0 Blogging About Autism: Autism, Witches, Banshees, Friendlessness and Other Spooky Things

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Autism, Witches, Banshees, Friendlessness and Other Spooky Things

Why I Can Relate to Witches  

Since it is October and because I love Halloween, I have decided to write a Halloween themed article and witches are my chosen topic. I have always wanted to visit Salem in America so it is on my bucket list.  I often feel quite like I can relate to witches and I have read a lot about them and how they suffered years before now. I wonder if they actually were practising witchcraft or if they were just the unfortunate people who could not quite fit into society and were punished for that.
Did witches become a target for ridicule, isolation, accusations and even being burned at the stake for simply not fitting in? Did they stand up against corrupt people in power and end up burned at the stake for it? I read an article about witches that made me think there wasn’t much you could do at one point in history without being accused of being a witch.  

I love the unexplained and I am fascinated by documentaries on witchcraft. If you are reading this and have any recommendations for good documentaries on those please put them in the comments to let me know.  

Spooky Happenings 

Growing up a lot of strange things occurred such as my bedroom door almost being kicked down but no one was at the other end. After that occurred, I got out of bed and went to see if anyone could have done it. The hallway was empty and everyone was downstairs except my nice brother. I asked him if he did it and he huffed with me for weeks after and he was really hurt that I even thought he would. Looking back, I don’t know why I asked him because it would have been totally out of character for him to play tricks on me.  I guess I was just pretty frightened and rather desperately hoping for an explanation. 

On another occasion I had gone on a date and whilst we sat on a bench facing a large building with lots of windows, we saw the same woman dressed in clothing that was definitely not from this era staring out the window with an angry look on her face.  She remained there until we moved from where we were sitting and other people at the bus stop seen her too. They waved up but she didn’t flinch and she was still standing there staring as we walked away quite sometime later.  

Lying in bed one night I heard a woman say the name Mary Burgess in a very gruff and unnerving tone and it was said so close beside me that it felt like it actually came from me but I know it didn’t.  I was afraid to sleep in my bedroom for quite a while after that and I would sit downstairs and watch TV with my cousin trying to delay bedtime for as long as possible.   

I have regularly seen things that didn’t look like they would have fallen come crashing to the ground. My fiancĂ© sometimes jokes that it is my fault if it happens in a shop.  

 As a child on a family day out with my parents and sister to the beach something was recorded but not seen by most until we got back home and my mum was looking over the footage.  Before I knew it, our house was inundated with ghost hunters and even an exorcist. I watched the ghost hunters record electronic voice phenomena with fascination. One, in particular, would jump every time he heard something through his headphones. 

My mum became obsessed with finding out what was on the camera and she would always disappear to the library seeking answers. She was convinced it was something evil and she claimed she saw it with her own eyes.  

Witchy Phase 

I went through a phase in my teenage years in which I loved everything about witches. As a child, I remember seeing a wand in a shop window and really wanting my own one. I was obsessed with witches well except for the witch from the film named The Witches starring Anjelica Huston. After watching that and seeing them all ripping off their masks to reveal the less than pleasant faces underneath, I was rather horrified. I never cared for the witch in the Wizard of Oz either nor the flying monkeys she had. As a child, I copied spells I saw and lit candles and I guess witchcraft became a special interest for a while. I never copied any of the bad spells though just the ones that promised to change your eye colour and other ones similar to that. 

 I loved the good witches in films like Glinda from The Wizard of Oz or Sabrina the Teenage Witch.  I also was hooked on Harry Potter and I loved reading those spellbinding books as much as I loved to watch the films. I also went through a phase in which the only colour I would wear was black. I always have and always will love cats especially black ones and my favourite is my little black and white cat that came into my life not long after my FiancĂ© and I lost our baby.  

Now I mainly wear various shades of red, green or bluish greens. I very rarely go outside these lines but if I do it is usually because others have coaxed me.  I tend to wear the same things, do the same things, go to the same places, eat the same foods etc.  I am very much a same person and I need that sameness for my sanity and just to get through my days because my thoughts are very inflexible. 

