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Closed Captions for Season 3 | Episode #3: Aly Dearborn

Mar 7, 2023


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Hi, everybody. Season 3. Episode 3 and wow, what a week! It's been. Okay.

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We have a full moon happening. It's an amethyst month.

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The month of February. Just celebrated a birthday, and my schedules and routines are completely Jack.

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This week. So I was just telling our guests today that I'm wearing my gym clothes but you know what we're here.

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I've got foggy brain. I'm forgetful there's all kinds of stuff in my space this week, because my schedules and routines are off, but that's really common for me as an autistic person.

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And so, Allie deerboard is with us, and she's become a friend, a colleague of mine.

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We've had her on before, but I do want to brag about you, Allie, again.

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You are going to be a regular just so, you know, there's on fabulous in Candace.

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Alley is a fabulous human being and also an autistic human being.

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A identifies as a female is a licensed psychotherapist, and has been in the field for about 15 years and has an expertise in the treatment of women with complex trauma, and addicted behavior.

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And I also want to add Ali women who are autistic because holy cow, you have so much research behind you around that Ali has also been a life on a lifelong quest to better understand herself and the discovery of her autism earlier this year which is catalized profound shifts

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In her life and the direction of her professional practice. Learning more about the female presentation of autistic spectrum conditions and sharing this important information with others is her new area focused.

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And yay, you are doing so much work, and I wanna say that, Allie, for folks who are part of the Itap community.

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So it's the International Institute for Trauma, and addiction professionals.

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Itap we are presenting in April, at the Itap.

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Sympathium on love addicted or seeking safety, and how we can, you know, properly, assess and accurately treat autistic females who are in inpatient and outpatient settings for relationship and trauma issues so yay welcome to you allie

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Thank you. I'm so glad to be back, and just to be in this process of continuing to do my own research and figure out ways to get this information sentences and out to other clinicians and to the public.

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Yeah. Hmm, hmm.

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I think, especially around the sex, and love addiction and vulnerability to challenging relationships

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Absolutely that I would say you and I have seen in our field.

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The focus tends to be on autistic mills who are struggling with out of control sexual behavior.

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But you. We have yet to see, and I've been now A.

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Csat for 10 years this year. Whoa! I have yet to see any presentation, training, conversation, discussion, consultation, group about females who are autistic, even Eightyhd, except for the fabulous Heather Putney, who will be on as well is starting to talk about it.

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Thank goodness you know, but we haven't seen it. We're not seeing it.

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We're not seeing a discussion of it, which is really concerning, because there's so many women that are ending up in outpatient and inpatient programs being diagnosed as sex addicts.

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Love addicts and borderline dependent personality, disorder, depressed, anxious, which those fit.

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But the personality disorders don't. So here, back, so that we can talk about what we'll be presenting on.

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But whatever comes up today comes up today, you know, you just have a wealth of knowledge.

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And so maybe what we could do is start with just to kind of review, because sometimes people won't listen to previous podcasts or just gonna come across this one.

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You know what? Let's talk about the presentation. Maybe the similarities between autism and borderline.

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You and I have looked at that in the dialogue manual.

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Maybe we start there, does that feel okay? And just how that creates some confusion for folks?

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And why, how close, clinicians tend to lean on borderline, instead of actually looking at the autism diagnosis.

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Maybe we start there.

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Okay, yeah, I think that would be a great place to dive in.

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Although I don't have that research in front of me, so I have to say that it's like, Okay, right?

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Like, let me be pulling this out of the brain file, you know, but I think one of the key factors in sort of that diagnostic consideration of borderline that shows up is the emotional disregulation.

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The kind of the you know, attempts to avoid real or perceived abandonment, diffuse identity, sort of structures where there's a bit of, you know, kind of like obvious, repetitive outward changes in presentation or appearance, right like kind of trying on different costumes almost

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Hmm, hmm, hmm, yeah, yeah, intense relationships.

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As known as no intense

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Very intense intense, chaotic relationships that seem very addictive.

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Right? Yeah, and that

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Right like that. Intensity like that. This is my special person, which then, from a borderline perspective, right is either being, you know, highly pedestalized and valued.

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Yes, yeah, yes, I love you. I hate you.

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And subsequently valued. Yes, right right

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Right. So for you and I, being autistic as well as clinicians and truly experts in this arena. What's fascinating about what you just said is, I'm hearing autism all over the place

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Yes, same right. And now that I know about autism because I can frame my own life experience and then match it with all of the literature.

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It is new.

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And you know what exists, you know, but kind of putting together all of these pieces that really haven't yet been put together in any real form, because research specific to the female autistic population is pretty damn new like, like, you know, and especially if you're kind of going in the more even narrow focus of

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The you know the sexual and relational experiences of autistic females, because one of the bigger, you know, gender for sex differences that emerges is that girls, you know, assigned female at birth like girls do tend to have more desire for interest in social relationships and

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Reciprocity than cisgender autistic males.

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And so out of the gate. There's more social desire, but not necessarily the internal hardware to make sense of what's going on as social dynamics get increasingly complex.

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And so even the emergence of autistic trait showing up more in adolescents for girls, whereas for boys they might be more off, you know more observed earlier in childhood.

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You know. But then you get this like, you know, teenage girls going to treatment centers and getting diagnosed as borderline, which isn't even an appropriate clinical diagnosis for someone under the age of 18 right?

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And getting that is like, you know, something's wrong with you when really it's their autism showing up and not knowing how to explain.

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And the dysregulation that occurs, and I can't tell you so I might get enraged, or I might quiet, you know, flee, and run away, and my relationships have.

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Yes, yes.

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You burned bridges all over the place, but it's not because I'm being manipulative.

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It's not because I'm you know, like intentionally trying to get someone to react a certain way.

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It's like that. I am an other confusion about what the hell

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Yeah, yeah. You just said that beautifully. Yeah. And so what happens is clinicians are not educated enough in these treatment centers to know what to look for with female teens and adult females.

