Adopt don’t shop

In my previous post I share some Information and news about my new puppy…I also mention that I in fact shopped and did not adopt. HOWEVER, it wasn’t because I wanted to exactly, the plan was to adopt. We live on an island and due to political and well, government changes around the world, adopting has been really hard. We started looking back last year when we initially moved out and had little to no success.

We would fall in love with a dog only to have someone who lives closer get the success of adopting them instead of us. My parents work shifts and I love to be able to baby sit the family dog who is a big brown lab! This meant that I wanted a dog that was guaranteed to be safe with other dogs, not to mention a number of children born in my family in the past few years so yet again another box that needs ticking…child friendly was also a must. We also have a pet rabbit so even more tick boxes, as you may already have guessed…we weren’t very successful at any rescues.

Our family dog Dexter

The perfect dog would appear; good with kids, great with other dogs and animals…then in the small print…MUST live with another dog…I was not prepared to adopt two dogs at once so that was out of the question. I am also not that experienced when it comes to dogs with certain medical or behavioural issues so I did not feel comfortable having a dog with either of these issues straight off the bat as my first personal dog as I believed I needed at least a bit more experience first. If this goes well and a dog pops up in a rescue I would be more than happy and comfortable looking at adopting! Overall it is easier to buy a particular breed so that you know what its family line was like, what the behaviour or medical conditions may be like etc, I am not saying go and buy a dog but when you want that kind of security with a first dog then look into SAFE, ETHICAL, RESPONSIBLE breeders! Please speak to your vet, the kennel club etc to ensure you’re not purchasing a puppy from a negative breeder!

My partner has never had a dog let alone a puppy and I really did think it would be a cool experience for him at least once! Now came the hard part…what breed would we like? I love every single dog so I found this VERY hard. I had always dreamed of a Corgi or a Bernese Mountain dog, Spaniels or even a Bull Mastiff. But what breed is reliable, easy to train, full of energy, great family pet and normally LOVES the water? Well that would be the Labrador! I have also had a lab in the family who of course is still with my mum and dad and he’s honestly one of my favourite beings on this planet. I love the temperament that labs tend to have, they’re high energy and love the water which is great when you live on an island surrounded by beaches! We also wanted a working line lab much like our family dog as I just prefer the higher energy and slimmer look of them compared to the show line.

Obi just looking adorable!

Bringing Obi home was a crazy adventure…so I will be writing about that in the next post! Thank you so much for reading and continuing to support me 🙂 I hope you’re all doing well during and have a great day!

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 🙂

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 😀 ❤

Things to do during lockdown

I am aware so many people have posted about this topic but I think it’s great to get some ideas even if most ideas are recycled on different posts 🙂 

During these hard times I know there is a lot of tension and a lot of anxiety, but we have to try and find things that can help us distract ourselves.

There are so many different things to do during this time that can even help you learn new skills or even improve on skills you already have!

I personally like to work from home and it also gives me my own space that I can also study in, I have to admit I am very lucky that I work in IT as I am able to work remotely. Due to putting some of my tasks on pause as we’re no longer allowed in the office it leaves me more time to try out some other tasks in different areas of IT which is really cool. 

The different things I have been doing to keep myself busy vary, for starters I have decided to write this blog which even with no one really reading it, it still makes me feel like I’m socialising haha. I am looking at different resources to study for some professional qualifications which I know will help me in my current job and future tasks, I tend to include some studying into my work day as well!

I am playing a lot of animal crossing which came out on the 20th of March which may not be very productive but it certainly makes me happy and I think during this time doing things that make you happy is essential! Exercise is also very important, I am currently writing up a study and exercise plan for both me and my partner to get on with to ensure we continue to look after our health even while in lockdown! Exercise is so important for both mental and physical health, even if you really don’t feel like doing anything why not try and do some yoga, I love doing a bit of flow yoga or hatha. I find yoga enables me to stretch and think while building some nice muscle to ensure that when this is all over I can still walk 😉 

Me and my partner are also trying to dedicate a minimum of 30 minutes a day to go for a walk with the dog and just forget about work for a bit, which I find is more important for him more than me as I feel as though he works too hard sometimes 🙂 

I am also reading a lot, I think in the past few weeks I have read about 2 books and started another 2, my goal is a minimum of 15 books so along with the books I read in Jan and Feb I think I can get to 15! 

I am very lucky I live with others because I am able to socialise with my household if I really want to and also have my own space! This also means I can spend a lot of time, when I am bored, talking and chatting…and drinking lots of tea and coffee. 

As for a lot of other people I know some of these things are unavailable or just not possible at the moment but there are plenty of things that you can maybe try that can make you feel a bit less alone or bored. 

Some of these ideas may not be for you so please don’t do anything that you’re not comfortable with! 

I find that some form of exercise is great, it can keep you fit even if you have to work out indoors and can add something to your day, produce some nice happy hormones and just overall hopefully make you feel happier! Below I will link some cool sites that I use for both yoga and indoor exercises with little to no equipment! Make sure you look after your mind as much as your body.

Home – Day 1 – Recognize  |  30 Days of Yoga With Adriene

The Best 15-Minute Beginner Workout — No Equipment Needed | Class FitSugar

Home Exercises for Kids

Read, learn and improve your skills, maybe you’ve always wanted to learn a language or a new skill, why not try to use apps or online educations sites such as Babbel and Udemy! I use Udemy for both personal and work reasons, I find they have such a crazy selection of courses that are really affordable and if you don’t enjoy it when you start you are able to get refunded and maybe try another one! I am currently learning some skills within the Linux area and Cognitive behaviour therapy sector (CBT). I have a big passion around Psychology and Behavioural subjects, I am always looking at ways to improve my understanding of people, being Aspergers I also do lots of research on other who have ASD so I can better understand myself and others in the community. 

There are lots of things to do during lockdown but just remember to be safe and look after yourself and other people who may be vulnerable in the community. I have only suggested a few things that I have seen other people doing including myself! But please look after yourself, stay safe and try to stay positive, we’re all in this together ❤ 

Some good sources that I like-

Study-

https://uk.babbel.com

https://www.udemy.com

Exercise and relaxation- 

https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene

https://www.youtube.com/user/popsugartvfit

20 Minute Mindfulness Meditation for Being Present / Mindful Movement

Creative- 

https://www.youtube.com/user/GeniunelyMoriah

Simple Steps to Learn a New Skill

https://www.goodreads.com