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Blog:Stranger Darker Better- A Stranger In A Foreign Land: Understanding the Autistic Experience

Blog:Stranger Darker Better- A Stranger In A Foreign Land: Understanding the Autistic Experience

Autism is, at its core, a difference in processing.

It is a difference in how our brains process information as it comes in. Sensory information is processed differently in our brains which can lead to drastically different experiences of the world around us. We process emotion differently. Even social situations are processed differently by the autistic brain.

A common analogy used to explain autism is that it’s like running a different operating system. Our operating

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Blog:Stranger Darker Better- An Autistic's Tips For Surviving A Move

Blog:Stranger Darker Better- An Autistic's Tips For Surviving A Move

Whether it’s across town or across the country, moving to a new home is a big change! Not only that, but the process of moving is often stressful and overwhelming.

Many people struggle with the challenges of moving, but this process can present extra challenges for autistic people.

First and foremost is the matter of change. There are lot of things that change when you move. Not only is your whole living space different, but

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Blog:Stranger Darker Better- We Live to Dream…

Blog:Stranger Darker Better- We Live to Dream…

To dream of a better world

To dream the dreams that may seem impossible

We dream of a world free of prejudice and hate

A world where all people are treated with kindness and compassion

To dream of a world accessible to all bodies and minds

We dream of a future where children are raised with love

Childhoods free of violence

A world in which all people are free to live true to themselves

A

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Blog:Stranger Darker Better- Day 4:  Reactions to Coming Aut

Blog:Stranger Darker Better- Day 4: Reactions to Coming Aut

After discovering that I am Autistic, I had to decide who I wanted to tell. Finally having answers after so many years of feeling defective left me wanting to tell the world about my discovery. Of course, I knew that Autism is highly stigmatized and that it isn’t actually safe for me to just go around telling everyone.

The first person to know about my discovery was, of course, my husband. He was a part

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Blog:Stranger Darker Better- What Not To Say When Someone Tells You They Are Autistic

Blog:Stranger Darker Better- What Not To Say When Someone Tells You They Are Autistic

Coming aut can be really scary. There is a lot of prejudice against Autistic people in this world, and, far too often, Autistic people are injured or killed because of these prejudices. Even when violence does not occur, the reactions of those we tell can be incredibly hurtful, especially when people we care about dismiss or invalidate us. This is not to say that it isn’t worth it. There are people who will react poorly,

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Blog:Stranger Darker Better- The Search for an Answer

Blog:Stranger Darker Better- The Search for an Answer

This post is part of an Autism Acceptance Month Challenge on Tumblr that got a bit too long for a Tumblr post. I’ll probably be swapping back and forth between the two platforms for various posts. Follow @strangerdarkerbetter on Tumblr to see everything. 

Day 3: My Diagnosis/Discovery Story

Growing up, I always knew I was different. I struggled to relate to my peers and often found myself the target of bullying. I was tormented by

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Blog:Stranger Darker Better- Star-Crossed Cacophony

Blog:Stranger Darker Better- Star-Crossed Cacophony

Broken words fall from lips cracked with disuse

A cacophony of disjointed noise and sounds

Disconnected from the essays streaming through my mind

My soul screams to be heard

Desperation pouring from my eyes

Salty rivers of overwhelming frustration

Limbs lash out in wild swings

A tornado of communication

Twisted into nothingness

This too small mouth with teeth too big

Clunks through shattered syllables

Lifetimes pass between each forced vocalization

I piece together meaning from

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Blog:Stranger Darker Better-

Blog:Stranger Darker Better-

My lower back screams at me to move. Pain burns through me like a wildfire destroys a forest, unstoppable, out of control. I know that if I just shift my weight, if I could just move a little, I could relieve some of the pain, maybe even forget about it for a little while.

I don’t move.

I want some chocolate ice cream, the food I’ve been samefooding for over a month. I crave the

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Blog:Stranger Darker Better- What I Wish I'd Known Sooner

Blog:Stranger Darker Better- What I Wish I'd Known Sooner

I got an ask on Tumblr asking me to talk about things I wish I’d known sooner. As is often the case for me, I rambled on longer than intended and this got long enough that I figured it deserved to be a real blog post. So, without further ado, here are somethings I wish I’d known sooner:

You won’t find your worth in a man

I spent so many years desperate to find a

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Blog:Stranger Darker Better- I Fight For…

Blog:Stranger Darker Better- I Fight For…

“And if I fight, then for what?”

“For nothing easy or sweet…For your own challenge, for your own mistakes and the punishment for them, for your own definition of love and of sanity – a good strong self with which to begin to live.”