Ghostly  Wall of Difference 

 Feeling different is not exclusive to autistic people but I think that many of us with autism have probably felt the feeling of not fitting in quite strongly. Since I was not diagnosed until I was 26, I always had the feeling of not quite belonging. I was struggling to be normal whilst everyone else just seemed to know-how. My special interests were my means of escape from the reality of being in a world that I never quite felt I belonged in. 

Staring into the Abyss 

I would sometimes stare at people wishing to join in on their conversations but never was able to. Whilst staring my brain would juggle a million ideas over how to connect with them or even just say hello. With all of this juggling and not understanding social cues it was overwhelmed and already in shutdown before the next stages of communication could ever occur. The few times I would get the courage up to interact I would always say the wrong thing or miss something that people knew and I just didn’t.  I often wasn’t aware I was staring because when my brain focuses on problem-solving or trying to communicate effectively it appears to lose the ability to focus on things like awareness of what my face is doing. 

Blood-Curdling Realizations 

It is always better for my mental health for me to isolate myself from friendship out in the world. I am extremely sensitive and I care too much and I have been hurt so much that I don’t think I can keep picking the pieces back up anymore. I can’t help ruminating over how conversations have gone wrong and they often do. Just a short burst of face to face communication feels like I would assume someone who has been out partying all night feels. I do not mean the happy party feeling but probably leaning more towards the drained and hungover kind.   

Forever Friendless in an Eerie World 

I am not happy at how my autism limits me in that area but I have never been able to change it either. 

Most people can converse and vibe of each other's sentences but mine are much like a car driving the wrong way up a street. I also don’t process words fast enough to respond even if I could pick up on the social cues. I often feel an urgency to say things that are irrelevant to people other than me out loud.  I can never at the time pick up on the fact that people won’t relate it just feels so important for me to say it. 

Autism can be a very lonely illness to live with it can ruin relationships and cut off all forms of contact. I feel things very intensely and if someone I trust hurts or betrays me the burnout that follows is unbearable. Most of my so-called friends have treated me like a doormat. 

 Even when they treated me the worst, I could never tell them they hurt me or communicate how sad it made me. I just went into the bathroom and cried on one occasion in tech when I was learning hairdressing.  The person who I thought was my friend took the doll head that I was supposed to be practising on and I just crumbled. It might seem like a silly thing to have a nervous breakdown over but it really isn’t. I broke down because I would have never taken her friendship for granted or stepped on her but she was willing to do that to me. 

 I broke down because she was the straw that broke the camel's back and she was just one of a long line of people who had walked over me. I was always the friend who would be there no matter what and I would try to reassure people and help them in any way I could. I always put my feelings second and prioritised others feelings over my own. I constantly saw people taking from me and never any giving in return.  I didn’t expect much don’t get me wrong but it would have been nice for them to take my feelings into consideration. 

The person I mentioned is the same person who created a social network profile and painted me as someone who liked to go out and get drunk with my mates. She lied in an attempt to make me look super confident and everything that I am not. At the time I felt uncomfortable but I never confronted her about it either.  A lot of my friends got to the point of trying to control my life and even telling me what to wear. I felt like a counsellor to these people 24/7 sometimes and yet they never were there when I needed them. 

The truth is some people think it is ok to redesign an autistic person into a more suitable and more neurotypical one. This is soul-destroying and wow I struggle to even understand how someone could treat another human being as such and yet many so-called friends have treated me this way. Is it that they notice we are in pieces and they are trying to put us back together or is it that they don’t accept the pieces that we have savaged? 

We can be much like Humpty dumpty over the years with many falls and attempts to put ourselves back together again. At the time she was trying to make me more acceptable to others. It was the same time that all of my reports from school and work experienced showed I was popular and well-liked by those around me. Why the need to change me? Why did I need to be an alcohol drinker or someone who lied about having a big group of friends?  I have used the picture below to depict the fogginess that autism creates and how it feels for me as an autistic person when I try to communicate with others.

Friendships Turn Me into A Banshee 

I would say this is an accurate description of exactly what friendship does to me. I give and give until I have nothing left whilst they take absolutely everything I have to give. Not forgetting that problems with social cues can make much of the contact with that person extremely confusing. The monster of rumination presents himself and I end up wondering why they said what they said. Did they mean it? Did they not? Friendships lead to never-ending questioning for me which is exhausting. I often need to ask for clarity in a conversation and in the past I never did. I still hate having to do it because I wish I just knew. It is embarrassing to struggle with social cues and not everyone even understands it. Often people mistake your problems reading them as a number of other things which are so far from the mark it's insane. 

