anxiety at the BIG Anxiety

Big anxiety at The BIG Anxiety Festival!

Some of this narrative was introduced in my previous post, about Food Markers, but this ramble here is a kind of variation on the theme, from a different angle.

This 2017 working trip has been fraught with dramatic ups and downs, and here’s my as-brief-as-possible review of the Grand Experience, months afterwards. Beware, ye grammar-sticklers, I do move rapidly between tenses, because I am unfolding the unfolding as I am experiencing it, in the now, in the then, and in the next. And that, too, is my Autistic Bunny Authentic Experience-ing. Continue reading

amplified senses


What happens when an autistic person with hyper senses becomes unwell / sick? Do those hyper sensory antennae suddenly shrink to ‘normal’? Nope. They are amplified still, as ever, if not even more so. The pain is compounded, and searing terror all the more gripping.

Staring into my delicious bowl of hot potato and leek soup this morning at the Arthouse Kitchen, after an entire night spent retching into the loo, I felt a sense of relief – just simply because I was no longer trapped inside the swirling sphere of excruciating agony. Last night, it was as if time had snapped its back and was lying on the ground in a crumpled heap, sneering at me each time I convulsed, perspiring profusely like a tap at full blast. Not a pretty sight. Not one I’m happy to allow any to witness, so another episode came and went, with only the cosmos as voyeur, and my paltry words to record. I don’t want or need anyone to hold my hand during the ordeal, no thank you, it adds to the distress, really. Yet, being all alone in the cold, stark artist’s studio while teetering on the brink of physical and mental breakdown, was admittedly most frightening.

I couldn’t swallow more than 6 spoons of the goop, no matter how tasty. The throat is inflamed from all the coughing and sputtering. Sorry, Massimo. Please don’t take it as an insult to your culinary offering.

It was a comfort to sit in an old favourite and familiar space. Though with a sad twitching tingling feeling, because that was one of ‘our’ places to be – Lucy and me.

Takeaway: Autistic hyper senses = amplified horror and pain when unwell. Spare a thought for us, we’re not being dramatic. In fact, we prefer to hide inside our excruciating terror. But being nearby and knowing that you are somewhere does help a bit, if only to call an ambulance if needed.



At the doctor’s clinic – just about surviving the wait.

Stubborn, indignant high fever. Relentless, adamant multi-headaches. Pounding ulcers. Throat on fire. Dancing monkeys and rampaging elephants. Vertigo. Nausea. Debilitation. Screaming all-over muscular pain. Total system crash.

Hobbled to and from doctor’s clinic, shuffling stiffly… They thought it was dengue, due to the pain and fever, but tests results were in the clear. Phew! You’re just very sick. You must’ve picked up a super bug somewhere (well, yes, Mr Stinky was down with an infection, spreading the amplified horror willy nilly, and I spent my final evening in Stinkyland washing that already sickeningly reeking toilet out with bleach because it was soiled with excrement). With your weakened condition and hypersensitivity, your experience is very much more intense. Duh. OK. I know. I know… Continue reading

my love


Till a’ the seas gang dry…

Collected my baby girl from the emergency vet this morning. Back home, fed a bland diet of cooked turkey mince. She is now sleeping in bed. We are waiting for her regular vet to come and pick us up, because Lucy is too weak to jump in and out of a taxi. Dr. Ivor is a wonderful vet, and he has been ever so kind to us. It seems like a long road ahead for us both, but I owe it to Lucy to do all I can for her wellbeing. Right now, our immediate goal is to stabilize her, before we head on towards a plethora of tests and explorations. Not a good time at all, I am in the throes of completing my Ph.D dissertation, and have (as it is) blown apart two whole months running around doing all kinds of things – moving house, packing & unpacking, dealing with Lucy’s accidents, battling my own monsters of meltdown and physical pain, fighting the bullying of the Evil Twins (real estate agents) etc blah – just about everything but proper work. Not much time left, and I face an impossibility. But we have come this far, we now have no other choice but to rely on the great cosmic clemency that has carried us through, to propel us forward. And thusly we shall go!

