced physically, emotionally, and spiritually. These are all great areas in which to build self-esteem.
Since your child may have digestive problems, which often makes him or her a very fussy eater and likely to gravitate towards junk food, most doctors say it is important to try supplements. However, be sure to check with your child’s doctor first. Also, provide regular physical activity, when possible, to relieve stress and clear your child’s mind.
Set the stage for success by acknowledging their successes, however small, and reminding your child of their previous accomplishments. Keep their life manageable, and don’t overwhelm your child with too many activities.
*MENTIONED ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF MAKING LISTS SO THAT IT DOESN’T OVERWHELM THE CHILD WHEN YOU GIVE THEM SET TASKS TO DO THROUGHOUT THEIR DAY. LISTS ARE GREAT AT LOOKING AT WHAT IS NEEDED TO BE DONE AND WHEN TASK IS DONE WE CAN MARK EACH ONE OFF AND THAT WE CAN SEE HOW MUCH WE DONE IN WAY OF PROGRESS. ADVICE TO THE PARENTS: DEPENDING ON THE AGE OF THE CHILD AS A SUGGESTION THAT YOU CAN DO A VISUAL TO DO LIST OR SCHEDULE OF THE DAY OF WHAT IS NEEDED TO BE DONE AS WELL.
Provide choices frequently, so they understand they have a say in their own lives. You might want to try to give them a whole day in which to be in charge of something.
Give your child every opportunity to connect with their spiritual side, through religious avenues, or by communing with nature. This can help them feel purposeful and that their lives have meaning. One strategy that helped raise my Jonny’s self-esteem, especially when it came to overcoming his victim thoughts and feelings, was to employ spiritual affirmations. Using affirmations took some time, but we found that it brought calm and peace to Jonny and our family.
Dr. Gerald Jampolsky, author of Love is Letting Go of Fear and founder of California’s Center for Attitudinal Healing, offers many principles I find helpful in teaching us to love ourselves, thereby enhancing our own self-esteem and that of others. Some of his principles include:
The essence of our being is love
Health is inner peace
Live in the now
Become love finders, rather than fault finders
Learn to love others and ourselves by forgiving, rather than judging
Choose to be peaceful inside, regardless of what’s going on in the outside world around us.
We are all students and teachers to each other.
Part of Dr. Jampolsky’s message is that, by focusing on life as a whole, rather than in fragments, we can see what is truly important. His concepts, when embraced, positively affect how a child with autism thinks and feels about him- or herself. Anger, resentment, judgment, and similar feelings are all forms of fear. Since love and fear cannot coexist, letting go of fear allows love to be the dominant feeling over fear for us.
Look for the Miracles everyday
Every day, there are miracles and good things happening all around us. Be on your child’s side by tuning into who they truly are: unique expressions of divine light. Empower your child to be okay with who they are. Do this by loving your child not for who you want them to be, but for who they are.
Consider that children and adults with autism/Asperger’s are wonderful beings, here to teach us empathy, compassion, understanding, and most importantly, how to love. Do whatever it takes to authentically include your child in your life, rather than merely tolerate their presence or exclude them once and for alls. .
Explaining Autism to Others
Autism can seem like a life sentence one moment and a spiritual celebration of life the next. But, however we see autism, we should see it in a positive light, I believe. Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability today to date. We constantly explain our children to people who don’t want to understand via through social medias, books and whatever other resources that are readily available. We define autism continually to educators who oppose us. We speak out, because many of our children do not have a voice.
Unity and fellowship seem to elude our movement. Some of us search for treatment, some for a cure, and some ask simply for adequate programming. Nonetheless, it should be all about the children.
According to an article by the American Academy of Neurology and the Child Neurology Society:
Autism and pervasive developmental disorders encompass a wide continuum of associated cognitive and neurobehavioral disorders, including the core defining features of impaired socialization, impaired verbal and nonverbal communication, and restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior . . . .
There are several hundred different treatments offered for autism, with many viewpoints and a wide variety of theories. So how, with all this information around you, can you explain the sense of loss you feel when your child stops being who he was? It is like he’s there, but he’s not there. He is disconnected.
How do you explain the sensory issues, the outbursts, and the pain your child wrestles with every day on a daily basis? How do you explain that autism is unique and unpredictable, but not horrifying? How do you explain the undying love and dedication we have for our children?
Look into your child’s face, watch him or her smile, and you’ll understand. No explanation is necessary.
Teenagers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can find it harder than typically developing teenagers to work out who they are and what their values are. They might also find it difficult to build self-esteem – that is, seeing themselves as valuable members of society with skills and strengths.
Your child might find these things hard because she has trouble recognizing and controlling his or her own emotions. This can make it difficult for him or her to work out how he or she feels about herself, how she feels about certain issues and what his or her values are truly are.
Also, typically developing teenagers often learn about themselves from their peer group, but your child’s ability to do this might be more limited. For example, he or she might be unsure of how he fits into and relates to his or her peer group. Or he or she might notice for the first time that he understands or interprets things differently from his peers. He or she might be cut off from his peer group, or just not interested in his peers.
And then there are the usual adolescent ups and downs. Your child might just be feeling more ups and downs than they’re used to. This could be for many reasons – physical, emotional, social and psychological – and not for any one reason in particular. Often you can’t pin it down.
Autistic children often struggle to understand or talk about emotions. There are some therapies that are available for your autistic son/daughter at any age. This will determine where you are and what type of therapy you feel is right for your child. Remember that not all therapy will work for any of us that goes through it so it will again vary from person to person.
I’ve mentioned some therapy types of what they are and what they do for people which you can find here above me. Emotional development happens according to your child’s cognitive or developmental age rather than his age in years. For example, your child might be 13 but be more like a 9-year-old in emotional development and behaviour stage. Building your child on the autism spectrum is important.
Talking about being different
Talking with your child about how everybody is different – which is what makes us interesting – can help your child see himself or herself as a valuable part of society.
You can help your child understand that people can look, speak, think or act differently from each other – and this is OK. Although your child might feel different from other children at school, or people might tell him that he’s different, she/he is not the only one who is different.
Joining an activity that she enjoys, like a sports club or a band, can help your child build a better sense of her strengths, what she enjoys and where she fits in. It’s also a good chance for her to develop and practise her social skills and mix with teenagers who don’t have autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Getting involved with other teenagers who do have ASD can help your child to understand more about ASD and the different ways it can affect people. They’ll be able to share his own experiences with an understanding audience. Your state autism association or local council can help you find a local group.
Thinking about ‘me’
You can encourage your child to think about:
what he or she likes and doesn’t like his or her personality – for example, whether she’s generous, artistic, polite and so on what words she would use to describe herself to others. One way to get your child thinking about themselves is to help him or her create an ‘All about me’ book. This might include pictures of things your child likes, pictures of friends or things about their hobbies and achievements. Drawings or craft creations from when your child was younger can remind them of past experiences. Things like school reports can help your child think about past and current achievements.
When your child comes up with a list of words to describe themselves, these can go into their book.
Knowing about family
Your child’s self-identity also comes from knowing about his family. You could show your child things like family photographs and include them in the ‘All about me’ book too.
It might also help your child to hear about your experiences of growing up and being a teenager, especially if your child doesn’t have a lot of support from peers and friends.
So today, we will go over just a few basics on understanding and explaining autism to an autistic child. With so many resources that are readily available now that we can access at our advantage. The world is our oyster. You as a parent will need to be prepared to handle the discussion in a positive way!
Explaining autism to a child can be tough. Even more so if you are explaining autism to an autistic child. Check out these great tips to make the conversation go smoother and give both you and your child a better understanding of autism. First and foremost, remember to keep it simple. Explaining in too much detail will overwhelm your child and do more harm than good. Here are a few key ways as form of advice from me as an Aspie to explain autism as well as resources to help along the way.
WHAT IS AUTISM?
First thing is to explain autism. According to the age and maturity level of your child, this may be slightly different, but still the basis of what you need to explain. Simply put “Autism means that your brain works differently from other children’s brains. Or some autistics says that we’re a different operating system due to the wiring of our brain of our mindset of how we process information and how we do our form of communication and everything else.
As I said before that not all autistics are the same when you think that you’ve met one and you basically think that they’re autistic as well. Don’t forever assume that just because they’re showing different signs of autism that they’re not.You never know so the best bet is to seek professional help or even ask the person themselves. You will also need to know more about autism yourself as a parent or educator or whoever in order to answer any questions your child may have or any child that may come up to you if you are educating them. Basically, there are few things to know about autism which I did share obviously of the signs and symptoms or the characteristics in an autistic female. Remember to keep your answers simple and to the point or as the for the famous quota is for this is KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) . Many people with autism do not understand sarcasm, and may not understand metaphors until a much older and mature age.
EXPLAINING AUTISM IN A POSITIVE WAY
Whenever you talk to your child (around or even near) about autism, remember to keep it positive. Be open and honest about autism. Teaching different not less is ideal when explaining autism to a child with autism. Because this is one of the slogans that we live by obviously. Although there is still a large stigma around autism and mental health basically and that’s why I’m here hopefully to demolish some of this stuff for your guys understanding so on and so forth. You are your child’s biggest advocate. You’re their role model. You’re their teacher. You’re everything. Obviously, the child comes to see you in their everyday life from birth to teens to adult and to what have you. Right? So, therefore you need to be wearing your crown or whatever as an advocate or whatever for your child no matter what age as you’re their advocate and voice to share to others that they’re different basically when you meet others out on the street. We shouldn’t you know feel fearful. We shouldn’t feel judgmental of others that then again being different can be so exhilarating, exciting and a bit of a roller coaster of other emotions all in one as well. How you see autism is how they will see autism obviously after you explain it to them.
SOME BOOKS AS RESOURCES TO HELP YOUR CHILD TO UNDERSTAND AUTISM
THE SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR KIDS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS (AND THEIR PARENTS
This positive, straightforward book offers kids with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) their own comprehensive resource for both understanding their condition and finding tools to cope with the challenges they face every day. Some children with ASD are gifted; others struggle academically.
Some are more introverted, while others try to be social. Some get “stuck” on things, have limited interests, or experience repeated motor movements like flapping or pacing (“stims”).
The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders covers all of these areas, with an emphasis on helping children gain new self-understanding and self-acceptance. Meant to be read with a parent, the book addresses questions (“What’s an ASD?” “Why me?”) and provides strategies for communicating, making and keeping friends, and succeeding in school.
The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin
IF YOU’VE EVER FELT DIFFERENT, IF YOU’VE EVER BEEN LOW, IF YOU DON’T QUITE FIT IN, THERE’S A NAME YOU SHOULD KNOW… MEET DR. TEMPLE GRANDIN―ONE OF THE WORLD’S QUIRKIEST SCIENCE HEROES! When a young Temple was diagnosed with autism, no one expected her to talk, let alone become one of the most powerful voices in modern science. Yet, the determined visual thinker did just that. Her unique mind allowed her to connect with animals in a special way, helping her invent groundbreaking improvements for farms around the globe!
WE’RE AMAZING 1,2,3! A STORY ABOUT FRIENDSHIP AND AUTISM
We’re Amazing 1,2,3! is the first Sesame Street storybook to focus on autism, which, according to the most recent US government survey, may, in some form, affect as many as one in forty-five children. It’s part of Sesame Street’s autism initiative that has expanded to include a new character with autism.
Elmo introduces his longtime friend Julia to Abby, who’s a little confused at first because Julia isn’t saying hello. Elmo explains that Julia has autism, so she does things a little differently. Julia sometimes avoids direct eye contact, flaps her arms when she’s excited and is sensitive to some noises. But Abby soon learns that she also has a lot of things in common with Julia. All kids want love, friendship, and to have fun! They are all wonderful, each in his or her own way.
ALL MY STRIPES: A STORY FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM
This is the story of Zane, a zebra with autism, who worries that his differences make him stand out from his peers. With careful guidance from his mother, Zane learns that autism is only one of many qualities that make him special. It contains a Note to Parents by Drew Coman, Ph.D., and Ellen Braaten, Ph.D., as well as a Foreword by Alison Singer, President of the Autism Science Foundation.
DIFFERENT, NOT LESS: A CHILDREN’S BOOK ABOUT AUTISM
Children with autism can do amazing, incredible things!
You can use this book to teach your child about Autism Spectrum Disorder. The poem will explain how those diagnosed are different, but also wish to be included in most social circles. The poem was written by the father of a son with ASD. This book will give you an opportunity to explain the diagnosis to your child when you believe they are able to understand.
Different, Not Less: A Children’s Book About Autism was written with children in mind.
The text is big and bold and runs down the page similar to a list format. This should help avoid the skipping of words since it is easy for parents to cover up words as the child reads. Each page also has a hidden word. Red letters mixed in with the black letters spell uplifting words for those diagnosed with autism.
DIFFERENT LIKE ME: MYBOOK OF AUTISM HEROES
“Different Like Me” introduces children aged 8 to 12 years to famous, inspirational figures from the world of science, art, math, literature, philosophy, and comedy.
Eight-year-old Quinn, a young boy with Asperger’s Syndrome, tells young readers about the achievements and characteristics of his autism heroes, from Albert Einstein, Dian Fossey, and Wassily Kandinsky to Lewis Carroll, Benjamin Banneker, and Julia Bowman Robinson, among others. All excel in different fields but are united by the fact that they often found it difficult to fit in-just like Quinn.
Fully illustrated in color and written in child-friendly language, this book will be a wonderful resource for children, particularly children with autism, their parents, teachers, carers and siblings.
In the comments section below, please let me know how your conversation went! What was the most successful part of your talk?
American Art Therapy Association has quoted that “Art therapy is a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art-making to improve and enhance the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem, and self-awareness, and achieve insight.”There is no single way to provide art therapy; as a result there are some factors to consider.
It can look very different when practiced by and with different individuals.
It can be free-flowing or structured, open-ended or goal-oriented. For children and adults with autism,
It can be a wonderful way to open doors to self-expression and engagement.
Although, it may seem cliche that art and autism are a great combination for people with autism from all ages. For those of us who cannot always get words to come out of our mouths, art offers a way of self-expression. For children, it allows their imagination to run wild and come to life before their eyes.
As I’ve mentioned so many times before about the characteristics and traits of autism that a major aspect of autism is difficulties in communication. This can be anywhere from completely non-verbal to having a hard time processing language and turning it back into a smooth conversation for others around them. Though communication may be difficult, we still want to express it ourselves. Art allows for those with autism to speak visually.
Why Use Art Therapy to Treat Autism?
One of the hallmarks of autism spectrum disorders is a difficulty with verbal and social communication. In some cases, people with autism are literally nonverbal and unable to use speech to communicate at all. In other cases, people with autism have a hard time processing language and turning it into smooth, easy conversation. People with autism may also have a tough time reading faces and body language. As a result, they may have difficulty with telling a joke from a statement or sarcasm from sincerity around them.
Meanwhile, many people with autism have an extraordinary ability to think visually “in pictures.” Many can turn that ability to good use in processing memories, recording images and visual information, and expressing ideas through drawing or other artistic media. Art is a form of expression that requires little or no verbal interaction that can open doors to communication.
All too often, it’s assumed that a nonverbal person or a person with limited verbal capabilities is incompetent in other areas. As a result, people on the autism spectrum may not be exposed to opportunities to use artistic media, or the opportunities may be too challenging in other ways (in large class settings, for example). Art therapy offers an opportunity for therapists to work one-on-one with individuals on the autism spectrum to build a wide range of skills in a manner which may be more comfortable (and thus more effective) than spoken language.
How Art Therapy Is Different From Art Classes?
Art therapy is a tool for helping clients to access their emotions. By contrast, art classes are intended to provide students with instruction on how to achieve specific artistic effects or goals. While art classes may be appropriate for individuals with autism, they are not a substitute for art therapy.
What Art Therapists Do for People With Autism
The research is somewhat sketchy regarding the impact of art therapy on people with autism however to let you know. The literature consists mainly of case studies and papers describing the observed impact of art therapy programs. Some of the papers written and presented on the subject, however, suggest that art therapy can do a great deal. In some cases, it has opened up a whole world of opportunity to an individual with autism who has significant artistic talent. In other cases, it has created a unique opportunity for personal bonding. Other possible outcomes include:
improved ability to imagine and think symbolically
improved ability to recognize and respond to facial expressions
improved ability to manage sensory issues (problems with stickiness, etc.)
improved fine motor skills
THE BENEFITS OF ART FOR AUTISTIC CHILDREN
There are a lot of benefits but these are just a few I came up with. They are as follows:
*Offers a visual communication
*Improves communication skills:
Art therapy can help stimulate the diffuse part of the brain and also help children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in expressing non-verbal conversations. For example, children with Autism Spectrum Disorders can produce a painting or describe something as a way for them to communicate using symbols or icons. This process can help develop communication directly and can help in their thinking process. This method can also train children with Autism Spectrum Disorders to focus more and can directly engage in interacting with their peers and others around them. It is also a good way to reduce anxiety and help improve their emotional development.
*Easy way to help resolve conflicts they can not verbally express.
Build and develop feelings and emotions using art
Art therapy is also good for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders because they are sometimes challenged in maintaining emotional stability around them. Hence, by drawing or making a craft, it can train them to express feelings through drawing or drawing activities such as making collages and crafts alone. This therapy is also used to train their endurance and patience in solving an art task other than helping to improve their expression and feelings.
*Helps with imaging and thinking symbolically
*Improves the ability to recognize (and respond) to facial expressions
*Helps with Self-Esteem and Self-Awareness.
*Can be used to help with Sensory Processing Issues
*Improves fine motor skills
*Help with social skills – As mentioned in one part of my video that most autistics struggles to read body language and cues from people along with the tones of voice and facial expressions too
*Art therapy can addressSensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
Sensory processing disorder (SPD), a pervasive problem in autism which contributes to a great deal of difficult emotions and behaviors, yet is too often overlooked. Seemingly innocuous sensations, such as the texture of carpet, fluorescent lighting, crunchy foods, the hum of a refrigerator, may be irritating, or even excruciating, to people with autism (“like nails on a chalkboard,” as a client once put it). When thus overstimulated, people with autism may become agitated, avoidant or simply “shut down” and become impassive in order to escape the unpleasant stimulus.
One of the most common goals in art therapy is to increase tolerance for unpleasant stimuli, while channeling self-stimulating behavior into more creative activity. Because art is naturally enjoyable for almost all children, autistic or not, they are more likely to tolerate textures and smells they might otherwise avoid when they are part of a fun art process. A child might find that he or she can actually cope with handling slimy, paste-covered strips of newspaper, for instance, when it’s part of a fun paper mache craft project. Repeatedly confronting the stimuli they prefer to avoid helps to desensitize kids to them, making it more bearable when they encounter these sensations in daily life. A child who learned to deal with paper mache, for instance, might then find that handling slimy hand soap was no longer so unpleasant.
Sensory fixations are another common feature of autism. Some people may stare in rapt attention at their fingers as they flick them back and forth or endlessly twisting tiny strips of paper. Repetitively engaging in such self-stimulating behaviors (or “stimming”) can make people with autism stand out, prevent them from interacting with others, and can distract them from other activities, such as school work or play. On the other hand, these sensations may provide some calming, soothing feelings when the person is agitated. In art therapy, the goal is to channel non-functional or inappropriate stimming into socially acceptable, creative outlets.
*Training the nervous system
The nervous system in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder is one of the important aspects. With that, multi-sensory use can help in building their feelings like listening and touching. For example, use of musical instruments or practices singing periodically and continuously each time different therapy. This method can build communication skills and sensory sensitivity during the therapeutic process. It also corresponds to the unique character and variance of each child with Autism Spectrum Disorder being able to perform a positive interaction during therapy. Another example that relates to their sense of touch is by using ‘slime,’ clay, kinetic sand and many other forms of craft materials to help them explore and improve the nervous system.
WAYS TO INCORPORATE AUTISM ART THERAPY AT HOME
PAPER AND CRAYONS:
This is the easiest way to get started. Get out whatever art supplies and let your child have fun. Autism art therapy does not have to be complicated or even overly structured.
USE TO DE-STRESS
Another way to incorporate autism art therapy at home is using it as a redirection. Redirecting a child who is overwhelmed with art is a great calming technique. Before getting into a meltdown, have them draw out how they are feeling or what they want to happen. Not only will it help with communication, but it will cause them to focus on one activity and calm themselves down.
Pinterest is an autism parent’s best friend! There are so many diy crafts out there for all kids. One of our favorites we have made is the DIY Sensory Bags for Autism. They are so easy to make, super cheap, and a perfect calming tool for later too! Autism art therapy is an amazing resource for children with autism. It is so easy to incorporate into everyday life. So get your pencils, paints and so much more art materials out and get to doodling, crafting, painting and so much more! You’ll be really surprised and amazed to see inside your child a talented artist of some kind.
In addition to its efficacy in improving sensory, social and emotional functioning, art therapy is an excellent treatment for autism because it is inherently reinforcing. Kids get enjoyment, stress relief and a boost to their self confidence from tackling art projects or simply exploring art materials. That they are practicing life skills while doing so may not enter their minds.
Art therapy is a unique form of treatment for autism, as it helps mitigate symptom, while also channeling autistic behaviors into an expressive, creative outlet. It promotes communication, emotional growth and sensory integration while also fostering social interaction in a fun setting.
Hi all, I want to say before I begin this topic that has been shared about based on World Autism Day 2020 that some of this will be based on my own opinions, thoughts and experiences along with having some conversations with others in the autistic community. I believe that despite this time of year the term of autism awareness and autism acceptance has been debated and thrown about to others that are autistic of it making a hot debate and or topic for us to discuss when it is the month of World Autism Month, week or day. I know that with that being said that there’ll be a difference of opinions and so on, but I would like to ask you all to be kind to me as I share these thoughts and opinions with you all today. I am also willing to learn and to be open to listen to your thoughts and opinions about this topic and more by feeling free to share them in the comments below and in saying this for commenting below, be kind to one another. As again I said that everyone will have different opinions.
I know that I am as of late in sharing some of the stuff based on Autism related topics for World Autism Month but I am hoping to bring out to you some and that I am all about raising awareness and acceptance on autism and mental health as well as advocating and educating you all. But, here I am hopefully, today to basically share with you all about some of the ones I want to share.
As you have heard my story also about my diagnosis with autism and my other personal struggles with this and more on my channel and other medias and if you’ve not seen my diagnosis story and that feel free to click here to watch about my Diagnosis Story https://youtu.be/05GeIQn1gCU to find out more about me more as an autistic or just my everyday autistic diagnosis.
World Autism Awareness week or as some people would call it World Autism Acceptance week as again there’s going to be a divide to how or what people would like to call this event based on their experience, understanding and preference. I made a video about this last year (Reference: AUTISM AWARENESS AND AUTISM ACCEPTANCE/REPLACING AUTISM AWARENESS WITH AUTISM ACCEPTANCE :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCnu1oOhJ50)
As we know that it’s now here as usually it is on April 2nd on most years that has been coming for this of this autism acceptance month especially and although this year of 2020 has bought us a surprise that due to some unforeseen obstacles or circumstances we still do need to work alot more of awareness as well as acceptance yet I believe that at the moment that people are aware of this condition of Autism as it is starting to be known yet some may have some misunderstandings about what autism is still and that some people are still ignorant or arrogant due to the you know the lack of knowing what it is along with that promoting acceptance as part of this package as well.(Reference: Autism Awareness & Acceptance [April 2019]/ Autism Acceptance-Wear Red Instead: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLg7_a22v20)
For many of us that are trying to raise awareness and acceptance of Autism, many of us on the autistic community especially are like herding cats and I must say sometimes with these cats I say that they tend to be really angry and a bit aggressive as I’ve noticed in some of the autistic community groups I’ve been in. Some of them has been aggressive and some have been pointing the finger at me or not just pointing the finger at me but bashing about you know that this should be said this way or that way and so on and so forth. But, I’m not going into the jiff of what was going down. I believe that in myself that there are or should be some unity and coming together is a really important factor in the community so that we can then learn and advocate and or educate others about autism than ever before. When you have people that has the common traits of autism such as being detail orientated, who like to do their own thing, maybe obsessed with the one thing and so on and so forth for some of the common traits of autistics or people with autism. These are just to name a few just as I said before of these common traits. (Reference: Characteristic Traits In A Female with Aspergers Syndrome:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjZmz0KXL5M)
It may come as a surprise sometimes that being an autistic can be an everyday struggle and is a difficulty for us to come together that as just as a one community as an autistic community and as to also to be the just the one voice but this need to be necessary to make social progress in today’s world.
So, the question is what is the difference between autism awareness and autism acceptance. Well, I have shared again this topic also last year which you can find here (Reference: Introduction to World Autism Awareness Acceptance Month/Life as an Aspie [April, 2019]:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZSq_hY-oVU&t=487)
But, I shall be short and brief in this part to what it is now to give you all a recap. Autism awareness is all about people who are autistics that are raising awareness and that again as I said earlier many people are aware about autism.
This event of autism awareness started earlier than autism acceptance as autism awareness Insert image of a family became a idea by autistic adults and children way back in the year of the 1970s to really let people know about the existence of autism is there and did exist then as it does now yet it wasn’t quite common back then as it is now based on the lacking of research and information in the 70s
Yet, in this time period that it was a time where they can raise awareness based on talking about the signs and symptoms,peoples experiences of what life is like for them as an autistic as mainly from a parent view and perspective on this to also to some people with little or knowledge of Autism to bring greater awareness and understanding of autism to the general public. Most of the autistics in the autistic community do see this as a negative idea or conception.
Last year, I shared about the Light It Up Blue campaign that is organised by the organization of Autism Speaks and has been adopted out to other organizations in the last few years worldwide and my thoughts and opinions as well as some research on it (Reference: AAAW Why I WILL NOT Support LIGHT IT UP BLUE/My Personal Opinion:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45LTmSFdSkg ) as I don’t wish to go too much into detail in it to cause any more debate.
I did share to why some autistics don’t light it up blue as well as my own personal opinion along with research. Let’s just say here quick smart though before I begin onto it, Some of these organisations that we may hear about aren’t properly run by actually autistic people. I believe strongly that with some of these stunts that are being done, however, it’s minimal due to a lot of planning and resources along with a lot of money and it’s a waste of money. Light it up blue campaign was a campaign raised at the time for the majority of young boys that were diagnosed with autism and that it wasn’t known that it was known for many years that are supposingly a diagnosis for men and boys alike. And it wasn’t known it to be for females that could also have autism due to us females usually masks) or having other diagnosis on top of that first of autism- be it like schizophrenia or bipolar and the like before the specialists do diagnose us with Autism. (Reference:Autistic Females and Masking [2018 https://youtu.be/NRgs74MyHvw).
With autism awareness that this term is flawed I believe in many ways and one of the ways is that this is known for medical experts wanting us to be cured.
I have also shared this in one of my videos (Reference: Should there be a Cure for AUTISM?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbjMKpwbUWU ) and that being different is a bad thing for many centuries. People that put a negative spin on people that are different doesn’t seem right at all.
I’m not the only one now that doesn’t accept this as many other autistic people who I have been talking to are trying to push back the narrative of this as well now. As this is now being disorganized, and documented or even doctrinised yet nowadays. Many autistics are now bringing in the hashtag of #redinstead. I’m hoping to take part in this movement again this year even if its on the second. (Reference:Autism Awareness & Acceptance [April 2019]/ Autism Acceptance-Wear Red Instead https://youtu.be/PLg7_a22v20 )
While Autism Acceptance Day has claimed to be on April 2nd yet on the other hand autism acceptance of the #redinstead is on April 1st.
On the other hand that is where autism acceptance began. This stance began in the 1990s. This has grown ever since.This started almost the same way as autism awareness did but only difference here how it started was this was started by autistic people as this was due to when the autism awareness movement began as an opposition to autism awareness is all about what I shared earlier light it up blue and as for autism acceptance is all about hashtag movement of #redinstead. These terms will be seen more of when it comes down to when we have this month of World Autism Day. This day of autism acceptance also is a way of taking action.
As many of us will be taking action on behalf of the autistic community or behalf of ourselves as autistics. Autism acceptance is all about showcasing the skills and talents that we have as an autistic. As we know that there’s many autistics with many different skills and talents out there and it’s all about being able to be brave enough to show it to the world around us.
However, as we know with acceptance at the end of the day will open a wider door of opportunities, fortunes and so much more. And, this opens it up all the way to gain a better understanding of autism and autistic people as a whole.
As we know that historically April 1st is known to be a day where people do pranks on others and just making fun of people in general. As we should know that there are many autistic people out there that are literal thinkers as this again is one of their common traits can be known for and are easy targets for the malicious and callous behaviours of others that aren’t accepting of others that are different. Many of us do hate April Fools Day anyways which is why us autistics has chosen to reclaim that day however for autism awareness vs. autism acceptance.. We know that these days it may not serve any purpose or reason for April Fools Day but for just any businesses of people that wastes their time, money and energy to do pranks. So, on the other hand us autistics has claimed this day as a day of kindness.
As we know that you maybe asking how you can help this year to raise acceptance this year. Yes, I am aware that you are also thinking and saying to me that hang on a minute Aspie, you do realise that we are in lock-down? Yes, I do. I hear you! But, what you can do while in lock-down for this day I have given you just a few suggestions to give to you during this time of acceptance as acceptance to me also involves inclusion of autistics as well as giving compliments to others, write notes to each other, write a letter to an autistic led organisation, maybe feel free, if you feel you want to, to guest blog on some autistic related blogs or what have you, make a gift for someone or write a song and so much more. These ideas I am sharing with you is all about the act of kindness and using the hashtag term #redinstead. Amplify this by other social medias that are doing this movement.Showing this to others about kindness of the #redinstead will then therefore bring out more acceptance of others that are on the autism spectrum.
The date for World Autism Day has been purposefully documented and dated for anyone that doesn’t support light it up blue or red instead as well as we also has the option of light it up gold.
Also, in this day of World Autism Awareness Day I feel it should be changed to World Acceptance Day on April 2nd as I believe that there’s a lot of awareness already yet we got a long way to go in accepting others that are different as I feel it should be World Autism Acceptance Day due to there’s still lacking of acceptance of autistic people and that for us autistics we shouldn’t feel like we’re discriminated, needing to change our thoughts, looks and more just to fit in the neurotypical world.
I believe since there’s a lacking of autistic voices to be heard and this day should be claimed by the autistics as a coming out day similarly in borrowing the LGBT movement and in this movement we should use the hashtag #autisticgold or #goinggoldforautism.
I understand that many autistics do not dare wish to come out claiming that they’re autistic by being feared of being judged, fear of rejection and many other reasons behind this. I fully understand and feel this wholeheartedly as I was one of them once upon a time. Autism for some people that are diagnosed with this that they still feel deeply ashamed about and most of the reactions we get from parents, friends, family and others are really harsh and negative when many autistics are trying to approach the subjects of this matter.So, the only way to see that is to let society see the numbers and of mass of people coming out as Autistics and let others know that we’re not ashamed of who and what we are. Please for anyone of you who are watching this as I am encouraging you to come out as an autistic and that you still feel you’re not ready to do so, don’t have to do this yet, just do it in your time and when you feel that you’re strong and ready to proclaim and accept that you’re autistic.I’m not saying that everyone on this day of Autism Acceptance should come out far from it as this is for the people that are already ready to take the stand in accepting themselves along with having supporting networks from friends, family and organisations and so on. So, that everyone else can see as we lead by example that we’re being led by an autistic community or society.With that being said that this then should be normalized and accepted by society and also people in the community as well as a voice for the community and society alone.
As we are aware that we are limited to the hashtags activism groups but I believe if we can be proud and accepting of ourselves being autistic, we have the power to do more for autism acceptance. Think for example the LGBT movement in how they work. This movement is now being more common and accepted in some parts of the world and in society.For this change to take effect, as we know it will not happen immediately over time. So, it will take time and patience and if we are brave enough to do so we can do more.In the time of Autism Awareness day that was brought to our understanding how it all began with autistic adults and again in the neurotypical adults that we should all come together as one to co-exist somehow for us to accept the other side and validate our own experiences. I believe that if we did come together that we can work together by educating the public about autism. The fact and reality is that autism isn’t an illness or a need to be cured. (Reference: AAWM 2018/Do I want a cure for Autism [Shortened Version] :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzokIV2cqRU) Autism to many people will see it in a lot of ways. Some may say it’s a blessing, curse, tragedy, superpower and so much more. It’s who and what we are under that label we are still humans with talents, gifts, feeling and emotions like all of you neurotypical people out there. It’s not going away as this condition is going to be a part of us for the rest of our lives.