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And so they literally just go to a diagnosis of borderline.

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You know, and then and then other diagnoses, dependent personality, disorder, right and I think where they, you know, when we see the diagnosis of depression and anxiety. K.

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That is accurate. We see co-occurring diagnoses of those 2 with autism.

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We see a co-occurrence with Adhd as well.

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But again, because so much research has been done on autistic boys.

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You're right. It's very new. And so you and I have literally, I mean you really to give you credit.

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Have taken a deep dive in the ocean of research that does exist to really start to sift through.

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The the research that is out there for autistic females.

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And let me just ask you this as you are sifting through the research.

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Do you feel like the focus is deficit based still?

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Or is the language starting to change where it's more like supportive and diversity based around autistic females

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I mean

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There's both. I think, that just given the language of the Dsm.

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Which does say depicits in social reciprocity, deficits in, you know, or whatever right?

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Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

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So because of that like that, language is included, and also many of the testing instruments right?

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But a bit like the kind of gold standard assessment, like the ados, or whatever right it's also been norm.

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Their around the deficit based language, and the primarily, as this gender male.

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Yes, yes.

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You know, population. So the more so there is a shift like in the literature.

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That's more looking at the kind of what the female autistic phenotype, you know, or more of a, you know, kind of a gender nonconforming

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Presentation more and more of that clinical research and information is in integrating, like intersectionality and social disability, justice.

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And you know, really kind of putting a different spin.

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And I think one of the things that's to me the most striking about what I'm finding specific to some of the relational difficulties.

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Good for us. Is csats right? And sort of prominent professionals kind of have.

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You know, we're absolutely seeing in our offices, and then for me trying to continue to make sense of my own.

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Life, history, right? Like there's so much that I'm learning about where they're real limitations to traditional sex education or rate prevention education, which is my background.

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And I think so for me. What's most like the reason I'm on such a deep dive like this is actually like the most invested in any sort of research project I've been since the I was working with the repeatment center at Ucla and did a deep Dive as part

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of that work in looking at the incidents of sexual harassment, peer sexual harassment in middle school students, and how that transition and age, from elementary to middle school is so the the kids are so vulnerable, and that's across the board but then when you start to

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narrow in, and look at the the kids that are maybe not even diagnosed, but perceived as different from their neurotypically developing peers right?

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Like are, you know, like the rates of victimization?

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Are, you know, really astounding, like even comparative, to how astounding to me they already are

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Yeah, yeah, well, I think what you're saying is so prevalent and it's pertinent to what we're talking about.

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Because if we look at so again, here you have female teens who come into a treatment center or female autistic teams.

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K undiagnosed, coming in, or same with females who are adults coming in and based on current presentation.

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We've literally you and I both know these big name inpatient treatment centers that don't actually contact the primary clinician to get a history.

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So they go off. Current presentation, which, as we said in the beginning, looks like borderline.

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So many of these clinicians who don't know that autism has a similar presentation.

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But if you start to ask questions, about history, like you're talking about in childhood, and you know, with friendships and socially and sensory issues, sensory processing issues and issues, with being bullied and being vulnerable with communication and not understanding, people's intentions and you start to see

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A pattern repetitive behavior. There's another one, right?

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Right getting anxious if schedules and routines are off.

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As I spoke about, and so if you, if clinicians were to take some time and do a proper assessment, which is what you and I are in the process of creating like a screening assessment, they would see we're not talking about a personality, disorder, we're talking about a

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Neuro developmental condition. Right? So I I just know that, especially in our community with the Csats, a lot of folks are gonna want us to talk about what?

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What are autistic traits that we're we're looking for in women who come into these treatment centers.

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So maybe we talk about that, you know. What do you look for you?

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And I said it, but maybe we say it again. What do you what to look for? What do you look for?

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You've got a woman who's coming in. She's describing feeling like a love addict.

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She's describing having, you know, just these really intense relationships.

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Then then where do they go? Right? Where does the clinician go?

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Because immediately the clinicians gonna be like, Oh, borderline!

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Instead of asking, what right?

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Right, you know, or just, you know, like, you know, kind of attachment, injury, which also be true.

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Right like considering the likely amounts of sort of feeling different, that the person's already internalized right like for me, one of the things that's been really interesting to look at here is just even in terms of

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Expanding this idea of love addict, which kind of ends up being sort of transferred on to whoever the romantic partner is right, but not, you know.

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Same here.

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But did this intense, special person? Is that a framework through which all previous relationships have also been kind of couched right like for me, I always had one best friend, and really struggled like this came up which was fine until high school and then it got more complicated, and and then certainly in college I remember being really just

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Didn't know what to make of my best friend, having other friends, that she did things with, and didn't invite me like.

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Yeah. Yes.

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And really like, you know, and I wasn't a love addicted to her.

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But really thrown into confusion, because, you know, I think one of the things that really is striking me like is where the like.

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The not knowing the levels of relationship. Right? Like all way, you know, like crossing an oversharer, you know, you know, and, like, you know, let you know that there's levels of intimacy, and like the way all of my relationships formed which was oh, you like me, too, we're together and

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Same here, same same here.

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Like almost immediate merger, no assessment process at all about anything other than there.

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You like me, too, or sometimes not even you like me too.

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Yeah, yeah.

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It's just you like me and gonna be like up into desire for me that I didn't know or have any social communication skills or a script to do any kind of you know, rejection right?

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Oh, my, gosh, you too. Okay, yeah, yeah.

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Like I would give my phone number and then avoid calls, because, even, yeah, you know, like, back when we get phone numbers right you know, I wouldn't even think till I give the wrong number.

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You know, it's like, you know, just there's such a there's such a naativity.

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Oh, yeah.

