Belong by Radha Agrawal

I got this book a little while back from Amazon.com. But never had a chance to read until we were in 14 days of isolation from social media

“We shall not cease from exploration. And at the end of our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time”, T.S Elliot.

The book is all about finding your community and making friends. These people are the gateway to happiness. As an autistic person, I have trouble making friends. I am usually introverted at times and cheeky at other times. My community would be my family, one close friend, and the online blogging community. The guys run meetups such as “Good Drinks” to help people stay connected and make friends. At Daybreaker (Radha’s workplace) they have weekly meetups and lots of activities going on there. Something that I might like to do once the pandemic has passed

Now that COVID is here community and finding it is important. Half the time we are buried in our phones thinking that our followers are everything. In the book, they report that 1 in 4 Americans have no friends that they can confide in. How sad is that?

The need to belong is fundamental as it is a feeling of home and comfort. We need to learn to be positive. Every time we get stuff done our dopamine goes up. Its praise for saying “Good Job”.

The addition of social media

The cycle of the ding keeps us glued to our devices all the time. We have seen this in the Social Dilemma where the ding goes off and the person checks their phone. That dopamine goes off in their brain. Dopamine is the happiness drug.

The book talks about self-imposed isolation which is not really spending time with real friends and family but spending it on our screens.

What I want in a friend?

The qualities that I want in a friend is honesty, politeness, and hardworking. They also should be kind to others. The things that I would need to do to attract better friends is to learn patience, love, and accept people more, be truthful, and be kind. We should not have black and white relationships. There should be some grey.

The friendship cycle

This is really important to have. You have an inner cycle and you have an outer one. Some people are worried about FOMO (the fear of missing out) on all these events. This is where you really need to prioritize which ones are important and which are not. Maybe there is a particular one that your friend didn’t invite you to and you didn’t want to go to. Can you think of why that might be?

It is natural from time to time be frustrated at friends and family. It’s ok to have arguments with them.


Managing anxiety throughout Coronavirus times

We talk about managing anxiety for autistic during the Coronavirus pandemic when we are all in lockdown and the carer might not be there to assist you.

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Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

I know of several friends who are autistic and would have a hard time managing anxiety. I know of one who misses the city so much. Pre pandemic he used to visit the city every day. Now we are in a lockdown.

For normal people anxiety is not such a huge issue for them. But for people who are autistic and cannot access their carers it can be. Not seeing extended family and friends can be a lot harder for them. Even seeing the high numbers can be a bit of a challenge.

Yenn Perkis has shared some of her strategies with us:

She says that some deep breathing strategies should be used. Meditation is one such useful strategy.

Mindful body awareness is another way of dealing with the anxiety of the challenge. Mindfulness helps as it is a meditation technique for anxiety and there are many apps to help with that. Headspace is awesome

Distract yourself with various fun things to do at home (or work for that matter). I know we’re allowed to leave the house for exercise. If you can do that, explore various paths in your local suburb/postcode (you can be the Karen of Brighton in this instance).

Seek help if you really need it. There are online services that counsel people with autism. Do have a look on Google.com to find your local one and remember that they can do telehealth in times of Coronavirus. Talk to friends online and seek help from your family. Your carer might be able to help if you have one.

This is one of ours. Try and stick to your routine as much as you can as this might help with your anxiety. Things are always changing on a daily basis but if you have a routine, it might help try and settle you.


Autism and obesity

We talk about Autism and obesity and mention that the rate of obesity is higher for those with autism. We wrote once before about Autism and the Coronavirus. There is some doubt that the Coronavirus might cause them to put on weight due to health issues and stay at home orders. In 2014 there was a study done on autistic children and it is said that 34% of them (in the 10-17 years) are overweight. The rate of obesity for autistic people is higher than normal people.

We talk about why here!

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

What is autism?

Autism is a sensory and intellectual disability that affects 2.2% of adults in the US. It is usually started in childhood. Spectrum News says that autistic people often hate doing sports. They give one example, Nicholas who doesn’t want to go on family bike rides or long walks.

Autistic people hate not sticking to a routine and love the same foods. They love chocolate and other things. They are prone to overeating. Isolation is not usually a problem for them. It then puts them at an obesity risk.

Balance is often an issue for them. They hate heights.

There isn’t a lot of specialist trainers that work with people with disabilities and hopefully next year there might be some more in fitness industry. We recognise that these people are more vulnerable to some of the health issues that we face today. These people are more vulnerable to some of the discriminations at the gym because they act weirdly or they don’t want to try different things. Or they are paranoid that something will happen to them.

Moreover they have a lot of problems understanding what people want and the correct techniques.

Spectrum News said that some of them have sleep issues as well GI issues which contribute to their weight.


National Autism month with the Coronavirus in mind

April was National Autism month. Autism is a disability but not many people know that someone is autistic because it is a invisible disability (just based on looks). But how to recognise that person is another matter. They may be a bit slow and very repetitive. Some people are antisocial.

Some people like the same old same old foods and drink.

They often don’t like to break away from routine. They love to keep to same routine. They love the same games. So with the Coronavirus in mind I thought that it was a perfect chance to talk about how the Coronavirus affects them. According to Autistica they often avoid social outings and things because they feel very anxious about things that they can’t change.

We often go into a meltdown when we are being picked on. Or when we are being asked to do something that we don’t want to do.

I also played Mahjong a lot as a coping mechanism during the virus. Here I was able to escape from uncertainty. But I wasted my time on that game and it becomes obsessive compulsive. I was constantly thinking about the game and always wanting to play. We can’t go out and do all the fun stuff due to the virus and the lockdowns. The autistic people would love to have a hot chocolate maybe even a cake or explore their city.

