Top 10 Tips for University

It’s been a little while since I last posted, I had a bit of a burn out situation. I feel a lot better now since I created a schedule…sort of! I feel like I have managed to find ways to organise my time a bit better and ensure I don’t forget important tasks! I combined Outlook, GoodNotes and a note book to organise my daily and weekly tasks a bit better.

I have a few updates since my last post and it mainly revolves around me starting my own YouTube channel! At the moment its a bit random and I feel like I will be mainly focusing on lifestyle and cooking so I will link a videos down below! The next main update is I am currently getting on with the degree I started last year! I’m going to be honest I have had quite a few issues with it so far but I know it will get fixed and soon back to normal! 

This blog post is actually focusing on some points I mentioned in my first YouTube video! So in short here are some tips that I found helpful to do before and during Uni with some additional tips that I think you could do after you finish a class or leave for a holiday break!

University may be very difficult this year for many students, some are even unable to go to physical lessons which is really going to make a lot of people feel very alone!

Handling negative feelings and mental health

Spending a lot of time alone or fearing the unknown especially when it comes to announcements and everything going on at the moment with the pandemic, can be extremely stressful and isolating. Now the best thing to do is talk to others and understandably this may be difficult but try to make some friends online via University groups or just reconnect with your friends back at home. Use and utilise social media to help you feel connected to those that may not be around you. Another thing you can do is utilise your universities help line, they may be able to guide you to services that can help you manage your mental health. Just please remember you are not alone.

Self-care

In my opinion this is one of the most important pieces of advice and that is ensure you keep up with self-care, make sure you take breaks and enjoy your time, uni is hard and it can be very stressful sometimes but you have to remember that at the end of the day this is your time and you should be spending it doing what makes you happy. Spending all of your time studying is fantastic but you won’t create any memories hiding away, try and join some clubs or socials to do during your free time, this is something I wish I had done while I was away at uni. 

Create a schedule 

This can be rather hard but try and create a schedule and include your sleep, studying, socialising time and self-care. Also as Humans we aren’t made to remember everything so writing down or organising important aspects of your life will really help you finish tasks and not forget important details. 

Create some goals

What do you want to achieve this year, try and create some little goals to help you stay focused. I like to create some goals around reading and activities that I really want to do during the year! My goal for this year was to read 15 books, create a blog, learn more about rabbit diets and enrichment, create a YouTube channel and even some really simple ones such as drinking enough water everyday etc. It helps you feel like you’re making an impact and you can begin to create some healthy habits and get things done because well, achieving something makes people feel good and if its something positive then thats so great!

Organise 

Something that I learnt to do regularly is organise my work, during uni you tend to have a lot of different classes and deadlines. I decided to have different notebooks for each class, I put all my deadlines on a calendar so I can see what I need to prioritise and I organised my papers by popping them into files in order. Doing this means that I will be able to find past work easily and use it for essays or reports! So I really recommend filing your work or at least storing it in ways where you can easily find what you need. I must also remind you to backup your work! Use a USB or an external hard drive.

Diet and exercise 

I am aware it is hard to exercise and have a nice balanced diet during these times especially if you’re isolating. However, there are plenty of options when it comes to exercising all you need is a little bit of floor space (which hopefully you’ll either have access to or if you’re lucky your room is big enough). You can use lots of online sources such as YouTube and certain apps eg 8fit. As for your diet, try and eat a healthy and balanced diet, if you are really unable to do this due to it not being available, try and supplement your diet with vitamins and supplements because you really don’t want to feel under the weather when you’re trying to study.

Start a meal plan and budget 

Now I know a lot of people enjoy the weekend antics of the pub and clubs but I was never that person so I usually spent my money on food and activities such as museums. Creating a budget and a meal plan ensured I wasn’t over spending on food at the supermarket and had more money for activities and treats on the weekend! You can also try and save some money for the holidays which is very satisfying. 

Keep your area clean and tidy

Just spend 10 minutes a day tidying and cleaning up your area, you will find it easier to study and work when your environment is clean and tidy. So simply just tidy regularly and keep up with your washing and space. 

Keep up with your CV

This is something I noticed was that a lot of the students around me didn’t have a CV or an up to date one at least. This was mainly due to the fact most of them came straight from school which is absolutely fine but while you’re at uni you’ll find a lot of career events that may give you an opportunity to work during your degree of even the holidays. Having a CV already made and up to date will mean you can just send it off without having the stress and time constraints of creating one. 

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help and just be yourself

This is a hard time for everyone and thats ok, but if you need help, advice or just a chat don’t be worried, just ask. Your lecturers, teachers and tutors would rather you talk to them then suffer in silence. Be honest with yourself, learn your limits and be open with those around you. 

Travelling during a pandemic

I want to discuss the situation of travelling during this hard time. Of course yet again a disclaimer:

*This is purely my thoughts, opinions and situation, please do not use this as a guide or as pure facts, this is just how I feel and how things have panned out personally for me, thank you for understanding* 

A rough description of my situation

I live at home with my partner and we both work from home and have been since March. We have both been isolating and only going out and seeing others when the guidelines had changed, we will always follow the guidelines to ensure our safety and the safety of others. The people we have been around are trusted and have been following the guidelines. 

Family

I discussed with my parents that if me and my partner came back home with positive tests we’d all isolate and me and my partner would do everything within our power to avoid contact with my parents; use separate towels, clean all surfaces, no sitting together or hugging etc. I believe it will not come to this as we have been extremely careful during our trip. 

Place of travel

I would then like to discuss the place of travel itself, we will not be travelling anywhere outside of the UK, we will only be travelling if we have isolated for a specific time before the travel date and we will ensure that our chosen locations are restricted and or follow the guidelines. 

We chose Southern England/South-West England due to the amount of activities we can do without being near anyone from the public. We are able to go on experiences that involve us being outside and or in our car which means we are less likely to cause any problems. We opted for an Air BnB as we will have our own kitchen and cleaning facilities, this means we won’t be a risk to hotel staff and we will not be at risk ourselves by being around many other people in a hotel. We also opted for a hire car to ensure no public transport is undertaken which of course protects both us and the public. 

Little things we ensured

We wore masks and ensured we used hand sanitiser with us at all times, we kept away from everyone and made sure we followed the social distancing rules. Something you can do when out and about during these times especially if you wish to travel or shop is reduce the amount of ‘touching’ you do when inside a shop or public area for example, you don’t need to pick up every book or every piece of clothing you walk past.

Reflecting on my Asperger’s and mental health

I particularly hated the airport, the main problem I had was the flight itself. They did not distance anyone on board and if I had known this would be the outcome I probably would’ve gone with another company or not flown. 

Another issue I have with traveling and just being out in public is the use of masks, my sensory problems really make wearing a mask a challenge, I feel as though I cannot breathe and I’m choking, it also brings my already very sensitive body temperature skyrocketing. I wear a combination of reusable and disposable masks depending on the situation and I will continue to wear these to ensure others around me feel more comfortable and I have to admit it does stop me from touching my face quite so much. Throughout this entire time I was very anxious and stressed, I struggled sleeping and suffered horrible doubts and thoughts surrounding illness, death and guilt. 

Shops were also very uncomfortable, some shops had rules and it was very slow and clinical but other shops acted as if rules were in place but people would not listen to the rules. This made me very uncomfortable when people pushed past or walked the wrong direction and disrupt the whole line. I dislike being constantly touched and having my personal space invaded even before this outbreak as I have always been nervous about illness, I do not have the flu vaccine as I get far too many reactions so I opt out and have to ensure I am protecting myself so the kind of behaviour I have witnessed upsets me in general as I am aware there are people who are extremely vulnerable and need to have the space to complete their tasks safely. Social distancing isn’t hard and its one of the easiest things you can do so please try your best. 

Over time I have come to realise that you cant stop your life or stop living. I’m not saying this situation should be forgotten or ignored but I believe it is here to stay, one day there may be a vaccine or herd immunity may help reduce the spread or many other things that I am not educated about may happen but for now it is here and we must learn and work together to get through it. You can travel during this time as long as you are aware of the risks and ensure you plan and prepare accordingly. No one is immune to this and you must ensure you are protecting yourself and others around you. 