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That is, that remains across time right like the level of naiveness that don't say in the lecture right that I had around, you know, kind of safety parameters for myself, peers of all genders, really, but certainly with my male peers, you know, with is still, problematic for me as

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A 43 year old. Female adult right like that.

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I don't now I can understand is my brain doesn't have that hard wire right?

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So the best I can do is learn, and I became a csat because I went to a treatment center that was run by csats, and they told me what to do to get better.

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And I did all those things, and then I went and studied all the things, and became kind of here.

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But then this piece, and where the autism is not being looked at, and where we do have a a vulnerability, especially as a female like the number one risk factor for sexual violence in any sort of mystical way, is being is having of the giants, like being born female right that is the

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Yeah, that's true. Yeah, yeah.

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Number one factor. But you add autistic female in and the like.

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It is another vulnerability factor, because we have difficulty you know, like what the literature says is like discriminating between like what's appropriate behavior across settings, you know.

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And so I think back. And it's like I used to get a lot of feedback from peers or my family that I was like too public in too much public affection.

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I get 2 touchy fee like, you know, like you know, no boundary system, right like what's appropriate or not, you know which then can start to look like exhibitionism, you know.

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Yeah. Yup. Yup.

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Add from a sex addiction lens. Right? So is it bad, or is it how you were groomed, or what you were taught was normalized?

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You know, and I think there's so much of us like trying to, you know, taking what other people tell us as truth, you know, like, I'm gonna believe what you tell me, and not knowing how to really detect someone being manipulative.

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And I'm just, you know, I think, especially in terms of the vulnerability and risks for autistic females.

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Oh, yeah.

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You know that are influenced by our highly pornography, and with only fans sex industry. Right?

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That's sort of is promoting, grooming, and exploitation of young people.

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And there're but they're mimicking what they see is the thing to do, and the way to be normal.

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And yet, you know, it's like, is this harming me?

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How do I really feel about this and just sort of where there's so much work?

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I think we have to do, and really understanding more about where the behaviors are you know, like what's really going on, because it can look like something you can look like a lot of things.

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But with really knowing the person right and kind of like knowing more about some of the intersections here, I think we're really gonna find the ability to do a better job protecting our most vulnerable people because one of the things that I love about this literature here I'm sorry

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I love it, I love it so much. That's an endy.

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I'm on kind of like a total info

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Yes, yes.

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Love language. So I'm with you right now. I'm with you.

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I'm listening.

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Like what I think is really cool for me, especially like having been a rate prevention educator for a decade, and you know, is that one of the things here it talks about how you know sex, LED, will you know the more?

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Our young people are educated about healthy sex and sex education.

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The more they you know they'll have less rates of abuse.

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But half of the victims in this one study, which will present at Itap.

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But it'll also maybe share a link but this is a convey list twenty-twenty study, 22, on evidence that 9 autistic women out of 10 have been victims of sexual violence.

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So brand new research. And this is where I love where things are heading, because it says that half of the victims in this study were below the age of consent, and therefore out of the scope of applied sex education, right?

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We're working with miners, and the vulnerability there.

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And here's this, this is my microwave comment on this section is expecting minors with a disability to protect themselves.

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Thanks to education, can be acquainted to another form of victim blaming

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Hmm, Mike drop

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The most efficient protection, in especially in the case of vulnerable individuals, is the presence of a vigilant caregiver.

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Right. And so when I think about my own experiences of sexual violence, right and my behavior never changed across context, right?

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Yeah, yeah, yeah.

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The only thing that was different was whether or not I was in the presence of a predator or a real true peer, or whether peers were with me and got me the fuck out or left me there right only different throughout the history of my life, about whether or not I was victimized is whether or not

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someone. Someone else helped me right or

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Yeah. Yup, yup, yeah.

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You know, or like right, and that to me is like where we're missing things, even as csats right like bulletin boundaries and boundaries is important, like we need scripts like.

00:25:29.000 --> 00:25:30.000

00:25:30.000 --> 00:25:45.000
If you tell me what to say, I can say it, but if if I'm caught off guard, and one of the things that talks about in the sexual victimization literature is most breaditors will use surprise as an element for how they initiate sexual contact it's either surprise or

00:25:45.000 --> 00:25:47.000
Manipulation, right and

00:25:47.000 --> 00:25:49.000
Right which both were going to be completely thrown off guard.

00:25:49.000 --> 00:25:57.000
Were already victims of manipulation. All the time we're very vulnerable to that.

00:25:57.000 --> 00:25:58.000
And then again you surprise us. We don't have a script for anything.

00:25:58.000 --> 00:26:05.000
We're yeah, we are. We're victims. We end up.

00:26:05.000 --> 00:26:06.000

00:26:06.000 --> 00:26:08.000
We end up being victimized.

00:26:08.000 --> 00:26:11.000
And then blamed, and then we internalize it, and then we have shame and more.

00:26:11.000 --> 00:26:14.000

00:26:14.000 --> 00:26:21.000
You know I've relapsed, or here I am again, right like, you know, recording a dangerous person, right?

00:26:21.000 --> 00:26:31.000
But one of the things that it also talks about is that autistic women are more vulnerable to dating, abusive partners. Right?

00:26:31.000 --> 00:26:34.000
Yeah. Yep, yeah. Alright. Yep. Been there. Yeah. Yeah.

00:26:34.000 --> 00:26:39.000
And I think we're being deliberately targeted right like this is a factor of editor meets.

00:26:39.000 --> 00:26:41.000
Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely.

00:26:41.000 --> 00:27:02.000
Pray and see you know, pulls you in right. And so I haven't gotten through all this yet, but I am interested as someone in my recovery who spent 3 weeks and a domestic violence shelter is part of my like getting getting clear getting clean getting what the fuck is going you know, kinda get some

00:27:02.000 --> 00:27:11.000
Clarity and ground underneath my feet. But there's a lot around, I think, even just treatment and recognition of the support that domestic violence.