We know that life is too short and should never take life for granted and that we should all now honor and respect ourselves for once.
So, just to wrap this video up as recap to end this that 1) April 1st is that we reclaim the light it up blue narrative and go red instead.
April 2nd is the autistic coming out day using the hashtag #autisticgold or goinggoldforautism. (Going for Gold for Autism Awareness Acceptance Month.
Differences between autism awareness and autism acceptance. These two terms do interlink and work together one way or another.
I believe it’s all again about accepting each others differences as people rather than someone who has something like a mental illness or autism as this should help the conversation to go further.
Did you know that the everyday thoughts that we think about either positive or negative that you will repeat often, eventually, it will affect your behavior and actions, and create changes in your life in accordance with these thoughts that you’ve been thinking?
We all must have probably had someone tell us sometime in our lives to “look on the bright side” or to “see the cup as half full.” Chances are good that the people who make these comments are positive thinkers. Researchers are finding more and more evidence pointing to the many benefits of optimism and positive thinking.
Such findings suggest that not only are positive thinkers healthier and less stressed, they also have greater overall well-being. According to positive psychology researcher Suzanne Segerstrom, “Setbacks are inherent to almost every worthwhile human activity, and a number of studies show that optimists are in general both psychologically and physiologically healthier.”
Positive thinking…it can sound so simple, but often, not easy and that most of the time in our busy lives that we seem not to act upon being positive especially with the terms of events that we tend to go all negative- again by choice of course of our own. Our life is made of habits and even Buddha once said: “We are what we think.” This is why, it’s very important to constantly chose positive way of thinking and make an optimistic attitude – your habit or second nature.
Benefits of Positive Thinking
Even if positive thinking does not come naturally to you, there are plenty of great reasons to start cultivating affirmative thoughts and minimizing negative self-talk.
Positive thinking…it can sound simple, but often, not easy. Our life is made of habits and even Buddha once said: “We are what we think.” This is why, it’s very important to constantly chose positive way of thinking and make an optimistic attitude – your habit or second nature. Let me share with you 10 advantages of being a positive person:
1) Positive mind attracts positive events.
First of all, if we decide to become positive, we can make the so called “law of attraction” work for our favour. The main principle of the law of attraction is that “like attracts like”. If you will make positive thinking your habitual way of seeing life, imagine how many great things you can attract into your life!
2) Great and harmonious relationships.
When you chose positive attitude, you will start to notice a lot of positive qualities in people and ignore their defaults, and then, you will start to create more meaningful friendships and great relationships. This type of attitude will create a very good and positive atmosphere around you.
3) Better first impression.
If you make a positive thinking your priority, you will always make a great first impression. People, usually, are attracted to kind and friendly personalities and the good first impression can have a big impact on the development of your future relationships.
4) Vibrant health.
Positive thinking is very beneficial for your health. Even several scientific studies have shown that people with a good, positive “vibe” are less likely to suffer from depression and they get ill more rarely than the negative thinkers. In many cases, bad thoughts are the main cause of deceases, and even the word “decease” means that the person is not at ease…Just change your thoughts and you will change your life. That’s why, taking care of our thoughts – is taking care of our health!
5) Key of success.
Positive people are more likely to be successful than the negative ones. When you will implement positive thinking into your life, you will notice that success becomes easier and it’s not as tough and difficult, as many people think.
6) No more stress.
The main cause of stress is worry and negative thoughts. If we think about it further, we can understand that stress never solves problems, on the contrary, it can leave us helpless. Positive people overcome stress more easily. When you start to increase the quantity of good and positive thoughts, stress will gradually leave your life, until you won’t hear about it any more.
7) Positive thinking and optimistic attitude will turn all your problems into opportunities.
Negativity can blind people’s mind. If you turn your thoughts from the negative ones into positive, your eyes will be opened and you will see the bottle half full, instead of half empty. You will start to notice solutions and will understand that every problem is actually an opportunity to grow. All problems can be solved, and you, finally, will be able to see it.
8) You will notice the abundance of good things in your life.
Sometime people live their life without knowing how blessed they really are, they take things for granted and forget to be thankful. As I mentioned earlier, there are certain laws in life, one of them says: “like attracts like” and another is: “you will reap what you sow”. When people live their live complaining and mourning about their destiny, without appreciating the things that they already have, then, they risk to lose even this. Appreciation and gratitude, on the contrary, can bring more of good things to be thankful for into their life. So, let’s be thankful and let’s count our blessings.
9) Boost of motivation.
Positive attitude will boost your motivation and you will start to achieve your goals quicker and easier. To have strong motivation is the same as to have “wings”!
10) Beauty will shine from within.
Positive thinking will make you look more beautiful. It happens naturally: smiling, friendly and happy people are, somehow, extremely attractive. Your inner beauty will shine and will become visible on the outside, as well.
When faced with stressful situations, positive thinkers cope more effectively than pessimists. In one study, researchers found that when optimists encounter a disappointment (such as not getting a job or promotion) they are more likely to focus on things they can do to resolve the situation.
Rather than dwelling on their frustrations or things that they cannot change, they will devise a plan of action and ask others for assistance and advice. However, Pessimists, on the other hand, simply assume that the situation is out of their control and there is nothing they can do to change it.
In many recent years it has been proven that many researchers have found that your mind can have a powerful effect on your body. Immunity is one area where your thoughts and attitudes can have a particularly powerful influence. In one study, researchers found that activation in brain areas associated with negative emotions led to a weaker immune response to a flu vaccine.
Researchers Segerstrom and Sephton found that people who were optimistic about a specific and important part of their lives, such as how well they were doing in school, exhibited a stronger immune response than those who had a more negative view of the situation.
Not only can positive thinking impact your ability to cope with stress and your immunity, it also has an impact on your overall well-being.
While researchers are not entirely clear on why positive thinking benefits health, some suggest that positive people might lead healthier lifestyles. By coping better with stress and avoiding unhealthy behaviors, they are able to improve their health and well-being.
Resilience refers to our ability to cope with problems. Resilient people are able to face a crisis or trauma with strength and resolve. Rather than falling apart in the face of such stress, they have the ability to carry on and eventually overcome such adversity. It may come as no surprise to learn that positive thinking can play a major role in resilience. When dealing with a challenge, optimists typically look at what they can do to fix the problem. Instead of giving up hope, they marshal their resources and are willing to ask others for help.
By nurturing positive emotions, even in the face of terrible events, people can reap both short-term and long-term rewards, including managing stress levels, lessening depression, and building coping skills that will serve them well in the future. There are so many more benefits of being positive as I’ve just mentioned a few while I am writing this as well as for you readers to read.
If you keep thinking about problems and failure, you attract these things into your life. That’s why we need to be sure what we think and act upon these thoughts will be ones that will bring us peace, joy and fulfillment.
However, on the other hand, if the feelings of anger, tension, irritation and worrying are your usual responses to any situation or changes in your life then you are undoubtedly suffering from the problem of negative thinking. To lead a better life filled with tranquility, contentment and love we need to change our way of thinking.
The key to positive thinking is to discover our inner self to find out more about ourselves in who and what we are as a person as we all have a purpose in life. We all should be able to know and find that purpose of our life in time. We should try and make serenity, bliss and love a reality for ourselves in our lives so that we can live a longer and fruitful life. Positive thinking sounds cliché, we have heard about it and read about it yet we still don’t practice it. We all have busy lives and it seems almost impossible to take out the time to work on changing our thinking, however getting this new way of thinking as a part of our lives won’t take more than 15 minutes every day, and once you learn how to get rid of negative thoughts and how to control your mind you’ll realize it is all worth the efforts.
In the long run you’ll become conscious about the fact that simply spending 15 minutes in positive thoughts and positive attitude can be the building blocks of a happy life!!! Start working on yourself, sit in silence and contemplate your thoughts……we all are moving too fast, we need to slow down and think about our situations and above all we need to learn how to stop thinking about something that is draining all our positive energy and how to get rid of negative thoughts. Start connecting with yourself and your healing will begin. This silent contemplation is nothing but a variation of meditation, meditation helps you in looking inside yourself look deeply in your thoughts.
Hurt, pain, anger and rejection all are negative feelings generated by negatives thoughts we need to slow down and observe how we ourselves are creating the negative thoughts leading to these negative feelings. Positive thinking can be achieved through meditation, because meditation is all about self-introspection…..looking inside you if we don’t perform it then, every new situation every change in our lives will have only one response from our negative thinking it’ll be resistance. The cause of this resistance is fear, the fear of losing what we already have like people, power, relationships, prestige, personality and money all of these fears lead to the fear of changes and ultimately pave the way for negative thinking.
Two steps to stop Negative Thinking:
The first step of stop this negative thinking pattern is to start BI, accept the changes in your life….. People, power, relationships, prestige, personality and money are like a flowing river , a flowing river changes every instant don’t try to build a dam because on the other side of your dam there would be lot of pressure trying to stop the river, nothing remains constant hence we need to accept the changes in our lives. However be careful – DON’T ACCEPT YOUR FEAR, ACCEPT THE SITUATION.
If you have ever seen a wrestling match you would have noticed that the opponents first bow down to each other then they embrace each other, this is the change philosophy whenever you’re faced with changes first you need to embrace it and that is how you catch the momentum of the new situation. If you resist, you don’t get to know the momentum of the situation.
Once you have accepted the situation you say THIS IS IT! But then again questions would come in your mind you would ask yourself – Now What? Other questions would also arise in your mind, questions like Why, Where, What, How. How do we respond to these questions without being affected by our negative thoughts?
All we need to do is, instead of thinking about what is happening outside try and focus on yourself and ask yourself how do I respond to this situation. Don’t engage in the questions just work on your state of mind and ask yourself how you want to deal with your situation.
Don’t stop the river but don’t start flowing with it either if one person is angry and screaming you cannot allow yourself to flow with him, you have your own identity your own thoughts you don’t have to flow with the river, so don’t stop the river and don’t flow with it either rather stay put and look at the river flowing by……same way in any situation that triggers your negative thoughts remember you are different from the situation, don’t try to stop the situation because you cannot actually control the changes happening around you and also don’t let yourself get consumed in the situation and the hardships that it brings with itself.
Any negative situation is not you, you are the creator of your thoughts and you have the choice to create a positive one or a negative one, make a wise choice. Don’t give your automatic responses to a situation that would be like flowing with the river, don’t do it be still; stay put and focus on your reaction and your actions on this situation and then you’ll start observing the power of positive thinking.
Again, to note here is that there’s many more steps to ridding the negative thoughts as this is just a couple could think of while I was writing this piece for you all while reading this.
If you often think about happiness and success, eventually, this is what you will attract into your life.
There is no magic here, I can’t just wave a magic wand in front of you all and say to you all think positive thoughts but only natural laws at work. This is by all means all up to you all to decide what you want in life and what outcome will it bring in your life. You need to know what these laws in physics are and how to use them effectivelyin your own life. You also need to start using them, and continue until you get results.
“The predominant thought or the mental attitude is the magnet, and the law is that like attracts like. Consequently, the mental attitude will invariably attract such conditions as to correspond to its nature.” – Charles Haanel.
When you change your thoughts, you change your life accordingly. Again, this is a fact.
You can take advantage of this process, and use it to improve your life and make positive changes in your life. If you constantly think about obstacles and failure, you will not try hard, not take advantage of opportunities, and avoid taking action and starting new projects in the works of what you’ve got planned. Eventually, your external life would mirror your negative thoughts.
“A mental image gives you a framework upon which to work. It is like the drawing of the architect, or the map of the explorer. Think over this for a few moments until you get the idea firmly fixed in your mind.” – William Walker Atkinson
If you often think how difficult your life is, and avoid trying to change your thoughts, you close your eyes and heart to opportunities, make no effort to change and improve, become unhappy, not at peace and perpetuate the same situation over and over again.
If you think often about success, and about living a better, happier and more successful life, you will be motivated to do something successful about your life. You will become aware of opportunities, take advantage of them, and change your life.
People who constantly think how poor they are, how difficult are their lives, and how more difficult they are going to be, stay in the same situation, and might even make it worse.
Successful people however on the other hand, they will see in their mind’s eye the life they want to live. They visualize their ambitions as accomplished, and do not allow negative thoughts, problems or obstacles to discourage them.
A thought, together with a strong desire and perseverance, turn dreams into reality.
“You are to become a creator, not a competitor; you are going to get what you want, but in such a way that when you get it every other man will have more than he has now.” – Wallace D. Wattles.
So, you maybe thinking how does positive thinking really work and what effects does it have on us.
1.Changing your thoughts will change your life. 2.Changing your thinking habits will change how you feel, how you act, and how you react. 3..Inner change will lead to outer change.
There is plenty of information on this topic of changing your thinking habits and transforming your life
The nature of our thoughts determines the quality of our life whether it is sad, happy and contented. Happy, optimistic, positive thoughts, emotions, and feelings generate a zing in our system which makes the blood flow freely and heartbeat joyously. They create a spring in our feet and spur us to action. Let us remember the age-old saying that the mind- thoughts- can move the mountains.Or even the song by Miley Cyrus, The Climb. Pessimistic, sad and gloomy thoughts, on the other hand, create inertia and force us to stay bed-bound.
Our actions are the practical manifestations of our thoughts.
It is quite clear, therefore, that we must bring about a change in the way of how and what we thinki in our lives in order to create happiness and a sense of fulfillment in our lives. A good thing about our brain is that it willingly adopts any changes that we bring about in our thinking patterns.
Here is a list of 15 ways you can change your thoughts and give a positive direction to your life.
Change your thoughts by creating positive affirmations
Affirmations are not always positive. They can be negative as well. The hexes created by the witches are negative affirmations. The truth is that most people are given to making negative affirmations. When you think repeatedly that you are not going to succeed in a particular project, it is a negative affirmation. Affirmations, both negative and positive impact the neurological functioning of the brain. Positive affirmations are like mantras. They have a sacred and spiritual force about them. Let us be clear about creating positive affirmations. They should not be normative or weak. I believe that we all should do positive affirmations early in the morning to build us up with confidence and peace. I am a real strong believer in doing this as well as I’ve been doing this throughout my mornings despite the everyday struggles I face.
Thoughts such as I ‘should’, ‘ought to’ or’ abstain from’ are normative. Examples of negative affirmations are: ‘I can’t’ do this. It is ‘quite difficult’. On the other hand affirmations should be forceful and determined such as ‘I can’, ‘I will’, or ‘I am going to’. As mentioned above, your brain is always adapting to your thought patterns and directs your organs to act accordingly. Insert positive thoughts and affirmations
Learn to apply full stop
We keep mulling over our misfortunes, the perceived wrongs committed to us by those who we have loved and stood by so sincerely. We never stop cursing ourselves for the mistakes that we think we have committed. What would have happened if I had done this or that? What would happen if I do this or that in the future? This is not to suggest we should not learn from our past mistakes or plan our future intelligently. The only thing is we should stop thinking over and over once we have learned from our past and decided about our future to move on and let go – let go of situations that we can’t control in our lives.
Let go of the need to be masochistic
Definition of masochism:
The deriving of sexual gratification from fantasies or acts that involve being made to suffer physical or mental pain. Also called sexual masochism.
The deriving of pleasure from being humiliated or mistreated, either by another or by oneself.
A willingness or tendency to subject oneself to unpleasant or trying experiences.
Quite often we love to wallow in our misery. We enjoy creating self-punishing thoughts or being gloomy and pessimistic. Here is an example:
“If I start selling candles, the sun will stop setting, OR If I start selling shrouds, people will stop dying.”
I was born unlucky. Nothing good will ever occur to me. Such thoughts not only cause a harmful impact on the mind, but they adversely affect your physical health as well.
Change your thoughts by counting your joys and blessings.
Most people take their joys and blessings for granted and start grumbling about what they do not have; or, when they are faced with problems and troubles. Just think of those who are less fortunate than you. Or, think of a situation that could have been worse than it is now. You are crying because have hurt your knee in an accident. What, if the leg itself had broken? See the filled half of the glass for satisfaction and the empty half with a resolve to fill it. I believe strongly in this one as we should be blessed with what we have as sometimes there’s others that doesn’t have what we got and I believe sometimes with the everyday struggles that we go through teaches us a life lesson in general and that we sometimes need to not rush the process of what is needed to be done in our lives as some situations that we go through takes time and patience. We need to be in the moment and appreciate everything we have.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” ~ Melody Beattie
Appreciate and enjoy what you already have.
Question to you all that are watching this today: Why is it so hard to appreciate what we have? Why is it so difficult to be sated with everything in our lives in the here and now? We always seem to be chasing the next big thing.Be it if we want to be famous, we want to be popular, be it we want to be beautiful, whatever it may be. We’re constantly lusting and yearning after the newest and best I’ve-just-gotta-have-it object, we move from one point to the next on this Hedonistic Treadmill that we call life, and we can’t seem to get off it.
The funny thing is that, for the most part at least, everything in our lives was once just a wish. We wanted that car we drive today so badly just a few years ago. The house we live was once just a goal. The people or situations in our lives were once just a wish. So why is it that, today, we can’t appreciate all of those things? How come we’re not satisfied with the status quo?
This conversation isn’t a new one. I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly been unappreciative of the things I’ve had in my life. Although I once lusted and yearned for those things, attaining them seemed to remove their luster and their shine. When I achieved my goals, I wanted the next best thing. I was never really happy with the things that I had attained.
A great way to change your thoughts is to appreciate and enjoy what you already have. This is not to suggest that you should not aspire for a still better life. Enjoy whatever amount of success you have achieved instead of feeling sad about what you have not been able to achieve. There is nothing wrong with always fixing higher benchmarks or goals, but failure to reach them should not spoil your enjoyment of what you already have.
I’ll explain more into how we can appreciate what we have in next video but remember this quote: “If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.” ~ Lao Tzu
Savor the joys of your achievements
It is one thing to achieve your goal; it is another to enjoy it after you have achieved it. For example, you marry a woman of your dreams, but get bored with her soon thereafter and start looking for a new one. This is one of the most common causes of marital discords and breaks up. We know that relationships with anyone can be difficult but if we stick with it and work together through the good and the bad we can see some good in what’s happening in our lives. Males and females play different parts in a relationship. We all know or should know what’s important in a relationship to make it fulfilling for us.
“There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second.” ~ Logan Pearsall Smith
Stand erect and hold your head high in trying circumstances
We often tend to feel demoralized in adverse conditions. We stop and feel low as if we are bending under their weight. This happens both literally and figuratively. You will, however, surely feel better if you try to lift your spirits and also your head like a person determined to take up the challenge. This is the best way to get out of depression. Try it time and time again.
Allow yourself to be playful and childlike
Children are known for the innocence and simplicity of mind in life. They soon forget their quarrels with their friends and start playing together once again. As you may have seen them all once in a playground when they are playing or play-fighting with each other and just then return back to normal by playing again. This is the reason that generally they are always happy and smiling. Translated into the language of the adults, we should learn to forget and forgive.
“The great man is he who does not lose his child’s-heart.” ~Mencius, Book IV
Seek happiness and contentment in the present moment
Do not associate happiness with future events. I will be happy when things happen this way. It is like postponing your happiness to an unsure future. The better alternative is to try to postpone your sorrow to some future moment as much as you can. The time to be happy is to-day because yesterday has already passed and you cannot be sure that tomorrow will bring any happiness. “How simple it is to see that we can only be happy now, and there will never be a time when it is not now.” ~ Gerald Jampolsky
Be a master of your moods
Be a master rather than a servant of your own moods. You are the ruler of the kingdom of happiness. Do not allow other people or circumstances to make you happy or sad. Do not depend on material possessions to create happiness for you. It is for you to choose to be happy whatever the situation. Do not allow your heart to break up if your loved one has ditched you. If he/she can be happy without you so can you.
Wake up with a resolve to stay happy during the day
Resolve the first thing as you wake up in the morning to remain happy throughout the day. Spend some time with the flowers and plants in your garden. Listen to the songs of the birds in the trees or watch them flying high in the skies. Or, go out for a walk in the park nearby. Remember your resolve to remain calm as soon as you sense trouble coming. You owe yourself an ethical duty to remain happy.
Yourbody is your temple, honor it.
Keep the temple of your body neat, clean and well-ventilated. Do not dump garbage of dirty, negative thoughts and toxic junk food in it. It is really difficult to remain happy when you are sick physically or mentally. There is a close relationship between the mind and the body. Take physical exercises regularly according to your constitutional needs.
Most yoga and meditation gurus have complicated the process of meditation by using incomprehensible jargon about its practice and goals. Consequently, most people tend to doze off during the meditation sessions and stop practicing meditation altogether. Ultimately, as we know now that there’s always websites and apps that we can use for meditation and other purposes. Meditation comes in many different form of techniques that we can use on daily. Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. Scholars have found meditation difficult to define, as practices vary both between traditions and within them. Meditation has been practiced since antiquity in numerous religious traditions, often as part of the path towards enlightenment and self realization.
Also, take stock of your day in the evening. Remember the little good things that happened. You were not held up in traffic snarls. Your car ran smoothly. There was no problem with your boss and colleagues. You had a delicious lunch or coffee. Thank your stars for a nice and happy day. This will fill you with gratitude and make you a happier person.
“During meditation, your metabolism and your breath rate go down to a level of rest, twice that of deep sleep.” ~ Mike Love.
Focus on changing yourself instead of changing the world around you
It is impossible to change the world around you. So stop fretting when people do not come up to your expectations. The best course is to change yourself or at least adjust with the people or situations you do not like.
“Never underestimate your power to change yourself; never overestimate your power to change others.” ~ Wayne Dyer
Make thebest of whatyou have
It is always better to make the best of what you have rather than pine for what you think is the best. A perfect state occurs only in Utopia and the world you live in is not that kind of ideal place. Do not be worried about the imperfections. The word ‘imperfection’ is derived from ‘perfection’. Even the most imperfect situation has some small element of perfection in it.
You change your life by changing your thoughts. If the thoughts you think are pure, your life will be pure.
To end on this note I would like to ask you all three questions: Do you believe that thoughts have the power to transform your life? What do you believe stands between you and complete happiness? Is it your thoughts or something or somebody else?
Hey you! Are you an Autistic Person? Are you a person with Autism? What do I really need to call you? More importantly, who am I and what do I see myself as an individual? Argh! Stop calling me some of these first languages as you should know that really grinds my gears, guys. As we know that words and language are powerful tools by which an individual can express ideas, thoughts and more whether it is abstract, actionable or concrete.
I myself as an individual know firsthand and understand full darn well that language and the meanings towards words can very much impact someone no matter who and what they are as a person. We as individuals I believe do tend to attach to some of the words very much for impact and influence and even more so developing and changing the attitudes that we have towards the subjects and or matters of discussion. That’s why many people I have spoken to or heard from are easily insulted or upset by the everyday word choices that we have.
I am here today to try and explain to you all right now about this topic as this is really controversial for many of us that are autistics. Before, I begin this this is just based on what I’ve experienced and known all my time after talking to some people on the autistic community to how they may feel. So, please respect me into what I will share.
It has been known for quite sometime now for many of us autistics that we meet some people that has some misunderstanding and misconceptions about autistics no matter what it is.
So, the question of many that we would be asking ourselves right now is how did people first language come about? People first language is also known or called as person first language which is a linguistic description which will usually put a person before their actual diagnosis of any kind and in this case the many terms that I just used right now for autistics. This linguistic description usually describes what a person “has” than asserting to what a person “is.”
Rather than using labels to define individuals with a health issue, it’s more appropriate to use terminology, which describes individuals as being diagnosed with an illness or disorder.
This was supposed to be intended to avoid any marginalization and/or dehumanization (either consciously or subconsciously) when discussing people with a chronic illness or disability. Again, I shall remove that term disability as I don’t feel this is the right word I am looking for. Term I will use is as I have done in the past is people with different conditions. This may have been seen as a type of a disability etiquette but person-first language can also be more generalized to any group otherwise known or can be defined or mentally categorized by a condition or a trait (examples that are sometimes known for doing so are race, age or appearance along with the different sexuality types).
Person-first language usually avoids using labels or adjectives to define someone, utilizing terms such as ‘A person with diabetes’ or’a person with alcoholism’ instead of what we hear is “a diabetic’ or ‘an alcoholic’. With this being said, the intention here is that a person is seen first and foremost as a person with some given specific trait or characteristic. Some advocates that I’ve spoken to or even heard from has usually have a person-first language point to the failure to mentally separate the person from the traits or characteristics and the person is either inherently bad or inferior, leading to the point where discrimination takes place. Another example for you all to gain a better understanding is “a person with a substance use disorder” has a fair chance of achieving long-term remission yet many years it has been changed to calling these type of people “substance abusers”
Another question that you are thinking to yourselves as you’re reading and/or watching this today is why are we self-advocates so opposed to some of these terms that has been clearly shared just now. Aren’t we all about emphasizing and correcting inaccurate, misleading and harmful stereotypes and their attitudes towards all of this? For sure, some of us may get offended yet some of us or shall we say majority of us no matter what we are and who we are wants to be seen as a person that has equal rights, values and worth. One argument I encountered in one of the more cogently-written papers in favor of person-first language expostulates that because cancer patients are referred to as “people with cancer” or “people who have cancer,” as opposed to “cancerous people,” the same principle should be used with autism. There are some fundamental flaws with this analogy, however.
This is another examples of many that I hear about. Cancer is a disease that ultimately kills if not treated or put into long-term remission. There is absolutely nothing positive, edifying, or meaningful about cancer. Cancer is not a part of a person’s identity or the way in which an individual experiences and understands the world around him or her. It is not all-pervasive.
We need to remember that Autism isn’t a disease as I’ve clearly shared this so many times what Autism is which I will link in the icard and description box below to gain a better understanding of this if you’ve not seen these. I have clearly shared that it’s a neurological and developmental condition. It has now been classed as a disorder yet this is really disabling in many varied ways.
There has been some critics that has objected that people-first language is awkward, repetitive and make for some tiresome reading and writing. A sociologist by the name of C. Edwin Vaughan as well as a longtime activist for the blind argues that since “in common usage positive pronouns usually precede nouns” The awkwardness of the preferred language focuses on the disability in a new and potentially negative way. According to Edwin Vaughan,it only serves to focus’ on disability in an ungainly new way and calls attention to a person as having some type of “marred identity” in terms of Erving Goffman’s theory of identity.
Erving Goffman’s Face and Stigma Theory Explained
In 1963, Erving Goffman published Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity.
It is an examination of how an individual protects their personal identify if they depart from an approved standard of conduct, behavior, or appearance. It is essentially a way for people to manage an impression of themselves.
For most people, the primary method used to avoid stigma is concealment.
This is because the perception of a stigma will often result in shame. There is a personal disappointment in an inability to meet the standards that other people or society in general has set for them. There is also a fear of being discredited, which causes an individual to conceal whatever shortcomings they feel that they have.
Think of a person with a criminal record. They might withhold this information when meeting someone new to prevent being judged off of the record instead of who they are as a person.
This is expanded upon in an essay by Goffman called “Face Work,” which was published in Interaction Ritual and originally written in 1955. When combined, Goffman notes that there are three types of symbolic imagery which influence how individuals may think, act, or react. These are stigma symbols, prestige symbols, and what Goffman calls “disidentifiers.”
How Face and Stigma Theory Is Applied?
Goffman offers the idea that the interactions people have with one another on a daily basis are like a theatrical performance. This is especially true when two strangers encounter one another. Each person has the goal of controlling the first impression that the other individual has of them. They will guide this impression by withholding information, altering their own setting, or even changing their appearance and mannerisms to create the desired result.
The performance is likened to what happens on a theatrical stage because there are two elements: what is provided to the audience and what occurs backstage. This creates a dual role for each person.
For the onstage performance, an individual becomes the person they feel an individual wants them to be or what society demands of them. It is what occurs through social interactions and results in positive self-concepts when the desired first impression is offered and then successfully received. For the backstage performance, there doesn’t actually need to be a performance. It is a place that is hidden and private, allowing individuals the opportunity to drop the role or identity that they offer to the world. There is no longer a need to follow the demands that society offers here. At the same time this face-to-face “performance” is happening, the individual attempting to garner an accurate first impression of the individual is working to obtain more information from them.
Goffman notes that he believes this practice is performed because it offers both people an opportunity to avoid embarrassment. This is because society is a living, breathing entity. Every person feels the need to act differently in changing situations.
Social Model Of Disability – How It Works?
In the social model of disability, a person is disabled by societal and environmental factors. To explain more briefly about this model as it’s called The social model of disability identifies systemic barriers, derogatory attitudes, and social exclusion (intentional or inadvertent), which make it difficult or impossible for individuals with impairments to attain their valued functioning. The social model of disability diverges from the dominant medical model of disability, which is a functional analysis of the body as machine to be fixed in order to conform with normative values. While physical, sensory, intellectual, or psychological variations may cause individual functional limitation or impairments, these do not necessarily have to lead to disability unless society fails to take account of and include people regardless of their individual differences.
Medical model versus the social model of disability
Disability is a deficiency or abnormality.
Disability is a difference.
Being disabled is negative.
Being disabled, in itself, is neutral.
Disability resides in the individual.
Disability arises from interactions between the individual and society.
The remedy for disability-related problems is cure or normalization of the individual.
The remedy for disability-related problems is a change in the interactions between the individual and society.
The agent of remedy is the professional who affects the arrangements between the individual and society.
The agent of remedy can be the individual, an advocate, or anyone who affects the arrangements between the individual and society.
As an educator, you have no responsibility to ensure accessibility; that is the job of the experts.
As an educator, you are responsible for creating an accessible environment where all your students can learn.
Accessible Education aims to reduce dependence on the accommodation approach and move toward inclusion.
The social model of disability is based on a distinction between the terms impairment and disability. In this model, the word impairment is used to refer to the actual attributes (or lack of attributes) that affects a person, such as the inability to walk or breathe independently. The word disability is used to refer to the restrictions caused by society when it does not give equivalent attention and accommodation to the needs of individuals with impairments. Hence, why I believe that this model needs to be changed and updated for training and educational purposes.
(Discuss more later in one my next articles or vlog)
Autism activist, Jim Sinclair rejects the ideal of person-first language, on the grounds of saying “person with autism’ suggests that autism can be separated from person. There are many organizations to this day still use person-first language especially in the autistic community and one of these organizations that are known for this is Autistic Self Advocacy Network and Lydia Brown had to say this about the heated topic at hand.
In the autism community, many self-advocates and allies prefer terminology such as “autistic” “Autistic person.” or “autistic individual” we understand autism as an inherent part of the individual’s identity… It is impossible to affirm the value and worth of an autistic person without recognizing him or her identity as an autistic person. Referring to me as ‘a person with autism’ or ‘an individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder’ demeans who I am because it denies who I am.. When we say ‘person with autism’ we say that it’s unfortunate and an accident that a person is autistic. We affirm that the person has value and worth, and that autism is entirely separate from what gives him or her value and worth. In fact, we are saying that autism is detrimental to value and worth as a person, which is why we separate the condition with the word “with” or “has” Ultimately, what we are saying when we say ‘person with autism’ is that the person would be better off if not autistic, and that it would have been better if he or she has been born typical.
What I found most interesting in reading this selection of articles and blog posts along with trying to get as much involved in the autistic community is that many of the same arguments are used for both positions, but with separate sides, naturally, coming to very divergent and contradictory conclusions.
Firstly, I saw in at least two articles in favor of using “person with autism” that the authors strongly oppose language referring to disabilities like “suffers from,” (i.e. “Alan suffers from Asperger’s syndrome;” “Joey, an autism sufferer;” etc.) which has traditionally been a talking point of self-advocates as well. I do understand that not everyone who supports the use of terminology “person with autism” would disagree with language like “suffers from,” but it is still interesting that there are those who do. It suggests a fundamental shared value — that people with different neurological conditions are not “suffering” because of their difference or disability.