Things to know when travelling

  • Traveling during this time may mean that you are unable to do things or go to certain places as they are shut so be aware that you may not be able to do exactly what you prepared for
  • The rules and guidelines are always changing so please keep an eye on the local area you are visiting to make sure you are aware and up to date with the latest guidelines
  • Different places may have different guidelines or rules, an example of this is coffee shops, some coffee shops don’t allow reusable cups or their own cups when you sit in but other coffee shops may insist that even if you wish to sit in that you must have a disposable cup
  • Masks, as of Saturday the 8th (I think) are to be worn inside of museums or certain attractions that may have not insisted masks be worn before , an example of this is the Roman baths in Bath, before Saturday you could choose to wear a mask but now it’s mandatory 
  • You may need to isolate when you get to your destination or when you return home so be prepared especially when it comes to work or family situation
  • Bring lots of hand sanitiser and ensure you have a mask with you whenever you go out, I hate the smell and texture of the sanitiser I’ve used in other shops and places I’ve visited so I for one enjoy using my own sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol
  • Ensure things haven’t been cancelled especially travel and accommodation 
  • Ensure you know the risks you’re taking and how to keep yourself and others around you safe, airlines may be crowded and you’ll be standing around near others which poses a higher risk etc
  • Some attractions social distance and you must follow a line, this means it may take much longer than expected to complete an experience
  • If you are classed as vulnerable or you have medical conditions that may make you more at risk maybe try to find a location that doesn’t involve travel like a stay-cation

Thank you for reading, please stay safe and ensure you prepare if you do also travel 🙂

Rabbits

* I would like to just pop in a disclaimer, if you want to add an animal into your life as a family member, please…please…PLEASE try your local shelter or rescue, I really haven’t had great experiences with pet shop animals and in most countries there’s plenty of poor animals in shelters. In the future I will be trying my best to adopt as I wasn’t educated in the matter at the time and I now am 😊I would also like to mention this post is meant to share some of my experiences and thoughts it is not a guide, I will create a guide in the future.*

Originally this blog/website was going to be about animals, but over time I realised I had lots to share and thought I’d make it about a number of things that I am interested in. Animals have played a large part in my life, I have always loved animals and I wanted all the pets I could possibly fit in my life.

I was obsessed with insects growing up, I even created a club in primary school dedicated to them. I spent everyday looking and learning about all the crawling creatures outside. I even researched their habitats and environments to find out how to care for them…before bringing them into the house and trying to get them past my mum haha. 

As I grew up I became more fond on keeping furry animals, we’d always had a cat and my parents made the promise when we moved into a home with a nice garden we’d get a dog. So that part was set in stone but I still yearned for a small animal to love and cuddle. 

During the past 21 years I have owned many different types of animals from insects, fish and anything with scales, I also had three pet rats. I worked in a pet store when I was 14 and over the 2 years I really solidified my love for bunny rabbits. It wasn’t something I wanted randomly, I did a lot of research and thought I knew everything…oh boy I didn’t know enough, I am still learning now!

Sleepy Finn flopped over.

People assume rabbits live around 2-5 years however they can live up to 10 years or more depending on the breed, rabbits are extremely sensitive creatures, they are not suited to living outside in the every changing weather and environment (they are very sensitive to the cold and the heat). They hate loud noises and busy lives. Most children get a pet rabbit and either end up getting too busy with school or they keep them outside which isn’t fair on a sensitive and social creature; you will also miss out on a lot of their personality if they are kept outside. Diet is also extremely important and regular vet appointments are a must especially when they age. Rabbits are very sensitive and can go into shock extremely easily, you can drop a cup or shut a door a bit too hard and shock them.

Rabbit require to have a healthy diet to avoid GI Stasis and other health problems, their diet is 80% hay, a small amount of good quality hay pellets and a really good amount of leafy greens but please do your research as of course each rabbit is different. Regular checks at the vet are important, but rabbit should be fixed at the correct time to ensure hormones are kept level and they don’t become aggressive, leaving your rabbit unfixed could cause behavioural issues or even life-threatening life conditions in the future. Rabbits do not belong outside, rabbits do not belong in a cage or a hutch. Sitting in the cold outside in a metal and wooden cage waiting for predatory animals to cause them stress and upset isn’t the reason why you get a pet rabbit…

Rabbits can be a great pet however, you should do research as there are so many myths that I still see people believing and reciting…Check out some of the resources I have listed below that will help you understand the work and time you have to put into having a pet rabbit. Especially for the first few years while you’re training and bonding with your little fluffy friend. I will be writting future posts about bunny rabbits as I really did enjoy sharing some basic info about these lovely animals. If you put in the time and effort for a rabbit, trust me you’ll recieve so much love and laughs watching them grow and show their personality especially when they’re running around and dancing in your home!

🙂

“Although some rabbits tolerate handling quite well, many do not like to be picked up and carried. If rabbits are mishandled they will learn to nip to protect themselves. If they feel insecure when carried they may scratch to get down. Unspayed/unneutered rabbits often exhibit territorial behavior such as “boxing” or nipping when their territory is “invaded” by the owner.” – https://www.petfinder.com/pet-care/rabbit-care/common-rabbit-myths/

Lorelei Carlson has an amazing channel with informative videos that helped me learn so much more!
The do’s and don’ts, rabbit addition.
Free roaming is such a freeing way of having rabbits, please don’t keep them in a cage.

Rabbits do not belong outside, rabbits do not belong in a cage or a hutch. Rabbits can live for 10 years or more, they require regular vaccines, fixing and regular checkups at the vets just like a dog or a cat. Don’t underestimate how much work is put into these lovely creatures. #NOMORECAGES

Burnout

Sometimes its hard to figure out what you want and how to achieve it. Instead of sitting down, being patient and giving yourself the time and space to learn, progress and reach your goals, you tend to get stressed, panic and worrying till you no longer have the motivation and energy to progress. 

Burn out has hit me on so many levels during my life, throughout my school life, I had a 100% attendance then suddenly some issues arose just before my GCSEs and all of that hard work caused me to have a breakdown. Since then burn out has become a topic that I am fully aware about and know I need to work on. If I had taken the correct amount of time and learnt about myself maybe I would’ve dealt with my issues in school appropriately. I cant change what happened in the past so instead I must find ways to ensure it does not repeat itself. I am trying my hardest to improve my self-awareness and encourage myself to learn how I work and think so that I can reduce burn out and ensure I stay level. 

I want to talk about cognitive behaviour therapy in a future post as I think it is a subject that everyone should be aware about due to the impact it can have on our own lives and how we can influence others. This can be a positive subject to include in our lives, if we don’t know how to be ourselves then we will not only internally suffer but we will also cause pain externally. Its hard and it will take years of practice and experience but I believe we can each take control over ourselves and our actions to help us achieve our own goals and how to support others to do so as well. 

What is burnout?

Burnouts are different for everyone and each of us may choose to deal with them in different ways. However, there are a few signs that you can look out for that may indicate that you’re suffering from burnout: 

Feeling drain and fatigued- 

The first sign that really hits a lot of people is feeling exhaustion and drained, this can cause all sorts of problems especially in other areas of your life such as lack of self care, common stress problems such as anxiety may also become more prevalent and sneak up on you more often. 

Lack of motivation-

Lack of motivation can swoop in easily especially if you’re feeling drained or fatigued. You may lose interest in hobbies or things that would normally interest you. You may feel dissatisfied with your job and may notice you begin to lack motivation to complete tasks as you would do normally. Losing interest in things may cause forgetfulness which can then impact both your personal and work life. 

Negative emotions-

Feeling anger, becoming more irritable/frustrated and even more chronic behavioural changes. Feeling more cynical and sad will creep up on you and make sure you have no motivation or energy to comprehend feeling a positive emotion. These negative emotions can affect you in both personal and work relationships. 

Cognitive problems- 

Problems with attention, executive functions and memory will become apparent.

Decreased satisfaction- 

You don’t feel satisfied and may feel as though you are getting nowhere. You feel less happy about your career or with home life. 

Other problems- 

Other problems may occur that I may have not mentioned such as stomach problems, migraines/headaches, sleeping problems, change of appetite, lack of social life and many more. 

