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Stress and PTSD management

Strangers in a hostile land

For some of us it's about bullying. For some it's difficulty keeping up with conversation or difficulty speaking. For some of us it's sensory sensitivity. Whatever the sources, a lot of people on the autistic spectrum move through the social world as if it were a war zone.

Autistics have to consciously learn what others pick up automatically. Smalltalk, navigating the maze of cubicles, organizing paperwork, making phone calls, figuring out when to speak and what to say in meetings. That takes a lot of processing power.

It doesn't help that none of it is acknowledged as real. Most non-autistics are completely oblivious to the amount of energy an autistic puts into getting through the day. Social skills come so naturally that they have a hard time understanding what it means to have serious difficulty with them. In a business environment, the company's stresses and the company's deadlines are considered more important than any individual employee's personal difficulties. There is very little space to be autistic.

To explain the experience of being autistic:
  • Living in a foreign country where you barely speak the language and don't know the customs


PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) is a psychological condition commonly associated with war zones, natural disasters, child abuse, and rape. It is a mental response to trauma, with symptoms of flashbacks, dissociation, blunted emotion and hypervigilance. Some would say it diminishes the reality of PTSD's impact to associate it with experiences as comparatively mild as autistic sensory sensitivity.

- to be continued -

Conserving energy

Because getting through the day takes more energy for an autistic than it does for most non-autistics, autistics must learn to be efficient with their energy.

Christine Miserandino's Spoon Theory (external link) is an excellent explanation of the process of conserving energy when living with a disability.

Ballastexistenz has written her own expansion of the Spoon Theory (external link) as she applies it to her own disabilities (including autism).

Preserving self-esteem


Created by: admin. Last Modification: Sunday 01 of March, 2009 04:41:08 UTC by admin.

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