Secondly, as alluded earlier, those on both sides want to emphasize the value and worth of the person. Person-first language advocates believe the best way to do this is through literally putting the noun identifying “person” before any other identifiers. (As noted in one of the other articles opposing person-first language, however, English is a language that puts adjectives before nouns, whereas there are multiple languages that always place adjectives after nouns. In Spanish, for example, “person with autism” is “persona con autismo,” while “Autistic person” becomes “persona autística.” In both cases, autism/Autistic follows the noun.) Person-first language opponents believe the best way to do this is by recognizing and edifying the person’s identity as an Autistic person as opposed to shunting an essential part of the person’s identity to the side in favor of political correctness.
It is impossible to affirm the value and worth of an Autistic person without recognizing his or her identity as an Autistic person. Referring to me as “a person with autism,” or “an individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder” demeans who I am because it denies who I am.
Lastly, what is most interesting indeed is the shared expressed sentiments that using or not using person-first language is necessary to change and shift societal attitudes toward Autistic people. Returning to the premise of this article, this is the sole reason why this debate continues to be argued and why many people on both sides regularly emerge upset and feel personally attacked. Language does play a large role in shaping societal attitudes.
But let’s think about what we are doing when we use these terms. When we say “person with autism,” we say that it is unfortunate and an accident that a person is Autistic. We affirm that the person has value and worth, and that autism is entirely separate from what gives him or her value and worth. In fact, we are saying that autism is detrimental to value and worth as a person, which is why we separate the condition with the word “with” or “has.” Ultimately, what we are saying when we say “person with autism” is that the person would be better off if not Autistic, and that it would have been better if he or she had been born typical. We suppress the individual’s identity as an Autistic person because we are saying that autism is something inherently bad like a disease.
Yet, when we say “Autistic person,” we recognize, affirm, and validate an individual’s identity as an Autistic person. We recognize the value and worth of that individual as an Autistic person — that being Autistic is not a condition absolutely irreconcilable with regarding people as inherently valuable and worth something. We affirm the individual’s potential to grow and mature, to overcome challenges and disability, and to live a meaningful life as an Autistic. Ultimately, we are accepting that the individual is different from non-Autistic people–and that that’s not a tragedy, and we are showing that we are not afraid or ashamed to recognize that difference.
That’s why, when I read a few articles scoffing entirely at the debate, and dismissing it as ultimately irrelevant (insisting that each person should use the terminology he or she prefers and to ignore what other people say or write), I was concerned. The question of person-first language is definitely important and cannot be disregarded. The way we use language affects those around us — in our immediate communities and in society at large. Trends of language have the power to transform ideas and attitudes. To dismiss this as “a silly semantics argument” denies the power of language.
What does, however, disturb me is the vitriol during debates about this (and similar) topics in the autism community. While it is, as repeatedly emphasized, an important debate with huge ramifications both short-term and long-term, hurling ad hominem insults, making baseless accusations, and shouting over tables (or computer screens) at the people on the other side ultimately demeans both you and them. It shows great immaturity, inability to civilly and peaceably discuss important topics, and insensitivity to the personal experiences vested in each of us with a stake in this debate. Having strong opinions on a topic and being able to have a respectful discussion with someone else are not mutually exclusive.
I guess now the question comes to you all is what do I call myself?
I usually call myself an Aspie a cliniclal slang term that means person with Aspergers and removing the word “syndrome” it doesn’t belong there. I also shared some more of the thoughts of these terms in my other video which I shall link it here in the icard and description box for you all to watch after this video to gain more understanding again.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST THE LAST QUESTION IS HOW DO WE MOVE ON FORWARD OR HOW CAN WE MOVE FORWARD
So what can we do moving forward? Or, more importantly, what should we do? To those of you who use “person with autism,” I will always respect your constitutional right to express yourself however you like, but I urge you to reconsider the consequences of using such language. To those of you who use “Autistic person,” I urge you to consistently use such phrasing everywhere possible, whenever discussing autism and issues that affect Autistic people, and to develop coherent, rational explanations for why you prefer this terminology, so that you can engage in such mutually respectful and civil exchanges with others.
That, actually, goes for everyone. If we ever want to accomplish anything as a community, as a movement, or as advocates, we cannot allow ourselves to be constantly divided by infighting and vicious bullying — and yes, that occurs from all sides of these debates, not just one. It is imperative that we learn to engage critically and respectfully with one another, and to value each individual’s voice and feelings as equally important. Otherwise, we’ll become even more dysfunctional than my subcommittee has been in recent months.
*DISCLAIMER: I’m no medical doctor, I’m just your normal Jo Blogs sharing her life experiences and raising awareness for autism and mental health. If you see anything out of the ordinary or feel out of the ordinary for yourself or your loved on, I advise you to seek help and answers with a medical professional as I don’t forever condone self-harm.
Most, if not all, of us feel loneliness at some point in our lives. Unfortunately, loneliness can become chronic and result in depression if it is not dealt with effectively and professionally. Therefore, it is crucial to deal with your loneliness in healthy ways in order to reduce the likelihood of developing a longer-term condition. There are ways to avoid depression from loneliness by using coping skills when you feel lonely, increasing social connection, and exploring your feelings of loneliness to avoid depressions. So, here I am today to give you all some advice on these three methods on how to not get depressed by loneliness.
So, as you’re aware basically I’m going to be talking about as I said about a how to comprehension guide for you guys on dealing with loneliness and hopefully the methods and techniques that will help you. So, there are three different methods – the first one is Method 1- Reducing Your Loneliness, Method 2 – Increasing Social Connection and Method 3 is Preventing Depression from Loneliness
So, let’s begin this.
Method 1: Reducing Loneliness
1.Change the way you think about being alone
The nature of our thoughts determines the quality of our life whether it is sad, happy and contented. Also, happy, optimistic, positive thoughts, emotions, and feelings generate a zing in our system which makes the blood flow freely and heartbeat joyously if we’re in that happy states. They create a spring in our feet and spur us to action. Let us remember the age-old saying that the mind- thoughts- can move the mountains. Pessimistic, sad and gloomy thoughts, on the other hand, create inertia and force us to stay bed-bound. They way we usually think and act upon certain things will determine every outcome or situation that we face in life of our everyday challenges. Yet, what we do and say etc is up to us and starts with us and ends with us. We can be our own worse enemy when we create some negativity in our lives. Our actions are the practical manifestations of our thoughts.
It is quite clear, therefore, that we must bring about a change in the way we think in order to create happiness and a sense of fulfillment in our life. A good thing about our brain is that it willingly adopts any changes that we bring about in our thinking patterns.
Your thoughts can change your feelings (loneliness, depression) and behaviors (how well we cope and how well we adapt to the changes around us). If you think negatively about being alone, you will most likely have negative feelings about it. However, if you embrace being alone you may be able to better cope with it and reduce your loneliness overall. Use positive self-talk. For example, tell yourself that being alone can be a good thing. Tell yourself, “It’s okay to be alone. I like my own company.” This can help you build up your tolerance to being alone. When you find yourself thinking negatively about being alone such as, “I hate being alone. I’m so lonely. This is terrible,” Think of some alternative thoughts that might be more realistic and helpful. For example, you could think or tell yourself, “I can deal with being alone. I feel lonely but I know I can cope with it. It’s not so bad. Alone time can be a positive thing.”
Note: I’ll share some ways for us to change our thoughts of the negatives in one of my next videos.
Manage your thoughts about your social interactions.
Again, it’s okay to be lonely for a time if you need it for yourself to better yourself as a person. Don’t forever feel that you should be socialising all the time in other words too. It’s a given that sometime in our lives that we’ll face loneliness. Yet, the question is as I shared is or can loneliness be a good thing for us? Loneliness does has it’s pros and cons along with its benefits and disadvantages. We need to be aware of our feelings and emotions and everything around us to what’s going on and hopefully, to react in the right way when these situations that we come to face, hits us in our face.
People will feel lonely for quite a number of reasons, which may be includings something like simple social awkwardness and intentional isolation. Some people may even feel lonely when they are surrounded by people because they lack meaningful connections with those people. Everyone experiences loneliness sometimes in our lives as I’ve mentioned, but it is never pleasant to any of us. Dealing with loneliness can take many forms, such as including meeting new people, learning to appreciate your alone time, and reconnecting with our own family and so much more. You can click above me to what I shared about a few tips and advice on how to overcome and deal with loneliness on a daily. (Video – Dealing with Loneliness [How To Guide] Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPx-BEzDJzg )
Studies show that how you think about yourself in relation to others has an impact on your level of loneliness. Fear of rejection can discourage social activity and increase feelings of loneliness. As we know that fear of rejection is an emotion and sometimes many of us we feel that kind of feeling based on that if we’re trying to socialise and more. If you are thinking you are inferior, this may lead to worrying about social interactions. Remind yourself that we are each different but we are equal. We are worthy. Expect positive outcomes instead of negative ones when interacting with others. Think of alternative ways that the situation might pan out for you. For example, perhaps the person will like you! It may not always turn out as badly as you think it will.
3. Surround yourself with animals.
Animals are the next best thing to humans. There is a reason some therapeutic treatments involve therapy dogs or nature-related activities. Research suggests that being in nature or around animals can give you sense of calm and reduce loneliness. Get a dog, cat, or any other pet (fish, hamster, etc). However, don’t overload yourself with too many pets that are difficult to manage. Make sure you identify first what you are prepared to take care of (a fish vs. a dog can be a big difference). If you’ve never owned a pet before, start small. If you cannot get a pet, go to the pet store and spend some time with the animals. You could also visit a zoo, or offer to watch a friend’s pet for the weekend. With almost no effort at all, pets manage to bring so much joy into our lives. They make us laugh, comfort us when we’re sick or upset, and are always there for us no matter what. Not everyone understands the bond between human and the animal or the beast, though, or even realizes how much pets do for their owners. We will take a quick look at ten of the benefits of having a furry friend.
1) They keep you fit
All breeds of dog need regular, daily walks in order to stay happy and healthy, and so do we! However, we sometimes have the tendency to get a bit lazy – if that sounds like you, a dog is the perfect cure! They’ll be dragging you out the front door and making you run around the park each and every day. Yes, a dog is possibly the best personal trainer you could ask for.
2) They make sure you’re never lonely
If you live by yourself, or your partner works different shift patterns to you, it can get awfully lonely at home – unless you have a pet, of course! Cats and dogs make great companions – they’ll always be waiting for you to come home and they’ll be happy to lend an ear should you want to moan about the awful day you’ve had and won’t answer you back if you did have a bad day. Plus, most of the time, they’re up for a snuggle on the sofa.
3) They lower your stress levels
Modern life is stressful and high levels of anxiety can lead to numerous health problems. Luckily, pets can really help us relax –stroking your cat or simply watching fish swim around in a tank can make your worries melt away. Previous studies have proven that pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels than people who don’t own a pet. That means having a furry pal can decrease the chances of suffering a heart attack later in life.
4) They can help you make friends
The pet owner community is an incredibly friendly one – you’ll often find that people will stop to talk to you about your dog in the park. Having a pet is a great way to meet new people and create bonds quickly, especially if you’re not too good at small talk. You never know, owning a dog may help you meet the love of your life!
5) They can improve your immune system
Pets spend a lot of their time outside and therefore bring all sorts of dirt and germs into your home. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though – the additional germs can help improve your immunity to colds and other mild illnesses. In fact, previous studies have shown that babies who live with a dog tend to experience fewer infections and are generally healthier than those who don’t.
6) They can stop your children from developing allergies
While it’s no guarantee that owning a pet will stop your children from developing certain allergies, the evidence suggests the dander in their fur may help. However, it’s worth noting that you should never own a cat or dog if you are allergic to them – you won’t suddenly become immune!
7) They can catch cancer early
It’s no secret that a dogs’ sense of smell is incredible, but did you know that some canines are capable of detecting cancer? Several pet owners have reported that their dog saved their lives after they noticed they were constantly pawing at, sniffing or even licking a tumor hidden underneath the skin.
8) They can teach kids responsibility
Every parent has heard the question ‘Can I have a pony/puppy/hamster?’ at some point in their child’s life. It’s no secret that kids love animals, and if they’re old enough, having one as a pet can actually teach them a lot of important skills. Not only will they learn the practical skills required to own a pet, such as cleaning out the cage, grooming and teaching tricks; they’ll also develop their nurturing and empathy skills, which are vital in later life.
9) They make you feel safe
Not everyone likes being home alone, but having a cat or dog there can make you feel a lot safer. Plus, burglars are less likely to target a house that’s clearly home to a dog. Some breeds make excellent guard dogs and will even protect you when you’re out for a run or walk.
10) They can provide companionship to children with learning difficulties
Children with autism and similar learning disorders often find it difficult talking to fellow human beings, but they have no problem at all with chatting away to friendly animals. After all, your pets can’t answer back and will always keep your secrets!
Looking after a pet is a big responsibility, but when you consider all the benefits above, they make all that hard work worthwhile. Whether you choose to keep a cat, dog, horse or hamster, they’ll make a great companion.
When alone, reading can give you a sense of social connection and help combat loneliness. You can connect with the author or characters in the book. Reading can also transport you to another place and distract you momentarily from feeling lonely. Read as much as possible, because reading not only calms you but also helps keep your mind fresh and active. Pick a novel that you can read for pleasure. Choose a genre that you enjoy such as adventure, fantasy, or sci-fi. You can even read a magazine. Many books are available online as well.
Method 2: Increasing Social Connection
1. Develop healthy relationships.
Individuals who have satisfying interpersonal relationships and friendships show reduced depression, a more positive outlook, and a better ability to deal with challenging situations and feelings overall. Social support can help reduce stress that is associated with feeling lonely. Going to therapy and going to family therapy are good ways to work on your relationships with whoever it may be. Focus on engaging in social activities that can lead to friendships. Keep away from cynical and negative people if they bring you down. It’s okay to cut people out of your family, friends or whoever they are that are negative because we shouldn’t have to deal with negativity on the daily. Ask for help when you need it. Again asking for help is never a sign of weakness. It’s the sign of strength and courage. It’s a sign of you accepting and coming to terms as an acknowledgement in yourself that there’s something not quite right for yous.
2. Have realistic expectations when you socialize.
Rejection can be more of a worry when you feel lonely. Remember that rejection is another feeling/emotion that we feel. After all, we are humans and we are meant to feel things Try not to put pressure on yourself to make a new best friend or a fantastic conversation with each social interaction that you get involved with. Instead, try to enjoy the feeling of connecting in the moment. Social networking can be an option. Social networking allows you to connect with other people without having to worry too much about rejection. Try leaving a comment on someone’s post, or sending someone a short message. When you’re socializing in person however on the other hand, whether with someone you know or a stranger, try making small talk. You can start with the friendly question, “How is your day going?”. Asking someone how their day is going may not seem like the start of a profound conversation, but it allows you to make a small connection with anyone you meet. And again in saying this that it may also lead into another conversation in depth later on. If it doesn’t lead you to a deeper conversation that’s fine. If not, you’ve still shared a moment with another person and that you’re showing that other person also that you’re showing some interest with that person or vice versa they’re showing interest in you while you’re being open.
3. Be open to meeting new people.
Yes, it can be hard for us coming down to being lonely, being social awkward or whatever it may be in this day and age. I will admit that I am still a little bit socially awkward, shy and all that in myself but then again it’s just me. Signing up for a dating website, joining a group or club, volunteering, or taking a class are just a few ways to put yourself in situations where you’ll meet new people who share common interests with you. If you are interested in and connect with someone, a great way to follow up is by adding him or her on a social networking site (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or what have you). Or even on your cellphone, if you want to have the courage to phone them or text them. Remember that the relationships you form may not grow deeper right away, and that’s OK. For now, focus on how it feels to connect with people again in that moment.
Be proud of yourself when you make progress.
It can be tough to get out there and socialize with people. Each time you make a connection, whether it’s making small talk with a stranger or asking someone in your class out for coffee, be proud of yourself for reaching out. Feeling positive about your social achievements will help you continue making an effort to connect with people. As your social needs are increasingly met, you’ll begin to feel less lonely.
Method 3: Preventing Depression from Loneliness
Engage in positive activities.
Doing positive activities may help reduce the risk of depression, and it’s an effective strategy for regulating emotions. Research shows that focusing on positive activities can shift attention away from distressing thoughts that’s on our mind. On the other hand, focusing on something negative can cause increased distress and other negative stuff . Go for a light walk in the park or some calming place. Watch a funny movie. Laughter really can be the best medicine after all. Laughter can also be your best friend. Laughter has been shown to increase overall health and happiness. Social support is a crucial component of preventing depression. If you can, try to spend time with or talk to others in order to prevent depression. Call up a friend, coworker, or family member so that you can therefore talk to them.
2. Use mindfulness.
If you have been depressed previously due to loneliness or any other reason behind it, because as I said before that loneliness can be a profactor that interlaps with mental health; be it depression, anxiety and everything else. But in saying this, mindfulness can help reduce the likelihood that you will get depressed again.
Benefits of Mindfulness
There are many benefits for Mindfulness and The cultivation of mindfulness has roots in Buddhism, but most religions include some type of prayer or meditation technique that helps shift your thoughts away from your usual preoccupations toward an appreciation of the moment and a larger perspective on life.
Professor emeritus Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder and former director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, helped to bring the practice of mindfulness meditation into mainstream medicine and demonstrated that practicing mindfulness can bring improvements in both physical and psychological symptoms as well as positive changes in health, attitudes, and behaviors.
Mindfulness improves well-being.
Increasing your capacity for mindfulness supports many attitudes that contribute to a satisfied life. Being mindful makes it easier to savor the pleasures in life as they occur, helps you become fully engaged in activities, and creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events of the here and now. By focusing on the here and now, many people who practice mindfulness find that they are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past, are less preoccupied with concerns about success and self-esteem issues, and are better able to form deep connections with others.
Mindfulness improves physical health.
If greater well-being isn’t enough of an incentive, scientists have discovered that mindfulness techniques help improve physical health in a number of ways. Mindfulness can: help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, , improve sleep, and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties.
3. Mindfulness improves mental health.
In recent years, psychotherapists have turned to mindfulness meditation as an important element in the treatment of a number of problems, including: depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, couples’ conflicts, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder
How does mindfulness work?
Some experts believe that mindfulness works, in part, by helping people to accept their experiences—including painful emotions—rather than react to them with aversion and avoidance.
It’s become increasingly common for mindfulness meditation to be combined with psychotherapy, especially cognitive behavioral therapy. This development makes good sense, since both meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy share the common goal of helping people gain perspective on irrational, maladaptive, and self-defeating thoughts.
There is more than one way to practice mindfulness however, but the goal of any mindfulness technique is to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment. This allows the mind to refocus on the present moment. All mindfulness techniques are a form of meditation.
Basic mindfulness meditation – Sit quietly and focus on your natural breathing or on a word or “mantra” that you repeat silently. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment and return to your focus on breath or mantra.
Body sensations – Notice subtle body sensations such as an itch or tingling without judgment and let them pass. Notice each part of your body in succession from head to toe.
Sensory – Notice sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches. Name them “sight,” “sound,” “smell,” “taste,” or “touch” without judgment and let them go.
Emotions – Allow emotions to be present without judgment. Practice a steady and relaxed naming of emotions: “joy,” “anger,” “frustration.” Accept the presence of the emotions without judgment and let them go.
Urge surfing – Cope with cravings (for addictive substances or behaviors) and allow them to pass. Notice how your body feels as the craving enters. Replace the wish for the craving to go away with the certain knowledge that it will subside.
Mindfulness has also been shown to help individuals who feel lonely. Mindfulness is about giving your full attention to what you are currently doing and experiencing. Often we are distracted from the present moment by thoughts about the past (regrets) or future (worry about what might happen). Practice mindfulness as often as you can, especially when you start to become lonely or depressed. Try a mindfulness walk. Simply take a walk down the street and focus solely on your walk. Notice the sounds you hear, the things you see, the smells, and how you feel. Is it hot or cold out? Is there a breeze or is the air still? Do you see any birds in the sky? Is it cloudy or sunny out? Another mindfulness exercise is mindfulness-based meditation and guided imagery. Close your eyes and imagine you are in a safe place. This can be a beach, your bedroom, or sitting under your favorite tree at a local park. Imagine that you are there. Experience your safe place in its entirety including what it feels like (i.e. the sand beneath your toes), smells like (salty air, fish), looks like (notice the whole environment), tastes like (if you eat something or drink something), as well as what you hear (the waves crashing). When you have spent sufficient time in your safe space and feel relaxed you can open your eyes. You can practice mindfulness easily at home, by paying close attention to whatever you are currently doing. For example, if you are washing the dishes – focus your attention solely on this experience. Notice how it feels on your hands, the temperature of the water, as well as what you see. Often our minds will wander when we do these types of mundane activities. Observe any thoughts that come into your mind, and without judgment, let them pass. Accept your thoughts and then re-direct your attention back to what you are doing. You can research and find many more mindfulness exercises by conducting a quick google search or using some of the other apps and techniques from your cellphone.
Take care of your health.
Depression poses a significant health risk because it can negatively affect medical afflictions. Overall health is positively related to mental health and well-being. Health issues can also contribute to feelings of depression. In order to effectively prevent depression due to loneliness, you will need to focus on maintaining your physical health.
Improving your nutrition by eating healthier can help prevent and decrease mental health problems. Your body needs proper nutrients to function optimally. Ditch the junk food and focus on eating plenty of proteins, complex carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables.
Make sure you get adequate rest.
This means at least 8 hours of sleep per night. Maintain a sleep schedule by going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning (even on weekends).
Aerobic exercise has been linked to reductions in depression.Walk, run, hike, do anything that gets you moving. If you have any current medical conditions (especially those that affect depression) make sure you have regular visits to your doctor.
Consider getting treatment.
If you think you are already doing all that you can and still feel lonely, or your loneliness is growing into depression, it may be wise to seek expert help from your professionals. Therapists and psychologists can assist you in developing a clinical and research-based plan to reduce your depression or loneliness.
Therapies such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy as I said before and Interpersonal Therapy have been shown to reduce and prevent repeated depression. Contact your medical insurance provider to inquire about obtaining therapeutic services such as therapy or psychotropic medication (antidepressants, etc).
If you lack in medical insurance, you can conduct a local search of low-cost mental health services. Many government agencies also provide low-cost health insurance. Psychiatrists can prescribe you medication if you are open to that. Ask your primary care doctor or therapist for a referral.
Break-ups can be devastating. Break-ups can also cause so many mixed feelings and emotions as well as for many of us some or so many unanswered questions to why we break-up in the first place.
We shouldn’t have to always always dwell on it as sometimes yes break-ups for many of us will take time to get over that particular someone. It’s a rough transition from sharing every part of your life with someone that you loved and cared about, to picking up the phone and suddenly remembering that it’s a bad idea to call them.
In some cases, people can slip into depression: a mood disorder that can feel so heavy and difficult that no one else can possibly understand what you are going through.
Caring for yourself, and deciding how to move forward, can be a serious challenge for many of us. Here with this video comprehension guide today, I will be giving you four methods on how to deal with depression after a break-up. They are as follows: Method 1: Handling Depression, Method 2: Handling your feelings, Method 3: Caring for yourself and Method 4: Avoiding Isolation.
So, as I said before basically break ups can be really hard for many of us. It can be devastating for many of us. We tend to question to ourselves over and over again as I said why is this happening? Could I have done better? Was I the problem etc etc. Right? But in saying this though, we need to know that we’re not at fault sometimes as break ups happen in our lives regardless how old we are or even young we are if we’re trialling out the dating life. So, here is the methods now that I am going to share with you all. So, the very first one of method 1 as I’ve mentioned is
Method 1 : Handling Your Depression
Know the difference between sadness and depression.
Sadness and depression are two different emotions with different symptoms. It’s okay to not be okay once in a while. We all will go through a break-up sometime in our lives as I said. After a breakup, it’s normal to cry, lose sleep, get angry, and temporarily lose interest in regular activities. This is part of the healing process for us. But you might have a more serious problem if you’re experiencing things like:
*Serious changes in eating or sleeping habits *Fatigue *Often feeling worthless, empty, or hopeless *Unbearable, relentless emotional pain *Irritability *Difficulty focusing or making the right decisions *Failure to clean your living space and manage basic hygiene (Thinking about death, or even hurting yourself)
Log your symptoms or journalling your symptoms.
As I shared before that it is always a good idea to write down our feelings, emotions, symptoms so that we can keep ourselves on track. So, basically I said about this in one of the videos that I shared earlier in the piece about handling your loneliness. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPx-BEzDJzg.
When we do see something out of the ordinary of our everyday lives, we should be able to seek help no matter who it is from. Be it from our medical expert team.Be it through our friends or family or whoever.
It’s okay to ask for help as that is the first step for our recovery process for any recovery process. Be it our break up. Be it addictions. Whatever it may be. And this is the first step also in recognising that something is wrong with us or just something wrong in general. If you suspect that you may have depression however, or that something else might be wrong, then try as I said keeping a journal to note down what it is that you’re going through.
If in doubt, write it on paper, or on your computer wherever it may be, for you to keep track of what you’re going through. It can be helpful to review later, and you can bring it to the doctor if you decide to get an evaluation as well as just some help.
My advice here is: Try writing down basic feelings, like “I felt hopeless all morning” or “I tried to have fun but was mostly listless and tired.” You don’t have to be very detailed if it’s too upsetting though, just to bear in mind also. Try writing down what you did in that time period, like “I watched movies all evening and cried a lot” or “I stayed in bed for 3 hours in the morning because I had no energy left in me.”
3 . Know the time frame and urgency level that typically constitutes a problem.
Experts usually recommend waiting around 2 weeks to a month to see if things get better for us. You also have a problem if your sadness is preventing you from doing basic living tasks that you take for granted (like working or caring for your kids). You should see a doctor if: You haven’t improved at all within 2-3 weeks period. You can’t work or take care of yourself or your family. You think that you might hurt yourself.
4. Talk to a doctor about treatment options.
Your doctor may recommend therapy and/or medication to correct chemical imbalances in the brain. The brain can get sick just like other body parts can. There’s nothing “wrong” with you to remind yourself if you have depression, or if you take medication to help fix it. Not just fix it but to keep it in balance realm and don’t basically be afraid to take it. Do try and trust the medical team either via through your consellor and or doctors etc as they’re there to help as no shame again to ask for help.
Contact a crisis line if you’re in immediate danger.
If you think that you might be in danger or about to harm yourself, don’t just sit there. Grab your phone, and find a line to text or call them. If you feel more comfortable in talking to a trained counselor or texting a crisis text line wherever you will be.
WHERE TO GET HELP: If you are worried about you or someone else’s mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider here in NZ. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111. Or if you need to talk to someone else here are some NZ organizations that may help:
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7) • YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 • NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7) • KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7) • WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm) • DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
Otherwise, if you live in a different country there are some International Organisations/Services that can help:
IF YOU LIVE IN ENGLAND: NHS 111: Telephone 111 (open 24 hours)
Samaritans: Telephone 116123 (open 24 hours)
IF YOU LIVE IN WALES: NHS Direct Wales: Telephone 0845 46 47 (open 24 hours)
IF YOU LIVE IN SCOTLAND: NHS 24: Telephone 111 (open 24 hours)
Breathing Space: Telephone 0800 83 85 87
If you live in Northern Ireland: Samaritans: Telephone 116 123 (open 24 hours)
Lifeline: 0808 808 8000 (open 24 hours)
MENTAL HEALTH AMERICA SERVICES
Do you need to talk to someone? If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call 911, go to the nearest emergency room, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis center, or text MHA to 741741 at the Crisis Text Line.
You can also call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746 at the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline. Trained crisis workers will listen to you and direct you to the resources you need.
MENTAL HEALTH AUSTRALIAN SERVICES
beyondblue aims to increase awareness of depression and anxiety and reduce stigma. Call 1300 22 4636, 24 hours / 7 days a week.
Blueheadspace provides mental health and wellbeing support, information and services to young people aged 12 to 25 years and their families. Call 1800 650 890.
Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free 24/7 confidential and private counseling service specifically for children and young people aged 5 to 25. Call 1800 55 1800.
Lifeline provides 24-hour crisis counseling, support groups, and suicide prevention services. Call 13 11 14.
The MindSpot Clinic is a free telephone and online service for people with stress, worry, anxiety, low mood or depression. They provide online assessment and treatment for anxiety and depression. The MindSpot Clinic does not provide an emergency or instant response service. Call 1800 61 44 34 AEST, 8am-8pm (Mon-Fri), 8am-6pm (Sat).
SANE Australia provides support, training, and education enabling those with a mental illness to lead a better life. Call 1800 18 7263, 9am-5pm AEST (Mon-Fri).
Suicide Call Back Service provides 24/7 support if you or someone you know is feeling suicidal. Call 1300 659 467.
Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) provides 24/7 free and confidential, nationwide counseling and support for war and service-related mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, and anger. Call 1800 011 046.
Method 2: Handling Your Feelings
Recognize that processing your feelings will take time.
Especially if the relationship has been long-term, this will be a difficult and probably a long process for you. Expect that, and give yourself as much time as you need to get over the breakup. Some people believe that the recovery from a breakup takes about half the time that the relationship lasted. For example, if your relationship lasted 6 months, then you may need 3 months to fully recover. Keep in mind that everyone is different in this process, so you may take a little longer or shorter than this. Because this is just a given guideline.
2. Give yourself space and time to feel your difficult feelings.
It’s normal for people to feel anger, frustration, sadness, fear, and all kinds of emotions after a bad breakup. Some of them may not be related to your ex at all. That’s okay. Let yourself cry and be upset. It’s okay to mourn the lost relationship. Try labeling your feelings if they’re overwhelming you. Are you feeling insecure? Worried about the future? Are you lost? etc etc.
Put away any reminders of your old relationship.
Take everything that reminds you of your ex (pictures, letters, keepsakes etc etc) and put it all in a box. Then put the box out of sight and out of mind, like say in a closet corner or under your bed. Leave it there. You can sort it all out later, after you’ve gotten over the breakup. Don’t throw it all away. You may regret that later. If you think you might be tempted to revisit the box too soon, try putting a notice on it, like “do not open until a certain month like April or whatever.”
4 . Find a good outlet.
Coping with strong emotions can be hard. It helps to find a good way to let them out. Experiment with different ways to express yourself, as long as they’re healthy and safe. Here are some ideas I suggest to you all:
Express yourself using the arts: painting, making music, drawing, writing, etc.
Imagine yourself dramatically telling your story on a talk show
Write in a journal
Rip or cut up paper from the recycling bin
Scream into a pillow and hit the bed
Smash ice cubes in the bath tub.
Do whatever you can and want to get it out of your system after your break-up of your emotions but yet again as I say this- do it safely.
Engage in your hobbies, and try exploring new ones too.
It helps to find new ways to be productive and creative. Also in saying this like that it’s okay to do similar hobbies that you’ve done in the past as well as maybe as I said before exploring some new ones if we haven’t done them of what we wanted to do when we were younger, but you couldn’t. Try doing it now! It’s never too late!
6. Ask yourself what you need right now.If you notice yourself having a rough time, stop. Ask yourself “What would help me feel better at this given moment?”
Think about what you could do right now that would make this difficult situation a little easier. Perhaps things could be improved a bit by something like…
Calling a friend
Taking a warm shower
Playing with your pet
Drinking hot chocolate
Getting a hug from someone else
Doing something else that feels right at the moment
7. Work towards moving on.
Remember you can’t dwell on what happened in the past of your ex and that you need to be determined to move on and focus on you and yourself because it is always important to put us first in the bigger picture possible because basically it’s important in this point of time of a break up obviously it’s healthy of us to just sit down, re-evaluate things and actually focus on ourselves on our mental health, spiritual health and whatever else it may be. It’s also important in this process also so that you’re ready to conquer anything that may arise now and in the future also. Eventually, you’ll need to accept that the relationship ended, and be able to plan for a future that doesn’t include your ex.
