Hi, I’m Deb Johnson and I live in Camborne, Cornwall with my husband and our two bengal-type cats, Raja and Suki. They rule our lives, eat better than we do and are usually a main subject of conversation with visitors. I shall be doing my best to keep them out of this blog, though that may not be possible. The content of these pages is likely to shift about with my interests.
This is the ‘static’ home page of my blog on WordPress. To read the latest post, click on ‘blog posts’ and all will be revealed. The page called Telling Tales has three of my short stories available to read, in pdf format. I’d love to receive feedback on them. I love baking and cooking, especially for special diets and recipes will appear here and there.
Please read on to find out how I decided to set up this blog. It is an introduction to a world – The Aspiesphere – I am exploring on a daily basis, you might care to join me…
Friday 19th October 2012, 17:24 autumn in Cornwall
Over the past month or so, I’ve been having adventures in a facebook group I would never previously imagined myself joining. It is for women whose lives are in some way touched by Asperger’s Syndrome or who have this odd neurological condition themselves. It is one of the ‘Autistic Spectrum’ of cognitive conditions, whereby thinking, learning and communicating are different from what some call ‘normal’. In Autistic terms, the ‘norm’ is known as ‘Neurotypical’. Asperger’s is usually shortened to AS (with the friendly term ‘Aspie’ used to describe those with the condition), Neurotypical is just NT; they look separate but in fact as all human communication exists at extremes and within common boundaries, is better described by the term ‘on the Spectrum’. High on the Spectrum are the Aspies, or high-functioning Autistic people, lower are those who are more NT. Conversely, highly NT people often consider those with Autism to be lower in various functional ways. It’s a spectrum that goes round in a circle, a bit like the Ourobouros, the low meeting the high in a sharp bite, where nary the twain shall meet!
There are lots of tests available online to see if one has Asperger’s, or which traits one can claim. If someone wants to find out formally, options are available through the NHS in the UK. The business of finding out, or ‘getting a diagnosis’ is likely to be led by problems, rather than simple curiosity. It is considered a developmental disorder, so that there is a great deal of literature about children, education and learning available with somewhat less about adults, who might find themselves wondering what the heck has been going on all their lives. I’m one of those.
The NT world is impatient to diagnose, to label and to sort; placing emphasis on the acceptance of the self as one single mind, in one single body with simple needs and natural purpose. Often it can seem very brutal, especially to those who don’t actually feel they fit into a labellled box, or a certain body – I’ll explain that a bit more in a minute* – those who find the demands of the day overwhelming, or who simply can’t seem to make up their minds about things in the time allocated by the NT’s. I have spent years saying ‘I want to feel comfortable’; ‘I want to be able to relax’ and ‘I wish I knew what I’m supposed to do with myself’. It has truly felt like being mentally ill, annoying, neurotic and unrealistic; but inwardly it has actually been a simple reality. I actually have been uncomfortable, irritable and confused! I’ve got a better idea about why now.
This blog page is my way of exploring and explaining things I believe show how I have both neurotypical and Aspie traits, how that has led me down some dark paths and held up my options on career or vocation. It has also given me the things I treasure about myself the most, and the interest to pursue this at all. I hope it is helpful to someone, interesting to others and that I can keep it up without being too distracted or trying to make it perfect. It’s taken me a week already to write these words in just half an hour. Dithering and procrastination, trying to get things perfect, yup, they are… um, well they are my traits wherever on the spectrum they sit!
*As we are sensory creatures and our minds are fed by what our bodies relay to us from the world outside, if that part of consciousness is over-sensitive or too easily stimulated, it can overwhelm. This could be as simple as a label in clothing being irritating, or as profound as not wanting to eat anything with a soft texture (anything at all), because it causes such discomfort. The term ‘meltdown’ is commonly applied to how people on the AS behave when overwhelmed. For simplicity’s sake, think ‘terrible two’ year old tantrum in an adult. Not everyone melts down in the same way, but the size of a two year old makes it more or less manageable when they decide to throw themselves on the floor of the supermarket, or wail at the top of their voices. In an adult it is not so acceptable! This particular aspect of the Aspiesphere is of great interest to me. I am a constant fidget, rarely sleep when I want to and find many things irritating – ha! Aspie brain see, too much going on…