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 . 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. To read more about noise and Aspergers, read this. . 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*