00:27:11.000 --> 00:27:12.000

00:27:12.000 --> 00:27:18.000
You know, victims need as an autistic female going through this process right?

00:27:18.000 --> 00:27:24.000
Like you throw this person in a shelter which is one of the more chaotic environments that is, in a mental health.

00:27:24.000 --> 00:27:25.000
Contacts like

00:27:25.000 --> 00:27:28.000
Oh, it's so chaotic. Yeah, I used. Yep.

00:27:28.000 --> 00:27:29.000

00:27:29.000 --> 00:27:33.000
I used to work in a dB shelter. It is so chaotic

00:27:33.000 --> 00:27:47.000
It's loud. Oh, my gosh!

00:27:47.000 --> 00:27:50.000

00:27:50.000 --> 00:27:56.000

00:27:56.000 --> 00:27:57.000

00:27:57.000 --> 00:27:59.000
You've got sometimes use right. This particular shelter had a male person as a in the unit, children right like people, and just all, you know, slow, just regulating right I've got to go and navigate getting advocacy and support systems by myself in the biggest mental health crisis of

00:27:59.000 --> 00:28:08.000

00:28:08.000 --> 00:28:09.000
Wow, yeah.

00:28:09.000 --> 00:28:12.000
my life like, and then, you know, put me back in treatment right, which is now a whole new social new, because the peers that were there 3 weeks ago have graduated now I got to deal with new people right?

00:28:12.000 --> 00:28:13.000
Change. Hmm hmm

00:28:13.000 --> 00:28:18.000
It's just like what you know just onus. So it's like, Oh, well, let's help you not be so dependent.

00:28:18.000 --> 00:28:20.000
Let's help you grow yourself up right like, be a functional adult, which is important.

00:28:20.000 --> 00:28:35.000
Yes, many of those teachings have become a foundation of like how I live, a functional with old life, right?

00:28:35.000 --> 00:28:36.000

00:28:36.000 --> 00:28:45.000
But also recognizing that something are not. I'm not.

00:28:45.000 --> 00:28:46.000

00:28:46.000 --> 00:28:47.000
I don't. I don't have the full capacity to be functional with right like math, right?

00:28:47.000 --> 00:28:48.000

00:28:48.000 --> 00:28:51.000
Like my accounting numbers. It's like symbols. It's foreign language.

00:28:51.000 --> 00:29:02.000
I can't understand it, you know, and relationally right like really, that deep assessment of Can I trust this person and confusion about like love?

00:29:02.000 --> 00:29:07.000
Right like. You know. What's what are the rules? What are you supposed to do?

00:29:07.000 --> 00:29:08.000
Yeah, yeah.

00:29:08.000 --> 00:29:12.000
What me so much of it being like sensory seeking

00:29:12.000 --> 00:29:13.000
Oh, my God! Well, and that's why we talked about that.

00:29:13.000 --> 00:29:23.000
So let's just I wanna really recap so much of what you're saying, because there's so much important information and you're just brilliant.

00:29:23.000 --> 00:29:24.000
Well, well.

00:29:24.000 --> 00:29:43.000
So you started off by talking about intense relationships. So when clinicians, especially Csat, so Csat is certified, sex addiction therapist for those that are wondering are ha have a client in their office that is coming to treatment for a female okay, coming to to treatment for

00:29:43.000 --> 00:30:02.000
Possible sex addiction, maybe love, addiction. We're looking at instead of just jumping on the borderline bandwagon when you're looking at traits of autism, we do have a history starting when we're young of getting in intense friendships.

00:30:02.000 --> 00:30:10.000
We have one. Typically, if we have one, we have one. They become our special interest.

00:30:10.000 --> 00:30:16.000
We're often very rejection sensitive. So if they get friends, we really really struggle.

00:30:16.000 --> 00:30:25.000
We struggle to navigate more than one friendship, because it's so hard to navigate other people's conversations, let alone just the person in front of us.

00:30:25.000 --> 00:30:32.000
So intense relationships are global. It's not just a partner.

00:30:32.000 --> 00:30:33.000
Yes, bye.

00:30:33.000 --> 00:30:40.000
So that's the first thing that I want clinicians to hear that we want to be asking those questions about relationships.

00:30:40.000 --> 00:30:45.000
And then also we do have a tendency to be well.

00:30:45.000 --> 00:31:06.000
We are victims, that is the reality, being female, autistic, we're very vulnerable to friends that are bullies, friends that that and and partners doesn't matter the gender but domestic violence is I mean the rates of domestic violence for autistic females is high

00:31:06.000 --> 00:31:09.000
And other things, too, like you, said the oversharing.

00:31:09.000 --> 00:31:16.000
And I added, meltdowns and shutdowns need to be asked, because it's not a tantrum and it's not a rage.

00:31:16.000 --> 00:31:28.000
Fest. There's something happening. So asking the right questions, you know, taking time to ask about the sensory experience of the person which no one does.

00:31:28.000 --> 00:31:32.000
Treatment centers often have fluorescent lightings. They have way.

00:31:32.000 --> 00:31:45.000
Too many people in group. The kitchen area. If they're staying somewhere again, has a bright light, there's way too much crammed in a schedule which is very hard for an autistic female autistic human.

00:31:45.000 --> 00:31:51.000
Let alone an autistic female, so do you struggle with change, sensory processing.

00:31:51.000 --> 00:31:56.000
Tell me about reported behavior, because, you know, we do have that.

00:31:56.000 --> 00:31:59.000
There is this, as you said, the literature talks about this.

00:31:59.000 --> 00:32:11.000
There is this naivety, and I say that with compassion, because we do struggle, as you said, with the safety parameter, we do struggle with understanding.

00:32:11.000 --> 00:32:18.000
You know, if this person likes me. Oh, wow! Okay.

00:32:18.000 --> 00:32:26.000
I don't know. They like me right, and a big part of that again is because we're not able to really fill out.

