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  1. How does change affect you? I have been going through a lot of changes lately and though most of them have been for the good, as I knew they would be, I had to prepare myself as my aspy side doesn't do well with disruptions of schedule and/or environment. I can react very strongly with inappropriate anger when an unexpected interruption occurs while I am in the middle of doing something I consider important. So I did my best to prepare for retiring from teaching and moving from San Diego to Oregon this summer. Now these changes are usually stressful for anybody, and I handled the strain of packing, travel and setting up in a new home during the Covid pandemic about as well as most people seem to. But, I did so with a constant sense of fear. Sometimes it was a mild feeling of unease, at times a more prevalent sense of fearfulness, and, once I got here to this paradise of a new home, unaccountable panic attacks. I felt like one more change or unexpected event would be the death of me. I literally feared for my life. I was gentle with myself and my NT wife was very supportive. After 6 weeks I've now settled into a very pleasant and productive routine. I share this story in hopes that others in this community will share theirs.
  2. I’m freaking out. You’re freaking out. We are all losing our marbles. We are in a scary time, there’s a lot of uncertainty, a lot of change in routine, and a lot of chaos. At Asperger Experts we aren’t denying that and we don’t want you to deny it either. It is of the utmost importance that for the health of ourselves, our loved ones, our neighbors, and complete strangers that we stringently practice empathy, social distancing, washing hands, and if need be social isolation. But in addition to prioritizing our physical health, it is extremely important that we also preserve our mental health. I’m not going to lie to you, even with a plethora of tools in my toolbox, like many of those reading this I have lost sleep, I have stared blankly at walls, I have worried about bills, I have cried in fear for the safety of my immunocompromised loved ones. Everyone reacts to trauma and anxiety differently, not everything in the below is going to be an ‘aha moment’ for you, but I hope that similar to a lighthouse we can shine a light for one another as together we navigate these rough waves of Covid 19. 1. Know the facts and do the basics. Statistics are hard to talk about in an ever-changing situation, and Covid cases are going to continue to rise in the upcoming days but having an understanding and knowledge of the baseline basics and 101’s through either The World Health Organization or the Center For Disease Control can go a long way. Additionally, for peace of mind make sure that you are taking the right physical steps. Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using alcohol based hand sanitizers as a substitute. Disinfect and clean commonly touched surfaces such as electronics, doorknobs, and countertops. Limit social contact with other people to 6 feet if possible and if possible work from home/school from home. If you can’t work from home, communicating with your employer your fears and setting a plan of action for what can mutually be done to mitigate potential problems is not a bad idea. 2. Health at home. If you’ve enrolled in even a single Asperger Experts course you by now know that the mind and body are connected. Make sure that you are hydrating, eating healthily, getting sleep, maybe doing some yoga or even meditation/breathing exercises. I find myself doing this particular one on average of at least once per day. 3. Turn the news off. I am a news junkie. Human rights? Politics? Coronavirus? I am tracking it and I am slowly taking steps to stop doing so. Following every lead, every diagnosis, every case is a repetitive exposure set up for anxiety. It is incredibly important to be informed, but make sure that you’re limiting the flow of updates to the point that it is not suffocating you. Everyone’s threshold for this is different, but within the last 24 hours i’ve put time restrictions on my facebook and twitter use and already feel significantly happier. If you’re watching the news multiple times a day, try watching once at the end of the day. 4. Distract yourself. For folks on the spectrum, the disruption of normalcy can be incredibly panic-inducing, this is particularly true as we see school closures. If possible, attempt to stick to somewhat of a similar learning routine. On a different note, make sure that you are providing time for flexibility to do what needs to be done to calm oneself down. Do I normally use video games as an unhealthy crux and play for 6 hours a day? No. Did I allow myself to do it last Saturday because that’s what I needed to recharge and reset? Absolutely. It’s okay to lightly bend the rules for safety and security. 5. Do one productive thing per day. In a situation where things are uncertain and we have little to no control, we can build stability by doing even the smallest of things that already exist within our circle. Big tasks. Small tasks. Easy tasks. Hard tasks. Do one productive thing each day to give you that sense of purpose and progress. 