Burnout itself- 

https://www.thisiscalmer.com/blog/5-stages-of-burnout

A perfect summary for burn out to me is ‘Burnout is the loss of meaning in one’s work, coupled with mental, emotional, or physical exhaustion as the result of long-term, unresolved stress.’ which I found on a website called ‘Calmer’ – https://www.thisiscalmer.com/blog/5-stages-of-burnout

I really enjoyed this blog as I really felt it captured what its like to reach burnout and what the process feels like in 5 easy to understand stages. 

What can you do when suffering burnout? 

Try to learn or take up different relaxation methods and create a self-care routine, this is help you find ways to create a less stressful environment and know when enough is enough. I chose things like yoga and mediation and even reading or listening to music to help me relax. 

Try to escape work once the working day is over, overthinking and working on work related areas while you’re meant to be at home or relaxing is not healthy. Your work will begin to bleed into your personal life and you may struggle to decipher between hobbies, personal life and work. I personally took up writing as a ‘outside of work’ hobby, I enjoy waffling on about subjects of interest and then sharing them with others…I also find it relaxing and freeing as I feel I am being honest with both myself and others around me. But you don’t have to choose writing, other good ‘outside of work’ hobbies that you could take up can range from sports and exercise to arts and crafts, whatever relaxes you and makes you feel happy. 

Reducing social media and electronics, now I am aware some people find scrolling through social media and gaming, relaxing but you have to remember this can effect your mental health and you may not even be aware of this. Use it wisely and remember what you see on social media may not be real and to try not to get too caught up in it all. I personally don’t enjoy many platforms of social media as I find I feel more negatively about myself and the world after spending too much time scrolling through other peoples lives. Gaming can be relaxing however, again I feel very tense and over stimulated after a hour or so, playing with electronics can also affect your sleep, so try to do everything in moderation. 

Getting a good sleep cycle and becoming more organised can really help anyone feel better, sleeping more ensures your body has the time it needs to reset for the next day. Not getting enough sleep can effect someone both physically and mentally. Being more organised can help reduce the last minute ‘oh NO’s’ and forgetful moments of ‘Oh dear is that today?’. The more organised you are the more relaxed your mind can be, do you sometimes find yourself laying awake late at night or remembering that you needed to do something the next day but forgot and now its too late? Well becoming more organised can help to reduce this. If you’re ready for the tasks then you’re less likely to get things wrong and when you get things wrong this can impact your thoughts and you can begin to doubt your worth which can really lead to some negative thoughts. 

Lastly, talk, find someone you trust and just be honest. Its hard, really hard but it will get easier. If you are struggling to find someone to trust then seek out a professional and you may even find that they can help with other problems you may be experiencing. A simple conversation can do wonders for the mind. 

Do not judge people who get burnt out, this is a process and each of us should be able to gain the support and care from those around us or from a professional if needed. Don’t suffer alone, pick up the phone and speak to someone, its so very hard to do this, I know, but you can help reduce the risk of burnout by just being aware.

What was your experience with burnout? How do you cope living in a fast pace world?

Link for feature image-

https://www.dub.uu.nl/en/depth/more-signs-point-higher-risk-burn-out-among-phd-candidates

Highly Sensitive Person?

Throughout life we are told not to be “too sensitive”, “over dramatic” or “too intense”. Some of us are ridiculed or judged for showing any of these traits. Maybe some of us have a sensitivity that you don’t feel and that’s ok as we are all different, nearly everything in life is a spectrum and our unique traits make us human.

This post is about being highly sensitive and how its ok to be, you can learn how to embrace who you are. The first paragraph is a bit of a intro to my personal thoughts, I will again pop some headers down so you can skip through and choose to read certain parts. Thank you for reading. 

Introduction

I personally felt that those around me made me feel abnormal for feeling so passionate, dramatic and sensitive, I always took things seriously and if someone acted like they didn’t care, especially when opening up, I would feel really alone. In reality I was probably overthinking a lot and each of us have different things that we love. 

I felt as though no one could keep up with my mind, I wouldn’t ever say I’m smart at all but I do spend a large amount of time thinking. Sometimes when I try to let some of these thoughts out people turn their back or get offended because all the words come out wrong. At some points in my life I learnt to not say anything at all. I think a lot of people feel this way!

I feel and think on an extremely deep level and I know I am not alone but I cant understand why those of us who are sensitive are taught to be ashamed. 

I began to only share my thoughts with my parents because everyone else would take it the wrong way and I began to feel guilty talking about myself or things I loved/believed in. I am very thankful to have such lovely parents and now a lovely partner who I feel I can open up to. 

My parents are the most inspirational people I have ever met. I look up to them and they’re the type of people I hope to become one day when I am wise and strong enough. Just a list of a few traits I believe they have; open minded, peaceful, supportive, sensitive, kind, funny, wise, positive, strong and smart. They work so so hard, much harder than anyone else I know, (in my opinion) they each have their own problems and they pushed through and became successful humans. They are constantly underestimated and those around us cant always see how much they do for everyone, how much they have done for me. I hope one day they will know how incredible they are. 

What is HSP?

HSP stands for highly sensitive person, this is a genetic trait that is found in about 15 to 20% of the population, it enables you to feel and think incredibly deeply however can cause you to feel overstimulated and or misunderstood. Elaine Aron is a researcher in high sensitivity and sensory processing sensitivity. It was used in order to keep us safe but due to modern times it has become a burden to some of us due to the vast amount of stimuli that is to be processed so regularly if not all the time. 

Someone with HSP can be either introverted, extroverted or somewhere in-between. While we each feel we may experience some of the signs I will be discussing in my next paragraph, it doesn’t mean you are a HSP, maybe you might even find you have it mildly, however, a HSP will be very likely to feel “too” much and deeply compared to those around them. 

Preston has some fantastic articles and books which I have used to gather some of my information and bullet points in order to help people understand the basics – https://nipreston.com/new/biography/  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/communication-success/201711/24-signs-highly-sensitive-person

Preston has shown some excellent categories which are as followed; 

Sensitivity about oneself

Sensitivity about others

Sensitivity about ones environment

The signs of being HSP

I will be including Preston’s way of categorising these signs as I think it is very easy to understand and follow without missing much!

Sensitivity about oneself –

This is a category that reflects what you may feel in regards to yourself;

  • Trouble letting go of negative thoughts and or emotions
  • Get minor to aggressive physical symptoms in reaction to things that happen during the day eg headaches 
  • Affects eating and sleeping habits in a negative way due to something that has happened during the day
  • Anxiety is very common
  • You are your worst critic and beat yourself up 
  • Rejection is a harsh and scary reality even in minor situations
  • Almost always compares oneself to others and feels very unhappy from these negative social comparisons
  • Anger or resentment about situations in life or in society which seem unjust, aggravating or simply annoying. 

Sensitivity about others-

This category reflects what you may feel and react when it comes to others; 

  • Over worries or thinks about what others are thinking
  • Takes things rather personally 
  • Even if something may seem like “nothing” they feel it is difficult to just “let it go” 
  • Gets and feels hurt easily
  • Usually hides any negative feelings or due to the amount of “drama” in their life they tend to discuss negative emotions with others
  • Even if feedback is meant to be constructive they often don’t take it very well
  • Feels as though people are being judgemental even without lots of evidence  
  • Overreacts to real or perceived slights and provocations 
  • Cant be themselves in group situations
  • Self-conscious in intimate situations (worries about partner’s approval and unreasonably scared of being judged or rejected)

Sensitivity about one’s environment- 

  • Large public crowds or rooms full of people talking, or when too many things are occurring simultaneously are a nightmare
  • Uncomfortable when in and around bright lights, loud sounds, or certain scents
  • Startles easily at sudden noises
  • Easily triggered by violence, violent movies, hates seeing fights or acts of cruelty 
  • Feels unhappy following people’s posts (social media) 

Others- 

  • Functioning with little or no sleep is very hard, more sleep may be needed than the average person due to how intensely they feel
  • Emotional exhaustion is very real, some days can be an emotional roller-coaster, you are able to feel more than a few emotions in one day
  • Hard to move on from previous trauma for example a breakup, an insult or being backstabbed by someone 6 years ago can still linger
  • Navigating new environments can be hard
  •  Conflicts hurt deeply and finds it hard to forgive oneself
  • Doesn’t like to be rushed 
  • Sometimes boundaries are easily crossed due to struggling to say no and instead says yes to things they don’t particular like to do or feel comfortable doing 
  • Requires alone time to recharge
  • Feels misunderstood and lonely, sometimes believes “no one seems to relate to me” this is a trait not a choice
  • Can be introverted 
  • More likely to be emotionally reactive 
  • Prone to anxiety and depression – due to past experiences 
  • Picks up on emotions even if they’re not accurate – moods rub off on you a lot more
  • Fixates on body, tone of voice or facial expressions and then obsessing about it even when told “it didn’t mean anything” taking things too seriously 
  • Can see when someone is lying and it sucks because people don’t always want to feel exposed 
  • Neglects self care, making other peoples problems their own
  • Even if something doesn’t seem serious to you it may be very serious to some one who is highly sensitive 

People are quick to assume something like being a HSP is negative but there are so many reasons that make being highly sensitive worth it! 