00:32:26.000 --> 00:32:32.000
Can I discern if if if it's okay to like this person back now, I will say this.

00:32:32.000 --> 00:32:33.000
You and I have talked about this before so many autistic people.

00:32:33.000 --> 00:32:43.000
We're feelers. We feel a lot. We might not be able to explain what we feel, but we are sure, failing a lot.

00:32:43.000 --> 00:32:47.000
And so we're intuitive. Believe that or not.

00:32:47.000 --> 00:32:49.000
People challenge it. If you want, but I will still speak. For myself.

00:32:49.000 --> 00:32:53.000
I am a very intuitive, intuitive person. I sense.

00:32:53.000 --> 00:33:00.000
I see things I'm very in tune, but I have been gaslighted.

00:33:00.000 --> 00:33:01.000

00:33:01.000 --> 00:33:02.000
My whole fucking life, my people starting when I was young for seeing something, and then calling it out.

00:33:02.000 --> 00:33:16.000
No, that's not true. So then I'm like and you're too direct, and you're aggressive, and you're too much, and you're too intense, and you're a drama queen right?

00:33:16.000 --> 00:33:20.000
Sounds like borderline when I'm autistic, not borderline.

00:33:20.000 --> 00:33:29.000
So then what happens is as we go up, we get in these peer relationships, and in these intimate relationships.

00:33:29.000 --> 00:33:32.000
Again. We're feeling not right. The doesn't feel right.

00:33:32.000 --> 00:33:33.000
This doesn't feel okay, how they're treating me, does it feel? Okay?

00:33:33.000 --> 00:33:42.000
Hey? I'm gonna say something I'm gather I'm gas lighted, and then, Oh, my, gosh, okay, maybe it's me so beat down, beat down, beat down.

00:33:42.000 --> 00:34:03.000
No wonder why we show up to therapist's office or treatment centers, and we're a mess, because the neural majority, including the you know, individuals who we've been in relationship with have been literally abusing us since we were little and gas lighting etc.

00:34:03.000 --> 00:34:07.000
So but then we get labeled right. We get labeled as being borderline.

00:34:07.000 --> 00:34:17.000
When that's not what's happening. This is a case of autism.

00:34:17.000 --> 00:34:18.000

00:34:18.000 --> 00:34:19.000
This is a case of attachment learning. This is a case of trauma and trauma bonding, and all of that has to be addressed in treatment

00:34:19.000 --> 00:34:22.000
Yes, yes, it really. I love that you do. What? A yes, what a beautiful summary of that!

00:34:22.000 --> 00:34:35.000
Yes, like that is, I think, so important.

00:34:35.000 --> 00:34:36.000

00:34:36.000 --> 00:34:41.000
So important, and even transitions. You and I are talking about like we've got.

00:34:41.000 --> 00:34:49.000
An assessment like I said, coming just coming together and where we're gonna look at friendships because that's important.

00:34:49.000 --> 00:34:52.000
But also transitions

00:34:52.000 --> 00:34:56.000
When you start your period, you know, or moon cycle, right?

00:34:56.000 --> 00:35:00.000
It's like no one's talking about that hormones.

00:35:00.000 --> 00:35:05.000
No one's talking about that menopause. No one's talking to us about that.

00:35:05.000 --> 00:35:11.000
And for those of us that are autistic are, it's affecting us, and I mean it does.

00:35:11.000 --> 00:35:29.000
And there are co-occurring health issues that affect us greatly, that no one's talking about, no one's taking the time to talk about, because the comfort zone for too many clinicians is a personality disorder instead of oh, my gosh this fills out of my will house

00:35:29.000 --> 00:35:33.000
to take the time to explore a neuro developmental condition

00:35:33.000 --> 00:35:39.000
Right. Yes, and I think that on some level, right, we're still meeting.

00:35:39.000 --> 00:36:06.000
The general stereotype and bias about what it means to be autistic, because there's an assumption that you will have been noted as autistic early in your childhood, and so there's like, you know, it's like an no one even rules. It.

00:36:06.000 --> 00:36:15.000
In it's like it's already been ruled out, unless unless maybe you come in with like Adhd.

00:36:15.000 --> 00:36:18.000

00:36:18.000 --> 00:36:19.000
Yeah. Yep.

00:36:19.000 --> 00:36:22.000
But even then no one's really looking at autism, especially for girls right like so and you're lucky if you're they're even looking at Adhd because again, there's so many co-occurrences with the anxiety.

00:36:22.000 --> 00:36:32.000
And you know the thank you. Not motivated right like.

00:36:32.000 --> 00:36:33.000
Oh, yeah, but but that's labeled as lazy, sadly right?

00:36:33.000 --> 00:36:34.000
Can't get it together, you know. Yeah.

00:36:34.000 --> 00:36:45.000
It's like those of us that are Adhd, or add end up getting missed as Lacy and unmotivated.

00:36:45.000 --> 00:36:50.000
You know, and it and that's sad, too. I my autistic brain got me through school.

00:36:50.000 --> 00:36:54.000
I will say that, but you know, and I flew under the radar.

00:36:54.000 --> 00:37:02.000
But if you, if I, when I go back, I mean my arms in every picture, were out like this, I was doing this all the time I was swinging.

00:37:02.000 --> 00:37:10.000
I had pictures of me on a swing, I mean I would head bang when I would, you know, like, have serious meltdowns.

00:37:10.000 --> 00:37:12.000
I was very aggressive, which is, has more of an Asperger flavor.

00:37:12.000 --> 00:37:13.000
We don't use that language, it or that term anymore.

00:37:13.000 --> 00:37:22.000
But you know, and then I would literally line up my stuffed answer.

00:37:22.000 --> 00:37:31.000
I. The play was very repetitive. I would line up my my barbies, you know I I'm almost 50 people.

00:37:31.000 --> 00:37:35.000
So that that was that. Would those were the things that was very gender specific, you know.