We wanted the Chocolate cookie from a cafe that does credit only and had cash. Most people would be like fine but the people with autism would get upset. These people often go into a meltdown. I think that people should help out the vulnerable such as those with autism. Like offer to pay for them. Its only going to be a matter of time before we all go broke.

Sometimes I would have a fight with my housemate over silly stuff. They forget that I’m autistic and they would forget that I might need help.

Normal people that don’t have the disability should accept us and try to help us out, especially in the workforce. Also others should be gracious at this time and try and check on those that are disabled and can’t get to the supermarket to get the things that they need.


Autism change your reactions

This campaign was launched by the Victorian Government and here they talk about including more autistic people in everyday life. We see autistic people on What Would You Do and people are glad to help them.

The video and the campaign was done by Amaze. Amaze is a group of professionals that help people with autism and how people see them.

But in Australia these people are discriminated against. On trains and trams these people are not offered seats. We wrote about Autism before. Autism is where you like the same things over and over again as well as are sensitive to some things such as loud noises.

People see autistic people as people with mental health problems. But really we are not. We maybe a bit slow but we will get there. Some of us can balance well and others can’t.

We must be more tolerant of people that are autistic or strange. We should give up those seats to those who look like they might need it and if you are the ticket inspector you should be kinder to those people especially if they don’t know how to top up their myki or didn’t know how their myki works. Most of the time these people are on a disability pension and might not afford a lot of things.

If you can help these people who are autistic then great. Whether it is speaking up for them or helping them to a seat awesome.


Patients like me

Patients like me is a site for all people. I found out about this site from reading some report on it and I decided to try it.

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This site is really good for mental health and connecting with feelings. Here they do monthly check-ups and you can ask for recommendations. They have hundreds of conditions on there and you can search for your one. If its not there you can suggest one.

I tried it for the month of January and all worked well. Here people do help you out if you are stuck. And yes I’m borderline autistic meaning that all the help I got was great.

Here I learned to feel empathy for people. Feeling empathy for people is a good thing. I did a couple of good deeds for the homeless as times are tough. It also made me reconnect with people I haven’t seen in a long time and not those that are always at my gym.

Patients like me made me appreciate those that are autistic and can’t afford the gym. If only the government here in Australia were that simple. If they were giving a lot more money out to the poor for the gym then obesity would be stamped. In here everything is expensive.

Sleeping that month was on the ok side. Stressing about things was not so great and can be improved.

Do sign up for that site if you need some help. Its free and they will send out notifications to your email.


Our Autism awareness month

And why the community needs to embrace it. This post is pictureless for the purpose of feelings.

This October is Autism Awareness month. People with autism get ridiculed and discriminated in society. As we see on “What would you do show” on Youtube, these people get bullied and harassed for no reason.

These days many people have it.

Autism is a mental disorder in which people process information and change a lot slower than others. So their response times are slow.

Autism in people varies. Some people have high functioning autism meaning that they can do a lot of stuff much faster and can be almost like everyone else. And there are some that do not like change and will do the same thing day in day out.

Take my friend for instance. He won’t try any other beer other than Carlton Draught. He always will have Coke and will not do much exercise except for running

There are also some that have tantrums when things don’t go their way.

Do embrace people with Autism and try to help out as much as you can.


Healthyintstudents participates in Autism Awareness Month

Autism Awareness month is in October and we are participating in this month to raise awareness of this common mental health issue.

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Having Autism is a mental problem in the world. Autism is a disability which you can’t see. It means always doing the same thing and liking the same thing over and over. Its a social problem which is becoming more and more common. 15 years ago it was not the norm and now it is. And so it is ok to talk about it. These days more and more adults have it- but it is high functioning which means that we can do most things.

It is frustrating that society doesn’t always accept us for who we are. It’s frustrating to be teased at school because of autism! Autistic people act differently and process things much slower than normal people.

Most people with Autism are ok. But they do exhibit some strange behaviours that people of the normal society don’t understand. Like for example we are scared of loud noises and my friend will eat most things but will eat his hand especially with Asian food. And he likes his coke every single day. When he visits Shape Up (which is now closed) he would always order a chocolate milkshake.

Even on the bus and the train he looks like a normal person, yet for some strange reason always asks for a seat while the majority stands. I’m always happy to stand and have been for a long time eventhough a small part of me has autism.

 

Yet I train at the gym and still do my runs! This just goes to show that we can do stuff even if we think that we can’t. So therefore society should learn to accept us for who we are rather than discriminate against us.

 


R U ok Day

RU OK day is supported by RUSU and other charities which supports mental wellbeing. Here Healthyintstudents supports such a thing.

RU Ok day is about asking people about how they are feeling. Here its about talking about mental problems. Its ok to not be ok.

Today we asked a fellow Instagrammer who has autism and he does not like the way that society sometimes treats him. Society sometimes can be rude to people with autism and that can upset them.

The talk was at a cafe called Ganache. Whilst he ordered food, I was ok with just not having anything. When he sees chocolate, he is happy.

The other day he posted lots and lots of things on Facebook about autism and that got me asking as to why. He said that on that day someone in the pie shop on Bourke st was very rude to him when he tried to order a shake. That really upset him very much. He didn’t cry but walked away. When other people tease him he gets upset.

On trains and trams and buses he always gets the special seat and when he explains he has a disability they go oh well.

He hates heights. Heights really scares him.

He wishes that society treat autistic people and hopes to raise awareness about this problem.