Discovered I was #autistic at 58; 62 now. Living life autistically, finding fulfilment in research, walking Waffle the dog, and @SensoryJoy. Pronouns she/her.
1 added to My Authors
Mar 4 • 24 tweets • 9 min read
Three recently published #research papers highlight the fact that most older #autistic people haven’t been formally diagnosed.
It is often wrongly assumed that this means we’re not experiencing significant difficulties, and we don’t need any help or support. #ageing
All 3 papers suggest significant difficulties exist whether or not someone has a formal autism diagnosis.
Barriers to healthcare compromise wellbeing, and trauma and suicidality appear higher than for neurotypical people.
We’ve known this for a long time, but little gets done.
Having read numerous credible reports of the Prime Minister’s dishonesty during the Covid pandemic, I have concluded that, for the sake of our country, he must either resign or be forced from office without delay.
It is time to end the lies, incompetence and corruption that have come to characterise his administration and to give the country a chance to recover under a more capable, honest leader.
Jan 5 • 9 tweets • 3 min read
Yesterday I had another random conversation with a stranger in which the fact that I’m #autistic cropped up.
We started off talking about acoustics, segued into hearing loss, masks, and autism auditory processing issues.
The person I was talking to wanted to know more.
How had I discovered I was autistic?
When someone asks me this I’m aware that they may be considering it as a possibility for them self or for a relative or friend.
I shared some insights.
Sometimes I sense them thinking “that could be me” or the person they’re thinking of.
Jan 3 • 6 tweets • 3 min read
Curiosity took me to a new location, but the sign I’d seen from the road turned out to be for a BMX track, not for a nature reserve!
Luckily a familiar walk was close-by.
Waffle was ecstatic when I let her roll in something smelly as a treat.
I may regret this! 1/
I was happy to see the wind turbines spinning around.
How I would have loved these as a child. I was fascinated by all kinds of windmills. The stone ones in the Fens, with their enormous wooden sails, and the brightly coloured plastic ones we played with in the garden at home. 2/
Jan 3 • 12 tweets • 4 min read
When things get too much - from a personal #autistic perspective.
I had a lovely, relaxed birthday yesterday, but I’m still feeling drained today.
It’s a reminder that even enjoyable events can be exhausting.
Luckily today’s a Bank Holiday, and I don’t have to work.
Needing time to recover from enjoying myself seemed counter-logical before I realised I was autistic.
Surely this should give me a boost?
But now I know that over stimulation of any kind has the opposite effect.
It depletes my energy levels, so I need to ‘recharge’ afterwards.
Jan 2 • 14 tweets • 6 min read
My birthday #VirtualDogWalk
Today we decided to find a walking route to the foot of the Hownsgill viaduct.
I’ve spent a lot of time looking down from it, but I’ve never had a chance to look up at it.
Our first foray was promising.
The horses seemed to be saying “this way”. 1/
But we soon reached a dead end and had to double back.
The next attempt was successful.
We could see the viaduct in the distance and a muddy track led in the right direction.
As usual I was loitering taking in all the sights and the sounds, while Waffle dog was keen to get on. 2/
Jan 1 • 9 tweets • 4 min read
There are 2 super-sized stainless steel pieces, a theodolite, and engineer’s level, reflecting the industrial heritage of the site.
They stand on fabulous giant creatures’ feet and are set on the brow of a hill.
An amazing spectacle.
And they’re incredibly smooth and tactile. 2/
We spent quite a while clambering up and down the mound, looking at the sculpture from different angles. 3/
Jan 1 • 20 tweets • 8 min read
Adjusting to knowing that I’m autistic.
How my life has changed over the last three years, and some of the challenges that remain. 1/
This is the third New Year which I’ve celebrated since discovering I was autistic, just before my 59th birthday.
For me January is always a month for quiet reflection; when I look forward to future possibilities, and think back to some of the things that happened in the past. 2/
Jan 1 • 11 tweets • 5 min read
By May the gorse was coming into bloom.
With my little brown dog at my side I wandered far and wide. 5/
In June we discovered this fabulously lush dew-drenched meadow.
It was sensory heaven for me and Izzy. 6/
Jan 1 • 4 tweets • 2 min read
A year in dog walks.
2021 brought joy, unexpected heartbreak, and then fresh hope. Such is life.
I’m grateful for the love and loyalty of my canine companions, who stay by my side whatever the weather.
January brought the snow. #WinterWonderland #DogsOfTwitter 1/
In February the snow returned. The summer suddenly seemed a very long way away.
On this walk up on the wheat field in a blizzard the weather was really raw! 2/
Dec 31, 2021 • 15 tweets • 6 min read
The last #VirtualDogWalk of 2021, dedicated to @autismage who is in my thoughts today.
Drizzle en route gives way to sunshine, and the fields are illuminated. #DogsOfTwitter 1/
The sunshine makes the surface of the road shine like silver. 2/
Dec 4, 2021 • 18 tweets • 6 min read
On #ageing from a personal #ActuallyAutistic perspective.
