Feeling Overwhelmed

I wasn’t sure what to write about today. then I thought with this being a real and honest autism blog, the best thing I could write about is something that is affecting me today.  and today I am feeling overwhelmed and I honestly have no idea why!

Being autistic, sometimes it is easy to feel this way! often times the feeling comes because of some external factors i.e. something going on around us making us feel this way. this is the most logical explanation. but what happens when there is simply nothing going on around us? like me today I am currently sitting in a very quiet dining room in a quiet house with two dogs sleeping quietly near me. the light level is fine, the house is warm but not so warm where I would sweat and as I said previously, it is quiet and yet I still find myself feeling overwhelmed! I’m not particularly worried about anything and although things could be better, I’m certainly not stressing about anything as such! 

so what can I do then? I find myself asking. I usually find watching some YouTube videos and having a bite to eat is a great place to start! maybe play a video game after I have eaten or listen to some music! the point is when we feel like this it is ok to look after yourself and bring yourself down to a comfortable place, especially if there are things to be done. if we don’t address the overwhelmed feelings as soon as we can then we will often stay in this mental state all day and feel worse after not getting anything done! it’s usually best to get it out of the way so you have far more of your day to be positive and get done what needs to be done.

it is always important to remember that it is absolutely ok not to be ok but it is equally important to not allow ourselves to be consumed by the feelings, this is why self-care is so important to mental wellness and if you need to take time to focus on yourself then that’s great! find yourself a good book and a comfy spot, watch YouTube videos, eat some of your favourite food, take a bath with candles, crawl into your own blanket fort and watch movies – do whatever it is that will make you feel more like you again! and remember those feelings are not a forever thing!

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Chewigem Hand Fidget -Product review

A friend of mine sent this to me and I received it fairly recently and I have to say this is one of my most favourite fidget toy in the whole world! The first thing I noticed when I took it out of the packaging was how satisfyingly soft the fidget is! It’s smooth and very nice to hold! The next amazing thing about it is how quiet it is to fidget with, the berry in the centre moves very smoothly and is equally as satisfying to sit and roll with the thumb. I have an awful habit of clenching my jaw when I get stressed out or mad at something and this has enough durability for me to chew on instead of clenching my jaw so it saves my teeth a little bit! This fidget is perfect for people with busy hands and the urge to chew on things they shouldn’t! It’s versatile and amazing! The Chewigem Hand fidget is available in Camo (pictured), joy, orange and blue and also pink and yellow colour schemes and is only £11.95 from their website! This fidget toy is AMAZING and you should definitely invest in one!

chewigem

Tangles! – Product Review

I bought my first tangle about 2 years ago when I worked in a really stressful environment and I found they helped take the edge off as I was able to distract my mind by fidgeting with it, I worked with someone who suffered from anxiety and I gave her one of my Tangles and she also noted that they helped her! now to this day I don’t go anywhere without a tangle in my pocket or in my backpack and I consider it a vital part of my “panic pack” they help me self-regulate on the bus or at the doctors and I even sit at dinner with one!

I went through a period where I would take them apart and mix up the colours to customise them to my own likes I also liked putting them back together in the default colour arrangements! One thing I do like is how tightly the pieces fit each other even after taking them apart several times making them robust and very customisable and great for kids that are quite rough and handsy with their toys! Overall I’d say Tangles are definitely a must have for anyone with ASD, anxiety issues, people who like to fidget and children with focus issues. A very versatile toy suitable for everyone!

tangle

Sensory Owl weighted blanket – Product Review

I received a Weighted blanket from Sensory Owl. this review was originally posted on my Instagram page Captain Autismo click the link to check it out!

sensoryowl

I have read up online about the benefits of weight therapy and the effects of weighted items on people on the autism spectrum and wasn’t sure whether it would help me. Upon receiving the package I proceeded to find myself a comfortable spot to sit and read a book, I folded the blanket once and placed it over my lap to be met with this wonderful feeling of security and comfort! Things that would ordinarily bother me were bothering me less if not, not at all. I spent most of the afternoon like this and thoroughly enjoyed using the blanket!
Then came night time. My partner also expressed her want for trying weight therapy as she has sensory processing disorder! I decided to lay the blanket full stretch over our bed for us to use while sleeping as it is big enough to fit over most of us while lying in the bed. We both woke up feeling well rested and relaxed from our nights’ sleep! I would usually wake up anxious but I awoke from my sleep in a relaxed and happy manner!
I often had underestimated the use of weighted items for therapy before now and I have now realised the benefits after only one day and nights use of this item! I am very much looking forward to my calmer more relaxed future using my weighted blanket! Thank you so much Sensory Owl! You have literally changed my life!

