Unique

We’re told that people on the autistic spectrum are unique; I rather suspect that neurotypical people are as well. We’re just differently unique.

I express this because I recently noticed a theme in my wardrobe choices. Basically, I like a colour or a theme, I tend to purchase almost exclusively on that pallet. Now, considering that I am a Goth, it’s unlikely that I am be seen sporting vibrant pinks, yellows and so on. There is, and always has been a dominant amount of black in my wardrobe. I do, however, really like reds and purples; I noticed this on realising that I brought a second polo shirt in exactly the same shade as my favourite polo shirt.

My wardrobe choices colour-wise are eclectic in style; but colour is clearly predictable. If anyone knows of a nice red fitted shirt, I would be interested as I don’t own a shirt in that colour 😉

 

 

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Anxiety and exams

Do not misunderstand that I have taken and passed far harder exams than a GCSE in Biology; I need a hard science in order to teach primary school, so I have Paper II on Friday.

My anxiety has therefore increased, like many people with autism, my anxiety tends to run higher than average. I’ve been on Sertralin for years now and trying to cope without it just didn’t work for me. Medication helps to restore the balance that my brain doesn’t find without it, in short. The effects of it, are far less than me trying to deal with the world without.

I’ve also returned to yoga, which does help me with core strength and stability as well as balance: all of which are good for a cyclist. The other effect is that I find it helps me to find a place and sense of tranquility when normally I struggle to quiet my mind or body.

So, anyone struggling with anxiety, whether co-existing or not, I highly recommend both medication and yoga.

Anyway, this is a very short entry this week as I’ve revision and training to complete after a few hours of tutoring this morning.

Hurting…

Anyone who is a competitive cyclist has a masochistic streak; training hard hurts, racing hurts.

This weeks training is not as efficient as I would like, I have an exam next Friday so that takes priority; I need a ‘hard science’ at GCSE to teach Primary school, so Biology it is. It’s also good to learn and I believe that that we should continue to learn and develop knowledge and skills throughout life.

Anyway, back to training as it’s something that my follows my obsessive behaviour. Most people with autism will exhibit obsessive behaviour and these passions can become very consuming. We therefore need to moderate time spent on them and that can be difficult as these interests provide us with a great deal of happiness. Mine includes all things to do with mountain bikes and racing them. During the lousy weather I opted to start using a turbo trainer, basically converting a normal mountain bike into a static bike. This allows me chance to train regardless of weather conditions, time of day and so on. I’m also not very good at determining how much is too much and how much is not enough; I tend to ride until time ran out and or my energy was suitably depleted. When I lived in Switzerland, it was not uncommon for me to ride and run on the same afternoon, which is a sign of both commitment and lack of structure.

With the turbo trainer, it can link to various training platforms allowing static training to feel a little more interesting (indoor training is not particularly interesting it must me said). I began by using the Zwift platform which was a good starting point and very much creates a game of riding the turbo. Albeit a game for masochists. I used this for about two months. It was fun, but lacked structure.

Needing to create a more structured training plan meant looking around at the other platforms on the market and there are several. It seems like a growth industry at the moment. I needed to find one that gave structure and was compatible with a basic smart trainer. I will provide links to the resources and equipment I use below. For me, the one which ticked most of the boxes at this point is Sufferfest which provides me with a training plan via another application Training Peaks. This gives me the structure that I crave and hopefully will offer me the performance gains I require.

Training has been hard this week, my thighs are tight, despite using the foam roller and self massage. Yesterday saw my heart rate being far too high, whilst my power output was far lower than I would expect which dictated that I pulled the session earlier than planned and rested. Rest days are not something I’m good with but rest days improve performance and I need to learn to enjoy them. If nothing else, it allows me to catch up on the monumental amount of laundry that indoor training creates!

 

Links:

Equipment I use:

Turbo Trainer

iPad bracket 

Applications:

Zwift 

Sufferfest 

Training Peaks

Can’t wait…

Most of the time, I run one post a week. However, in the spirit of the title I feel it suitable to not have this written in advance and then use the system to auto-publish it later, which is my normal method.

It was mentioned to me about how certain aspects of my behaviour are indicative of ADHD as a co-existing condition. I’m unsure, but it’s certainly worthy of investigation at some point. I’ve always considered myself as restless; others have, in the past used expressions including ‘fitful’.

Put simply, I don’t sit still very easily. The exception being when I have a purpose to being still, then this requires focus, or frankly I am likely to go to sleep (I do this frequently in front of the TV, in the cinema, meetings etc.) In short, I need to have something requiring incredible focus and attention in order to simply be still. This possibly means that training as a primary school teacher will be the most perfect role.