At nearly 62 I consider myself to be an ‘older person’, and quite ‘old’ objectively.
But although age is one of the ‘protected characteristics’, under UK equality legislation, I don’t feel very protected at all.
Ageism is ingrained in daily life.
There’s a steady drip, drip, drip, of pro-youth, anti-old-age bias.
I’m writing this now because a tweet suggested old people use outdated language and don’t like change.
Substitute ‘black’ for ‘old’ and see how this reads.
It distresses me.
Dec 3, 2021 • 9 tweets • 4 min read
What a difference a day can make in terms of the weather.
Yesterday it was all sunlight and luminescence.
Today it was muddy and grey.
But not dull, never that! #walking #DogsOfTwitter 1/
There was still a lot of scampering about to be done.
Sniffing, and rooting, then dashing off into the distance to play with another dog.
Recall went right out of the window at this point.
But luckily she soon came zooming back. 2/
Nov 6, 2021 • 17 tweets • 5 min read
I want to say something about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder #PTSD from a personal, late discovered, autistic perspective.
It took me a while to figure out this was what it was.
I’d been in life threatening situations, but the origin of my distress seemed more complex.
Rather than one major episode, a steady accumulation of damaging incidents triggered trauma.
Most of those wouldn’t even pass the ‘trauma threshold’ in other people’s minds.
But I’ve come to realise I’m most definitely traumatised.
That’s why I’m awake now in the early hours.
Oct 20, 2021 • 14 tweets • 3 min read
How my outlook changed after discovering I was autistic, at the age of 58.
It’s nearly three years ago that a psychologist asked me how I’d feel about being diagnosed autistic.
I knew that I’d feel a sense of relief.
The lifelong struggles I’d had would be vindicated.
That has certainly been the case.
Along with this came great sadness.
I cried about some of the things I’d gone through.
I also reflected on opportunities that might have been denied me if I’d been diagnosed autistic in childhood.
Coming to terms with all this was complicated.
Oct 18, 2021 • 20 tweets • 5 min read
My autistic #menopause
It’s hard to say exactly how being autistic (without knowing it) affected my menopause, and how the menopause affected my experience of being autistic.
The only thing I’m sure of is that they interacted, catalysed and magnified the effects on me
The thing with perimenopause is there’s no sign that it’s begun.
I’d no idea whatsoever it could be affecting me in my mid-40s.
I’d had occasional emotional outbursts when overwhelmed (I now recognise these as autistic meltdowns) but perimenopause took me right off the scale.
Oct 17, 2021 • 9 tweets • 4 min read
I was working in a library yesterday so having the whole of today to spend with Waffle the dog was extra special.
My partner and I took her to Whitehall for a walk this afternoon.
Not the place in London, a much more beautiful location along the Waskerley Way. 1/
Waffle and my partner headed along the track while I hung back to look at the scenery.
The combination of sun and cloud made for some fabulous views. 2/
Oct 17, 2021 • 22 tweets • 6 min read
To someone realising they may be autistic as an adult, and feeling overwhelmed by it.
Please don’t be alarmed. In spite of nearly everything you read about autism being negative there are many positive aspects.
And, most importantly, it’s part of what makes you ‘you’.
It’s nearly three years since my own very late diagnosis.
I remember vividly the moment when I fist realised.
I was reading an email from a former colleague who’d just found out she was autistic.
It really felt like my heart stopped for a moment.
This was something momentous.
Sep 1, 2021 • 26 tweets • 10 min read
What makes a walk a pilgrimage?
It usually involves some kind of intention. Pilgrims are advised to:
‘Slow down, carry as little as possible, settle into a rhythm, connect with yourself and everything around you, and be a positive influence wherever you go.’ 1/
At the Holy Well in Wolsingham I was taken by the idea of being an apprentice Hermit.
Now I’ve started following saint trails, I quite like the idea of becoming a pilgrim.
Although I don’t have a conventional religious faith, the natural world has a spiritual dimension for me. 2/
Aug 31, 2021 • 18 tweets • 7 min read
Today was another steady drizzle day but in spite of this we set off to retrace the steps of St Godric, from Wolsingham to Finchale.
I did a bit of research before we left and found out we could park on a lane nearby for free, saving us from the £3 parking fee. 1/
I wasn’t sure what to expect.
There turned out to be lots, and lots, of steps.
Fortunately Izzy is quite used to these now and she was quite happy making her way down.
As we descended I tried not to think too much about having to climb all of the way back up again afterwards. 2/
Aug 30, 2021 • 11 tweets • 4 min read
Since we got home from our campervan trip Izzy has mainly wanted to walk the neighbourhood letting other dogs know she’s back.
But this afternoon we went on another adventure.
While we were looking for a new footpath we stumbled across some fascinating history. 1/
We’d been heading nowhere in particular, following familiar roads but trying out some new directions.
After turning back from a route with cows and calves we had found our way here.
Quite by chance we’d arrived at an ancient holy well, in a place once inhabited by two hermits. 2/