This is your goal. Keep it in the back of your mind. You don’t have to be there yet, and it may take a while. It’s helpful to remember which way you want to be heading.
Remember that recovery isn’t linear.
Setbacks does happen, however but that doesn’t make them permanent. You may get better a while, and then suddenly feel a little worse. That doesn’t mean that you won’t recover. You may bounce back from the setback in a day or week or two or more depending on how strung out you are.
Method 3: Caring for Yourself
1.Try to keep a regular schedule as best as you can.
It’s going to be hard at first as we know as we go through a break up, but you may have to force yourself to eat regular meals and sleep regularly. This too will take time, so be patient with yourself. You may need to function at a sub-optimal level for some time. This is okay also.
Find sneaky ways to be a little healthier.
When you have depression, it can be hard to put effort into your health. Something is better than nothing. Find little ways you can look after yourself, and then be proud of yourself. If food prep is hard, try eating a healthy no-prep snack, like an apple or string cheese. You can even keep a non-perishable snack (like a jar of nuts) at your desk. Do mini exercises, like leg lifts while watching TV, or lifting a five-pound weight while lying in bed.
3 Work on basic hygiene.
Depression can make ordinary tasks (like brushing your teeth or showering) monumentally difficult. They are, however, very important for your health. Neglecting them for too long can make you sick, or cause health problems later on.
Try to brush your teeth at least once a day. Even a cursory brush, without toothpaste, is better than nothing. You can also scrape your teeth with a washcloth to help remove buildup.
Try to shower at least once a day or once every other day. Use baby wipes to wipe areas that tend to get sweaty, like your armpits and the zone under your bra. Apply deodorant. If you’re too tired to get dressed, at least change your pajamas and your underwear every day. You can also put on an old t-shirt and sweatpants if you’re feeling well enough.
4. Stay away from unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Sometimes, when people are suffering from depression, they are tempted to abuse alcohol, use drugs, or binge eat and the latter. This can harm your body, and make you feel even worse. Look for other options if you can do so. Also, make sure that you’re not in the wrong company.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask people to help you with self care and other basic tasks.
Depression can make it hard to initiate tasks, and stay focused on them. Sometimes, having another person there with you can help a lot. You can ask for help with some hygiene and cleaning tasks that you’re struggling to manage. Here are some examples of things you could say: “I’m exhausted, and having a hard time cleaning my house. Would you please come over and help me? I’ve got root beer and vanilla ice cream, so I could pay you with a root beer float afterwards.” “I know that I’ve been a mess lately, and that I’ve been forgetting to shower. I’m sure you don’t want a smelly roommate. Would you give me a push if I’m turning stinky?” “This breakup really has me devastated, and I’m struggling to stay on top of chores. Would you be willing to be my laundry buddy, and do laundry with me?” “Dad, I’ve been too tired to cook for myself lately. Is there any chance I could come over for a healthy dinner sometime?” Or even if it’s your mum.
Method 4: Avoiding Isolation
1. Reach out to your loved ones.
Spend lots of time with your friends and family during this time. They will be your support system as you deal with the aftermath of the break-up. Did you see some of these people much during the relationship? If the relationship was intense and long-term, chances are you haven’t seen some of your friends or maybe even family for months. Take time to spend quality time with them and do something fun. Tell your loved ones what you’re going through. It’s okay to say “I had a rough breakup and I could possibly really use a friend right now.”
2 .Make socializing part of your daily schedule, if possible.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of self-isolation during a depressive episode. It’s crucial that you keep reaching out to people, so that you don’t start spending days or weeks on your own. Try to spend at least half an hour every day on quality time with your loved ones. But as I said before that it’s okay to be lonely for a particular time period for some of us depending on the given situation.
3. Say your feelings out loud.
Being honest about your feelings helps people know how to respond to you. Don’t rely on subtext or hints to let people know how you feel. Say what emotion you’re feeling, and go from there. Examples: “I’m feeling tired today.” “Right now, I just want to do something easy, like watching a movie together.” “I’m exhausted. Could we talk in the morning?” “I’m feeling better today. I think it would be fun to go out. Are you in the mood for that?” “I feel kinda nervous and shaky.” “I don’t have the energy to go out. Does staying in and hanging out sound OK to you?”
4. Tell people how they can help you, especially if they are confused about what you’re feeling.
Most people want to help you, but they may not necessarily know how. And, there is a right way and wrong way in helping others of whatever it may be. I’ve done a video on how tos of handling people with depression and the like which I will in the playlist above me and below me so that you can find it of what not to do and say to people that are depressed, etc etc. They may misjudge what it is that you need. The best thing you can do is tell them how to help you. Here are some examples to share with them: “I could really use a distraction today. Wanna go do something fun?” “I just need someone to listen and be there for me right now.” “I’m not ready to meet cute guys or girls yet. I’m still not over him or her, and I need time to process. I’ll let you know when I want you to point out some hotties for me.” “I need a hug right now.” “I’m tempted to text her. Can you hang out with me, and help me not do this?” “I’m feeling lonely, and I could use some company. Anything from taking a walk or talking to watching TV together would be really nice.”
5. Find some trusted people to confide in.
Trust is really important when we do seek help either through friends or family or someone else that are willing to help us. Trust can be broken in an instant. Trust is one important foundation in building up a relationship or a friendship however as we know. We need to know that we’re not alone when we do face our struggles and situations. Facing difficult emotions is hard, and it’s even harder when you do it alone. Look for a good listener, and ask them if it’s a good time to talk about things. Letting it all out can help a lot.
Everyday I think about my friends and family etc of how they are and what they’re doing. Today and everyday if I could tell the world anything today it’s please check up on your loved ones regardless of who they are or where they are in life, please just check in with them and listen to their body language and if signs are showing danger.
Depression, suicide and suicidal thoughts along with many other mental health disorders and other person reasons and or circumstances have claimed and have taken the life of my friends, family and colleagues and my biggest fear ever since has been losing another one I love to depression and other mental health issues, it’s such a terrifying and emotional thing to go through. I am no expert or professional on mental health. No far from it as I’m someone’s friend, sister, cousin and more but I am here for anyone who wants/needs to talk. You are not alone.
Remember if someone says they are fine it doesn’t always mean they are, so dig a little bit deeper and if they are comfortable enough allow your loved one or anyone that you’re close to, to open up to you about how they are feeling.
Help is always available and suicide is never the answer. Asking for help is a sign of strength and knowing and acknowledging that there’s a problem and to accept it and doing something about it. Never leave it too late or to chance.
Suicide and other mental health problems have destroyed my life along with me being a survivor of my attempts. The very second my close friends, family, friends etc took their last breath as they completed their attempt. Not a day goes by I do wish for someone who could of been there to save them if it wasn’t me. I wish they knew I loved and cared for them even if I wasn’t around for them much or even not seeing the warning signs earlier. I live with the regrets of not checking in with them enough, for not digging deeper when they said they were fine. I would do anything to have some of them back right now to talk to them, laugh with them, create memories with them, even if it’s just for a day. Our last conversation we ever had they told me they were fine and the next month or day or two, they took their own life.
Tomorrow is never promised and this world is so damn cruel, so if you do anything today please just text or call someone you love and check in with them or simply just tell them you love them or were thinking of them. Hug and hold your loved ones in your arms for as long as you can and in that moment remember how it feels, because I can’t remember what it felt like to be held in his arms anymore, after a suicide loss alot of important things start to fade away after a while. I don’t remember the beautiful sound of their voice or laughter anymore, I don’t remember what they smelt like. Don’t wait for tomorrow to come do everything you want to do today, make time and put in the effort to see that person, make sure they feel loved wanted and needed but most of all damn appreciated. The last time I saw my friends when we tried to arrange a special day for them to hang out very soon at their favorite place to go to of the beach, but that day never came. Record your loved one, take their picture even when they least expect it, record their voice, get them to write you something, anything and just keep that piece of paper with their handwriting on it. Take as many pictures together as you possibly can. Go on more dates, book a holiday, do whatever you can to make them feel included and wanted. Everything you do or ever say to them is important regardless of how big or small they might be, you should all treasure every moment and if one day they are gone then you will at least have their picture, a voice recording, their handwriting, something personal they gave to you once upon a time. Treasure it all with your life. I had so many things from our relationship when we were kids but when we broke up or decided not to be friends with me anymore for whatever reason and took their life, I got rid of everything as I tried to heal but now looking back as an adult I wish more than anything I had something to remember them, aside from the memories in my brain. To all my friends and family who may or not be reading this right now, I want you to know I love you and I’m sorry I don’t say it enough but I should. I’m always here for you all and I’m thankful for you all. ❤️
It’s a given that sometime in our lives that we’ll face loneliness. Yet, the question is can loneliness be a good thing. Loneliness does has it’s pros and cons along with its benefits and disadvantages. We need to be aware of our feelings and emotions and everything around us to what’s going on. We need to sometimes feel in our inner self.
People will feel lonely for quite a number of reasons, which may be including simple social awkwardness and intentional isolation. Some people may even feel lonely when they are surrounded by people because they lack meaningful connections with those people. Everyone experiences loneliness sometimes, but it is never pleasant. Dealing with loneliness can take many forms, including meeting new people, learning to appreciate your alone time, and reconnecting with your family. Here are some methods while you’re reading this article/blog into how to overcome and deal with loneliness.
Method 1: Understanding Your Feelings of Loneliness
Identify the reasons why you feel lonely.
In order to make changes that will truly help you, you will need to take some time to figure out why you are feeling lonely. For example, say you assume that you are lonely because you don’t have enough friends and you go out and make more friends. You may still feel lonely after making new friends if your loneliness is the result of having too many friends and a lack of meaningful connections. Consider some of the following questions to help you determine why you are feeling lonely:
When do you feel the most lonely?
Do certain people make you feel more lonely when you are around them?
How long have you been feeling this way?
What does feeling lonely make you want to do?
2. Start a journal to track your thoughts and feelings.
Journaling can help you to understand your feelings of loneliness better and it is also a great way to relieve stress. Journaling can also when you write down your thoughts and feelings can be a good way to at least see how you’ve progressed in your everyday life situations that you face on the daily. To get started with journaling, choose a comfortable place and plan to devote about 20 minutes per day to writing. You can start by writing about how you are feeling or what you are thinking, or you can use a prompt. Some prompts you might use include:
“I feel lonely when…”
“I feel lonely because…”
When did you first start feeling lonely? How long have you felt this way?
3. Practice meditation.
Some research has suggested that meditation may ease feelings associated with loneliness and depression. Meditation has so many benefits to help us mentally and physically. Meditation is also a great way to get more in touch with your feelings of loneliness and start to understand where they come from.
Meditation is a habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts.
You can use it to increase awareness of yourself and your surroundings. Many people think of it as a way to reduce stress and develop concentration.People also use the practice to develop other beneficial habits and feelings, such as a positive mood and outlook, self-discipline, healthy sleep patterns and even increased pain tolerance.
Learning to meditate takes time, practice, and guidance, so your best bet is to find a meditation class in your area. If no classes are available in your area, you can also buy CDs that will help you learn how to meditate. You can also use some apps that are readily available from your phone or tablet.
To get started with meditation, find a quiet spot and get comfortable. You can either sit in a chair or on a cushion on the floor with your legs crossed. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. As you focus on your breathing, try not to get distracted by your thoughts. Just let them happen and pass by.
Without opening your eyes, observe the world around you. Pay attention to how you feel as well. What do you hear? What do you smell? How do you feel? Physically? Emotionally?
Benefits of Mediation (Science-based)
There are so many benefits for meditation and I’ll only be sharing at least 12 of the benefits and they’re as follows:
1. Reduces Stress.
2. Controls anxiety.
3. Promotes emotional health.
4. Enhances self-awareness.
5. Lengthens attention span.
6. May reduce age-related memory loss.
7. Can generate kindness.
8. May help fight any addictions.
9. Improves sleep.
10. Helps control pain.
11. Can decrease blood pressure.
12. Meditation can be done anywhere.
4. Consider talking to a therapist about how you have been feeling.
It may be hard to figure out why you feel lonely and how to move past those feelings. A licensed mental health professional can help you to understand and work through your loneliness. Never be afraid to ask for help when you’re dealing with anything on your own. Some of the trained professionals can help you get back on track to full recovery. Meanwhile, feeling lonely may indicate that you are depressed or that you have another underlying mental health condition. Talking to a therapist can help you understand what is going on and decide on the best course of action. If you want to explore why you’re lonely, finding a qualified mental health professional is an excellent option. You can try joining a club, putting yourself out there to meet new people, and making a list of people in your life and reaching out to them, but if those don’t work and you feel like you’re stuck, a therapist can help you work through your thoughts and feelings.
Method 2: Comforting Yourself
Realize that you aren’t alone.
Loneliness is a normal part of being human, but it can make you feel like you are abnormal. Remember sometimes feeling is just some feeling and emotion that we have felt once in a while. It’s okay to be alone for a time if need be. Key thing to remember is to reach out to a friend or family member and talk with that person about how you are feeling. As you tell someone about your feelings, you can also ask if they have had these feelings too. This process of reaching out and sharing with someone will help you to see that you are not alone.
Try saying something like, “Lately I have been feeling lonely and I wondered if you have ever felt this way.”
If you do not have a friend or family member to talk to, reach out to a teacher, counselor, or pastor.
2. Move forward.
Instead of persistently dwelling on how alone you feel, do things to get your mind off of your loneliness. Take a walk, ride your bike or read a book. Explore activities and hobbies, and don’t be afraid to try new things. Having experience gives you a basis upon which you can comment in more social situations (thus talk to more people) and strike up conversations that will interest other people.
Keep yourself busy. Having down time is what causes feelings of loneliness to creep in. Throw yourself into work or extracurricular activities.
3. Do social activities by yourself.
If you don’t have someone to go out with all of the time, don’t let that stop you from getting out and enjoying yourself. For example, if you want to go out to dinner or to a movie on a date, then take yourself out to a movie or to a nice restaurant. Although, at first, it may seem awkward to be doing things by yourself that you might normally do with someone else, don’t hold yourself back. It is not strange to be by yourself and out doing things! Once you remember why you did these things before, you can enjoy the activity for itself again.
Take a book, magazine, or journal with you if you go out to eat or have coffee on your own, so you’ll be occupied when you would usually be conversing. Bear in mind that people do go out on their own on purpose just to have “me” time by themselves; it is not as if people will look at you sitting alone and assume you have no friends.
It may take some time to get used to the feeling of being out by yourself. Don’t give up if your first few attempts are a little awkward.
4 Consider getting a pet.
If you’re truly struggling without companionship, consider adopting a dog or cat from your local animal shelter. Pets have been domestic companions for centuries for a reason, and winning the trust and affection of an animal can be a deeply rewarding experience
Be a responsible pet owner. Make sure your pet is spayed or neutered, and only commit to bringing a pet into your life if you’re prepared to handle the daily tasks of caring for it.
Method 3: Getting Social Again
Get involved in activities.
To make new friends, you will have to get out and get involved in things. Consider joining a sports league, taking a class, or volunteering within your community. If you are very shy, find a group for social anxiety, even if it has to be online. Look on places like Craigslist, Meetup, or local news websites for activities in your area.
Don’t attend functions with the sole idea of making friends or meeting people. Try to go with no expectations whatsoever and to enjoy yourself regardless of what happens. Look for activities that interest you and that also involve groups of people like book clubs, church groups, political campaigns, concerts and art exhibitions.
2. Challenge yourself to take the initiative in social relationships.
Making new friends often requires you to take the first step and invite others out to do things. Don’t wait for people to approach you: you should approach them. Ask the person if they want to chat or get a coffee. You must always show interest in other people before they will show interest in you.
Be yourself as you try to make new friends. Don’t try to impress a new person by misrepresenting yourself. That may lead to the end of the new friendship before it even gets started.
Be a good listener. Pay close attention when people are talking. It is important to be able to respond to what the person has just said to demonstrate that you were listening or they may feel like you do not care.
3. Spend time with your family.
Working to deepen the relationships with your family may also help you to stop feeling so lonely. Even if you don’t have a great history with a family member, you can still try to repair relationships by starting with an invitation. For example, you could ask a family member that you haven’t seen in a while to go out to lunch or meet you for coffee.
When trying to rebuild or deepen your relationships with family members, you can use some of the same strategies you would use to gain new friends. Take the initiative to ask the person out, be yourself, and be a good listener.
3. Be a pleasant presence.
Draw people toward yourself by providing enjoyable company. Be complimentary rather than critical. For a casual comment, don’t nitpick other people’s clothes, habits or hair. They don’t need to be reminded they have a small stain on their shirt when they can’t do anything about it. They do need to hear that you think their sweater is cool or you like their personality. Don’t make a big deal of it, but just casually mention it when you like something. This is one of the best ice-breakers around and it builds trust steadily over time as people come to understand that you won’t criticize them.
4. Join an online community.
Sometimes connecting with people online can be easier than connecting with them in person, but keep in mind that online interaction is not an equal substitution for face-to-face connections. However, sometime online communities can be valuable ways for you to share your thoughts and experiences, or ask questions to those who are going through similar situations. Online forums often allow you to help others while being helped yourself.
Remember to be safe when online. Not everyone is who they say they are and predators feed off loneliness.
METHOD 4: Enjoying Your Solitude
Differentiate between loneliness and solitude.
Loneliness is when you are unhappy to be alone. Solitude is when you are happy to be alone. There is nothing wrong with solitude, wanting to, or enjoying being alone. Alone time can be useful and enjoyable.
2. Work on improving yourself and making yourself happy.
Usually, when we’re devoting most of our time to other people, we tend to neglect ourselves. If you’re going through a period of loneliness, take advantage of it by doing the things that you want to do for yourself. This is a wonderful opportunity and you deserve to be happy!
3. Consider joining a gym.
Working out and taking care of our bodies is usually the first thing that gets tossed aside when we get busy. If you’re spending less time with other people than normal, try using that time to exercise. If you exercise at a gym, you might even meet some new friends or a new special someone!
4. Learn a new skill.
Taking time to indulge in a new hobby can help you to overcome feelings of loneliness, even if you are doing the hobby by yourself. You could learn to play an instrument, learn to draw, or learn to dance. Going and learning these subjects with others may help you meet new people but it will also give you a creative outlet for your feelings. Turn your loneliness into something beautiful!
Cook yourself a nice meal or make baked goods for friends or neighbors. Cooking up a meal is rewarding, you can channel your focus into something nourishing.
Consider joining a club to meet other people who enjoy this hobby as well.
5. Do something big.
People oftentimes have something really big that they want to do and a thousand excuses not to do it. Have you ever wanted to write a book? Make a movie? Use your loneliness as an excuse to do something great. Who knows, maybe it will turn into something that helps others deal with their loneliness…
To end this: We are all in control of our lives and that we are in control of our thoughts, feelings, emotions as well as our actions. What we do with our lives, starts and ends with us. We are the writers and painters of our stories. Loneliness does take time to overcome but using the right methods and techniques we can sure better ourselves if we choose to.
Just to bear in mind before I begin writing this as you read this written blog that many people have a misconception or misunderstanding about certain people that are autistic or on the autism spectrum of how an autistic should be acting, thinking etc. Every autistic is different no matter where they’re at in their age and development in life. Autistics do have a different wiring in their brain to how they may work and that all we need to know is that we are feeling accepted and understood by the ones that we are with no matter what. We shouldn’t feel like that we’re being judged by others or being looked at a different way. After all, we are human! We need to remember that despite all of this that not all autistics are the same. If you heard the saying if you meet one autistic, you’ve met one. Some of us doesn’t like having labels on any kind that people may throw at us, no matter what it is, we may have heard many of them. We need to remove some of the expectations about most people as well as to also remove the stigma around autism as there’s still a lot of work to be done here for us on the spectrum.
Have you ever met someone in your life that you feel that you can connect with them? Laugh with them? Joke with them? etc. As if like you’re really making a connection with them and that you feel that they’re understanding you and that you feel as if you’re loved and accepted by them, right? You feel like that you’re building a connection of some form of friendship/relationship with some people, no matter what along the way! No matter what it is. We know that we feel on top of the world, feeling like that we’re loved and accepted by the ones that we are with that we cherish and love. When it does happen when we find someone that we can connect with that we feel happy and at peace in ourselves and with them.
Have you ever felt that after that special connection you feel with someone that you’re with that you’ve got some similar interests and hobbies and thinking that you’re friends for life?
Have you ever felt alone and isolated and feel left in the dark for however long of some of the situations that we’ve faced didn’t go the way we wanted or expected or even go right for us in the first place? It doesn’t have to be a friendship that was broken down. It could be while you were in a relationship with someone that it went sour and that you both decided to go separate ways. Or it could be to do when you’ve been trying to connect with people and making friends until you realised who they truly were while you were struggling in your most difficult times of your life.
For me as an example into when I am doing my utmost best in making and keeping friends some people to misunderstand me or misread me into how or what I try to say to them. Sometimes, it can be a struggle with me into what I want to say as all of it is in my head and it’s racing around and it feels like I am vomiting out all my words. Figuratively speaking. It’s like what I’v shared before I feel that I have to mask up my feelings, actions thoughts and feelings just to fit inside a box full of expectations from what a neurotypical world of how and what they want me to say, think and act. Yet, we know that this doesn’t work that way in real life. It’s all about us accepting each other no matter what we have or for even accepting our faults, flaws and imperfections.
I have come to terms now that there’s always going to be someone who’s going to try and change me no matter what it is that they think it needs to be. Yet, I believe if I was to change something about myself it is about acknowledging that yes something needs to be changed and how we can actually change it based on our thoughts, experiences and the outcome of it all. Yes, we’re all changing in every day life of what goes on within ourselves and some of the situations that we face and choose to do what we can. We need to choose wisely of our battles that we face everyday as some will come at a cost. I’ve come to accepting what I’ve got and to work with all the different situations that I face and that I hope to find the right people who will accept me for me with all my faults, flaws and imperfections. Like I’ve been accepting of others to a point of who and what they are as a person. I learnt that sometimes we can’t forever change a person until we make a change in ourselves no matter what it is. I don’t need to be told what needs to be changed as I’m working on it myself as I’ve been learning to gain confidence and independence on my own without others. I know that there’s always going to be people around me that’ll not always like me or what have you yet we’re here for a reason and a purpose in life and it’s just finding that purpose and more. I believe strongly and wholeheartedly I shouldn’t have to change how I speak, act and think. All I am asking from others is to at least share with me what I can do better if I’m failing it all.
Was there ever a time in your life however that you felt that you felt every strongly in your heart that you’ve tried to reach out so many times and that you felt that not many people would want to be there and listen to you while you’re suffering in silence? You had some sort of niggling feeling and negative thinking that no-one was there for you or wanted to be there for you while you’re drowning in your own thoughts and situations that you were going through? Sometimes, people start to put labels on you about who and what you are as a person and that then you feel that you start to believe them. You feel that whenever you’re trying to reach out to someone that no matter what you’re going through of the situation at hand that they tend to ignore or push you away. There are reasons to why they’re pushing us away from our struggles. Maybe, they’re struggling with something that we’re not aware of. Sometimes, it takes guts for someone to raise their hands and ask for help. It takes more courage to actually accept that there’s something wrong and actually work with what is wrong and also knowing the first step is definitely acceptance. It’s a sign of weakness if we act upon our negative thoughts and feelings.
For me, nine times out of ten, I will be trying my best to be around others like a little social butterfly regardless of my social anxiety and to be there for others to listen to them if they need someone to talk to. To be there for them by not judging them at all, to be patient with them. To be their advice or soundboard if they need it. I believe that we all should try and be there for someone in our lives no matter what the situation that they’re facing or going through. I believe that we should also try and be empathetic and to walk in their shoes to know what’s going on in their lives. We need to choose wisely to what we want to say to that someone who’s struggling.
Let’s be real and honest here that we all go through stages and phases of loneliness and isolation here. We need to remember when we go through these stages and phases that it’s not our fault. I believe that everything does happen for a reason and that we need to learn from some of the struggles and situations that we face to why it happened. If it was supposed to be, it will be. It wasn’t meant for us to at least go through the struggle of any kind that they’ll definitely give us some life lessons along the way. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, young or old however, autistic or a neurotypical or even a child. We all go through these phases one way in our life. These phases do come and go like the seasons that changes all the time. Imagine it for now the four seasons that are cycling all in one time. That for example: you’re lonely, got friends, you’re lonely, you’re isolated or whatever else it may be. This is how it felt for me and this is how it is to this day for me on these type feelings or cycles.
I look at a clear example for loneliness in me the four seasons that there are changes and phases of life like for example the leaves falling off the tree Or they’ll change color. Or the flowers will bloom once in a while and then loses its petals. Or young animals being born. Everything and everyone will go through seasons of change. Question is are we willing to change anything about ourselves? Are willing to accept that something needs to be changed?
I’ll do my utmost best to socialise regardless of my social energy tank in how full or empty it is. I still will push forward as best as I can. In one of the videos that’s on my playlist should clearly explain about the social energy tank in how it works for us autistics.
I must admit, hell yes I’m experiencing loneliness once in a while. I don’t need people to try and insult me or criticise me at all. Sometimes, in my experience with loneliness it can be a good thing for a time having its benefits and it can also be a bad thing. With me for sometime, I had a fear of being alone or just lonely, yet I try to weigh up its pros and cons of me being lonely.
There are two different types of distinct loneliness and they are as follows: Unintentional and Intentional Loneliness. What are they you maybe questioning about these two terms that I’m sharing with you all.
Merriam Webster defines: Unintentional: not done or by intention design : not intentional an unintentional effect causing unintentional harm/offense. Intentional: done by intention or design : INTENDED intentional damage.
Intentional loneliness is when a person is trying to be active in socialising yet they’re on their own. Minding their own business and not talking to anyone at all. Why is this? There are a lot of reasons. Maybe they’ve been bullied. Maybe they’ve tried to open up to people and then when they do they feel that their trust or lack of has been broken. Maybe they’ve tried to open up and gain some confidence in themselves and by being around people and it took them a whole while or took them a while to get to that stage in their life of being confident and being able to trust people around them. Another reason could be a death in the family or a close friend that has passed on or maybe last but not least, they just woke up and chose to make that decision to not to communicate or not to talk at all.
The other hand of the meaning of unintentional loneliness is that you’re trying your best to fit in or blend in with others, trying to get attention from your friends or family in a social gathering yet parents are talking with their peers. I’ve learnt that we shouldn’t have to blend in just to feel accepted or blend in to make friends. We should be able to be ourselves and who cares if we’re the black sheep amongst the white sheep. We’re born to stand out. We’re born to be different. We’re born to make a difference in this world if we choose to that is. For an example- you’re not going to be noticed at all and not going to be fitting in.
I’ll be sharing how to overcome or what you can do in dealing with loneliness in my next blog post. Do keep an eye out on this.
To end this blog: It is understandable that we all feel alone sometimes in our lives. Maybe, something has happened in our lives no matter what it is for example again going through a traumatic experience such as being sexually assaulted, bullying, losing trust in people or lacking in confidence etc. The thing is if you stay isolated or alone long enough, and you keep pushing away as there’s some people that are being real and true that wants to be there for us through it all. Advice to the viewers to watch through the video I’ve added in this blog.
I want to write this from the bottom of my heart to all people that may have come to my life for a reason or a season at a time. I know that I may not be the easiest person to understand or work with yet to the ones that are still around, thank you. As you are aware and may know me by now, that sometimes for me as a person it has been hard for me to find the right people to open up to and all yet despite it all of the past experiences and situations and all that I’ve faced that I need to remember once in a while to let my guard or walls down to give people the chance to show me that they’re not out to get me but to try and assist me in anyway possible.
I know that I don’t say it enough in the way of my words and actions yet I am humbled and forever grateful to have the ones that has stood by me through all my trials and tribulations that I’ve been through right now as well as in the past. While we go through these trials and tribulations, I’ve learnt that this wills show us who will be there for us through this with their true colors.
I want to say to all the people that has seen me fail and fall on my knees as I stumble upon some situations and circumstances that you lifted me up and walked by me and guide me through it all. I want to thank you all that has been there for me as either for my legs when I am not able to walk some days as well as also my arms when I seem not to be able to carry anything.
For even when I feel that I am weak or at my lowest point that you allow me to lean on you for some strength and inner courage when I feel so convinced that I feel that others are out there to attack me in anyway that you act as my sword and shield when it arises.
Thank you for the ones that has been with me through and through of trying to keep my stable and giving me some form of hope and foundation to stand on when I fall.
When I am sometimes tired and clumsy along with being tired, you’re there by me to help me back up again and push me forward to get tasks done.
To the people that has been in my circle or has known me that has been telling me it’s okay to feel too much when you guys know me for being the sensitive and empathetic one around. Thank you. To the people that has been telling me on my bad days that it’s okay to not feel okay and to feel that I’ve been defeated in anyway shape or form that I should either come back to what may have not been completed etc. Again, thank you. Thank you for also understanding me as a person behind my faults, flaws and imperfections along with my mask hidden with my diagnoses. Thank you for also understanding me as a person who has a sensitive heart and never telling me to harden or to forever change me for who and what I am as a person and for accepting me for who and what I am as a person. You let me be able to be me and be able to express myself as a person to be able to love freely and openly. You remind me on a daily to never try and be someone else or to try and fit in a box full of expectations etc. We know that sometimes when the box is full, that it will bound to split or even the contents falls out.
On my messiest of days, when I don’t feel like myself, you still care!
To all the people that knows me by now with my voice that has been silenced for too long and now starting to try and have the courage to speak out and just to talk to every day people like you, thank you. To the people also who knows me for who and what I am – EXACTLY who and what I am and have the courage to still stick around and support me through and through, thank you. Thank you for seeing any cracks or bruises and by choice you choose to stay. Thank you for allowing me to express myself and knowing that I am not the person I pretend to be and loving my roots and everything else about me. You’ve seen me at my worst and darkest hours and moments along with sometimes when I wear my mask my mask then begins to drop or fall off and the real me begins to show or shine out. And, whenever that happens you tell me I was and I am still worth everything in this world. You tell me that I am loved, cared for and am needed to do my tasks to fulfill my purpose, goals, dreams and so much more. You tell me that no matter what I shouldn’t be afraid to shine my light and greatness to others. You tell me nothing has changed and shouldn’t have to be changed to suite others around me who wants to change me for the wrong reasons etc.
To the people who love me for me even when I am vulnerable or when I’m not lovable. thank you.
Thank you all for the ones that has been there for me to show me the meaning of friendship, love, guidance and affection. To me you are the good in this world, and to also be able to shine your light and greatness to others. You also have a plan and a purpose in life and I pray and hope that you’ll find it. You’re the ones that has helped me to see the good in me when I can’t seem to find it myself.
One of the hardest things for me to deal with as an autistic person is people not understanding what life is like for me on a daily basis as usually when I am around people that I have to put myself on repeat to share my everyday life or even just the thought of talking or socializing alone can be a difficulty in its own merit and right. (That’s if you’re lucky to have me in your life to be able to share with you anything). You see that sometimes or in the past shall we say that, it did take a while for me to open up to people based on my passed experiences and circumstances that I been through. But, today I am doing my utmost best to trust myself to approach and talk to people and let them in while leading my guard down and giving others the benefit of the doubt.
Nobody has any idea how much energy goes into ensuring I don’t mess up too badly or that I “get things done” when they need doing. I seem to try play the part really well in a “Neurotypical” world full of expectations and so on. I usually do self-doubt and think to myself in the past of questions that races through my mind such as, “Am I doing it right?, Will people like me and accept me for who and what I am? and many other questions that I am sure that the rest of us may be able to relate. Well, they might, but many people in my life didn’t until I received my diagnosis, and even then, it’s hard for them to understand sometimes. I have had so many different people in the past and present come to me and challenge me with some questions to why I act and speak the way I do.
I will have to admit to you after being diagnosed as an autistic and being an autistic brings various challenges and joys with it. I adore my hyper-focus and passions, creativity, empathetic self but I loathe the inevitable misunderstandings and sensory bombardments from others or even just people plain ignorance and/or arrogance towards me as a person. After all, I am still human underneath all the labels. Yet, again, this isn’t their fault as this is still new but it is all about being given a chance or opportunity to let others know that it is okay to be different.