The strengths of being a HSP

  • A much deeper level of understanding, a more powerful connection to ones emotions
  • Bonds that are made with other people are loyal and honest – some people take advantage but it’s the risk you take
  • Can read situations and see details others may miss, attention to environment – more likely to notice things such as a stain on the rug or nail colour changes
  • Self aware – deeper thinker, often misjudged as an overthinker and can sometimes lead to worrying about things that cannot be changed
  • Tearing up around other when speaking or listening to something emotional – even if they hide their vulnerable emotions they will relate and once close be a great support
  • Can be great listeners and also great talkers
  • Avoids negative friendships etc due to being taken advantage of so are more likely to know if you’re a good or bad person
  • Creative – negative and positive emotions are felt on a very deep level which can make it easier to appreciate or make art/write/talk
  • Very passionate – looks like overreacting – daydreamer – can put their heart and soul into everything they do so it’s the best and genuine 
  • Uncomfortable with injustice – want to make sure values integrity
  • Sensitive people will often have a deeper connection with animals and nature
  • Would rather do it the right way 
  • Vivid dreams which can enrich the inner world for the HSP’s
  • They’re not all shy and anxious – when the correct environment and needs are met they can thrive

Things that can help you if you believe you may be a HSP- 

Some of the things I will be mentioning may help just about anyone really as they’re essential to even those who don’t identify with being a HSP or having a form of Autism. 

I learnt a few things that I found suited me and my personal life, some of these things I have only just implemented within the last few months but I feel have helped me already! 

My anxiety is much more controlled and I can now see what may trigger any negative behaviours and find ways to reduce it before it even happens. Of course there are moments in life where mental health takes a toll and everyone has to learn how to ensure they are meeting the right requirements in order to achieve their full potential. I still get anxiety, depressive thoughts and many other side affects of being sensitive but I now know that this is not something to be ashamed of but something I must realise and learn how to embrace. There are some days where I am more sleep deprived or I know I have had too much caffeine and I am aware that this may cause negative reactions but I am more aware which enables me to change things about my day to accommodate and to reduce a spiral. 

Taking time out and relaxing/doing something I love is the perfect way to recharge from a draining situation, you may fall into the “but I don’t have time” well that’s an excuse to me. We all fall into that sometimes but if you make excuses like this about things then you were never really going to try to change. Sometimes we just need the push but I know I tend to make that excuse when I need to study or learn something to achieve something and I realised that if I am serious then I will make sure I have time even if it is just for 10 minutes. Imagine how much time you spend on social media, spend 10 minutes of that reading, learning or trying something you’ve always wanted to do instead and you’ll be surprised about how much you can do 🙂  

  1. Ensure you have enough sleep

Of course as you age you’ll find the right amount of sleep that suits you, try and create a sleep schedule to help reduce exhaustion. 

  1. Try and eat a healthier and varied diet

We all fall for fast food sometimes and as a treat that’s ok but try and eat healthier on a regular basis, ensure you are getting the required amount of vitamins and minerals to aid brain development and mood to be much more positive and productive. 

  1.  Schedule time out and recharge time

Sometimes life can be very hectic for anyone, make sure you take time out to recharge especially after intense or known trigger environments for example if you know you have an event you have to attend ensure you have given yourself the time afterwards whether that’s a few hours or days to ensure you are feeling yourself again. 

  1. Taking extra time or space to get things done

This can help reduce the feeling of urgency and stress, I know sometimes this is hard and some things cannot wait so maybe attempt to plan things in advance and try and keep a schedule so you can keep on top of those tasks before they become urgent. Remember to relax and recharge afterwards you deserve it! 

  1. Limit or reduce caffeine 

I know I am a sucker for caffeine, I try and limit myself to a maximum of two caffeinated drinks a day, I got into decaf a lot too as I found hot drinks were very comforting to me but the caffeine made me very shaky and anxious. As individuals we can each handle different levels of caffeine so try and find your happy amount 🙂

  1. Reduce bright lighting 

I for one hate bright lights, I opt for warm lighting and if possible I wear tinted glasses with yellow lenses to just reduce the brightness a bit to make it more comfortable. 

  1. Pick off-peak times to do things

I am not a fan of doing shopping, too many colours and people, however I know that certain times of the day mean its less crowded and I’m less likely to feel the pressure. So try and find out what times are less congested or maybe your shops or events you like to attend have special times to help you. 

  1. Surround yourself with a positive and natural environment 

Sensitive people are more likely to be drawn to nature and animals, a nice peaceful walk or quiet place can be perfect for you if you feel a bit overwhelmed or need to recharge. Don’t be ashamed if you don’t want to go to that party and you’d rather go for a walk and read a book or listen to some music, its ok to be yourself and embrace your hobbies and lifestyle as long as it doesn’t hurt others or yourself. 

  1. Surround yourself around positivity 

I struggled with this myself, I was around negative people and situations almost daily. I was obsessed with social media and gained very negative relationships with the negative people around me which isn’t healthy! I now avoid people who I know have a certain negative outlook which of course we all go through and if you want to talk I will always be happy to listen. But sometimes we need to avoid the worlds negativity because I myself found I was becoming very negative and I hated bringing others down! I find peoples emotions rub off on me massively so if I am around lots of negative people I then become negative so instead I reduced the time I spend with the negative people and I left many platforms of social media. Even just simply reducing the amount of time you spend on social media can help you massively. 

  1. Lastly remember your worth

You are enough and you are worth it, overthinking is so easy and its ok. Remember you’re a deep and passionate thinker and you are very emotional and sensitive. If someone says you are “too sensitive/overreacting” or “you need to toughen up” or “stop taking it personally” or even the dreaded “why are you worrying, just forget about it” then I advice you tell this person to leave you alone haha…or maybe the more adult approach, attempt to teach them or advise them why those statements aren’t fair for people who are highly sensitive. Your emotions are worth the time, you are highly sensitive and kind and I know it may cause upset but you have to remember it’s a great thing being sensitive. People without this trait wont know quite how it feels to feel so deeply and that’s ok because one person at a time we can help everyone understand that we’re all different but we are all worthy. 

I would love to hear what your thoughts and experiences are with being, knowing or learning about what a HSP is. Of course there are way more aspects to this trait so I am sorry if I missed things or you believe other things 🙂 I would like to hear your opinions! Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to try and understand those who are highly sensitive, you may even find out something new about yourself and learning is the best gift of all. ❤ 

URL for the image: https://graymattercounseling.com/10-signs-you-might-be-a-highly-sensitive-person/

Sensory issues

In this post I will be discussing sensory issues; a quick disclaimer is that this post will be more focused on what I have witnessed and what I also live with. There will always be individuality and some of us will not experience the same sensory problems but that’s ok, we are all unique. I also want to apologise about how long this will be, there’s so much more that I could mention but this post will already be a sensory overload to some haha…I’m actually really sorry! -I have included headers so you can skip around a bit 🙂 

WHAT ARE THE SENSES? 

What is the definition of “sensory”? “The definition of sensory is something that has to do with the senses: sight, smell, taste, touch, or hearing. An example of sensory used as an adjective is a sensory event, such as the smelling of flowers. YourDictionary.” I took this straight from a generic dictionary webpage. For us with a form of ASD we tend to have a heightened or over sensitive sensory system, “Sensory Integration Dysfunction”, this is very common and it can affect each of us mildly to severely and can cause emotional outbursts and much more. 