Some elements of my restlessness are ‘stimming behaviour’, I pace and shift my weight around, stretch my limbs out, tap my feet, flap my hands or draw patterns with my extremities. Some of these things become the result of simply me dealing with having to wait…

.. I despise waiting, I obey the rules such as queuing and being polite, but I cannot abide waiting. When things run late, I get really very anxious, I’m not sure why, but it just happens. Maybe it’s why I hate not wearing a watch, I find it unsettling to not have a watch on even when I sleep; I’m currently using a Garmin Fenix 3 and when it’s on charge, I have to put on another watch!

Time

Medic alert

I recently decided that it was time to find a solution for being able to have readily available ID on me. I don’t always carry my wallet whilst riding, these days, I tend to use ApplePay for any small incidentals I might need whilst riding and a wallet just adds bulk to my riding gear. I also still have to transfer my Driving License back to a U.K. one, but not having a car at the moment and only having driven half a dozen times in the last three years, I’m in no particular hurry to give the DVLA anymore money.

I opted to try these via amazon, being reasonably cheap.

IMG_1616

I was surprised that they aren’t actually metal, but plastic with a rather naff brushed metal effect on them. However, aside from the aesthetic, the reverse side has a weblink which links to a platform from you-ID.me (upgradeable and rather expensive of course!) This allows the user to input emergency contact details, NHS number, associated medical conditions, allergies and blood group (if anyone actually knows their blood group). This information is then available to first responders and notifies the user who has accessed this information. The app allows two contacts to be added.

However, does it need to be anything more? No, it’s simply there for emergencies and we all hope that it’s never necessary for anyone to access our medical data. It is easily access and paramedics and other first responders will always check wrists and the neck for ID. So, in that regard, it’s suitable.

On the negatives:-

It’s a very basic item, with a rather basic app and uploading an image always seems to be put the image into portrait irrespective of whether the image is taken in landscape or portrait. Which is a major P.I.T.A.

The app also immediately tries to push a premium service, which I dislike.

I’m not keen on the plastic material, metal discs or tags would been much preferred and I suspect that I will simply transfer the weblink and details onto a simple metal dog tag (the sort of thing which you would use for a pet is perfectly suitable and is used by U.K. forces) in due course.

The positives: –

  •  good safety feature allowing access to medical information if needed;
  • saves having to carry around other ID such as a Driver’s License which requires a more lengthy process to obtain the holder’s details.

In short, for those of us who undertake activities with risk, it’s certainly worth consideration, just go for a metal tag.

Peace and quiet

The Guardian online have published an article about noise levels in eateries and restaurants. With someone actually creating reviews based upon volume.

Let’s be honest, dining out should be a pleasurable experience, one in which we ideally want conversation to at the least equal the cuisine and the wine list. You wouldn’t try to hold a conversation next to a someone using a jackhammer would you?

I realise that in some regards I have been very fortunate, I have travelled reasonably and I eaten in some very nice restaurants, both for business and pleasure. One of the most opulent restaurants in London Quaglinos has a wonderful entrance in which you descend into the dining area by way of a sweeping staircase. The noise levels (before the recent refit) were such that you simply couldn’t hold conversation at a normal level. Consider this when confronted with a bill which even 20 years ago was  in the region of £60 a head.

An American study has found that noise levels can regularly reach 80 – 100 dB, (between operating a waste disposal and a power drill, for perspective) which is enough to cause permanent hearing damage. As a former litigator, I question whether this might leave the hospitality industry subject to litigation from staff who develop hearing problems in the course of their employment; afterall, we should not be put at health risk by our employers.

The science bit

Design places a large place in volume. Sound waves reflect off hard surfaces, such as bare plaster and painted walls, mirrors and glass. In most restaurants in the U.K. there’s are glass and mirrors everywhere. Therefore the current trend for stark and hard furnishings (which are, in the interests of hygiene, easy to clean), means that sound waves bounce back and thus the ambient noise level increases. People then have to talk louder and the ever decreasing circle begins.

Personal note 

Personally, because of my sensory issues, combined with both my partner and I have tinnitus, we tend to walk in and turn around and walk out of places that we go for pleasure which are too noisy. We go to eat out for pleasure of the food, wine and company, if neither of us can hear each other, it defeats the object of being together.

I advocate that other people do the same. Even if you have a reservation, maybe customers not willing to sit in an uncomfortable environment and pay good money will change restauranters policies and help influence a warmer, softer and more relaxing environment in which to dine.