Joanne Greenberg, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

For so long, I’ve been fighting. Fighting to be heard. Fighting to be understood. Fighting my body and fighting my mind.

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Blog:Stranger Darker Better- An Unseen Ghost Pleading to be Heard

Blog:Stranger Darker Better- An Unseen Ghost Pleading to be Heard

I could write you essays in my head of all the things I wish I’d say or said. 

All the words I somehow can’t force through these heavy lips. A disconnect between the paragraphs racing through my mind and a mouth that refuses to follow suit. 

I scream in my mind hoping you’ll somehow hear. Begging your mind to reach out to mine to hear the words so loud I almost see them blazing through

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Blog:Stranger Darker Better- Exploring the Language of Neurodiversity: Neurodivergent vs Neurotypical

Blog:Stranger Darker Better- Exploring the Language of Neurodiversity: Neurodivergent vs Neurotypical

Welcome back! Yesterday we began our journey into the language of neurodiversity by going over the definitions of neuro* words that relate to the concept of neurodiversity. If you need a refresher, the previous post can be viewed here.

Today, we’re going to look more closely at the terms neurodivergent and neurotypical.

To begin, let’s refresh ourselves on the definitions of these words:

Neurodivergent (ND):

(adj.) having a brain that functions in ways that diverge

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Blog:Stranger Darker Better- Exploring the Language of Neurodiversity: Basic Definitions

Blog:Stranger Darker Better- Exploring the Language of Neurodiversity: Basic Definitions

Today, we’re going to dive into a short series on neurodiversity and other neuro* words associated with this concept.

In my work with Autism-Asks, concepts of neurodiversity come up frequently. Another frequent occurrence is the misuse of the terms associated with neurodiversity. Often, I see neurodiverse and neurodivergent and neurodiversity used interchangeably in asks, despite rather different definitions of these words.

As such, I’ve wanted write this series for a while. The spark for this

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Blog:Stranger Darker Better- Stimming 101

Blog:Stranger Darker Better- Stimming 101

What is stimming?

Stimming is self-stimulating behavior that is typically repetitive in nature.

The term stimming was coined by the autistic community to  discuss what is often referred to by professionals as “stereotypy” and described in the DSM-5 as “stereotyped or repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech (e.g., simple motor stereotypes, lining up toys or flipping objects, echolalia, idiosyncratic phrases).”

Uh…can you give me some examples?

Sure! Stimming includes a wide range of

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Blog:Stranger Darker Better- Voices Stolen by the Fiery Tempest

Blog:Stranger Darker Better- Voices Stolen by the Fiery Tempest

Joints scream from the fire burning within

Deep aches that echo through my being

Limbs lay heavy at heavy at my sides

Dead weight to be dragged along

The weakness setting in like a stone sinking

Into the murky waters that cloud and distort

The fire rages through internal organs

My trunk, my core, my being

Alight in the glow of the forest fire within

Destroying all within reach

All peace. All hope. All dreams

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Blog:Stranger Darker Better- Shattered Fragments Pieced Together

Blog:Stranger Darker Better- Shattered Fragments Pieced Together

Three and a half weeks ago, my mind broke. Five days were spent in dissociation that alternated with hysterical crying. For the first time in a long time, I had to take time off work for my mental health. All because it was the anniversary of the last time I was raped.

October is always hard for me. Dates and numbers stick too easily in my brain. Anniversary’s force themselves to the forefront of my

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Blog:Stranger Darker Better- Getting Off the Roller Coaster: Managing the Emotional Bullshit

Blog:Stranger Darker Better- Getting Off the Roller Coaster: Managing the Emotional Bullshit

This is the ninth post in the Adulting With ADHD series. So far, we’ve covered the basics of ADHD, myths surrounding ADHD, the diagnostic process, what to do after diagnosis, executive dysfunction and how to deal with it, rejection sensitive dysphoria, and emotional dysregulation. Today we’ll be exploring methods of managing emotional dysregulation.

Welcome back! In the last post, we talked about emotional dysregulation. As a quick reminder, emotional dysregulation is the inability to modulate

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Blog:Stranger Darker Better- Explosions, Implosions, and Self-Destruction: Emotional Dysregulation and ADHD

Blog:Stranger Darker Better- Explosions, Implosions, and Self-Destruction: Emotional Dysregulation and ADHD

Our emotional landscape dictates how we experience the world. For most people, this landscape is composed of gently rolling hills and valleys. Moods go up and down in relation to the world around us.

Yet, for ADHD people, our landscape is often a scene of mountains reaching towards the sky and canyons torn deep into the earth. Our emotions can soar to the top of the world or plummet through the center of the earth.

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