We see the world very differently compared to a neurotypical human and sometimes it can be very frustrating, uncomfortable, frightening or in some lucky cases, fascinating and calming. I find that I myself and many others I have spoken to, have difficulties with movement and coordination which comes across as clumsiness.  “Sensory Integration Dysfunction” is when there are problems with the integration of the sensory system for example there are issues receiving, organising and or filtering and making any sense out of sensory information.

The various systems in our bodies that are included for the integration of senses are the vestibular system or the inner ear balance, this responds to movement and gravity. When this is affected sometimes its hard for the body to understand when it is stationary or moving and the speed of movement. 

The five senses which are; sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste. 

Lastly the proprioceptive system which is the system that works with muscle contraction in response to incoming information, an example of proprioception is being able to throw something without having to look at the throwing arm directly or being able to know what surface you’re standing on without actually looking down. I could go into even more detail about all of this but I think its enough for this purpose really. 🙂 

Some basic examples of sensory issues that most people are known to suffer with are; issues with bright or flickering lights, scratchy clothes, loud and certain frequencies of noise, textures or food and materials, strong smells. 

MY MAIN SENSORY PROBLEMS-

I am a highly sensitive person, I will go into HSP a bit better in a future post as this is also a very relevant to a lot of people. I have many problems surrounding my sensory system and I wish to share some with you and maybe some people can gain a better understanding what some sensory problems may look like for someone who is highly sensitive Asperger’s. I am not including the whole picture as there’s so much more to explain but this post is already so long I’m sorry! 

A quick reminder, we can become withdrawn easily if we are put in situations that affect our sensory issues so please have that in mind when it comes to loved ones or anyone you may suspect to have sensory problems. 

First is sight, for me sight is a rather big one, I get a lot of side effects from my issues. I will get a migraine most weeks and I tend to feel motion sick at least once a day. I am very sensitive to light, bright light gives me headaches/migraines, burns and causes me to feel faint. I take medication to reduce the affects of migraines when they do happen and I often reduce my exposure to certain types of light with different types of glasses with special lenses (a lot of people have this problem). I normally have issues with a sudden exposure to a bright light (made worse if I am in the dark to begin with for example a flash light or sunlight behind trees) or being in florescent light\blue light. Any bright colours, flashing lights or busy patterns can make me dizzy, disorientated and motion sick, for example the blinds in some offices tend to make me feel a bit nauseous. Patterns, lines or words that are too close together or are too busy for my eyes to focus on. Even some suit shirts with lines or patterns can have the same disorientating affect. 

When I walk into a room I will often focus on small details such as the exit, the coffee stain on the floor, the curtains not being symmetrical and so on. I am much more likely to see details much quicker, sometimes those details are very helpful and sometimes they’re pointless to most people but not to me. 

Smell, I don’t have too many issues with this other than over powering smells such as certain perfumes, cleaning products, plastics and candles make me feel a bit nauseous or may cause headaches. 

Taste and texture of food is a large one for me, I have lots of issues with foods such as jelly and eggs. Anything with a slimy texture can turn my stomach and cause me to gag, feel nauseous or panic. I have always separated my food out on a plate, no two things could touch however, I have gotten slightly better now and even include basic sauces but I still don’t enjoy too many textures on one plate. This can make me gag and feel very uncomfortable. I dislike strong flavours so I will often go for the plain and basic option if there is one, I also have no problem eating the same foods regularly as long as they don’t change. 

Touch; there are only a few textures I really dislike such as velvet, rough wool, tags, crumbs on a seat or bed, sand in shoes etc. Most of these textures can make me physically sick but thankfully I don’t come across these problems very often as they are common hates for those without sensory problems too. I do however, LOVE smooth and soft textures, I will rub my face on fluffy pillows and touch book covers all day, I feel physically calm when I hug a stuffed animal toy or even better have some cuddles with my dog or pet rabbit. I really struggle with holding hands or touching skin to skin with people other than my partner; due to working in a company where I tend to meet new people I had to learn to suppress the urge to whine when I had to shake hands with someone. Its not about the person, its about the contact, so please don’t think I am being rude if I don’t shake your hand. Long cuddles or handshakes/holding (with anyone other than my partner) makes me writhe, if I am under stress or feeling over loaded I will be even less tolerant. Pain doesn’t affect me as much in some ways, I have a high pain tolerance to certain pain for example the dentist and getting tattoos  don’t really phase me but I am very sensitive to the heat and the cold. 

Hearing; this is a big sensory problem for me in most cases, I really love quiet and calm environments and every time I am in a horrible sensory overloaded environment I regret leaving my safe little quiet one.  Loud or surprising noises such as balloons and fireworks can make anyone jump however, I have hypersensitive hearing to certain frequencies so sometimes certain noises such as a firework or electrical appliance/lighting can make it feel like you’ve just pushed a needle in my ear which makes the experience so painful and unbearable. Loud music or chatting can make me feel very anxious and dizzy, I don’t go clubbing anymore and sometimes even small gatherings with rowdy people can make me feel very uncomfortable and struggle with focusing or providing adequate attention to those present. I tend to hear things that others don’t or others may struggle to hear, I will hear a tap dripping or the oven go off from the other side of the house, I can hear the quiet beep of a thermometer or the buzzing of lights in a busy office. 

SENSORY OVERLOADS – 

Sensory overloads are really common and many of us suffer them regularly, it happens when one or more of the senses are over-stimulated from the environment. An example may be, busy streets, lots of information, media etc. I am very lucky to have the job, the parents and the partner I do! My workplace is incredibly understanding and I know if I needed anything or asked for support they would do everything they can and I am so grateful. My parents and partner are the same, I know I can count on them, I need to learn how to accept support and care from those around me. 

Too many things going on can also cause sensory overloads, parties, large gatherings and many other events are a real challenge for someone like me. If I am in a good place in my life (emotionally, mentally) or have had an adequate amount of sleep then I will be able to handle the situation much better but sounds and sight may affect my ability to focus. A busy, chatty office is not ideal especially if I am having a tough time personally. Sometimes my issues with focusing or staying on task can seem a bit rude but I honestly don’t mean it, its either have a blank confused Morgan or have a crying hunched over in a corner rocking Morgan. Something like a hum or tapping may seem like nothing to you but to me it’s a hoard of mopeds racing past you or a bunch of fireworks going off in a bathroom one by one while you stand in the middle…I even avoid most movies especially if they’re action or thrillers; the images are moving too fast, the sound is too loud, there’s too much blood which can all cause a sensory overload. Even just hearing the theme song for the famous casualty show makes me have an anxiety attack. It feels like everything is trying to get you and you cant run away, the pain is so intense and overwhelming the only thing you can do is shut down, cry or stim.  Those with a form of Autism are not the only ones who can experience sensory overloads, there are plenty of other conditions that also have sensory overloads regularly. 

END NOTES-

Are there any positives to being sensitive and having heightened senses? Yes, there’s plenty of positives to being like this. For starters I can hear frequencies that others cannot, I will notice small details (highly detail orientated) and problems much quicker and easier. I can find wally very quickly and solving puzzles and problems come naturally and easily to me haha. I pay attention to the details and the whole pictures fits into place a lot easier. We are more likely to notice details than the neurotypical mind which makes us great for certain jobs and careers but of course again we are all very different, so some of us may be detail orientated and others will have traits that will suit them better for other roles. 

To some people sensory problems seem silly and I have had many people roll their eyes or tell me to get on with it but to me these sensory issues can cause trauma, sickness, anxiety and even prevent me from doing my daily tasks. This isn’t something we can just “get over”, sometimes we never find coping mechanisms to deal with our problems and instead we avoid. Don’t push someone to eat something or do something that makes them feel uncomfortable including those who don’t appear to have a form of Autism, you don’t know how they feel and it could be much stronger than how you feel about it. Give each other time, space and care so that we can all grow and learn how to cope together, I find that I am learning how to live more comfortably all the time and I know others have had similar growth. Each of us feel differently and you must remember that something that may not bother you could bother someone else. What you find easy may not be easy for us or others. I try to be mindful but I know its hard sometimes so just try your best and that’s all that matters 🙂 

Unsure who made this short comic but it felt very relatable 🙂

What is Asperger’s?