00:37:35.000 --> 00:37:41.000
And then, yeah, it's like, so that was. But then I also have it.

00:37:41.000 --> 00:37:47.000
I have a twin brother, and I also would want to play with his friends, and, like, you know, but then I'm not understood.

00:37:47.000 --> 00:37:54.000
I mean, I knew the roles of a game like football or soccer, so I could fit in there right.

00:37:54.000 --> 00:37:59.000
But no one's watching me as I'm lining up as I have repetitive play, and it's just interesting.

00:37:59.000 --> 00:38:04.000
Oh! And then if I struggled with friendships, then I I just I had so much shame about that, because no one was questioning why I was.

00:38:04.000 --> 00:38:14.000
I mean, I grew up. I was born in 1,974.

00:38:14.000 --> 00:38:20.000
So I grew up in the seventies and the eighties.

00:38:20.000 --> 00:38:21.000

00:38:21.000 --> 00:38:22.000
No one was looking at autism back then, and then we add on, Ali, my mom was an alcohol like my dad's military.

00:38:22.000 --> 00:38:30.000
You. It's like compounding factors, right? So it goes back to.

00:38:30.000 --> 00:38:31.000

00:38:31.000 --> 00:38:44.000
When I was working with a therapist, and ifs therapist and I, you know I felt safe enough with her to say I'm autistic, and she said, No, you're not.

00:38:44.000 --> 00:38:48.000
You're not autistic. You have trauma

00:38:48.000 --> 00:39:00.000
And my parts inside were pissed, cause I was like, why are you questioning what my brain, what I know with my brain and I've said that story so many times.

00:39:00.000 --> 00:39:14.000
But you've experienced it, too, which is interesting, Ali, because if you go back it's you were to go back in time at that treatment center, and had you have said to the psychiatrist, I'm not borderline.

00:39:14.000 --> 00:39:19.000
I'm actually autistic. What do you think that she psychiatrist?

00:39:19.000 --> 00:39:22.000
What do you think she would have said you

00:39:22.000 --> 00:39:27.000
No, no, you're not. I mean, you know, but it's like, yeah, so.

00:39:27.000 --> 00:39:50.000
And I love what you're saying, like I was thinking earlier about like the you know, like the play, and my best friends like, you know, growing up, we would write, you know, write novels together because we're both avid readers, you know, and reading is my first, you know, napist.

00:39:50.000 --> 00:39:51.000

00:39:51.000 --> 00:39:54.000
addiction, right, to say like you're taking up all night reading my books.

00:39:54.000 --> 00:39:56.000
No sleep, you know, like consequences. My behavior

00:39:56.000 --> 00:40:00.000
I'm doing that now. I'm staying up really late reading a lot of books

00:40:00.000 --> 00:40:12.000
It's like, Oh, that brain stimulation! They love it.

00:40:12.000 --> 00:40:13.000
Oh, my! Gosh!

00:40:13.000 --> 00:40:15.000
But we would like I would never get past the designing the outfits and kind of coming up with the name and what she would be wearing, you know.

00:40:15.000 --> 00:40:30.000
But there, no dialogue right and with my barbies I was born in 79, grew up with the same kind of to those toys right?

00:40:30.000 --> 00:40:31.000

00:40:31.000 --> 00:40:37.000
But it was like getting them all dressed up, and then I'm done, you know, and with like me, with the animals, it was less about lining them up, but they would, they were lined up, but it was rotating them, so that none of them had hurt feelings.

00:40:37.000 --> 00:40:52.000
About who got to sleep closest to me right, and I think back about like what you were saying about that empathy piece like, and one is the things I'm reading about autism. It's like I never really understood.

00:40:52.000 --> 00:40:53.000
It's like I remember having a meltdown as a child who knows?

00:40:53.000 --> 00:41:05.000
Maybe 6, 8, something like that my mom threw away like a you know, like a home.

00:41:05.000 --> 00:41:06.000
He was like a card, you know, like a phone card back.

00:41:06.000 --> 00:41:09.000

00:41:09.000 --> 00:41:12.000
When we had phone cards.

00:41:12.000 --> 00:41:15.000
It was phone card, and I had like I had named it.

00:41:15.000 --> 00:41:16.000
I'd gotten it attached to it. She threw Gray and I remember having a tantrum.

00:41:16.000 --> 00:41:17.000
She's like with you. You're acting crazy.

00:41:17.000 --> 00:41:23.000
Yeah. Oh, yeah.

00:41:23.000 --> 00:41:27.000
You're crazy acting because I would get really attached to objects, and I still am right like I and I collect.

00:41:27.000 --> 00:41:34.000
Yeah. Objects. Same here. Same here.

00:41:34.000 --> 00:41:38.000

00:41:38.000 --> 00:41:39.000

00:41:39.000 --> 00:41:53.000
I take them like I rotate them around. I don't want any of them to like not quite as severe as it used to be right, but it's but there's something different there that I never was even flagging looking at until then I learned about autism because until last year, when I had

00:41:53.000 --> 00:42:03.000
A conversation with you about this? All, you know. Couldn't this be complex trauma?

00:42:03.000 --> 00:42:04.000

00:42:04.000 --> 00:42:13.000
And you're like, really, yeah. And then it's like, Whoa, there is a difference like, yes, we have higher rates of vulnerability to Ptsd, that is, in the literature that's part of that nervous system already.

00:42:13.000 --> 00:42:29.000
Kind of been sympathetic wiring, and that because of that rejection, sensitivity, dysphoria, things that aren't labeled as big t traumas to qualify for a Ptsd diagnosis in the Dsm are experienced by neuro

00:42:29.000 --> 00:42:34.000

00:42:34.000 --> 00:42:35.000

00:42:35.000 --> 00:42:42.000
Divergent folks as very traumatic. And so we actually have Pts 2 things that no one else is even registering is a big deal right?