I honestly don’t often know how people mean things or even why they bother to say certain things. 

 I wail and cry and wail and cry some more. I even carry a comb in my handbag which I always have to replace because I keep dropping it in places without realizing.  I wail and cry over confusion, I wail and cry over words unsaid, I have wailed and cried over never being good enough to measure up to the expectations of NT friends. I have gotten to the point that I just want to stop wailing and crying. I can’t if I am around people like that so my only option is to not be around them.  

 “I prefer your hair brown with blonde highlights,” “I prefer you with a tan,” “I prefer you blonde.” Why can’t I just be me?  Or what about the types who constantly do unfair or bad things to you but then blame you.  Or the ones who just quit a friendship when they find someone who they think is more popular or will advance them better socially. “Cheerio, It was nice knowing ya!

 Perhaps NTs who aren’t of that toxic mindset are quicker to tell these people to go in search of a shapeshifting entity. They would get hours of amusement then huh? I just can’t because I don’t want to hurt their feelings even if they are hurting mine. NTS can be so eager to fit in and please everyone and be popular that they put pressure on everyone around them to do it too.  

I am getting married within the next few months and my bridesmaids can have their hair any colour or style they want. I am not going to try to change them so my pictures look a certain way or they meet a certain theme because I am just so happy that they will be there.  When it comes to a person who cares or that you care about. Why is it that their presence is often not more important than their appearance in this world?


Hauntingly Stupid Expectations 

One day we will all be grey and old and there is nothing wrong with that and yet the world is constantly trying to make us feel like we have to fight it. Why? We are all dying every minute of every day. If I pay an insane amount for a fancy face cream that promises to banish wrinkles I am still going to be dying. There are those who think if you don’t wear the latest trends or have the coolest phone you just aren’t good enough. 

 I just can’t even understand how there are actually people who think that way. Judging people by how much money they have, the colour of their skin, the clothes they wear or even where they live. It just makes absolutely no sense to me at all.  Many  NT conversations seem to revolve around this type of thing. I know not everyone is like that but there is a shockingly large majority who are. Where is the love in this world? 

Bone-Chilling Lack of Awareness  

 I am trying to raise autism awareness and people won’t even accept each other based on clothes or taste in music. I saw someone had written “why do we need autism awareness?” and my eyes rolled so far into the back of my head I thought they might stick. We need it because ignorance still exists, teachers are still hitting autistic children, parents are still overprotecting their autistic children. Sometimes and in spite of good intentions, it has a negative impact on the rest of their lives and I am speaking from experience here.  

We need awareness because autistic children are still being bullied, left out of invites to parties and having no one show up at theirs. We need awareness because autistic people are still being mistreated in some places of work. We need awareness because autistic people have to mask because if they meltdown or show autistic behaviours they are bullied and effectively forced to mask and they don’t feel safe to be themselves or do the things they need to cope with feeling overstimulated.  

We need awareness because autistic women are underdiagnosed and many autistic people need a diagnosis because, without it, they are vulnerable to many things including being abused or taken advantage of. We need awareness because parents are going without support and they are becoming anxious and this is affecting relationships throughout entire families and even splitting them apart.

Parental anxiety caused by undiagnosed autism has had a crippling effect on both me and my parents.  Until those things improve, I think awareness can only be a good thing and I do believe it is necessary. It is not enough to know the word autism because awareness should hopefully lead to understanding and it is currently not   

P.S, None of the Images used in this article belongs to me just the words. Thank you for reading and please feel free to comment if you find this article compelling.

1 comment:

  1. Viktor @ bloggingfromatoz.com10 October 2019 at 11:19

    I guess I'm boring and have an unimaginative mind, because I truly don't remember having experienced anything supernatural. Which is why it was interesting to read about your experiences. I guess some people have it in them, somehow? Anyway, I think your blog serves a very good purpose: like you said, there is a need for more autism awareness (I am one of the ones who needs to learn more). So thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences with us.


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