I am a carefully balanced human. I know that things that won’t be stressors to other people will be problematic for me. I tend to either shy away or as people may call it avoid it. I know that spending time in a group will be exponentially more difficult than spending time with people one-on-one. I know that I will always have to ‘perform’ to some extent, when I’m communicating with most non-autistic people.
The question to ask yourselves is this, have you ever been so tired after a busy day that you sit down and before you know it, you’re waking up out of nowhere and it’s the next day already… when you weren’t even finished with the day before? Do you wake up in the morning feel like that you will be able to set the tasks to do to accomplish and then feel that something is amiss? This has been my reality since I was young. A few hours of an activity that didn’t involve being at home, and for the next day or even two, I’m so tired I can’t do anything except lay around and sleep. The exhaustion of autism is real and tangible in my everyday life.
Each day it takes every single bit of energy I have to focus on tasks for the day. If I don’t focus, my mind wanders and before I know it, hours have passed and I haven’t done a darn thing that’s important. Yet, I am now starting to learn to focus on the tasks to do as said that some tasks may take longer than others yet for what it is worth for it to work is to have a everyday list of activities or tasks so that then I can check them off. I have shared that for me having lists is important as I can see what I have accomplished in that day and that it gives me a sense of appreciation in myself that I can do most of the things that are given to me and boost my confidence.
I can’t sit and do nothing (literally, do nothing) because if I do, I fall asleep. I must be doing something – writing, reading, on the computer – that is engaging my brain or that’s lights out for me. I can’t sit on the couch without falling asleep, ever, unless I’m doing something. And no, watching TV doesn’t count. It’s easy to oversleep this way, which makes me more tired, and it’s harder to recover from. Some days I sleep 12 hours, others I get eight hours split into two for days on end and I’m fine. I don’t “crash” except after I’ve been out into the big world.
If I don’t focus on walking up the steps, I will or may trip. If I don’t watch very, very carefully when I’m pushing a cart in the store, I will misjudge distance and run into someone or something. Sometimes, while I am out shopping for food I will likely to take a bit longer to be sure that I’ve got the right foods for myself to have a healthy diet and nutritional lifestyle. I get majorly fatigued from being out in the world with its sound and smells and all around environment surrounding me, assaulting my ears and eyes and skin from every direction. I wear headphones as much as I can to block out noises and listen to music. I most of the time besides it being a sunny day will wear sunglasses indoors and some people may think that I may look like a dork or whatever yet I am doing this for the sake of the sensitivity towards the light. Some lights I seem to not be able to handle yet sometimes I will try and remove my sunglasses.
I’m almost always hot all the time. I may end up just putting less layers than I should be. At bedtime I have to sleep with a comforter on me, even in the summer, and need to sleep a certain way in a certain position.
Clothing is a big one. Shirts must be v-neck in order for me to wear them because otherwise, I feel as if I’m choking. No itchy fabrics like mesh or net like fabrics can touch my skin I’ve been known to smack at myself when something lightly brushes against me because I can’t handle the feeling. I prefer long or sleeves nearly all the time and pants . I’m unable to go barefoot unless it’s to get in the shower and that’s only because wet socks is an even worse feeling than bare feet in the shower. Sneakers and sometimes if I am lucky enough to go all out dressing beautiful for the right occasions are my go-to footwear, although I will wear dress shoes if I have to… but only for a short period of time and if they are too awful, I’ll take them off no matter where I am at the time!
Ugh, eating. Taste and texture issues are plenty. I rarely try new food in public places because chances are I won’t like it or am unable to eat it and I will have wasted money. I eat the same foods over and over on a daily/weekly basis with slight variations among what I can eat, and other than salt and pepper, my system is unable to handle the majority of spices. It’s not that I won’t eat food, I can’t, and yes, I do try again occasionally. This has become a problem at random times when people judge me for refusing to eat something. Here’s the thing… if I don’t like the smell, I won’t eat it. This is hard to explain, but my body knows it will make me ill and protects me. Why is that so hard to believe? I don’t know. Some people may call me a picky eater, well that is for them to say and judge upon me of everything so far that I’ve written and shared in my book and my vlogs.
I take everything literally. I don’t take as much personally as I used to, but that also requires a mental effort to keep my brain from freaking out in that area. I am able to “give” sarcasm, but most often do not understand when I’m receiving it unless I know the person really well. Written communication is better than verbal, and I cannot effectively engage in verbal arguments because my brain can’t keep up. I can’t recall how many times I was asked “did you hear me?” because when someone talks to me, I will stare blankly for a few moments processing what they’ve said before I can respond, and it’s often not fast enough to please the person talking to me. This is bad when it comes to working, for obvious reasons.
When I’m upset, I have to “verbally vomit” all the negative feelings in order to get over them, otherwise, I will start shaking and become physically ill from the overwhelming emotions. This often makes people think I’m being a “negative Nancy” and sometimes even gets me called pathetic. I feel I have the emotional development of a 16-year-old and often react before thinking because of my inability to “see the potential consequences of my actions,” which continues to elude me to this day. I am 32! Yet other days people may see me being a positive person and trying to accomplish everything that I can for myself if needed.
For a long time, I hated myself because of all this, and others picking me apart because of it made it worse. And unfortunately people can still get to me, especially when I see people referring to those who are autistic as monsters or brats that just need their butts kicked.
Let’s get something straight. You can’t beat or smack or discipline the autism out of anyone. It’s a neurological issue, not a discipline issue. Period.
Know how I learn? Repetition. That was the problem with college with me. It wasn’t my type of learning environment. Every job I’ve ever had, they showed me two or three times, made me do it, and I got it forever! Over and over I learned by seeing and doing, not by someone telling me what to do. No matter how many times someone gives me verbal directions, I will never, ever remember them. I need to see them. It’s this way with everything! That’s the reason sometimes for me to have some form of list ready to share with me what need to be done! Patience is a virtue and people should be able to give others a chance and opportunity to do so!
Ever experienced having to tell someone something over and over, only to get ticked because they don’t “get what you’re saying” after the first or second time? Yeah, nothing like being on the receiving end of someone’s anger over that sort of thing, especially when you’re intelligent like I am. I felt “stupid” for so many years; it did a number on my self-esteem.
I will never “figure things out on my own” because I just can’t. Not don’t want to, can’t. I know this because I’ve tried. I always did better in jobs where there were rules and directions and things to do in a certain order because that made sense to me. I could learn that, no problem.
The fact I know what’s happening with me and how I react to things doesn’t mean I can stop those reactions! That’s like knowing you are allergic to peanut butter and saying, hey body, stop doing what you’re wired to do because I said so! Silly, right? If I could do that though, I would, because nobody enjoys being out of control.
I’ve changed and grown, and continue to change and grow, but it’s a terribly long process that required a lot of time and effort and pain. Unfortunately, I learn by doing, and sometimes that meant doing the same crap over and over again until I “got it right.”
By the way, that’s not very effective in life, and people aren’t very forgiving of what they see as you repeating the same mistakes over and over again. But hey, I was left to figure it out on my own for way too long and in many ways, that’s still true to this day. I have more support but nobody wants to tell a grown adult what to do all the time. I “get” it.
But you know what? That saying is true… the one about meeting someone who is autistic, and you’ve met one person who is autistic. Generalizing is bad in this arena as it is in many others. I am speaking for myself here, although I’m sure many will be able to relate.
The idea that I am lazy or inactive seems anathema to who I truly am, and yet this was a label that stuck to me for a long time. It’s a label I hear other autistic people share too.
Why are autistic people so often accused of laziness? Why is it something that haunts us so?
Because of the exhaustion. It is my greatest and most enduring foe. I learnt to mask early on, and masking is an exhausting method of communicating with the world (even when it’s effective). They say for many of us that masks does have consequences and hell did I found that out in my early 20s.
Imagine if I told you that tomorrow you must pretend to be someone else. Pretend to be Bobby. I’m going to give you a portfolio about Bobby – his likes and dislikes (they won’t match yours), the things he likes to talk about, his favourite phrases, his accent – I want you to research Bobby, memorise it all, and then I want you to pretend to be Bob forever. I want you to be Bob in every interaction you ever have from now on. Well done, you are Bobby, you now have a constructed mask.
I’m not lazy because I don’t want to do something. Maybe I can’t despite what everyone “believes” I’m capable of. I’m not “stupid” because I don’t get it. Explain it to me differently. Figure out how to make something clearer if I’m not understanding. Everyone has their own communication and coping methods it is whether or not, you wish to stick with me to understand and know me more underneath my autism and other conditions.
I’m not worthless or useless or anything because I can’t function like you do, or I need more sleep, or after a day out I need two or three days to recover. Nor am I spoiled because I have to have things a certain way to function, or I won’t try a new food out in a public place where I’m likely to get sick. All of these things are part of me. They are how I deal with the world around me so I can be an adult, just like you.
This is just who I am. And all this, coupled with dealing with the world that doesn’t quite know how to deal with it, is exhausting.
And chances are it’s how someone you love is, and what people like me need are the understanding, patience, empathy and acceptance of others. Do you want to help? Well, I would like to say right now is to figure out a way to help instead of sitting there making judgments about something you are incapable of understanding. Because if you aren’t autistic, you don’t get it and I believe you probably never will. If you don’t know what to do, ask, and please be specific.
Realize how difficult it is not to “Be normal” in this world. People often tout those of us unable to “Be normal” as failing to take “Personal responsibility” when things aren’t going well and accuse us of “Making lame excuses” because so-and-so did it, so therefore, everybody else can too. This is an unsound argument — how many things can’t you do that somebody else can? Tell me, are you not a football player simply because you aren’t trying hard enough to become one? What about a doctor? Is the reason you’re not “Doing it all” simply because you’re too lazy to try? None of these things take skill, right, just “Try hard enough” and that’s all it takes.
Of course not. That’s crazy and absurd, right? It’s how the world sees me though, especially when I haven’t managed to become the “Productive adult” I’m expected to be. Why? Because it’s easier to believe we’re failures, to see our quirks as impediments to the workplace or even in the community, and our emotional outbursts as negativity that must be squashed. Except you know what we actually are?
We’re true to ourselves. When we finally realize there is nothing wrong with us other than in the eyes of society, that’s when we’ll truly realize our potential. When we’re allowed to twirl and jump and speak our minds no matter where we are, when we’re free from the limits of a day job that forces us to sustain an unsustainable sleeping schedule for our bodies, that’s when we’ll excel.
And all the good intentions in the world to help us fit in aren’t helping because in order to do that, we have to lock away the things that make us beautiful. Society is so focused on what causes autism and how to “fix” us, they don’t see the destruction they are causing, how they are trying to erode and obliterate us instead of understanding us.
Yet I am not a puzzle to be solved. I’m not something that needs dissecting and examined.
I am a person with neurological differences, but under all that, I am a human who deserves respect. A human who wants love and a family and a fulfilling life as much as many others do.
We autistic people are beautiful and exceptional and loving. We are your friends, your siblings, your partners, your co-workers, and more.
And underneath that, we’re all different. Some will excel at living a “Normal” looking life and they are happy, but there are many who won’t reach that level, who have limits they cannot exceed.
Ask yourself honestly: what is so wrong with being different? And if you find yourself saying that you don’t think there is anything wrong with being different, really ask yourself if that is true.
Do you rush in to judgment mode of others that are really different? What is it makes you think that us being different could pose a threat to you? Are we really a threat? What are you afraid of about us?
Do you look at a kid screaming in the store and think how that person needs to shut their kid up, or take parenting classes, or about how you could get that kid to behave if you were the parent? Do you get annoyed when someone fidgets or moves their body in an awkward way that doesn’t fit with the public place you’re in, or if you see a grown person twirling or jumping or doing something “Odd” in a public place?
When someone doesn’t automatically act in a way you find appropriate, do you believe them “Stupid” or lacking manners? If you try to explain something verbally once or twice or even three times, do you start to believe the person is incompetent or shouldn’t be working at their job, instead of thinking you are upset because they aren’t working to your standards or even expectations, even if they are trying their hardest at their own level?
If you ask a person a question and they simply stare at you, perhaps blinking rapidly but not speaking, would you assume they didn’t hear you? Would you speak slower as if you thought this would suddenly make them respond to you? Do you find a person dumb when you ask them a question and the way they answer isn’t exactly what you are expecting from the question?
Is there someone in your life who, when you ask a simple question, goes into a spiel about something that seems completely unrelated after giving you a short answer to what you’ve asked? Are you frustrated by telling someone to do something and feeling as if they are ignoring you because they didn’t do it? Ever get annoyed with someone who you give instructions to find something, only to have to find it yourself because they couldn’t find it even though you only told them where it was, but not to them, you weren’t specific enough?
These are all things I’ve personally experienced and let me tell you, most of them are embarrassing for both me and the person perpetuating them against me.
Of course someone doesn’t have to be autistic to do any of these things, but can you imagine this sort of behavior on a daily basis? Not on the receiving end, but to actually be this way your whole life and unable to do anything about it? How many adults out there are just like me, but haven’t been diagnosed? Can you imagine how hard life is for these people who don’t know they are autistic, and the kind of ignorance or arrogance that they have to put up with on a daily basis?
The same kind of crap I had to deal with for years from people who simply thought me “Stupid” and useless?
How many people are hurting from those who treat them badly over something they can’t help… and why are we OK with treating others like they are less just because they don’t perform like a “Normal” person does?
Lastly, you know why there needs to be autism acceptance and not simply awareness?
Because awareness is standing there next to an autistic person and knowing we are autistic… and that’s it. Awareness is pointing at a group of autistic people and saying, “They are autistic!” and thinking that’s all it takes for change to arrive in how we’re treated. Like acknowledging us makes our lives better instantly.
But it isn’t. It’s not helping us get a job, or live better lives, or assisting us with those things we can’t do on our own. It’s not getting rid of the idea that the only reason people don’t succeed is because they must have a character flaw, or an inability to take “personal responsibility” for their lives, a belief that is patently false and disingenuous.
“Failure” in the eyes of society has many more factors than just one person’s individual behavior.
We need more than your awareness. And until people accept autism, accommodate those who are autistic, and help autistic people build lives with the strengths they have instead of focusing on everything they can’t do, things won’t get better for us overall.
Isn’t it time things change for the better, for everyone… autistic or not?
And lastly, you’ll notice I refer to myself as autistic. There is this “autistic person” or “person with autism” debate… I am both. Some people want it one way, others want it another… the point is, we (the ones who are autistic or have autism) are the ones who should decide that sort of thing and what to call ourselves, not somebody who has no idea what it’s like and who isn’t autistic.
If you know someone like me or someone with a disability, ask that person what they want, what they feel and what they need. Support is always appreciated, and loving us as we are is the most important thing. You’ll be amazed and relieved that you did ask us as we can be your “Best friend for life.”
Being autistic can be rough. Or having any form of mental health and/or diagnoses for that matter. Yet, it’s up to us to how and what we want to do and achieve in our lives to get to where we want to be. While you may hear negative things about autism, as well as the stereotyping and stigma around this, we need to remember that this isn’t the full picture. This video I will be sharing with you all today will help you come to terms with your autism in three parts and/or methods so you can focus on being the wonderful human being that you are.
Method One of Three: Seeing Autism Differently
While autism is a neurological developmental disorder, we all have our own quirks and traits for our autism. Autism does come with strengths and weaknesses and that with our strengths we can do great things in our lives.
Learn about autism from autistic people.
Too often, non-autistic people write about autism without consulting real autistic people.And, that for sure, can be a no-no and frustrating. They may come up with inaccuracies, laughable misconceptions, or extremely negative viewpoints on differences that don’t hurt anyone. Autistic people can provide you with a more accurate and well-rounded view. The Autistic community often describes autism in a neutral or positive light. This may help you gain a more holistic sense of autism, as opposed to seeing only the negatives.
Read about the strengths associated with autism.
Autism is a complex neurological condition that comes with several blessings along with its impairments. You may experience some or all of the following: Deeply passionate interests. These can lead to tremendous expertise, and possibly a very successful career or fun hobby. Helpfulness. Autistic people, in general, have a high sense of social responsibility, or the desire to solve problems and help others. Precision. It is often noted that autistic people focus on the small parts, rather than the big picture. This can lead to remarkable detail-oriented work, where a neurotypical person might be unable to focus so clearly on the individual aspects of something. Visual intelligence. Autistic people have tested higher on visual and nonverbal intelligence tests. Sincerity. Autistic people tend to mean what they say, and act as a “voice of reason” without becoming mired in social complexities. Your honesty and genuine spirit can feel refreshing to others. Creativity and a unique perspective. Autistic people can learn in unusual ways. This provides insights that neurotypicals may never realize, and can become a great asset in collaboration.
3. Read about successful autistic people.
Plenty of famous people have been diagnosed or thought to be autistic. Strong special interests, focus, and a unique perspective can lead to innovation and creativity. Historically, Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, Emily Dickinson, Mozart and more people were thought to be autistic. Famous autistic people today include Tim Burton,Susan Boyle, Adam Young (from Owl City), Temple Grandin and more.
4. Consider your special interests.
Special interests are a clear upside of autism: you have an incredible memory about these facts, intense focus, and the ability to act like a walking encyclopedia of information whenever you want. You also get to have a lot of fun doing the things you love. Most non-autistic people would be jealous of the way you can recall and discuss information.
5. Read about the social model of disability.
The social model holds that disability is not caused by defects in the brain or body, but by society’s failure to accommodate and accept a certain variation. For example, most nearsighted people are not disabled: they are fully accommodated within society (glasses, contacts), and have the same opportunities that non-nearsighted people have. Their body can’t do the same things, but technology makes up for that, so it is not an issue. (I will hope to share more later on about this topic of how it works and if it is accepted in the autistic community)
Method Two of Three: Helping Yourself
Remember that it’s okay to be different
If everyone were just like everyone else, the world would be boring. If we were to be like everyone else, then the world will be just pure black and white. We need to be able to express ourselves and be able to be ourselves and not be able to have permission from others to tell us or dictate to us in how we should speak, act or think. We are all unique. Your quirks are part of what makes you memorable, and you don’t need to censor yourself or try to look “normal.” These days we are all put into a box full of “neurotypical expectations”. We are born to be different and we are born to stand out and not blend in,I believe. It is absolutely okay to be disabled and to look disabled in public.
2. Find therapies and treatments that work for you.
A good therapy will leave you better off than you were before, and you will gain skills to help you become more well-adjusted. You can also learn coping mechanisms, alternative methods of doing difficult tasks, and how to capitalize on your strengths. Options include sensory integration therapy, talk therapy, occupational therapy, special diets, behavior therapy, and seeing a psychologist for emotional issues. Always check with a doctor before altering your diet or attempting an alternative treatment.
Be careful about behavior therapies. Some therapies are based on compliance and may hurt more than helping. If your therapist’s goal is to make you more normal (rather than more comfortable or more competent), or if you feel upset and anxious about seeing them, then find a better therapist.
3. Stop trying to do things that are too hard.
With the media constantly encouraging people to “do your best,” sometimes people forget that it’s okay to quit. You do not have to put forth 110% effort all the time—this can lead to burnout. If something is draining your energy or adding a lot of stress to your life, stop doing it. Sometimes saying “I quit” is freeing. Disability doesn’t just mean that there are some things you can’t do. It can also mean that some things are painful or extremely draining for you. Give yourself permission to quit or find an alternative way. *I shared some advice and also some of my experiences based on this topic*
4. Focus on your skills and character strengths.
This will help you spend less energy mourning your disability, and more energy on doing positive things and enjoying your life.Spend time on your hobbies and things that you’re good at. Enjoy the feeling of competence and expertise. Make a list of your positive traits. Consider both personality traits and skills. Place the list somewhere where it’ll be easy to see when you’re feeling sad about yourself. Help other people. Prepare food for the hungry, raise awareness for important causes, or write about your special interest on wikiHow or even write in your personal blog. Effecting a positive change in the world will distract you, help others, and make you feel happier about yourself.
5. Practice self-care.
Being disabled can be difficult, and it’s important to treat yourself well. Cut out energy drains from your life so you can focus on what matters most to you. Pushing yourself to meet non-autistic standards will only take a toll on your health. It is okay to ask for academic accommodations, take extra breaks, or quit doing things that are too stressful to achieve. Pay extra attention to general health advice: sleep for at least 8 hours, eat fruits and vegetables, limit junk food, minimize stress, and exercise regularly (taking walks counts). Self-care is extra important for you, to mitigate stress and help reduce meltdowns and shutdowns.If you have trouble with self-care, it’s okay to ask for help. Assisted living, a group home, or living with family might be better for you. Talk with a doctor, social worker, or therapist if you’re struggling. There’s no shame in meeting your needs, and it’ll free up time for things you love.
6. Get a mentor (or two).
Look for people in your life whose judgment you trust: parents, older siblings, relatives, counselors, clergy members, friends, etc. Living in a neurotypical world can be confusing, so it’s useful to have people to ask for advice. You can ask questions from “Is this outfit good for an awards ceremony?” to “This person makes me feel awful; what do I do?”
Toning down your behavior is your choice—not something to be pushed or coerced out of you. You are not required to act more neurotypical just because everyone else is used to it. Try to stop masking when you can. Masking is linked to mental health risks. Try to be yourself more often.
8. Recognize that autism is just one piece of who you are—a kind, thoughtful, and lovable human being.
People can love you and your autism. You can love yourself and your autism. You are not a lesser person. Remember that even though autism is part of you, it doesn’t define your entire existence. Autism is a significant part of who you are, but it isn’t all of you. A diagnosis is simply just a label. An integral and whole part of your identity, but a label nonetheless. You are so much more than autism, so embrace your non-autistic-related strengths as well.
9. Talk to someone if you are overwhelmed by self hatred.
Anxiety, depression, and self-esteem issues are unfortunately common in autistic people as well as others that has any form of mental health conditions. Identify someone you trust and explain to them how awful you feel. If you think you may have anxiety and/or depression, try to schedule a doctor’s appointment. The doctor can give you a screening and perhaps some helpful medicine. You are not being selfish or burdensome by sharing negative feelings. People can probably tell if you are feeling awful; they just may not know how to help. If you tell them, this is helpful to them, because then they can know what to do and worry less.
Method Three of Three: Finding an Autistic Community
Surround yourself with positive people.
Look for the people in your life who build you up and leave you feeling better than you did before. Make an effort to spend more time with them. Ask if they’d like to get lunch with you, or if you could get together this weekend. If you usually feel bad about yourself after spending time with someone, that’s an important pattern to be aware of. Figure out why you feel that way, and whether the relationship is worth maintaining.
2. Meet the autistic community.
This can be done by contacting a friendly support group, or through a search online. Learn what autistic people have to say about themselves, their symptoms, and the way they interact with the world. Autistic people, in general, are very welcoming to newly diagnosed or self-diagnosed people. Autistic people can offer advice and tips to those in need (and often do so, especially online). The general positivity of the autistic community can help you feel better when you are feeling sad or have low self-esteem. *Again, I shared a little bit based on my experiences in this as well as you watch the video.
3. Avoid people and organizations that dehumanize you.
Some people and groups think that raising “awareness” for autism makes it okay to say horrible things. You have feelings, and you deserve to be treated like an equal human being. Don’t waste time on people who refuse to respect you.Use the block button or unfollow button on social media if an account is negatively impacting your mood or mental health. Mental health is important for us to be well and strong enough to get through the day of whatever arises. We need to have the right frame of mind and attitude to get through it as well. It is okay to cut toxic people out of your life, even if they’re family. You don’t need their negativity, and you’re much better off without them. You are not required to argue that your existence is worthwhile, and it’s okay to decide not to waste your time and energy on them. If you’re stuck with these people, you can either educate or avoid them. Educating them can be done by telling them about autism and making an appeal to their desire to be a good person. If you try this and fail, or if you know that they won’t respond to reason, it’s better to avoid spending time with them and avoid autism-related conversations. You don’t deserve to listen to toxic ideas about your existence.
4. Get involved with positive autism-related organizations.
They will help you understand yourself better and make a positive contribution to the world. Many autism self-advocacy groups have a large online presence. You do not need to physically go somewhere to get involved. We all need to feel safe, accepted and wanted by anyone that’s a given. If you can’t find in-person autism organizations that are any good, try general disability groups. It can be tremendously relieving to spend time with a group where being disabled is viewed as the “norm”.
6. Make Autistic Friends.
Along with the usual benefits of friendship, you can share coping strategies, discuss autism together, and be yourselves without any fear. Look for autistic people in autism acceptance advocacy groups, special education (if you go there), or disability/autism clubs.
*If you struggle with persistent feelings of sadness related to your diagnosis, tell someone. Talk to someone you trust, or a doctor or therapist. Never be ashamed for having autism. This is what makes a part of you- YOU.
*Some people think autism is a burden. You don’t deserve to be dehumanized by anyone judgmental.
It’s a given that when we get diagnosed that many children will seek medical assistance and that ideally it’s known that autism is diagnosed by when a child is 18 months old. However, it’s not unusual to be diagnosed with autism as a teenager or an adult. This is particularly common with middle-aged adults who come of age before mental health professionals understood and accepted the autistic spectrum. If you’ve been diagnosed with autism at a late age, it can take some time for you to wrap your head around the diagnosis. Once you understand more about your diagnosis, it can be liberating and exciting to learn the reasons behind some of your behaviors and explore the welcoming and supportive community of autistic people.
Here I am today, going to share with you all some tips and advice about this topic for you or your loved one that has autism so that we can together understand each other more. We are more than just having autism. There will be three parts of this yet will hope to try and keep it as short as possible. Let’s begin, shall we?
PART 1 – GETTING SUPPORT
Join autistic self-help groups.
There are many autistic self-help groups that will enable you to talk to other autistic people and understand more about your diagnosis and how to cope as an autistic person in a neurotypical world. You may be able to find groups in your community that meet in person. There also are many online groups if you don’t feel comfortable meeting with a bunch of people you don’t know. To find groups or online forums, contact a nonprofit autistic organization or peruse their website. They typically will have a directory. Talking to other autistic people can build your confidence, especially if you’ve spent most of your life as an outcast. It can be refreshing to find out that there are other people who think and relate to the world just like you do Other autistic people also can share tips and coping strategies with you so you can better adapt and come to terms with your diagnosis.
2. Find out if you are eligible for government grants or other assistance. Having a diagnosis of autism means you may have easier access to government support and disability benefits to help you manage your life. You can find out about assistance by contacting a government disability office near you. Nonprofit autistic organizations also may have information about assistance and grant opportunities. The best organizations will have autistic people in leadership positions or on their executive board, and autistic people will have a strong voice in the organization.
3. Decide if you want to share your diagnosis openly.
Particularly if you’ve been diagnosed as an adult, you may not want to tell everyone you know that you are autistic. Before you reveal your diagnosis, think hard about the pros and cons of doing so. Many autistic people, especially women, escape diagnosis until later in life because they don’t fit the stereotypical profile of an autistic person. Depending on how old you are, you probably have already learned many coping mechanisms that allow you to blend in better. This is good for you, but in terms of disclosing your autism it means that people may doubt you or not believe you. Keep in mind that people often have misconceptions about autism. As a result, they may say things that come across as rude or insensitive because you don’t fit the image they have in their head of an autistic person. Before you decide that you want to be completely open about your diagnosis and your identity, make sure you’re prepared to handle people who will have doubts or attempt to invalidate your diagnosis.
4. Seek accommodations at work.
In many countries such as the U.S. and the U.K., autism is considered a disability within the national legal framework. Your diagnosis entitles you to accommodations you might otherwise have difficulty getting. Keep in mind that seeking accommodations typically involves telling people at work about your diagnosis. Be prepared to explain autism and how it impacts your life. Let your boss or immediate supervisor know of the accommodations you request. For example, suppose you work in an office cubicle, and you have trouble concentrating because you can hear your coworkers talking on the phone all day. You may request a closed office as an accommodation. If they deny your request, you may have to take further action. Talk to a disability rights attorney if your request for accommodations has been denied, or if you have been discriminated against by your employer after revealing your diagnosis.
5. Reach out to friends and family.
The people closest to you often will be your greatest sources of support – even if none of them are autistic themselves. Spending time with people who love and care about you can help you come to terms with your diagnosis. In most cases, diagnosis of adults or teenagers includes a questionnaire or interviews with your parents. If this was the case for you, they already know about the situation and may be eager to provide you with any help that you need. Your closest friends are people who have been through thick and thin with you, and they love you for who you are. They likely will take the news well, and can help you decide whether to tell others, and who to tell. In particular, lean on people who’ve been in your life for a long time. They’ve become accustomed to and accepting of your various “quirks,” and they can be a breath of fresh air as you come to terms with your diagnosis, because around them you know you can just relax and be yourself.
Identify triggers of over-stimulation.
Many autistic people have senses that are either extremely sensitive, or that aren’t as sensitive as those of “normal” people. This can mean that some environments are uncomfortable or even painful for you. Sensory over-stimulation can be a difficult thing to understand as a child. However, as a teenager or an adult you probably have a good idea of situations or environments that cause you problems. For example, you may find that you hate grocery shopping, and that you frequently leave the grocery store frustrated or in a foul mood. Think about the atmosphere: grocery stores are frequently lit by fluorescent lighting, which can cause sensory over-stimulation for many autistic people. Grocery stores also have a lot of competing noise – shoppers having diverse conversations, overhead music, PA announcements, employee chatter, and the like. Many autistic people have difficulty filtering background noise, which can make all of these sounds occurring in one place frustrating if not painful.
2. Make adjustments in your life.
Based on what you learn about sensory triggers and other autism-related issues, you can implement changes that could potentially make a vast improvement in your living environment. For example, understanding that your problem with grocery stores is related to sensory over-stimulation can help you identify options that will make this errand easier for you. Adjustments you might make in that situation include wearing headphones and playing some soothing music or white noise to block out the cacophony of the grocery store, or wearing sunglasses to blunt the effects of the fluorescent lighting. Over time, as you become more comfortable and gain a better understanding of your diagnosis, you will discover other things you can do to improve your life and your experiences with the world.
3.Recognize your strengths.
There are many strengths related to autism, including pattern recognition, strong memory, and intense passions Take some time to identify the strengths you have and learn ways to apply these strengths in your everyday life. Thinking about your strengths can help you come to terms with your autism diagnosis because it can help you to see that while autism creates some challenges, it also has its positive side.
4. Put your weaknesses into perspective.
Certain challenges, such as difficulty with social interactions, are intrinsic to autism. Getting a diagnosis of autism can help you understand the difficulties you’ve had and provide tools you can use to overcome them. For many autistic people who are diagnosed at a late age, learning they are autistic is like a light bulb turning on in their heads. Suddenly there is an explanation for so many things you may have beaten yourself up over before. Now that you know you are autistic, you can cut yourself some slack on some of the things that you might have thought were negative aspects of your personality before. For example, you may have accepted criticism that you were lazy because you have the tendency to procrastinate and overlook certain tasks. However, autism explains this as poor executive functioning – you may see something that needs to be done, but your brain can’t put together the steps required to take care of it. This doesn’t mean you can use autism as an excuse. Rather, identifying the cause of your challenges opens new doors for you, enabling you to discover different ways of handling those challenges that will actually be effective for you.
You also can use your strengths to find others with whom you can relate. For example, many autistic people are highly visual thinkers who process thoughts in pictures rather than words. You probably will get along better with other people who are also visual thinkers – regardless of whether they’re autistic. If you’re struggling to find a job or career path that’s right for you, identifying your strengths also can help you identify career fields where you will have the opportunity to shine.
*SIDE NOTE- For many of us autistics this can be a huge relief and huge weight off our shoulders is now gone because without the label or even the diagnosis of autism and many other mental health diagnosis or just any diagnosis for that matter, we tend to think or shall I say we tend to overthink/over-analyse everything around us as well as thinking that there must be something wrong with us. We tend to question ourselves and doubt ourselves of our capabilities, skills and so much more like most people that goes through a mental health diagnosis. The questions that many of us ask ourselves are: ‘Why don’t my peers relate to me? Why can’t I do these things that seem to come so easily to other people?’ You might start thinking you’re broken. But then, when you get the word autism, you realize there’s not anything wrong with you. You have a condition, and there are other people like you. Suddenly, you’re not alone in a world in which you were kind of alone for a long time.”
