Recovering slowly

I should state frankly that as I’ve got older, the shorter my patience has become. I’m not sure why, but I find myself very driven in most things, but waiting for anything, even in a queue becomes very frustrating and I find myself having to constantly stim; sometimes consciously and at others not.

I’ve got my first cross country mountain bike race of the year on the 27th and training has been hindered by my being ill with a cold and chest infection. I’m on the antibiotics and they are helping: today is the first time that I’ve started to feel human in about a fortnight. I can’t wait to get back to training, but I am aware that I’m not going to be pushing myself hard until race day now. Being unable to absorb myself in my obsession makes me irritable and frustrated. So instead I have to plan and prepare without training. This will involve making sure that the bike is running as smoothly as possible and that my kit is prepared, checked, double checked and strategies are firmly in mind. I have, today, organised my race entry and category, which means that I am committed.

Focus has been difficult in the last week or so, external factors relating to my health and that of those around me. My mind has also been feeling rather foggy, which happens when I’m unwell. This has impacted upon things and energy has been rubbish.

However, I am getting back to normal. I’m internally battling not compromising  recovery by doing something stupid and fighting to acknowledge that if I can’t ride for another few days, then so be it. Better to be well enough to race than not.

Keeping my obsession fuelled in preparation will simply have to satisfy me for another few days and next week will involve a couple of gentle spins to just get my muscles happy with turning over.

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Obsessions

Well, my obsessions include bikes, specifically mountain bikes. After years of not being able to ride, I returned to riding five years ago. During which, I spent almost a year off in recovery from a badly broken leg.

However, mountain biking remains as my obsession, it’s my outlet both physically and mentally. I have my first race of the year in three weeks on Saturday and I’m busy in preparation for it. The aspie loves the fact that I can plan for every detail, this feeds my obsession and helps motivate me towards the event. I can plan details and still not predict anything more than that… I can just train as hard as time permits.

I struggle with ‘rest days’, always did. Hence, I stuffed my knees in my youth. Today was technically scheduled as a rest day, I did a short turbo session as I couldn’t do nothing. I’m sure that obsession versus recovery is something every autistic athlete has to battle. Has anyone else experienced this dilemma?

#actuallyautistic #austistic #autisticmountainbiking #autisticcyclists #autisticmtb #xcmtb

Spreading the love…

Autism Day

Today is World Autism Awareness Day. Hence, my blog is going up a day early.

I aim to write my blog each Wednesday and that’s usually fine; occasionally, life gets in the way and I’m either a little late or a little early, but I am still here. I’m not an authority on the subject, nor am I a medic, nurse or carer, I’ve never held myself out as any of the above. Actually, that’s possibly not entirely accurate; as whilst I’m high functioning, I still require a great deal of self-care, both physically and mentally and this requires details planning and thought, or, as has been the way in the last week, it all goes hideously wrong and I feel like rubbish.

Anyway, I decided to give awareness some consideration. I wonder when, or more importantly, if, people will become more aware of the condition, but possibly that’s difficult for a predominantly neurotypical world, because of the simple fact that the spectrum is so very wide and that we all exhibit so differently. As I’ve stated before in the UK alone, it is estimated that the autistic community is equivalent to the population of Greater Manchester, so at some point, everyone will have encountered a person who is on the autistic spectrum.

Awareness requires understanding and people, aren’t easy to understand. I don’t understand the vast majority of people that I interact with. I’m reasonably intelligent and educated, but people often confuse me. I can only imagine that the the neurotypical person finds the neurodiverse just as bewildering. Imagine a standard conversation between two people for a moment: –

Person A: “What’s wrong?”

Person B: “Nothing”

Person A: “Oh, OK”.

The nuances are lost on the neurodiverse, I, for example, may sense that something is wrong which is why I would ask the question, but I’m not entirely certain that I would get the myriad of subliminal cues which would tell me that the person is simply trying to avoid talking about an issue.

So, how exactly do we get around these problems with social interaction and communication? For myself, I find that my being very direct (some people say blunt) helps and I ask that people are the same with me. It’s possibly why I’ve always got along well with children, they are less bound by convention, in fact, given the choice I think that most children prefer not to have to follow all of the social rules and therefore we seem to have a good balance. Maybe that’s the key, maybe kids get to understand me more than adults and the adults who do ‘get me’ are also magical and appreciated.

In the meantime, we can only hope to raise awareness to the spectrum condition and I’m always happy to answer questions.

 

Interviews

There was a time when I used too consider that I excelled at interviews, the reality was that actually the positions I was seeking were menial, often part time and I also suspect that they were the jobs that attracted little completion.

Or, was I better with people?

I very much doubt that to be honest. One of my first jobs was working in a bar and I received a ‘baptism by fire’ in being ‘more outgoing’ mainly because I was ridiculed for being quieter than the other staff. We’ve all heard that maxim of ‘fake it, till you make it’; the consequence of which was that I developed the ability to appear confident and outgoing, sometimes brash or loud. Sometimes, this has helped and sometimes it’s hindered. I can be loud, I can be silent, it depends upon circumstances. I’m happy to talk, indeed I’m rather good at it.

