Alex Lowery speaks about autism

Does Sickness affect autistic people?

Written on 3rd Sep 2016 by Alex Lowery

I have been feeling sick with a Cold, Asthma flair-up and Chest Infection for about two weeks now. I’m just starting to recover (at least I think and hope I am). Anyway, I’m not blogging today, so I can get sympathy from you, or to make you all feel sorry for me. I am happy to say that I am not that kind of guy.

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However, there is something about my experience of sickness that I feel I would like to blog about and that’s how sickness can affect autism. I have several health problems. I have asthma as well as some allergies. When my asthma gets out of control (like it is at the moment) it tends to affect my autism to a degree as well.

 

My autistic traits become more Profound when I’m feeling poorly. I get more easily angry, more easily distracted, more socially withdrawn (even with my own family), and as a whole my ability to function in my day-to-day life is really affected. I find that when I’m feeling like this, I even struggle to think clearly, and things that would normally excite me don’t have quite that same affect on me in that way. I keep on feeling like there are things I should do, but I can’t motivate myself to do them.

I also think that my ADHD is on steroids along with me. My sisters complain that my voice is so loud that it hurts their ears and I think it is normal. I also feel that I will be like this forever and struggle to believe I will get better. I know in my head that I will get better but somehow I can’t quite believe it.

 

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From what I understand, these issues can be quite common for other people on the autistic spectrum. I’ve heard other people with autism say their ability to function in their day-to-day life is affected through sickness. This of course is the same for neurotypicals, but it’s often the case for individuals on the autism spectrum especially. But as with every aspect of autism, it’s not the case for everyone. Like I’ve said in pretty much every article I’ve written, autism is so different for everyone who has it. All I can do is talk about it from my own perspective. I will say though that if you know of anyone with autism who is unwell, it is important to make certain allowances accordingly.

One way that I have been affected over the last two weeks has been that Stimming has been difficult because it has made me breathless. This has made me more stressed and I have not been able to cope with socialising even with my family. I have also found that as I improve I am very distracted and I can’t turn my brain off. Last night I was Stimming and jumping until 3.30 AM. Big jumps and I was still coughing and  my brain was in overdrive. I think this is a reaction to not being able to Stim. I know that my mum said I kept her awake but it was worth it for me because I needed to Stim.  One more thing and I know this is controversial but I would take this over depression any day. A relative of mine has recently attempted suicide, this shows me that depression can be more life threatening than asthma although obviously asthma can be very serious and you can die of asthma.

I have also realised that I need someone with me when I see a Dr. I just misunderstand what they are asking me and it is hard to follow their instructions in term of which tablets to take. It is a lot to process and Dr’s speak so fast.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. I know it’s not exactly my most insightful article, but I decided to write about it, since it’s a topic I’ve never really written about before, nor is it often talked about. If you have autism, please let me know your experiences in the comments. Do you find that sickess affects your ability to function as well? Or if you’re a Parent of an autistic person, please let me know how sickness may affect your child’s ability to function. I love reading about other people’s experiences.

 

Thank you for reading.

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Organisations Alex has worked with

  • Autism Cymru
  • Chester University
  • Glyndwr University
  • National Autistic Society
  • St John's Ambulance
  • Welsh Government

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