A Robert Burns poem that I like to sing to her… as we wait… I am trying not to overwhelm her with my anxiety and singing helps us both at times like these.

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June:
O my Luve’s like the melodie, 
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve!
And fare-thee-weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ ’twere ten thousand mile!

Robert Burns

tumbling with Grace

Yesterday was a difficult day, the culmination of a week of difficult days. The lead up to any important deadline or event is inevitably filled with high anxiety and escalating stress. That is something my mind is prepared for and has sufficient information in its database to anticipate and deal with. But some, no in fact many, elements interfere with the orderly frame and hurtle with a force that threatens to crush and crumble the most well organised “In Case of Emergency” list.

I took Lucy to the vet to have her nails clipped. The vet is a very kind person. He loves Lucy, and Lucy adores him. But sometimes, the unexpected and unpleasant does happen. The vet clipped too much off a nail in the front right paw and in the left hind, and my poor baby was screaming in pain. Continue reading

roller coaster

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My life is never boring. In fact, I do not know first hand what that word really means. To me, boredom is a technical term, without personal application. I have been yearning for more, longing for Selfness, in the midst of subjugation by the Colonial Other. However, I have not known boredom. For this, I feel eternally grateful.

This does not mean that I don’t wish away some of the exciting things that happen to me – the physical limitations, the suffering, the straightened financial situation of a scholar’s life are all things I endure, rather than enjoy. I find myself far too inundated with exciting activity not of my own choosing, that I have not the time and energy to embark on half the wonderful things that flood and thrill my mind and soul.

Nevertheless, my life is not boring, whichever way one looks at it.

Still wobbling from the aftermath of the exhibition, trying to tidy the home, anxious to organise and systemise my living environment in order to facilitate a better living, working and creative environment, I’ve been suddenly flung into an unstable jiggling cart flying through the air on a bumpy roller coaster track. Continue reading

sunshine and wind

We’ve had really windy weather the last two days, and my already ailing tomato plant has finally given up the ghost. I have had to bring in the other plants to save them from the brutal battering. It has been colder as a result, but the sun was out and humidity low, which was lovely for me. Lucy too. In fact, brave and determined sunseeker that she is, the little miss even asked to go out into the balcony! She stepped out all wrapped up in her pink fluffy blankie, and lay in the sun, despite the howling wind blowing around her, with a serious determination that had me in giggles! Of course, I shooed her back inside after a few minutes. I didn’t want her to catch cold, or have anything blow into her or into the flat!

I am slowly climbing, crawling, clawing out of the rhinovorus abyss, though the sensory delay is taking a longer time to revv back up. Continue reading

a quiet day

Sunday was a strangely quiet day. A day without my Princess. I woke up at 5.30am, and the silence was deafening – my alarm clock was missing. There was no dark, warm shadow on the left, no silhouette of perky ears and long face staring intently at me, no wet nosed gentle nudging or licking of my hand, no sweet little whiny sounds to say, “Wake up, mumma!” I fell back into the series of restless dreams I had all night. I was dreaming about Lucy, in various settings. One of my dreams was particularly disturbing. I dreamed I was back home with Lucy, and we were not well received in public at all. Yes, my homeland has an appalling lack of tolerance for pets in public places. Even Guide Dogs for the Blind are ostracised, there is no space or place for Lucy, a service dog for anxiety, none whatsoever! Although there is a growing body of people with pets who are very precious to them, as well as increasing lobbying for better awareness and acceptance in this area, the general situation is a sad one. For all its pomp and ceremonial show of wealth, the country still lacks social progress in so many areas. There are well heeled newly middle class couple with horribly behaved brats running amok in public, polluting the environment not only with noise but with filth as they leave their bits and bobs behind. Sometimes these include bodily fluids of a most disgusting kind. This is well tolerated, but a pet, sitting quietly in a carrier, or a serene and elegant big dog minding its own business, will suddenly cause a different kind of hell to break lose. I am ashamed. Yes.

Anyway. I digress. Back to yesterday’s (by now) surreal experience. Continue reading