00:42:42.000 --> 00:43:02.000

00:43:02.000 --> 00:43:03.000
Yes, y yup!

00:43:03.000 --> 00:43:11.000
And so I think clinicians like just that element of like asking more about asking more about childhood, although I do think it takes, it's taken me more education about the female presentation of autism to then go back with that retrospective yeah, lens and then start to see things differently but then

00:43:11.000 --> 00:43:12.000
Yeah, yeah.

00:43:12.000 --> 00:43:25.000
It's like it's all I see, and I'm like, How is no one else seen as pattern, you know, like I am a skilled find or something, you know, and then putting it together right like that is a gift of neurology.

00:43:25.000 --> 00:43:30.000
We have right and

00:43:30.000 --> 00:43:31.000

00:43:31.000 --> 00:43:39.000
Well, it is right. Patterns seeing patterns, putting it together like a puzzle piece, and so so well said, and my guess is, there will be clinicians out there that say you know, now we're just diagnosing.

00:43:39.000 --> 00:43:43.000
Everyone is autistic and whatever. And the reality is, is not true.

00:43:43.000 --> 00:43:50.000
You know there are people that don't females that don't aren't diagnosed as autistic.

00:43:50.000 --> 00:44:03.000
And and if we do, if we are really great at assessing and screening, and we're asking these questions, and we're being curious as we listen and observe.

00:44:03.000 --> 00:44:13.000
And we're seeing the person we can accurately diagnose whether it's autism as a diagnosis or other diagnosis.

00:44:13.000 --> 00:44:26.000
Right. I do think there's kind of this lax approach, and not a willingness to ask the right questions.

00:44:26.000 --> 00:44:27.000

00:44:27.000 --> 00:44:35.000
I do think that that just has to change. It has to change, because too many autistic humans in general and particularly autistic females, are going under the radar.

00:44:35.000 --> 00:44:39.000
And and as a result, we suffer, we really do. It's like it.

00:44:39.000 --> 00:44:42.000
It, and and I I I'm a huge advocate for diversity.

00:44:42.000 --> 00:44:53.000
I'm a huge advocate for focusing on my strengths as an autistic person, and before diagnosis, holy shit!

00:44:53.000 --> 00:45:04.000
Why was rough, and I didn't know why, and my relationship was hard, and I didn't know why and now it's hard, but it's not as hard like relationships in general, are just hard, but it's actually not as hard because we he has an environmental.

00:45:04.000 --> 00:45:14.000
Nervous of. He has postermatic stress for sure, diagnosed and some dissociative stuff.

00:45:14.000 --> 00:45:19.000
So you know, he's got environmental neuro difference, right?

00:45:19.000 --> 00:45:24.000
And I've got the biological. And so now that we understand that, and we also understand that, wow, we have similarities in terms of our autonomic nervous system is dysregulated.

00:45:24.000 --> 00:45:40.000
But just for different reasons. We both know what to do, to step in, to to self, Sue. Right?

00:45:40.000 --> 00:45:51.000
So let's just wrap this up with, I just wanna say to clinicians who are jumping on a you know, a diagnosis of love addicts.

00:45:51.000 --> 00:46:00.000
Not that's not in the Dsm. But I know in our world it's you know, people get diagnosed as as not diagnosed, but labeled.

00:46:00.000 --> 00:46:05.000
My encouragement to clinicians is, instead of just automatically assigned.

00:46:05.000 --> 00:46:08.000
That's what's happening. Let's take several steps back.

00:46:08.000 --> 00:46:14.000
Let's do a proper screening. Let's be curious.

00:46:14.000 --> 00:46:20.000
Let's let's let's start to ask questions like you and I have talked about around those certain traits.

00:46:20.000 --> 00:46:29.000
And then, instead of love addiction, let's look at, or is this person seeking, soothing with another person?

00:46:29.000 --> 00:46:36.000
Is that the person, their special interest? And are they seeking safety?

00:46:36.000 --> 00:46:42.000
And how can we support them in learning to regulate their nervous system?

00:46:42.000 --> 00:46:46.000
Finding those safe support people because we do, we need safe support.

00:46:46.000 --> 00:46:51.000
I have very specific. I have someone with me like at work. That's I.

00:46:51.000 --> 00:47:00.000
I do call her my work, wife, and I do have my husband, like both of them, are my safe supports at work to help me navigate.

00:47:00.000 --> 00:47:06.000
I know my strengths. They they pick up where I don't have strengths right same with clients.

00:47:06.000 --> 00:47:12.000
Clients need. Where? Who's your safe support? Person? Because we like you were thrown out there?

00:47:12.000 --> 00:47:16.000
Here, go to a Dv shelter. Worst thing that could happen.

00:47:16.000 --> 00:47:24.000
Let's help you be independent. K. We can be independent, but our accommodation that's needed is we do need a person.

00:47:24.000 --> 00:47:32.000
We do need support, you know, and that one of the things that I wrote down is that the word functional is relative.

00:47:32.000 --> 00:47:33.000

00:47:33.000 --> 00:47:34.000
It's relative. Let's help you be a functional human being.

00:47:34.000 --> 00:47:48.000
Well for me. Functional is, I need a person that literally, I just that's an accommodation for me, and I'm so blessed that I have Chris that is willing to be a support.

00:47:48.000 --> 00:47:52.000
Now, Chris, isn't my caregiver. He's not my parent.

00:47:52.000 --> 00:48:08.000
We we know that I can show up for him. He can show show up for me, but he also knows that you know, if I need to sleep with stuffed animals, or I need him to like lay real close to me and you know, or maybe I'm too, overwhelmed, and I asked him to go get my noise.

00:48:08.000 --> 00:48:16.000
Canceling your buds or my weighted like he's gonna do that because he loves me, not because I needy or I love addicted, or or I.

00:48:16.000 --> 00:48:19.000
You know I need a caregiver, but I have. I need my person and that's okay, too.