Ark Therapeutic – Product Review

today I am reviewing Ark Therapeutic chewies they so generously sent me! (click the link to go to their web page) I originally posted this on my Captain Autismo Instagram page so if you want to check that out click the link provided!ARK

So to begin with I will start with the Bite Saber! This Chewie has to be one of my favourites at the minute! It comes in an attractive array of colours so there is something to suit everyone! You can also get them in different toughnesses so you can choose a toughness to suit your chewing needs! Because I am a pen chewer this one appeals to me most being pen shaped I have now completely stopped chewing pens and I will chew this instead! In addition to its usefulness, the design of it appeals to my nerdy side! Designed like a Lightsaber from popular Movie series Star Wars loved by adults, teens and children alike, this is very suitable for chewers of all ages!


The next chew I received was the Brick Stick, I was slightly apprehensive about using this one out and about with it being designed like a Lego Brick, I didn’t want people looking on thinking I was chewing Lego but I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to chew and how appealing it was to chew too! The textured back was great as a grip for my teeth and also felt very nice on my tongue. I didn’t really care all that much about what people thought when I was enjoying chewing it so much!


The final chew I received in my package was the Saber Tooth, I love the look of this one as it looks more “grown-up” to wear so is perfect for adult chewers. The only thing I struggled with at first was the smoothness of the chew, there wasn’t anything for my teeth to grip on to and I found the material squeaked off my teeth a bit too much, once I “broke it in” a bit more and chewed it more I found that this went away and I was able to enjoy chewing it without the squeaking.


I received one final item in the package which I found brilliant and that is the chewable business card, it is very nice to chew on and a wonderful marketing technique!
Thank you very much, Ark, for sending me these wonderful chews I am very much enjoying using them!

Stimming – Is it right to prevent Harmless self-stimulatory behaviours?

I recently came across a post – not mentioning any names etc. where a parent posted a lovely video of their child enjoying playing with the door that leads to the toilets in a large chain restaurant. in this video, the child can be seen flapping their hands in enjoyment as they open the door and allowing it to close again. A member of staff is then seen to want to use the door, the child simply stands aside and waits patiently for the person to go through, they then resume playing with the door. This post, on social media site Facebook, was met with mostly positive responses noting how happy the child looked and how precious it was that they were patient when someone needed through. There was, However,  a response or two which sparked this blog post and indeed some personal experience has also inspired this too! The responses in question urged the parent to not allow their child to do this in a public place and my question is why? The child is not causing anyone any harm, they are happy and content surely this is better than the result if this child’s parent was to tell them to stop.

Self-stimulatory behaviours or stimming for short is a way a person self-regulates if there is something positive or negative having an effect on them. in simpler terms, you could say it is output to cover or balance input. From personal experience, stimming allows me to express stress and it equally allows me to express overwhelming happiness or excitement. Being able to stim safely is important to me and I value it very highly. if I was not able to stim I would probably have a much larger meltdown at the end of a day which might result in harmful self-stimulatory behaviour and/or shouting and crying. and it is, in fact, these behaviours we should attempt to prevent.

Public perception is another big subject when it comes to stimming. people are often shocked or intrigued when a person who looks “normal” begins to rock, flap etc. some people think that we should stop them from stimming so that they look more normal and so they won’t become targets for bullying and negative comments. my answer to this, as I am sure it will be with many, is if people are unhappy with it, no one is telling them to look. it is harmless and valuable to the person doing it, who cares what other people think?!

In the past I have been subject to being told to stop flapping and to act my age when I stim in public, I will often stim in public when something is really bothering me, for example on busy buses or trains I will sit and rock in an attempt to soothe myself out of feeling upset and overwhelmed, the rocking often prevents me from crying or lashing out and running away, I would far rather the rocking than crying and running away and I am sure many people would also agree! no one likes people making a scene in public!

To put it very simply, no it is not right to prevent harmless self-stimulatory behaviours! we should all stop caring so much about what other people think of us and start focusing on our selves because autistic people already do a great job of this and aren’t afraid of showing it!