This post is just a brief explanation, Asperger’s is a lot deeper and there are far more things to share about the diagnosis than what I have written. Please remember we are each individuals and just like neurotypicals you cannot define us with a single definition or diagnosis.  

Most people, especially those who are neurotypical describe and act as though Asperger’s and other forms of Autism are diseases with no cures and dread to hear the words mentioned about their child. In fact it’s a neurological disorder which you are born with and there is little evidence proving the cause and exact reason why some of us are born with it. Family history has been seen to play a part in the development. It is also much more common to diagnose boys rather than girls this may be because on average women will present differently to men. Asperger’s is quite often diagnosed later in life especially for women, this can be really hard for us with Asperger’s as this means we have gone through life being misunderstood and hurt due to a lack of understanding. 

Asperger’s is normally referred to as “high-functioning” which means we normally have above or average intelligence, we normally develop as normal or slightly faster than peers however, suffer in the social and mental health department. This makes it harder for those with Asperger’s to be diagnosed at a very young age as they may perform well until something is presented in their life that challengers them. I for instance didn’t have many obvious negatives growing up (no more than any child of course) and most of the “quirks” I had actually helped me to do so well in school and develop. However, later in life I began to show a lot more negative symptoms and began isolating myself as well as social and emotional problems. Masking or pretending to be someone I am not during most of my life finely took a toll on me. After having my first life changing break down my mum fought extremely hard with the health system and I got a diagnosis. If this hadn’t happened maybe it would’ve taken even longer to present. 

It can be a super power, a curse or both at the same time however, no two people present the same, so each of us with a form of autism will be different and will struggle and succeed in different ways. Treatment to help ease the negative symptoms should be unique to the individual as we are all different. Boys and girls will present differently as well. 

I do not need a cure, I do not have a disease I am just different in some ways this can make me better at some things however, it can also make me worse in other things but this is a journey and there’s no easy fix for anyone. 

I am “too sensitive” and this hurts me greatly, I feel far too much compared to an NT (neurotypical) this is both a blessing and a curse, I am able to feel complex emotions however, it can be hard to control them and may cause outbursts. Heightened emotions and empathy sometimes means those of us with Asperger’s struggle to process and show them so it appears that we lack emotion when in fact most of us feel it much more. Of course some of us lack emotion and this is fine as many NTs have also had this present. 

The communication problems usually arise when the NTs(Neurotypicals) and autistic people try to communicate to one another. We tend to be more direct, honest (which normally appears as rude to NTs) and efficient, however, those without autism tend to rely on body language, complicated social dances and unspoken rules which is so very hard for some of us.

Imagine being told to play a brand new game or build a piece of furniture without being given a manual, that’s what it can be like for us to live around others. Communication is a two way street, you cant expect us to change ourselves to suit you because you’re idea of normality is different. It’s a lot of energy and effort to fit in for anyone let alone for someone with a disorder, try and put in some effort too then we can meet in the middle and it’ll make it easier for the both of us haha. 🙂 There people with autism who do not communicate via voice, they may still understand and be able to communicate in other ways so please don’t assume anything. I find I act very different and mask around my family. Around others I mask in a different way again, I feel I am only truly me around my partner and parents.

Social isolation is very common and not always intentional because sometimes its easier and less exhausting than masking. Some of us can be expressionless (or have little expressions) and speak in a monotone like voice.

Stimming is another big part of being Asperger’s or well a majority of us will have heard of this. Just a quick question, do you click your pen, tap your fingers or shake your leg? Well that’s considered a stim. NTs and those of us with Asperger’s all stim however, we tend to stim much more or in different ways that are considered as negative or more obvious. Again some of us may not stim much at all but on average we will stim more than NTs. This can include rocking on chairs, swaying, spinning or twirling yourself or objects around you, head hitting, repetitive behaviours, hand picking or tapping, hair pulling or twisting and chewing of clothes, fingers and hair. These seem to be the stims I see pop up the most in the community. There are many others that I have not mentioned. Most of the time safe stimming should be encouraged not frowned upon, it is considered self-soothing and calming. 

Issues with planning, organising, time management are very common (women with Asperger’s have mentioned this more frequently) as well as being able to hyper-focus, because of these we tend to overthink and often feel unmotivated or lazy. This will then lead us to question our intelligence as well as worth as we may not be able to do things as easily as others and this is detrimental to our health.

It makes me very low and insignificant. You cant expect a fish to climb a tree as a monkey would. Whether you’re Asperger’s or not we each need to remember that our talents may not be the same as the next person and sometimes some people are unable to do things that you can do. 

Hyper focusing for me is helpful, it allows me to complete tasks and learn new things much quicker especially when it’s a special interest. 

Special interests should be encouraged and could pave the way for future goals, enhances pleasure and may help us make friends. Special interests can be for a range of things such as; trains, animals, numbers, quotes, books, films, music and so much more, a special interest is much more than a passion to us with Asperger’s (I will explain further at a later date). 

Being different is what makes us special, both Asperger’s and Neurotypicals are wonderful. 

Even if there were no labels we would all still be different and that’s so important to remember you are worth just as much as anyone else so don’t let others define who you are. 

Both images belong to rightful owners.

Happy Easter

Happy Easter! I love this time of year, its starting to get warm, the animals are all coming out and I overall get more sunshine and enjoy the outdoors. Of course I also feel more inclined to bake, below I’ll share some of my favourite bakes from the previous year. One of my many special interests is baking.

I have a few special interests, being Aspergers this can sometimes be perceived as “obsessions” but I can hyper focus and learn how to do things that relate to my special interests much faster than the average person, in general people tend to be able to learn better when passionate and it is the same for us. Being Aspergers means that I normally excel in the subjects I “obess”/have a special interest in. Hyper-focusing is a skill that I have that allows me to put all of my attention on one thing whereas many people especially those without Aspergers don’t have the ability to do this whereas it comes naturally to me even with subjects of little interest. Some of us don’t have this and some of us have things that are way better, we are all very different 🙂

Just above are some treats I made for Halloween, this includes a brain cake which was inspired by Rosanna Pansino (I had to change the recipe as I was unable to find half of the ingredients at the time). Considering I didn’t use the same recipe etc I thought it turned out well and my parents and partner seemed to love it, it also went down well at the Halloween party.  But seriously I think Rosanna is great and I may not be the target audience but I love her baking skills!

HOW TO MAKE A BRAIN CAKE – NERDY NUMMIES 

I also love making brownies so there’s a couple of images of some brownies I’ve baked, I almost always make them different every time but I like using this recipe; https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/best-ever-chocolate-brownies-recipe

There are also some Pretzels which have a green milk chocolate and mint coating, a general chocolate coating and caramel and cinnamon coating.  For parties I always love covering everything with sprinkles because who doesn’t love them. 

Here are some random pictures of bakes I like to do such as; marble cake, cinnamon buns, banana cake, cinnamon toffee popcorn (aware its not really a baked good though haha), chocolate chip cookies, anything rainbow and double chocolate cake. I’ll give any bake a go 🙂

However, I would like to share some bakes that I did last year and this year for Easter.

I made little chocolate cupcakes with bunny bums and chocolate nests with m&ms (last year I couldn’t find any mini eggs AT ALL). This year I made a chocolate Bundt cake with an orange chocolate rice krispie treat nest with mini eggs and drizzle. It looks rather dry and I was really worried it would be all lumpy and hard to swallow however, it was very surprising. It wasn’t dry and even a day after it has kept its moisture. I find chocolate cake can be very dry at times but I was very pleased! Of course I did a generic chocolate rice krispie treat as well.

Easter Bundt cake

Ingredients

  • 220g of butter (I use half salted/lightly salted and then unsalted for the rest)
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 200g dark chocolate (I used 100g orange Bounville and 100g normal Bounville)
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (you could use orange extract)
  • 320g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 120ml buttermilk (I made this by using Lemon juice and normal milk and letting it sit for a few minutes)

For the decoration;

  • 150g of orange Bounville Chocolate
  • 50g Rice krispies or coco pops
  • 20 mini eggs
  • A splash of milk
  • 1 table spoon of sprinkles

You can add some golden syrup to make this a richer rice Krispy treat.

