Make my Christmas
By Lydia Wilkins
Disclaimer: Aspergers syndrome is a spectrum condition, meaning that “one size does not fit all”, in terms of help given. This post is written to raise awareness of the condition; what you do as a result of it is your own responsibility.
My name is Lydia; I am eighteen, and I blog over at mademoisellewomen.com. My blog has been running for just over five years now; here, I use the space I have on the internet to document my Aspergers. (Because, like other invisble/visible disabillities, and mental health issues, it is still incredibly misunderstood.)
I was diagnosed two months shy of my sixteenth birthday; I had always not been a fan of loud noises, dressed myself in a way to conform to hypersensitivity issues, and not had many friends. Many people often thought that I was either a loner, or very strange-because, well, who wants to talk politics, rather than which boy in our year was really cute?! (I chatted about politics; most chatted about the latter.)
In the run up to Christmas, some things I sometimes find hard to get along with, amongst the feverish excitment, the wrapping, and shopping for a tree. So, whilst keeping in mind that everyone with Aspergers is different, due to it being a spectrum disorder, I thought that I’d like to write what my ideal Christmas is, and how some issues can be resolved.
Firstly… noise. There is so much noise round Christmas! I lack a way to filter noise internally, so I can be overwhelmed by it at times. Try walking into a shop: there’s All I Want For Christmas continually playing, lots of people-all hustling and bustling-colours, the tannoy announcment calling for extra staff help, the toys on display bust out a tune.. Lots of people on Christmas Day can also be quite overwhelming for me. (If you’d like to know more about the impact of noise, click here. https://mademoisellewomen.com/2017/10/31/aspergers-environments/ To read more about noise and Aspergers, read this. https://mademoisellewomen.com/2017/10/09/its-all-in-the-sound/ . This Christmas, if a place is too loud for me, I’ll either be in my bedroom, or another place, to calm down. (Usually I have a podcast or music to listen to.) I’d like for this to be understood just that little bit more.
Social expectations are also hard to manage. Personally, I can’t read body language or faces very well, apart from the basic; you smiling? You’re happy. Frowning? Sad. Sometimes, though, I often find myself forced into a gesture I’m not comfortable with. So: if I’m with you, please don’t be cross if I fail to respond-I usually take just a little bit longer than the average person does.
And the final thing is: remember that I am a person, too! Just because I am a person who is autistic does not mean that I dislike, or can’t celebrate, Christmas. (Even though the opening paragraphs of this post may have sounded like a Scrooge!) But so far this year, I have arranged a mini card swap, gone Christmas shopping, got involved with a secret santa, and shopped for a tree. I love Christmas! Just not the noise and confusing social expectations…
I just want to thank Lydia for her contribution to my blogmas this December, what a fabulous guest post, and what an honour to have you! Remember you guys can check out Lydia’s blog here.
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*Image source: pexels*