PART 3: UNDERSTANDING YOUR DIAGNOSIS
Talk to your doctor.
The doctor who diagnosed you should be your first source for information about autism and how you personally fit into the autistic spectrum. They will be able to explain the diagnosis, as well as provide you with resources to enhance your understanding. Have the doctor go through the screenings or tests that you took in detail, and explain the traits that indicate you are autistic. Go through the diagnostic criteria and consider how you identify with them, and which ones don’t seem to apply to you. Ask your doctor any questions you have about the autistic spectrum and the diagnostic process.
2. Read essays and books by autistic people.
There are a number of books, essays, and articles written by autistic people for other autistic people that can help you understand your autism. Focus on books written by people who also were diagnosed late in life, such as Cynthia Kim. Loud Hands and And Straight On Till Morning are prominent anthologies of work by autistic people. Generally, you want to avoid books or articles by non-autistic people. They may have misunderstandings because they do not have the life experience of an autistic person. However, NeuroTribes is a book that is well-regarded by the autistic community for its accurate and compassionate overview of the history of autism – despite the fact that it is not by an autistic author. When you find an autistic author that you like, find out if there are other authors, books, or websites that they recommend. Many of these books have a “resources” section in the back.
3. Fit autism in with other diagnoses.
Many autistic people who were diagnosed with autism at a late age have an extensive history with the mental health profession. You may have previously been diagnosed (or misdiagnosed) with other conditions or disorders. I have shared this before and I shared my story about being misdiagnosed which you can find on my channel and the title of the video is “AS DIAGNOSIS DENIED- DIAGNOSIS STORY” For example, many autistic people who were diagnosed in adulthood were previously diagnosed with ADHD, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder. If you have any of these diagnoses in your history, talk to your psychiatrist about whether you should continue to be treated for that disorder or take previously prescribed medications. On the other hand, there are disorders such as anxiety and depression that often co-exist with autism. Talk to your doctor about how autism potentially impacts those disorders or how they’re treated. You may be on psychotropic medication for anxiety or depression. If you are, and if you like what the medication does for you, there’s no reason to stop taking it just because you were diagnosed with autism. However, if you aren’t satisfied with the treatment you’re receiving for other disorders with which you’ve been diagnosed, understand that these may be misdiagnoses. Autism also may present other options for effective treatment.
4. Consider starting a blog or a vlog
Do you enjoy writing? If you do enjoy writing, a blog can be a good way to come to terms with your diagnosis and understand autism and the autistic spectrum better. Many blogging platforms have active autistic communities. Even if you don’t yet feel comfortable writing yourself, you can still establish a presence on the platform and follow other autistic bloggers. Maybe, if you’re brave enough that you can put yourself out there on some other platforms as well such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and many more. You’ll be surprised to see how many autistic people out there that are doing this already to share the life stories and experiences with Autism. I’ve talken to some of them and some have been great towards me. Search under tags such as “actually autistic” to find blogs written by and for autistic and otherwise neurodivergent people.Blogging platforms such as WordPress and Tumblr allow you to share the posts of others on your own blog, which enables you to save those posts you find helpful for future reference.
It is a given that we live a lot longer than our pets that we care for, cuddle and nurture and so much more with them that , it stands to reason that we will, at some time or another will have to come face to face with losing one. Whether you know it’s coming or it’s unexpected of the actual time to say our goodbyes to our fur-babies, it is a sad and emotional time. Fortunately, there are many ways to cope with the loss.
Method 1 – Before Your Pet’s Death
Accept your pet’s fate.
At some point, we all will need to come to terms with the mortality of our beloved pets. Even, if the Vet gave a certain diagnosis of the animal’s health and how long it is expected to live for – we definitely need to be ready for that. Preparation is key. There are very few animals that, like pets, have the expected lifespan of humans. If your pet is ill or is a “senior” pet, it’s a good time to talk with your veterinarian about your pet’s continued quality of life of what you can do for it to get comfortable and free from any pain.
2. Talk with your vet.
When talking with your vet, ask if and how much pain your pet is experiencing. Gather every information that you’ll need based on what your pet is facing. Knowing this will help you make the right decision for your pet, and knowing that you make the best choices for your pet helps you better cope with the loss of a pet.Consider the animal’s quality of life. Ask yourself a few questions before you make the final decision if you do decide to let your pet go. Is (s)he in pain? Can the pain or illness be treated medically, and still offer your pet a good quality life? Does (s)he have a good appetite? Is your pet happy?
Finally, give thought to whether medical treatment is financially viable for you. For most of us, finances do need to be a consideration, albeit a very unpleasant one. Based on the vet’s assessment and your own judgment, make the decision, with your pet’s happiness in mind. If you’re not sure, consider getting a second opinion from another vet.
3. Take pictures of your pet.
You will want something to remember it by. Even if (s)he looks sick and miserable, it is very important to take photos and videos, as bittersweet as it may feel. In the future, you may wish to boast about what a wonderful pet you had, and you may want to show people what he or she looked like. Collect anything else you want to remember him/her by. This includes a favorite toy, a blanket, or a decorative element from a tank or cage. Consider taking a clipping of your pet’s hair. You can also dip your pet’s paw in a small bit of paint and place it on a piece of paper that you can later display after the pet has died.
4. Continue to spend time with your pet.
Despite, it’s quality of life it is reassuring for your pet to know that you’re there with them until you let go. Let your pet know how much you love him or her, and cherish every moment. They will know that you’re still with them. Animals can sense people auras and what their nature is like from when you first got them to when you’re about to let them go. As that happens, your bond and friendship with your pet grows. Pet your special one in all its favorite places, and above all else make sure s/he is comfortable. Talk and maybe even sing. Do things that your pet has always enjoyed, when still able, like letting curling up on your lap for hours at a time, giving plenty of time to roam in the yard, and eating yummy little treats. If there was ever a time to spoil your pet, this is it. Discuss your pet’s diet with your vet. If your pet is at an advanced age, a change in diet may make your pet happier on many levels – offering a diversity of foods and/or foods that are easier to eat or digest (and help prevent weight loss). At the same time, respect your pet’s wishes; if (s)he wants to be left alone, don’t violate your pet’s comfort. Let your pet have his or her way
5. Consider staying with your pet during euthanasia. (MORE LATER ON THIS)
I know many people won’t want to come to terms to put the animal down. Yet, it has clearly shown that when you’re with the animal after it’s put down, they’re at peace to know that you’re with them. It is usually a painless and peaceful process for your pet, but most importantly you will be with your beloved pet in its last moments, helping to ease its way along. Remind the vet to give an anesthetizing agent so that your pet goes to sleep BEFORE the actual injection occurs that ends his/her life. Holding and petting your animal can give you as much comfort as it gives your pet, and though it’s a sad experience, it’s one that will help you to feel you did all you could for your pet in this world.
6. Make arrangements as to what you will do with his earthly remains.
When preparing for the loss of a pet, you also need to prepare for all the practicalities that follow. They are an absolute nightmare if you’re unprepared – and may add to your grief and stress at the time. You want to ensure you’ve taken care of all arrangements beforehand. You may wish to bury it in your yard with or without a grave marker. You can also have it buried in a cemetery or cremated.Or you can ask for their ashes once they’ve been cremated and then do a proper ceremony of letting go.
7. Give family and friends a chance to say goodbye.
Before your beloved pet leaves your home forever, let the people who’ve enjoyed his/her presence know that it’s not going to be around for much longer. You’ve been given a chance to say goodbye, and so should they. Assuming your pet feels comfortable with people, getting attention from various sources will make you and your pet feel more loved.
Method 2 – After Your Pet’s Death
1 Allow yourself to cry.
Bottling up your emotions is not good for you, and you will feel sad forever. Forget all that nonsense that you’re not supposed to mourn an animal as much as you would a person. There was a bond that you cherished, and no matter the nature of the bond, it is missed.
2. Tell your friends about the loss. You might send out a mass e-mail, but not to everyone in your address book. Send it to those who know you well, and care about you. You will receive many responses that let you know others loved and appreciated your pet and will validate your feelings.
3. Remember your pet. Don’t pretend you never had one. Even though it makes you sad, it is best to remember and cherish the memories, not ignore them. It may hurt at first, but it’s the only path to closure, and it’s the only way you’ll ever be able to remember fondly your time with your pet. This is a good time to make a scrapbook or post photos on your blog or homepage. Include pictures, stories, and notes about your pet. Read “The Rainbow Bridge” poem online. It will make you feel better about your loss. Create some form of legacy for your pet when they’re gone to be remembered by.
4. Get on with your life.
Although losing a pet is very sad, it is no reason to shut yourself up in your house or go into depression. Your pet has always felt comfortable in your comfort, and the sooner you get back on track, the sooner you’ll be yourself again.
5. Consider volunteering at a local animal shelter.
While emotionally, you may not be prepared to welcome another pet into your home right away, the act of helping to care for a homeless pet, a pet in desperate need of a caring human, may help with your grieving and sadness.
6. Do something in memory of your pet. Plant a tree, donate to a shelter or college of veterinary medicine.
There is so much more you can do while coping after losing your fur-baby as it is quite similar to how it works with when losing a person that you’ve loved and cared about. The question is do you wish to get another pet after losing your first one that passed?
There are many wonderful reasons to once again share your life with a companion animal, but the decision of when to do so is a very personal one. It may be tempting to rush out and fill the void left by your pet’s death by immediately getting another pet. In most cases, it’s best to mourn the old pet first, and wait until you’re emotionally ready to open your heart and your home to a new animal. You may want to start by volunteering at a shelter or rescue group. Spending time caring for pets in need is not only great for the animals, but can help you decide if you’re ready to own a new pet.
Some retired seniors living alone may find it hardest to adjust to life without a pet. If taking care of an animal provided you with a sense of purpose and self-worth as well as companionship, you may want to consider getting another pet at an earlier stage. Of course, seniors also need to consider their own health and life expectancy when deciding on a new pet. Again, volunteering to help pets in need can be a good way to decide if you’re ready to become a pet owner again.
Everyone experiences grief differently. Many people who lose a friend or loved one experience several stages of grief as they deal with a loss. Psychologists who work with people as they grieve have noticed the ways that people cope with the loss. There are some commonalities including distinct stages such as denial, anger, and depression. There are a few more to name, but what you may not know is that these stages aren’t about the grief of someone dying, but rather something extremely different. There is now more to it than the five that we hear about of the stages of grief which I’ll explain in a minute.
Types of Loss
Most people associate the word ‘grief’ with the sadness that surrounds the death of a loved one. Yet people can experience grief after many other losses, including a breakup, losing a job or a home, having a part of the body like an arm or leg removed, being diagnosed with a terminal illness, or having to drop out of college.
The Grief Process
People go through a number of stages when they lose a loved one. You may experience them in any order and any number of times. You may feel sad at the beginning, move on to anger, and then return to feeling sad. The crucial thing to remember is to take your time to grieve. Allow yourself to do it in own unique way. Never let anyone tell you how to grieve or for how long. It’s up to you! Accept any help if it is given to you while you’re grieving.
What You Probably Don’t Know About Grief
Many people think that the stages of grief are about the loss of a loved one. However, they are actually related to people who are dying, rather than a personal loss. Dr. Kübler-Ross is credited with developing the stages of grief, but most people don’t realize that what she created was for people with terminal illness. She wrote a book called On Death and Dying. In this book, Dr. Kübler-Ross writes about the stages of death: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Dr. Kübler-Ross interviews terminally ill patients and discusses how impending death affects a person. She writes about how the patient, their family, and loved ones cope with the loss.
She did not develop the stages to describe the stages of loss people go through when some dies, however, they are about what terminally ill people experience. The stage includes – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. After some time, people adopted these phases to apply to their personal loss, and they seem to fit well. Below you will find the stages of grief as a terminally ill person experiences them. They are also applicable to losing a loved one. *Just as a quick note that not everyone will go through these stages of all of these. Some miss a few stages while grieving. This will only be for some people not all.
Kubler Ross Stages of Grief Dr Elizabeth Dr. Kübler-Ross , a Swiss psychiatrist, introduced the concept of the five stages of grief in 1969. What are the five stages of grief? According to Dr. Kübler-Ross’ model, there are several stages of grief. Through denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance people process their loss, whether that’s a terminally ill patient or a person coping with losing a loved one. She was also interested in the way people communicate their grief to others through their words, emotions, and behavior.
When you’re in denial about the loss, you try to convince yourself or others that the event hasn’t happened or isn’t permanent. You know the facts, of course. If your spouse has died, you might accept that it happened but then believe for a time that his death means nothing to you. If your parents have divorced, you might try to get them back together even after they’ve moved on to other relationships.Following a job loss, you might go back to work thinking they didn’t really mean it when they fired you.
Anger is a typical reaction to loss, and it’s one of the Dr. Kübler-Ross’ stages of grief. You may be angry with the person who left you, or you may feel angry with yourself. You might express the anger by shouting at people through sarcasm, or by showing irritation at everything from significant letdowns to minor problems. This stage can also happen at any time, even after you go through a period of acceptance. The benefit of the grief stages is that they help you deal with the loss and move on. Anger can energize you to do just that.
At some point, you may find yourself bargaining, trying to get back what you lost. This part of the stages of grief and the higher power help the person cope with the loss. People often promise their God that they will live a better life if only they can take back what they lost. A child may promise to pick up their toys and stop arguing with their siblings if their parents will get back together. Bargaining is a stage that sometimes brings up uncomfortable discussions that go nowhere.
Next in the five stages of grief is depression. The depression can present with any of the symptoms of clinical depression. You may feel sad and cry often. You might notice changes in your appetite or sleep patterns. You might have unexplained aches and pains. This stage can be too painful in a breakup in a relationship and in the death of a loved one. If you’re moving through these stages of grief, divorce can seem like the end of your life, so it’s natural to become depressed. It is a situational depression that may soon pass naturally as you move toward acceptance.
The last of the Dr. Kübler-Ross stages of grief is acceptance. You understand what you lost and recognize how important that thing or person was to you. You no longer feel angry about it, and you’re finished with bargaining to get it back. You’re ready to start rebuilding your life without it.
Complete acceptance brings complete peace, but often, this stage is never complete. Instead, you might feel sad during death anniversaries or angry when you feel current circumstances would work out so much better if you just had that thing or person with you now. When you accept the loss fully, you’ll understand the stages of grief better.
The Seven Stages of Grief Dr. Kübler-Ross refined her model to include seven stages of loss. The 7 stages of grief model is a more in-depth analysis of the components of the grief process. These seven stages include shock, denial,anger, bargaining, depression, testing, and acceptance. Kubler-Ross added the two steps as an extension of the grief cycle. In the shock phase, you feel paralyzed and emotionless. In the testing stage, you try to find realistic solutions for coping with the loss and rebuilding your life.
There have been different grief models over the years. In addition to the 5-stage and 7-stage models, you may hear about the four stages of grief and the six stages of grief. John Bowlby, a British psychologist, studied the stages of grief and loss long before Dr. Kübler-Ross presented her five stages of grief. His work was with children with attachment issues. One of these, of course,is grief. Bowlby’s four stages of grief are: 1) shock and numbness, 2) yearning and searching, 3) despair and disorganization, 4) reorganization and recovery.
The six stages of grief s merely an extension of Kubler-Ross’ original 5-stage process. The only difference is that the shock stage starts before denial. What are the stages of grief then? That is a question only you can answer. The stages of grief you go through might be different from the ones someone else experiences.
Sometimes, the grief process doesn’t go well. The bereaved may become stuck in one stage of grief, unwilling or unable to move through the process. In a worst-case scenario, the person can continue to be angry, sad, or even in denial for the rest of their life. When this happens, they usually need to talk to a grief counselor before they can move out of that stage of grief. Otherwise, the intense pain might continue over the course of many years. Also, they may miss opportunities to build a new life that can bring them happiness in the here and now.
Help When You’re Grieving
Grief counseling helps people who are overwhelmed after a loss. If they are stuck in one stage of grief, this type of counseling can help move them towards recovery. The counselor assists and guides you as you talk about the loss, identify your feelings, and separate from and learn to live without the person you lost.
Along the way, they will help you understand the stages of grief. They will support you by providing information about grief in general as you go through the process. They help you identify and hone the coping skills you’re already using. If the method you’re trying to use for coping isn’t working out, the grief counselor can help you identify that problem and introduce you to coping skills that work better.
A woman in tears, openly expressing her pain, wanting to connect with a male partner whose impermeable stoicism has left her feeling alone. A man, his heart breaking on the inside, confused amidst a world shattered by loss, locking his pain behind a wall of silence, unsure how to express vulnerability or to receive support.
Is there really a difference in the way men grieve and respond to loss? After doing some research it’s safe to say that I’ve known plenty of men who fit the stereotype: emotionally controlled, disinclined to talk about matters of the heart, as apt to seek out solitude as connection focusing on action rather than talk.
Men grieve far more than we show or discuss. One of the biggest reasons for the misunderstandings on this subject is that we don’t talk about it, and we do a rather poor job of listening when women try to share their own grief or prod us to talk about ours.
We almost never cry in front of other men. If we feel that a woman is “safe,” we may cry with her. But most of our tears are shed when we are alone, perhaps while driving our vehicles. In all too many cases, our hot tears become a deep-freeze of anger or rage. Most very angry men are very sad men.
But these were the surface responses of men whose inward experiences were far more nuanced, changeable, and multidimensional than stereotypes can capture or assess.
The real picture was more complex.
Still, it can be helpful to bear in mind, without being rigidly attached to, the perspectives of researchers and clinicians convinced such differences are real. This perspective suggests that, as a group, men tend to be less expressive of their feelings—with the possible exception of anger—and that this disinclination to disclose or process emotions may actually intensify during times of stress and vulnerability.
So it is with grieving. When a cherished pet is critically ill or has died, men and women will not experience or express their reactions in the same way. Failure to understand and accept our different ways of grieving can result in hurt feelings and conflict between partners and among family members during a very difficult time. There are big decisions to be made – whether to proceed with expensive diagnostic procedures or treatments, choices about euthanasia, options for care of the pet’s body after death. There are goodbyes to be said and there is grief work to be done. Behaviors can be misinterpreted; needs may be misunderstood; expectations may not be met.
Male grief has certain characteristics that are important for us to know. Otherwise we may assume that, when faced with the crisis of losing a beloved companion animal, real men don’t grieve.
Like everyone else in our Western culture, men are saddled with certain stereotypes. Real men are supposed to be tough, confident, rational and in control, not only of themselves but of situations as well. Real men don’t cry, aren’t afraid of anything and wouldn’t be caught dead asking for directions, let alone for help. Real men know exactly what to do in a crisis, and they’re strong enough to support the rest of the family, too. Add to these stereotypes the assumption that, if a man doesn’t express thoughts and feelings of grief the same way a woman does (by crying or by openly sharing with others, for example), then he must not be grieving at all. If the grief doesn’t show, it must not be there!
Scientific studies indicate clear differences between the male and female brain, not only in how it is structured, but in how it is used as well. We know that the left side of the brain houses language skills, while the right side controls spatial problem-solving skills. That the connective tissue between the two sides (the corpus collosum) tends to be thinner in males than in females may explain why a man tends to use one side of his brain at a time, while a woman uses both – and why a man is less able to verbalize what he is feeling. Other studies indicate that from puberty a male produces less of the tear-producing hormone prolactin, leaving him physiologically less able to cry.
So do real men grieve when they lose a beloved companion animal? Most certainly they do– but they may do so in an instrumental rather than an intuitive way.
In general, men tend to put their feelings into action, experiencing their grief physically rather than emotionally. They deal with their loss by focusing on goal-oriented activities which activate thinking, doing and acting. Rather than endlessly talking about or crying over his lost pet, for example, a man may throw himself into time-limited tasks such as digging the animal’s grave, constructing a burial box, carving a memorial marker, planting a memorial garden, or writing a poem or a eulogy. Such activities give a man not only a sense of potency and accomplishment as he enters his grief, but also a means of escaping it when the task is done.
If a man relates the details of his loss to his closest male friends, it’s likely to be around activities like hunting, fishing, sporting events and card games.
Although a man may let himself cry in his grief over losing his pet, he is more likely to do it alone, in secret or in the dark.
Regardless of the differences, the pressures of grief are still present for both men and women, and the tasks of mourning are the same: to confront, endure and work through the emotional effects of the pet’s death so the loss can be dealt with successfully. Grief must be expressed and released in order to be resolved, and men need encouragement to identify and release emotions, to talk about and share their thoughts, and to accept help and support from others.
There is evidence that men are more likely than women to remain silent or grieve in isolation, engage in action-oriented forms of grief expression, or lose themselves in distractions such as work or throwing themselves into a new relationship. Research suggests that men appear to be more susceptible to developing a reliance on alcohol or engaging in risk-taking behaviors following a loss and are more likely than women to commit suicide following the death of a spouse. Some studies suggest that men are more likely to use the strategies of avoidance, intellectualization, and minimization when grieving and, although research is inconsistent on the point, they may have a greater tendency to somaticize emotional and psychological pain
Grieving men may be at greater risk of death when compared with men of the same age who are not grieving. Some believe this may reflect the impact of internalized stress or the effects of poor self-care. Others suggest that men tend to have smaller social networks than women and more difficulty asking for and accepting support, making them less likely to receive, and more likely to reject, encouragement to prioritize one’s health .
Theories about purported gender patterns among those who are grieving tend to focus on biology, socialization, or a combination of the two. Biological hypotheses range from the impact of testosterone and the nervous system to concepts drawn from evolutionary psychology (such as speculation on the biological basis of role differentiation).
Psychologist Judith Stillion, PhD, CT, articulates one of the earlier arguments on behalf of the importance of socialization. During childhood, boys and girls receive different messages that profoundly impact the ways they grieve, she says. Boys, she believes, receive four fundamental messages about what it means to be a man and what constitutes proper male behavior. She refers to the first as “the stiff upper lip syndrome,” in which boys are taught that men must be strong and stoical in the face of difficulty and are discouraged from expressing vulnerability and encouraged to accept pain without complaint. The second is that a man must be in control at all times, self-reliant and able to handle any situation without asking for help. She calls this the”powerful loner stereotype.” The third message is that a man must protect and keep safe those who are important to him and never trouble them with his own struggles or concerns. The last is that a man must be ever ready to overcome any challenge without fear.
Doka and Martin suggest that men and women express their grief along a continuum of styles ranging from those that they call intuitive, centering on the expression of affect, to those they call instrumental,which find expression physically and cognitively. Although they are careful to contextualize gender within a matrix of other variables—underscoring that no two people or groups will ever grieve exactly alike and that most prefer some blending of these styles—in general men seem to feel more comfortable with a style more heavily weighted toward the instrumental end.
Though we may hope boys in the rising generation of men are no longer receiving such rigid injunctions, many males continue to receive such messages as adults, even when grieving. I’ve worked with many men who report that when they’ve attempted to talk about their feelings or shed tears they have felt rebuffed or gotten the message, subtly or overtly, to “be strong,” “don’t cry,” “suck it up,” or “don’t make others feel uncomfortable.” Such experiences not only close down opportunities for connection and authentic support but also can undermine trust and reinforce stereotyped patterns and defenses tending toward isolation.
Cultural expectations about what constitutes healthy grieving hold that to heal, one has to speak about, process, and “work through” one’s thoughts and feelings by sharing them. Ideally this allows the bereaved to adapt to the world in the absence of their loved one while maximizing social support networks and reinvesting in other relationships and meaningful activities. Those who grieve silently rather than talking about their feelings may be labeled as excessively withdrawn, clinically depressed, or uncommunicative. Men who prize stoicism as an expression of independence or dignity, or as a way of not putting their burdens on others may be considered to be in in denial or out of touch. Men who engage in action-oriented expressions of grief, such as physical activity or private rituals away from the eyes of others, or who attempt to cope through distraction, positive thinking, planning for the future, or intellectualization may be accused of running away from their grief.
Though any of the above tendencies when taken to extremes or excessively relied upon can lead to complications, there is nothing inherently wrong or unhealthy about any of them. In fact, these tendencies may simply be a part of a style of grieving that social worker Tom Golden, LCSW, (2010) refers to as “the masculine side of healing.”
By this he means that there may be a style of grieving and healing that men gravitate to more readily than women. In his book Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing, he puts it as follows: “The masculine side of healing is not as accepted a mode of healing as the more traditional verbal and emotional expressions. It tends to be quieter and less visible, less connected with the past and more with the future, [and] less connected with passivity and more aligned with action. As a consequence, I have noticed repeatedly that people who use a predominance of this masculine side of healing are suspected even by mental health professionals of ‘not really healing.'”
By thinking in terms of a style of healing in which men may feel more at home, we can better assess and appreciate the potentially useful aspects of this style in the larger context of one’s bereavement journey, rather than dismissing it as dysfunctional.
So is the inward experience of grief really different for men and women? Or is the pain simply more likely to find expression along gender lines? Maybe the
difference is not so much in the experience of grief itself but in how the pain of grief is absorbed, processed, and expressed, or what we typically call mourning.
Unquestionably, many men have inherited the messages described by Stillion—the powerful loner guarding emotion behind a wall of strength, unwilling to be vulnerable,
uncomfortable asking for support. But this response may be reflexive and potentially self-protective when one is feeling unsafe or overwhelmed. When the value of
such responses are affirmed and the boundaries they set respected, and when the language of action, silent gestures, personal codes of honor, are decoded and affirmed,
men often become more forthcoming about things which they had been struggling to carry alone.
If we mistakenly view a surface style as indicative of an unwillingness to connect or process on a deeper level, or if we discount this style as invalid, insisting that those for whom it is helpful are not doing the work of bereavement, we will miss opportunities to go beneath the surface and offer support. If we accept and respect what may be a masculine or instrumental style of healing, we can avoid the trap of stereotyped expectations and build trust by not dismissing these strategies or attempting to force ourselves beyond one’s defenses.
It must be remembered, of course, that this style, although it can become an avenue into healing, may also lead to serious complications, causing men to suppress or feel shame about normal thoughts, feelings, and difficulties which often attend grief, and potentially creating distrust when it comes to asking for or accepting support. It can also lead to isolation, relational conflict, undisclosed anxiety, depression, or a reliance on dangerous forms of escapism such as drinking or extreme risk-taking, possibly leading to premature death.
It’s also worth remembering that there are plenty of men who gravitate toward an intuitive style of mourning and many women who prefer one that tends toward the instrumental. And that these preferences may be more fluid than fixed, changing with the context, level of trust, and so on.
When the subject of gender differentials in grieving comes up among social workers, the conversations can get pretty lively. Some argue that, although we need to be careful not to overgeneralize, there are clear differences in style between men and women. Others may agree that it’s wise to be aware of ways gender socialization can impact one’s sense of self but distrust such generalizations because they can dull one’s sensitivity to nuance, subjectivity, and changeability when it comes to processing and healing from any significant loss.
The good news is most hospice and bereavement social workers are flexible and inclusive when it comes to these matters, incorporating multiple dimensions of experience and expression into their work, going beyond the traditional verbal explorations that have typified grief bereavement counseling in the past. They understand the need to take the time necessary to establish trust and safety. They respect a client’s defenses and are sensitive to the ways these may be affected by gender. And most respect the potential value of solitude and of more action-oriented strategies for coping and healing, whether these strategies are preferred by a man or a woman.
To better understand men who are grieving, it’s helpful to recognize that:
Our own gender biases may influence how we “read” another gender’s grieving.
Although men and women grieve differently, neither way is inappropriate. It is not helpful to take sides, supporting one way of grieving over another.The way we grieve is as individual as we are: some men grieve in traditionally “feminine” ways and some women grieve in traditionally “masculine” ways. What looks like inappropriate behavior may be a man’s way of avoiding feelings or displaying emotions publicly. A man should not be judged for how he is grieving. If a man seems more angry than sad at the death of his pet, he may just be angry at the situation – and anger may be the only way he knows to express his grief. It’s useful in such cases not to take the man’s anger personally, or to react defensively against it.
Some men turn to drugs or alcohol in an effort to numb the pain of loss, or to lower their inhibitions so they can let loose their emotions. They need to know that, because alcohol is a depressant, it will only add to the sadness they’re already feeling.
Men are less likely to seek the support of others (either individually or in a group) in order to express (think, talk, cry, or write about) their feelings, especially if they don’t feel respected, or if they find certain aspects of grief to be embarrassing. A man needs encouragement to share his reactions and emotions, to explore what his pet’s death means to him, and to acknowledge how the loss affects his life.
Men often appear to be further along in the grieving process than they actually are. Even if a man appears to be all right, it is unwise to make assumptions about what he is feeling. When in doubt, ask!
Remember, in my last post that I mentioned about that children don’t grieve after a loss or death? Well, that’s not a hundred percent, true. It’s quite the opposite.
Children and teenagers express their grief in a variety of ways. Some may be sad and verbalize the loss like many adults. Depending on their ages, however, they may show sadness only sometimes and for short periods. Children may complain of physical discomfort, such as stomachaches or headaches. Or they may express anxiety or distress about other challenges, such as school or sports.
Loss is more intense when the child had a close relationship with the person who died, such as a parent or sibling. However, this is not always obvious from a child’s reactions. A child’s grief may seem to come and go. And a child may rarely verbally express his or her grief. This is normal. Your child may also re-experience the intensity of the loss as he or she grows up. This may occur more often during certain milestones in life, such as starting school or going on a first date. Even into adulthood, important events such as graduating from college or getting married may trigger renewed grief.
Age has a large influence on childhood grief and how children understand and react to the death of a family member, friend, pet, or close adult. It is good to know where a child is likely to fall developmentally. This will help you to better understand how they view the loss and will help you to make age appropriate choices about language and interventions.
Of course age won’t help you to predict exactly how a child will react, other factors will have an impact as well. Maturity, past experiences, education level, socio-economic status, what part of the world you live in, and access to support resources are merely a few of the many factors that influence us all.
Understanding how children and teens view death
It is helpful to know how children understand death at different stages of development. It varies by age and often changes as a child develops emotionally and socially. Other factors also influence children’s reactions. These can include personality, previous experiences with death, and support from family members. Keep in mind that children do not move abruptly from one stage of development to the next. And features from each stage may overlap.
It is advised that with children of any age or background you should do the following:
Acknowledge their presence, their importance, their opinions, thoughts, and feelings.
Be patient and open minded. Allow them to grieve in their own way.
Be available – Sit with the child, listen to them, and answer their questions.
Reassure them the circumstances that led to the death were extreme and it is unlikely other adults in their lives will die any time soon (unless this is untrue).
Let them know that a range of different emotions are normal.
Validate their feelings and do not minimize them.
Check in with other adults involved in their life – teachers, school counselors, coaches.Explain death using real words such as “died” rather than confusing phrases such as “gone to sleep.” You can say that death means the person’s body has stopped working or that the person can no longer breathe, talk, move, eat, or any of the things he or she could do when alive.
Share your family’s religious or spiritual beliefs about death.
Encourage your child to ask questions, and try to answer them honestly and directly. If you do not know the answer to a question, help find the answer.
Use books, drawings, or role-play games to help a younger child understand death.
Make sure your child understands that he or she is not to blame for the death and that the person who died is not coming back.
Provide lots of affection and reassure your child often that he or she will continue to be loved and cared for.
Encourage your child to talk about his or her emotions. Suggest other ways to express feelings, such as writing in a journal or drawing a picture.
Without overwhelming your child, share your grief with him or her. Expressing your emotions can encourage your son or daughter to share his or her own emotions.
Help your child understand that normal grief involves a range of emotions, including anger, guilt, and frustration. Explain that his or her emotions and reactions may be very different from those of adults.
Reassure your child that it is normal for the pain of grief to come and go over time. Explain that they cannot always predict when they will feel sad.
If your child is older, encourage him or her to talk with an adult outside the family, such as a teacher or a clergy member. You can also consider an age-specific support group.