00:48:19.000 --> 00:48:22.000
Yes, yes.

00:48:22.000 --> 00:48:26.000
Anything you want to add around that Ali, before we wrap up for today.

00:48:26.000 --> 00:48:36.000
Hmm! Well for me, I just I love that, and I think I just want to touch on.

00:48:36.000 --> 00:48:37.000
Oh, yeah.

00:48:37.000 --> 00:48:50.000
Give a little shout out to the the love of my life, which was my old dog Buddy, right many of us right like our pets like.

00:48:50.000 --> 00:48:51.000

00:48:51.000 --> 00:48:57.000
Is that? All, you know? And but he couldn't cook for me, and I'm grateful to have a situation right like where, rather than being in a shame cycle of I can't be a functional adult cause, I just eating trips.

00:48:57.000 --> 00:49:02.000
And so right like I'm have a roommate that's a brilliant chef and loves to cool, and I like to clean.

00:49:02.000 --> 00:49:04.000
Yeah, there you go. It works out. It works out

00:49:04.000 --> 00:49:11.000
Because bye, okay, like that, we need supports. Right? It's not that I can't.

00:49:11.000 --> 00:49:20.000
It's just. Maybe I would prefer to be in putting my precious energy reserves and things that are really light me up.

00:49:20.000 --> 00:49:22.000
And that's okay, too.

00:49:22.000 --> 00:49:32.000
That's okay, too. It's finding our friends. It's finding our loved ones who are willing to say Sure, I'll do this, you know, Chris and I have an agreement that if he cooks I clean, I clean up the dishes and vice versa.

00:49:32.000 --> 00:49:42.000
You know, and I some days I will cook, and some days I just don't want to, and he loves it so.

00:49:42.000 --> 00:49:46.000
I love that you just said that, whether it's a roommate or friend, a partner.

00:49:46.000 --> 00:49:50.000
And that's okay. There doesn't need to be judgment around that.

00:49:50.000 --> 00:50:10.000
We get to look at these, our relationships differently instead of being so quick to label, because for those csats listening, or anyone listening, clinicians, a lot of us really struggle with labels, humans struggle with labels and there's a lot of judging and labeling going on out there so can

00:50:10.000 --> 00:50:16.000
We see the person first. I see you as a human. I want to see hit you.

00:50:16.000 --> 00:50:20.000
I want to hear you. I want to know you. I wanna understand you.

00:50:20.000 --> 00:50:25.000
You know. Let me let me, if I come in and I say, I'm autistic.

00:50:25.000 --> 00:50:32.000
Yeah, I get the I get. I might sound right now like I'm contracting myself by saying, I'm taking on that label.

00:50:32.000 --> 00:50:41.000
That label, that label was the relief of my life versus all the other labels oh, you're a love addict!

00:50:41.000 --> 00:50:42.000

00:50:42.000 --> 00:50:54.000
Oh, your borderline! Oh, literally had a therapist say to me once you're addicted to drama so so no, I'm actually not addicted to drama.

00:50:54.000 --> 00:51:00.000
A trauma there, but like, are you? So, my me getting to pick my label?

00:51:00.000 --> 00:51:07.000
Me getting to pick, and how I use that label. You know, I'm autistic I'm not with autism. I have.

00:51:07.000 --> 00:51:09.000
It has a you know. I don't have a disease of autism.

00:51:09.000 --> 00:51:13.000
We don't need to find a cure for me, because I'm sick with autism.

00:51:13.000 --> 00:51:21.000
No, I'm I'm proudly autistic. It's helped me so much to know that neuro developmentally, that's what's going on with me.

00:51:21.000 --> 00:51:25.000
And and life can be really good with that diagnosis.

00:51:25.000 --> 00:51:26.000

00:51:26.000 --> 00:51:36.000
Yeah, I whole hardly agree. Right? Like, it is the.

00:51:36.000 --> 00:51:37.000

00:51:37.000 --> 00:51:40.000
It is changed my whole life like, for in such a beautiful and profound way like hasn't made the life I've lived any easier right like a totally rental.

00:51:40.000 --> 00:51:41.000
Yeah, yeah.

00:51:41.000 --> 00:51:52.000
What you shared about just freely free learning about this, even in recovery work.

00:51:52.000 --> 00:51:53.000

00:51:53.000 --> 00:51:57.000
Being proud of myself, but really knowing that like, I know and like, don't have a more trauma worked.

00:51:57.000 --> 00:51:58.000
And it's like, they're gonna be like everybody else.

00:51:58.000 --> 00:51:59.000
Yeah, and that's okay.

00:51:59.000 --> 00:52:00.000
I don't need to be right. It gets to be me.

00:52:00.000 --> 00:52:07.000
That's the what is! What a gift to lean into that for the next half of my life!

00:52:07.000 --> 00:52:09.000
Right, yeah, yeah.

00:52:09.000 --> 00:52:24.000
Right. And out there that are like, Okay, right? Like, maybe, let's not of the stereotypey and the stigma that comes with the label, because if it is something that fits in your claiming right, like it is an amazing framework to see all of our life experiences through

00:52:24.000 --> 00:52:31.000
Oh, yeah, yeah, it's like, we're reclaiming that we're different, not deficient and different is beautiful.

00:52:31.000 --> 00:52:36.000
So on that note. Thank you so much, dear friend, for coming on again.

00:52:36.000 --> 00:52:37.000
Yeah, yeah.

00:52:37.000 --> 00:52:58.000
I know. Video, hug, video, video hug, yeah. And so as always, I just want to say to everyone out there, that's listening, I'm sending you so much love with with my raspy, sexy radio voice right now, I'm sending you so much love and compassion.

00:52:58.000 --> 00:53:00.000
Please be tender with yourselves. Please give yourself some grace.

00:53:00.000 --> 00:53:11.000
We're all doing the best we can, sending you so much love, and until next time, bye.