How Personal Writing Can Help You

Before I started blogging on here, I ran a style blog and a humor website. I enjoyed it. But I had trouble coming up with content. I thought blogging about my feelings would be easier since I don’t have to make anything up.

But in a lot of ways it’s more difficult.

For one, it makes me feel arrogant. Why would I expect other people to care about my autism? Everyone has problems.

But my therapist thinks personal writing is a great idea for people on the spectrum. A lot of us have a condition called alexithymia. It makes it difficult to identify what we and other people are feeling. We feel a lot of things subconsciously, but we don’t always know how to articulate them. Writing can help us bring those feelings to the surface.


Finding A Pace That Works For You

Despite our stodgy, play-by-the-rules reputation, people on the autism spectrum aren't known for our consistency. I know I'm not. It's taken me a long time to figure out what I need to do to be productive. And I still have a long way to go.

A hallmark of autism is poor executive functioning. That means things like time management, transition of focus, prioritization, and ability to filter out distractions. Many of us need time to recharge in between each task. Like after I go to the gym I'll come back and do something comforting for about an hour so I can move on to the next task. I'll watch an episode of a TV show I've already seen. Or read blogs. My boyfriend recharges with videogames. I think doing repetitive, predictable things helps us stay relaxed so we can take slow steps to move forward. Change, even a miniscule everyday change, can be difficult.

People might call us lazy. They've certainly called me lazy. And from their perspective, that's understandable.


Learning To Let People Accept You

I've always had friends, but I tend to keep them at arms' length. I'm scared they'll get to know the real me. I'm scared that once I get comfortable enough with them, my true, weird, off-putting self will leak out and I'll lose them.

This is especially true with people who are higher than me on the social ladder. I'll get into a friendship with someone who seems a lot more together than me. Or not even more together; just more popular. It goes great at first, but after a while I start to wonder when they're going to figure out what a weird loser I am and I'll slowly start pulling away.

It's a difficult thing to get past. A lot of people with autism have some pretty bad social anxiety because we've been shot down so much in the past. We get so used to people being put off by our exterior: inconsistent body language, monotone voice, blurting out strange things, etc.- that we don't allow ourselves to accept that someone might look past all that because they see something about us that they value in a friend.


I Hate The Term “Aspie”

It’s so stupid. Like why would you infantilize something that’s at least on some level making your life miserable? I know it’s a cute little catchphrase that you can use to identify yourself and seek a community with other people. Like, “Hi, I’m an aspie! Are you an aspie too? Great! Let’s be aspies together!” Fun.

But we all know Asperger’s ain’t cute. It sucks. You don’t have to come up with some silly slang term to acknowledge that you’re a slightly different breed of human. Especially not one that tries to circumvent how crippling your problem can actually be. Judging from how poorly-adjusted most of the people in support groups who use that term are, it doesn’t work.


A Journey Towards Self-Acceptance

Hi everyone! I'm thrilled to start writing for Psych Central. This is my first real writing job. I've always wanted to be a writer. Ever since I was a kid. My first word was "book," which I pronounced  "bak-ee."

But. I've had successes and failures. I've got a ways to go before I can accept myself as a writer and a person. ESPECIALLY as a person on the autism spectrum. If you want to read one of those blogs that extols the simple virtues of somebody's autistic child/sibling/charity case then go somewhere else. I'm going to share what it's like to live every day as a person on the spectrum. The good, the bad, and the ugly. And before I started coming to terms with who I am, it was just the ugly. To be honest, if you'd told me five years ago that I was going to become an "autism writer" I would have laughed in your face.

But people change.


Welcome to I’m Not a Robot

What's it like to live everyday with high-functioning Asperger's Syndrome (what is now referred to as just mild autism)? You're about to find out.

Millions of Americans fall along the autism spectrum somewhere. Gwen Kansen is one of them, and she's going to write about what it's like to live with this disorder on her new blog, I'm Not a Robot. As she says in describing her blog, "It's about feeling like you almost connect...