Keep routines and caregivers as consistent as possible, and continue setting limits on behavior. Care, consistency, and continuity help children feel safe.
Encourage spending time with friends and engaging in other age-appropriate activities.Reassure your child that it is never disloyal to the person who died to feel happy and to have fun.
Addressing daily routine and role changes
The death of a parent or other close family member can directly affect a child’s day-to-day life. Family routines and roles change, such as a surviving parent having to return to work and spend less time at home. These changes are an added disruption and may add to a child’s distress. Even young children will benefit from extra preparation, conversations, and support around these transitions.
Although the death of a family member with cancer is painful, it may also lessen some of a child’s stress. For example, the death of a sibling might mean that a parent is not dividing time between a sick child at the hospital and another child at home. It is normal to have strong, mixed feelings, including some relief, when a family member’s suffering is over after a long or difficult illness. Help your child realize that these feelings are normal and that he or she should not feel guilty for having them.
Honoring and remembering the person who died
Children as young as age 3 understand the concept of saying goodbye. They should be allowed to choose how they say goodbye to a loved one.
Give preschool-age and older children the choice of attending memorial services. But do not force them to attend if they do not want to.
Some children may want to attend a memorial service but not a viewing or burial.
Allow older children and teenagers to help plan memorials if they want.
Talk with children about what will happen at a service ahead of time. Consider visiting the church or cemetery.
Ask a trusted adult to help take care of young children at a service or to go home with a child who decides he or she wants to leave early.
I have put together a list of typical grief responses by age. Again, every child is different and we can’t quantify all the unique and individual qualities of your child in this list. If your child reacts in a way that concerns you then it might be a good idea to talk things over with an expert like a pediatrician, school counselor, or child psychologist.
Infants (birth to 2 years)
Have no understanding of death.
Are aware of separation and will grieve the absence of a parent or caregiver.
May react to the absence of a parent or caregiver with increased crying, decreased responsiveness, and changes in eating or sleeping.
May keep looking or asking for a missing parent or caregiver and wait for him or her to return.
Are most affected by the sadness of surviving parent(s) and caregivers.
Preschool-age children (3 to 6 years)
Are curious about death and believe it is temporary or reversible.
May see death as something like sleeping. In other words, the person is dead but only in a limited way and may continue to breathe or eat after death.
Often feel guilty and believe that they are responsible for the death of a loved one, perhaps because they were “bad” or wished the person would “go away.”
May think that they can make the person who died come back if they are good enough.
May worry about who will take care of them and about being left behind.
Are very affected by the sadness of surviving family members.
Cannot put their feelings into words and instead react to loss through behaviors such as irritability, aggression, physical symptoms, difficulty sleeping, or regression (such as bed-wetting or thumb-sucking).
School-age children (6 to 12 years)
Understand that death is final.
May think of death as a person or a spirit, like a ghost, angel, or a skeleton.
By age 10, understand that death happens to everyone and cannot be avoided.
Are often interested in the specific details of death and what happens to the body after death.
May experience a range of emotions including guilt, anger, shame, anxiety, sadness, and worry about their own death.
Struggle to talk about their feelings. Their feelings may come out through behaviors such as school avoidance, poor performance in school, aggression, physical symptoms, withdrawal from friends, and regression.
May worry about who will take care of them, and will likely experience feelings of insecurity, clinginess, and abandonment.
May worry that they are to blame for the death.
Teenagers (13 to 18 years)
Have an adult understanding of the concept of death but do not have the experiences, coping skills, or behavior of an adult.
May act out in anger at family members or show impulsive or reckless behaviors, such as substance use, fighting in school, and sexual promiscuity.
May experience a wide range of emotions but not know how to handle them or not feel comfortable talking about them.
May question their faith or their understanding of the world.
May not be receptive to support from adult family members because of their need to be independent and separate from parents.
May cope by spending more time with friends or by withdrawing from the family to be alone.
To end this, help your child understand that the person who died lives on in his or her memory. Parents who are terminally ill sometimes leave letters, videos, or photographs to help children remember how much they were loved. Children can also compile pictures and other special items to create their own memory. For younger children, most of their knowledge of the person who died will come from memories of other family members. Talk about the person often, and remind children of how much the deceased person loved them. Over time, children can understand that they would not be who they are without the influence of the special person who died.
Grief myths . . . they sure as hell drive me crazy. And, I am sure that it would drive you crazy too when you hear/read them somewhere, whether it is on the Internet or just from others around us.
There are just so many of them, they come out in so many ways, and they make our grief so much more difficult. Friends and family have unrealistic expectations about what or how our grief will or should look like because of these myths. Heck, truth to be told that sometimes WE have our own unrealistic expectations because of these myths. So today we are setting out to dispel about 64 myths about grief yet there are more that you may have heard once and for all!
Disclaimer:what makes many of the things on this list myths is that they are not universally true. This does not mean they are never true. This is a very very important distinction, so keep it in mind as you read/watch the video that will come live soon on my channel. Also, there are some common themes with these myths so, where applicable, I have clustered the myths by themes in different categories if it made sense to do so.
Okay, as Eleanor would say, let’s dive in!
1. Grief has an endpoint.
Sorry friends, grief is going to be with us forever. It’s a part of us and after all we are still humans. This isn’t a bad thing, though! Don’t get me wrong! It just means that when we lose something or someone we loved deeply, that loss will be with us in some way forever. Grief may feel different or become more manageable to many of us, but it will always be there and that’s okay. Too bad people often make us feel like we should have reached the “end” of our grief.
2. Once you are done grieving, life will return to “normal”.
All the things you’ve heard about getting over grief, going back to normal, and moving on – they are misrepresentations of what it means to love someone or something like your pet who has died. I’m sorry, I know us as human-people that does appreciate things like closure and resolution, but this isn’t how grief works.
This isn’t to say that “recovery” doesn’t have a place in grief – it’s simply ‘what’ ‘how’ ‘when’ we’re recovering from that needs to be redefined. To “recover” means to return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength, and as many would attest, when someone very significant dies, we never return to a pre-loss “normal”. The loss, the person who died, our grief – they all get integrated into our lives and they profoundly change how we live and experience the world.
What will, hopefully, return to a general baseline is the level of intense emotion, stress, and distress that a person experiences in the weeks and months following their loss. So perhaps we recover from the intense distress of grief, but we don’t recover from the grief itself.
My questions to ask you all is this while you’re reading and watching my video when it comes to light is this:
How long does it take to fall in love?
How many seconds pass before a parent loves their newborn child?
How many arguments and rivalries can the bonds of sibling-hood withstand?
How many heart-to-hearts and late-night phone calls before you know a friend is true?
These are silly questions, aren’t they that I am asking to you? They’re like most riddles with no answer. There’s no scale to measure love or to quantify the bonds of friendship and family.It reminds me of one of my favorite lullabies, appropriately titled ‘The Riddle’. It’s a really simple song that my mother used to sing when I was young. It goes…
I gave my love a cherry that had no stone. I gave my love a chicken that had no bone. I told my love a story that had no end I gave my love a baby, with no cryin’.
How can there be a cherry that has no stone? How can there be a chicken that has no bone? Whoever heard a story that never ends? How can there be a baby with no cryin’?
Well a cherry when it’s bloomin’, it has no stone. A chicken when it’s pippen’, it has no bone. And the story of ‘I love you’ will never end. A baby when it’s sleeping, there’s no cryin’.
“The story of I love you will never end”; what a beautiful lyric. What a true lyric.Love, connection and caring, these are things that live on; they don’t just end….you know it…I know it…it’s just common sense, people. So why then do we often hear this questions like these?
“How long does grief last? When will it end? When will I be over it?”
If grief is the result of losing someone we love and care for, then there’s no logic that can be applied or formula that can be used in determining how long it will last. If you don’t believe me, just give it a try.
So feelings of grief will diminish, but not disappear. Grief is infinitas which means ‘being without finish’. Grief doesn’t end, but with time it should look different; hopefully more peaceful, connected, and positive. Here are a few small indicators you might be making progress in your grief. I find it important to note, you can take steps forward, yet still grieve your loved one. Just because you return to work, date, or decide to have a child does not mean you won’t continue to grieve the person you lost. The capacity you have to be happy, enjoy life, and love others exists in addition to the love you feel for your deceased loved ones. Because love…love is asininity.
You start to feel just a little more ‘normal’
You have more good days than bad
You experience an increase in energy and motivation
You remember memories fondly as opposed to experiencing them as grief triggers
You can constructively think about the loss of your loved one and the impact it’s had on your life
Your sleep patterns return to normal
You experience feelings of optimism about the future
Improvement in performance at work
You’re able to focus on personal health and wellbeing
You feel ready to date again, have more children, and/or make new friends.
Your relationships feel more functional and healthy
You feel as though you are ‘rejoining the human race’
You feel ready to get out of the house
You experience an increase in desire for emotional and physical intimacy
4. The first year of grieving is the worst. 5. Time heals all wounds.
Time does NOT heal all wounds. A more apt saying here is “IT’S WHAT YOU DO WITH THE TIME THAT HEALS.” Like any other aspect of life, mourning is an active, working process, not a passive one.
6. You recover from grief like you recover from a cold, it gets a little better every day until it completely goes away. Nope, not true either. There are going to be times that we will have our ups and downs, good days and bad days, good months and bad months. No matter how much we wish it was, grief isn’t a straight line and the end point isn’t “all better”.
I’m sure this has been a non-issue for many of you, but for others it’s not quite so straightforward. It just makes me immensely sad to think of some widow or widower stuffing photos into a box because someone made them feel that leaving photos up is wrong, abnormal, or an indication that they are stuck in their grief.
There are reasons why people hold on to photos and there are reasons why people don’t. Here are a few, but not all, of those reasons.
Why People Hold on to Photos:
For children and/or other family members…like brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, grandsons, and granddaughters. When someone dies, his or her branch on the family tree doesn’t just fall off. That person is still a part of the family and hiding reminders of them, even if you would prefer to do so, can make other family members feel like their loved one’s memory is being erased.
Because you’re still a family: I have 5 brothers and sisters and, as I’ve said in past posts, we all still consider our mother to be a part of our family. She exists in memory and she continues to influence our family to this day. Whether her photo hangs on the wall has no bearing on her prominence in our family; but memories and moments involving her are an important part of our history. So why shouldn’t they exist in our homes?
Photos also give future generations a chance to connect with their deceased ancestors and family history. How else would you know you have your great grandmother’s nose or see aunt Carol smiling with her prized roses? Anyway, what was the point of taking photographs of these people if you didn’t plan on looking at them later on down the road?
Nostalgia and Memories: This is the most common-sense reason and why many people take pictures in the first place. Photos preserve memories like pre-school graduations, birthday parties, kids posing happily with artistic creations, weddings, etc. You know these moments are fleeting and in time our brain will no longer be able to remember them with the same vivid imagery, so you take photos.
Photos can make you smile, laugh, cry and remember. If you don’t believe me just ask Kodak, Canon, Shutterfly, Instagram, Facebook or Apple. Mankind’s penchant for taking and sharing images is stronger than ever.
Photos are tangible: One of the most difficult things about losing someone is the feeling that their memory is fading. Their smell, voice, and the feeling of their embrace – you wish for them to appear in a dream just so you can remember these things again. Photos are an accurate and literal reminder of your loved one.
They like photos: Dude, some people just really like photos. Put an avid camera clicker together with someone who really likes their family and what do you get? You get photo album after photo album of family members and friends. Accept it.
An appreciation for history: Some people just really care about history. My older brother, for example, is a history buff. He will leave no stone unturned in archiving our family history. It’s pretty cool and I’m certain our family’s next generation will appreciate his efforts; but seldom does a letter, film negative, or VHS recording that goes unturned in his pursuit.
In honor and remembrance: Many people prominently display photos of deceased individuals to honor them. I have wasted an irrational amount of time walking down the halls of Johns Hopkins Hospital looking at dead doctor after dead doctor. Why are they all hanging there? To honor and give them their place of prominence in an institution they helped to create and grow.
Portrait paintings of the rich, powerful, important and influential have been commissioned for countless microcosms throughout history. Walk the hall of any government building, club, or business and you will see this is true. In the same vein, it should come as no surprise that someone might see the family portrait as a way of honoring and paying tribute to individuals they love and adore.
Why People Don’t Have or Display Photos:
Photographs are a grief trigger or are too hard to look At: As we’ve established, many people find looking at photos of their deceased loved one to be very difficult. They may not choose to get rid of photos, but they might choose to put them away for a while. Sometimes people will continue to display photos even though it’s hard because they feel putting them away is disrespectful or means they are forgetting.
I think it’s probably incorrect to look at the act of putting photos away as a signal someone is ‘moving on’. Part of grieving well is learning to integrate the deceased loved one’s memory and being able to look at photos of deceased loved ones and feel happy or positive emotion is often a signal someone is doing better.
Grievers should feel okay about putting away photographs if they need to, this in no way means you are forgetting. Just because you put their photo away doesn’t mean the photos are gone forever. Though they may be too hard to look at right now, there will hopefully come a day when you can look at them and also remember fond memories.
Important Note: If you have children in the home, I would consider this more carefully. Consistency and connection are important for children and they may not understand the complicationed emotions and actions of adults. Please e-mail us if you want more clarification on this topic.
Photos are a grief trigger for others: Although you may be okay with photos, others in your house may not be. Together you may decide to put away photos away or you may arrive at some other compromise.
There aren’t any: Sadly some people don’t actually have any photos of their loved one. This is often the case with the death of a young child or baby, when someone has been distant or estranged, if the family photos were lost or destroyed, or if the person was just generally camera shy.
To avoid judgment or having to explain: Some may worry that others will judge their coping; some grievers may feel internal and/or external pressure to put the photos away, and some people may put photos away to avoid having to answer questions from visitors who didn’t know their loved one.
Bad memories: Not everyone has a past full of happy moments and fond memories. Old photos may be a reminder of a past they would just as soon forget.
Photos make them feel stuck: For some it may feel difficult to move forward when reminders of the past are everywhere. For this reason they may choose to put a few or all of the photos away.
9. If you haven’t gotten rid of your loved one’s belongings after ____years it means you’re “stuck”.
10. If you still cry when you think/talk about your loved one after ____ years it means you’re “stuck”.
We all are usually pretty hesitant to even hint at categorizing, labeling or classifying grief. There are so many different grief responses that can and should be considered as ‘normal’ and no two people will have the exact same feelings and experiences after a death, not even those from the same family, region, religion, or culture. All that being said, however, there’s merit in examining how those with similar traits typically view and interact with the world, as long as we do it with taking it as a grain of salt.
We don’t always think of gender as complicated because we sometimes confuse it with ‘sex’, which refers to our biological makeup and determines what box we check at the DMV. Gender is not actually a matter of fact, as psychologist Dr. Stephanie Shields of Pennsylvania State University notes, “…Gender is something that one practices (in nearly every sense of the word), rather than only what one inflexibly is.” Societies, cultures, and even families have differing views on what it means to be prototypical male or female and it is rare that real-life individuals ever fit perfectly into these molds.
Today, while I am writing this to you as you’re reading this I would like to share where the similarities and differences might lie. In conceptualizing grief and gender, I want us all to always remember these things exist on a continuum.
Although men are often thought of as “less emotional,” I think it’s important to quickly discredit the notion that men don’t feel the same intense grief emotions as women. Prominent grief researcher, Kenneth Doka, and his colleague Terry Martin have already served up a heaping bowlful of food for thought on this topic in their book Grieving Beyond Gender. In this book, they outline different grieving styles which they associate with being characteristically “masculine” or “feminine”, although they note that these styles exist on a continuum and that gender is merely a contributing factor.
In general, our culture has come to expect people to grieve in an emotional way, which is characteristically more female but this isn’t always the case. Men may just grieve in a different way to females. It’s easy to put things like tears and sadness into the context of grief and when we see them we say, “Ah yes, this person is grieving appropriately”. Doka and Martin associate this type of grieving with the intuitive grieving style. Intuitive grief is experienced mainly in terms of feelings and emotions – “I felt sad” or “I felt angry” – and the grief response is usually focused on exploring and expressing these emotions – “I cried all night” or “I got so mad I couldn’t think.”
However, not everyone likes to get up close and personal with their feelings. So although people may experience the same type of emotions, some people might feel and express them differently. Doka and Martin associate this type of grieving with the instrumental grieving style. Instrumental grief is experienced in more physical and cognitive ways – “I couldn’t stop thinking about what happened” or “I felt like I couldn’t breathe.” The instrumental grief response is expressed in physical, cognitive or behavioral ways and looks more like ‘doing’ or ‘taking action’.
Although instrumental grievers might not see a direct correlation between their feelings and their response, if asked what they “did” in response to their loss as opposed to what they “felt,” they might say things like they spoke about the person a lot, created a lasting memorial, immediately found ways to further their loved one’s legacy, or they got involved in charity or activism in their loved one’s memory. This type of grief expression can be a bit more difficult for outsiders to discern so others might worry the person isn’t dealing with their emotions when in reality they are just dealing with them differently.
Doka and Martin are in no way saying this is how men grieve and this is how women grieve. Remember that continuum we mentioned? Well, these theorists say that most of us fall somewhere along the continuum between intuitive and instrumental grief and have what they call a blended experience. People who fall on this continuum borrow coping tools from both ends of the spectrum.
Now, when it comes to gender there are a lot of societal, cultural, and personal expectations telling us how we should feel and react; men should be strong and stoic and women should be emotional and sensitive. These assumptions are really unhelpful because a lot of the time they don’t fit, yet we might feel ashamed, guilty, or weak for not feeling or acting our part.
According to Martin and Doka, dissonant grief emerges when the way someone’s grief is naturally experienced and expressed clashes with what they think is expected and acceptable. Confusion, shame, and repression can emerge when someone who is typically “strong” or unemotional becomes overwhelmed by emotion or someone who expects to be flooded with feelings finds that they aren’t.
Martin and Doka represent just one perspective on how gender-related characteristics can impact grief, but I think their theory encourages us to consider the ways in which gender can influence grief while being mindful that there is immense variability in what gender actually means on an individual level. It is important as people who are grieving or as friends, family and support workers, to be open to a range of grief responses regardless of our expectations.
Yes, they are also wanting to talk about their grief as that is just an understatement if we weren’t to have the males to talk about how they’re feeling. They’ll be dealing with grief in a different way yet there is still ways we can help them to grieve. We know that there’s going to be a lot of people that wish to help us in anyway possible. Grieving is an intensely personal journey. There may be stages but they don’t often come in order or stay in a neat line. They leap around in surprising and unpredictable ways. Friends want to help, to say the right things but often end up feeling they can’t get it right. Our responses and needs are different in the first mind-numbing days and months. Here are a few tips on how to be a good friend to somebody in the early fog and pain of grief. Yes, they are also wanting to talk about their grief as that is just an understatement if we weren’t to have the males to talk about how they’re feeling. They’ll be dealing with grief in a different way yet there is still ways we can help them to grieve. We know that there’s going to be a lot of people that wish to help us in anyway possible. Here are somethings that you may be able to do to help with them to grieve as well as also this goes for us females too.
Ask: Do ask what they need and follow their request. If they say they need to be alone for a while, that’s what they need.
Food is love: Do speak with food. Even if the grieving are not eating, they have guests who will. And at some point they will eat a bit and how lovely to have a line-up of frozen meals and other necessities during the days and weeks of numbness that follow.
Send help: Do contact other friends and religious or community organizations close to the family that might create a regular list of people who bring over food, who help write thank-you notes, who offer to do errands or grocery shop or organize bills. Life stops entirely for grievers in those early weeks and months but, alas, it does not stop for the world. Help them navigate through the bleak upcoming weeks and months in practical ways.
Listen well: Do read their emotional signals. If you come by and she just wants a hug and cannot speak, don’t push to her speak. Just sit with her. Don’t grill her with questions to fill the awkward, aching silence. Be still. Be there.
Pain and the Brain: Do respect her boundaries. If she starts remembering something about her loved one and speaks it, then shuts down immediately from overwhelming pain, NEVER push or tell her “It’s important that you talk about him and remember him.” Her brain can only process this sensory overload in its own time and pace. Don’t make her feel guilty that somehow she’s doing it wrong.
Think of them first: Do not launch into your own grief story unless you sense that told gently, sensitively, it will offer something worth hearing. You may have to wait months or years for it to be useful to your friend. Remember, this is about your friend’s needs and story, not yours.
Grief’s Maid of Honor: Do not get sucked into some weird high school competition about who’s staying at her house, who she’s calling back, who she’s letting take the kids out. Different friends offer different strengths. Let her decide which ones to take from you and don’t let your own insecurities get in the way.
Suicide Alert: Do push if you feel they’re sinking into a dangerous abyss of isolation and depression. If she doesn’t return your calls and you are close friends, go over there and knock until he/she lets you in. If you had a good relationship before this loss, and she knew and trusted you before this, lean on that. If she’s not talking to anybody and nobody has seen or heard from her, get in there.
Building a foundation: Do ask if he/she would like you to help set up a foundation or fund or scholarship in the loved one’s name because people will want to contribute in some way and for some, writing a check is the way they feel most comfortable helping. If someone dies young, setting up a scholarship or fund in their name can feel comforting to the family. Or you can ask people to donate, in lieu of flowers, to a charity chosen by the family.
No giving up: Do not give up on him/ her. Do not call three times, e-mail four times and assume, well, he/she’ll call when she’s ready. There’s a balance you must strike between respecting her boundaries and abandoning a friend in desperate need. Use your instincts to figure it out.
Regardless of the scenario, the loss of hopes and dreams can be incredibly hard to accept and cope with. These losses aren’t just felt at one time in a person’s life; true to grief-form, they pop up as milestones, reminders, birthdays, important events, regrets, and emptiness forever. I think the magnitude of this can be hard to recognize when looking at it from the outside in and I think those who experience the losses are often surprised by how hard “acceptance” is.
When we care deeply about something, it can be difficult to know when to let go. Sometimes our hopes are all we have to keep us getting out of bed in the morning. People always like to say things like, “It’s never too late to follow your dreams” and many times this is true. When there’s a chance to see your dreams through or there is still joy in the journey, by all means, keep going. But, here is the gist because this one can sound a little confusing: we grieve things we never had all the time. If I always thought I would have children, then learn I can’t get pregnant, that is a loss I will grieve. If I always imagined my future would look a certain way and it doesn’t, I grieve what I imagined it would be. You get the idea.
The reality is, though, that some dreams will eventually be impossible and when our hopes for the future are truly futile, we have choices to make. We could hold on tight and keep carrying our hopes and dreams forward, but such a heavy and hollow load limits our capacity to find other more fulfilling alternatives. We could drop everything and walk around angry and bitter, but this distracts us from finding joy in the things we do have and leaves our arms empty. Or finally, we could find ways to grieve our losses and someday, if we’re lucky, we’ll gain enough peace and acceptance to embrace our option B.
16. Someone who experienced the same type of loss will definitely be supportive and understand what you’re going through.
Eeek, this one gets people into trouble A LOT. This isn’t true, either. As everyone will grieve for their losses in different ways and just because we may have loss someone that’s important doesn’t mean it’ll be the same. Just because someone also lost a child, a spouse, a parent, a pet, whatever, it doesn’t mean your experiences will be the same. Heck, they may not even be similar. Sometimes people with similar losses end up being your best support, sometimes it is someone with a totally different kind of loss who you connect with. You just never know.
I can think of a few things that’s more scary and unknown in life than coping with the death of a loved one. If only there existed a map outlining the ‘typical’ experience of grief, we might know what is normal and the steps one should take to heal. Of course, such a guide can never exist because grief is a reflection of the individual, their relationship with the person who died, the circumstances of the death, coping skills, and many other factors.
Although many of those who’ve come into contact with grief understand it’s variability, they still might set out in search of definitive answers and quick solutions.
How long will I feel this way?
What is the best way for me to cope?
Which grief theory is correct?
What should I say to my grieving friend?
I lost my husband and my friend lost her mother; whose grief should be more intense?
Should I leave my grieving friend alone or continue to check in?
The answer to each of these questions is either “I don’t know” or “that depends.” Individual grief is unprecedented; it’s so personal that it looks different on everyone. Sure we have theories, commonalities, and general truths to guide us, but these things can only help us to guess – not know.
Most of us have little experience with grief and so when a death occurs we have limited knowledge about how to proceed. Grievers want to feel better and those who love the griever want to help them in their hour of need. Naturally, all impacted by the death want to find solutions and want the comfort of knowing these decisions, judgements, and interventions are accurate and effective. After all, grief is a high-stakes situation; tensions are high, emotions are raw, and nerves are razor thin. One wrong move and an emotional landslide may come tumbling down on everyone.
The trouble is, in the presence of stress and the absence of clarity we often rely on things like…
Emotion: My friend is in a lot of pain; quick think of something to take her pain away.
First Hand Learning: I don’t know what will help my sister, but I know what helped me.
Vicarious Learning: My friend thought a support group was very helpful to her when her husband died, maybe I should go to a support group.
Comparisons: My brother isn’t struggling as much as I am, is there something wrong with me?
Categorizations: I heard that people feel regret after a loved one dies from suicide, I wonder why I don’t feel the same.
These cognitive shortcuts make sense in many scenarios, and at times they are helpful with grief. Living in the unknown can be scary and paralyzing; of course we want to make sense of the senseless and put our trust in whatever clues seem to offer the quickest path away from ambiguity. Sometimes these clues can lead us in the right direction, but many times they do not and this is especially true when we are talking about something as complex as individual grief.
It’s easy to get caught up in the search for black and white answers; we figure they have to exist because, after all, everyone experiences grief at some point. As something so inherent to the human experience, how could grief be beyond comprehension? But to quote William Shakespeare, “Everyone can master a grief but he that has it.” Only when you are in the midst of grief do you understand, shortcuts do not exist and the only definitive answers you will find are the ones you arrive at yourself.
Across the board, we need to figure out how to better tolerate the ambiguity and uncertainty of grief. We need to have a healthy respect for its complexity and recognize that, although a few general and basic truths exist, on an individual basis much cannot be prescribed or predicted. Above all, we need to stop looking for answers and focus our attention on understanding.
We may not have all the answers, but we do what we can.
18. If you aren’t crying, then you aren’t grieving.
Some of us aren’t criers, get over. It doesn’t mean there is something wrong with us.
19. If you aren’t following “The 5 Stages of Grief” it is a problem.
MANY people don’t follow the 5 stages. If they do, it is often not in order, they may skip steps, repeat steps, you get the idea. This is just one theory about grief among many theories – you aren’t grieving wrong if your grief doesn’t fit in this box.
18. If you aren’t crying, then you aren’t grieving. Some of us aren’t criers, get over. It doesn’t mean there is something wrong with us.
19. If you aren’t following “The 5 Stages of Grief” it is a problem.
MANY people don’t follow the 5 stages. If they do, it is often not in order, they may skip steps, repeat steps, you get the idea. This is just one theory about grief among many theories – you aren’t grieving wrong if your grief doesn’t fit in this box.
Nope, it is a natural reaction to loss. We all, sadly, go through it. Just because something is painful doesn’t mean we should avoid or ignore it.
22. The goal of grief is to “move on”.
23. The goal of grief is to “get over it”.
24. The goal of grief is to “find closure”.
Ah, the myth of closure, moving on, and getting over it. Didn’t I mention from the get go that there is no endpoint? We never tie up our grief with a nice little bow and move on. That just isn’t how it works. What we do is learn to carry it with us in meaningful and healthy ways. We use it to continue a connection with the person we loved, while moving forward.
Our experience with the aftermath of a death, the ‘grief’, is a culmination of who and what we lost and our individual ability to cope with this. Our tolerance for pain differs and we all feel varying shades of hurt. Loneliness, absence, regret, need, longing, guilt, stress, lack of support – how much of this do you live with and how much can you tolerate?
Even within a family, the same loss will affect individuals differently. It would be useless to compare my grief to a mother, father, sister, brother, friend or anyone for that matter; as their worldview is different, their support system is different, and their feelings towards death and dying are not the same. I live with a lot of regrets, does he/she?
Grief is the loss of something we love and at its core, it is complex, complicated, and sneaky. Its depth, its trajectory, and its timing are often unpredictable and surprising. We are limited in our ability to truly understand another’s grief because most of us have yet to fully understand our own. What we do have in common, is the experience of a broken heart and the wisdom to feel compassion for others facing similar pain
26. Young children don’t grieve Age has a large influence on childhood grief and how children understand and react to the death of a family member, friend, pet, or close adult. It is good to know where a child is likely to fall developmentally. This will help you to better understand how they view the loss and will help you to make age appropriate choices about language and interventions.
Of course age won’t help you to predict exactly how a child will react, other factors will have an impact as well. Maturity, past experiences, education level, socio-economic status, what part of the world you live in, and access to support resources are merely a few of the many factors that influence us all.
It is advised that with children of any age or background you should do the following:
Acknowledge their presence, their importance, their opinions, thoughts, and feelings.
Be patient and open minded. Allow them to grieve in their own way.
Be available – Sit with the child, listen to them, and answer their questions.
Reassure them the circumstances that led to the death were extreme and it is unlikely other adults in their lives will die any time soon (unless this is untrue).
Let them know that a range of different emotions are normal.
Validate their feelings and do not minimize them.
Check in with other adults involved in their life – teachers, school counselors, coaches.
I have put together a list of typical grief responses by age. Again, every child is different and we can’t quantify all the unique and individual qualities of your child in this list. If your child reacts in a way that concerns you then it might be a good idea to talk things over with an expert like a pediatrician, school counselor, or child psychologist.
Typical Grief Reactions by Age:
* They have no ability to conceptualize death
* Their memory capacity for specific relationships is undeveloped. Unless the person who died was a close caregiver, they may have very little response.
* They may be aware that something is different or missing.
* They do not understand the finality of death
* They are concrete thinkers. It may feel callous to explain death in a straightforward way, but metaphors and euphemisms will be confusing. Provide simple and clear explanations.
* If they are old enough to ask, they may inquire where the person is or when they will be back.
* They probably won’t understand there are factors beyond our control and won’t understand why the person chose to leave, particularly if the person who died was an adult. Make sure to explain that death and leaving were not things their loved one chose.
* They are not too young to sense the stress and emotion felt by grownups in their lives.
* Sticking to their normal routine may provide a sense of security, normalcy, and comfort.
* Give them attention and provide them with reassurance.
Signs of Distress may include increased irritability and crying, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, and/or withdrawing. If these or any other behaviors concern you, you may want to discuss them with their pediatrician or seek outside counseling from a child psychologist.
* They still don’t understand the finality of death and still might see it as abandonment.
* They see death as reversible or not permanent. Dead people are simply sick or asleep and can get better or wake up.
* They may ask the same questions over and over; be patient and stick with the same straightforward explanation.
* They may not have the words to explain how they are feeling. You are likely to see expressions of grief through behavior and through play with toys and/or drawing.
* They may experience separation anxiety. When you must leave the child, it might be helpful to prepare them in advance that you will be leaving and provide them with reassurance about when you will return.
* They may feel the person’s absence in an intense way one moment and be back to happily playing the next.
* They will be aware of changes in patterns and routine. Provide them with a lot of reassurance, nurturing, and consistency.
Signs of Distress may include regressive behaviors in the areas of sleep, potty training, and/or eating. They may become clingy. They may appear irritable, confused or suffer from nightmares. If these or any other behaviors concern you, you may want to discuss them with their pediatrician or seek outside counseling from a child psychologist.
* They are starting to develop the ability to feel guilt. Guilt can be confusing for them and they may feel guilty for odd things.
* “Magical Thinking” is seen around 4 years old. This is when children believe their thoughts and wishes can cause things to happen. For this reason children may irrationally feel responsible for the death because of thoughts or wishes they had prior to the death. (Example: I’m responsible for the death because I told my mom I hated her and wished she would go away).
* They may be interested in the process of dying and ask ‘how’ or ‘why’ things have happened. Their questioning may be repetitive.
* They have begun to understand that death is not reversible or temporary, but still may believe that death only happens to some people and will not happen to them.
* Death is often personified as things like ghosts and monsters.
