Let’s Talk About: Followup #AnxietyAttacks What Helps?

On Wednesday I posted about anxiety/panic attacks, and what happened to me on Monday. As one might guess, it’s been a topic of conversation among my family since then.

And what keeps coming up (understandably enough, especially considering that no one said anything or reacted to me on Monday) is the question: What can be done to help? What helps while the attack is happening, and what helps after it’s over?

Read on for details and Let’s Talk About questions

Nerves Like Exposed Live Wires

Have you ever felt like your nerves were exposed wires – live ones? Jittery, exposed to air, live wires? That might at any time make your muscles do strange things, like seize up? That feel as though there’s static electricity – or any kind of electricity, really, but static electricity gives the idea I’m going for in terms of strength – going along them?

I have. In fact, the reason this post is going up now is that’s how I’ve been feeling almost since I woke up this morning. Even after taking my Vitamin B complex (vitamin B is good for your neural network).

The first time I can remember feeling this way was in the fall/winter of 2012/3, when I was doing an internship with ILRC-NL (now Empower). One of my placements was at a hotel, and the first time I tried to work at the reception desk (as opposed to the “operator room”), there was a vacuum cleaner being used off to my left. My left upper arm immediately started feeling that way – as though the nerves were exposed to air and had electricity stronger than the normal neural communication shooting through it. Sensory Overload Warning!

It seems (for me) to happen when I’m stretched thin, or when I’m stressed and anticipating something that may not be terribly pleasant, or if there’s major unpleasant sensory input (like the vacuum cleaner mentioned above). (Today I suspect it falls under the “stretched thin” category – see my last post.) It’s usually strongest in my upper arms – and if it’s on one side only, usually that’s the left side, or the side that the sensory input that is unpleasant is situated. Both sides, or more than just my upper arm, and it’s most likely to be one of the first two situations.

So I was wondering. Does anyone else get this sensation? Is it something that happens occasionally, frequently, or all the time? Does anyone have suggestions for dealing with it other than “wait it out”? (Or “take a nap and see if that calms it down enough”?)

Would love to hear from others!

Thanks,
🙂 tagâûght

Let’s Talk About: #AnxietyAttacks

Disclaimer

So, I meant to get this up yesterday, but due to things around the topic, I spent yesterday trying to distract myself.

Anxiety (and depression) seem to go hand-in-hand with autism, and no one yet has been able to determine whether they are co-occuring conditions, or whether there’s something about the autistic brain wiring that lends itself to anxiety and depression, or perhaps they’re symptoms of trying to deal with a world not suited to us for years and years on end (which is what I suspect they are, personally, but I’m not a scientist). Could really be any one or any combo of those things.

Basic intro over with, let’s go on to what I want to talk about (and hear from others about) today: Anxiety attacks.

I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I tend to get anxiety attacks when medical issues are being discussed, and they present (for me) like hypoglycemic attacks: lightheadedness, cold sweats, dizziness, shakes, etc. I know one person who “whites out” when they have an anxiety/panic attack, and another who thought they were having a heart attack when they had their first (that they could remember) attack.

The reason this topic came up for me to write about was what happened to me this past Monday.

CW: Mention of dental procedures, not very detailed, but method of injecting freezing stated.

Read on for details and questions

#BoycottToSiri: Here’s Why #ActuallyAutistic Reviews

Disclaimer

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’ve got some links for you of excellent reviews by other autistic adults (pretty sure all of the ones I’ve got are by autistics, but there might be a couple of allistic responses in there as well) about the reasons why we need to boycott “To Siri With Love” by Judith Newman.

But first, I want to express just how disappointed I am – and why – at Ms. Newman’s recent claim that To Siri was not meant for an autistic audience. I know I mentioned this yesterday in my list of grievances about it, but I want to reiterate today as a separate thing.

Any books about autism, no matter who they are written by, have an effect on autistics – in a lot of cases, because they affect the way autistics are treated by the readers of the book and, in a number of cases, by society at large. We may not be the ones targetted as readers, but because of the effect those books have, our opinions, needs, and desires about them need to be taken into account.

No author of a book about autism – or anyone else discussing that book – has the right to say that it has nothing to do with autistics. No one. By definition, a book about autism involves us.

You want to read a book written by an allistic parent about their autistic child? May I recommend Iris Grace by Arabella Carter-Johnson? (Also see my post BBC Video Article: Cat Helps 6 Year Old Autistic.) The author doesn’t try to hide the challenges that can come from raising an autistic child, but neither does she shy away from the joys that can come from the same. And she is respectful of both her daughter and the autistic community, which is always good to see in a book about autism.

Now, on to the links. (Please note that they’re not in any particular order, save how they’re saved in my Evernote.)

To the links and my descriptions….

#BoycottToSiri: #ActuallyAutistic Writer Review of “To Siri With Love”

Disclaimer Trigger Warning: Mentions of eugenics, privacy invasion, emotional abuse, and other potentially triggering elements.

So, I’m not on Twitter very often. I follow a fair number of people for various reasons (writing and autism being the two main ones, but not the only ones), but that’s still a lot of reading that has to be done every day, so I tend to only go on occasionally, and mostly read my notifications.

As a result, I wasn’t on when the #BoycottToSiri movement first started. (I’d never even heard of the book – “To Siri, With Love” by Judith Newman – before.) The first I heard of it was a post by a friend of mine referencing the honestly disgraceful characterization of YouTube autistic advocate Amythest Schaber in the book.

(Hint: “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” is a very negative term, used to refer to female characters who are only in things to appeal to the straight male audience. But even “gamine” would not have been an acceptable term to use. Amythest’s work has absolutely nothing to do with their appearance, and like I said above, it is disgraceful that not only did the author describe them that way, but also that the publisher (Harper Collins, BTW – I encourage everyone to express just how insulting and disgraceful this book is to them) allowed it.)

Anyway. Long story (very long story) short, I was poking around to get some information to send to people about this today, and ran into the Storify of a chapter-by-chapter review of To Siri by autistic adult and parent (and writer) @KaelanRhy. I checked with her, and she gave me permission to post that Storify here.

Continue to read for link and description