6. Practice reframing your thoughts. While it may seem silly, finding different ways to view the situation can provide some mental relief. Look historically, remember how you felt about a previously stressful event and how you think of it now? In 10 years that could likely be you looking back at the coronavirus. Terrified at the thought of being quarantined? Try taking advantage of the time for some self-reflection, goal setting, and maybe even taking care of some projects that you have put on hold. 7. Talk Worried? Let it out. Know that there is incredibly powerful and calming solidarity in having real and genuine conversations about worries and concerns. Someone else worried? Hold space for them, empathize with them, reassure them. Be realistic, yet simultaneously caring with your loved ones. If you have a child on the spectrum, chances are they are going to need more reassurance than in times of less crisis. Practice patience, everyone's concerns are real and valid. If you are concerned about your situation, and need somewhere to blow off steam, feel free to do it in the comment section of this article. Closing thoughts Take care of one another, love one another, don't stock 8 years of toilet paper, we’re all in this together. Keep an eye out for a new course about how to homeschool and community events in the upcoming weeks. - Love Asperger Experts
  3. So... I posted this to my timeline to document and help me cope with the current world as this seems to help me cope a little better and a dear friend suggested that I document things..... This is to give people insight into what this pandemic is like from someone who has autism .... This is not an end all be all fits every situation sort of thing.. I am just documenting it so people can understand how one Aspie is trying to cope.. Right now I am overstimulated by people... news... places.. etc...... I have posted on my timeline in the past about over stimulation and its impacts on someone who is Autistic.... but here is a refresher. over stimulation comes in many many many forms when your autistic.... it can be lighting (florescent lighting for me) it can be noise.... it can be temp. It can be a crowded room or an uncrowded room with few people and everyone yelling..It can be the hum you hear because of electricity (yes I hear the hum) or the flicker of lights to the mhz of electricity.. it really could be anything to be honest.. Right now to me it feels like I am drinking from the fire hose when it comes to stimulation... so even the littlest things trigger stuff.... I have also been having mini melt downs... What is a mini melt down you may ask... glad you asked... a mini meltdown manifests for me in a few ways... In some cases I begin to stutter very badly, other cases I shut down and go silent, there are many many other ways I have mini meltdowns. But, sometimes I also get on a mini emotional roller coaster and overload (I imagine this is how some women who are on their cycle feel though being male I can't confirm)...Imagine breaking out in tears at telling someone thank you for being there.... It is this last one I want to talk about... because I think other Aspies might run into this during this time... so I want people to be aware and understand and help when they can.... So yesterday I went to the store and had a dejavu moment from an event that happened when I was younger. I went to a market in East Germany to buy something. During my trip last night I was having mini meltdowns and did not really realize it until I thought about it today... As I was hunting and gathering I was also watching the workers.. and they seemed very dejected... So I started making it a point of thanking those people for what they were doing... They were literally trying to make me safe.. even though I am sure they do not see it that way.... I do... so I started to walk up to a point (social distancing)... and thank each and every one of them... this is where the roller coaster starts... suddenly I started to get very very sad... and upset.... which triggered stimming.... it also caused me to panic buy some things I did not really have room for. I know some of this is normal herd mentality but some is also Aspie wanting to make sure I am safe and prepared... Sometimes I feel like a damned Boy Scout because of this and you can see it when I go to a con when I bring my full toolkit or my Jewish mother bag full of food on trips (thanks Mom... but to this day I still refuse to eat Vienna sausages (a story for another time))... The point I guess I am trying to make here is for those who are Autistic like me or have relatives who are, children who are... please understand when it seems like we are behaving weirder than normal... its all part of this over-stim situation.. We are trying to cope and adapt.... cause our world of binary rules and decision trees are not working right now... the scrabble board has been tossed in the air and we are scrambling to figure out how to put our world back in order.. so please be a little more patient with us.... cause we usually think NT's are a little bat #@!% crazy in normal situations... imagine that turned up to 11 and that's what we are having to deal with at the moment... and little things can trigger mini meltdowns.... empty shelves...etc... Again... Love each other... help each other and we will get through to the other side.... Closing the Cave door and leaving the candle in the window..
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