* They lack the words to express their emotions. They may have strong feelings of grief and loss but can’t express this in appropriate ways. They may express feelings through anger and frustration.
* Symbolic play using drawings and stories can be helpful.
* They may need permission and encouragement to grieve. Encourage expression of feelings through talk, play, or physical outlets.
Signs of Distress may include regression, nightmares, sleep disturbances, and/or changes in eating. They may engage in violent play. They may try to take on the role of the deceased. If these or any other behaviors concern you, you may want to discuss them with the school counselor or pediatrician or seek outside counseling from a child psychologist.
* They understand the finality of death and that everyone eventually dies, however they still may engage in denial that it will happen to them (don’t we all?)
* They are curious about the physical aspects of death – what does the body look like? what does it feel like? etc. Provide straightforward explanations.
* They know how to express their feelings and emotions, but they may choose not to. Encourage them to express the range of feelings they are having.
* They may be concerned with how others are reacting to the death. What is the right way to react? How should they react?
* Involve them. Allow them to give input and make choices regarding funerals, memorials, belongings, etc.
Signs of Distress may include having problems at school, withdrawing from friends, acting out, disturbances in sleeping and eating, an overwhelming concern with the body, and/or role confusion. If these or any other behaviors concern you, you may want to discuss them with the school counselor or pediatrician or seek outside counseling from a child psychologist.
* They are capable of having a more adult perspective of death.
* Involve them. Allow them to give input and make choices regarding funerals, memorials, belongings, etc.
* They are able to think abstractly about death and related concepts such as afterlife.
* They may try to make sense of things, philosophize, and/or search for meaning.
* Their mourning may be more traditional – extreme sadness, anger, denial. Even though they are capable of expressing grief they may chose not to.
* They may work to give the appearance they are coping well when they are not.
* They may feel forced to act as a consoler and comforter for younger children or adults.
* Be available, listen, and encourage them to talk about it. Do not attempt to minimize what they are feeling.
* Set a good example by speaking about your own feelings surrounding the death (without putting them in the role of the comforter).
* They may be more willing to talk about grief with people outside of the family. Grief camps and support groups may be helpful.
* They may act out or engage in dangerous behavior such as risk taking, drugs, alcohol, etc.
Signs of Distress may include having problems at school, depression, anger, suicidal thoughts, rule breaking, role confusion, and/or acting out. If these or any other behaviors concern you, you may want to discuss them with the school counselor or pediatrician or seek outside counseling from a psychologist.
Parents and family members are often full of hesitations. What if the child is too young to understand? What if the funeral is traumatic or distressing for the child? What if it is upsetting for the child to see adults cry? What if other people at the service will think it is inappropriate that a child is there?
When it comes to funerals and children, the first question always seems to be if a child “old enough” to attend. How young is too young to go to a funeral? I can’t answer this question for you, because in reality it is the wrong question to ask. Age has nothing to do with her a child should attend a funeral. Really, it doesn’t. There is no such thing as “too young” as long as the appropriate steps are taken and you are thoughtful about your child is and what will work for them. Attending funerals, even for children of a young age, can be helpful and positive as long as handled appropriately. I have no doubt the reason my early memories of funerals are positive is because my parents followed so many of the recommended guidance for preparing kids for funerals (whether they knew it or not). So the better question is, what are the steps you should go through when considering your child attending a funeral?
Leave it up to the child. It is important children are given the option to attend or not, and it is important their decision is respected. If told they cannot attend without giving them a choice, children may feel abandoned or resentful. If a child doesn’t want to go and is forced this can be distressing and traumatic. Encourage your child to attend, let them know they are welcome and will be supported, but don’t push them.
Tell your child exactly what to expect. Now, obviously this will need to start with a conversation about death. If you are looking for tips on talking to kids about death you can see Eleanor’s post on the influence of age on understanding, as well as tips on language to use and not to use in talking to kids about death (aka stay away from euphemisms!). Once you have had this conversation, it is important you explain to them what a funeral is all about. Why do we have a funeral? Who will be there? How long will it last? What will they do? What will other people do? Be specific – what is a casket or an urn, what is a burial, why will there be flowers, etc etc.
Help them prepare for what they will see. Describe what the funeral home will look like, the casket, and the person who died (if it will be an open casket). Many funeral homes now have photos online of their building and facilities, which you may be able to show a child in advance to help them know where they are going. Also, some funeral homes offer family time before ‘the public’ is allowed to arrive, which can be a good time to bring the child without the chaos of other guests.
Assign a buddy. Pick a family member or family friend who will take responsibility for being with buddied-up with the child. They can be there to answer questions, provide support, and take the child out for a break or home if they decide they are ready to leave. If you are going to be busy talking to people or busy it is important to be realistic that you may not be the best buddy for your child at the visitation or service.
Involve the child in the service. Ask if they may want to write or draw something to place in the casket or display at the service, help choose flowers, an urn, or casket for the service, help pick photos for a slideshow or to display at the funeral home. Depending on the age of the child, they may even wish to share some words at the service.
Let them know about emotions they may see or feel. Kids will see adults being emotional and crying. AND THAT’S OKAY. Though adults are often fearful of this, thinking they need to be strong in front of their children, the reality is that kids seeing these emotions can be a good thing. It lets kids know that it is okay to feel and express difficult emotions. If they know you are sad, it may make it easier for them to talk about their sadness. Just make sure they know this is something they will see and understand why people will be sad.
Warn them they may get mixed messages. Adults say all sorts of things to kids about death and at a funeral they may hear many messages from many different people. From using all those euphemisms (grandma is sleeping or grandma is in a ‘better place’) to hearing messages to ‘be brave’ mixed with other messages that it is ‘okay to cry’, kids may feel confused. Explain why different adults may tell them different things, and reinforce what you want them to remember (what death is, that it is ok to cry, that nothing is their fault, they will be safe and protected, etc)
Respect their decision if they don’t attend. Some children may feel strongly that they don’t wish to attend. If that is the case, don’t force them. Ask them if there is anything they would like to do on their own to say goodbye. If it is a close family member, consider creating an audio or video recording of the service so the child can watch it later if they regret not attending. You may also consider journaling about the funeral afterwards, while it is still fresh in your mind, so you can read it or talk about it with your child later.
28. Children are resilient, you don’t need to worry about them.
The good news, children certainly can be very resilient. They myth? That is doesn’t take effort, work, or support. I once heard someone (I wish I could remember who . . . leave a comment if you know the source of this!) compare resiliency in children to children’s ability to learn a language. It is much easier for children to learn languages than adults, but this does not mean they will learn a language if we don’t teach, coach and support them. I have always liked this analogy. Research shows us that childhood trauma can impact us through adulthood in countless ways, psychological and physical. We need to give children the appropriate time, attention and tools to cultivate that resiliency.
If you are seeking alternatives to a funeral that may help meet some of the needs that are found in a tradition funeral, or if you are planning a memorial and trying to think a bit outside the box, today’s post is the post for you. Today we will be sharing some alternatives to a funeral, large and small, and we are asking you to chime in by leaving a comment if you have other ideas.
1) Create a shrine in your house. Okay, the word shrine probably makes this seem creepy. We aren’t talking about a creepy shrine here, just a simple area in your house that has photos, objects, and anything else meaningful that reminds you of your loved one. The process of putting this together can be meaningful and symbolic. It is something you can do by yourself, or together with family and friends. Set aside a specific time to do this. Especially with children, this is a great opportunity to share memories and say goodbyes. They may wish to draw pictures, write a letter, or make other artistic items to add to the shrine.
2) Hold a birthday or anniversary memorial. You may have skipped a funeral, but this doesn’t mean you can never have a memorial. If you are feeling a lack of resolution, pick another meaningful day in the coming months to have a memorial. This could be anything from a memorial dinner to a formal memorial service – decide what works for you. A memorial can actually allow an opportunity for more family and friends to attend, as there can be more notice given than for a funeral.
3) Create a personal ceremony at the gravesite. People have different feelings about visiting the gravesite, some people visit daily or weekly, and others never visit a grave. There is no right or wrong – it just happens that some find the gravesite a comforting place, somewhere they are close to their loved one, and others do not. If you are someone who does visit the grave, there are many meaningful rituals that can bring comfort. In the Mexican tradition of Day of the Dead, thousands of people flock to the graves of their family members to clean and decorate the graves. Though this may not be part of your cultural tradition, it can be a meaningful and comforting ritual to adopt. Pick a day – it could be a meaningful day or any old day, and plan something meaningful at the gravesite. You may wish to invite others and turn this into a time of cleaning, decorating, sharing stories, and saying goodbye.
4) Spread the ashes. Not every family chooses to spread their loved one’s ashes, but if this is right for your family it can be a nice alternative to a traditional funeral. From going to a single meaningful location, planning a boat trip to spread the ashes at sea, or taking ashes to multiple locations to spread, this can be a meaningful time and space to say goodbyes. This can be done alone or with a group of family or friends. You may even wish to spread the ashes somewhere your loved one always wanted to go, but was never able (think Martin Sheen in The Way)
5) Create a new tradition. The process of creating a tradition can alone be meaningful. It may be a tradition of volunteering in memory of your loved one, visiting somewhere meaningful to your loved one, creating an annual family dinner in your loved one’s honor, or anything else that seems right for you. Creating this tradition can be a way to grieve together, if you choose to involve others, or a way to thoughtfully say goodbye and remember your loved one every year.
6) Skip the church and the funeral home. If you are considering your options and you are put off by the idea of a traditional mass and a stuffy funeral home, because it just doesn’t seem to fit who your loved one was, start thinking outside the box! You can hold a service anywhere. Really! Anywhere! Your house, their house, the beach, a park, a restaurant, a community center, a Moose Lodge, a bar, an art gallery, on a boat, in a box, with a fox . . .okay, you get the idea. You don’t have to have one officiant and a eulogy. You can open the floor to everyone to share their stories, memories, music, art, or anything else they wish to share. Find some inspiration in the full Beyond Goodbye video. We shared the trailer on Monday, but you can view the whole video here. It is truly amazing. Okay, and because I love it so much, here is the trailer again.
7) Plant a tree. Okay, it doesn’t have to be a tree, but create something out in nature that symbolizes your loved one – it could be a tree, a garden, a bench, or anything else that makes sense for you. This can create a meaningful space for you to remember and feel close to your loved one, and a small ceremony is totally appropriate when the tree is planted, bench is placed, etc. You may even want to get a little plaque or stone marker to place at the site.
8) Create a memorial book. One thing that often saddens people if there is no funeral is that they were not able to share stories or hear the impact their loved one had on others lives. Unlike just a scrapbook or memory box (which you also may want to make!), a memorial book is created when multiple people all create a page in the book. They can fill the page with memories, stories, things that person taught them, messages for the family, or whatever else they want to share. This can be a hand made book, or you can purchase one
Here is the thing about grief – though we think of it as something that happens after a death, it often begins long before death arrives. It can start as soon as we become aware that death is a likelihood. Once death is on the horizon, even just as a possibility, it is natural that we begin to grieve.
Though this is different than the grief that follows a death, anticipatory grief can carry many of the symptoms of regular grief – sadness, anger, isolation, forgetfulness, and depression. These complicated emotions are often coupled with the exhaustion that comes with being a caregiver or the stress of being left alone when someone goes to war or is battling addiction. We are aware of the looming death and accepting it will come, which can bring an overwhelming anxiety and dread. More than that, in advance of a death we grieve the loss of person’s abilities and independence, their loss of cognition, a loss of hope, loss of future dreams, loss of stability and security, loss of their identity and our own, and countless other losses. This grief is not just about accepting the future death, but of the many losses already occurring as an illness progresses.
When we know a death is imminent our bodies are often in a state of hyper-alertness – we panic whenever the phone rings, an ambulance must be called, or when our loved one deteriorates. This can become mentally and physically exhausting. The same is true of watching a loved one suffer, which is almost always part of a prolonged illness. Caring for them as they suffer takes an emotional toll on us. These things (and others) can contribute to a sense of relief when the death eventually comes, and a guilt that can come with that relief. These feelings are common and totally normal when someone has experienced an anticipated death. And yet we feel guilty for this relief, thinking it diminishes our love for the person. It doesn’t, of course, but this relief can be a confusing feeling. We sometimes need to consciously remind ourselves that the relief does not change the deep love we had for the person, rather it is a natural reaction to the illness.
There have been numerous studies showing that anticipatory grief can reduce the symptoms of grief after a death but, as always with grief, there are no rules. There will be times that anticipatory grief may reduce the intensity of grief following a loss, then there are many times that the grief following a death is not impacted at all. For a great review of the research on anticipatory grief (and understanding of why much of the data conflicts), see this article by Reynolds and Botha. What is important to keep in mind is that if you are grieving with less intensity or for shorter duration than other losses because of the anticipatory grief you experienced before the death, that is totally normal! On the flip side, if you do not feel your grief is diminished despite it being an anticipated death, that is totally normal too! Convenient, eh? There is no formula for how an anticipated loss will impact us because we all grieve differently.
Things to Remember When Dealing with Anticipatory Grief
Accept that anticipatory grief is normal. You are normal and feeling grief before a death is normal. You are allowed to feel this type of grief. Seriously. This is a common phenomenon that has been documented for nearly a century. You are not alone!
Acknowledge your losses. People may say annoying things like, “at least your mom is still here” that minimize what you are experiencing. Allow yourself to acknowledge that, though the person hasn’t died, you are grieving. Consider journaling, art, photography, or other creative outlets to express the emotions around things like acceptance of the impending death, loss of hope, loss of the person you once knew, loss of the future you imagined, etc. Explore mindfulness as a way of being present and aware of the many emotions your are coping with.
Connect with others. Anticipatory grief is common among caregivers, but unfortunately when all your time is consumed with caregiving you may feel totally alone and isolated. Seek out caregiver support groups, either in your area or online, so you can connect with others who understand the challenges you are facing, including anticipatory grief.
Remember that anticipatory grief doesn’t mean you are giving up. As long as you are there for support, you are not giving up on a family member or friend. There comes a time where we often accept that an illness is terminal and that recovery is no longer a possibility. Though it is a reality, there can be a feeling of guilt that comes with that acceptance. Focus on what you are doing – still supporting, caring, loving, creating meaningful time together, etc. You are shifting your energy from hope for recovery to hope for meaningful, comfortable time together.
Reflect on the remaining time. Consider how you and your loved one will want to spend that time together. Though what we want may not always be possible, do your best to spend your remaining time together in a way you and your loved one find meaningful. If your loved one is open to it, you may want to discuss practical matters, like advance directives and funeral arrangements to ensure that you are able to honor their wishes (rather than being stuck having to guess what they would have wanted).
Communicate. Just like we all grieve differently, anticipatory grief is different for everyone. Expect that everyone in your family may be experiencing and coping with anticipatory grief in different ways. Keeping the lines of communication open can help everyone better understand one another. If you are planning for the remaining time to be meaningful and comfortable, make sure to include all the important family members and friends in those discussions.
Take care of yourself. I know, vague and way easier said than done!! But it is true. Check out our posts on self-care (for normal people), yoga, and meditation for some ideas of ways to take care of yourself. Remember the old cliché, you can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself.
Take advantage of your support system. Caregiving and anticipatory grief can be a long road. Do an assessment of your support systems so you know which people may be able to help you out (and who you may want to avoid!). We have a great support system superlative journaling activity to help you out with your assessment here.
Say yes to counseling! I know, there are still some of you out there who may think counseling is just for wackadoos. I am here to tell you that is just not true! Counseling is helpful for normal, everyday people who just need a place to process complicated emotions and have some you-time. So just say yes to counseling if you are feeling overwhelmed with the feelings of anticipatory grief. You can check out our post on finding a counselor here.
Relief is normal. In the case of anticipated loses there can be months, years, and even decades of caregiving that can be overwhelming and exhausting (though adjectives don’t even seem like enough!). When someone dies there can be a sense of relief that is completely normal, but that can also create feelings of guilt. Remember that feeling relief after an anticipated death does not mean you loved the person any less. It is a normal reaction after a stressful and overwhelming time in your life.
Don’t assume. Just because your loss was an anticipated loss, do not assume this will either speed up or slow down your grief after the death. We have said it before and we will say it again: we all grieve differently.
31. You grieve less when the person who died is older and “lived a long life”.
32. Your grief is easier when someone was suffering, because you are relieved they aren’t suffering anymore.
33. When someone dies by suicide it is their own fault or they were “selfish”.
34. When someone has a miscarriage, it was likely brought on by not taking care of themselves, stress, taking birth control, lifting something heavy, or some other ridiculous myth.
40. Art therapy always help, music therapy always help, etc.
41. You can get a prescription that will help your grief.
Nope, but wouldn’t that be nice if there was a magic pill to cure our grief? Now, it is true that grief can exacerbate other underlying mental health conditions, like depression and anxiety. Those are things that absolutely can be treated with medication. It is important if you are struggling to see a professional.
42. Once you get through all the “firsts” (first anniversary, birthday, holiday season) they will get easier and easier.
43. Grieving and mourning are the same thing. These two words mean different in terms of defining them and they are as follows:
Grief and depression share similar symptoms, but each is a distinct experience, and making the distinction is important for several reasons. With depression, getting a diagnosis and seeking treatment can be literally life-saving. At the same time, experiencing grief due to a significant loss is not only normal but can ultimately be very healing.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition(DSM-V) removed a “bereavement exclusion” from the diagnosis of major depressive disorder (MDD). In the DSM-IV, the “bereavement exclusion” stated that someone who was in the first few weeks after the death of a loved one should not be diagnosed with MDD. However, the DSM-V recognizes that while grief and MDD are distinct, they can also coexist, and grief can sometimes trigger a major depressive episode, just as other stressful experiences can.
Studies have shown that the extreme stress associated with grief can also trigger medical illnesses—such as heart disease, cancer, and the common cold—as well as psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety.
Giving this overlap, there are times when it may be tricky to distinguish between grief and depression. A better understanding of their similarities and differences can help.
Grief can also develop into complicated grief, which, unlike uncomplicated grief, does not seem to dissipate with time and can look a lot like depression. Symptoms of complicated or chronic grief may include:
Difficulty accepting that whatever caused the grief really occurred
Excessive focus on the episode of grief or avoidance of it altogether
In extreme cases, someone with complicated grief may engage in self-destructive behaviors or even contemplate or attempt suicide. It is likely due to these symptoms that the DSM no longer includes the bereavement exclusion from the diagnosis of major depression.
Where grief and depression differ is that grief tends to decrease over time and occurs in waves that are triggered by thoughts or reminders of its cause. In other words, the person may feel relatively better while in certain situations, such as when friends and family are around to support them. But triggers, like a deceased loved one’s birthday or going to a wedding after having finalized a divorce, could cause the feelings to resurface more strongly. Depression, on the other hand, tends to be more persistent and pervasive. An exception to this would be atypical depression, in which positive events can bring about an improvement in mood. A person with atypical depression, however, tends to exhibit symptoms that are the opposite of those commonly experienced with grief, such as sleeping excessively, eating more, and gaining weight. Other clues that point to a major depressive disorder instead of grief include:
Feelings of guilt not related to what prompted the grief
Thoughts of suicide—although, in grief, there can be thoughts of “joining” the deceased
Morbid preoccupation with worthlessness (grief does not usually erode self-confidence)
Sluggishness or hesitant and confused speech
Prolonged and marked difficulty in carrying out the activities of day-to-day living
Hallucinations and delusions; however, some people experiencing grief may have the sensation of seeing or hearing things
The diathesis-stress model is a widely accepted psychological theory (remember, theories are just one way of looking at something) that attempts to explain why some people develop certain disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, and major depression. This model is complex and nuanced and a full explanation is well beyond the scope of this article, but even a basic understanding helps us to conceptualize why someone might struggle after experiencing the death of a loved one in a way they’ve never struggled before.
Additionally, the diathesis-stress model helps to explain why some people develop disorders when others do not. For example, it explains why 10 people could experience a traumatic situation where they are under the same stress, feel the same level of fear, and witness the same horrors; yet only two people go on to develop PTSD, 1 person develops depression and the other 7 people are, to varying degrees, able to cope with and integrate the experience.
Basically, the model asserts that some people have a genetic predisposition to develop disorders like depression, anxiety and PTSD. Even though we all may have some level of vulnerability to certain disorders, having this genetic trait makes you more vulnerable than others. It does not guarantee that you will develop a disorder, but it puts you at risk especially when combined with other environmental influences.
By environmental influences, we mean factors such as early life experiences, social support, and exposure to other stressors. Some environmental influences can have a protective effect, these are things such as having a strong social network of support, high self-esteem, and early life experiences that foster a sense of control, security, predictability, and the ability to cope with emotional pain. Having a good amount of these experiences might safeguard someone with a genetic vulnerability from developing a psychological disorder.
On the other hand, some circumstances can have an opposite negative effect, such as having limited social support, low self-esteem, life experiences that create the sense that events are out of one’s control, unpredictable, and which foster avoidance. Having one or more of these types of experiences might come together to create a second psychological vulnerability for developing psychological disorder (i.e. it makes things worse).
Despite having genetic and psychological vulnerabilities, a person still might not develop depression, anxiety or PTSD unless something happens to trigger it. This is where the ‘stress’ in the diathesis-stress model comes in. Stressors might include a whole slew of experiences, but most relevant to our conversation is – you guessed it – the death of a loved one or other significant loss. This might explain why those who never had major depression, debilitating anxiety, or even substance use disorder before the death of a loved one might all of a sudden find themselves unable to get out of bed, obsessively worrying, panicking, or in the throws of addiction afterwards.
As I said earlier, sometimes it’s hard to see where grief ends and a true disorder begins. In fact, there is even a popular school of thought that says grief sometimes is a disorder in and of itself. What the diathesis-stress model helps us to understand is that sometimes the events surrounding the death of a loved one could lead to both grief and psychological disorders such as PTSD, depression or anxiety disorders simultaneously.
It’s important to remember, grief can result in normal responses that feel completely foreign and distressing to the person who’s experiencing them. What feels abnormal to you, may just be the result of the intense emotions and stress associated with the death of someone you love. That being said if you’re experiencing emotions, behaviors, and thoughts which are distressing and limit your ability to engage in your daily function for a prolonged amount of time, it never hurts to talk to a mental health professional (again, preferably a licensed clinician with training in grief and bereavement).
56. Grief is, ultimately, always a transformative and positive experience that will eventually make you a better person.
Okay, this one is not me being a negative Nancy. Sometimes grief really is positive and transformative and we can reflect on all the ways it has made us a better person. That is a wonderful and amazing thing when it happens. That said, not everyone finds or embraces transformation in grief.
58. People like faith leaders, teachers, doctors and counselors all have training in grief and understand what you’re going through.
Ahhh how we wish this were true. Sadly, many professions listed above require NO formal training in grief! None. Zero. Zip. Doctors? Nope, not required. Counselors? Unless they are specializing in grief, usually not required for them either. Scary, we know!
Alright, I did my best to shoehorn a lot of the common myths in this list, but we all know we missed some. Also: I did a video based on own thoughts about myths and misconceptions of grief and loss along with some pet peeves. I chosen only 5 get you all started and you can watch it here:
Leave a comment below to keep the list going with your contributions!
As we know that there are many times that when it comes to applying for jobs that it can be really difficult for not just us autistic adults after finishing our schooling. This can happen to anyone that has any struggles as am sure that neurotypicals do too. Am I right?
Over 80% of autistic adults are unemployed. And, there is only a small percentage of us working full-time or part-time, casual or other job types that you can think of. You maybe questioning to yourselves, why is this? There are several reasons why we autistic adults struggle with jobs. The lack of education, lack of awareness and acceptance on autism makes it difficult in our everyday life. Many of us autistics see the world in black and white, sometimes we misread body language and other perspectives. It’s like people are speaking a foreign language that we don’t know. The way others teach us is not how we learn, and it’s very difficult to thrive, learn and to grow in a world we don’t fully understand. Most of us struggle with adulting. Let’s be real. You want to know the truth, I know I sure as hell do. A few people in my life has come in to child shame me for it all the time. They should know to not forever shame me and guilt me over traits I have tied to a disorder that I never wanted in the first place. Instead of listening to me and trying to understand my perspective, many of them brushes it off as real lame ‘excuses.’ Everyone pulls the “excuse card”, or as some may call it a “jail free” card because they don’t want to understand or see what our world is like in our eyes.
Let me tell you something that it’s not that we cannot do the job or even want to do the job or some form specific task to do in the first place, hell no far from it. I know a non-aspie will say ‘well if anyone can’t do the job, of course, they will be fired.’ In fact, we are more than qualified or even skilled for the job. It’s just a matter of fact, our differences aren’t accepted by the neurotypicals and that we have to be doing it to a set standard or some form of expectations from the world of the NeuroTypicals. Most of us autistics when that happens will then try to blend in or mask our feelings and thoughts, just to fit in and blend in to society. The workforce that we are working for is running on neurotypical standards and we are not like the neurotypicals. We are far from it! As I said that we are wired differently and that we work on a different operating system to the neurotypicals. Yes, we are all different and unique. We all have gifts and talents to share with the world yet it’s up to us how we should go about it and how we should be treated also can come into affect. Some of the key points made will vary from person to person who is autistic or not. Not all autistics will be the same when they have their personal struggles with these but some do to an extent. How we handle our everyday struggles is truly up to us though in the long run based on the choices that we make at the end of the day- good or bad as it will bring consequences to it.
There are several reasons why job hunting is a challenge for autistics and for many others. But, before I go on here I want to make it clear that this is all about how the autistics feel through the way of trying to work in a neurotypical world of expectations, rules and their norms. There is no set reason why we struggle with job searches, landing a job and keeping it. I am just pointing out the most common reasons. If you want, you can comment on your struggles with employment that I did not talk about on this blog. The issues from some personal responses from autistics that are as follows from a survey that was made:
The Application Process!
If you are looking for a job, the first step in the process is you have to apply. You cannot just walk in and ask for a job like the movies. Hell, would it be great if we could be able to have the courage to still do this today to meet and greet with the employer?
Application screening is the first struggle for autistic adults. Most applications have a questionnaire where it gives you a scenario and you have to pick the best answer. I believe also when it comes down to the application screening process with the questionnaires that they give you that it’s not always accurate. I shared more about this in one of my videos which you can watch here titled Job Hunting with Disabilities:https://www.youtube.com/watch v=VQkxNIwJABo&list=PLD1nCoeovTZ4qAdWVBrLu9BOZrJAnwoG_&index=9
Yet, let met share a bit more to how I feel about this. You see, an autistic person or just anyone may misunderstand as to how the assessment will determine if they’re right for the job. For example, it avoids picking X too often. The applicant may not know how to answer the questions or know what the question is asking. They will not even consider you if you do not pass the questionnaire. I applied for a job a few years ago to work at a gym to clean their equipment and doing database and with their application when I applied had the questionnaire. With this questionnaire, when I applied had a series of questions to answer about who you are as a person like your traits, your personality and so on and forth. It even said I had to pass to be considered for the job. I did not know how to answer most of the questions, I did not pass the assessment, therefore, they did not want me. I felt that I was being way too open about myself and I felt that how can the database with these questionnaires determine that this is the right person for the job. If that’s the case, I can’t get hired at places that do assessments on their applications. More than likely most stores do these sort of tests. Remember, neurotypicals don’t have the issues that we have.
I have watched a video on YouTube a series called “Employable Me” where it featured someone on the autism spectrum who struggled on an assessment they need to take to be considered for the job, they did not pass because of a question they could not understand. It feels like most jobs are made for the neurotypicals and not us. One thing that was a huge issue for me is all applications ask for your work history. The person may not know what to put down if they have never had a job. I just didn’t know what to put on the work history. Yes, some parts of my CV has got some spaces in between many years of which I haven’t worked for a time and that there is a lot of reasons to why this is which I will not disclose here. Most applications require you to have references, however, the applicant may not have any friends to put down. The person may not have anyone reliable that they can put as a reference. The job will call whoever you put down so the applicant can’t just put down anyone or make someone up and add a random number. You have to tell them you’re adding them for a reference. If they’re busy, they may not be free if the job calls them.
The graphics mention how gaps in employment or if the person had several jobs that were only held for a short time can cast bad judgment on us. Gaps in employment probably refer to the person’s struggle with finding a job maybe after quitting a job that didn’t work out. The several jobs refer to how we struggle to hold down a job and is fired after X amount of time. Most likely if the interviewer/manager sees the person had 10 jobs but only had them for a month or less, this makes the interviewer think the person wasn’t fit for the jobs. That person is qualified to the tee for the job. They were fired because their differences weren’t accepted or for other reasons. For instance, my mom refuses to accept that I need a time frame and direct instructions to better understand when I need to be ready or how something needs to be done. If you just say ‘get up early,’ that tells me nothing. How early? 7am? 8am? 9am? As autistics need more information given to us so that we can be able to do the job for you and get ready for our day. As this comes into the territory for us to have a schedule in place as well as you communicating to us the right way. Some autistics will say it how it is.
3. The environment
I’ve mentioned that the setting of the job can play a big role in our ability to perform the job. People with Autism Spectrum Disorders have many different types of sensory issues. These can vary from person to person, however. Some are sensitive to light, cold, hot, unwanted physical contact, etc. If the jobs have a lot of people, it’s possible these sensory issues will be a problem. Take some supermarkets or retail stores or restaurants , it’s just too busy and fast-paced for me to work at yet I am willing to try and give a go if given the chance to work in one of these places. I know that there will be too many people, too many things happening to be able to focus on the job. It would be possible for me to focus on a job and there is a kid screaming around me as I am sure that with the skills or experience that I have that I can cope or deal with it and that I have the patience to do so. Not all of us can afford noise-canceling headphones. I feel some autism pages should have a giveaway for noise-canceling headphones or if the aspie has a YouTube channel/ blog, the page should give them the headphones for free in exchange for a review/mentioning the headphones. In my opinion, retails jobs or any job dealing with the public is not for some of us autistics not all. This is just my 2 cents. Everyone is different. Jobs that care about efficiency I feel is not for us. We do struggle on the job for not being fast enough for the employers.
4. Workplace Bullying
Due to our social differences as an autistic, we are usually the targets for bullying along with many other people with different conditions. In fact, we have issues with bullying in school by kids and adults. I got bullied for being different and I just need an alternative method. I would get called names by the neurotypicals for not understanding their language. When if you explained it in a different text, I would have had that light bulb over the head moment. Kids I had never seen before hated me all of a sudden. I wasn’t given a chance at all because these kids listened to what people told them about me.
We can be bullied to quitting the job. Employers can even harass us. Someone posted in a group that their boss made a snarky mark about their autism. They could not quit because they had no other way to pay their bills. No-one, I mean NO ONE should have to be treated badly so they can live. This is why I strongly suggest you create a savings account and put money away to have for back up. This is why I am all for self-employment for autistic adults. Self-employment for anyone really. No one should have to damage their mental health or health all together for a job that doesn’t give a rats hat about them. If you were to drop dead right now, they’d replace you in a week max.
When it comes to us autistics, you have to add more context to us when giving commands or explaining something. For instance ‘Ben, needs the tape’ will not cut it. I saw another graphic on Facebook that explains if you just leave one-liners with no context it may seem like a passive statement more than a request. For instance, my mom mentioned helping my uncle in the flea market. She did not provide context, so I just saw it as a train or thought. If I didn’t have anxiety with crowds, helping my uncle at the flea market would be something I could do. She was actually suggesting it and I thought it was just a random thought. If you do not provide context like ‘please take out the garbage in a minute’ we will not think it’s important. Everyone is different, remember that. This can be extremely problematic if the boss were to give us a task but not provide those extra details. Say the boss says ‘Joe needs help in the so and so department,’ if the boss does not say now, at 3 o’clock, etc the employee will not think Joe needs help right away and the boss gets mad that the employee did not help Joe when the boss asked. Is it really a wise idea to put someone prone to hurting themselves or think about hurting themselves when they get yelled at putting them on a job where it’s highly possible is a good idea? This is the icing on the cake as to why I cannot handle the stress and hassle of a job. If we are not fast enough they yell at us which just adds fuel to the fire.