An Autism Assessment Letter…✉️

Hello people of Instagram 👋🏻- as you may have seen in the photo above…I got a letter in the post this week 📮 I have been on the NHS waiting list for an Autism Assessment for over a year and a bit – (it’s a service which has long wait times, usually 9 months-ish, I’m based in the UK for those that don’t already know 🇬🇧)

So I’ve booked my appointment for the start of November and I’ve decided that the sensible thing to do is to go into it very open minded (aka not pinning any hope on getting or not getting a diagnosis).

I feel very grateful for the opportunity to have an assessment at the age of 25 and I’ll be sure to share and write up how I found the experience because I know I’ve read lots of helpful stuff online over the years that has really helped me 🙂

I felt a little bit all over the place this last weekend mental health wise 💬 and I think in a way the letter might have made me a bit anxious initially along with my mental health getting a bit on top of me.

I like to be honest and genuine (on here and on my Instagram) about my life as a sensory-being and I hope that comes across 🤞🏻

Keep an eye out for an update after my assessment 🙂

What is masking? 🎭

Hello everyone I’m here again to share another little doodle, this time on masking 🎭. So what actually is masking? Masking involves trying to hide being autistic so others will accept us. It’s also referred to as camouflaging. This means we act in ways that other people will think we are ‘normal’ and to try and be accepted socially. My doodle includes a few examples of trying to mask.

Over the course of my life I feel I have perfected the art of masking (which isn’t necessarily a good thing). I am extremely good at with-holding my feelings and emotions, bottling them up until I get home. I would cry when I had to go to primary school each morning. Then speed forward a bit in time and I’d come home from secondary school each day very tearful. I even used to cry up in the SENCOs (special needs support) room at break and lunch times because secondary school is quite literally THE most overwhelming place I have ever had to cope in 👀. But slowly through sixth form and university I began to build up a resilience to the world and although I still get overwhelmed I can always come home, have a bit of a sensory meltdown (and a good cry) then move on with things.

Socialising will always be hard for me and I think I will always cope with the world like this. But that’s okay. I have to actively remind myself that ‘normal’ isn’t real. And I think you should too. Masking is an autistic and sensory way of coping with the everyday and just trying to get by. Now that is brave. To go out in the world and just exist is a huge thing. Do you have any tips related to masking? Feel free to share below ☺️

Things that are difficult for Sensory Beings…💭

I did a quick little doodle on what us sensory beings find quite difficult to do in our daily lives (Obviously these things aren’t exclusively difficult to just sensory people, these can apply to many different people).

Is there anything that you find particularly difficult to tolerate? Feel free to share coping tips and tricks below in the comments and let’s all help each other out ☺️

What is stimming? 🤷🏻‍♀️

Hi everyone 👋 this is a post in collaboration with the wonderful @agonyautie. Sara suggested working together on a post together all about stimming and what it looks like visually. Here are some wise words from @agonyautie:

‘Stop shaming stimming. Stimulate yourself through your senses. Have fun, Stim freely, be respectful of others and Stim Shame Free. Make sure to stim safely and stim boldly!’

I’ve tried to visually represent in my two illustrations ✏️ the wide variety of things that can be referred to as stims (which is short for self-regulatory behaviour). Stimming helps a person to self calm and process overwhelming environments. Some stims can be quite subtle such as hair twirling or chewing whereas others are more noticeable and can be destructive such as skin picking (dermatillomania) or hair pulling (Trichotillomania) which can cause damage.

It’s important to recognise that stimming safely (whether you are a child or adult) is okay and not something to ever be ashamed of. It should not be looked down on or discouraged. Go forth and stim freely! 🙌

Link to my original Instagram post here

Badges from Etsy! 🛍

I recently had a ‘lil look on @etsy as I wanted to get some cool badges I could wear on my hoodies and jackets that might represent me and maybe also highlight to other people about my sensory needs. Also I wanted to support some independent shops / artists and I always hear such good things about Etsy shops. So I somehow stumbled across these two lovely shops:

@Okaydoodle does the CUTEST badges 😍 I’m obsessed with the little speech bubble designs 💬 they are bold and simple and I really like the size of them – they don’t feel heavy and look great on a denim jacket!

@Doodlepeople make the beautiful badges that start with ‘Hello I am’ and come with so many different options! There really is something for everyone and I was so so impressed to find a badge relating to sensory issues 😍 and the suspected autistic one as well is lovely as you don’t feel like you have to have a diagnosis (or if your on a waiting list for an assessment) it just works really well.

Honestly recommend checking out both these shops (click on their links below!) postage was super fast for both shops and I really would recommend them! Have a little look at the badges in the slideshow below…

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An important pie chart 🥧

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Hi everyone! Hope you like my important pie chart drawing ✏️ does anyone else have a range of clothes but also just stick to your favourite, old, most worn and comfy clothes? I find it SO hard to wear new clothes and new shoes 👟 (it has taken me actual years to get into new shoes!). It’s so difficult sensory-wise to get used to new clothing 👕 and it always ends up that my clothes have to be washed multiple times before I feel comfortable wearing them…

Do not get me started on itchy / scratchy tags and labels, ugh! They are the worst 😭 how do you cope with clothing and footwear? Any top tips? Feel free to share them in the comments below. Please feel free to share my post on social media platforms but do please credit me @21andsensory thanks!

Mental health = Confusing 🤦🏻‍♀️

Hello everyone – hope you’ve all had a good weekend. As well as sharing my drawings I’d like to share my thoughts and ideas on my Instagram as well 💭 mental health (to me at least) = confusing. My mental health is confusing to me because my issues and feelings can randomly intensify and l also struggle with episodes of depression which can be really debilitating 🧠

Obviously everyone’s mental health is very different but I do think it’s important to be supportive to each other both online and in the real world. I also think it’s great that self care is becoming more of a ‘thing’ now and it really is important in order to keep functioning in life.

I find that my mental health mixed with my sensory issues is always tough to deal with but I try to make time for self-care and enjoying the little things in life (e.g like running a bath, reading a good book, drawing,etc).

Yes, I have my own mental health problems. But I am always here to chat if you feel like you need someone to talk to or just a bit of support. (Please feel free to share my drawings just credit @21andsensory)