Method;

  1. Preheat the oven (gas 3, 170°C, fan 150°C). 
  2. Use some butter to make sure the Bundt tin is greased then lightly dust with cocoa powder, make sure you remove any excess powder by shaking. 
  3. Next melt the butter and chocolate chunks in a heatproof bowl, to do this you have to pop a pan with some simmering water in it on the oven (make sure it is not boiling and ensure that the water isn’t touching the bottom of the bowl) stir the mixture often. 
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, eggs and extract until light in colour. 
  5. Stir the cocoa powder, flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and buttermilk into the chocolate and butter mixture, then fold in the sugar and egg mixture until it is all combined (make sure all the powders are sifted to reduce lumps). 
  6. Pour the fully combined mixture into the Bundt tin and tap the tin on the worksurface which will help remove any air bubbles. 
  7. Bake between 45mins to an hour, check with a skewer by pushing it into the middle and when it comes out clean it should be done (I should’ve took it out earlier than an hour to ensure it was for sure not dry). 
  8. Cool in the tin for 20 mins, then turn over and take it out to cool on a wire rack.
  9. For the decoration, melt the chocolate like you did for the cake (in a heatproof bowl over a simmering pan). 
  10. Mix just over half of the melted chocolate with the rice krispies. I popped the rice krispies into the middle of the Bundt cake and then pushed the mini eggs on top. 
  11. Move the cake to a serving plate and then drizzle the rest of the melted chocolate and top with sprinkles and mini eggs. This can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

I love baking and due to always having lots of ingredients I took this hard time to bake a bit and try new things!

Everyone please stay safe and ensure that you are not putting anyone else at risk and even with this lovely weather and holiday weekend please try and stay home. Go for a short walk somewhere safe and don’t risk others lives or your own!

We all have to try together to keep each other safe, it might suck but this isn’t forever ❤

Working in IT

To begin with I am only really starting my journey in the technology field in the sense of a full time, permanent focused IT job. 

I am going to try and write an introduction about my career ideas through my life because even though I really liked technology and was good at handling it growing up, it certainly wasn’t the career path that I thought I’d take. 

If you just want to read what my experience working in IT is like as both a woman and being Asperger’s then just skip to after the image in this post 🙂 

I always wanted to be a vet, doctor or zoologist as I loved animals and learning about the body. I ended up losing the love to be a vet rather soon as I realised that it was exactly for me. Later on in my life I lost people and it crushed me but I knew that the important thing to think about is the times they were alive instead of thinking about the fact that they’re gone. So I continued to pursue my career as a doctor; nursing and psychology slipped through during secondary school. 

I fell in love, psychology, the subject that just kept me awake at night, so many questions and so much to read and learn. Baring in mind I was only about 11 when my love of psychology really kicked in, both of my parents have a huge interest and lots of knowledge in the mental health, behaviour and psychology fields. So I always had my own therapists at home who could read me like a book no matter what haha…

I started working in a garden centre in 2014, I stayed there till late in 2016, I loved helping people even in the most simple of ways by helping them find what type of dog food is best. 

I was doing really well in ICT and when I was picking my GCSEs my teacher heavily suggested I take CIDA (Certificate in digital applications) which was our version of IT/ICT. I did later choose to take CIDA, I ended up completing my GCSE 6 months early, I loved it more than anything and I found it came naturally to me. I got to build my own game and website which was just awesome to me and the exam went really smooth for me. It combined my love of creative technology and logic based technology.

I first went to a grammar school to start taking my A levels, the first problem I encountered was the fact they refused to allow me to study computer tech, I finished all the summer tasks and got top grades in them yet they still refused (the actual lecturer didn’t mind and was confused why they wouldn’t let me). My previous teacher wrote letters to the school to prove that I was more than capable and showed evidence but alas the headmaster didn’t care and it crushed my hopes. I was sent to study ICT which doesn’t sound too bad but the curriculum was awful and I may have also been a tad bitter 😉 

In 2016 I left my job in the garden centre to work in a supermarket, this wasn’t the best experience in my life especially compared to my lovely job at the garden centre but due to the location it was easier to get to work. 

I ended up quitting the grammar school and moved to the wonderful Highlands College; yes I name dropped and sorry if that isn’t allowed but I have to, that college was the reason I regained my love for technology and my love of working with people came back, my mental health got so much better. They supported me during my diagnosis and allowed me to go home a lot or go to work due to already handing in my assignments, yes I was that person who handed in work extra early. They helped me when I was bullied and I’m going to be honest I loved the teachers so much. 

In 2017 I started working in a pharmacy and even though I was very conflicted about going into pharmaceuticals, IT or uni. I ended up being very lucky and getting onto a tech apprenticeship scheme. However, after about a year I thought the apprenticeship wasn’t for me and after a little break and trying different options I came back into an IT Service analyst role (to the same company that I did the apprenticeship with) which suits me a lot better at this time. My goal is to combine psychology with IT as its such an important combination. 

I have studied IT and technology subjects for a long time now and I have worked in the Tech area for about a year and a half (it’ll be two years in the summer). I feel that I am very lucky with the company I currently work for, they are very kind, understanding and inclusive. Whenever I have an issue it is almost always solved or at least discussed so I or others who need to, understand. 

I honestly don’t have many negatives about my experiences. In terms of gender, I have to admit the lack of women in the field is rather shocking, this isn’t the companies problem this is because I don’t think many of us go into the field and I don’t necessarily think its because of lack of encouragement. 

While in school I noticed little to no interest in IT from my female peers, when I was in college there were a few female students however they didn’t seem very bothered about progression and most of them said they took the subject because they didn’t have anything else to do and they thought it would be easy. 

I met one or two female students in secondary school who seemed to have a slight interest however they seemed to prefer many other subjects and there were one or two women within college who were very good and very positive about the subject. 

I think companies could try and advertise IT as a subject that is taken by both men and women but with my experiences they’re waiting too long to do this because by time GCSEs came around I saw no other woman even slightly interested in the subject, I was the only girl in my class and then during college the women around me were very negative towards the IT field, telling me they hated it, it was boring and many of them struggled to keep up with the work and complete tasks. 

I do believe that this was just an anomaly as I see more young girls getting into IT in schools now which is lovely but a career is based on interest and sometimes IT is just not interesting for some of us, it was for me and that’s why I came back! I love IT because it is an everchanging and expanding subjects with hundreds of topics and fields to go into. 

Please go and try and reach your dream, if someone says you cant just keep trying. Do not punish yourself if you cant reach them right now, you will find your place I’m sure, speak to others and make sure there’s a good support network and look after yourself!

In regards to being Asperger’s and working in general, I didn’t like retail that much and it wasn’t the people that made it bad, I actually didn’t mind talking to people in fact I was rather good at it (or at least I thought so) I never had complaints and if I couldn’t help I’d find someone who could so I was very lucky on that front. 

The worst part about working in retail were the sensory issues; I didn’t like the bright lights and buzzing of the freezers upset me a lot in the supermarket. 

When I worked in the pharmacy this reduced slightly, other than the lights of course, however there was now another problem…the germs. I felt as though I had to wash my hands every time I touched something or whenever I had to touch something. It got to the point where my already existing germ fearing issue got worse due to my job. 

I have issues when I am unable to wash my hands, I feel my chest tightening, I struggle to breathe and I’m overall very techy, uncomfortable and upset. 

I feel as though my work made it more of an issue however due to working in a small area I could access a sink whenever I wanted and this lead to very dry and cracked hands and arms. I have very sensitive skin and the continuous hand washing made this so much worse. 

Once I left this job and began working in IT this anxiety around germs lifted massively, not only are the people around me really clean but I am also working in internal IT so I don’t often go out of the office or see members of the public. 

The noise levels can sometimes be an issue but I have headphones and the team I work with are lovely so they often have nice topics of choice or interesting knowledge to show me. 

Overall my anxiety has gotten better since I started back at this workplace, admittedly we are all working from home due to the virus so that’s given me time to get both feet on the ground and do some studying and research around the areas of my job. 

Sometimes those of us with Asperger’s just need a bit more time adjusting to big changes, I am overall fine with change in my life when it comes to studying or what type of work I am doing however a desk move or members of staff leaving or even a change in the office can make me feel a bit uneasy. 