At the moment, I’ve been through a couple of interviews with the intention of starting my PGCE in Primary Education, neither of which have been successful. I find that the panel interviews are daunting, I never know who to look at when addressing my answers and I struggle with the social protocols therein. It’s far more subtle to apply for a position to train to do something than actually having the confidence and skills and knowledge that you can do something. Don’t misunderstand me, I’ve been teaching English as a Foreign Language for years, with my students excelling, but I want more. Hence, the retraining.

Oh well, hopefully the next application will be successful.

Any tips would be helpful.

#actuallyautistic #autism #autisminteaching #austisticteachers

 

Amazon banning books…

At this time of writing (Friday 15th March 2019), there is a controversial move by Amazon to stop selling books on autism cures and also promoting ‘antivax’ theories as the cause of autism. People, including other bloggers on the subject of autism are up in arms about this.

I’m sorry, but as a reasonably smart, educated person with autism, I simply don’t understand the cause of all of the excitement.

I’m not American, nor do I live in America, but Andrew Wakefield, who first performed the now discrecredited ‘research’ into the MMR vaccine and autism. The Lancet, the British medical journal, retracted the study and Wakefield was subsequently struck off the Medical Register, for dishonesty. Being ‘struck off’ by the General Medical Council is rare and only under grave circumstances.

For further reference, Wakefield was a gastro-intestinal doctor, he did not have any clinical interest in autism, or vaccinations.  

A cure for autism?

There isn’t one. If there was, why would anyone who is on the spectrum still be on the spectrum? The condition makes human interaction incredibly difficult, reduces employment prospects, makes sexual and physical relationships far more difficult and many other things. If there was a cure, people would not be on the spectrum.

I also object to the theory or a cure, because that, by it’s nature states that I am, in some way *sick*. I’m not unwell. I’m just different to a neurotypical person and I’m certainly not going to seek a ‘quack doctor’s *cure* for that; especially, as many of these seem to involve fairly drastic methods involving electric shock therapy!

My thoughts on Amazon as a business. I despise the fact that in the UK they seem to be very adept at tax avoidance. Online businesses are rendering the high streets desolate. Both of which annoy me. However, in their removing misinformation publications? Brilliant! Bravo!

Moderation and obsessive behaviour

Firstly, I would like to apologise for not posting last week. In my defence, it was my birthday and I had my girlfriend here, so I was otherwise busy (I am loathed to use an expression like “tied up”, because of the obvious sniggering which will ensue!)

I was considering this topic specifically as the cross country mountain bike racing season is starting very shortly and I’ve been occupied with training, as well as tutoring and interview stuff for my PGCE, all of which seems to dictate that my body needs, on average 9 – 10 hours sleep a day and still wake up feeling like I could do with another 6 hours.

Weather this last week has been thoroughly abysmal; the area has been hit by, snow, hale, sleet and rain which has now relented to 29mph winds and sporadic rain; do I feel inclined to go out riding in this? Not at all. Consequently, I’ve been sweating it out on an indoor turbo trainer. Software does make this rather more enjoyable than sitting on a spin bike, but it’s certainly hot and uncomfortable but the benefits are still there; certainly in building up power and interval training is easier indoors than on a mountain bike trail.

However, my own sense of moderation versus my obsessive traits means that the risk of overtraining is very high and this will either lead to stagnation, or worse, injury. It’s a fine line: at the moment, I have some spare time, this won’t always be the case and I know that I should be productive. I have studying to do, training to complete and a flat to keep organised and clean as well as part time work as well as having a personal and romantic life. None or which I am willing to compromise.

I suspect that I’m not the only person on the spectrum who needs to be strict with themselves, or else, nothing gets done. That is the crux, it’s finding the correct balance and I worry about this almost constantly. Am I overtraining? Is this niggle, just a niggle or symptomatic that I am training too hard? Why after vacuuming five minutes ago, does the carpet look like I haven’t cleaned in days?  Am I studying enough? Am I absorbing enough? Am I preparing enough, or not enough? Why aren’t I just a little more efficient and how do I become so?

In short, I have never been good with moderation, although I suspect that applies to anyone on the spectrum; I’m either full gas or nothing, I also can’t recall any point at which I wasn’t, which supports my contention that it’s one of my autistic traits. After all, we don’t grow into the condition, it’s inherent.

I guess that I will be sensible and force myself to not train today. My tutoring is now completed and I had housework to do and the cat will be grateful if I get cat food. I can then settle down and do a couple of hours studying and organising my study notes.

Stay well, stay safe and I’m always interested in the thoughts, comments and suggestions from anyone reading this blog.

#actuallyautistic #autism #aspergers #mountainbiking #xcmtb #mtb