I have been spending a lot of my life, even before my diagnosis, learning knew ways to cope to make me more at ease during stressful moments in life as I am a naturally nervous person. This has had both a negative and positive affect on my life, I tend to bottle my feelings up and forget that getting a bit stressed or worried is normal. I am a very nervous person, filled with nervous energy, I shake, pace and massively overthink without even realising it because I have found a way to bottle up the generic anxiety/stress feelings which I should instead learn to realise, accept and make more positive ways to cope with instead of hiding it. Everyone needs to be honest with themselves sometimes and I am lucky I work somewhere I do and they understand so I can instead of saying “I’m fine” just be honest and admit that sometimes I’m not. It’s honestly ok to not be ok sometimes, its noticing when you’re not ok and then finding ways to make sure you are ok, whether that’s by doing a certain activity you love, speaking to someone or even just having a little break.

I think more companies need to be like the one I work for especially when it comes to the technology or non client facing teams. 

We are able to wear clothes of our own choice as long as they’re appropriate which lessens one of my sensory issues, I don’t need to wear horrible scratchy clothes. The flexible time is wonderful so if I need to complete a task at a certain time means that I can, I can also be very flexible with what I do especially at the moment, I am currently working in a different area and learning new skills that a lot of other companies wouldn’t support workers to do.

As well as also being able to be open to managers about how I feel or if I don’t like a particular thing about my day or work I can just have a chat and we can figure out how to make it more comfortable. I’m not saying I can pick and choose but I am able to ask for help or get some support which I think is really lovely this massively reduces worries and anxieties around the work place which means you don’t feel nervous about going into work. 

Overall working in IT is for me; I really like the group of people I am surrounded by and I cant wait for things to one day go back to normal and I can see them all again like normal. I have had some bad experiences in life just like everyone but I believe that I am incredibly lucky and through everything I have met some lovely people who have really impacted my life and I am very thankful for them. Thank you. 

Before and after my assessment

When I ended up getting an assessment and was finely diagnosed with high functioning Asperger’s, a lot of my life changed surprisingly. 

What I like to remember and what I wish I could say to everyone going through this is, no matter what you’re diagnosed with you are still you and don’t listen to the negative way that people may react when you let them know. 

This post is about the day of my assessment, and what happened shortly after, I have not included the leading up or anything before/a while after etc. 

I was just about to turn 18 when I had a date for my assessment, on the day me and my parents had to be at the centre, it was key that my parents expressed what they saw while I grew up. Childhood is a very important stage of the process. AT the beginning of the assessment I was interviewed by two professionals and my parents were in another room being interviewed separately by the third professional. During my assessment I was asked to do various puzzles, read a book and choose a preferred activity as well as answer some questions about my life and feelings. Other peoples assessments may vary, this was my assessment personally. 

My parents were asked many questions regarding my physical health, mental abilities and my academic level and progress during childhood and currently. The questions varied from pregnancy till the present day, they asked questions about my eye sight and hearing, my speech. What I was like with food also came up in questions. The developmental stages were a large component of the assessment for example, when did I talk, walk and complete motor skill. 

They questioned what my special interests were (if any) and how they impacted my life. My thought process was also questioned, we all responded with the fact I can concentrate on a task and learn knew skills much quicker than my peers and the response was that may be because I was hyper-focusing and or it was a special interest. 

I have a lot of issues regarding my senses however, I have learnt to hide my feelings and reactions in order to create a more “acceptable” persona around family, friends and the public, I am able to be myself fully around my parents only and getting closer to being this way with my partner. The senses that I find are very heightened for me are; my sight, my sense of smell, hearing and my most affected, touch. I get regular migraines due to light sensitivity, I can find strong smells very overwhelming and may cause me to feel unwell or again a migraine. I am very sensitive to loud or specific noises, I can often hear things that others cannot or notice things that other may not notice till it is pointed out to them. Touch is very sensitive for me, it is almost like I feel textures on a whole knew level which can cause me to itch, gag or just in general feel very uncomfortable to the point where I need to leave. Food has been impacted massively due to my sensory issues, I have struggled with eating my whole life and at one stage just stopped eating normally for months, I would live on one snack a day and only water. I do love vegetables and fruit due to their water content and lack of textures. I was labelled “gifted” while growing up due to my fast learning and progression capabilities, I learnt how to talk and walk by the age of one, I went partially mute during secondary school due to anxiety traits and other issues however could talk happily with those I trusted or knew personally. 

After my diagnosis I had mixed reactions, some of the people in my life receded and acted as though I was diagnosed with some horrible life threatening disease. They would walk away and soon ghost me online and even in real life. I assumed it was because they no longer knew how to act around me, maybe they were worried about offending me or saying the wrong thing. I felt like begging them to realise that I am still me and the same person I was before. Not that that would’ve fixed anything. 

I know some people left my life because they were embarrassed or mortified to be associated with “someone like me” which hurt the most and then there were a lot of people who dismissed my diagnosis, ignored it or fully denied that I was different. I have felt very alone during the last few years while I have become accepting of my life long condition, I wish I had more people around who understood me or at least tried to understand. I was lucky to have my wonderful parents because without them I am not sure I would’ve come out the other end. I would’ve been so happy if people in my life had just asked me questions or maybe just looked at the definition so they could start to accept or respect me and who I am. I am not afraid of who I am or to talk about who I am. I think I let some of these negative reactions stunt my acceptance process which led me to be in denial for quite a few years in fact I only just decided to really accept myself in the past year. I find it is very important to learn about what loved ones are going through and ignoring or waiting for something to go away or get fixed can really hurt their minds. There is no cure, this is a neurological disorder that I was born with and I will live with my whole life and having a good support system is key. 

I urge families who may have loved ones who have similar issues, just maybe read an article or try to understand so that they don’t feel so alone or like an outsider in their own family. It is so easy to accidently do this because you may think “oh they’ll understand” when maybe they don’t, just because you understand something doesn’t mean the next person will. Dismissal is always the worst and most confusing reaction I have ever received, I have also had plenty of people act like it never happen or they continue to dismiss me because they don’t understand or underestimate what I have experienced with mental health and this neurological diagnosis due to not understanding themselves. 

Even though I have a lot of talents that the general average NT(neurotypical) will never have I still get dismissed and underestimated due to age which with my condition is actually irrelevant due to being able to self teach and learn knew tasks in a much shorter amount of time…as long as the motivation is there haha! If there is no motivation then there may never be progression. 😀

My mum and dad have always been the best they can be and have always been there for me even when I was a pain in the bum. Me and my parents have always had a really great family unit and mutual connection which has enabled us to be who we are with little to no secrets. This allowed me to learn and develop as a child and I believe I was very lucky because this may have been the reason why I don’t have as many behavioural problems as many other individuals with this diagnosis. A lot of others find our relationship rather strange as we are so open together and don’t have a problem talking about taboo subjects. Even though it was late in my teens when I was diagnosed we all knew there was something different and due to it not being negative we auto-adjusted to fit. All three of us are different in our own ways but fit together to make a great family unit.  ❤

Even after all of this, I still have a lot of trouble dealing with those in my life, the main issues that I have are with those who believe age=better when in some cases I believe motivation and passion=better, you can be older and have little to show for yourself and some of the young people I have met have shown far more and impressive minds than those I know who are much older! Or of course it can go the other way haha! We are all different and this goes for both NTs and us, don’t underestimate anyone because everyone can surprise you, in both negative and positive ways. 

❤ During these hard times we are all tense and stressed so please remember to care for yourself and others around you. Maybe have a little think about what you say to others, I know I fall short with this sometimes as I am VERY passionate and this can come across as arrogant even when I was meant to just help/inform someone, (sadly my Asperger’s plays a big part in this trait according to my doctors haha) but I am working on this but its a bit hard when your brain just keeps telling you”Morgan they need to know so nothing bad happens” at least be polite brain *sigh*.

Don’t be too quick to judge as everyone has secret feelings and worries that they may not be sharing especially during this time, just try your best to be positive and if you do feel those negative feelings creeping in, chat to someone about it and try not to be too shy as you may be surprised and talking may help sometimes. If not find a plate or a cup you really hate and throw it at a wall…metaphorically 😀 ❤